CLAIRE MAC

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

REDEFINING MY PERSONAL STYLE SINCE BECOMING A MUM.

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

It's safe to say that since becoming a mum, my personal style had pretty much gone out of the window & it's only in the last couple of months that I've started to feel like my usual self again.

Pre-baby I was always quite slim, I had a pretty decent waist and although I was never 100% body confident, I'd say I was pretty happy with how I looked.
Over the last year my body has ballooned to accommodate for a growing baby and even though I found adjusting to my pregnancy body pretty difficult to begin with, towards the latter end of my pregnancy I was more body confident than ever - I loved my curvaceous baby bump!
Fast forward to having Amelia & I was left with a body which I can only describe as deflated & flat as a fart - I'm all for mums being real & celebrating their post partum bodies, Stacey Solomon does an absolute killer job at this, but for me it's something I found quite difficult - I'd say it took me a good 6-7 months to feel like me again.

And that was down to redefining my personal style.

I set up a Pinterest board (corny I know), pinning everything I wanted my new style to look like, and surprisingly I had the vast majority of it in my wardrobe, I just didn't know how to utilise it... I'm blaming baby brain on that one!

I'd like to think my style is casually tailored. I like blazers & long line coats with sharp lapels, but I also like grunging my look up with a pair of trainers and a slouchy white slogan tee. When I'm at home being mum, I like to be as comfortable as possible, so I've been selecting things for my new wardrobe that are essentially the best of both worlds - Let's get stuck into a couple of newbies in my wardrobe.

The black cropped jumper*.


Never in a million years after having a baby did I think I'd be into wearing cropped tops or jumpers and showing a bit of mum tum, but hey, here I am - It's not actually very often anymore that I'm not wearing something that isn't cropped.

I love the high waited trousers and cropped tee look!... And you'll be surprised at the multiple of sins a pair of high waisted trousers will cover.

I chose the Mila cropped long sleeve jumper in my usual size and although at first I thought it was too oversized for me, I've actually come to love it! I think the oversized fit adds to the effect of the jumper & I actually can't imagine it being any smaller on me - I love the fit of it!

Because the jumper is jet black too, it'll go with absolutely everything in my wardrobe. I've definitely gotten pickier since having Amelia when it comes to clothes buying, as I want my pieces to be multifunctional & I think that's exactly what this jumper is.





The white slogan tee*.


I think everyone needs a white slogan tee in their wardrobe! Whether you're wearing your slogan loud and proud or your using your tee as an extra layer under a nice thick knit, I think a tee like this Alyssa sweet but psycho t-shirt is essential.

I ordered the top in my usual size again and I do feel it comes up quite oversized, however because it's a stretchy fabric I'm able to tie the bottom in a knot & wear it like the model did on the Femme Luxe website - Something I've never actually done before (woe is me right?) but a style I'm actually kind of digging!

I've paired my tee pretty simply with a pair of high waisted tapered jeans, and my new black military style boots. This is an every day type of look for me, and I think fuses the two casual, yet tailored styles together perfectly.





The 'put together' loungewear set*.


Black is the new black right?

As soon as I saw the Asia belted loungewear set I knew I had to have it! As I previously mentioned, because I'm at home quite a lot of the time with my little girl so I need clothing items that are going to be comfy and practical, but I also want them to look cute... And that's exactly what I've got here.

What I love about loungewear sets like this is that they take absolutely no thought whatsoever - I can just throw it on & instantly look like I'm put together & I mean business.

I have to admit I was surprised by the material of the Asia loungewear set as it reminds me of football shirt material, that being said, I do still really like the set. I think it's a very flattering fit & I can't wait to keep wearing it & feeling boujee when I'm at home drowning in brightly coloured plastic baby toys.





I've been buying a few other bits and pieces recently, I think my Pinterest board has well & truly made me want to spend every last penny I have on clothes -Today I just wanted to show you the pieces I was kindly gifted by Femme Luxe Finery & talk a little about how my styles changed since becoming a mum.

How has your personal style changed since becoming a mum? Do you even have one?... It took me a long time to find mine!

Claire.X


All items marked with a * have been gifted to me - All words & opinions are my own.

MAMA IN QUESTION: CHERYL FLOUNDERS.

Welcome to my 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... & we're all just winging it!
Details of how you can get involved will be down below.


Mama: Cheryl Flounders.
Children: Lissia Daisy (2 years old) Jesse George (7 weeks old).


Q1. What's one thing you said you wouldn't do as a parent that you 
definitely have done?

I thought I would be a lot stricter when it came to things like sugar and watching TV! That’s not to say I let Lissi binge on chocolate and watch cartoons all day, but I think everything in moderation is fine. It’s amazing how a tantruming toddler can suddenly switch to little angel when the offer of a chocolate button is made! 

Q2. What's been the hardest thing about motherhood so far?
With Lissia it was the sleep deprivation - she didn’t start sleeping through consistently until about 18 months and still wakes once a week.
I distinctly remember in our last NCT session going around the room and each person saying what they feared most about parenthood, all of the women said childbirth and I said the lack of sleep - think I jinxed myself! Sleep wasn’t great during my latest pregnancy either, so having not had a full night of unbroken sleep in over two years, having a newborn currently wake me each night is no big deal.
What I wasn’t prepared for, with either, is the worry and mum guilt!
 

Q3. Have you settled into a routine with your little one? If so, how 
easy has it been?

With Lissi, yes, though she has pretty much dropped her nap at home now (nightmare!) so that’s changed things again. Since being a baby she has preferred to have some sort of consistency in each day with regards to eating and sleeping.
Jesse is too young for a routine yet, but I’d like to establish a bit of one with him at around three months. For now, we’re just being led by him with regards to feeds and sleep. Thankfully he’s not had any day/night confusion like many newborns do.

Q4. What's surprised you most about motherhood?
With both of my babies it was falling in love with them at first sight! I wasn’t expecting to be so over heels right away but as soon as they were placed in my arms that was it, utterly besotted!

Q5. Do you think social media portrays motherhood correctly?
I actually do, a lot of mums online are open about the struggles of motherhood as well as sharing the fun times. I think this is really important, to show a balance of the good and tough times because let’s be real, being a mum is no walk in the park.

Q6. How do you feel about your postpartum body?
I was lucky after Lissi to drop the pregnancy weight fairly quickly. I put this down to breastfeeding and joining a fitness class for mums and babies. The two hour walks with her in a pushchair to get her to nap really helped too (ha!). It’s a bit early to tell this time round but I’m happy with how my bump is shrinking - I did not enjoy the contractions during the first week of breastfeeding, which no-one warned me about with a second baby, it felt like being in labour again! But it seems to have helped.

Q7. What's been your favourite memory so far on your parenting journey?
Ooh, I have lots! Breastfeeding both has been a lovely experience.
For Lissi it has been watching her grow into a little girl, she’s very sociable and strong willed - it’s lovely to see her personality develop. It’s still early days with Jesse but we’ve started to get the first smiles and little noises, which are adorable.

Q8. How do you feel you've changed since becoming a parent?
I’m a lot more tolerant and patient. I definitely have a newfound respect for parents, until you are one, there’s no-way of knowing how much it changes your life. I also think I’m more appreciative of the little things in life.

Q9. What's been your proudest motherhood moment?
Lissi makes me proud most days, she’s such a little character. Seeing her with Jesse is lovely, she just wants to hold him and shower him with kisses! We recently had a parents’ evening at her nursery - she goes twice a week - and they presented us with a folder of photos and memories since she started a year ago, it was so amazing to see how she has got involved and joined in with all the activities and enjoyed every moment.

Q10. Looking to the future, what are you most excited for your little one to experience?
Lots! All the good things that life brings, family holidays and travel, new tastes, making friends… But I’m especially excited to see Lissia and Jesse start to interact with each other!

Cheryl's Socials.
Blog: www.iwantnevergets.me
Twitter: @_iwantnevergets
Instagram: @cherylflounders
Pinterest: cherylgoddard

If you're wanting to get involved please feel free to DM me @ClaireMacBlog 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

RETURNING TO WORK AFTER MATERNITY LEAVE.

Everybody I've spoken to has said that the transition back into work after maternity leave is so much easier than you'd actually expect; I didn't believe them at the time, but now I've completed my first month back at work, I couldn't agree more!


I decided to take a full year off from work to spend my maternity leave watching Amelia develop into the cheeky, charismatic & energetic little girl she has become. Even though it's been tough surviving on a maternity wage, I wanted to take as much time off as possible because you never know, I may never get the opportunity to again, so I've just got to go with it! Spending the year skint has been so worth it to experience this time with my first born baby.

That being said I think the longer time I've had off, the longer time I've had to stew over the fear of going back to work after maternity leave - In particular the last couple of weeks where the fear got really real! As someone who was always adamant about going back to work, I was suddenly questioning my decisions & if I'm honest, I felt quite anxious about returning.

I needn't have worried.


Preparation.
One of my main concerns was the morning rush & how well I'd cope getting both myself and Amelia out of the house for 7.10am!
The biggest thing to combat getting flustered on a morning is preparation - Dan usually does the evening routine with Amelia so I spend the time wisely getting as ready as possible for the day ahead. I make sure her breakfast & lunch is prepared as well as having her bottles out ready on the kitchen side table to make up the next morning.
It sounds boring!... And it is... But it makes so much sense, as you'll be surprised just how quickly time goes on a morning before work.

Childcare.
Dan & I have no family around us where we live, so investing in the best possible childcare option for us was paramount.
I quickly began to realise that nursery wasn't going to work for us & we'd have to go down the route of leaving Amelia with a childminder. This was because when it came to nursery's there was either a half day or a full day option with nothing in-between, and because I finish work at 2pm it just wasn't going to be cost effective.
I spent quite a bit of time researching different childminders in the local area & eventually found Sharon. We began doing settling in sessions three weeks before I started work, where I'd leave her for an hour, and then two, and then three, gradually building it up so both Amelia & Sharon could get to know one another.
And so far so good! It's so reassuring to know that she's having a good time & she's getting just as much out of being without me as I am without her.

Routine.
One thing I thought was going to be inevitable before returning to work was that any routine we'd forged with Amelia was probably going to go well & truly out the window. And guess what... I was right!
If I'm totally honest, we still haven't nailed the 'mammy's at work now' routine & there's still days where I pick Amelia up from the childminders where I'm at a total loss for what to do with her. One of the most testing things I've found is getting Amelia back into a good napping routine - When I pick her up she's often so wired from being around other children & being so 'go go go' that she doesn't take her afternoon nap till around 5pm, which of course plays havoc for getting her to go to bed at a decent time.
I'm only a month in so far though, so we're both still learning - I'm hoping things will get better with time.


Mental health.
I've spoken before about the bittersweet isolation of motherhood & how it's had a negative effect on my mental health, but honestly going back to work has done me the world of good!
Although I was very anxious before returning, putting myself back into the adult work has been brilliant for my mental health. I love having a purpose other than being mama & I'm really enjoying having a bit of time to myself, albeit being at work.

Remembering my day job.
Remembering what to do in my job was another big worry for me!
I've joked on to many people over the last year, that taking time off work & immersing myself into the baby world has well & truly turned my brain to mush - I'm the first to say I'm not the brightest crayon in the pack, but my goodness, I thought I was going to return to work & be completely clueless.
I was wrong! Of course I was wrong!
Within an hour of walking through the door I was fully settled in again, and everything on my to do list had come flooding back to me... I could even feel myself getting annoyed at things that hadn't been done correctly while I was off - Not to toot my own horn or anything!

So here I am, a month into being a working mama & oh my goodness it's been tough, but it's also been the most rewarding four weeks! Although I know it's not for everyone, returning to work was a big thing for me! I've been so pleasantly surprised at how easy the transition's been & I'm looking forward to continuing this new avenue of life I've taken.

How have you found the work life / mum life balance?

Claire.X


MAMA IN QUESTION: CHARLOTTE THORNTON.

Welcome to my 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... And in reality, we're all just winging it! Details of how you can get involved will be down below.

Mama: Charlotte Thornton.
Baby: Rufus (6 months).


Q1. What's one thing you said you wouldn't do as a parent that you definitely have done?
Oh god hahah! I tried to be quite easy breezy in pregnancy, so I was a bit ‘never say never’. But I didn’t think I would use a dummy, stick the baby in front of CBeebies or checked to make sure he’s breathing 18 times a night... Basically, until you’ve lived motherhood, I really don’t think you can say what you will and won’t do... different strokes for different folks!

Q2. What's been the hardest thing about motherhood so far?
Feeding. Without a doubt. I bottle feed. I am still a huge advocate for breastfeeding, I think it’s amazing, but it wasn’t right for me and my son. Everyone thinks their way is the right way, but in reality every baby and every mother is different. There can’t be a one size fits all. I agonised and made myself ill stressing over the ‘right’ thing to do, when in reality the only people I needed to think about was me and Ru! 

Q3. Have you settled into a routine with your little one? If so, how easy has it been?
I think we’re kind of there? Ish? He’s not much of a napper, so it’s been really tough to try and find a routine that works. I feel like starting solids has helped though! It gives us more of an anchor through the day. It’s not fine tuned though - I want to sort out his afternoon nap as he often doesn’t go down until about 4 which is very dangerous territory! 

Q4. What's surprised you most about motherhood?
How vulnerable it makes you, while simultaneously making you the strongest you’ve ever been. One minute you’re sobbing uncontrollably because you can’t find the teething ring you need, the next you’re pulling faces at your baby trying to make him laugh.
I’ve overcome my own emotions so many times to be there for him, and I never fail to be surprised by how strong I can be. 

Q5. Do you think social media portrays motherhood correctly?
I think you have to curate the right community. If you follow ‘instaperfect’ Mums, then you’re never getting insight into the fact you’re exactly the same and totally unique at the same time. If something makes you feel rubbish, it shouldn’t be there. It’s easy to just follow and put up, but if you don’t like something you see, deffo do something about it! 

Q6. How do you feel about your post partum body?
Oh god. It's love hate. I am in awe at the fact my wobbly bits made my beautiful boy. But I don’t recognise myself. I had a c-section so I don’t really understand the weird pooch I have going on now, nor am I sure where to start getting back to myself. But for now, as long as my arms allow me to squeeze Rufus tight, I’m happy. 

Q7. What's been your favourite memory so far on your parenting journey?
HAHAHAHAAHA ok, so when Rufus was really tiny, in the middle of the night, we were just dozing off when we were jolted awake by this almighty ‘HA!’ I’m talking like Mrs Crabapple from the Simpsons in my Moses basket. It was just so ridiculous and I almost wet myself with laughter. Like, I had just had a baby, so it was a real possibility!!!. 

Q8. How do you feel you've changed since becoming a parent?
I think I’m a lot calmer, actually. I studied hypnobirthing, and I’ve taken a lot of that into my general life. I’m much more mindful and less anxious (as much as you can be with an anxiety disorder). I live in the moment much more - something I never thought I’d be able to do. 

Q9. What's been your proudest motherhood moment?
I feel it every day, when Rufus smiles at me. He reminds me that I’m doing something right. 

Q10. Looking to the future, what are you most excited for your little one to experience?
Books! Reading was always my favourite thing as a kid - I loved getting lost in different worlds (still do!) and would spend hours and hours exploring stories. I can’t wait until Rufus can experience that immersion himself, but for now, I will settle for reading to him - it’s my favourite thing in the world.

Charlotte's Socials.
Charlotte's blog: www.thehiveat28.com
Charlotte's instagram: @thehiveat28
Charlotte's twitter: @thehiveat28
Charlotte's facebook: thehiveat28

If you're wanting to get involved please feel free to DM me @ClaireMacBlog 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

MAMA IN QUESTION: ANNA BUSHELL.

Welcome to my 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... & we're all just winging it!
Details of how you can get involved will be down below.

Mama: Anna Bushell
Children: Charlie (12) & Evie (10)


Q1. What's one thing you said you wouldn't do as a parent that you definitely have done?
Swear in front of the children!!

Q2. What's been the hardest thing about motherhood so far?
Not beating myself up thinking I should be doing a better job - I’ve even had CBT over this.

Q3. Have you settled into a routine with your little one? If so, how easy has it been?
I always tried to get a routine, but then a developmental leap would happen, and it threw everything out the window. So it was just a case of trying to be consistent. I had a torrid time of trying to get Charlie to settle on his own. It felt like months of trying, but because I’m stubborn I persevered and in the long run it has paid off. Charlie is asleep now as soon as his head hits the pillow. He’s still an earlier riser though and always has been, regardless of what time he goes to bed!
Evie always took forever to go to sleep, but she could self-soothe from early on. At 10 she’s still a
night owl, but needs waking up in the morning and she is happy in her room, reading or pottering
until she’s ready to sleep.
I have a lark and an owl!



Q4. What's surprised you most about motherhood?
How much I’d beat myself up trying to be a better mum and compare myself to others.

Q5. Do you think social media portrays motherhood correctly?
That all depends on what you look at and who you follow. I’ve learnt that if I’m following someone who makes me feel inadequate then that’s not good for me and I stop following them. 
You are in control of your social media, it is not in control of you – we often forget this.

Q6. How do you feel about your postpartum body?
12 years on and I still have a saggy tyre from having 2 c-sections (sighs and rolls eyes!).
I do a lot of running now and have run the London Marathon & I teach children and babies to swim in my own swim school that I set up 3 years ago from scratch, so I am very active, but still can’t get rid of the ‘shelf’.



Q7. What's been your favourite memory so far on your parenting journey?
Wow, I have 12 years and two children of memories, that’s a super tough one. But probably making the kids giggle so much they get the hiccoughs!

Q8. How do you feel you've changed since becoming a parent?
I still stress that I’m doing right by my children, but I don’t stress about what other folk think of me anymore and woe betide anyone who upsets my child!

Q9. What's been your proudest motherhood moment?
When you’re told how compassionate, kind, caring and funny your children are. As far as I’m concerned there’s not enough kindness in the world, it costs nothing and can change lives.



Q10. Looking to the future, what are you most excited for your little one to experience?
Discovering the world and what a beautiful place it is, both here in the UK and abroad. I don’t want them to feel limited and I’d like them to believe that they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it, big or small. As long as they are happy with who they are, they don’t have to conquer the world.

Anna Bushell is the founder and senior swim teacher at Lilypad Swim.
www.lilypadswim.co.uk
Instagram: @lilypadswimyorkshire
Twitter: @lilypad_swim
Facebook: Lilypad Swim

If you're wanting to get involved please feel free to DM me @ClaireMacBlog 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