CLAIRE MAC

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

LITTLE FAWN BOX: SUBSCRIPTION BOX FOR MUM & BABY (SEPTEMBER EDITION)

This post contains gifted products.

I think every new mum should own a Little Fawn Box.... There I said it!

I was first introduced to the mum & baby subscription box last month and I pretty much instantly fell in love with it - I love the idea behind the monthly box of treats but it was only when I opened up & dug a little deeper into the Little Fawn Box I knew I was onto a winner.


So what's in this months box?
I know that's what you're all here for so lets take a look into what I received in my September Little Fawn Box.

Miss Patisserie Milk & Honey Bath Melt.
First things first is a treat for mama (hallelujah) in the form of a bath melt from Miss Patisserie. The milk & honey bath melt smells like a pic'n'mix sweet, I just can't put my finger on which one - Typically this is the type of scent I'd opt for as I'm a sucker for anything sweet, so I'm looking forward to popping this baby in the tub!
Admittedly bath times for this mama are few & far between at the moment - It's not very often I allow myself an hour to enjoy a relaxing bath, so although this will get used I'm not sure when... I can imagine this bath melt being constantly at the back of my mind but not actually being put to good use for a good month or so - #mumlife - But when I do eventually get around to using it, I'm sure I'm going to love it!


Shore Seaweed Puffs.
Okay, hands up, I'm majorly put off by the whole seaweed thing! I'm not the fussiest of eaters but seaweed is something I'm just not on board with. That being said these puffs are lime, chilli & coconut flavour which I could possibly get on board with - It's a taste I can't 100% imagine yet, but I'll give these a go & report back.
What's the betting I actually really enjoy them!

Spacemask's Self Heating Eye Mask.
Something else for me!... The Spacemask's eye mask claims to relieve tiredness, eye strain &  to transport  me to another dimension... Which I am all for! Amelia's going through a stage at the moment of not sleeping through the night again, maybe we were treated with the 8pm-6am sleeps but going back to waking during the night has been a total shock to the system... And more noticeably my eye bags!
The eye bags are back baby!
I'm hoping this eye mask is going to do exactly what it says and will take me to a place of utter relaxation, because Lord knows I need it right now!


For Aisha Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry.
We've not yet introduced Amelia to any form of spice, but I'm sure she'll be more than happy tucking into this pouch from For Aisha. We've been very lucky with our weaning journey as Amelia's really embraced trying new foods and new textures, she's taken everything in her stride & I'm sure this new flavour will be no exception.
And no doubt Dan will love trying this too!
I don't know what it is, but he has to try every single form of baby food we put out for Amelia - Does anyone else do this? Or am I weird for thinking it's weird?


Fifi & Friends Super Soft Baby Lotion.
Something Dan & I are quite slack with is moisturising our little one's skin. We've got quite a few tubs of different lotions and potions for lathering up our baby's skin but it's never something we particularly reach for.
The Fifi & Friends lotion is hypoallergenic, suitable from birth and is packed full of super nourishing organic aloe vera. Maybe we need to leave this one out so it's in view to try and prompt us to use it because I'm sure it's lovely & will be super beneficial for Amelia's skin.


Little Fawn Box Notepad.
The candy coloured ice cream printed notepad is super cute and will no doubt get put to good use straight away. My only gripe is that it's unlined which is a bugger for someone like me who can't seem to write in a straight line... It's annoying because I wan't my notebooks to look super neat & colour coordinated, so fingers crossed I'll be able to do that with this one.

Jack N' Jill Natural Toothpaste.
I've read quite a few conflicting articles regarding brushing your baby's teeth... Some say you should be brushing as soon as they appear & others say to wait until your baby reaches 12 months old. I've also read things which suggest you just brush your baby's teeth with water and put off using a toothpaste until they're a little older... I suppose it's just another one of those dilemmas that comes with parenting.
We've gone down the middle & have been brushing Amelia's five (yes five) teeth on a morning with an apple mint flavour toothpaste but have chosen to brush with water on an evening. The toothpaste we're currently using seems like it's going to last forever (perks of having five teeth I suppose) so we'll be using that one up before using this from Jack N' Jill but this one will definitely be getting used - It's such a handy little gift to have received in the Little Fawn Box.


Rabbit Print.
Amelia's bedroom is woodland animal themed so this beautiful little print is going to fit in absolutely perfectly! I can't wait to get this in a frame and pop it on her shelves.
We're currently waiting for five other woodland animal themed prints to come which will sit above Amelia's cot so I absolutely can't wait to put everything together and have her room finally finished.


Belo & Me Memory Cards.
If you think Dan & I are slack at keeping Amelia's bod moisturised something we're even more pants at is keeping up to date with her memory cards. We started so well filling out the first few cards we had but then it kind of all got forgotten about and here we are eight months later with nothing to show for ourselves.
What's good about these memory cards though is that they're customisable & I think they're going to be so much easier to deal with for two novices like Dan & I.

What do I think of September's Little Fawn Box.
Firstly the thing that surprised me about this months subscription box is the sheer amount of products I received - Nine! Yes nine items! In my last Little Fawn Box I had seven products which I thought was great, but receiving nine was blooming amazing.
I'm in no doubt that absolutely everything in this box will get put to good use, it's just when that I'm unsure of, and the majority of that is purely down to me & not giving myself the time to chill. I'm hoping with the addition of the eye mask & bath melt to my beauty box will help push me in the right direction of regaining some self care.


Have you heard of Little Fawn Box before? Would you be interested in the mum & baby subscription box?

Claire.X

The Little Fawn Box was gifted to me for review purposes - All opinions are my own.

MAMA IN QUESTION: DAISY BROWN

Welcome to my new mini-series 'Mama in Question' a 10 question questionnaire filled out by mama's all across the country, hoping to serve motherhood realness and show all new mums out there that we're all in this together... When in reality we're all just winging it! Details of how you can get involved will be down below.

Mama: Daisy Brown



Q1. What's one thing you said you wouldn't do as a parent that you definitely have done?
Probably the biggest thing has been having the TV on, although it’s not for her to watch as she isn’t really fussed by the TV - it’s for me to watch in the background! I think once she starts being more aware of it I’ll stop watching The Hills with her in the room but for now, it’s nice to have some background noise to cover the singing toys. I also didn’t think I’d co-sleep but we did it for a few weeks when she was waking up a lot in the night and I have such special memories of that time.

Q2. What's been the hardest thing about motherhood so far?
I think it’s how consuming it is. Obviously the early days are particularly intense and it’s completely 24/7, but even now I find that I can never switch off from her. We have had a couple of nights away and even then I find that I wake up early and can’t properly relax because I’m away from home and just want to get back to her or know how she’s doing. It’s mentally exhausting - in an amazing, love-filled way but that takes it out of you!
Also, I find some days are so long. I’m so glad that my parents live down the road as I’ll often go over to their house to break up the day. It can feel very repetitive just playing with the same toys and time can go so slowly. 

Q3. Have you settled into a routine with your little one? If so, how easy has it been?
Yes and I love a routine. A routine started to develop around 4 months when she started having regular naps and we started doing a proper bedtime routine. I’ve found that having a routine really helps me organise my day and Florence likes it too - it also helps when we are away or seeing friends as we stick to the bedtime routine and she will (usually) settle well! At the moment she wakes up around 6, has her first nap at 9ish, second nap at 1ish and then is in bed by 7. 

Q4. What's surprised you most about motherhood?
It’s actually surprised me how much I love it. So many people tell you how tiring and difficult it is, and whilst these are true, it’s also the best thing ever and sometimes I don’t think you hear the positive aspects enough. I loved my sleep and staying in bed until midday but have adjusted to the early mornings much easier than I thought. Also, I’ve found that we still do the things that we love, it’s just different with a baby. We will still go and see friends it’s just that we all have babies in tow! I feel so fulfilled now that I have Florence and I have so much more of a purpose.

Q5. Do you think social media portrays motherhood correctly?
I follow lots of Mums on Instagram (the community on there has been amazing for me since having my daughter) and I feel that on the whole, everyone I follow is very honest about the good and challenging parts of being a Mum. The Instagram grid is more of a place for beautiful imagery (although long captions are now more commonly used which will be more honest) but I love stories as they are so much more real. I think it’s always good to take everything with a pinch of salt though as however much you post, you’re never going to see someone’s whole day and all of the emotions and complexities behind that day.

Q6. How do you feel about your postpartum body?
I was very lucky as my body went back to how it was pre-pregnancy very quickly - I think breastfeeding helped with this. Speaking of breastfeeding, now that Florence is only on two feeds a day I can wear more normal clothes - I’d gotten so bored of having to wear nursing tops. I definitely lost my identity a bit with my clothes in the early days - she would look lovely and I just would just throw on anything - It was quite a strange feeling to not really care how I looked. It feels like I’m getting back to normal now with my clothes although I rarely buy anything for myself.

Q7. What's been your favourite memory so far on your parenting journey? 
Oh my gosh, there are too many to mention. Obviously meeting her for the first time was the most amazing moment and crazy how your world changes in a split second. I love it when we spend time as a family together and she’s happy and laughing. I think her laughing fits (which always give her the hiccups!) are my absolute favourite thing.

Q8. How do you feel you've changed since becoming a parent?
My priorities have changed completely and it’s also given me more confidence in myself. I can definitely function better on less sleep too! Oh, and I thought I was quite productive pre-baby but post-baby I am a productivity ninja. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in a 20 minute nap time!

Q9. What's been your proudest motherhood moment?
Every time she learns something new I feel so proud. Motherhood has definitely made me appreciate the more simple pleasures in life - like learning to clap or seeing her laugh at a dog in the street.

Q10. Looking to the future, what are you most excited for your little one to experience?
So much but the first thing that springs to mind is taking her to Disneyworld for the first time when she’s old enough to understand the magic of it! 

Daisy's Blog: www.daisyelizabeth.co.uk
Daisy's Instagram: @daisy_beth8

If you're wanting to get involved please feel free to DM me @__ClaireMac or send me an email to clairemacblog@gmail.com as I'd love for you to join the 'Mama's in Question' party bus.

You can answer whatever you feel comfortable answering, all I ask is that it's honest! I wan't to show others how flipping hard this parenting lark is!... Because I don't think we give ourselves enough credit for it! And we should! I'll of course be sharing the ish out of your social medias & blogs etc, so let's let loose, connect with one another and raise a glass to all those mamas just getting by!

Claire.X

THE BACK TO WORK FEAR AFTER MATERNITY LEAVE.

Here I am, 309 days since starting maternity leave & I’m preparing to put my big girl pants on & return back to the adult world of employment. My KIT (keeping in touch) days are all planned in & I’m due to go back on Monday 30th September - So how am I feeling about it?



Truth: I'm pretty freaking nervous?


As a couple Dan & I decided I’d take off as much maternity leave as possible with our little girl - Knowing full well our savings account would take a hit, but also understanding that I may never get this opportunity again.
I just had to go with it, embrace being a new mama & enjoy spending as much time as possible with my little before she gets big… And right now she’s pretty darn big!


The days at home can be long (oh so long) but the last ten months have absolutely flown by - People always said they would, and I never quite believed them but they were right! It’s as if I’ve blinked and here I’ve suddenly been presented with a baby who’s about to turn 9 months old.


I have a big ass baby & the big ass responsibility of being a working mama.


If you asked me a couple of months ago how I felt about the prospect of going back to work, you’d have been met by excitement, ambition & eagerness to throw myself back into adult life. But here I am, knowing full well I’ve got to put my suit back on in a couple of weeks and pretend like I know what I’m doing & I’m hella nervous about it!


I’m nervous because I’m leaving my baby behind.
I’m nervous because I’m not in control of her care.
I’m nervous because I’m leaving her with someone who isn’t family.
I’m nervous because I’m going back to a new team of people.
I’m nervous because I’m worried I’ll be no good at my job anymore.


I’m just nervous.


I haven’t ‘worked’ (I use that word lightly, because every day being a parent is a full time job) for almost a year now & the prospect of going back is certainly a daunting one - And I know I’m not alone when I say that - The back to work fear is real!


What was once my normal, isn’t so normal anymore & I need to make it back that way. I’m going to be doing a few things over the next couple of weeks to try and make the transition just that little bit easier.


Childcare.
As we don’t have family nearby, we’ve decided to put Amelia into childcare with a childminder. We opted for this over a nursery as it offered us a little more flexibility - I found nursery’s only offered either full or half days, where in an ideal world we’d need something in between - Which is exactly what we have with our childminder!
Over the last few months we’ve been to see the childminder on three occasions however I’ve not yet actually left Amelia alone there with her & the other children - That’s coming next week! I’m having one more visit with her together & then we have another two booked in where I’ll be leaving Amelia there for a couple of hours.
No doubt I’ll be an emotional wreck, but I'd much rather build up their time together & their relationship than have nothing and suddenly leave her for seven hours.



Communication.
I’m lucky because I get on really well with my manager & during my maternity leave we’ve kept in touch in both a professional & personal manner.
Communication is key & I think it’s an absolute essential in making the transition back into work that little bit easier.
Again I’m lucky because I have the type of relationship with my manager where if I do feel like I’m struggling or if I have a wobble & feel like I’m not 100% ready (which will no doubtfully come) I know I’ll have absolutely no qualms in telling her my difficulties.


Opportunity.
I’m such a positive person & I pride myself on being able to see the best of any situation.
What I’m seeing her is the opportunity for reinvention - Just as I reinvented myself as a mama eight months ago, this month I’m going to do the same & turn myself into a boss ass working mama!
I’m going to go out shopping (hopefully on my own - but more than likely not) this week some time & pick up a new suit. I want something that fits like a dream & makes me feel like Beyonce, which will hopefully won’t be too much of a difficult task. I’m also booked in on Saturday to get my haircut with without fail always leaves me feeling amazing - The two together has got to be a recipe for success.... Surely?
The time is now & this is my time!


Routine.
I’m quite big on routine when it comes to day to day life with Amelia & I’ve got absolutely no doubt that this will continue once I go to work… Only our new routine might have to be a little more strict & refined.
I start work at 8am so have agreed to drop Amelia with the childminder at 7.30am - This should give me enough time to get to work, have a fluster & possibly even time to pick up a coffee on the way. At the moment this *should* work perfectly fine as Amelia currently wakes up around 6am however it does mean that my new working mama day will probably start around 5am… And even just thinking about it now makes me feel tired!
I’m definitely going to have to do a few practice runs before my big first day!



Even though I’m hella nervous about returning to work after maternity leave there are underlining feelings of excitement.


Excitement to get some normality back into my life.
Excitement for adult conversation.
Excitement to have purpose.
Excitement to earn my own money again.
Excitement for being someone other than mama.


I’m sure once I get back to work the excitement & nervousness will start balancing out & before long I’ll be back to my usual happy go lucky working gal (not like that you filthy lot).


Wish me luck!

Are the back to work jitters something you can relate to?


Claire.X

MAMA IN QUESTION: EMMA MORRIS.

Welcome to my new mini-series 'Mama in Question' a 10 question questionnaire filled out by mama's all across the country, hoping to serve motherhood realness and show all new mums out there that we're all in this together... When in reality we're all just winging it! Details of how you can get involved will be down below.

Mama: Emma Morris
Baby: Alfred (2 years old)

Q1. What's one thing you said you wouldn't do as a parent that you definitely have done?
That’s a tough one - I don’t think I gave myself any ‘won’t do’s’ because I wanted to be quite
open-minded with it, having never done it before - plus I knew they’d probably go out of the
window! I also didn’t read too many books. I knew that too much knowledge would just stress me
out, instead I tend to turn to my mum for her words-of-wisdom, they haven’t failed me yet. I suppose the one thing I have done, which I tell myself not to, is googling the symptoms of
your poorly baby! (everyone does it).

Q2. What's been the hardest thing about motherhood so far?
Apart from the motherly tiredness, the hardest thing for me has been being a mum and still
having a career; adjusting to that, working out where I fit and making big decisions about
what’s best for my family and what my priorities are at this time in my life.
In my opinion, having a baby can (and does for many) limit those who want to pursue their
career but also need some flexibility, so they get to spend some time with their child. I was
aware of the challenge’s women face but until you are a mother yourself you don’t really
realise just how hard it is to get both, it has surprised me.
I’ve recently set up my own PR business and it’s the best thing I’ve done in my career to
date. I should also add at this point, that it wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have such great
support around me. Being a mum and building my business is challenging but I am very
fortunate that my career allows me to do both and both are so rewarding.


Q3. Have you settled into a routine with your little one? If so, how easy has it been?
Yes. This was the one thing that we were quite strict with from an early stage. We always
did the same bedtime routine at the same time and nap times were in his cot, usually
around the same time most days. This was hard at first - he’d have happily slept cuddling me
all day. As lovely as that is, that was not going to happen… I was firm with this, and it has
paid off in the long run, as he’s a great sleeper.
Now that Alfie’s a bit older we aren’t as strict with timings, but he does have a long nap in
the afternoon each day and goes to bed around 7.30pm every night. We still do the same
routine, usually bath, cereal for supper, story and bed. We change it up when we’re out for
a special occasion or on holiday.

Q4. What's surprised you most about motherhood?
Just how much I love it! Obviously, I knew I loved kids, but I’ve actually surprised myself in a
lot of ways. I’m stronger than I thought. It has given me a new kind of confidence. I didn’t
think I’d adjust quite as well as I have. Yes, it’s not easy and I am shattered a lot but he’s my
best little pal (he doesn’t judge me and laughs at my silly faces). We’ve done so much
together already and I love our adventures.

Q5. Do you think social media portrays motherhood correctly?
Erm, yes and no. There are lots of inspiring women shouting about the highs and the lows of
motherhood. Social media is incredibly powerful, but it does sometimes give a false sense of
reality – you are only ever seeing someone’s highlight reel, a carefully curated selection of
their best bits. I think that’s in general though, not just around motherhood... I suppose it
depends on who you follow and knowing to take some things you see on social media with a
pinch of salt. My favourites to follow at the moment are Mother Pukka, I believe in
everything she’s campaigning for and Stacey Solomon, she seems like an all-round good egg.


Q6. How do you feel about your postpartum body?
I almost don’t want to be honest on this one – I’m pretty happy with it. Luckily, I didn’t put
on much weight when I was pregnant, so I didn’t have much to lose and I didn’t get any
obvious stretch marks. I don’t think the truckload of Burt’s Bees oil that I applied each night
had anything to do with it, I believe it was just good luck and genetics - I don’t think I’ll be as
lucky second time around!

Q7. What's been your favourite memory so far on your parenting journey?
Taking Alfie on holiday to Mexico!! After just about surviving the 10-hour flight with an 18-
month-old (I know, we’re mad), we had a wonderful time. The hotel resort was like a
tropical jungle, there was so much wildlife everywhere you looked… my favourite memory is
Alfie seeing the iguanas and little lizards each day on our walk to breakfast and teaching him
to say IG-UAN-A.
Come evening, he was the first up on the dancefloor for the mini disco. Watching him
dancing and being so confident was so lovely, it almost brought a tear to my eye.


Q8. How do you feel you've changed since becoming a parent?
I don’t think I’m as tolerant with people’s b***sh** - I never put up with much before
having kids, but I put up with even less now. I don’t have time for mean spirited, selfish
people. Life’s too short for that. But I would say my heart is much bigger for the people I
love and who love me. Having your own little family puts a lot of things into perspective and
has made me appreciate what I have.

Q9. Whats been your proudest motherhood moment?
I take Alfie to swimming lessons every week; I get so much joy watching him, he’s so
confident in the water and loves swimming. A proud moment was when he had a little back
float on for the first time and he jumped in and swam back to the side on his own. The back
float doesn’t work like armbands - they will sink if they don’t move their little arms and legs,
so he was really going for it!!
I’ve also been so proud of how well he speaks, I have proper conversations with him now,
he’s such a good little chatter. A stand-out moment was when Alfie told me that the Lego
dinosaur was in fact a Triceratops, said word perfect! That was pretty ace. I then had to
check with his Daddy that it was a Triceratops!

Q10. Looking to the future, what are you most excited for your little one to experience?
Just life in general. We have a few years to wait yet but I’m already intrigued about what job
he’s going to do. He’s such a busy and sociable little chap, so I’m excited to see what he’ll
become…he loves being outdoors, using his hands and playing with bricks and tools so he
could end up in quite a physical, manual trade but he’s also very strong with great balance
so he could be an athlete, anything from swimming to gymnastics, or ballet – who knows?!

Emma’s website: www.emmalouisepr.com
Instagram: @emmalouise_pr
Twitter: @emmalouisepr

Facebook: EmmaLouisePR

If you're wanting to get involved please feel free to DM me @__ClaireMac or send me an email to clairemacblog@gmail.com as I'd love for you to join the 'Mama's in Question' party bus.

You can answer whatever you feel comfortable answering, all I ask is that it's honest! I wan't to show others how flipping hard this parenting lark is!... Because I don't think we give ourselves enough credit for it! And we should! I'll of course be sharing the ish out of your social medias & blogs etc, so let's let loose, connect with one another and raise a glass to all those mamas just getting by!

Claire.X

AMELIA'S SWIMMING LESSON WITH LILYPAD SWIM.

Never in a million years, back when I started blogging, did I think I’d be getting myself invited to events, let alone mummy blogger events! Fast forward a couple of years later & here I am along with my daughter donning out bathing suits getting invited to a bloggers only swimming event at Lilypad Swim.


Mum holding baby wearing swimsuits.

Lilypad Swim is an independent swim school based in Thurlstone, South Yorkshire that has very recently celebrated its third birthday.
Situated in the most picturesque village, the views were enough to get my exicted about the swimming experience.
I’ve not actually been to Thurlstone before, but it definitely feels like one of those places to browse Rightmove for after visiting.


Lilypad Swim, Thurlstone West Yorkshire.

Lilypad Swim, Thurlstone, West Yorkshire.

Dan & I started taking Amelia to swimming lessons with Turtletots when she was two weeks old - That’s right, she was a mere 14 days old!
I’ve spoken about it before, but in hindsight this was probably a bit too early for us as she slept the whole way through the first month or so of lessons. That being said I do think our eagerness to get her into water has helped with her confidence in the pool, as well as bath time which is a bonus.
She was the youngest in the class by quite a bit as the other babies were 4 months+ and you could see how much more interactive they were & how heightened the emotions were at being in the water.


We stopped our lessons with Turtletots at around 10 weeks old & have since been taking Amelia to our local pool however this has only been on a handful of occasions so I was really looking forward to getting her back in the pool as I believe it offers so many benefits, for both her & myself.


Benefits of taking your baby swimming from an early age.
1. Encourages water safety.
2. Boosts confidence for both parents & babies.
3. Improves muscle strength.
4. Encourages bonding & interaction between parent & baby.
5. Strengthens baby’s heart, lungs & brain development.
6. Helps improve balance & coordination.
7. Essential life skill.


Mum and baby at swimming baths wearing swimsuits.

Lilypad Swim was founded by senior teacher Anna Bushell to offer bespoke, flexible swimming lessons for children as young as a couple of weeks old, right up until they’re around 8. She wanted to offer classes that are tailored to the ability to each child, which means during each lesson there could be a 2 week old baby, a 2 year old toddler & a 4 year old child - I was surprised (and admittedly a little dubious at first) by how the classes weren’t divided into age categories as this is something we were accustomed to during our first group of swimming lessons with Amelia, but it really worked - All of our children were doing similar activities based on their abilities - And it never felt like Amelia was getting left behind, with her being the youngest in the group!


It’s also worth mentioning that each swimming lesson has a maximum of four children attending which I think is brilliant and ensures that each child gets the level of care & attention they deserve. Our previous lessons had classes of six, which was absolutely fine, however it’s always nicer to have a smaller class & have a little more attention fixed on our children. Helen, who was our swimming teacher on the day put so much focus and attention into Amelia, it was really lovely & something I think is definitely important especially when it comes to trust in the water.


During the 30 minute lesson Amelia & I joined in with lots of fun filled activities & songs. The whole singing thing still cringes me out to no end, but I suppose it’s all part of parenting & seeing my little girl's face light up singing the pancake song makes it all worth it. It’s just one of those things I think you need to get over, in order to fully enjoy the session - And we definitely did that!

Baby coming up from underwater.
 Mum and baby in swimming baths

My favourite part of the lesson was towards the end when Amelia swam underwater. I was a little nervous at first as she’s done it before when she was around 6 weeks old & she cried her little heart out. But I needn't have worried… Fast forward six months & she handled it like an absolute boss!


I was such a proud mama!


Lilypad Swim’s new term starts from Monday 9th September so if you’d like to book in, or receive more information you can enquire here.


Have you taken your little one swimming? At what age did you start?


Claire.X