Lockdown Homeschooling: Expectation Vs Reality

So I shared this meme from Mum of Boys and Mabel on my own personal Facebook page last week and though it was hilarious because it is so true! It got me thinking about what we did when we started the lockdown homeschooling and how we do it now. So I thought I would share this lighthearted post comparing my expectations vs reality!

Expectation: Operating to my perfectly planned timetable

Reality: Yes, this one was bound to fail before we got very far! Nothing is going to run to time when you have an 8 year old and a 1 year old in tow. However, I like writing lists so I thought yup! Structure is what I need. Little did I know that even if you plan the timetable somewhat around the school structure and your toddlers routine, it still will not go to plan.

We had points where Maisie was rushing work, so finishing before the allocated time. We had moments where Arthur just went into complete meltdown and I had to sort him out before I could carry on with helping Maisie with her work.

So now we have ditched the timetable, Maisie mostly uses SeeSaw and completes the tasks that her teachers have set her, mostly in her own time with a break for a snack and lunch. Then if I feel she hasn’t done enough we have some extra worksheets etc. The school are providing a good all round timetable of work, so I feel like she is getting most of what she needs to be.



Expectation: “It’s year 4 work, how hard can it be?”

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What the Coronavirus lockdown has taught me

Image by Matt Seymour

I would be lying if I said that when Boris announced the UK was going to lockdown, I was fine with that. In fact I was super scared. The Coronavirus has caused absolute chaos to our lives and grief to others I can’t even comprihend. Reflecting on my own personal experience, I wanted to share what the Coronavirus lockdown has taught me.

How to be at home

I have always been a working parent since I had my first child in 2011. Working was my own personal way of getting a little bit of sanity and in all honesty time away from being a Mum and wife. I enjoyed my job, but since I went back to work after having Arthur, it was becoming more and more difficult for me to enjoy leaving my children and paying for someone else to look after them.

At the end of February I was signed off work with my anxiety, it was the worst I have been in around 8 years and whilst off I just thought to myself “why am I doing this?” We crunched some numbers and decided that we could manage so when I went back to work I handed my notice in. Working my notice, I began to feel regret and guilt for taking my children away from a childcare setting they loved and I began to doubt that I had made the right decision.

Then the Coronavirus lockdown was announced and being unable to work from home, suddenly, that was it. I no longer had a job and I was a stay at home Mum. Being thrust into it meant that all my doubts about leaving work were diminished, I felt confident being at home and confident that I would smash it, I didn’t really have a choice.

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If you follow me on social media, you may have seen my posts on Twitter and Instagram yesterday about Real Nappy Week 2019!

I have a few posts coming up this week including one about busting the myths about cloth nappies and our own personal cloth nappy journey. First I thought I would share some info about disposable nappies and also some websites and groups I found helpful that you can check out if you’re thinking about using cloth!

I was shocked to discover some of the hard hitting facts about disposable nappies, mainly that 1 disposable nappy takes 500 years to biodegrade! According to Baby Centre around 7 Million disposable nappies are thrown away in the UK every day, this figure is incredible, just imagine how long those nappies are in landfill!

Of course there is a great incentive with cloth nappies in that you will save alot of money. The average cost of disposables per child is around £750 from birth to potty, meaning that after buying your cloth nappies, you  could save around £600 depending on brand and style chosen as some are more expensive than others.

So if you’re thinking of getting started with cloth nappies, here are some places to start!

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Welcoming a baby into the family when you have other children

As all of you know, we have recently welcomed Arthur into our little family. One thing I was worried about when I was pregnant was upsetting our daughter Maisie, who is 7, or making her feel like we were trying to replace her in some way. I was also really worried that an age gap of 7 years was too much as it had just been James, Maisie and I for so long! I thought I would write this post and include some of the things we did to help with welcoming a baby into the family when you have other children.


Involve your other children in your pregnancy

I think this one goes without saying. I think it’s really important to involve any siblings in your pregnancy from the beginning. We told Maisie about Arthur as soon as we found out – although watch out with this one as it might not be a secret for long! There were lots of ways Maisie was able to be involved in the pregnancy, such as coming to scans and Midwife appointments, shopping to help choose things for the baby and helping to choose the name.

Don’t pressure them to touch your bump if they don’t want to, I let Maisie know she could feel the baby when she wanted and she came to me to ask when she felt ready. I was always available to talk to if she wanted to ask any questions and she took everything in her stride. 

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Plus Size and Pregnant: My Birth Story

My first pregnancy and birth in 2011 was a completely different experience to this one. My body has changed so much since then and being plus size and pregnant has been somewhat of a challenge as I documented in my pregnancy diaries. That said, I had quite a positive birth this time and I wanted to share my birth story with you on the blog!


Before it began

Throughout my pregnancy, there was concern over the size of our baby. I was initially told that I had been referred to consultant led care because of my BMI, but as the weeks went on it became clear due to the fact that my little girl had been born small (6lb 3oz) at full term, they were concerned for this baby too. I want to point out here that I had no complications throughout my pregnancy relating to my weight. My GDD test came back fine and I didn’t suffer with any sort of pain. I only had regular check ups and scans at the hospital to check whether Arthur was growing properly. From these scans towards the end of my pregnancy, it was identified that Arthur was not progressing in growth as much as they would like. By week 35 he had dropped from the 10th centile to just below the 5th and the doctor made it clear that I would probably have to be induced. At 37 weeks and 2 days I had my final growth scan, Arthur had grown but he was still below the 10th centile, so the Doctor said he recommended that I have an induction as soon as possible.

I just want to say that this was not what I wanted. I had not only heard and read stories about how terrible inductions can be, but I really wanted to go into labour naturally. I had with Maisie and this was what I wanted again. I knew that as my pregnancy was high risk, I wouldn’t be allowed to go to hospital to be induced and then return home, I would have to stay in and this was also a concern for me as I didn’t want to disrupt my 7 year old daughters routine too much and have her worrying because I was in hospital for days on end. I was booked in for my induction on Sunday 4th November. I was told that the hospital would call me when they had a bed available for me to go in.

The Induction

Sunday started as any other would. I got up and had breakfast and then James and I tuned into the Leeds United Match that afternoon. Just as the game was about to kick off my phone rang, it was the Midwife from the hospital, she wasn’t calling me in she was just checking in to tell me that they hadn’t forgotten about me. Around half way through the game, my phone rang again and this time the Midwife said there was a bed for me. We gathered my things and Maisie’s too for her stay at her Grandparent’s for the duration and then my Father in Law picked us up and drove us to the hospital.

I had tried my best to prepare Maisie for the fact that I might be in hospital for a while as I was so sure that I would be one of those unlucky ones whose labour takes days to begin. Leaving her in the car when we arrived at the hospital was really hard as she was really upset. I think she would have found it easier if I’d gone into labour naturally, at least to her then something would be happening and the baby would be on it’s way.

We arrived at around 4pm, found the ward at Pinderfields hospital and I was shown to my bed.  After getting comfortable the Midwife came and explained the process of induction to me. She then left us for a while and went off to get things prepared. Some time later, she returned and congratulated me on how well I had done to not put any weight on during my pregnancy. I rolled my eyes, how annoying! I had only not put any weight on because I’d been so ill throughout! Already the focus was on my weight! I was then asked to lay on the bed whilst I was hooked up to a monitor whilst they checked Arthur to see how he was. It was so strange that once hooked up I started to get small cramps which would build up and go, something I hadn’t had at all throughout my pregnancy, even the midwife asked if that was happening. The monitoring was fine and once I had been on the machine for an hour the midwife came to check my cervix.

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Plus Size and Pregnant: Pregnancy Diary 25 to 37 Weeks!

So as most of you may know, I’ve already had my baby! But I continued to update my plus size and pregnant: pregnancy diary but I just never got around to posting it on my blog because Arthur was born at just under 38 weeks. So here is the last part of my pregnancy diary!

25 and 26 Weeks

In my last pregnancy diary, I talked about my struggle with morning sickness. It’s not getting much better and I’m currently signed off work with Hyperemesis. It can be such a debilitating illness during pregnancy and to be honest I’m really struggling. I think the worst thing about it is that if you haven’t had it, you cannot relate! Like the feeling of nausea is so overwhelming and you literally have to lay still otherwise you feel like you might pass out. That coupled with vomiting over 6 times a day is just the worst and I’ve been constantly worried about not being at work. I think for most women, this can go away as you reach the second trimester but unfortunately not in my case. Fortunately I know I haven’t had it as bad as some women can, so I’m feeling slightly blessed!

I haven’t seen the midwife or consultant for a while but next week I have a scan and am also seeing my midwife so hopefully everything will be ok!

27 Weeks

I had 3 medical appointments at 27 weeks after not having many recently. When it is your second pregnancy you don’t see the Midwife as often as with your first for some reason.

The first appointment was to have my gestational diabetes test. It’s a 3 hour test and you have to fast from 10.30pm the night before. I haven’t been eating the best due to the Hyperemesis but managed to have some noodles before going to bed. I woke up feeling horrendous, but managed to get myself looking presentable and out the door for 8am. I was waiting outside for my father in law to pick me up and was throwing up down the drain. I was so bad I thought I wouldn’t be able to complete the test. I arrived at the hospital and I just knew it would be a farse! They struggled to take my first set of bloods and left both my arms in bits after like 6 attempts in several veins. Once the first set of bloods were taken, I had to drink this very sugary drink, basically flat Lucozade and then sit in the waiting room for 2 and a half hours or so and have my blood taken again. I felt horrendous for like the first hour, but I managed to keep the drink down as I didn’t want to have to come back another time for the test.

When it was finally time to go and have my blood taken again, I had to tell them to try and take it from somewhere else as where they had poked around before was so bruised and sore. After several attempts, they had to call a Midwife in to take the blood and she found a different vein and got it straight away which was a relief.

My results came back all clear which was awesome!

I also went for a growth scan this week. I was soooo excited because we were desperate to find out the sex of our baby. However, this did not quite go to plan! As I walked in I asked the sonographer straight away if she could tell me the sex and she abruptly refused as it was not policy to reveal that information after 20 weeks. I was so upset, but managed to keep it together for the scan. I asked at the end if everything was ok with the baby and the sonographer again was so abrupt and said the Doctor would discuss things with me.

I went in to see the Doctor, who told me that everything was fine with the baby, but they were worried about the femur measurement as it had not grow as much as expected. She reassured me that the other measurements had progressed fine and they were not worried about anything but they wanted to book me in for another scan in two weeks time to check progress.

I also saw my midwife this week, had my 28 week bloods checked and discussed feeding options etc

28 Weeks

After not being able to find out the sex of our baby at our last scan, James and I decided to book a private gender scan. We looked online and found a company called Ultrasound Direct and booked their Gender Scan which cost £39. After having such negative experiences with my NHS scans, I was so worried that they wouldn’t be able to tell us the gender or even see it because of my BMI.

We arrived and waited anxiously, within 2 minutes of being scanned the sonographer was able to tell us the gender of our baby. I felt so calm and relaxed for the first time in a long time when having something like this done. We were delighted! We even got a 4D preview included, which was slightly weird to see on the screen.

I would definitely recommend Ultrasound Direct of you are looking to have a private scan. They offer so many different options and have various locations around the UK so if you are thinking about booking one definitely check them out. Anyway, you all now know we had a boy!!! James and Maisie were right!

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You Have The Right To Remain Fat- A Manifesto by Virgie Tovar

When I was contacted recently and asked if I would like to review a copy of You Have The Right To Remain Fat, A Manifesto by Virgie Tovar, I can’t say it was an author I had ever heard of. The title of the book definitely intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to get my copy and start reading.

you have the right to remain fat, virgie tovar, emma ellis, the plus size of life

As soon as the book and press release arrived, I instantly recognised the picture of Virgie and you just may too. Virgie is a fat activist and an expert and lecturer on fat discrimination and body image. If like me you’ve ever used #LoseHateNotWeight on Instagram, you guessed it, Virgie started that campaign. Virgie herself constantly dieted for 2 decades and believed that her body was something to be fixed, until she decided to ditch diet culture and now helps others do the same. If you do not follow her on any social media, go do it NOW!

First of all, I just wanted to say that I adore the cover of this book, it features a circle of women’s bodies, all different shapes and sizes. Me and my daughter had some fun when it first arrived trying to recreate as many of the poses as possible, which was fun. It’s such a great memory I have as I remember that no negative words were used towards any of the bodies from my little girl. She was amazed how these women could make all different shapes which made me able to explain to her how amazing all body shapes are and how they can do amazing things.

You have the right to remain fat is a short but incredibly sweet manifesto calling for the end of oppressive diet culture. At only 128 pages, it’s an easy read that will have you not only agreeing with a lot of it’s sentiments but also thinking about relatable times in your life, similar to the experiences that Virgie depicts. What makes this manifesto inspiring for me is that the author combines her own personal and relatable experiences of being fat with extensive research, Virgie is able to smash the wall that is diet culture into tiny little pieces. As I was reading I was literally sat thinking “oh yeahhhhhh” at so many points Virgie made – like when you have a moment of realisation. This book takes you on the author’s personal journey to loving her body, from childhood to adulthood.

As it is such a short manifesto, I don’t want to go into too much detail about the content as I’m sure plenty of you will enjoy reading this yourselves so what I thought was I would pick out some of my favourite quotes from the book and then share with you how they resonated with me.

“Everyone ends up in one of two camps: they are either living the pointed reality of fatphobic bigotry or they are living in fear of becoming subject to it”

This quote makes me think about most  of the women I know at the moment who are dieting. Some are doing it to get to the ideal weight they think they should be – to society’s norm and is that so surprising? Just this morning Dan Walker cracked a joke about a fat person eating chocolate on BBC Breakfast. I literally screamed at the TV. It’s no wonder people feel like they need to lose weight and those who fit into societies norm are terrified of becoming the butt of the jokes, as joking about fat people is so common in friendship groups across the globe.

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Plus Size and Pregnant – Pregnancy Diary 13-24 weeks

Welcome to another post in my plus size and pregnant segment, where i talk about all things to do with my pregnancy. I know it’s been quite a while since my last update, but I’ve really been suffering! But I’m back today to update you on my pregnancy once again. If you missed my first update, you can read it by clicking here!

13 Weeks

After seeing my baby last week at the scan, I was really apprehensive to go and see the consultant. I had been referred by the midwife because of my BMI or so I assumed. I went along to the appointment and I was so nervous because I thought that i was about to get a lecture about my weight etc as I’ve heard so many stories.

The consultant was lovely. Basically she said to me that she had no idea why I had been referred so early as there were currently no complications with my pregnancy and all my test results so far had been fine. She did however mention that one of the reasons I was referred was because my last baby was small, I needed to be monitored and by this I was slightly confused. When Maisie was born, no one had ever said she was a small baby so this was news to us. I was prescribed a higher dose of folic acid to take for my whole pregnancy, a low dose of aspirin and told to also take a multivitamin. I am really worried about taking the aspirin, as in the leaflet it says that it can cause complications with the baby.

Emma Ellis, the plus size of life, plus size and pregnant, 16 to 24 weeks

14 Weeks

I’ve managed to have three days with no sickness this week, which is huge for me. I feel like I’m finally starting to get over it and hopefully soon I will be feeling more like my usual self.

I’ve noticed changes in my skin, I’m not as spotty at the moment but I’m definitely a lot more oily. I’m assuming this is down to me no longer using my products from The Ordinary as i’m not sure how they would affect things with them being exfoliators and if they would pass into the blood or not :/

My little girl is getting excited about becoming a big sister. She is convinced that we are going to have a boy!!

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