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


This week it’s my birthday and unfortunately I think I’m at the age now where I need to keep saying that I’m 21 again in the hope that somebody out there believes me… Anybody believe me?
As I’ve progressed further through the game of life my wants and needs have changed, especially over the last year as I’ve given birth to the devil child (I don’t mean that) and so here are a few things on my birthday wish list.

A full night’s sleep.
Yup you guessed it!... A full night’s sleep has got to be the first thing on any new parents birthday wish list I’m sure. If I’m totally honest Amelia isn’t that bad of a sleeper, we don’t have it half as bad as what I’ve heard from other newbie parents, but a full night’s sleep would still be pretty darn delicious right now. At the moment Amelia will usually sleep for around 6 hours on a night before waking for a bottle, but from there it’s a 50/50 chance on whether she’ll nod back off or will be up and ready to start her day. Some mornings I’m up at 4:30am others it could be 6:30am… Today is a 4:30am kind of day! Zzzz!
My birthday dream would be for Dan to say to me ‘look Claire I’ve booked you into a hotel for a night, get yourself away & chill the eff out’.... Getting into bed at 9pm in a comfy, cosy bed with fresh clean sheets would literally be the dream!

More Hey Duggee on Netflix.
Sometimes I feel like a bit of a bad mammy for popping Amelia in her bouncer in front of the telly on a morning, but honestly I need that time to get myself ready, have some breakfast & most importantly a couple (yes a couple) of cups of coffee. If I didn’t, God help the members of the public out there - It’s the only  thing which makes me feel remotely human & I’m not good without my morning routine! Amelia absolutely loves Hey Duggee, and if I’m honest I’m partial to an episode or two myself - Hands up if Roly’s your favourite character? But with the episodes only being 5 minutes long, it doesn’t take too long to get through the full set and before you know it you’ve watched ‘The Cardboard Box’ episode about six times.
Netflix, please give us more episodes of Hey Duggee… For my own sanity!

Better pelvic floor muscles.
I don’t think people believe me when I say ‘stop making me laugh, I’m going to pee my pants’ or ‘I can’t join in with that, because I’ll pee my pants’... Because it legit happens! Last week Dan & I did that thing you see in the movies where I jumped up onto him for a hug with my legs wrapped around his waist… And you guessed it, I peed myself!
They tell you to start your pelvic floor exercises pretty much as soon as you’ve given birth, but let’s be honest, how many of us actually do that?
My birthday dream would be magically have a better pelvic floor and be able to jump around the house dancing to Queen like a mad woman.

A cleaner.
Oh my! What I would give for someone to come in and give my home a good clean. I’m not even talking about a once over, my house literally needs taking to pieces having a good deep clean & then reorganising into an appropriate manner.
Another bonus would be that if someone else did the cleaning my husband wouldn’t be able to tell me off for moving his stuff!
So to have a cleaner for my birthday would be a win win situation for me really.

A dog walker.
Juggling a dog and a baby is hard! I don’t want to leave one of them out or make them feel as if we love the other more than them, I suppose it’s like having two children really - Only the baby is better behaved than the dog!
Willow’s always been an energetic beagle and even at four years old often gets mistaken for a puppy because of how much energy she has wrapped up in that little fury body of hers. Admittedly it’s getting easier now the nights are a lot lighter for Dan & I to take the girls out together on an evening, but honestly when I'm on my own getting Amelia wrapped up in the sling & having to hold a lead with a pain in the ass dog at the end of it can be an absolute nightmare!

Okay so money will actually be on my legitimate birthday wishlist this year. I spoke a while ago about how difficult it is living on a maternity wage. If I’m honest I feel like I’m just keeping my head above water at the moment, so I’m really not looking forward to not having a wage come in, in a few months time.
Luckily we’re never going to totally on our arse skint, but any extra funds would be amazing right now. Money is definitely going on my birthday wishlist.

Free time.
I’d probably say for me the hardest thing about being a mam, is the fact that I’m not myself anymore. From now on I’ve got to be totally selfless and with that comes giving up the vast majority of my free time. At the moment free time is when the baby’s sleeping & during that time I’m either working away on this little blog of mine or I’m keeping the house in some sort of order. I say some sort of order, because I’m just about managing to keep on top of things at the moment. Eeek!
Pre-Amelia me time would be slobbing out on the sofa catching up on rubbish TV, or having an hour long bath and lathering myself in X, Y & Z products however at the moment it’s just not feasible.
For my birthday I would love a bit of free time, just to do absolutely nothing! I want to sit outside a coffee shop on a sunny day with a latte & a sweet treat (of course) and watch the world go by. I want to put my phone down and step away from my laptop… That’s the sort of free time I’m needing right now.

So that’s my list!... In reality, I don’t actually want anything for my birthday as I have everything I could ever possibly want (apart from maybe a sausage dog, but this would worsen my dog walking situation) this is just a tongue in cheek list of things I’d love to receive. Of the seven things listed the biggest treat I could receive is a full night’s sleep, so if you could all put your hands together and pray for me that’d be amazing!

What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever received?



This is a sponsored blog post with Derma Roller.

I feel like I’m at my wits end with skincare at the moment, the long days and short nights have definitely taken their toll, so in order to combat my panda eyes I’ve updated my skincare routine & have been using a Derma Roller.

My skin is something that’s been getting me down quite a bit recently, I think the lack of sleep, lack of me time & lack of having a strict skincare routine has left me feeling a little bit negative towards the way my skin looks, in particular the dark circles around my eyes. At the moment (and this is going to be a huge exaggeration obviously) when I look in the mirror I feel like I resemble Uncle Fester off of the Adams Family - It’s stupid because my eye bags probably don’t seem that bad to some people, but because I’ve not had them before (woe is me right?) & because I’m surviving off 5-6 hours sleep a night unfortunately it’s all I’m seeing.

Lord knows a good night’s sleep would solve everything, but for now I’m updating my skincare routine with Derma Roller.

What is a Derma Roller?
A Derma Roller is a manual rolling device which uses 200 super fine medical grade needles to rejuvenate the skin. The micro-needles create channels in your skin which triggers your body’s natural skin renewal system. By renewing the skin cells on a regular basis the Derma Roller is able to treat common ailments such as wrinkles, scarring, hyperpigmentation and even stretch marks.

How does the Derma Roller work?
Let’s get into the science. Your skin’s greatest friends are collagen & elastin as they're basically the A team when it comes to thickening the skin, smoothing away fine lines and ridding the skin of hyperpigmentation. The channels created in the skin by using the Derma Roller open up your pores and starts the body’s natural healing process - It takes approximately two hours but by triggering the skin with the Derma Rollers micro-needles you are getting Mr Collagen & Mrs Elastin started on their day job.
Although only small the micro-needles are able to penetrate through to the mid-dermis, or the second layer of skin for us none science folk. This is great because it means skin renewal is basically happening from the inside out, and you’re not going to be left with any signs of healing on the outer layer of skin. It’s also brilliant because it gives any skincare products you may be using a chance to get deeper into the skin.

What can the Derma Roller treat?
The Derma Roller actually comes in a variety of different needle sizes which ranges from 0.5mm (the one I have) to 2.5mm depending on what area of the skin you’re wanting to treat.
0.5mm - Wrinkles, crows feet, large pores & enhancing skin absorption.
1.0mm - Saggy skin, sun damage, acne & enhancing nutrient absorption.
1.5mm - Scars & enhancing nutrient absorption.
2.0mm - Uneven skin tone & enhancing nutrient absorption.
2.5mm - Uneven skin tone & enhancing nutrient absorption.

How often should you use a Derma Roller?
Depending on which needle size you choose depicts how often it should be used. The 0.5mm & smallest needle size can be used up to 5 times a week however the larger sizes need to be used much more sporadically. The 1.0mm & 1.5mm Derma Rollers should be used once every four weeks & anything bigger every five.
Obviously everyone’s skin is going to be different & I suppose it’s up to you to use your own judgement on how often you use it, Derma Roller jus use these time frames as this coincides with the average time it takes for skin renewal on those targeted areas.

When will I see the results?
Skincare isn’t something which changes overnight… If only it was, that'd be the dream wouldn't it!
Derma Roller advise that more pronounced and permanent results will be noticeable after three months however smoother and clearer skin will be noticed after about 4 weeks. Again though everyones skin is going to be different and for some they may see results earlier, some may take a little longer - It's all relative.

Derma Roller offer packages with their products so for example I received the 0.5mm roller along with the Derma C+ Serum, but they also offer the larger sized rollers with collagen cream too, which I think is fab and would make lovely gift sets for people.
Derma C+ is a powerful anti ageing serum which is highly concentrated in vitamin C which is great for promoting collagen and elastin and vitamin E which is used as an antioxidant & moisturiser. Used alongside the roller, the Derma C+ Serum is said to greatly enhance the reduction of wrinkles, age spots and discolouration.

My experience with Derma Roller.
Admittedly when I first opened my Derma Roller I thought ‘ouch, those needles look sharp’ - I picked the smallest size 0.5mm size and to be honest I couldn’t believe how big they looked. I’d hate to think how scary the 2.0mm needled look! Eeek! I needn’t have been so worried though because although noticeable, the needles were in no way painful when applied to my skin. The needles felt more prominent along my forehead which is understandable, but for the amount of time the needles are actually touching the skin, it really wasn't an issue.
There’s been a few days when I’ve been quite heavy handed with the Derma Roller and I’ve been left with what looks like train tracks along my face, but this is completely my own fault. You really don’t need to be too harsh when using the roller, just a light roll up and down the skin and you’re away to go!
I was a little bit dubious to use the Derma C+ Serum as I’d been previously using one from Caudalie which I’ve been loving, but I thought for the purposes of this blog post & giving a good review I wanted to give this one a try… And I’ll tell you something, it’s blooming amazing! It’s both hydrating and nourishing and I can totally tell when I have and equally haven’t used this product on my face.

I’ve been using the 0.5mm Derma Roller along with the Derma C+ Serum on my face since the end of April and even though I do still have eye bags, my skin looks much nicer and more importantly feels more plump and dewy than it did before.

In conclusion for something that I first thought was quite scary and a little offputting I’ve had a complete turn around & have really been enjoying using the Derma Roller. I think the face rollers are maybe a little more beneficial to those slightly older than I am however I’ve still noticed such a difference in the overall appearance and texture of my skin which is great. The Derma Roller has been a fab update to my skincare routine & it's definitely made a permanent place there.

Have you or would you ever try something like the Derma Roller?



A few weeks ago we traveled back up North a little closer to home & enjoyed a lovely seaside stay at Hunley Hall in North Yorkshire.

We were up in North Yorkshire celebrating the wedding of one of my closest friends & her new husband and we decided to make a weekend of it by staying over at their chosen venue Hunley Hall. It would probably have been a more luxurious stay if we were baby free, damn you Amelia, but it was a gorgeous stay none the less.

Let’s go back to the beginning & the time of booking…. I work in customer service, and like to think I’ve got my head screwed on when it comes to knowing when you’re receiving A+ service and when you’re just getting a service that’s just a bit ‘meh’. And let me tell you Angela who booked my room and later checked us into our room was amazing! She was so friendly & absolutely brilliant on the phone when I booked the room, I was pregnant at the time (yes it was a million years ago) and she was full of congratulations and made sure we had a suitable room that was big enough to house all the necesary items that babies come with - Because honestly they come with a whole host of stuff… You should have seen the car when we packed it up, considering we were packing for two adult humans, a baby human and a dog - It was like a giant game of tetris!

But anyway, back to the matter in hand - When we arrived Angela was again brilliant with Amelia, keeping her smiley and occupied while we were getting checked in and organising the paperwork side of things, which as a new mum as a complete weight off my shoulders. I always panic that ‘outside people’ aren’t going to be baby friendly, especially if she decides to have one of her infamous tantrums.

She was also so complimentary of Amelia saying how beautiful she looked in her posh dress and how I looked as a new mum - She was never not going to get a mention in this blog post! We should all be a little more complimentary of one another, because honestly it made my day!

Hunley Hall is not only a hotel and wedding venue, but it’s also a huge golf resort and is actually ranked within the top 10 in Yorkshire. While we were staying you could see that people had travelled far and wide to enjoy the course as well as the amazing seaside views across the North Yorkshire coastline - Which is actually breathtaking by the way. I miss living by the seaside so it was amazing to get back up to the North East & soak in the coastal air! Even if you’re not into golf like myself it’s such a gorgeous environment, it’s the perfect spot for getting out and about and walking the cleveland way.

It’s not hard to see why Hunley Hall is such a popular place.

Because we booked a family room, we were given a Superior Sea View Room which was sold to me as being more spacious than their classic room, and the perfect room to house me and my new family... And they weren’t wrong! We opened the door to probably the biggest double room we’ve ever stayed in, heck we’ve even stayed in suites before which were the same size, if not smaller than our room at Hunley Hall.

The super spacious room contained absolutely everything you’d need from a luxury seaside staycation - We could have easily and comfortably stayed for so much longer.

The interior was neutrally decorated with flashes of teal, it actually reminded me of the bedroom we had at our first apartment in Middlesbrough. The carpet was plush & even though situated next to the sea I couldn’t help but feel all warm & cosy in there.

We were treated to a king size bed which made for such a nice change compared to our small double at home - There’s nothing better than getting into a beautifully made bed with soft fluffy pillows and Hunley Hall definitely delivered! We shared our bed that night with little Miss wriggles because even though Hunley Hall very kindly provided us with a travel cot Amelia just wouldn’t settle in it. It’s the first time she’s ever been in something which isn’t her moses basket & i don’t think the change in scenery sat well with her. We never share a bed with her, but needs must & it was cute having a family sleepover.

The furniture was a deep mahogany, which if I’m honest isn’t totally to my taste & I think looked a little dated but the fact Hunley Hall provided us with so much storage in our room was brilliant, I think we could have actually moved in! I think if you’re staying for a week or so, or doing a tour of the North East or North Yorkshire Hunley Hall would be the perfect base.

Tea & coffee was of course provided at the end of the long line of furniture along with a couple of packets of biscuits which always goes down well. To be honest I’d have liked more coffee (story of my life) but the set-up was pleasant and we made full use of it - There was barely anything left by the time we’d left.

The bathroom in our room at Hunley Hall was basic, it was clean & tidy but there was no wow factor unfortunately. Saying that, it had everything we’d needed & I was actually surprised we’d been given a bath as most places only provide showers - It was a lovely relaxing treat to have a soak in the tub & was perfect for bathing Amelia.

We paid £110 for our room and breakfast at Hunley Hall which I think is the bargain of the century! Although pretty basic, the room was clean tidy & offered us absolutely everything we could have needed.

I’m on the hunt for somewhere in Yorkshire to stay for Dan’s 30th in July and nowhere is even comparing price wise, size wise and view wise to our stay at Hunley Hall. If you have any recommendations throw them my way.

Have you been to North Yorkshire before? Where did you stay?



During pregnancy it’s often said that your body doesn’t feel like your own, but when baby arrives I think it becomes even less so. Your body is a tool for keeping your new bundle of joy alive & feeling back to your regular old self is something that doesn’t quite come back as quickly as you’d necessarily like. I’m five months into this parenting gig now & although there’s days when I’m totally not feeling myself, like not even in the slightest, there’s some where I am & it’s all down to some fab makeup products which make me feel like a hot mama.

I think it’s safe to say with the lack of sleep that comes with having a newborn, something the skin desperately lacks is a bit of glow! Luckily for me I was introduced to the Illamasqua Beyond Powder Highlight through the Look Fantastic Advent Calendar last year, in fact I received it on day 24, the day after Amelia was born… Anyone else thinks that’s a sign?
Deighty is quite a pale highlight which works lovely with my rather wintery, pasty skin tone in giving me just the little bit of shimmer & awake-ness that’s very much needed. I use the Look Fantastic Fan & Highlight brush popping the product on the tops of my cheeks as well as under my brow bone & the tip of my nose, which gives a subtle, yet effectively awake appearance. Hallelujah!

I have two shades of the suede cream liquid lipsticks, but by far this shade is my favourite. It used to be my go to ‘night out lipstick’ but now those drinking and dancing days are behind me (woe is me) I’ve been wearing this shade on pretty much a daily basis.
Anyone else think there’s a strong correlation between reliving your youth & feeling like a hot mama? Because I do.
It’s obviously the shade which mainly draws me to this lipstick, but the formula is pretty darn cracking as well; It’s easy to apply, feels lovely on the lips and is really long lasting, especially for a drugstore lipstick - I love it!

If there’s one product I could recommend for new mums, or equally just people in a rush or not wanting to spend too much time on their makeup it’d be the Loreal Infallible More Than Concealer… Because it does exactly what it says on the tin! This product is like your regular concealer, but the 2.0 version - It’s bloody brilliant!
The large doe foot applicator ensures the high coverage formula is distributed evenly across the skin and it’s up to you whether you use it just as a concealer or as more of a foundation too. Some days I do the latter, but mostly I use this as a concealer as it covers up those dark under eye bags brilliantly…. And lord knows they need covering up!

Alongside giving your face a flawless base I think it’s important to add a pop of colour to the skin, which is where floret comes into play. I don’t actually have all that many Bare Minerals products, but after using using them at Whinstone View Spa for my wedding makeup, I haven’t been able to put this down.
I love the mineral formula as I think it’s so much easier to apply & be less heavy handed with - In my opinion there’s a very fine line when it comes to blush and how much product you apply, one minute you’re looking like a hot mama & the next you’re looking like something from the 90’s under 18 clubs… And I know which one I’d prefer!

I think if you’ve gone to all that effort of making yourself half decent that morning, you may as well make sure it stays, which is where the Insta Fix & Go comes into play. I’ve never really used a setting spray before, even after hearing raving reviews of the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, it’s never really something that jumped out at me.
I was kindly sent Fix & Go in a PR package a little while ago & even though I did use it, it’s only since having Amelia that I’ve gone in hard with it!
The spray makes sure whatever makeup I do have on that day stays & it actually feels really lovely and refreshing - A fab way to finish off your makeup routine!

There’s some days where I’ll wear all of these products, others it might be a few, and other days it might be none of them at all… But one thing’s for certain in that I love them all & they all make me feel a little more human & more like I have my shit together after while looking after a five month old baby.

What makeup products make you feel like you have your shit together?



This post contains affiliate links to Blogger to Boss.

Before I started my maternity leave, back when I was a naive pregnant lady I had X Y & Z planned for my time away from work, and here we are six months later reflecting on what I have… And haven’t done.

We went in full steam ahead with regards to taking Amelia swimming & I’ve said this many a time, but in hindsight I think we took her too early. We started taking her to Turtle Tots at Temple Newsam in Leeds when she was two weeks old and for the first month or so she did nothing but sleep through the classes - And even though it was lovely to get out the house & meet new parents with their adorable babies, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a total waste of money.

The vast majority of babies who attended the class were 6 months+ and you could see that they were much more interactive than our tiny baby was & they were able to enjoy their time in the water.  much more than Amelia.

The only benefit I’d say it had for Amelia was with bath times, but like I say it was a pretty pricey activity just to get her used to being in the tubI think we will take her back to Turtle Tots, but we’re going to wait a month or so before we get her booked in again.

Okay, so this one’s also a bit of a fail! For Christmas my sister bought me the Harry Potter books & I had all intentions of reading all seven before the end of my maternity leave. 5 months in & truth be told I haven’t finished the first one yet!.. Although we have had a movie marathon again, if that counts!

Now I know reading is a matter of priorities because in honestly I probably have had the time to get much further through the books than I actually have, however what I’ve done is chosen to prioritise other things... This blog being one of them – But we’ll get onto that later.

On a side note I’m currently experiencing quite a lot of headaches which I think has come from a mix of dealing with a crying baby, being sat staring at either a laptop or phone screen & not getting all that much sleep and I really think getting back into reading will help alleviate that. Harry Potter & the philosophers stone is currently sat on my bed side table, so it’s not as if I can’t see it, it’s a constant reminder for me to start reading & I really hope I can get back on track with it all – Watch this space!

I’ve not actually booked onto a course yet, and although it’s still something I’d like to do, I don’t think I’ll be getting my quill out any time soon.

I love the idea of calligraphy & setting up my own business selling prints and making custom pieces, but the reality of it is, is that I want to prioritise my blog & I really don’t think I have the time for both… Not when you throw looking after a baby, a husband, a dog and a home into the mix too.
That’s not to say it’s not something I won’t pick up in the future though.

I think when you’re at home all day looking after a baby it’s imperative to get yourself out of the house. It doesn’t even have to be particularly outdoorsy, even just a trip to a local coffee shop, or to the supermarket brings a change of scenery & breaks up the day a bit – And I think for your own sanity, it’s SO important.

When I first had Amelia I was really nervous taking her out, especially on my own, as it felt like a totally alien situation. In fact, every first you have with a baby feels totally alien situation, but the more you do it, the more you get used to it & the more comfortable you become. And that’s exactly where I’m at today.

Although I don’t put pressure on myself, I try and get out of the house every day. We have a weekly play group that we go to on a Tuesday, but throughout the week we’ll walk up to the Asda, go to the White Rose shopping centre or talk the dog for a walk. Sometimes we’re out for half the day, other times it’s half an hour. I don’t think it particularly matters how long you’re outside for, just as long as you have something to do that day.

This one makes me so sad! I spoke previously about how I’d loved to have taken my family for a little staycation up to Huts in the Hills in Northumberland, but in reality, I just can’t afford it.

I’ve spoken before on my blog about how I’ve found itdifficult adjusting to a maternity wage and unfortunately as amazing as they staycation would be, we just can’t afford it right now.
I’m hoping that when I go back to work in January that we can get ourselves away to enjoy some proper family time.

My body didn’t spring back into place after having Amelia (I might talk more about this if you’d like to hear about it) but four months later I’m at a place where I’m relatively happy with how I look – Granted it’s different, but I’m working with it. I think this is where creating a new wardrobe and almost a new identity for myself has come into play.

I spent a weekend about a month or so ago gutting my wardrobe of all my ‘dowdy pregnancy clothes’ ready to make way for new pieces which I was so excited about that I went out and bought them very next day.

My wardrobe is now topped up with high waisted trousers and skirts along with smarter, more tailored shirts and crop tops. The only thing I’d say I need now is a pair of plain black skinny jeans, but I want ones that actually stay black!... I’ve had some from Topshop and H&M and even though they look fab to begin with, I’ve always found the colour doesn’t last too long, so if you know of any good quality black jeans, hook a gal up!

This is the one I’m most excited about and to be honest it’s only in the last few weeks where somethings changed for me & turned me from someone who blogs for a hobby into someone who blogs with a more business mindset.

And I think I have one thing… Or two people to thank… And that’s Bex & Codie from Blogger to Boss. Last month I took part in their 5 day free course where we had small daily tasks to complete in order to take our blogs to the next level and I have to say it’s really worked. Although I don’t have a great deal of content to show for it over here on this little blog of mine, my mindset has done a complete 360 & I’m ready to take on whatever this blogging lark has to throw at me.

Since doing the course I’ve applied for writing jobs & I’ve even managed to secure myself a paid blog post which you’ll see pop up over the next month or so. I started blogging five years ago, so you could say that it’s taken me a hella long time to get here, but now I’m here, there’s no stopping me!

The mum guilt was SO real when I went to Berlin last month! I felt awful leaving my baby, but I knew it’d be so beneficial for all parties. Dan got to spend more time with Amelia, she got to experience daddy daughter fun time & I bagged myself a much needed break.

While it's on my brain, there was a thread I read only yesterday on Facebook about how mums shouldn’t take time away from their babies as it’s irresponsible and neglectful & I for one was absolutely shocked at how judgmental some people can be. I honestly don’t know what is wrong with some popele…
It’s okay to want to spend time away from your baby.
It’s okay to want to have your partner enjoy your child as much as you have.
It’s okay if you want to take a bit of time out for yourself.

So here we are six months in to my maternity leave with another six months left to go. I’m certainly finding things easier since the newborn days but I still think there’s room for improvement when it comes to my productivity. I’ve been listening to Vix Meldrew’s podcasts which have really been helping me with the extra get up & go, and like I say the Blogger to Boss course was amazing at making me want to succeed with this online space of mine.

Here’s to the next six months, whatever they may bring.

Have you got any tips for increasing blog productivity? Especially when it comes to juggling that with a baby?