Student Life

Hey Guys!

As it is the closing date for UCAS applications, I am focusing today’s post on being a student. I want to share with you the inspiration behind me going to college, how long I’ve been in college for and the course I have done and are currently doing, as well as my plans for future study and what my goal is once I reach the end of my academic studies.

My first student card

If you have read my other posts you will know that I am a mother to two children. A son who’s currently 9 years old and a daughter who is currently 7 years old. I am randomly reminding you of this fact as it is my beautiful children who kind of made my student life fall into place. Let me explain ….

When my daughter was coming to the end of her time in reception, her teacher approached me regarding needing volunteers to help them with reading. This teacher had also taught my son so I had built up a very good relationship with her over the years. This also happened the same year that my mum passed away (I’m sorry I keep mentioning this, but it is apart of my journey to where I am today). The teacher knew that while my children were in school I would mainly spend time with my mum as I did not work. I was also at the point where I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself now that my mum was not around for me to go shopping with, or to have a coffee and a chat with. So when Mrs D mentioned the reading situation, I explained to her that I have often wondered if this was something the school did and due to having a lot of free time on my hands, I would love nothing more than to be able to selflessly give back to the school. That day was the start of me being accepted into the school as a volunteer.

During the summer I considered my options for my future. My partner and I were discussing the fact that our children were now older, it was time for me to start thinking about going back to work. Before I had my children, I worked in retail. I did not want to go back to that kind of work as it is not very child friendly over the Christmas period and would also mean I would be working weekends while my partner and children were at home. It wasn’t until my partner asked me what it is I would really love to do, I considered my options carefully and then admitted something to him that I had known all along. The only job I could ever imagine myself doing for the rest of my life that I would absolutely love would be teaching.

While I was at school I spent all of my work experience hours in a school and I remember loving every second of it. I’ll admit that I didn’t put enough effort into my grades while I was at school and I struggled with Maths. I also lost my way when my father passed away.

I hoped that through my volunteering I would possibly be able to train to teach. I didn’t give it much more thought until after I had started going into school. Even in the very beginning when I was going in for training, I loved every second of it. I began to go in for three full days a week to ensure that I read with all 60 children that was in the class.

After the first term was over I spoke to my partner about his thoughts on me going back to college to get the grades that I needed to go to university to become a teacher. He was very apprehensive at first, so I gave him time to think about it. In the meantime I discussed my idea with Mrs D who encouraged me to do it.

That night I went on to my local colleges website and applied to do their Preparation for Higher Education course. I already had a C grade in GCSE English. I needed Maths and Science in order to teach.

I heard back very quickly and was offered an interview and then a place straight away.

The day I realised I was really about to sit exams that would help me achieve step one on my journey to teaching.

Due to a lack of ability in Maths, I had to do a level two course called, Functional Skills. By the end of the year I passed it with almost full marks.

As I was not able to take GCSE Maths, I had to pick two other subjects to use as grade builders. I picked to do both GCSE Psychology and Sociology. I absolutely loved psychology and went on to achieve the C I needed. Sociology was a very dull subject for me and my lack of interest showed in my exam results, but it did not effect my chances of teaching. I also went on to get a double 4 grade in combined Science.

While I didn’t revise as hard as I should of as during this time I had lots going on, I am very pleased with my achievements. My partners mother was not keen on the idea of me attending college and would constantly try to dash my hopes and dreams. By passing my GCSE’s I proved her wrong.

As I passed my GCSE’s I was able to progress on to the next step, which for me was the Access to Higher Education: Teacher training course. On my acceptance of this course I also had to take GCSE Maths alongside it.

A best wishes card from my GCSE tutor.

This brings us to our current day.

I have been at college for seventeen months now. My current course is made up of English Literature, Biology and Study Skills. As well as my weekly evening Maths class. This years course is an equivalent to A levels, which seems to resemble more university based assignments then typical A level exams and coursework. So far I am absolutely loving my course.

Before Christmas 2018 I received my first proper graded English Literature paper back. I cried happy tears as I had achieved my first distinction. Upon starting 2019, when college started again after Christmas break, I found out I had achieved a Merit in a Biology exam on the Cardiac and Respiratory System. I hope I can keep up these results for my future assignments.

My family elf learning about hearts and lungs.

So as I mentioned before, it is UCAS closing date today for all UK university applications. This application process has been very daunting for me. Originally when I set out on this journey, I only wanted to go to BGU and study Primary Education with QTS. But, four months of Maths and struggling to grasp the basics, I decided that it possibly would not be the best route into teaching for me. Maths was causing me sleepless nights. I knew I would have to sit a maths assessment that would seal my fate on securing a place on my chosen university course. I had never been so scared in all of my life. I didn’t want to submit my application for fear of failing before I even got started.

I began to think back to an earlier conversation I had with my Tutor. She suggested that I apply for a second course, just in case I was unable to achieve the 4 I need in Maths. As I enjoyed psychology so much during my GCSE year, she suggested I applied for Education Studies and Psychology as a combined degree. She informed me that this would mean I would have a longer time scale to pass my Maths and to put in as much practice as possible before sitting any teaching assessments. I took this on board and added it to my course options.

Since I started feeling so anxious and physically sick over my impending application. I decided to remove Primary Education with QTS from my course options altogether. In its place I opted for Education Studies with English, then I sent my application, along with an email to my tutor to explain my change in direction.

I felt extremely emotional and sick to my stomach with anxiety. My tutor responded to my email saying she thought that I had made the best decision based on my feelings.

So now my plan is to study Education studies and English for three years and then go on to do a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) for one extra year in order for me to become a teacher.

I cannot wait to get to university and make my dream a reality.

Confirmation of my UCAS application.

If you are reading this and have applied for university, I wish you the best of luck in securing a place on your chosen course and beginning your journey into making your own dream a reality.

If you have read this and are considering going back into education… just do it!! It honestly will be the best thing you could ever do for yourself. If I can do it, anyone can.

Chat soon

Sarah x

Sink horror story

Hey Guys

I hope you all have had a fabulous weekend. I have been exceptionally productive this weekend.

I have managed to get three assignments finished for my Study Skills class, as well as answering all the questions in my workbook for English Literature. I have also got my laundry baskets completely empty. All my laundry has been washed, dried, folded using the Konmari method and put away! I even found time to completely clean my kitchen, which leads me to why I am writing this post.

We have lived in our new home for three months now. It is a housing association house. I have been trying to find out how old the house actually is, but as of yet I have had no luck in finding a date. Regardless, I’m sure it has seen many families come and go over the years.

When we first got our keys I set about cleaning the place. I followed Mrs Hinch’s (head to instagram if you do not know who this lady is!) steps to cleaning my smelly sink u-bend, yet the smell remained. I repeated it at least once every couple of weeks and still there was no improvement.

Today I decided enough was enough. I got my fella to remove the stinking pipe from under the sink.

I just want to apologise for the photographs being so dark, it was a very spur of the moment job and natural daylight had well and truly disappeared.

I raided my cleaning cupboard for the products I thought would be most effective.

I selected Soda crystals, Stardrops White Vinegar, Zoflora (country garden), Astonish mould and mildew blaster and then I grabbed an old toothbrush and a cloth.

I knew my fella had been successful at removing the pipe when the smell hit me. I had never smelt something so bad before. It was thick with black, potent grime. I am so disappointed that I did not get a before picture. Would you believe I couldn’t even find a similar picture on the internet?! It was disgusting.

I threw it in an old washing up bowl and sprinkled a cup full of soda crystals inside the pipe. I then poured in a small amount of white vinegar and left it to fizz for a minute. I then tipped in a capful of Zoflora and poured in a kettle full of boiling water, topping it up with hot tap water so the whole pipe was submerged. I left it to soak for approximately fifteen minutes.

Meanwhile I grabbed my Astonish mould and mildew blaster and coated the pipes that were still attached to my sink in the product. Leaving it to soak in until after I had cleaned the pipe.

When the fifteen minutes were up, I was shocked to see so much black gunk floating in the bowl.

I inspected the pipe and while it was a little better, there was still stubborn marks in the base of the pipe. I poured in some more soda crystals and a bit of white vinegar, I then blocked both of the ends of the pipe and shook it vigorously.

After emptying the mixture, I then sprayed in some Astonish mould and mildew blaster directly into the pipe. I then grabbed my old toothbrush and scrubbed at all of the visible areas. I then took the rest of the pipe apart and continued to scrub with the toothbrush. Once I was satisfied it was as clean as it was going to get, I rinsed it throughly.

I was amazed by the results. It looks so much better now. Before my fella reconnected it, I used the toothbrush and cloth to wash off the Astonish spray off the pipes still connected to the sink. By the time I was finished and my fella had reconnected it, we were both amazed at how clean it looked. Also it smelt amazing in comparison.

So guys if you have a kitchen sink horror story of your own, invest in the mentioned products, in my opinion they work miracles!

Chat soon

Sarah x

My journey to self discovery

Hey Guys.

I was not sure how to title this post (the original title was “My brain is spinning out of control” just in case you were wondering).

My creative juices are flowing and I am desperate to start work on our house. I am not a materialistic person, but I do find myself fantasising about winning a sum of money a lot lately. I know this sounds very shallow, and I feel bad for even typing this.

The thing is my family and I have faced many struggles over the years. One of the main struggles we have faced is homelessness.

This is a very difficult post for me to write as it has effected my whole family unit immensely.

It all started the year my mum passed away.

We had been living in a rented new build first-floor flat (apartment) for six years. I loved it, it was our first ever family home together. We moved into it when my eldest child was six months old. We had problem neighbours and it made life for us some what difficult. We had many neighbours come and go from the flat below us. They would complain about our noise levels, even though after various sound tests were carried out, we were found to not be a concerning matter or a nuisance as our neighbours made us out to be. Its frustrating that after making these complaints against us, they would move on to new properties yet we remained. This was something that my partner found very infuriating as people were tarnishing our reputation to benefit themselves.

While working at a local supermarket my partner befriended two men, who were already friends. My partner would confide in these friends about our problems.

One of the men ended up being made redundant from their job and moved down south to be with his parents. He left behind an empty two bedroomed house, that he was still paying for.

The other man and his wife came up with the idea that we could leave behind our flat and rent the empty house from the man who moved away. For many months they tried to convince us it was a great idea. Before my mum passed away, I refused as it was too far out for her to be able to visit us. So of course once they knew my mum had passed away, they brought the idea up again to my partner. By this point he had had enough of the problem neighbours and was wanting us to move on from the flat into a house.

Now I do not want to make out that my fella was the bad guy in all of this as he really was not. We discussed our options and viewed the house. By the time my mums funeral came around we had agreed to make the move into this house, even though by the the time the move date came around, we were both having doubts, but felt it was too late to back out, this was due to our own naivety and my gut instincts were clouded by depression.

It was not until after we had moved into this house that we had reaslied we had made a devastatingly huge mistake.

The house had not been decorated for awhile so we decided to update the decor to a more plain colour palette then what was originally there. It originally was very dark and dingy. During the process of updating the decor, it came to light that the house was not as structurally sound as we were first led to believe. Now we had never private rented before and had no clue of how things worked as we had only ever rented from a local authority before this house. We were unfortunately very naive.

We raised our concerns with our landlord who did nothing. It got to the point where we had had enough and was advised to contact our local authority to get the house assessed. They came out to do this and found numerous of problems. They had an electrician come out and he found the electrics to be dangerous and informed us the house needed to be condemned.

This led us to be rehoused in another local private rented house. We thought it would be perfect as it was a three bedroom house with a small garden. This again turned out to be an issue as on Christmas Day of 2017 we had a leak from the roof in my children’s bedrooms. The walls were saturated. There was a hole in my sons bedroom wall where the water was coming in and cascading down the wall towards an electrical outlet. While these problems actually got sorted in the end, by this point we had decided to leave. The rent was far too high for the area and it got to the point where we just could not afford to live and pay all of our household bills.

As they were aware of everything we had been through, my partners parents suggested that we should move in with them for a year or so. The plan was for us to work towards paying off our debts as well as saving for a fresh start.

We was only in his parents home for five months before they decided to kick us out on the 10th August 2018. My partner was devastated. My children were broken. My family was falling apart around me and their was nothing I could do.

We spent three months living in and out of various travelodge’s and sleeping on my sisters living room floor. We went to the council for help, they paid for our temporary accommodation, but would not rehouse us. They had decided that we had done this to ourselves intentionally. I had finally broken. My family were in pieces.

During this time we had so much support and help from my sisters and my aunties. My partner, however had no support from his siblings or extended family at all. Not once did they ask if he was ok or if they could help him out with anything.

Take from this what you wish, weather you think it all was intentional, or not. You are free to have your own opinion. I for one would never wish what we have been through on anybody.

The only good that has come out of this is that as a whole my family is now so much stronger since we have found our new home. That and the fact I am now able to see the true beauty in the things around us, weather it be a beautiful sunset or a robin perching on our fence. It’s made not only myself, but my family value what we really class as the important things in life, such as a roof over our head and food on the table. Also the fact that we do not need to spend money in order to enjoy time together. Most importantly it has been a journey to find out who really cares. Without my extended family and my best friend, I do not know where my family and I would of ended up. For them I am eternally grateful.

All of this is why I am so excited to make our house a loving home. I want to dress it up and show it some love, believe me it needs it. The process is going to be very slow and drawn out as we do not have a lot of money to be able to do everything at once. My family is a one income family, I may be a student, but my current learning level does not allow for many loans or grants to help with the cost of living. Once I am at university, while we will not be loaded, we will be better off to some degree. So please do not be put off by the slow process of what’s to come. It will be worth it.

Chat soon

Sarah x

20 Random Facts

Hey Guys

So as a little introductory post I thought it would be fun to do a 20 random facts tag. I have seen some of my favourite bloggers do the same and thought it was a good concept to follow, so here goes….

I am currently in my second year of college – when I turned 30 I made the decision to get back into education. My children are a bit older now and after being a stay at home mum, I was wanting to get back into work, but in a job I knew I would never dread going to. In my first year of college (2017/18) I bumped up my GCSE qualifications from 2 to 5. This year, 2018/19, I am still bumping up my GCSE’s, but also I am working on my A levels to help me get into University. Aside from having my two children, this is something I am so proud of myself for doing.

2015 was a very hard year for me. Not only was I having to get to grips with turning 30 in the May (I do not know why, but I had so much anxiety about this), but my beloved mum passed away. It was very sudden and even now my heart remains broken. She was my best friend and I miss her every day.

My mum

I met Carl, my fiancé of 9 years in 2008. In the ten years we have been together we have been through many ups and downs. We have faced many difficult situations together, but somehow we got through them. I do not know what I would do without him.

My man

I have two children. L, who is 10 this year and E, who is 8 this year. My whole world revolves around them. While they drive me crazy at times, I would never be without them.

I moved into my own first home in 2009, six months after the birth of my eldest child.

We moved into our new forever home in October 2018 and we are still getting it how we would like it.

My Saturdays resolve around L’s football, E’s gymnastics, our weekly food shop and catching up on a weeks worth of cleaning and washing.

I am a massive believer in angels and receiving signs such as feathers and robins. I also have a strong belief in my own gut instincts.

My dad passed away when I was 17. I miss him so much and think of him often. While we are not biological father and daughter, he chose to love me and and my sisters, as well as our mum. This man will never know just how much that meant to me and how he helped shaped me into the woman I am today.

I love anything that sparkles. Glitter is the best thing ever and not just for Christmas. Imagine my delight when I had my daughter! Yes, we are glitter freaks together.

My favourite colour is purple.

I love candles. I have them all over my house. They make my heart happy, and my home smells great too.

If I had to chose one food to live off for the rest of my life, it would have to be pizza. I’m not fussed by topping, anything goes. I’d also have to wash it down with my favourite bottle of wine; Gallo Family, White Grenache. It’s the best rosé!

I like to wear fluffy socks to bed.

I struggle with my weight. My weight fluctuates a lot. I am bigger than I should be more often than I am smaller – maybe I could document a weight loss journey too!

Autumn is my favourite season. I just love all the rich, cosy colours and the darker nights. There is nothing better then getting home, kicking your shoes off, having a nice hot bath, putting on your pj’s, lighting candles and getting cosy in a blanket on the sofa – ah, heaven!

As I have two young children, I also love Christmas. I love the build up to it all. Decorating the house, writing letters to Santa, putting our Christmas Eve box together, setting Santa’s treats out and then the big day itself. Spending quality time with my family, that feeling cannot be beaten.

We are currently fostering a friends cat, Twizzell. She is so cute and lazy. She has definitely settled in nicely to our family life and we will all miss her when she goes home to her family.

I have a secret love for music. When I was younger I used to sing all of the time, in my bedroom in the school choir and in the shower. I also played the violin for awhile. I also purchased a guitar and a piano in the hope to one day teach myself to play, so I could put music to the song lyrics I used to write. This all stopped when I had my children, ha! – I was never any good at any of it.

I am currently obsessed with taking pictures of the sky from my living room window. I do not know why, but since being in our new home, the pretty sky catches my eye and I have to document it – strange? Maybe a little 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this post and this little insight to me.

Chat soon,

Sarah x

About Me

Hi!

My name is Sarah and welcome to House of Sharlow.

This is the place where I will be sharing the journey of making my new house a home, as well as many different lifestyle aspects sprinkled in.

House of Sharlow is my little corner of the internet where I can share my love of home decor, cleaning and organising, baking and crocheting with others that enjoy the same things.

I am very family oriented and have two lovely (most of the time) children. There is never a dull moment in the house of Sharlow, so they may even make the odd appearance.

I am currently a mature student. When I do not have my nose in my books or I’m not running around after my family, you will usually find me cosy on my sofa with a glass of wine or coffee in hand watching something on Netflix.

If I’m not enjoying some couple time with my better half, I like to crochet. Although lately, I have not had much time for it. This is something that I am hoping to get back into this year, as I really do love it and it is a brilliant stress reliever.

If you would like to find out more, why not head over to my post, 20 random facts about me?

Thank you for stopping by!

House of Sharlow – Welcome

Hey Guys

Welcome to my little corner of the internet.

House of Sharlow follows the journey of turning our new house into a home, I hope you’ll stick around to see how things unfold.

As well as focusing on home decor, my blog will include lifestyle posts, just to mix things up. Leave me a comment below on the kind of content you like to see. I already have ideas for posts on cleaning and trying out DIY’s inspired by my favourite bloggers.

As a mature student I am considering posting about my journey in education. Why not drop me a comment if that’s something you would like to read about?

Thanks so much for reading!

Chat soon,

Sarah x