Sunday, 30 April 2017

The end of a journey and the beginning of a new one...

It's been such a long journey. A long rollercoaster ride. With emotional ups and downs, highs and lows. It has been fast, it has been hard, sometimes long.

If you follow this blog you will know that I started out at the Open University. I had a young child, was getting married and buying a house. I had this recurring dream that I went back to university. The dream haunted me - in it I am chasing a Professor down a corridor, desperate to hand in my final assignment, but in the dream the Professor won't see me, and I don't get my degree. The dream got stronger, more convoluted and it was happening more often.

So I signed up with the OU. Best thing I ever did. Through the OU I found that I had so much to offer - I knew that I could do whatever I put my mind to. I was terrified of speaking out in class at first, but I made myself do it, and I knew that the more I did it, the stronger I would become. I got married, we moved house, we had Alice. I changed jobs. All the while, working for my degree with the OU. Growing stronger. Learning.  Knowing that there was so much more out there for me, so much to learn, new experiences, new people to meet, new ways to make an impact. By the time we had Rosie I was in my second to last year. I graduated in 2015 with my first class. Kids, happy and loved, age 11, 3 and 2. I was so proud of what I had achieved.

But I knew I wanted more. My confidence was still low, I wasn't ready to not be a student. So much more to learn. So I emailed one of the lecturers at Liverpool University, asking about the MA there. She was really great and responded letting me know about contact time, and possible hours and fees. I decided to do it.

Fast forward two years and I've changed. I have grown so much with this MA - I has decided on a dissertation topic - left wing activism in the 70s - and realised that I could make a bigger contribution with a PhD. I knew I could do it, and I knew I was ready. Once again, I contacted the same lecturer and together (with two other amazing academics), we designed the PhD and applied for funding.

It took about a year to get the application together. A full proposal with methodologies, frameworks, existing literature review. I pained over it. We knew the competition would be stiff, and I kept messaging my friend asking her how she was doing, we were both nervous and anxious. So much hard work.

We both heard within a couple of weeks of each other that we were successful.

I can't really express what this means to me in words. I will be starting a fully funded PhD in October. I will be leaving my job, and my kids will all be in full time school. We will all have our own "projects" to focus on, and mine is one that I have worked on and worked for for a number of years.

So now, delighted, exhausted, fired-up and ready - this is where the blog about my journey as a student ends. This is the beginning of a new chapter for me. Of course I have a lot of hard work ahead of me - I want to get involved in teaching, research, writing papers, presenting at conferences - everything I wanted.

And so a new chapter in my life begins.

Thanks for being there with me.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Review: Rattan Direct 5 Drawer Rustic Brown Storage Set

If you have a teenager then the chances are that they are not exactly tidy. I mean I'm not suggesting that ll of them are lazy and a bit messy, but what I will say is that mine is. We are always looking for new ways to store her bits and bobs, clothes, perfumes, PJs, etc. The fact is - if she hasn't got any decent storage then things just end up on the floor - or "floordrobe" as I like to call it. Couple this with the fact that she actually has the smallest bedroom in the house then this makes for a pretty disastrous room. I am always in and out trying to pick up bits that she has dropped on the floor - it drives me mad, I'll be honest.

That is why I was really excited to review this rustic drawer set from Rattan Direct. Now normally I would picture rattan in a conservatory, but when they were delivered I thought they would be perfect for Emily's room. I was not wrong.

The sturdy chest of drawers is in rustic brown and has five deep, well-made drawers. It is quite tall and thin and in itself saves space in her room. The drawers fit lots of things in - perfect for hiding away all of her unsightly bits and bobs. Once the drawers are closed, they really do make the room look great. They are also sturdy enough for her to put her CD player on top.

The drawers arrived fully assembled so there was no messing about. I just lifted them upstairs and we were good to go. As you can see from the pictures - these are a great addition to her room, and I honestly don't really know what we would do without them.

This particular set was £149 - which is a great price for an item of furniture which would definitely last. Rattan Direct have lots more furniture on their website. If you were looking to kit out a conservatory I would definitely give them a try.

For now I am content with just keeping Emily's mess in check, and these do the job perfectly for me.

Disclosure: I was sent the chest of drawers free of charge for the purpose of this review. All words and views are our own.

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