Friday, 9 November 2018

Lifestyle | My plans for maternity leave.

As we speak I've currently got two weeks left at work before my maternity leave & let me tell you, I'm SO ready for it. I'm officially on countdown & taking as much time off as physically possible! My plan of action is to go back to work in January 2020, which feels absolutely insane considering were currently in November 2018 - I've well & truly planned this whole pregnancy thing perfectly haven't I?

With my time off I'm planning on using my days wisely and productively. I'm well aware that this could definitely 100% be all talk, but hey ho, we're going into this with a positive and open mindset. Here are a few things I'm planning on doing with my maternity leave.
Swimming with baby.
Something I wish I'd always done when younger is to learn how to swim. If my life depended on it I could swim & could probably get myself back to safety, but am I confident in water... Definitely not. And that's something I definitely don't want for our baby. I've already done a little bit of research into water baby classes and it seems like there's so many available in our area, we're not going to struggle with finding a nice pool somewhere close by. Not only is this going to be brilliant for baby, but it's also going to be a fantastic way for me & Dan to bond as well as spend time with other new parents.

Reread the Harry Potters.
I'm a big ol' HP fan and quite often partake in a Harry Potter movie marathon. In fact that's what I've done while I was off sick last week. I must have watched them hundreds of times, and even though I have my favourites, the movies in general just never get old! I've rewatched the films, but when it came to the books I've only ever read them once. Why? I'm not really too sure, but with all this extra time I'll hopefully be having it seems daft to not reread them. I'm going to try buy the books from new again & keep them in the baby's room, not only will they be fun for me but fingers crossed they'll be something the baby can enjoy too when they're a little older.
 Learn Calligraphy.
I don't know if this sounds lame, but something I've always wanted to learn is calligraphy. I think there's such an art to it & if I was good at it and had the patience for it (Lord knows there's going to have to be a lot of patience for it) someday I may be able to turn it into something I make a bit of money from. A side hustle. I first looked into Calligraphy when it came to planning our Wedding, especially with regards to table numbers and name cards, and since then it's been hovering at the back of my mind. Dan said it perfectly to me one morning, I'm going to have over a year off work, that's more than enough time to learn a new skill... Maybe Calligraphy is mine.

Get outdoors.
I'd like to think I get my 10,000 steps in during most days however admittedly the closer I'm getting to the end, the more and more difficult I'm finding getting out and about. Baby's due just before Christmas so I'm very aware it'll be absolutely freezing at that time of year, but I'm hoping to get out as much as possible with baby in tow. We're wanting to bring baby up being as outdoorsy as possible. Me & my sister were very much outdoorsy kids living close to the North Yorkshire Moors. Dan not so much, but I think as he's gotten older he's wished for less of the city life and more countryside & that's something we want to bring our baby up with.
Huts in the hills.
I've had my eye on this place ever since seeing Chloe's blog post earlier on in the year. There's nothing I love more than taking time out and getting away from it all, and Huts in the Hills looks like the perfect place to do so. I'm going to get something booked during the new year, I'm not sure whether to book it for our 1st wedding anniversary or Dan's 30th birthday, but nether the less we will get there! Bring on having no signal, bring on the countryside & bring on family bonding.

Create a capsule wardrobe.
Something I've struggled with during pregnancy is figuring out how to dress my new bump. I've always been relatively confident with what I look like & how I dress however these last eight months have seen me thrown well and truly in at the deep end with fashion. You could say that I'm nesting, but I've gutted my wardrobe about fifty times during pregnancy, and once baby is born and hopefully my body pings back into place (pray for me please) I'm going to really evaluate what I want fashion wise & create the perfect capsule wardrobe for myself.

Grow my blog.
This year my blogs taken a little bit of a back seat unfortunately. The wedding took up a big chunk of our spare time as well as getting the house baby ready, this years been our busiest yet and as I'm sure you can understand this little slice of internet hasn't been my main priority. I'm hoping that all changes next year, obviously my baby will be my main priority, but I'm hoping my new parenthood experiences will bring me more things to write about, more inspiration and generally more fabulous content. I'd love to try making a little bit of money through my blog next year as we all know Maternity pay isn't fantastic so if you have any tips or tricks please holler at me.
I've already shed a few tears over this one, my baby isn't even here yet & I've already felt the mamma guilt about leaving them behind. But it's booked and paid for now so there's no going back! Eeek! I'm spending a few days away in Berlin for one of my closest friends hen party in April next year and even though I know it'll be hard, I know it'll be exactly what I need at the time. My baby will be five months old at the time & as my husband keeps telling me that at that point I'll be thankful for the break, which I'm sure I will be! I'll be upset leaving baby (and husband ofc) behind but am more than excited about spending a few days away with the girls. Bring on the bratwursts!

Basically I'm wanting my maternity leave to be as productive as possible. Apart from the possibility of having more children, when am I ever going to get the opportunity of time off work again. I enjoy my job very much and will be sad to leave it and my colleagues behind, but at this present moment with only a matter of weeks to go before my due date, I am more than ready for the time off.

Have you got any tips for making money through your blog? Can you point this mamma to be in the right direction?

Claire. X

Have you read my previous posts?
Lifestyle | Stress free wedding planning.
Beauty | The Look Fantastic 4th birthday beauty box #lfbeautybox.
Food | Afternoon tea at Betty's, Ilkley. 

Friday, 26 October 2018

Lifestyle | Stress free wedding planning.

I'm one of those jammy, annoying people that when asked how I've found wedding planning, I've replied with 'easy peasy & totally stress free'. You hear all sorts of horror stories, of things not quite going to plan, people struggling with money & women turning into 'Bridezillas' (Gosh I hate that phrase) - But not me... Everything was super plain sailing for Dan & I... No disagreements, no stress, it was actually a really lovely experience & when we look back on our day, we're filled with joy - It was just the most perfect day!
We could easily have just been lucky, but I'd like to think there were a couple of things we put in place quite early on that made our day go as smooth as possible.

Having a short and demanding time constraint when it came to our Wedding filled us both with dread. I'm all for working under pressure & to be honest find that usually doing so brings the best results, however when it came to our wedding I honestly couldn't think of anything worse. We have friends who have taken 5/6 months to plan their weddings, and to see the turmoil that they go through for something which is supposed to be the happiest day of your life - Well it just doesn't sit right with me. We booked our wedding two years in advance, which at the time did feel slightly excessive, but in the grand scheme of things it was the best thing we could of done... And you'd be surprised at just how quickly those 730 days go!

Remember it's your day.
Before we booked our wedding we were in two minds whether to do it just us two or in front of both our families. It's very easy to get wrapped up in thoughts of pleasing everybody else that the idea of it actually being your day is wiped from your memory. It's so bizarre. We were very lucky in the sense that both of our families let us do whatever we wanted when planning our big day. The only thing I'd say we struggled with when it came to pleasing others was our guest list. To begin with we planned for around an extra 50 people at our wedding than was actually there on the day... Who those 50 people were, I couldn't tell you... And that's my point exactly. Think about what you want and who you want to share your day with. At the end of the day, it's your wedding, and it's a pretty big deal so if there's anything you're not 100% happy with, make it known!
I'm sure you'll have heard people say that as soon as you put the word 'wedding' on the front of anything it doubles the price - Which is ]very true! Something Dan & I pride ourselves on is that we don't fall for marketing ploys, we're very good with money and don't fall victim when it comes to sales pitches. This helped massively when it came to planning our wedding as there are so many different options out there, with so many different price points - It's so easy to get overwhelmed & feel like you don't know what you're doing, especially when you have different businesses pitching for your hard earned cash. It pays to do research when it comes to each individual element of your wedding, which if you've given yourself the time to do so, is totally doable. Can you make that particular item yourself? Have you searched for second hand? Do you have a friend who could offer you that service as a wedding gift. I would in no way say our wedding was cheap, but we saved where we could and it made such a difference to what could have been a mulah disaster. I'm so glad we can say that no credit cards were used in the making of our wedding. Hallelujah!

What will be will be.
I'm such a positive Polly - My husband says it's both one of my best & one of my worst flaws, but when it comes to leaving things in the hands of fate I'm so laid back I'm horizontal! I believe there's only so much planning you can do when it comes to your Wedding. There's things you can control & there's things you most definitely can't, and in my opinion why worry about the things you can't control! What if it's pouring down on the day? Who cares?... You get on with it. You can't make the sun start shining, so turn those raindrops into something positive. Think about how cool and edgy your photographs are going to look. You have guests who don't turn up? Who cares?... You're still going to have your day, it's going to be amazing, and it's their loss not yours! Basically remember why you're getting married, that's surely the only way to look at it.
Take time out.
It's so easy for a wedding to take over your every existence. We're forever told it's going to be the best day of our lives, which it totally is by the way, but how much more added pressure is that? Sometimes the best thing to do when things are getting a bit too much is to take time out, it's a rule I use with most things in life & one I think works wonders. You don't have to go the whole hog and take yourself off to the Maldives, I'm thinking more along the lines of just getting outdoors. Remove your head and eyes from the situation and take your thoughts someplace different. You'll probably be surprised by how easily distracted you'll become, then when you come back to wedding planning you'll be re-motivated & ready to rock and roll again.

Have a baby.
Okay, so this one I've thrown in with a bit of jest. We found out a month before our big day that I was pregnant and let me tell you it took all the stress out of our big day. In the grand scheme of things & as much as our wedding day was the best day of our lives, it's nothing compared to what's to come for us... And that's as exciting as it is scary!
Something that will forever stick in my mind was how many people telling me I was the least stressed bride they'd ever seen, both before I walked down the aisle and during the day itself. It generally takes quite a lot for me to get in a tizz, so I had high hopes of the wedding planning process following suit... There's the positive Polly inside of me. And guess what... It worked!

Are you married or going through the wedding planning process? How did/are you finding things?

Claire. X

Have you read my most recent posts?
Beauty | The Look Fantastic 4th birthday beauty box.
Food | Afternoon tea at Betty's.
Lifestyle | The second trimester. 


Friday, 12 October 2018

Beauty | The Look Fantastic 4th birthday beauty box #lfbeautybox.

I'm not one for subscription boxes, however when I recently purchased the Look Fantastic Advent Calendar & saw I could get the Look Fantastic Beauty Box thrown in for the same price I jumped at the chance. It was a no brainer!

Many many moons ago I'd subscribed to Birchbox but unfortunately my love affair with the subscription box didn't last all that long. I was introduced to so many new and rather luxurious brands which at the time was perfect, however after a while I had a build up of sample size products that I was just never going to use. Years have passed since my dalliance with Birchbox and the thought to resubscirbe had never really crossed my mind. However when I saw I could get 20% off the price of the Look Fantastic Advent Calendar if I bought the Look Fantastic Beauty Box I've never inputted my card details quicker. I think in total I saved a grand total of around 10 pence, which sounds ridiculous but if you think of it as if I've gotten the #lfbeautybox for free that sounds like a pretty good deal doesn't it.
 I sound like I'm trying to justify myself buying it, but I'm really not. I wanted it, so I bought it!

When my #lfbeautybox arrived it felt like Christmas, in the sense that I had a gift, but didn't know what was inside, it was exciting. I said to my husband I didn't want to open it until I'd got all my jobs done that day just to make it that extra bit special... And I wasn't disappointed!

The box itself is (in the words of Samira from this years love island) cutesy and inside the rather charming packaging is six amazing beauty treats.

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer.
I've heard so many people talk about the elasticizer before & if there's one product that comes straight to mind when you say Philip Kingsley, it's this one, so I was super duper excited to get my hands on it. I was really surprised at how creamy this product is as a lot of the hair masks I've used previously are much more oil based. This literally feels as though you're applying an intense moisturiser to the hair, which initially felt really bizarre almost as if I was using the wrong product for the wrong job, but I went with it & I was extremely pleased with the results. I popped the product onto damp hair for around half an hour or so before shampooing and conditioning off. My hair was so much bouncier, lighter and cleaner after using the elasticizer, it made such a difference to not only the feel but the look of my hair too. I had work friends questioning me the next day asking if I'd been to the hairdressers... And if that isn't a compliment I don't know what is! I was obviously super happy with it, but to be honest if anything it left my hair feeling too refreshed - I needed a quick spray of texturising mist to save my hair from being wispy and unmanageable. My hair is usually really unruly the day after washing so this wasn't a surprise or anything  new to me. I'd definitely recommend this product & I can absolutely see why it's got such rave reviews, I can't wait to continue using it.
Eve Lom Cleanser
I think this is the product I was most excited about. I'd heard of the brand, but have never ventured into buying anything from there as I deemed it too expensive & too much luxury for little old me. I was initially surprised by the consistency of the cleanser, it's oil based, which I've used before however this one is much thicker & less malleable than what I've used before. I wouldn't say this was necessarily a good or a bad thing but I found the trick to be heating up the product first between the finger tips before popping on the face. The cleanser melts even the most stubborn make up off, I'm taking Rimmel Apocolips lipsticks & waterproof mascaras, a couple of quick swoops with the product & it's gone. I have quite dry skin, especially around this time of year (anyone with me here?) so my skin just drunk up all of the essential oils contained within the cleanser. Not only am I left with super duper moisturised skin, but my face is left feeling clean, fresh & most importantly decongested. I've really enjoyed using this cleanser & have barely made a dent in the small tub I have but I don't think I'll ever be able to bring myself to hand over my cash for this product, £55.00 for 100ml is just a little way out of my price range, this could be one for the Christmas or Birthday lists!
Omorovicza Firming Neck Cream
Whenever I receive products like this I never think I'm going to get the use out of them as I feel too young to use them. Truth be told I'm not as young as I think I am - I'm not too far off thirty and should probably start using products like this. Prevention is key! And it really helps to put the groundwork in first before the 'laughter lines' start appearing, or so they say anyway! I'd never heard of Omorovicza before, although now I have one of their products I'm seeing them all over - Doesn't this always happen! The cream is much more liquid than I was expecting, I think because Omorovicza is a pricier brand I was expecting something much richer & more intense, which unfortunately I didn't get with this product. The cream is lovely to apply and definitely gave my skin some much needed hydration, but I was left wanting more... What more I'm not 100% sure, but at  £95.00 for 50ml of product I felt a little lacklustre.

Mane 'N Tail Hoofmaker Hand & Nail Therapy
I was quite disappointed with this one to begin with, as when I saw the packaging I was excited that this would be a product to use on my hair. I didn't know Mane 'N Tail did other types of beauty products so when I saw that it was what I thought initially essentially to be a hand cream I was a little underwhelmed. Now don't get me wrong, I love a hand cream as much as the next person, but I have so many scattered across different places (handbags, coats, drawers) that I didn't think I needed another. I've been using this product however as an all over body moisturiser and it's been working wonders especially in the more stubborn areas, think elbows, knees, tootsies... Places that need a little more moisture than most. It's been great!
Lord & Berry Strobing Pencil
I was dubious about this one... Until I swatched it! And then was instantly won over by the colour. The reason for being so dubious was that I'm all for a bit of highlight and a strobe, but in pencil format, quite frankly I thought it was going to be a pain in the arse. I thought this was going to be a product I liked, but one that I would never reach for. Being a precise pencil, this highlight was always going to be amazing for the cupid bow and brow bone which is where I started and to be honest where I fell even more in love with it. The colour is such a nice champagne gold, it's perfect for highlighting a bronzey look, which is one I've been opting for more as we go into Autumn. The product is creamy enough to blend which means using the pencil on cheek bones isn't a problem. I've enjoyed using this product & will continue to keep using it however I can't help but wish the pencil was a little fatter as it would speed up the application process. The pencils are only £14.00 full size and I know Lord & Berry do some chubbier highlight sticks so will more than likely look into ordering one of those once this one has been used up.
Aromatherapy Associates Bath & Shower Oil
I received a sample size oil from Aromatherapy Associates in one of my Birchboxes so I knew what I was in store for with this one. And let me tell you, it's a jolly good time! I'm much more of a bath person than a shower person so I haven't actually tried this oil by directly putting it onto my body, even though I'm sure it's amazing. What I've been doing is pouring a few drops into my bath both with and without bubbles, depends on how boujee I'm feeling. The scent is  both invigorating and energising which is exactly what you'd want on a morning & funnily enough the spa like smell lingers around for the rest of the day. It definitely makes my new bathroom feel a little more luxurious! A little goes a long way with this product, now I don't know if that's part of the price, paying £48.00 for 55ml rather than cheaper alternatives from the likes of Neals Yard Remedies. Answers on a postcard please. Although I wouldn't necessarily buy this product again, it has spurred me on to look at more bath oils, Look Fantastic do an Aromatherapy Associates miniatures gift set which I've definitely got my eye on.

I've really enjoyed getting back on the beauty box hyped experimenting with new products, especially as I can safely say I'd never have purchased any of these products beforehand. I've definitely come across some goodies and even though there's some I wouldn't necessarily purchase again, they've definitely perked my imagination and have made me think about trying out other similar products.

How do you feel about beauty subscription boxes? Have you tried any of these products before?

Claire. X

Have you read my previous posts?
Food | Afternoon tea at Bettys
Lifestyle | The second trimester
Fashion | Wedding guest outfit - The maternity edition with Maya at Asos


Friday, 5 October 2018

Food | Afternoon tea at Bettys Ilkley.

I love the idea of afternoon tea, but can honestly count on one hand the amount of times I've ventured out to experience the typically British lunch time delicacy. Luckily we were super generously given a gift voucher for afternoon tea at Betty's as a wedding present which was as unexpected as it was lovely - It was nice for us to spend a day out together doing something we wouldn't necessarily have chosen to do ourselves. 

Truth be told, this was our second time around in trying to use the voucher; About a month or so ago we'd driven into York with the hope of using them at the Betty's in the city center but it was just so busy & if you know one thing about my husband it's that he will not wait for food so off we tootled for burgers instead, which was nice... Just not the same - And we were left with a hankering for afternoon tea. 

Fast forward to last weekend where we struck it lucky & finally got to indulge in some afternoon tea with Bettys in Ilkley.

We queued for around ten minutes before being seated, which if the York store is anything to go by was pretty good going. Plus we were queued indoors too which is definitely not what we'd have been doing at the latter. The queue took us rather cheekily through the shop hosting rows upon rows of delicious sweet treats, teas and coffees - They had what would make some awesome Christmas presents in there too, think fat rascal gift boxes, chutney selections and hot chocolate gift bags - I'm feeling festive just thinking about it! Twelve weeks and counting!

We were seated at what I can only describe as a blogger unfriendly table, the set up was awkward & Dan had to move his seat around the other side of the table, but we couldn't complain. We weren't there for this blog post, we were there to indulge on afternoon tea & spend some quality time together which is exactly what we did. Do any other bloggers out there get disappointed when they're seated at not a great table? First world problems hey!
We started with crustless sandwiches, yes crustless! You know you're in a posh place when they cut the crusts off the sandwiches... I've never sounded so Northern! We had cucumber & cream cheese, coronation chicken, ham & mustard and then smoked salmon sandwiches, and even though they seemed small they were really quite filling and all flavours I'd never normally make. I'm a bog standard ham sarnie type of gal. This was followed closely by the middle tier, a rather large sultana scone topped with clotted cream and strawberry preserve, which now makes me want to start baking, it was so bloody delicious. And finally the third and most indulgent tier included three miniature desserts comprising of a fresh fruit tart, lemon & orange macaroon and a chocolate & hazelnut torte. I went straight in for the chocolate torte as I knew it'd be super rich, which it was, and I'd need the fruitiness of the other two desserts to balance. Finishing with the lemon and orange macaroon was definitely the best decision!
Have you ever been to Betty's before? Where's your favourite place for afternoon tea?

Claire. X

Have you read my previous posts?
Lifestyle | The second trimester.
Fashion | Wedding guest outfit - The maternity edition with Maya at Asos.
Lifestyle | Adjusting to my pregnancy body.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Lifestyle | The second trimester.

It seems like all I chat about these days on the blog is baby related, and I'm super sorry if that's not your thing but I'm going to squeeze one more in for good luck (sorrynotsorry) with today's post all about my experiences during the second trimester of pregnancy.

I'm currently 29 weeks pregnant and therefore 3 weeks into my final trimester, so I'm well and truly classing myself as being on the home stretch. That sounds better than saying I've got eleven weeks to go doesn't it. Eeep!
The symptoms.

I've said it a thousand times but I'm a pensioner trapped inside the body of a 28 year old woman, the back pain I've suffered with over the last ten years is stupid, and now I'm pregnant that's extended tenfold. It must be where and how baby is sitting as the pain is predominantly on my lower back - Granted I have good days and bad days, but the bad days are baaad! I've been wearing heat pads to alleviate the pain but there's only so much they can do.

One of the weirdest and most annoying things I've had, which I've later read up on and found it to be quite common, is leg cramping during sleep. Oh my goodness, there is absolutely nothing worse! I've had it before, but this is happening at least once a week now and leaves me with a John Wayne walk which lasts all throughout the following day.  I've read it's something to do with baby pressing on the nerves that go to my legs while I'm sleeping and unfortunately it's just one of those things - Hands up if you've ever had this before? I'd love to know.

Stomach wise I've definitely been feeling the change over the last three months, and I don't mean in a gross way. What I mean is that I've been getting stitches so flipping often! It's actually ridiculous - I can be out walking the dog absolutely fine for twenty minutes and the boom the stitch comes! I've got the slow the pace right down and chill the eff out much to the annoyance of the dog, and Dan of we're out with him too.

It's so strange the adjustment my body's going through - Figuring out what I can and can't do anymore has definitely been one of the more frustrating things that comes with pregnancy.
The midwife appointments & scan.

We had our twenty week anatomy scan towards the end of July which was our second, and unfortunately the possibe final opportunity to see what baby's getting up to in my tummy. Baby was super wriggly, which I thought would be the case - I've been quite lucky really in the sense that I was feeling flutters from around 16 weeks which I believe to be quite early. It's been so heartwarming and self assuring being able to feel baby move around. We were actually at the hospital for around an hour and a half trying to get baby to cooperate, and yes we found out the gender,but I won't be revealing it on my blog or social media probably until baby is actually here. Eeek!
I've had two other midwife appointments at my doctors surgery, both of which have been a general check in and catch up type of situation. The formalities have been done, for example my blood pressure has been checked, bloods taken and we have a general chit chat about mine and baby's well being - All of which have been perfect.

What we've been buying?

A couple of months or so ago we ventured into Mothercare, which let me tell you was probably the most overwhelming experience of my life. There was so much to look at & there were so many staff members there trying to approach us, it was just overwhelming - Think Lush, but on a way bigger scale. We ended up leaving relatively quickly, grabbing a takeout Costa & headed home to do some online research... And that was so much easier!

So far we have a pram & carry cot system which we ended up getting for a bit of a bargain, but only after doing a fair old bit of research. It really pays to do your research & we ended up getting our pram for less than half price - It's also worth mentioning that we checked out Facebook Market Place when it came to buying a pram, so we could have got what we wanted for even cheaper second hand, however after carefully discussing our options we decided to pay the extra & go for brand new.
We picked up our moses basket whilst doing the weekly shop in Aldi which again was a total bargain - It was one of those where after seeing it we just thought eff it, we're going to need one, lets just pop it in the trolley - Granted we looked stupid having our trolley piled sky high, but who's winning really when you're taking a moses basket away for £30!
We've amassed quite a large collection of clothes over the last six months. Baby clothes are one of those things that's just so difficult to say no to. Everything is so damn cute so admittedly Dan & I have been a bit willy-nilly when it comes to buying clothes. The baby's got a better wardrobe than I have already!
What's next?

I'm having midwife appointments every three weeks, which will turn into every two weeks the closer I get to the end. I'm hoping to put a birthing plan together in the next few weeks, which surprisingly doesn't actually scare the shit out of me. I'm going to be looking into hypnobirthing as at the moment this seems like the most 'me' route to go down, but you never know. If anyone has any hypnobirthing tips or reviews, I'd love to hear them. We've also got a few more baby bits to buy which we'll hopefully be boxing off in the next couple of months... Our plan of action is to get everything out and ready so our dog can adjust to the newness which will make the task of bringing a newborn baby home that little easier for her. A car seat & cot are imperative and definitely on this months to buy list however we're hoping to get cracking with buying the smaller practical bits such as a changing mat & baby bath soon.

I also just wanted to mention that it's amazing having other pregnant blogger babes to follow such as Jemma from Dorkface, Abi Richards and fellow Yorkshire lass Travelista.
The internet really is a wonderful place!

Have you got any advice for birth? Have you tried hypnobirthing before? I'd love to read some of your birth stories.

Claire. X

Have you read my previous posts?

Fashion | Wedding guest outfit - The maternity edition with Maya at Asos.
Lifestyle | Adjusting to my pregnancy body.
Lifestyle | Finding the perfect wedding dress.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Fashion | Wedding guest outfit - The maternity edition with Maya at Asos.

I've spoken previously about how I've struggled accepting my new pregnancy body - Unfortunately hand in hand with that comes the battle to find clothing which a) fits your new spherical body and b) looks good on said spherical body... Now this is difficult at the best of times, but when it comes to finding something Wedding guest appropriate, flaming nora, now that's an ordeal! And one I'm thankfully not going to go through again during this pregnancy. Praise the lord!
You want to be comfortable, but you don't want to look like a tied up sack of spuds.
You want to embrace your new body, but you don't want to be that pregnant lady.

(By 'that pregnant lady' I mean the type who chat pregnancy non stop, the ones who yabber on 24/7 about it being the most amazing thing in the world... Yes it's amazing Karen and it's a wonderful thing to experience, but there's more to you than the baby inside of you, come on!)

There's a great deal to think about when it comes to the mater of finding something to squeeze your pregnant ass into for a wedding. I struggled for a long time. I'm talking months, not weeks, months, much to the annoyance of my other half!

I looked online, I never actually went into any shops (that's a whole other ramble for another day, maybe I'll write a blog post on that too) and eventually decided on a sage green Maya embellished number from ASOS. I'd never heard of the brand Maya before but I wish I'd known about them before my wedding because there's some beautiful bridesmaid appropriate dresses on there - In fact when we were checking into the hotel I got mistaken for one of the bridesmaids because my dress was so nice. Eeek! That was a lovely little confidence boost especially since I'd been feeling a bit down in the dumps.

To say this dress spoke to me would be the understatement of the century. My husband never heard the end of it, after weeks of searching and nothing even sparking the slightest bit of interest I fell hook line and sinker for this baby... Until it went out of stock... Then it came back into stock but didn't fit, but third time lucky this piece of sage green wonderfulness was mine!

To quote Theodore Roosevelt 'Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain & difficulty.' And if that isn't the over statement of the century than I don't know what is... But you get the jist!

Everything about it is perfect & on the day I felt like a force to be reckoned with, which again after feeling not so great about myself was a wonderful feeling. I was comfortable, I felt super girly and like the dress flattered my new figure perfectly. It was an absolute dream to wear & one I'll continue to wear post-pregnancy. I think the cut and the materials will work amazingly well when babys here & I've hopefully got my body back. I'm hoping I'm going to be one of those women whos' body magically pings back into place once the baby's born. #PrayForClaire

PS. The heels admittedly didn't last half as long as the dress did, but that's not the point. Haha.

Heels - Kurt Geiger*
Dan's suit - River Island
Dan's Shoes - Debenhams

Have you or are you finding it difficult dressing your pregnant body?

Claire. X

Have you read my other posts?
Lifestyle | Adjusting to my pregnancy body
Lifestyle | Finding the perfect wedding dress
Lifestyle | The first trimester

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Lifestyle | Adjusting to my pregnancy body.

If you told past Claire that in 2018 she'd be married with a baby on the way, she'd never have believed you... Maybe not even in a million years. Granted of course the marriage part was planned, but the pregnancy part, well I thought it was never going to happen for us.

I came off the pill January 2015 so my hopes for us falling pregnant naturally were lessening more and more as the years went by. I'm telling you that first in the hope you can appreciate my anguish before I spill the tea on how I'm really feeling about my new pregnancy body.

Because I was in two minds about whether to write this post or not - I understand it's a sensitive issue.
Hand on heart I've never been 100% body confident... I don't know how many of us really are. If you are I commend you, and I for one am bloody well jealous of you. I spoke a little while ago about my body hang ups, which looking back now at my insecurities feel like a world away from where I am now... Truth is when I look at the person staring back at me in the mirror, she has a body I don't recognise. What's happening to me is such an amazing and beautiful process, but at the same time it's the most bizarre, mind boggling thing.

Pregnancy is weird!

The physical changes and how the way I view my body changing has been a bit of a roller coaster for me over the last 25 weeks. The angel on one shoulder tells me pregnancy is an amazing thing & I should be grateful (which I really really am) whereas the devil on the other fills me with questions and self doubt. Truth is I've always been slim & have had the same body shape & weight for probably the last ten years or so... You could say I'd gotten comfy with my body & who I was - I'd accepted who I was & what I looked like.

I've found adjusting to the changes quite hard.

My ever expanding stomach is becoming heavier and heavier as the days go by. You can often find me grunting away trying to get comfy, and trust me, it takes me a while to get comfortable these days, even more so on an evening. Dan goes mad, come 8 o'clock I literally can't sit still, he thinks it's annoying for him, but for me it's ten times worse.
I'm struggling with dizziness and feeling light headed - I've spoken to a few people about this who believe what I'm suffering from is low blood pressure, something I'm going to ask my midwife about later on today actually. I find my dizziness is heightened if I'm busying myself or doing too much, a sign I know that my body is doing more than what it should be. I've found adjusting to what my body can't do anymore, to be really difficult.
The change I'm most surprised by is my fitness levels: I've never been massively into the gym or fitness, but I eat well & am out walking with Willow every day so I'd like to think I do my bit, albeit not much but still. What usually would be a half an hour walk around the park now takes at least 45 minutes and when we get back I am absolutely 100% shattered! Speaking which, I'm so tired in general these days! I was reading that tiredness supposedly wears off during the second trimester, however for me I feel like this isn't the case.

In the grand scheme of things if tiredness is one of my only pregnancy symptoms, I think I've gotten off pretty lightly! But the body I have now isn't one I recognise & I think it's that which weirds me out.
So how have I been trying to overcome my new pregnancy body hang ups?

Putting myself in others shoes - Never in a million years have I looked at another pregnant person and thought it was anything other than amazing! Over the last six months I've found a new respect for pregnancy & the changes a persons body goes through so I've been trying to give myself the mindset that what's happening to me actually is amazing... Which it most definitely is!
We've also been photographing & documenting how my body has changed over the last 25 weeks. We're hoping to make a time lapse style video when baby's here & I can't wait to see the end result. Both the video & baby!
And finally it goes without saying that talking to other people about how you're feeling is amazing. Honesty is the best policy & reaching out, speaking to others who may or may not be feeling the same works wonders. It's amazing to know that you're not alone. And that's the main reason I'm writing this blog post.

At the moment I view my body as more of a vessel for our baby, it's just doing the job it needs to do for nine months & although I don't quite feel like myself, I'm 100% aware of how lucky I am to be experiencing this feeling. I can't help but feel guilty for feeling the way I do about myself - It's a really difficult one to explain & one I hope I've conveyed well and not rambled too much about.

Have you ever felt the same as me during pregnancy?

Claire. X

Have you read my previous posts?


Sunday, 15 July 2018

Wedding | Finding the perfect wedding dress.

If you saw my Pinterest board of bridal gowns, you'll be sure to see that I had a very clear idea of what I wanted when it came to finding the perfect wedding dress.

When I was younger I'd never particularly dreamed of getting married, I was never one of those girls who envisages what her wedding dress will look like or fantasises about that special day. It's just not me. 

All I can say is that when it comes to dresses I know what style looks good on me, what I'm feel confident in & what is, and inevitably what is & isn't comfortable.

My three wedding dress credentials.

Long sleeves.
Having a dress with long sleeves was my main priority when it came to finding the perfect wedding dress. Even though I'm relatively slim, I really have a dislike when it comes to the tops of my arms. You may think I sound silly, but in my eyes the tops of my arms aren't the prettiest of things, they're big, have a bit too much excess bingo-ness (if you know what I mean) and generally I just don't feel confident showing them off, so if I can cover them up I blooming well will.
I wanted my wedding dress to be white. A few friends made a joke about this as white is seen as a pure colour, and lets just say I'm not the purest of gals, heck we fell pregnant a few months before we got wed. Talk about shotgun wedding. Ooops. That's a joke btw if you didn't realise - The wedding was planned a good year and a half before baby appeared. Funnily enough though, I did actually try a blush pink dress on & it was absolutely beautiful, but in my eyes nothing beats a bright white wedding dress.
And my third credential was lace - Isn't lace just the prettiest thing, when it's not on your Grandmas net curtains that is. On a wedding dress I think it's just beautiful, I love the traditional look & knew from the get go that even though it'd be slightly bulkier I'd feel much more comfortable in lace than I would satin or tulle.

 It pays to do your research.

The best advice I could give to anyone on the search for their perfect wedding dress would be to research, research, research... Until you've found your dream dress, then 100% stop. Cut all ties!
I'd set up my Pinterest board quite early on and found this was a brilliant way to dip my toes in the water of finding the perfect wedding dress as it's a treasure trove for inspiration.
I'd also began researching local bridal stores, luckily for me I had a fair amount of choice. Unfortunately something I noticed when researching is that finding a wedding dress store online which showed prices was an absolute rarity. Call me stingy, but I'd quite like to know what I'm getting myself into before traipsing down to a bridal shop. I would absolutely hate to fall in love with a dress to find out it would cost me £1500+ which unfortunately just wasn't feasible for me.
This was where I found Wed2B.


There were two things which initially made me fall in love with Wed2B. One being their tag line 'luxury wedding dresses from £99-£699' and the other being that their website is an absolute dream to navigate. Now I realise that sounds extremely geeky but the amount of bridal websites I'd been on previously that I just couldn't figure out how to use is insane.

We popped into our local Wed2B store, which really handily for me is 10-15 minute drive away from where I live. We were greeted straight away and instructed as to how the store works. It's an off the peg type system and all dresses were arranged in size order making the selection process the easiest thing in the world.

I tried on three dresses in total, the Alberta, the Fearne & finally the Sophia, all of which were beautiful in their own way, but it was the latter than won for me. As soon as I tried on the Sophia it fit me absolutely perfectly, gave me the most banging figure & I felt like an absolute princess in it. There were no tears, which I expected, but it's true when they say when you know you know.

I'd decided to do a little bit of accessorising with my Sophia dress & chose to add a lace neckline to it, I did so by using an embellished belt, which if I didn't add images to this post, I'm sure you'd think would look totally bizarre. But after taking the dress & accompanying bits and pieces to a seamstress I'm so glad I went for it. Adding the neckline gave my dress more of a bardot type feel to it & I am all for a bit of bardot.

What was it like wearing a wedding dress all day?

Let me be honest here... I wore my wedding dress up until about 8.00pm. Reason being that at this point I was 8 weeks pregnant & the bloating at this point was SO real, I couldn't possibly squeeze my ever expanding frame into my size 8 dress all day.

Up until this point though my dress was the most comfortable thing in the world! I honestly couldn't recommend it enough... At this point I should mention that when you're trying on dresses to do plenty of lunges in it, sit down in your dress, do a couple of spins. You catch my drift. You may look silly, but that way you can ensure you're going to be 100% comfortable on the day. I also wore my wedding dress on a few occasions on the run up to the big day, only for half an hour or so, not to go to the local shops or anything, but this was more to do with making sure the dress still fit me & was going to be suitable for the day.

I'm glad I did this as I'd have hated to have felt even the slight bit uncomfortable during my wedding. I'd imagine it would take away from the magicalness of the whole day & that my brain would be constantly thinking about how uncomfortable I was feeling.

So that's my dress, which undoubtedly looks even better in these images by Rebecca Sturdy. I absolutely loved wearing it, and would 100% pick this dress & do our wedding over and over again.

Do you dream of getting married? What do you imagine your wedding dress to look like?

Claire. X

Have you read my previous posts?
Lifestyle | The first trimester.
Fashion | Feeling body confident with Tobi.
Fashion | Finding fun in fashion.


Friday, 6 July 2018

Lifestyle | The first trimester.

The news is finally out!.. This week I revealed (after what's felt like a lifetime) on my Instagram that I am in fact currently 16 weeks pregnant. Eeeek!

We'd been trying for a baby for quite some time now, so when I saw those two blue lines pop up on the pregnancy test, I couldn't quite believe it. So much so I took an extra test just to be sure. Little did I know that this would be test two of six! Yes, you better believe it! I'd taken the (first two) tests mid afternoon and I remember those three or four hours I had to wait for Dan getting in from work being torture!

Because you can't tell your significant other that your pregnant via text can you? Imagine that!

Dan was having a particularly shitty day at work that day & came home in such a foul mood. It was amazing to see the roller coaster of emotions he was going to go through over the next ten minutes. I felt particularly giddy knowing something he didn't! Dan was in as much shock as I was! He kept asking me 'how?' as if that was even a real question. Funnily enough when Dan proposed I didn't answer with a 'yes' straight away, my response to him was 'how?'... Seems we're both as bad as each other right?

At this point we'd calculated me being around 6 weeks pregnant, and funnily enough was already showing signs and symptoms of pregnancy, only I didn't think of them to be anywhere near baby related. The thing is, is I'd been taking medication to delay my period because of all days my next period was due on my wedding day. So I'd put the symptoms being down to the medication I was taking, never in a million years did I think I'd be pregnant. And whether these tablets had anything to do with us conceiving who knows? I was later told by my midwife that she'd taken the exact same tablets to help her and her husband have a baby through IVF. Maybe it's coincidence, maybe it was our time, maybe we were just lucky, who knows?

The symptoms.

My first two initial symptoms were breast tenderness & bloating, both of which we're probably about as uncomfortable and annoying as each other.
Even at six weeks pregnant my boobs had already gone up a full cup size, which for someone like me in the itty-bitty-tittie-committee, you'd think would be a god send, but in reality was an absolute pain in the arse. My boobs were spilling over the top of my bras, giving me that ever so desirable (not) four boobs look. Truth be told, they're still massive (for me anyway) and although the tenderness has gone down quite considerably, what I've noticed is they don't look like my boobs any more - Gone are  the days of the small and perkies, these are definitely the boobs of a pregnant lady now!
Luckily the bloating has decreased now too, I still get it every now and again, but the beginning ten weeks or so my stomach had ballooned so much and was so so painful, I already looked much more pregnant than I should have done at that stage. Strangely enough the bloating would get worse during the day, I'd start the day fitting into my jeans and then by mid afternoon I'd have to undo a few buttons or change completely into something more comfortable... Elasticated waistbands have quickly become my saviors.

Something I'm always asked about it sickness. During my first trimester I'd vomited only a handful of times, and counted myself as being very lucky, especially when I'd realised some ladies are sick each day. Something I have however struggled with especially towards the end of my first trimester is tiredness. For the last six-eight weeks I've noticed my body has slowed down massively. I can barely take Willow on a half hour walk anymore without getting tired. It's just the most bizarre feeling. Not saying I'm the fittest person in the world, I'm far from it, but my bodys ability pre-pregnancy compared to now is two totally different things.

The midwife appointment & scan.

Booking my first midwife appointment was certainly hard work. I find getting a doctors appointment difficult at the best of times, but this particular appointment was the most frustrating. Once I'd actually gotten through and spoken to someone I wasn't able to see a midwife for another five weeks, which would put me at ten weeks pregnant. With this being our first baby and with neither of us having a clue what we were getting ourselves into we thought this was a particularly long time to wait. Funnily enough though this appointment was more of a formality. I was given my pregnancy folder which would hold all of my notes in as well as countless leaflets and bits of information about everything you could possibly think of to do with pregnancy. At this point I'd also have my bloods taken, something I was absolutely papping myself over, but actually wasn't all that bad.

A few days after my initial appointment I received a letter through the post (my first addressed to Mrs Chircop might I add) inviting Dan & I to go for our first scan a few weeks later.

We had our first scan at 13 weeks and if I told you I cried like a baby, it still wouldn't put into perspective how emotional I was. I was quite cool calm and collected the days running up to the scan, however that morning I was a nervous wreck. I'd worked myself up so much on the drive to the hospital, thinking something would be wrong, or that I wouldn't even be pregnant at all (after six tests wtf) that when the midwife told us everything looked perfectly normal with our baby I was overcome with relief.

We were amazed to see how much our baby actually looked like a baby even at that early stage. It was just the most magical thing!

Who we told & when?

Dan & I were very cautious when it came to telling people I was pregnant. We didn't want to jinx anything, and were both very aware of the risk factors with regards to miscarriages in the early stages. The percentages when it comes to miscarriage are much more likely than you think, so we'd kept the news between the two of us for quite some weeks. Our parents were told, just before the wedding. This was more to do with the fact that I may need help disguising any sickness, tiredness or simply to take one for the team & drink anything alcoholic that was given to me. Unfortunately for them, I needn't have worried! I'd told my managers at work early on as I didn't want to be doing anything physical at work that I shouldn't have been doing, and instead of having one longer break I could split this into two to give me more chance to rest, recuperate and eat.
It was only after the 12 week scan and we got the all clear that we told the rest of our families, who were of course over the moon, and surprised we'd managed to hide it for such a long time! And then as I've said, It's only this week we've publicly announced the pregnancy, albeit probably a little later than most, but with coming back from our honeymoon the timing just felt right!

What next?

We have our next few appointments booked in, one to see the midwife at 25 weeks & the other our 20 week scan where we will find out if we're having a little boy or a little girl. Dan & I are 100% going to find out if we'll be having a Phoebe or a Phoebo, whether I divulge this information on the blog, I'm not sure yet. As much as I display my life online, there are certain elements I'd like to keep private. We may do a gender reveal, we may not. Who knows.
We're also going to start buying some baby bits and bobs. Dan bought a baby-grow and bib set last month for us, but that's about as far as we've got so far. As exciting as it is, we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. We'll more than likely start buying after our 20 week scan.
I'm hoping to feel some movement in the next month or so from baby. At this present moment, the thought of it freaks me out slightly, but I know when I do eventually feel the baby move it'll be magical.
Names! We're trying not to think about names too much at the moment until we find out what we're having. The way me & Dan are though I can imagine it taking us absolutely ages to settle on something! Good job we've got until the end of the year to decide!

So there we have it. News I didn't think I'd be sharing with the internet, but news we're absolutely over the moon with!

I also just wanted to mention that it's amazing having some other pregnant blogger babes to follow such as Carly Rowena & Jemma from Dorkface making this journey feel much more comfortable - The internet really is a wonderful place!

Any advice for a first time expectant mum?

Claire. X

Have you read my previous posts?
Fashion | Feeling body confident with Tobi
Fashion | Finding fun in fashion
Lifestyle | A few daft goals for 2018

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Fashion | Feeling body confident with Tobi.

In my previous blog post finding fun in fashion I spoke about how I felt like I'd lost my way when it comes to clothing, and was rather uninspired with my wardrobe. One of my goals to spice up my wardrobe was to experiment more with clothing, step outside my comfort zone and explore what the big old world of retail has to offer.

And for me, that's when Tobi stepped in. The LA based online retail destination claim to fuse together West Coast style with a laid back attitude, which I thought sounded totally dreamy. After perusing the website I didn't personally catch any of the West Coast vibes, but what I did notice straight away was the absolutely huge array of different clothing styles, pieces and trends. I was blown away. I don't know about you but I quite often find myself trying to think up new online retailers, not because the others aren't making the cut, but because I want to try something different, and Tobi absolutely hit the spot!

Anyway, back to experimenting with fashion. Something I've always been wary of and steered clear of it cut out backs. Tops, Jumpers, Dresses, you name it, if it's got a cut out back, I'm not wearing it, and there's one (actually two I suppose) reason for that. My boobs! I wouldn't say I hate them, it's not that extreme, but I really really quite dislike my boobs. I have to wear a bra, otherwise it looks like there's nothing there, my chest is very much like the white cliffs of Dover.... Flat. And while that may be a godsend to some, for me it's always something that's bothered me... We always wan't what we can't have right?

Because of this I've always put those cute cut out tops back on the hangers, totally dismissed anything that doesn't allow me to wear a bra and have skirted around the idea of ever owning anything like I'm going to show you. What a terrible existence right? Well this is where it's stopping. I'm embracing what I have and don't have and experimenting with cut out backs! Eeek.

Let's get the scariest one out of the way with first shall we. There is absolutely, categorically, 100% no chance of wearing a bra with this jumpsuit, and the thought of that terrifies me. Balancing out the fear however is the fact this this jumpsuit is probably the prettiest thing in my wardrobe! I love the harness detailing across the bust which crosses over the back in the most delicate, girly way. It's without doubt the most revealing thing in my wardrobe, and it's definitely made me grow some balls wearing it, but I don't actually find it too risque when it's on. I think it's because the wide legs of the bottom half counteracts the revealing top half. If the legs were a skinny, cigarette style trouser It'd feel quite cat suit like and I don't think I'd be half as confident wearing it
If I'm honest, I actually feel amazing in this jumpsuit. Never in a million years did I think I'd be saying it, but I actually feel really good. I feel powerful, and like I've got my shit together. 
PS. I don't have my shit together!
Because of the dark rose block colour from the jumpsuit I've opted for my ever faithful nude pink clutch and a par of neutral sandals. This look would be fab for a night out having cocktails with the girls, using plenty of tit tape might I add, but I also think it'd be perfect for a more casual holiday look too. Imagine this with an over sized straw beach bag, some tassel earrings and a pair of gold sandals. Eeek! It's got me all excited for our non existent holiday just thinking about it.

Jumpsuit - Tobi*
Clutch - Miss Selfridge
Flower Crown - Ebay

Mila back tie olive jumpsuit.
Another wide leg beauty! I love the silhouette a wide leg trouser gives which is why I opted for the mila from Tobi, and in this beaut khaki shade too, I actually couldn't say no. Even though again with this I'd have to go bra-less I was much less apprehensive going in with this one because it less 'booby' than the previous. I knew I was going to feel much more confident in this one, but it was only putting it on and wearing the piece throughout the day that I feel 100% in love with it. It's such a flattering fit, sucking me in on the waist and elongating the leg with the flared trousers. I just love it! I didn't even think once about being self conscious chest wise. 
I don't think it happens very often, but I've found something in the Mila jumpsuit which makes me feel so casually confident in myself.
I've worn it here in a casual way with a basic white tee underneath, a pair of white Vans and an over sized aviator thrown over the top, however I'm planning on wearing this for a wedding next month on it's own with some gold sandals and a glitzy gold clutch. The whole point of experimenting with fashion is picking up dual purpose pieces which I feel like I've definitely achieved with this amazing jumpsuit.

Aviator - River Island
Jumpsuit - Tobi*
Tee - Primark
Bag - Primark
Shoes - Vans

Darla black shift dress.
When was the last time you saw me in a dress? I can't actually remember. And that's why I picked out this black shift dress from Tobi. I chose this style because it's quite a casual dress and if I'm going to start anywhere, I feel like this piece is the right place. The cut out dress struck me as more of a summer piece, but one that could be easily layered with knits or basic tees underneath. Again another dual purpose clothing item. Winner winner chicken dinner.
That being said, I found this piece to be the most difficult when it came to feeling body positive, especially when worn without anything underneath. I really didn't feel like a 10 out of 10 when wearing it, that was until I wore something underneath. Reason being, as well as my chest I struggle with the tops of my arms, and I think the way this dress is cut, accentuated all of my arm insecurities. However!... With my khaki basic tee on underneath, I felt ready to take on whatever the beast from the East had to throw at me!.. With my over sized camel coat on anyway!

Dress - Tobi*
Tee - River Island
Coat - Missguided
Bag - New Look
Boots - Topshop

So what have I learnt from experimenting with clothing? Well there's only one thing really, and that's to bloody well go for it! It can be daunting, scary even, but you never know if you don't try. Don't get me wrong I've not suddenly quadrupled in confidence because of these clothing items, but It's certainly opened my eyes to reinventing my wardrobe and experimenting and embracing what I've got. 

Is there any clothing styles you steer clear of?

Claire. X

The three clothing pieces from Tobi were sent to me for review purposes - All opinions are of course 100% my own.
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