A parenting & lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

REDEFINING MY PERSONAL STYLE - THE WARDROBE OVERHAUL.

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

I've been racking my brains recently on ways I can push the clairemac brand to the next level & even though I whole heartedly believe that's through finding a kick ass niche (which I think I've found) there are still so many things I want to write about.

Things that I enjoy.

Things that make me feel like me again.

Things that make me feel like not just a mum.

And a big part of that is redefining my personal style.


Something seemed to click when I was around six to seven months postpartum, where I really came into my own fashion wise, I had a total wardrobe overhaul & I redefined my personal style.

I began by tweeting to the fashion Gods out there asking for the best way to transform my personal style & the first thing that came up was the idea that I needed a wardrobe overhaul & visualise how I wanted to present the new me.

I thought this was probably easier said than done, but I couldn't have been more wrong as the best way to do this was simply to create a personal style Pinterest board. I love this idea, and even now four months down the line I'm still adding to it - I've found it to be a huge help especially as we've transitioned from Autumn to Winter.


So what comes with a wardrobe overhaul?

There's the annoying bit to begin with where you get everything out of your wardrobe & start a fresh. Yes your bedroom will look like a shit tip for a little while, but it's honestly the best way & I actually found it quite therapeutic.
After you've taken all your clothes out of the wardrobe you should give things a wipe down and a bit of a spring clean, I even popped an air freshener in my wardrobe to make it feel extra fresh.

Do it gal - You won't regret it!

When it comes to reorganising clothes I always make three piles.
1. Keep
2. Bin
3. Donate

While I'm making my three piles I try & be really vigilant and quite harsh when it comes to what pieces make the cull. I'm thinking about how often I've worn pieces... And I mean actually worn them... If I've not worn that t-shirt I bought back in 2009 for the last year and a half, am I really going to wear it next week?... Unfortunately the answer is probably not, so I banish (harsh much?) it from my wardrobe & donate to my local charity shop.

I'm not claiming to be Marie Kondo or anything, but I only want pieces in my wardrobe that actually spark joy.

Then comes the fun part... Take a good look at your keep pile, figure out what you're missing & how you need to replenish. What are the necessities? What are you really lacking?

Then get shopping!

Although I prefer to buy from shops, I like to have a look online first & do a little bit of research before I go and drop my (lack of) dollar willy nilly - Lord knows surviving on a maternity wage is tough! I've found whilst browsing online that having my personal style Pinterest board open on another tab & comparing that to what I've put in my basket works wonders to really narrow down & defines my style.


What's new in this week?

I decided in the midst of my wardrobe overhaul to donate all of my skinny jeans to charity, because with my new postpartum body shape I just didn't feel comfortable in them anymore. I needed some more forgiving, less structured and essentially more comfortable denim which is why I began my hunt with Mom jeans. I chose the Cora midwash distressed mom jeans* as they ticked all of the boxes for me, they're comfortable, casual & I could definitely demolish a Christmas dinner wearing these!
They're slightly cropped with a distressed hem, but are also at a good length so they can also be rolled up & worn a little more tailored with a pair of black boots perhaps. I can definitely see myself getting a lot of wear out of these bad boys - Especially in summer with a pair of cute sandals.

I'm a sucker for anything that's cropped at the moment so a simple black tee like this Beno boxy fit crop top* is going to get so much wear in my new wardrobe. I'd never have thought post baby that I'd be comfortable showing my tum to the world, but I'm embracing it- Just because I've had a baby doesn't mean I shouldn't be able to show a bit of midriff. 


At this time of year layering is key, so with that in mind I decided to pick up a waterfall duster coat* to add to my coat collection. I already have a camel coloured long line coat however it's quite oversized and designed to be worn open, which can be pretty tricky during colder months.
Even though this one is a little thinner than it's predecessor, this new belted stone coloured addition will be my winter warming alternative. I've worn it a few times now & haven't been stuck when it comes to styling this multifunctional piece. I definitely want to fill my wardrobe with more interchangeable items like this.

Something a little daring for me, but also something that will fit into my new wardrobe seamlessly is the Ola sweater dress*. Not only does this dress feel like ultimate comfort, it's also one of those pieces I can just throw on with little to no thought - That's always a bonus right. The mini dress feels long enough that I can wear it on it's own, but also short enough that I can get away with tucking it into a pair of trousers - Im thinking either faux leather leggings or perhaps even the Mom jeans I spoke about earlier. Heck, I could even wear this to bed & feel super snuggly.


What's left on my shopping list?

I'm pretty happy with how my wardrobe is currently looking however there are still a few things on my list which I feel I'm lacking, especially as we head closer to the festive season.

A few things on my list include.
1. Winter knitwear.
2. Slouchy, comfortable loungewear.
3. Tailored trousers.

What pieces do you want to add to your winter wardrobe?

Claire.X

SHOPPING SAVVY - 7 DAYS OF MY 10 MONTH OLD GIRL'S OUTFITS.

My blog originally started very fashion orientated, however over the last year or so my posts have taken a parenting & lifestyle turn - Today however I'm combining the two & I'm  bringing you a weeks worth of my ten month old daughters outfits, with a couple of tips along the way to shop savvy.

Because not only am I that mum that'll happily buy ten outfits for Amelia over one for myself, I'm also the mum that knows how to shop sensibly & get some bang for my buck.


Monday.
Amelia's first outfit of the week included this rather daring red Nutmeg cardigan - I say daring, because neither of us wear bright colours & if I'm honest, I didn't quite know what to pair with it that morning... I know it totally doesn't matter how 'fashun' she looks because she's a baby, but I actually really enjoy the thought process of putting her little outfits together.
Because I was at a bit of a loss with what to do, I've gone simple & picked out a pair of charcoal heart print leggings from H&M that I purchased on a 3 for 2 offer and white basic tee from Next.
We don't own nearly enough stuff from H&M, but they're firmly in my mind for when it comes to buying the next age bracket of clothes for Amelia - I can't wait to make more use from their 3 for 2 offers.


Tuesday.
I call this one 'Autumn chic!'
Amelia's wearing a Tu Clothing blouse which came in a set with a pair of mustard leggings. I'm pretty sure this top will last her another six months or so because of the floaty shape to it - I love it when you can get a bit more moneys worth out of babies clothing because they grow so darn quickly, it certainly pays to shop sensibly.
The rust coloured leggings are from Nutmeg and came in a pack of three equally autumnal colours and prints, which you'll no doubt see later on in the week.


Wednesday.
I love dressing Amelia in bold prints & this little two set from Nutmeg is high on my favourites list at the moment.
The top & trousers came in a three pack which included the rust coloured trousers from yesterdays outfit; I love buying packs like this because not only are they cost effective, but it makes putting an outfit together so much simpler... And if anything can be made simple when it comes to babies, I'll sure as hell take it!
I've thrown over a faux fur gilet from Primark to keep her snuggly, which is actually in size 3-6months however still fits relatively well because it's worn open. I didn't think she'd get much wear out of this as it was bought during late spring, but we've definitely gotten our moneys worth out of it towards the latter end of the year.


Thursday.
Of all the pieces I'm showing this week, I think these harem pants are my absolute favourites!
I bought them from the independent, Sheffield based brand, Bear & Babe, a brand I am 100% on board with & pretty much live for. I was first introduced to them by Meghan Walsh after she showcased a couple of their rompers on her Instagram & quite frankly I haven't looked back - They're a little pricier than what I'd usually pay for a pair of bottoms, however the quality, the choice of prints & the fact I'm buying from an Indie brand wins me over every time.
What also amazes me about Bear & Babe is that they have a private facebook group where items can be sold on to other B&B fanatics like myself, and even more amazingly the pieces keep their value extremely well which is always a bonus!
Because of the plum colour in the harem pants, I picked out this similarly coloured little jumper from Primark. I love buying baby bits from Primark, specifically because of the price point of view, however I've noticed that a lot of their pieces come up quite small. We haven't gotten very much wear out of this 'daddy's little princess' jumper - I'm just thankful it was only £3.00.


Friday.
This is the outfit that nearly never was!
I was visiting my sister back in Teesside, when we popped into her local Tesco & I saw this knitted two piece, hanging up all lovely and cute. I looked at it but decided Amelia didn't need anymore clothes (she's actually got a shit tone of clothes), so I put it back on the hanger & continued with our shopping. It's only when I'd got to the till & was paying that I paused for a second, looked at my sister and said 'I need to go back for that outfit' - And that's exactly what I did.
I love dressing her in this little two piece, the only thing I'd say is that it's absolutely huge! It's in size 9-12 months, but the arms & legs are ridiculously long! The arms must be folded over at least a couple of inches here. This is our first piece of Tesco clothing for Amelia, so I'm not sure if they usually run a little bigger to size, but I'm working with it, at least we'll get a few more months wear out of this little set.


Saturday.
Another day & another outfit which took little to no thought - They're the best kind of outfits aren't they? The reason this set was an easy peasy choice for me is that the vest & dungarees originally came together.
We bought them from Next using a gift voucher (hello best present ever) from when Amelia was first born... It pays to save some vouchers aside, because when the maternity wage is dropping low, they sure as shit make a difference!
We used our voucher online which I find is the best way to make sure you're getting the highest amount of products for the lowest amount of money - Anyone else do that? - I love chopping & changing things from my basket & being able to see all possible purchases in one place. Im definitely going to do the same once the Christmas sales start because it saves me a hella load of money - Yes, the C word, I went there!


Sunday.
I thought we'd finish the week with an outfit put together by Daddy - You can tell this one is a Daddy special because he's put trousers with a pinafore dress and he doesn't quite understand why that's an issue.
She looks cute, don't get me wrong, but he always, always, always puts dresses with trousers & it annoys the hell out of me. 
Anywho, this autumnal top & trousers set is another Nutmeg special from the three pack I spoke about earlier on in this post - We've definitely shopped savvy & gotten our moneys worth out of these bad boys! The pinafore dress was a present gifted to us from Amelia's Nana & although it's only been worn a couple of times due to it's practicality (pinafores and crawling babies aren't a good mix) it's still a firm favourite because of how cute it is.

As you can see, we do a lot of savvy shopping in supermarkets & that's purely down to price and convenience - We all know how easy it is to pick clothes up for our babies - It's just too tempting & things quite often just fall into the trolley as we're doing our weekly shop.

Where do you buy most of your little one's clothes from?

Claire.X

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