CLAIRE MAC

A Yorkshire based parenting & lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

I'VE BEEN MUM SHAMED!

Something happened to me this week, something which hasn't happened to me since becoming a parent & something I've almost been waiting for - I've been mum shamed!


Let me set the scene for you...

It was my day off from work so I decided to take myself & Amelia to a nearby garden centre. We went here because they've got a huge indoor play area, a lovely rustic styled restaurant which sells the biggest cakes & has an aquarium with enough tropical fish to keep anyones senses stimulated for hours... Basically, it's the best (and easiest) day out for mamas and their little ones.

So off we trotted early doors to make the most of the day.

We'd played and visited the tropical fish, so were ending our trip by getting a quick coffee in the restaurant (me, not Amelia) before heading home for nap time. There was no thought process in picking our table, other than it was the closest available, so instead of meandering the pram around a people enjoying their dinners, I parked up - It just so happened to be a table next to a (rather judgemental) elderly couple.

From the minute we'd sat down, the glares started. It was the most bizarre thing & if I'm honest I didn't quite know what to do with myself. I found it difficult not to glare back in utter confusion, but I refrained & got on with what I needed to do.

After the glares, came the pointing. Even as I'm writing this, I'm shaking my head with a screwed up, puzzled face. The gentleman was leaning into his companion & pointing at us both whispering something which I didn't quite catch. It was the most bizarre thing! Pointing at someone for absolutely no reason is not okay - And it's even worse if you're caught red handed & show now remorse.

What I did catch however was the continuous tutting & the mention of how we shouldn't be in there.

I should mention that nowhere in this situation was my child crying, nowhere was she kicking up a fuss & nowhere was she being anything other than my loveable little girl.

The noises she was making was laughs and giggles - And anyone who would deny a child that, quite frankly can get in the bin (or the sea, I don't know what the cool people say these days).


I posted about my mum shaming incident on Instagram earlier on in the week, asking if any other mamas had been in a similar situation & guess what... Every single comment & every single message I had, said YES!

How flipping outrageous is that?

I'm okay with being mum shamed.
I've got a good enough head on my shoulders to know that it's them with the issue & not me.
I believe in my abilities as a parent.
But there are SO many people out there who don't.

And that's really sad!

Have you been mum shamed?

Claire.X

MY ONLINE MAMA COMMUNITY.

I've found motherhood pretty lonely over the last year & have felt really quite isolated being a new parent, however one thing I've found solace in is my online mama community. Social media gets a bad rap these days, but for me especially over the last year it's been blooming amazing & I want to pay homage to what & who I've discovered who have made my parenting journey that little bit easier!


I've spoken in depth about the bittersweet loneliness and isolation I've felt during motherhood so far. I've felt so contradicted over the last year, I mean how can it be possible to feel so lonely when I'm with the person I love most 24/7. It's not an easy place to be.

Turns out nothing about parenthood is easy.
The thoughts.
The feelings.
The emotions... Especially the emotions.
None of it is easy!

I don't have a huge group of friends; The older I've gotten the more distant friendships have become, and that's okay, it's all part of life, but something I've noticeably lacked during pregnancy & motherhood is a support network of IRL (in real life) parents - People with hands on experience who are willing to speak about all parts of parenting, the good the bad & the ugly.

I needed to hunt out those people - Those people that were willing to display everything, because as this was my first pregnancy, I wanted to immerse myself in every possible bit of information out there.


This is where I turned to Instagram...

Instagram isn't someone I turn to on the regular, we all know it's full of people showing you their highlight reel & only showing you what they want you to see. It's not always real life & I think as I edge ever nearer to 30 I've got a decent enough head on my shoulders to decipher who's portrayal of motherhood is real & who's isn't.

Surprisingly it didn't take me long to find expectant mothers who were being super real about their pregnancies.

In all honesty I thought I was going to be inundated with women who were 'glowing', who had the most Pinterest worthy nurseries & expectant parents who'd already washed, dried and ironed all of their little peoples clothes by the end of their second trimester.

*Spoiler alert - I was not someone who'd already washed, dried and ironed all of my little persons clothes by the end of my second trimester.*


I found some amazing women but I figured I needed to turn myself into the person I wanted to find in order to attract more likeminded people.

I needed to open up about my experiences & be as open and honest about how I was feeling during my pregnancy - So that's exactly what I did - And low and behold I was magically aligned (thanks algorithm) to women who we're in exactly the same boat as me.

Women who were prepared to tell you everything!

Feeling nauseous for 99.9% of your pregnancy? I want to know!
Don't want your partner to come within 5 feet of you? I want to know!
Feeling like you're loosing yourself to motherhood already? I want to know!
Already terrified about money worries being on maternity leave? I want to know!


I began my search by scouting out pregnancy announcements on Instagram which of course there was an abundance of! There was a whole load of women in the same boat as me & to be honest at this point I wasn't particularly following people, just liking there posts, but after a few weeks you begin to see the same names crop up time and time again & I thought, yup, these people are my people, I need to follow their journey!

Speaking of pregnancy announcements, Lauren from bylaurenjane has recently had her little boy, but her pregnancy announcement on instagram was genius. She came up with such a cool idea to signify she was expecting baby Ethan by placing a teeny tiny pair of white converse in between pairs that belong to both herself & her husband. Super cute, super simple, but really effective!

Also a quick shout out to Alice from alicejanepotter, who I wasn't following at the time, but recently showed her pregnancy announcement again & I'm pretty sure it's the best bit of stop motion I've ever seen! Pure genius!

Towards the end of my pregnancy I found the hashtag #thirdtrimesterproblems especially fun to follow. Pregnancy isn't always pretty, especially during the third trimester when you're the size of a whale, waddling around trying not to pee yourself! I found so many mama's making light of their 'third trimester problems' and honestly took so much solace from the fact that I was just one of many expectant mothers trying my very best not to piss myself!

I found so many people who were my kind of people during pregnancy & it was so nice having people going through the same turmoils as myself only to be landed (who am I kidding, labour isn't that easy) with a beautiful baby by the end of it.


During my pregnancy I was super honest and open about what I was posting & have continued to do the same since having Amelia. I haven't tried to be relatable with what I post, I just post from the heart, quite often rather spontaneously, but what I've found is that being an overall good egg is the best policy and it's lead me into the paths of so many other good eggs.

Pregnancy, childbirth & becoming a mother has empowered me & you know how the saying goes...

Empowered women, empower women!

And that's what I'm going to do!


Abi @abilourich
Abi is the brains (and beauty) behind the #projectbabyandme community, which is where I've been introduced to SO many amazing mamas. Abi herself is an amazing mama to Teddy, who's only a couple of weeks younger than my Amelia. It's so nice to have kids at a similar age and we've often chatted about the trials and tribulations that come with raising them. I can hand on heart say I don't think my online mama community would be the same if it wasn't for her - She's opened the door for me to help leave loneliness behind!


Meghan @meghanwalshblogs
Meghan is my gal! I'm sure if we lived closer & actually met in real life we'd be amazing pals, as would our girls. Meghan is someone who is brutally honest about motherhood, and whether you're expecting a child or are already a parent, I think she's someone that you NEED to follow. She's honest, she's relatable and she's got a whole load of sass! Turning up to her works Christmas party in a suit with slicked back hair & big gold hoops - She's got enough sass for the both of us!


Clare @thelifelately
Clare is someone who is always there! Want to have a whinge - She's there! Want to gush over how grown up our girls look - She's there! Want advice on what the hell I should be doing with my baby - She's there! What I especially love about Clare is how normal & chilled out she is, again she's someone I feel I could be pals with IRL & she's made me feel so much more reassured during my parenting journey. Plus Eva is the most delicious thing - I think our girls would get on like a house on fire too!


Emma @walkerhill_house
Emma & I had been friends for quite a while before we both discovered we were pregnant. Weirdly it's felt like we've both had the same pregnancy/parenting journey - We both found out we were pregnant before our wedding days & we both confided in each other before we told our families, we went through pregnancy together & even though our due dates were further apart, my late arrival & Emma's early arrival means there's two weeks between our girls & I bloody love it!


I'm surrounded my so many amazing women & their wonderful babies, I really couldn't ask to be part of a better mama community. I've noticed 'mummy bloggers' (gahh I hate that term) getting quite a bit of flack in the online world recently, but I can honestly say I've never had a problem with anyone or anything mentioned before.

Maybe I'm one of the lucky ones - I have so many other amazing women to thank for that.

Alice @alicejanepotter & her little girl Eve never fail to put a smile on my face - Eve is killer at pulling stunts & I'm sure she keeps Alice very much on her toes!
Caroline @carolineelgeywhite is my gal! She has two sons and is the most supportive woman out there! After swapping phone numbers last year she's always only a WhatsApp away & someone I rely on for ultimate parenting advice.
Kate @mama.and.little.moon without fail is always at the end of a DM when I have burning questions about how on Earth I become a good parent. Plus little Luna is absolute fashion goals - I'd love my Amelia to be as well dressed as her!
Sarah @sarahbolstridge is super supportive, engaging & an overall good egg. She's also recently started up a new series on her blog, getting to know other new mamas, which will be great for finding new people in this community.
Alice @alicespake knows her shit, when it comes to all aspects of everything, parenting, beauty lifestyle, she hits the nail on the head every damn time!
Natasha @quinlan_diaries is currently pregnant with her second child, a new sibling for lovely Harry. Natasha's the loveliest mama and someone I speak to on the reg, she's brilliant!
Lex @eatweepmumrepeat - I mean, you have to follow Lex for her insta handle alone right? She's so open and honest about her motherhood journey with Ramsay & I love her good news stories she posts to Instagram each morning.
* Codie @codiekinz.co.uk had her little boy called Ruben a week or so earlier than Amelia & I remember living for her labour insta stories, she was a true warrior & someone I've loved followed ever since (in the least stalker way possible).
Jenny @the_northkernow_mum is only relatively new on my mama radar but I love following her for her insanely beautiful photos of not only Ellie, but of Cornwall where she lives - It's stunning!
Amy @fitterrrrbug is literally wonder woman! How she holds down running her own business & looking after beautiful Norah is beyond me!
Amy @thewifeedit is another business owner who's absolutely smashing the shit out of being really real about motherhood. Her & Ava are gorgeous inside & out!
Gemma @gemellisx and her little boy Reuben are flipping gorgeous. I love their matching checkerboard Vans a hella load but I love how supportive Gemma is even more so, she's amazing!
Jess @thetravelista had had one hell of a motherhood journey so far but it hasn't stopped her being the most down to earth & welcoming person. Theo has achieved many amazing things so far & I'm sure they'll both go on to do so much more!
Ashleigh @ashleighsmoments is someone I speak to so often & regularly swap stories with about the good, the bad & the ugly when it comes to our girls, she's super supportive.
* Kirsty @thevioletblonde is mama to beautiful Florence. I love seeing what they get up to & find Kirsty so supportive! She's brilliant.

I'm going to keep adding to my amazing list of mamas as I discover more so I'll be sure to keep you all regularly updated. I'm sure I'll have missed some people off by accident as well, there's always someone I forget... I forgot to send my Grandma an invitation to my wedding, so don't feel too bad, I'm naturally the most forgetful person ever!

Which mamas are on your 'to follow' list?

Claire.X

MY 2020 GOALS & BEING QUIET ABOUT THEM.

I've set myself many goals during my adult life, a lot of which I've been quite vocal about, however this year, in 2020 I'm being quiet about them.

My life has altered dramatically since we welcomed Amelia into the world & my priorities has changed tenfold over the last year. Which as I'm sure you'll appreciate has clearly had an effect on the goals I'll be setting for 2020.


I've thought of all the usual stuff I'd like to achieve this year... Saving money, nailing my skincare routine, live a slower paced lifestyle - All very valid & reasonable goals for 2020, however I've got something else up my sleeve.

I've got a big goal this year.

And it scares me.

So I'm staying quiet about it!

'Set your goals, stay quiet about them, smash the shit out of them & then clap for your damn self!'

That's the quote I'm going to be living my 30th year by - I reference being 30 because originally that's when I wanted to have completed my goal by, but realistically I think I'm probably going to need to full year to finish the task in hand. Plus I don't want to add unnecessary pressure to my already quite pressured life.

Truth is it doesn't really matter when I complete my goal, just as long as I put all of my efforts into smashing the shit out of it.

Watch this space! It's going to be a good year!

Happy New Year everyone!

X

FESTIVE DRESSING WHEN YOU NEVER DRESS UP.

*This post contains gifted items & is in collaboration with Femme Luxe*

I've never particularly been the person that dresses up to go on fancy dinners or on nights out with the girls. I'm the type of girl that wears trainers to pretty much every social event, and will do my upmost to ensure my outfit is comfortable above all else - Something I've definitely enforced the older I've gotten.

This however makes it tricky when putting outfits together this time of year.


I'd love to say there isn't, (heck i't'd be easier if there wasn't) but I think there's something about the festive season that persuades us all to wear a little more sparkle & dress up that little bit more.

It's probably for 'the gram' isn't it, let's be real.

So what do you do when you want to dress up, but you don't really know how to?

You do it your own way.

And by that I mean, wear whatever the heck you usually wear and add as little or as much sparkle as possible.

For me that means wearing high waisted trousers, a cropped tee & trainers - That's what I wear day in, day out and it's an outfit I've got numerous different variations of - So with that in mind I've done exactly the same when it comes to picking out a festive outfit.

Why change the habit of a lifetime?




I chose this black glitter sparkly short sleeve crop top* as it's still super casual (something I'm all about) but it does have that ode to Christmas time and the festive season. The cut has a sports luxe type feel to it that means it'll slip into my wardrobe seamlessly, as this is a trend I quite often wear.
Granted the sparkles might not be for everyday wear, but for special occasions and dressing up I think this ones going to be a winner.

I've paired my new crop top with a pair of faux leather look leggings*, obviously high waisted, because that's the only train I'm on right now, which if I'm honest I should have probably sized up in, as they're not forgiving in the slightest. I definitely can't eat my Christmas dinner wearing these, but they look cute right? And I definitely feel dressed up wearing them!
Although I chose these for the festive season, I can't wait to wear these just as an alternative to jeans. These leggings will definitely be taking pride of place in my wardrobe, I'm just hoping they stretch a little with wear.





Something else I'm all about is an outfit that take little to no thought, and that's why I picked up this ribbed bardot wide leg jumpsuit*. I can forgive that fact it's an absolute ball ache to go for a wee in, for the simple fact that I can throw this on & I instantly look put together.
What I especially love about this jumpsuit is that it's made up of a jersey material meaning it's super comfortable... And we all know that comfort is key when it comes to festive food! There's plenty of room for pigs in blankets with this jumpsuit.
I'd be just as happy dressing down this outfit rather than dressing up like I have here & I already can't wait to wear this with a pair of trainers and teddy coat.


So as you can see, the pieces I was gifted through Femme Luxe all make for festive dressing options, however they can all also be dressed down for more casual (comfortable) occasions.  You'll notice that I've added quite a few new pieces to my wardrobe over the last couple of months (hello new post party body) but I'd like to think that everything I've added is multifunctional - And that's the life I'm all about at the moment.

My aim isn't to necessarily create a capsule wardrobe & have a limited amount of pieces, it's more to have multifunctional pieces with items that I can wear time and time again.

How will you be dressing over the festive season? Are you with me on the comfort is key thing?

Claire.X

5 THINGS IN MY DAUGHTER'S CHRISTMAS EVE BOX.

Before having my daughter I had absolutely no idea Christmas Eve boxes even existed, but here I am with an almost one year old, full of excitement to see her open her very first one.


Christmas Eve boxes are a relatively new tradition, and one I believe has made it's way over from America with a little help from Pinterest.

And let me tell you, it's a tradition I can fully get on board with!

Amelia's birthday is the 23rd December, so I love the idea of having three days of consecutive celebrations, four if we include Boxing Day. It's almost as if her birthday kick starts the festive period for our little family.

The box itself.

I'd been searching the internet for what felt like weeks, in pursuit of a beautifully illustrated and personalised wooden box to store Amelia's Christmas Eve gifts. Even though I found some lovely examples I just couldn't justify spending a huge amount of money on something which was going to be used once a year, and if we're being totally real, on something she probably won't even understand first time around.

On a quick jaunt to Hobbycraft (which is my new favourite thing to do btw) I spotted this wooden 'Twas the night before Christmas' box in the clearance section reduced from £15 to £10 & I couldn't not get it.

If I'm honest I would have liked it to have her name on, but the way I look at it, it's always something we could add when she's a little bit older & likes to get crafty.

The box itself though is strong and sturdy & just the right size to not go too overboard buying presents for. Heck knows she'll get enough between her birthday & Christmas.


What's in the box?

Christmas PJ's.
I picked up this Christmas PJ set for Amelia whilst doing an Asda shop last week as I thought they'd be absolutely perfect for her Christmas Eve box. I love shopping savvy when it comes to Amelia's clothes & picking pieces up whilst doing the weekly shop, not just for convenience, but for price too - These beauties were only £9!
The PJ's are adorned with Santas, snowmen & reindeers and I can't wait to see my little girl wearing them on Christmas Eve - She's going to look the absolute cutest!

Soft toy.
This is kind of a two in one for us as the penguin soft toy came actually with her Christmas PJ's - Bonus!
Amelia isn't particularly drawn to soft toys, she much prefers brightly coloured plastic things that she can bash things with, but I think something like this little penguin is essential when it comes to filling your child's Christmas Eve box.

Christmas stocking.
A Christmas tradition my parents always did for me & my sister was to put a present at the end of our bed during the night (said present was from 'Santa' btw) so we'd have something small to open on Christmas Day morning, before we went in to wake them up.
I thought Dan and I would carry on this tradition with Amelia only I've swapped the stocking for a cute handmade looking Christmas bag, that I just couldn't resist not buying. It's the perfect size for a small gift and even though this year she's not going to understand what's fully going on, I thought it'd be a lovely idea for us to start early.


Christmas Eve book.
I'll be honest and say that Dan & I aren't big readers and my daughter would much rather tear a book apart rather than sit down and get cosy with us, so maybe buying her a Christmas Eve book will be a bit of a fail this year, but I'm hopeful it'll get put to good use in years to come.
I picked this one up from The Works and think it's lovely because it's illustrated in a much older, traditional style & revolves around the main character, a young girl called Amelia.

A sweet treat.
As Amelia's only quite young, I didn't want to put a big bag of sweets or chocolate in her Christmas Eve box. However because it's Christmas I've still added a little bit of choccie, only on a much smaller scale in the form of chocolate coins. When it comes to Christmas Eve night I think I'll be downsizing the bag even more so & sharing them between Amelia, Dan & myself... One for you five for me, type of thing.

I've really enjoyed filling Amelia's Christmas Eve box this year and it's definitely gotten me in the festive spirit. I've filled it with what I believe are traditional things, however there are a couple I'd like to turn into traditions, in particular the Christmas stocking & Christmas Eve book.

I can't wait to see her little face when she opens it up on Christmas Eve.

Have you made a Christmas Eve box for your little one this year?