CLAIRE MAC

A parenting & lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

5 Benefits Of Flower Shopping Locally - A Giveaway With The Flower Shops.

*This is a paid for advertorial with The Flower Shops*

The Flower Shops is a family run business who have created a network of local florists across the UK hand delivering bouquets with guaranteed same day delivery. Their network of florists are reputable high street florists with years of experience and knowledge of the industry ensuring all bouquets are of the freshest and highest quality.

5 benefits of flower shopping locally

There are numerous reasons why supporting local florists is better than shopping in supermarkets, department stores or other non-specialised stores. The comparison ranges from how the flowers are stored, how they are arranged, how they are delivered and the amount of customer care which goes into each bouquet. Obviously the price is the most powerful advantage when it comes to purchasing flowers from a supermarket due to them being bought in much larger quantities. Local florists usually can't afford to buy in bulk therefore can't really compete with the lower costs of supermarkets, however with that being said there are still so many advantages of buying flowers from a local florist.

5 Benefits of flower shopping locally.

1. Flowers last longer from a local florist.
Local florists take better care of the flowers they sell, ensuring you always get the freshest, healthiest and and the highest quality blooms. Typically florists also carry a more superior quality variety of flowers compared to that of supermarkets. Shopping locally for flowers provides you with the peace of mind that the blooms bought are going to last well & stay looking amazing for a long time.

2. Local florists offer a wider variety.
As a florists main concern is the quality and variety of stock you can always be assured that shopping locally will give you the biggest choice of blooms available compared that that of a supermarket. Supermarkets purchase their blooms in bulk but only buy certain (more mainstream) flowers and varieties, meaning they'll never be able to offer the variety a local florist does. It's also worth noting that a local florist can supply add ons to their blooms such as luxurious packaging, festive bows or even a hand written note to make your bouquet look extra special.

3. Flowers are more eco-friendly from a local florist.
Local florists sell flowers that are free of pesticides and fertilisers making them eco-freindly. They're also stored in an ethylene free environment, nurtured with the right amount of plant food and kept at the correct temperature which reduces your blooms chances of wilting and also helps keep their colours looking vibrant.

4. Local florists have the skills to make beautiful flower arrangements.
Florists are creative people & they're exceptionally well trained in providing unique and appealing flower arrangements. They're passionate, knowledgeable and arrangements created by local florists are considered pieces of art, because behind each bouquet is a lot of strategy and creativity.

5. Local florists are friendly and appreciative.
Your local florist is always going to be more friendly and appreciative to most supermarket staff due to their passion for floristry and the business they have chosen to go into. It's also easier to develop a lasting relationship with a local florist because although they're business owners, they're also members of your community.

A giveaway with The Flower Shops

Sending flowers from a local florist to loved ones is always going to go down well, it's a heartwarming gesture and whether it's for a special occasion, or just because you can, it's always going to make you and the recipient feel good.

Flowers are known to have a positive impact on health and well being as research has shown having them around the home increases happiness, decreases anxieties and even boosts productivity... And if that's not a good enough reason to treat yourself, or somebody special, I don't know what is!

This is the exact reason I have teamed up with The Flower Shops over on my Instagram page in hosting a giveaway, sending one lucky winner their very own bunch of blooms. I think with the year we've had (we're writing 2020 off aren't we?) giving something back & sending positivity to someone else this festive season is a blooming beautiful thing & I'm so happy to be able to do that!

Win your very own locally sourced bouquet of blooms with The Flower Shops.

To enter my giveaway and be in with a chance of winning a bouquet of flowers courtesy of The Flower Shops all you need to do is enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. There are two requirements which is to follow myself & The Flower Shops on Instagram, however if you want a higher chance of winning there are also a few extra entry types available. The giveaway will run for 1 week finishing on Friday 4th December 2020 at 5pm where I will announce the winner on my Instagram stories. This giveaway is running UK only.

Good luck! X

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 benefits of flower shopping locally - A giveaway with The Flower Shops


SHOP SMALL THIS CHRISTMAS: BABY & TODDLER GIFTS.

With the nights drawing in and the temperature dropping it certainly feels like we're heading towards that time of year again. Dare I say it... It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! If like me and you're yet to start gift buying, perhaps you should try something a little different this year and shop small this Christmas.


Shopping small gives back to the community.

Shopping small creates product diversity.

Shopping small supports individuals taking a chance.

Shopping small provides outstanding customer service.

Shopping small makes a major economic impact.

Shopping small creates a sense of community.

Shopping small spreads festive cheer.

Shopping small makes you feel good.


So this Christmas instead of lining a CEO's pockets of a multi-million pound company, why not buy from someone who will do a happy dance around their Christmas tree when receiving your order.


Here are 10 businesses to shop small from this Christmas when buying gifts for babies & toddlers.


The cotton shop (@_thecottonshop)

I've spoken about Amy and her small business The Cotton Shop on my homeware Christmas gift guide & I'm going to shout about her and her small bizz some more because she's just blooming fabulous. Amy crochets the most beautiful sensory toys, her octopusses are legendary and her little polar bears would make the most adorable Christmas treats. It's completely obvious how much love goes into The Cotton Shop's toys & I urge you to go and check her out.

Shop small this Christmas: Baby & toddler gifts.


Jodetopia (@jodetopia)

Rainbow rice is a must for any child's sensory development & Jodie has created the most amazing Insta-perfect product. She regularly updates her products to fit with the season or holiday and frequently gives examples on her Instagram page on how her rainbow rice could be used. She's blooming legendary when it comes to play ideas for your little ones, she's my go to!

Shop small this Christmas: Baby & toddler gifts.


Marmalade Fox (@marmalade.fox.baby)

Marmalade Fox create luxurious, eco-friendly clothes from newborn right through to three years old. Their prints are predominantly nature based and each one feels very ethereal and graceful, maybe the opposite of how we'd describe our toddlers but hey ho. Clothes always make brilliant gifts for kids, even more so when they look this precious.

Shop small this Christmas: Baby & toddler gifts.


My little goody box (@mylittlegoodybox)

Sensory boxes are gifts that keep giving, they're such transitional presents and would make amazing Christmas gifts whether the child you're buying for is 3 months or 3 years. All of My Little Goody Boxes sensory boxes come with play guides based around developmental milestones that support open ended play, which I think is so important. I'm a big fan of their sensory boxes however My Little Goody Box also sell teethers, puzzles and puppets which I think would make lovely little stocking fillers for your little ones.

Shop small this Christmas: Baby & toddler gifts.


Fred & Oak (@fredandoak)

Fred & Oak are small bizz legends when it comes to commemorating your little ones milestones. Granted their gifts are more for us parents than the children, but I thought their personalised baby's first Christmas signs were too cute not to share! I'd loved to have received one of these when it was my May's first Christmas.

Shop small this Christmas: Baby & toddler gifts.


Bear & Babe (@bearandbabe)

I have Meghan Walsh to blame for my Bear & Babe addiction. Their prints are amazing, the quality is outstanding and I love everything they stand for as a company. What I've also found with the Bear & Babe pieces we have is that they seem to last forever which is amazing, May was wearing her 6-9month harem pants well passed her first birthday. Their latest Christmas range comprises of such a wide range of prints, my favourite being the Christmas flamingos... Yes, you absolutely need to see it!

Shop small this Christmas: Baby & toddler gifts.


Beaux Bows (@beauxbowsco)

I hope your little ones are the opposite of mine and keep head bands on their heads for longer than 30 seconds, because oh my these head bands from Beaux Bows are just gorgeous. They have such a wide arrange of colours available as well as offering the most beautiful turbans and bows. PS. Don't even get me started on the twinning possibilities! This would make an amazing Christmas gift for mama and baby.Shop small this Christmas: Baby and toddler gifts.


Jennie & Company (@jennie_and_company)

Jennie makes the most amazing heirlooms. Each handmade doll is completely unique, one of a kind and she even offers a personalisation service which I think is just amazing. If you're looking for something really special for your little ones Jennie's designs are just perfect. They're so detailed and you can 100% see the amount of love and care that goes into each individual product. I'm actually in love with them... Especially Daphne the roller-skate wearing fox!

Shop small this Christmas: Baby and toddler gifts.


Beads 'n' String (@beadnstringco)

Teethers and dummy clips always make amazing presents for babies and toddlers, they're the type of items you don't know you need until you have them! Beads 'n' String produce silicone teethers which you come to expect from the market however it's their crochet designs which really piqued my interest, I think their designs are just beautiful.

Shop small this Christmas: Baby and toddler gifts.


Hannah's Book Corner.

If you're looking for Usbourne books for your child there are lots of ways Hannah can help you. She hosts Usbourne parties, holds events in schools and of course you can buy from her online. Every genre possible is available and it's really easy to differentiate between different age ranges which makes things so much easier as book buying can be so daunting.

Shop small this Christmas: Baby & toddler gifts.

So there are 10 businesses to shop small from this Christmas when buying gifts for babies and toddlers. Have you heard of many of them before?

Will you be shopping small this Christmas?

Claire.X

Have you seen my other small business Christmas gift guides?

SHOP SMALL THIS CHRISTMAS: WOMEN'S GIFTS.

With the nights drawing in and the temperature dropping it certainly feels like we're heading towards that time of year again. Dare I say it... It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! If like me and you're yet to start gift buying, perhaps you should try something a little different this year and shop small this Christmas.


Shopping small gives back to the community.

Shopping small creates product diversity.

Shopping small supports individuals taking a chance.

Shopping small provides outstanding customer service.

Shopping small makes a major economic impact.

Shopping small creates a sense of community.

Shopping small spreads festive cheer.

Shopping small makes you feel good.


So this Christmas instead of lining a CEO's pockets of a multi-million pound company, why not buy from someone who will do a happy dance around their Christmas tree when receiving your order.


Here are 10 small businesses to shop from this Christmas for the women in your life. 


Studio Ginkgo (@studio.ginkgo_)

Lillia creates simple yet unique jewellery pieces inspired by natural forms providing both yellow and silver toned metals to choose from. The organic shapes Studo Ginkgo creates with her jewellery pieces are 100% my cup of tea, however what I'm really excited about are her soy wax torso candles. Those and the Venus candle would look fabulous on the bedside table or desk of any empowered, sassy woman.


Temple Spa with Emma Morris (@Emma.templespa)

Emma is a Temple Spa consultant who takes great pride in the brands products as well as their ethos. Temple Spa have partnered with the charity Mind for the third year running this month encouraging people to not only look after their skin, but their mental well-being too. With that in mind (pardon the pun) and the idea that every woman loves a good pamper, a Temple Spa gift set would in no doubt make an amazing Christmas gift.


Sew Wasted (@sewwasted)

One for the fashionista's, Sew Wasted hand produce stylish smocks and fancy frocks. Elysha definitely has an edgier style when it comes to her dress creations, my favourite being the stitched up ruffle sleeve t-shirt smock dress, it's just stunning! Sew Wasted also make the cutest hair scrunchies which would make brilliant secret Santa gifts or stocking fillers.


Sew Many Nudes (@sewmanynudess)

Every empowered woman needs a Sew Many Nudes embroidery. Ashleigh's mission is to prove that every body is a good body no matter the size, colour, shape or state & I think she does exactly that with her embroidered hoops. Each hoop costs £20 and is completely unique to the person buying. Call it different, call it risque, I think it's fabulous & I'd love one of these babies to call my own.


Bridal Ink Studio (@bridalinkstudio)

If the woman on your 'to buy for' list is married then why not take a look at Bridal Ink Studio's prints? What better way to commemorate a persons' wedding day than with a hand drawn personalised print. Bridal Ink Studio recently drew one up for Dan & I and it's perfect.


Goldie Bakes (@goldiesbakes)

Just one look at Goldies Bakes Instagram feed will get you salivating! What better gift to give the woman in your life this Christmas than chocolate and Violet's brownies and cupcakes look absolutely sublime. She prides herself on not doing things by halves, using full fat butter, sugar and spice, and all things nice, which is festive music to my ears! With various flavoured brownies and cupcakes available to order I'm sure you'll find the perfect deliciously calorific Christmas treat to gift that special someone.


Hearts of Brass (@heartsofbrassjewellery)

Hearts of Brass is a silversmith based in the North East of England hand making a huge range jewellery pieces that can easily be personalised to suit your recipients needs. Lorna makes anything from affordable stud earrings, to enamel jewellery to more unique intricate one of a kind jewellery pieces. Whether you've got £5 or £50 to treat that special lady in your life I'm sure Hearts of Brass will confidently be able to supply the perfect gift.


Art & Lyrics (@myartandlyrics)

Art & lyrics capture treasured moments and memories with beautifully bespoke art and lyrics. Each piece is completely unique to the recipient all Amy asks is that after chatting to her about your ideas, you send her a couple of pictures so she can put one to paper. Art & Lyrics create really special, heartwarming gifts that are sure to bring a happy tear to the eye of your recipient.


Sugar Dance Gang (@sugardancegang)

Candles always make fabulous Christmas presents, so why not shop small this year and take a look at the beautifully marbled designs from Sugar Dance Gang. The candles are all hand dipped to create the most hypnotising patterns and with pretty much every colour under the sun available I'm sure you'll see something that you know will be perfect for the woman in your life.


Wild & Wood UK (@wildandwooduk)

Wild & Wood are the queens of the 'fancy bath' and have created vegan, eco-friendly and chemical free bath treats that will soothe even the most sensitive of skin. Their products range from bath milk, tea, oats, petals and dried fruit... Everything that boujee woman in your life could possibly want for the ultimate pamper night.


So there are 10 businesses to shop small from this Christmas when buying gifts for the women in your life. Have you heard of many of them before?


Will you be shopping small this Christmas?


Claire.X


Have you read my other small business Christmas gift guides?

Shop small this Christmas: Homeware gifts.

Shop small this Christmas: Baby & toddler gifts.

SHOP SMALL THIS CHRISTMAS: HOMEWARE GIFTS.

With the nights drawing in and the temperature dropping it certainly feels like we're heading towards that time of year again. Dare I say it... It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! If like me and you're yet to start gift buying, perhaps you should try something a little different this year and shop small this Christmas.


Shopping small gives back to the community.

Shopping small creates product diversity.

Shopping small supports individuals taking a chance.

Shopping small provides outstanding customer service.

Shopping small makes a major economic impact.

Shopping small creates a sense of community.

Shopping small spreads festive cheer.

Shopping small makes you feel good.


So this Christmas instead of lining a CEO's pockets of a multi-million pound company, why not buy from someone who will do a happy dance around their Christmas tree when receiving your order.


Here are 10 businesses to shop small from this Christmas when buying homeware gifts.


Wild One & I (@wildoneandi)

Wild One & I sell the most gorgeous range homeware gifts with added personalised touches for you and your little ones. Amy started her small business with party decorations and cake toppers, one of which we couldn't resist buying for our daughters first birthday, but now specialises in occasional and festive homeware. As well as personalised Christmas baubles and Christmas banners Wild One & I create the most recognisable, stylised prints. I already have their Dalmatian dot initial print I just need to decide on another before popping them up on my daughters bedroom wall with waashi tape.

Shop small this Christmas. Homeware gifts.


Little Rabbit Moon (@littlerabbitmoonuk)

Little Rabbit Moon sell the most beautifully illustrated cards however it's their rustic woodland illustrated log slices which really stick in my mind; They're just gorgeous. Myfanwy has also recently designed a new print signifying a mothers love which delicately depicts a mother breastfeeding her baby, an amazing and momentous Christmas gift for a boobie feeding mama.

Shop small this Christmas. Homeware


The Cotton Shop (@_thecottonshop)

Amy is Insta-famous for her crochet sensory octopuses, however in todays homeware post I wanted to shine a little light on her rainbow cushions. The rainbow cushions come in a variety of colours which are regularly featured on The Cotton Shop's Instagram feed. Stock drops on the first of each month but be quick because she's been known to sell out in minutes!

Shop small this Christmas. Homeware.


Bairndesigns (@bairndesigns)

Something a little different, and the perfect homeware gift for a fellow creative this Christmas is wall decals. Dalmation printLeopard printPalm print, Bairndesigns literally have it all! Whether you decide to go bold (go hard or go home in my opinion) and fill a feature wall with them, or pop them up in an alcove, they're going to look incredible. The possibilities really are endless!

Shop small this Christmas. Homeware.

MadeByBusby (@madebybusby)

Shelley, the incredible mama behind MadeByBusby, is not only the colour queen but the rainbow cloud queen too! Her colourful homeware pieces are Insta-iconic & whether your recipient would prefer standard rainbow cloud colours or something a little more custom she should definitely be your small biz go to! I have a custom rainbow cloud hanging above the bookshelves in my daughters bedroom which accentuates the different colours in her woodland themed room perfectly. It's amazing & I think you should all buy one for Christmas!


CaitlinDrawsThings (@caitlindrawsthings_)

Caitlin's personalised gifts and prints are designed to make you smile, and that they do! She creates super affordable stationery pieces in the form of positive postcards & cards of appreciation but this festive season I've got my eye on her personalised family portrait prints; I think they'd make especially good Christmas gifts for families with new babies or pets, her personalised pet portraits are amazing too!

Shop small this Christmas. Homeware.

Leo & Wilf (@leoandwilf)

Leo & Wilf stock wonderfully colourful embroidery hoops perfect for babies nurseries or children's bedrooms. Their rainbow embroidery hoops make for amazing Christmas gifts, however if you're looking for something a little smaller then their letter or number embroidery hoops would make brilliant stocking fillers.

Shop small this christmas. Homeware.


Ellame Designs (@ellamedesigns)

Eleanor creates the most amazing macrame wall hangings with the biggest range to choose from. If you're present buying for someone who's a little boho, Ellame Designs is definitely your go to small business. She makes plant hangers, key chains & the absolute cutest baby mobile which I would 100% be buying if my baby was still my baby (waaah!)

Shop small this Christmas. Homeware


YR Studio (@yrstudio.co.uk)

Candles make for excellent gifts, especially for those people who seem to have everything.YR Studio produce yoga and meditation inspired soy wax scented candles, and with so many scents available you're sure to find the perfect one. I have the fresh linen scent on my bedside table and not only does it smell and burn amazingly well, but aesthetically it looks super cosy too.

Shop small this Christmas. Homeware.

Cove Baby (@mycovebaby)

This one may be pretty niche but I've seen so many rave reviews about My Cove Baby & their Ikea highchair accessories recently, that I couldn't not include them in my small business gift guide. Every little person and their dog has the Ikea high chair, so why not personalise it? Cove Baby create affordable footrestsplacemats and cushion covers to leave your recipients home looking less plastic and more hygge.

Shop small this Christmas. Homeware gifts

So there are 10 businesses to shop small from this Christmas when buying homeware gifts. Have you heard of many of them before?


Will you be shopping small this Christmas?


Claire.X


Have you read my other small business Christmas gift guides?

Shop small this Christmas: Women's gifts.

Shop small this Christmas: Baby & toddler gifts.

ME AS A MUM THEN VS ME AS A MUM NOW.

Today's post of comparing me as a mum then vs me as a mum now, has taken written form after rereading an article I wrote many moons ago titled 'The bittersweet loneliness & isolation of motherhood'. It's an emotional article written completely from the heart, which after rereading & acknowledging my transformation as a mother, hit me 100% in the feels.


It felt like it wasn't my writing.

It felt like I was looking in on somebody else's life.

It felt sad.


'Me as a mum then vs me as a mum now' Image 1.


As much as it felt sad, it also felt progressive.

I felt a huge sense of achievement realising just how much I've grown in confidence over the last year, not only as a mum, but as myself too.


Me as a mum then.


I can't really recall much of being a mum in those newborn days. I remember lots about my baby, how she changed and developed, and how she brought so much love into our lives, but I don't really remember much about me & how I evolved into becoming a mother. It just sort of happened.

Back in the early days I just got on with being a mum, I took each day (each hour sometimes) as it came & it very much felt like I didn't have the time to even think about myself, let alone be myself.


Those days were relentless.

Motherhood is relentless.

I couldn't switch off.


I was incredibly lonely. It's dificult being a parent at any time, but I feel it's especially hard going being isolated and not having family or friends close by. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and unfortunately that's something we don't have. We both have supportive families but because the closest of them are a 90 minute car journey away it's something we don't quite have the luxury of being dependent on.


I remember feeling like I was 'just a mum' a lot of the time, and I hate that term with a passion, but it's the one I'm going to use as I feel it best describes my emotional state back then. I was consumed by motherhood. Everything I did was 100% focussed on and impacted by my child and I just couldn't fathom another option to living. I was so focussed & trapped by out routine, I was like a woman possessed by the everyday clockwork of parenting.


It was a hard mindset to get out of.


Me as a mum now.


Something happened to me during lockdown earlier on in the year; I embarked upon a rather unplanned (initially unnoticed) epiphany. Lockdown was a really weird, really raw, but equally a really positive time for me; I felt like in those uninterrupted, undistracted three months I truly discovered who I am, and was able to see me as me, not just as a mother. That's not to say I've distanced myself from being a mother, I still am a mum 100% of the time... I'm just now able to unapologetically see that there's more to me than that.


The days are still relentless.

Motherhood is still relentless.

I still can't switch off.


The biggest thing I've achieved this year is balance; I now realise that in order for me to be the best mother I can be to my child, I need to look after myself & be the best person for me first. Being able to see myself as a human being with my own personality, my own qualities and my own flaws has been a huge eye opener for me on my journey & I whole heartedly believe this has made me a better mother.


I've also learnt to shake the guilt! Mum guilt is such a harsh reality, and something I in no way contemplated back when I was pregnant... Oh how naive I was! My mindset has done a full 360 however & I no longer feel guilty if I leave my daughter at home with her father whilst I go out and grab coffee to have an hour to myself. Nor do I feel guilty for lying on the bed in my towel after showering for an extra twenty minutes, listening to an epic tantrum being tackled downstairs. Not guilty your honour!


I'm equally at a place now where I 100% trust my gut when it comes to parenting issues. It's not very often  that I have to consult Dr. Google anymore (we were best friends in the newborn days) & that's not to say that I know everything there is to ever know about parenting (gosh, that'd be boring) but I no longer care about how I'm 'supposed to parent'... I'm doing things my own way... And whether you parent that way or not, who the heck cares... Surely that's what makes it so interesting anyway?


'Me as a mum then vs me as a mum now'


Basically what I'm trying to say is that if you feel lonely and isolated right now as a mother, or if you feel like you're struggling, it will get better! It will 100% get better.


Time is the best healer!


How do you feel you've transformed as a mum? Do you do things differently now to then? Have you grown in confidence?


Claire.X


'Me as a mum then vs me as a mum now' Pinterest graphic.


AUGUST THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS - TAKING A BREAK & PROJECTING POSITIVITY.

After surprisingly negative thoughts and feelings during July, I've had a complete U-Turn this month and I'm getting back to my usual place of feeling more like myself; I've taken a break & now I'm projecting positivity.


Taking a break and projecting positivity.


Taking a break.


A huge factor in my change of mindset this month has happened from taking a break.

At the beginning of the month I had two weeks off work, one of which was spent holidaying in Scotland and the other we had at home where I felt like I was able to get a little bit of my sh*t back together. It was blooming glorious.

While we were in Scotland I made a conscious effort to minimise the amount of screen time I was having. I was present and in the moment, and therefore able to soak up as much family time and Mother Nature as possible. It's amazing what getting battered by blistering Scottish winds does for the soul! I love being at one with nature and living the slowest of lives. We even stopped by Holy Island on the way home, which is one of my most favourite places. Everything about the Island appeals to me, the slowness, the independent businesses, the fact it's quite literally cut off from the rest of the world. It's my happy place & I loved spending a bit of time there this month.

The following week I was able to do all the jobs I'd been wanting to do & that had been hanging over my head for such a long time. I was off work, but May was still with the childminder, and let me tell you, it was a much needed time of solace and calm for me. Or as calm as you can be when you're blitzing the house from top to bottom, applying for jobs and creating content for online platforms.


Taking a break and projecting positivity.

Feeling myself.


It's no secret that during lockdown and spending three months on furlough I unknowingly took myself on a journey of self discovery. I got myself to a place where I was seeing me as me and not just a mother, and although that dipped last month, I'm definitely getting myself back on track to where I used to be.

I think a big part of rediscovering the confident, empowered & fearless me has come from enjoying fashion and beauty again; And I realise this may come across as highly materialistic, but I feel a damn sight better when I've got a bit of makeup on and I'm wearing a killer outfit.

I've gotten really into tie-dye this month and have pretty much been wearing the same two oversized Femmeluxe tie-dye tee's on repeat. I don't think I've worn tie-dye since I was a child, possibly even ever, but this pink oversized tee and lilac oversized tee have been featured in so many different outfits this month. They're amazingly versatile and even oversized enough to wear as mini dresses, although I'm not quite that brave!


Parenting.


I definitely feel like things are falling back into place when it comes to parenting. Although it's a new one, we've started settling into a routine and I'm feeling much more confident again in my abilities as a mum. Gone are the days of struggling to leave the house on time, the last minute rush and the impending stress that came before starting an even more stressful day at work. I'm so much more chilled on a morning now, and have definitely gained a 'zero f*ks given' type attitude when it comes to the state we leave the house in.

My toddler is also in the will she nap / won't she nap stage for a little while now, and the days where she does need a nap are becoming fewer and fewer; In fact if she does nap, it's a miracle and I never quite know what to do with myself. She's 2 in December, so is currently 20 months old, which I always thought was early to be dropping naps, but here we are, we're napless and we're powering through... The both of us.


Taking a break and projecting positivity.


Being too nice.


Naturally I'm a very positive person. I'm far too nice and far too helpful & to be honest it's something I've never really given a thought too, however over the last week or so it seems to have gotten me a bit of stick. I understand why being 'too nice' can be seen as a negative or a naivety, but it's a part of me which will probably never go away, and if that's a bad thing, well I'm okay with it.

This goes hand in hand with my new found attitude of being fearless in motherhood & fearless being me; I'm fully aware of my flaws and I'm here loud and proud embracing them... I'm too nice! There I said it!


How have you been this month?


Claire.X


August thoughts and feelings. Taking a break and projecting positivity.


WHY TURNING 30 ISN'T THAT BAD AFTER ALL.

Turning 30 (the big 3-0) is often something that's dreaded by so many. Transitioning a whole decade older overnight is definitely a milestone, but it's one I'd actually been really looking forward to. Going from your twenties to your thirties is such an emotionally huge upheaval, but today I'm here to reassure you that turning 30 isn't that bad after all.

Turning thirty isn't that bad after all. Shelfie with 30th birthday plaque.

I asked my instagram audience earlier on in the week of their thoughts and feelings regarding turning thirty & not surprisingly a lot of people said they weren't too keen on the idea (not like we can stop time or anything). The vast majority of people in this demographic were also those that are rather interestingly currently in their twenties. The fear is real people! So why is that?

As women especially, I feel like we're conditioned to feel fear when approaching thirty. Whenever the turning of a new decade is mentioned, it's met with questions like 'oh gosh, that's a big birthday' or 'oh wow, are you scared?' And don't even get me started on our body clocks! Damn those people who feel they have a right to question our body clocks.... That's a rant (which I feel very passionately about) for another day.

How I felt about turning 30.

For me, I always felt like my late twenties were a bit mediocre; not the years themselves, but the numbers... I know that sounds 'woo' but stick with me. There's something about the number 30 for me which just feels so much stronger. It's bold. It's bright. It knows exactly who it is.

It's a number I wanted to be.... And *spoiler alert* so far it hasn't disappointed!

The lead up to my thirtieth birthday was somewhat unusual in the sense that the UK was still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we were then still in lockdown, and things were all just a little bit weird. (Weird is the only word I can use to describe the situation, because that's what it was/still is -WEIRD). Dan & I were on furlough from work, we were both full time parents trying to occupy our toddler during lockdown and if I'm honest my birthday was the furthest thing away from my mind at that moment... Much to my husbands disapproval.

That being said, it was a day I'd looked forward to. It didn't fill me with fear & I was excited and felt ready to say 'Hello, my name is Claire & I'm a 30 year old woman!'

Why turning 30 isn't that bad after all. Claire smiling at the camera.


A time for reflection.

I couldn't help but feel reflective on the lead up to my thirtieth birthday. I thought about the previous decade & how much I'd changed over the previous ten years. Had I achieved everything I wanted to achieve? Was I 100% happy with my life choices? Am I even sure of who I am right now?

We never really give ourselves credit for what we achieve (I definitely don't anyway) but when I was thinking about what I'd accomplished over the previous ten years, things really didn't seem all that bad after all. I'd bought a house at 24, managed to keep alive our lemon beagle puppy, who obviously isn't so much of a puppy anymore (boo!), I met and married the man of my dreams... And our biggest achievement of all, we welcomed our daughter Amelia-May into the world.

Aside from physical achievements, the biggest change I've seen in myself, is just that... Myself! I've changed a ridiculous amount from the shy twenty year old girl trying to grow out a 'Frankie hair cut', to the woman I am today at thirty. It's actually insane.

It's only in the latter half of the decade that I've noticed myself knowing myself (say that after a few tequilas) & I'd 100% say the biggest impact to my confidence has been becoming a mother. That's not me saying I'm the best mum, or I know everything there is to know about being a parent, that's me embracing that sometimes I'm not going to know what to do, sometimes things don't always fall into place, and I'm okay with that & I can conquer that - I'm fearless in my abilities as a mother & I'm fearless being me. I'm at a place now in my parenting journey where I'm seeing me as me & not just a mother, and let me tell you it feels f**king incredible!

Turning thirty isn't that bad after all. Claire holding 30th birthday plaque.

How I feel being 30.

Although my twenties were full of amazing experiences, I definitely feel like it was a decade of figuring sh*t out... And by sh*t, I mainly mean myself. There were times when I didn't stand up for what I believed in and there were many occasions where I let myself subside, still replaying the moment over in my head thinking 'if only I did this differently'. Well that Claire is no more!

Right now, as a thirty year old woman I can hand on heart say I've never felt better! And it seems so many of you feel the same way, because when polled the majority of my 30+ Instagram audience said they felt better now than they ever did in their twenties... And I'm so here for that! My audience also said however that they felt there was a pressure to have your sh*t together by the time you reach thirty, which I do somewhat agree with, although my thought turns to the question 'what actually is it that defines having your sh*t together?' Because in reality I believe the answer will be different for each individual person.

For me, I feel like I have my sh*t together because I live a happy, relatively stress free lifestyle. Sure there are things I'd like to change and improve upon especially with regards to my career, but in the grand scheme of things I think I'm doing alright.

Looking forward.

I've learnt over the years that although it's good to plan ahead, life will no doubt throw you a good curveball or two & it's these curveballs that you've got to account for. Did I think as a twenty year old woman that I'd move away from my family & get a mortgage in a city I'd never even visited before? Nope! Did I think as a twenty-four year old woman coming off the pill it'd take over three years to conceive a baby? Nope. Did I (or anyone) think that this year we'd spend three months living in lockdown. Absolutely not!... Hands up who even knew what the word 'furlough' meant before 2020, because I sure as hell didn't!

Sure we'd like to move closer to our families, and sure we'd like to have more children, but will these things be on the cards for us? Who knows? Learning to loosen the societal pressure is something I've come to terms with & not being dictated by the pressures of 'textbook life' is a life I'm 100% embracing. 

Why turning 30 isn't that bad after all. Claire smiling at the camera holding a bunch of flowers and a champagne flute cheersing to turning 30.

This is thirty.

Thirty is sassy.
Thirty is confident. - @amy.the.mama
Thirty is empowering.
Thirty is when it starts getting good. - @rosalynoxercoaching
Thirty is comfortable.
Thirty is liberating. - @mielandmint
Thirty is enlightening.
Thirty is not caring.
Thirty is thriving. - @jodetopia
Thirty is knowledgeable.
Thirty is much less stressed.
Thirty is knowing who you truly are. - @swigdigs
Thirty is giving the middle finger to judgement.
Thirty is f**king fabulous darling!

Now ID me to make me feel young again!

How old are you? Are you nearing to 30? Or have you reached the glorious age? Do let me know in the comments below if you're embracing the big 3-0?

Claire.X

Why turning 30 isn't that bad after all. Pinterest graphic.