Today I'm super excited to be featuring a mommy blogger from the UK! I know we all love a good "day in the life" post and it's so neat to read about a day in the life from a mother who lives in another country! Meet Gemma:
Hello Journey of Parenthood Readers!
My name is Gemma. I am a U.K Blogger, and Wife to Elliot since 2009, and Mummy to Izzie 6, Ollie nearly 4 and Mason 18 months. We also have an angel baby, Sophie who was sadly born sleeping in February 2012.
I blog at , and write mainly about our daily lives and adventures and also our experience of baby loss and life after.
We live in a small country town called Malmesbury, in Wiltshire, which is in South West England - if any of you follow the British Royal Family, we are about 10 minutes away from Prince Charles’ country home ‘Highgrove'. We also have a crazy English Springer Spaniel called Harley, and a tabby cat called Louis.
Where we live
Our lives are pretty hectic, as Izzie is in her third year at primary school, and Ollie is in his second and final year of preschool, which he attends 4 mornings a week. I am a stay at home mum so I spend most of my time looking after Mason and doing the school runs, along with blogging and housework. Before having the children I was a qualified Dental Nurse and Dental Radiographer.
I have been following Emily’s blog since I came across her pregnancy announcement with Tess on Pinterest, and it fascinates me that although we both have three children, how different life is in the America to living in England - the weather is certainly a lot better for a start! With this in mind I ordered to write a day in the life of a mum in the U.K as I thought it may be interesting for you guys to compare - apologies if it is totally boring though!
This is a standard day for us…
6.45am - Wake up - I tend to set an alarm for 15 minutes earlier than I need to get up - just to give myself time to wake up properly. I then get up and get dressed and put makeup on for the day. It is very Autumnal here at the moment - very wet and grey and the temperature is hovering around 4 degrees, so there are a lot of jeans and jumpers, thick socks and boots being worn.
7.10am - I check Izzie and Ollie have woken up and started getting themselves dressed - I lay out their clothes at nighttime for them - both have a uniform/specific clothes for school and preschool so it means less debate over what they are wearing. I then go around picking up clothes and toys are sorting out my first load of washing for the day, and make sure all the beds are made.
7.30am - Ell has normally just come back from Harley’s first walk of the day, and is having breakfast - he has normally sorted the kids breakfast out - this time of year they have porridge with a bit of jam or honey, and milk - and if they are feeling hungry some fruit or toast. I am rubbish at eating breakfast - I use the time when they are eating and sat still to get some jobs done. Ollie’s packed lunch is made the evening before, and so I get this out of the fridge along with Izzie’s water bottle and afternoon snack (usually grapes). Her school provide a morning snack, and as she is currently in Year 2, all children in the U.K get free hot school lunches until from Reception to Year 2. On a Monday I make sure her lunch choices for the week are filled out - there is an online menu, and this goes into her book bag. During breakfast I also put on my first load of washing for the day and empty the dishwasher. I then make sure everyone's shoes, hats, gloves and coats are ready to go along with Ollie’s bag that contains a spare set of clothes for preschool. This is also the time I will prep tea if cooking it in the slow cooker (crockpot).
7.45am - Daddy leaves for work - he is a painter and decorator and works at a family firm with his dad and brothers - he usually works quite locally - within half an hour of home.
8.10am - Time for teeth brushing, Izzie’s hair to be done - usually in a french braid of some description - I’m not very good at it - and then I get Mason dressed and his nappy changed.
8.20am - Coats and shoes are on, and I load up the car with everyones bags and get the kids in ready with the aim to leave by 8.25am.
The School Run
8.40 - It is a 12 minute drive along country lanes to Ollie’s preschool - both Izzie and Ollie don’t go school or preschool in our town, as it was oversubscribed for Izzie’s year group. They both attend small village settings. I run Ollie in and he has to find his name which is on a leaf, which he then hangs on a (fake) tree in the room. After a kiss goodbye it is back in the car to drive 4 minutes back towards home to the village Izzie goes to school in.
8.50am - We park on the road outside Izzie’s school and its everyone out of the car - Mason into the pushchair or I carry him and let him walk a bit. We then walk Izzie into school, and make sure she hands everything in that she needs to - homework, spellings and her lunch choices for the week. Kisses goodbye and then I will have a quick chat with some mummy friends - if its not raining, and back into the car and home. This morning it was throwing it down - I had to carry Izzie over an ankle deep puddle in the playground - it was all pretty crazy! I was soaked by the time we got back in the car.
(A VERY wet school run!)
9.10am - We arrive home and have a quick tidy around and hoover - I also stack the dishwasher from breakfast and make myself a coffee.
9.30am - Mason’s nap time - he only has one nap a day, and always has an epic nap in the morning. He always settles straight away - he is still in a cot with a sleeping bag, although we have been putting it on back to front as he can now undo the zip. He will sleep until lunchtime.
9.30-midday - I use this time to catch up on housework, schedule blog posts, film and edit youtube videos. On a Friday I will order the weekly food shop online to be delivered on Saturday morning. I will also hang out washing if it is dry, or if not when the dryer has finished, will make sure it is folded and taken upstairs for putting away. Our house is tiny - house prices in the U.K and the amount of space you get for your money is very different to the U.S. For example we have three
bedrooms, an upstairs bathroom and ensuite, a downstairs toilet, hallway, living room and a kitchen/dining room. Our washing machine lives in the kitchen - my dream is to one day have a house with a utility room. We also have a tiny tiny garden, although we are very close to fields and parks so we have plenty of outdoor space really. Where we live, a house around the size of ours is around £230k. One day we will hopefully move and get somewhere bigger but we are happy here and because the house was a new build in 2007, it costs very little heat and run.
Our little house and garden
Midday - Mason wakes from his nap, and I make him and myself lunch - typically some sort of sandwiches, fruit and snacks with water.
12.45 - it’s time to pick up Ollie from preschool - we do the 12 minute drive again to get there for 1pm.
1.15pm - We arrive back home, and this the time we either go out and visit friends, go for a walk at our local arboretum (the kids love playing in the trees - we have a yearly membership pass) or we play with toys. Ollie loves things like the Fisher Price Little People, and the Vtech Toot Toot range, which Mason is also happy to play with. Our living room floor is generally covered with toys.
2.50pm - Its time to get ready to leave to pick up Izzie from school. We get there for 3pm and she comes out at 3.10pm. In the summer we normally visit the park for a bit, or go home and play outside, this time of year it is too cold and wet so we just go straight home.
Fun at the park
3.30pm - If we go straight home, we arrive back at around half past three. The boys then play a bit more, whilst I help Izzie with any homework. In a week she has a piece of topic homework to do and Mathletics (an online Maths learning system), a handwriting task, and daily reading and spelling practice. On a Thursday Izzie also attends Forest School - they have to wear waterproofs and wellies and they spend nearly an hour and a half outside learning about nature. They also do nature crafts and learn about U.K wildlife.
4.15pm - If I haven’t already prepped tea I will start this now. Izzie will go and play with the boys and they will have some t.v time or watch a film. I will also fold washing that has finished from the second load of washing.
4.45pm - Toy tidy up time ready for tea, and then toilet and hands washed ready to eat.
5pm - Daddy is home and tea is on the table. We eat things like Sausage Casserole, Fish and Chips (home cooked not from the shop), Pasta Bake and Veg, or sometimes a roast dinner - all with salad or veggies. Izzie is good eater now, she will eat most things I cook as will Mason. Ollie is going through a very fussy stage and so teatime can be very stressful at the moment.
5.30pm - Clear up from tea and more playtime for the kids.
6pm - Bathtime - normally the boys bath together and then Izzie will have her own or will have a shower. Daddy is usually in charge of bathtime, unless it is a night when he is playing football (soccer) which he does on a Tuesday and a Saturday for a local village team. I use the time when the kids are in the bath to get jobs done such as sorting clothes for the next day, and putting away clean washing.
6.30pm Bathtime is normally over by 6.30pm and the boys are put in bed - with a story if they aren't too tired. Ollie suffers with night terrors, since he was 2 and a half, and although they occur less frequently now, they are worse if bedtime is too hectic, so we try and keep it calm as best we can.
7pm - Izzie ‘goes to bed’. She will normally play quietly in her room or look at books until we tell her it is time for lights out - normally at 7.30pm.
When everyone is in their rooms, myself and Ell go back downstairs - sometimes I will put on another wash, and tidy round anything left out from the day.
Ell will normally give Harley another walk - at the moment Mason’s morning naps mean I can’t take him as much as I would like to, and I will normally light a candle, and turn on the fire. I will then catch up on any emails or blogging I need to do. I am also secretary for Izzie’s school PTA, so once a month I attend meetings for this, and take and type up the minutes. Ollie’s packed lunch will also be made ready for the morning.
8pm - Shower and Hairwash time for me, and then into my pyjamas, and back downstairs - Ell sometimes spends this time doing invoices for work, so that by 8.30pm we can have sometime together to catch up on our day, and then watch some tv - our current favourites are Grey’s Anatomy, and The Middle.
10.30pm - Bedtime for us. Our kids are amazing sleepers (bar the odd night terror from Ollie). It may be a fluke but they were all in a routine from a very young age - very similar to Babywise although it wasn’t intentional, it was just what I thought would work for us at the time. By bedtime I am normally asleep by the time my head hits the pillow - being mum of three and keeping up with everything they need is exhausting, but the best job in the world. I'm very lucky to be able to stay at home with my kids.
Welly Walks - how we spend our weekends!
Few Facts about living in the U.K/ differences to the USA:
At school and preschool, the kids attend for 6 weeks and then have a break - half terms are normally a week in October, February, and May and then they have two weeks off for Christmas, Easter and then 6 weeks off in the summer (end of July to September). Ollie started preschool when he was 2 years 8 months, and from the age of 3, every child is funded for 15 free hours a week of childcare - Ollie attends a preschool, which he will attend until he starts primary school.
Primary school starts the September when the child is 5 or before their 5th birthday. Where we live in the U.K Children usually attend a primary school for 7 years, and then another 5 years at secondary school. They can then choose to attend ‘sixth form’ for two years, a college, or find a job. After sixth form or college, they can then choose to get a job, or attend university.
As I mentioned before, for the first three years of Primary School all children are entitled to free hot school meals - after this it costs around £10.60 each a week for school meals or they can choose to have a packed lunch.
If we need a doctor appointment, our town has a doctors surgery - this is covered by the National Health Service (funded by tax payers). All NHS doctor and hospital appointments are covered, and prescriptions are also free for children under 18, pregnant women and people over 60.
If there is anything else you would like to know, please leave a comment and I will answer where I can. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have found this interesting….and huge thanks to Emily for having me - I hope you all have an amazing time at Disney!
Be sure to visit Gemma on her blog: www.somewhereaftertherainbow.co.uk
As well as on her social media outlets:
Instagram - @somewhereaftertherainbow
Twitter - @sat_rainbow