A parenting & lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.


I’d like to think as a late twenty-something year old woman that I’m accepting of who I am as a person, I’ve grown & developed, but something I’m not so great at is being kind to myself.

I’m writing this blog post after a huge pang of self-doubt at the ungodly hour of 4:30am - Thanks Amelia!

Let me set the scene - There I was pacing the downstairs of my house, trying to soothe my baby after a good 30 minute crying sesh - Yet again, thanks Amelia! Tears were streaming down my face, I was rocking the 5 hours sleep look (that’s a regular thing over here) and my mind was going into overdrive…
* Why can’t I soothe my baby?
* When am I actually going to get a full eight hours sleep?
* Who am I other than this little idiots mum? (I don’t actually think she’s an idiot, it’s just at the time I thought she was being a total dick!)
* Why won’t she sleep?
* Why whenever I have a bit of free time do I never do things for myself?
* When will I ever get the hang of this parenting/life balance thing?
And so on and so forth… I’m sure every parent has these pangs of self-doubt… Especially at stupid o clock in the morning when all you want is a bit of peace & quiet or a cosy bed to get tucked up into.

Any who it didn’t take too much longer for the negativity to vanish and for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Said light being the idea that I need to be kinder to myself.

I’ve always been like this. On the outside I think I’m quite a chilled person, I take things in my stride and people often comment on how like me they wish they were. All sounds good right? Well it’s a facade. Or partly anyway. Yes I am super chilled and laid back, but I’m also the sort of person that massively gets dragged down my negativity, whether it’s my own or anyone else’s - And as soon as I get myself on that lonely negativity train, I find it really difficult to get off!

So why aren’t I kinder to myself? Truth of the matter is, is that I don’t actually know?... If it was anyone else I’d have advice coming out of my arse (not literally) and I’d be kind and supportive to that person, but when it comes to myself I’m my own worst enemy. I think in my heart of hearts I think I’ve got too much going on to even think about being kinder to myself, when in reality this probably isn’t true – I just need to re-evaluate my priorities!
Now this is easier said than done, especially with a 3 month baby in tow, but there are a few ways I’m going to try and be kinder to myself.

Give myself recognition.
I’ve quickly learnt that being a parent is definitely the hardest job in the world. I knew it would be difficult, and even though it’s single handily the best thing we’ve ever done I didn’t realise just how hard it was going to be. I’ve spoken before on here and across my Instagram in particular of how I’ve struggled adjusting to my new life - The good days are amazing and the hard days are soul destroying, luckily the good massively outweighs the bad, but what I’m doing here looking after my baby solely for ten hours a day is a fucking achievement! We’re still alive, I’ve not pulled my hair out yet (don’t get me started on post-partum hair loss) and we’re actually pretty good at getting out and about and mingling with real people. I say real people because it feels like I’m in my own little bubble most days where it’s just me, Amelia and the pupper. Eeek!

I’d like to think my baby thinks I’m a brilliant mother, my husband tells me so every day, so maybe I actually need to start listening to him… Change the habit of a lifetime (sorry Dan) and actually take the compliments he gives me and give myself recognition.

Taking time out for myself.
I think as a mother, heck even as a woman there’s a massive pressure for us to have our shit together! We’ve all seen that meme where it says ‘trying to be a mom, excel in my career, maintain a social life, drink enough water’ etc etc etc – Well it’s very much true, and what I’m struggling with here is that when I do find I’ve got a spare half an hour I’m making the tea, or I’m emptying the dishwasher, I’m not actually doing anything for myself. It’s quite sad really, and thinking about it always sends me down that dreaded negativity path. Dan’s brilliant when he gets in from work or on weekends when he’s home as he’s very hands on with Amelia but I just can’t help myself potter around the house tidying & making everything spick and span. Don’t ask me why I do it, it’s not like we’re getting a visit from the Queen or anything - I think this is going to be the hardest habit for me to shake off!

Time out for myself means having a bath, a proper bath, not one of those quick dips before the baby starts crying type baths. Tonight I’m going to be filling the tub pretty much to the brim, popping in every bath product I can find and not coming out until I look like a prune!

Forgiving myself & my emotions.
Like I say I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to being kind to myself. I’m awful at it! And when I’m in my darkest times I can’t help but sob my absolute heart out. It’s not pretty, not by a long shot, but it’s what happens every God damn time. I cry because I’m upset, then I cry even more because I’m upset at myself getting upset. You see where I’m going wrong here don’t you.

What I need to learn to do is forgive myself and my emotions. It’s okay to have a cry and tell people about it on the internet, hence this blog post! And to be honest I think we all probably need to be a little more honest about our emotions.

Treating myself.
I can’t help but think of Parks & Recreation as I typed that bit out. Treat yo’self! Anyway, before I had Amelia a treat to me, from me would always involve spending a fair amount of money, which now I’m on a maternity wage isn’t all that achievable. And to tell you something I’m frigging hating it!... I hate not being able to afford the weekly shop, I hate having just about enough money to cover my side of the mortgage & I hate that the vast majority of the things we spend our lives doing in this day and age is dictated by money! But that’s a story for another day.

What I’m learning to do is treat myself in different ways, the ASOS hauls have been swapped for a Greggs coffee & cake meal deals (of which I’m having quite a few of these days – eek!) and now the weather’s getting a bit nicer I’m treating myself to dog free walks! I’d never have done this pre-baby. Who even goes outside just to get outside? Well me, now! And it’s brilliant to just totally switch off & to get in touch with both my surroundings and myself.

Taking care of myself.
Okay, so when I think of someone who takes care of themselves I think of someone who eats healthily, works out regularly and someone who doesn’t burn the candle at both ends. Now it doesn’t take a genius to realise that I am none of these people… But what’s good is that I want to be one of those people! I’m never going to be the person who only eats kale, or who pounds away in the gym 24/7, but I’m consciously making a few lifestyle changes to ensure I’m looking after myself. I still eat cheesy chips but I’m definitely packing the veggies more on my plate when it comes to meal times, and I’m cooking a lot more in general now rather than relying on something which is quick & easy. I’m also spending half an hour on an afternoon joining in with a Zumba lesson on youtube, much to my little girls pleasure, she finds it very amusing watching mammy doing silly dance moves and jumping around… My pelvic floor on the other hand! My god, nobody tells you about that after you’ve had a baby. I’ve nearly wet myself on a few occasions getting a bit too into it! As for burning the candle at both ends, this is something I still need to work on as my brain will literally not chill the fuck out – It’s so annoying! Please throw some tips my way!

As I’ve already started implementing change into taking care of myself I can definitely see the change, and even though there’s some way to go, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Telling myself I am enough.
Well that’s a bit deep isn’t it! I’ll keep this one short & sweet because I don’t want to get too bogged down in the emotional side of this one, but essentially I am enough… I’m not superwoman… I’m never going to be superwoman, and that’s totally okay.

Yes I have flaws, don’t we all, but I also have some qualities which make me a pretty good person – And that’s enough.

Believing in myself.
Last but no means least & probably the hardest nut to crack for me is believing in myself! I’ve struggled with believing in myself for as long as I can remember, I’m pretty sure it’s etched somewhere inside of me saying nope nope nope. I think success is equal parts hard work and believing in yourself and unfortunately I think the latter is somewhat holding me back. My husband is the most supportive person and is always telling me to believe in myself when I’m having down days. But there’s always something at the back of my mind niggling away thinking that he has to say that because he’s my husband. It’s such a difficult one!

If I’m totally honest I don’t quite know how to tackle believing in myself– I can only try!

Being kinder to myself has always been at the back of my mind, which I suppose is the problem here. I know I need to do it, but I’m just not doing it. I’ve started changing my lifestyle in small amounts to ensure I’m becoming kinder to myself, but I’m very much aware that there’s quite a way to go!
Wish me luck!

Are you kind to yourself?


Have you read any other of my more personal blog posts?
Mourning my pre-baby self.
Why University put me off my dream career.
Adjusting to my pregnancy body.


I’ve come to realise that the vast majority of hospital bag posts have been written pre-baby and although interesting & insightful, they don’t give that ‘real life’ quality that could be achieved though writing post-baby. And this is what I’m bringing for you today.

What we packed in our hospital bag & what we actually needed.

We packed our hospital bag when I was around 36 weeks pregnant, which is when midwive’s typically advise you to do so - Little did we know at that time we’d still have five weeks left to go before we could put it to good use.

We looked at countless hospital bag guides that advised us which sort of bag to use as well as what to pack – Packing was usually split into three sections; Things for me, things for the baby & things to pass the time.

The bag.
After spending numerous nights googling hospital bags and to be honest feeling a little disheartened at how expensive they all were, we stumbled across a brand that ticked all of the boxes. We discovered Lekebaby on Amazon, a brand which makes practical but still super cute bags, which after nights of searching was pretty hard to come by. We opted for the satchel style which is lovely, but in hindsight we should have probably bought the rucksackstyle, just from a practicality point of view. The satchel is quite big and bulky, which is great for keeping all the baby crap you seem to accumulate in (because you WILL accumulate that shit) but not so great for actually carrying on your shoulder for long periods of time. 
We’re lucky because the Uppababy Cruz pram we have has a huge carry section underneath so we just bung the bag under there and it fits perfect but for carrying purposes I think a rucksack would be way more comfortable.
I’d definitely stick with the same brand though and will probably end up buying the rucksack a few years down the line when Amelia isn’t as reliant on her pram. The simple reason I’d stick with the Lekebaby brand is that even now, three months down the line we’re still discovering new pockets and compartments to the bag we have – And you’ll discover that literally the more pockets the better when it comes to hiding all of that baby crap!

Things for me.
I think comfort is key when you’re about to go into hospital and after reading ‘your baby your birth’ by Hollie De Cruz I went into the birthing room wanting to make it as homely as possible.
I’d packed a long line capped sleeved top from Primark (two sizes too big) to wear during the birthing process which proved really useful – I was a bit nervous going in that I was going to lose all of my dignity during childbirth so wanted something loose and comfortable to wear to try and save whatever dignity I’d have left… And this did the trick! I’d packed a couple of pairs of pyjamas too for afterwards, but truth be told I didn’t wear them, I spent the rest of the day braless in another baggy tshirt and some mens joggers from primark.

Speaking of braziers, I’d packed two maternity bras which I never ended up wearing… When it came to feeding Amelia I just whipped a boob out and she got herself all cosy in the excess fabric of my two sizes too big longline tee.

I’d read a lot of guides which advise you to take lip balm to combat dry mouth when you’re gas & air. I asked Dan to apply lip balm to my lips twice during childbirth, so I would say it is useful to take with you, but what I’d recommend more is juice…. And lots of it! We took two bottles with the intention of having one for me and one for Dan, when truthfully I had them both & could have probably done with another two. Eeek! We went for ones with a sports cap too, which was a life saver when I was in full on angry beast childbirth mode.

As well as lip balm I took a few extra beauty products with the idea that after popping this child out of me I deserve a bit of a pamper… How wrong I was! You won’t have time for that shit! I took makeup, moisturiser & massage oils, all of which didn’t really get a look in. I was too in love with my baby and the family we’d then become that I didn’t give a rats ass about how I looked.

I made sure to pack plenty of maternity pads, but in all honesty I didn’t realise how many I’d actually go through. As minging as this sounds I’d never really thought about what else was to come out of me other than my baby, and the fact I’d be needing to change pads every two hours definitely took me by surprise! I packed disposable pants too (yes they’re as sexy as they sound) but didn’t end up using them, I’d been living in those packs of Primark pants before birth & they didn’t fail me afterwards… You’ll (as well as my husband) be pleased that these pants no longer live in my wardrobe – They’ve been banished to the bin!­­

Other articles I’d read included taking a tens machine, which to be honest I never bothered looking into in that much detail. I’m glad I didn’t buy one though as I really didn’t need it to get me through the birthing process & it would have been a complete waste of money; and when you’re living on a maternity wage, every penny saved helps!

Something we should have taken, and this is peak parenting… Is a couple of plastic bags for dirty clothes, blood stained clothes, baby pee stained clothes - You get the jist!

Things for baby.
We took way too many clothes for baby, like it was actually ridiculous, although I do think it’s better to over pack than under pack, we took things to the extreme. We packed three bodysuits, three sleepsuits, three tops, three bottoms & so on and so forth. We even took two pairs of boots… Which looking back now is totally stupid! A newborn baby isn’t going to get dressed up in full on outfits! Ooops! During our time at the hospital Amelia only made use of two bodysuits and two sleepsuits, and to be honest she only wore the second  outfit due to peeing all over us during her first nappy change.

For changing we took nappies, bags, wipes & cream – The usual stuff all the guides tell you to take. For us this one was quite straight forward and we made use out of everything we took.
I decided I wanted to breastfeed so didn’t take any bottles or formula with us, which In hindsight probably wasn’t the best idea, just incase Amelia couldn’t latch on, or I couldn’t get along with it – It’s probably a good idea to pack something for those ‘just in case’ moments.

Something we could have done extra with is blankets. We only took one, but it got drenched during the pee fountain we had to deal with. We probably have about ten different ones now at home, all of which get used so often – I definitely think it’s worth taking a few extra. You could even use them for yourself because lord knows the hospital beds aren’t all that cosy.

Truth is babies don’t actually need all that much – Just warmth, love & grub.

Things to pass the time.
We read so many guides that advised us to take everything but the kitchen sink pretty much when it came to passing the time, things such as phones, laptops, music or books, but when it comes down to it, you will literally have NO time to do any of this!

Throughout my 23 hour labour, I must have picked my phone up only a handful of times, and as soon as Amelia was here I only used it to take photos of her. Proud mam and all that! If I took anything else it would have been a total waste.

We packed a couple of drinks which I’ve already noted that we could have done with double the amount; But we also packed a couple of snacks too – Power food – Such as breakfast bars, banana’s and oranges, which we managed to make our way through pretty quickly, we could have definitely done with more... After leaving the delivery suite and making our way onto the ward it became apparent that it would only be myself that would be fed, thankfully the meals were quite generous so Dan & I managed to share them between us both, but we could have definitely done with extra food, especially for him after I’d given birth.

In conclusion I do think it’s useful to gather as much information as possible when it comes to packing your hospital bag, and I do think it’s better to overpack, but what I think there should be more of is hands on experiences from women after they’ve given birth reflecting on what they’d packed. I should have probably written up a blog post before I had Amelia for comparison, but hey ho, we live and learn… I’ll do it for the next one!... Although you may be waiting a good few years before that happens again… Because parenting is HARD!

What did you pack in your hospital bag that you didn’t use?


Have you read my other Pregnancy & Child birth posts?


Having a baby is tough & the sleepless nights are really taking a toll on me, but never in a million years did I think I was feeling anything more than tired… That was until I was diagnosed with sleep deprivation! Zzzz!

I hardly ever go to the Doctors as I feel I can always ‘power through’ anything that’s wrong with me - I don’t like to waste their time and I’d much rather opt for natural remedies over something medicinal however last week enough was enough!

I was on day six of having a constant headache, I had relentless eye strain and I’d felt totally run down & to be honest I think at this point Dan had had enough of me whinging - He pretty much forced me to book a doctor’s appointment.
I wouldn’t in any way say I have anxiety when it comes to my health, however I was getting to the stage, almost a week in, where I was thinking something might seriously be wrong with me. This worsened throughout the week as I’d developed a rash on my forearm, so of course little old me along with a bit of help from Dr. Google (which is the worst thing you can do btw) was self-diagnosed with meningitis!

Spoiler alert… It wasn’t meningitis.

I was a little bit nervous going in, but lucky enough to have a really lovely doctor who listened to everything I was saying with compassion - She did thorough tests on me, checking my eyes, blood pressure, oxygen levels (it was almost like having a mini mot) and eventually diagnosed me with sleep deprivation. It’s safe to say I was feeling a little bit stupid, and I did feel like I’d sort of wasted her time, however at least I knew it was nothing too serious, my mind was totally put at ease and I just needed a bit of kip!

This got me thinking about how I could help myself into getting a better night sleep.

We’ve been trying to nail a night time routine with Amelia over the last few weeks, and to be honest it's actually working... So why shouldn’t I apply that logic to myself? 
Reading has always sent me to sleep, I don’t know what it is, but once I get comfy and curled up on the sofa under the lamp, it doesn’t take long for me to start yawning and falling peeps. I’ve started re-reading Harry Potter & the philosophers stone a couple of evenings a week & it’s definitely helping me. Sometimes it doesn’t totally get me to sleep, but it certainly relaxes me which I think is half of the battle, when it comes to life with a baby.

Stepping away from my phone.
I’m a typical millennial in the sense that my life is basically on my smart phone. It’s the first thing I check on a morning (if the baby isn’t awake or crying of course – I’m not that bad) and the last thing I check at night. Writing that, I don’t even know why I’m surprised of my sleep deprivation diagnosis! Eeek! Since having Amelia I’ve definitely reduced the time spent attached to my phone, and there are some evenings I don’t even touch it. I’d still say there was room for improvement, but let’s face it, it’s difficult as a blogger to prise myself away from the thing.

Swapping caffeine for H2O.
I’ve always been bad when it comes to drinking water, but after my doctor’s orders I’ve definitely upped my intake. I’ve probably drank more water in the last week or so than I have all year. My usual drink of choice is a coffee… And a strong one at that, which I know is one of the worst things when it comes to getting a good night sleep. I can’t totally go cold turkey it comes to caffeine, I just can’t (don’t @ me) and I still have a cup on a morning, but throughout the day I mostly drink water or decaf tea - And so far I think it's working wonders.

Fresh bedding.
Of course I’m not changing my bedding on a nightly basis, but it is getting changed more than usual at the moment. I love getting into a freshly changed bed, even more so now I’ve changed our washing powder to a lavender scented one… Most adult thing ever said... Saying that I think a nicely made bed is just as nice to get into so I'm making a constant effort to make the bed as soon as we get out of it on a morning, fluff the pillows and make it as homely and as comfortable as possible.

Tub time.
I’ve always been a bath person, however since my diagnosis I’m taking tub time a bit more serious. On an evening while Dan has Amelia, I take myself upstairs to the bathroom and have a good solid hour to myself where I can relax and unwind in a bath tub full to the brim of bubbles. At the moment I’m using all sorts of lotions and potions up there, more is definitely more for me right now, the Aldi bubble bath is one of my favourites as well as bath oils from Lush & Aromatherapy.
I’m quite a chilled person on the outside however I think in my home life and what’s going on in my head is much different - And its's what's got me in the sleep deprived state I'm in! Balancing looking after a baby, our home, making sure the dog gets plenty of walks & somehow keeping this blog updated is somewhat difficult to say the least, and I think it took me going to the doctors to realise that I needed to chill the F out!

I still feel silly for going, but am so glad my diagnosis was nothing serious and truth be told it’s changed my mind set on this whole balance act of life malarkey for the better!

Have you got any tips for catching up on sleep?



I feel like things have been baby, baby, baby around here recently (as has my entire life) but as she’s getting a bit older & I’m regaining a bit of ‘me time’ back I wanted to talk to you about the goodies in my life, the six makeup products I repurchase time & time again.

I’m quite flippant when it comes to beauty products. I fall for the fancy new marketing schemes & more often than not decide to purchase something new & exciting rather than stick to what I know. Every so often though a product has come into my life where I’m just like ‘WOW’ & I know it’s something I can’t do without.

It’s these show stoppers which I’m going to run through with you. I’d love to know if you’ve used any of them before, or equally if there’s any products you can’t live without.

The Body Shop Matte Clay Skin Clarifying Foundation – Railay Beach 014.
This foundation is only relatively new to my collection, but I’ve nearly finished my second bottle & am ready to buy a third. I first bought this on a bit of a whim, I’d never really tried any of The Body Shop makeup before other than swatching different pieces at their events & If I’m honest I don’t even know why I picked this up, but I’m SO glad that I did. It’s relatively high coverage, but also very buildable, so good for those natural makeup days but also for when you’re wanting a more flawless finish. The foundation lasts really well & I never have to worry about reapplying with this one – It’s brilliant & if you like a more mattifying look when it comes to your base it’s one I really think you should try. I’m certainly glad I did.

Loreal Paris Lip Paint – Nudeist 212
The beauty product I’m most flippant with is lipsticks, you should see my collection, I’ve got more than 50 at least, so never in a million years did I think I’d buy the same shade twice… Until I came across this one. I have brights in my collection, but ultimately I’m a nude kind of gal, but what I love most about this one is that it has a purple/mauve tone to it. I think it’s an amazing colour, granted it looks better with a tan, but even without I think it’s bloody brilliant. The texture’s brilliant, the applicators brilliant… The whole bloody thing is bloody brilliant – I just love it! And I love the way it makes me feel wearing it.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer – Fair.
I bought this mega hyped product many many moons ago now & to be honest, I haven’t looked back since. In fact, I don’t think I’ve bought another concealer since. I’m amazed by that! I’ve never thought about that up until now. I don’t think I need to say anything else about this little tube of goodness, just look t the state of the tube - I've definitely gotten some good use out of it. It’s obvious I love it & it’s obvious It’s amazing! I’m sure you’ll have already tried it, it’s probably in your collection already I bet?

I was very kindly gifted the Rimmel contour stick when it first came out and have since been back and bought a couple more, heck I even bought one for my sister as a Christmas present one year – That’s how much I like it. I’m not a massive fan of the highlight stick, but the contour shade more than makes up for it. I use shade light which works perfectly for my skin tone, it’s not ashy in the slightest, and gives my face a more chiselled & defined look. It’s super duper easy to apply and blends like a dream. For a drugstore product it certainly feels high end.

I (along with everybody else) first bought Velvet Teddy back in the Kylie Jenner hype days & really I haven’t looked back since. As I said beforehand I’m a nude lipstick gal through and through but what’s so special about Velvet Teddy is that it’s my Wedding Day lipstick. I originally wanted to go out and buy myself a super fancy, super expensive, treat type of lipstick, but when it came to it, nothing really stood out - That was until a random day before our Wedding when I was wearing Velvet Teddy & I realised it’s the shade I go to back to time and time again… Why shouldn’t it be my Wedding Day lipstick. I loved it before & I love it even more now – I’ll always repurchase Velvet Teddy as it now brings lots of happy memories. I love wearing it! Do any of you guys have a lipstick that evokes special memories?

Soap & Glory Archery – Dark Chocolate.
A couple of months ago I’d actually ran out of Archery, and would you believe me if I said my life nearly ended? Okay, that’s a massive exaggeration, but I really did feel lost without it. I remember a time where brows weren’t ever part of my makeup routine, but now it’s my favourite & most crucial part. I’ve tried similar products to this one, but always come back to Archery as not only does it work amazingly well, but it’s super affordable too! The wax nib is tapered which is great for filling in hairs at the beginning of the brow but also amazing for creating a super precise tail. It’s bloody brilliant! I love it!

So there’s my six holy grail products. I may dip in and out of them and opt for other alternatives but I always make my way back around to these seven amazing products.

I’m a huge drugstore & high street type of gal (if you couldn’t tell) and the reason why I love all of these products is that you certainly get that bang for your buck with them!

Have you used any of these products before? What are the beauty products you repurchase?