A parenting & lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

SEEING ME AS ME, NOT JUST AS A MOTHER.

It's taken me a long time, but now when I look in the mirror I no longer see Amelia's mum, I'm seeing me... And it feels amazing! Scratch that!... It feels f*cking amazing!

Claire smiling. Embracing who she is as herself, not just as a mother.

I lost myself to motherhood since welcoming my daughter into the world back in December 2018 & sadly, I don't think it's uncommon. We put so much of ourselves into caring for our children, I think even more so as first time mums, that it's so easy for us to forget who we are.

Us as people.

As human beings.

Not as mothers!

It's strange because I never really realised it at the time. I suppose as a new mum you don't really have time to do anything else other than protect & care for that miniature version of yourself. You instantly get pushed to the back of the line. I felt like I had to do it all, I was the primary care giver for my child, I ran the house, had my side hustle & even managed to keep the dog alive during that time too. Four seemingly simple tasks, but when put together, I was lucky if I got 5 minutes to pee in peace.

I've been through a bit of a transformation and journey of self discovery this year (even though we all know 2020 is cancelled due to corona right?) Returning to work after maternity leave played a big initial part in this, I was back doing what pre-baby Claire did, I was interacting with actual adult human beings who weren't asking me if my daughter had pooped that day, or if she'd finally managed to eat a full meal. I was even making new friends! It was bliss!

The old me was coming back.

I'd been mourning my pre-baby self for quite some time previous to this & had found myself stuck in a slump up until around 9 months postpartum. My days looked the same, I woke up at 5am, prepared x amount of bottles for x amount of hours apart, I'd structure naps & meal prepped like there was no tomorrow; I was like a robot. A mama robot!

Claire smiling, happy with who she is as herself not just a mother.

Something else which has helped regain my confidence in being me is redefining my personal style. It sounds so trivial and materialistic, but filling my wardrobe full of pieces that feel like me & show me off rather than covered me up has worked wonders for my self confidence. My wardrobe actually makes me feel sassy as a mum. Don't get me wrong, I still have plenty of loungewear in there, or mum uniform as I like to call it, but even when I do wear those looser, more casual type styles, I still feel blooming amazing in them.

Fast forward to 18 months (almost) postpartum, I'm fearless in motherhood & I'm fearless being me. This is because I no longer see myself solely as Amelia's mum, I'm seeing me as me. Being a parent is a huge part of me, but I'm no longer defined by motherhood; I see all of me.

I see my flaws.
I see my strengths.
I see my weaknesses.
I see opportunities.
I see freedom.
I see a hard worker.
I see happiness.
I see love.
I see someone comfortable in their own skin.
I see an empowered woman.

I see me as me, not just as a mother.

I knew that becoming a parent would come with a rollercoaster of different emotions, but I in no way thought it'd change the way I looked at myself. Pretty naive of me really. Of course it's going to change how you view yourself, and probably how others view you too. I'd be very surprised if any women out there said they hadn't changed since becoming mothers.

I feel like I'm entering the other side now and that I've opened up a whole new level of empowerment & self love. I'm feeling amazing right now, as myself and as a mum & I'm making it my mission for others to feel the same.

Have you ever felt lost to motherhood? How do you see yourself?

Claire.X

SEEING ME AS ME, NOT AS A MOTHER. Pinterest graphic.

WHAT'S IT REALLY LIKE ATTENDING A VIRTUAL BLOGGING EVENT?

I haven't attended a blogging event in quite a while (it actually turns out that having a baby gets in the way of a lot of things) however I was recently able to attend a virtual event, hosted by House 21.

Claire sat on bed in front of laptop during virtual blogging event.

I was originally introduced to the community builders & event organisers by Lucy Mary, a fellow House 21 contributor who's content I've enjoyed for such a long time now.

House 21 has been on my radar since they held their blogging awards (one of which Lucy won by the way - Yes gal!) in December, however seeing as though the majority of events were being held in Cardiff and Birmingham, it's never something I thought my Yorkshire butt would be able to attend.

Here's where lockdown has played its trump card.

House 21 hasn't let coronavirous stop them; Instead of hosting monthly meet-ups, they're utilising technology and hosting their workshops online. Like normal events they're held on the same days, at the same times, but instead of being location specific, they're topic specific, which for me is absolutely ideal.

House 21 have a wide array of events coming up however the one I chose to attend was 'overcoming the Instagram algorithm'... Because Lord knows I (alongside many others) have a love hate relationship with the social media app.

The event was held in an online chat room sent to us via email the previous day. We had to 'knock' to be let in & once there I could see the faces & blog names of 15 lovely ladies. Being a chat room there was video and microphone functions as well as a chat box which enabled us to join in with conversations & hear from guest speakers.

The features enabled us to interact pretty much the same as we would at a normal event.

Claire sat on bed in front of laptop during virtual blogging event.

We had introductions and chit chats to begin with from House 21's host Melanie, who later introduced us to the events specific guest host Chelsea O'Driscoll. Chelsea is a social media marketing manager and creative consultant making her the perfect host for an event centred around kicking the Instagram algorithms butt!

I think I was a newbie at the event, as Chelsea mentioned that it was nice to see new faces as well as regular attendees; But in no way was I made to feel like a newbie. Chelsea was chatty, charismatic & packed full of positivity, which in todays climate is an absolute godsend!

She explained exactly how the session was going to be ran, which was with a 30 minute presentation from herself and fellow Instagram algorithm butt kicker Christy Llewelyn followed by a live question and answer session to finish.

We were advised to ask questions during the presentation using the chat box, which I felt much more comfortable doing. Sometimes at IRL blogging events I can feel quite overwhelmed and revert back to being the shy girl I was at school. It's something which I hate for holding me back, but admittedly it only happens when I'm in a large group of people. If I'm attending a large scale blogging event my mind can sometimes get the better of me and not want to ask the questions I'm burning to ask, so the chat box feature gets a massive thumbs up from me.

I actually felt more comfortable being in the comfort of my own home, dressed in loungewear with a cup of tea in hand than I would at any IRL blogging event.

Claire sat on bed in front of laptop attending a virtual blogging event.

I enjoyed the virtual blogging event so much, that I've signed up for another in a weeks time. The event is again Instagram based & will be held by Northern Blogs & Co with 3 guest speakers including one of my faves Hannah Briggs.

Have you been involved in any virtual blogging events during lockdown?

Claire.X



FEARLESS IN MOTHERHOOD. FEARLESS BEING ME.

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

I'm fearless in motherhood, but I'm even more fearless being me.

I've been on a journey since becoming a mother, but It's something I've realised and come to appreciate only recently. My journey is one of self discovery & being acceptive of who I am; And when I say 'I', I mean me, not me as Amelia's mum. Me... Claire Mac. 

Claire wearing body con black dress.

Being a mother is part of me, it's a big part of me, but it doesn't define who I am, and I no longer feel guilty about it. I'm an advocate for empowerment in motherhood & am on a mission to provide others with the confidence to feel just as fearless being themselves as they do being a mother.

Claire wearing pink loungewear set.

I haven't always been fearless being me.

I've probably been the furthest away from fearless you could get.

If you asked any of my peers in school how they would describe me they'd either say ask 'Claire who?' and not remember who I was, or they'd say I was the quiet one. I hated being the quiet one, but it was a persona I was labelled with since primary school & a personality trait I was scared to steer from.

One of my earliest memories was winning an award in primary school, and having to walk to the front of the stage in front of the whole school. After thanking the head teacher for my award he bellowed in front of everyone 'she talks'. And although it wasn't the words that stuck with me, it's the tone; The tone of shock, that someone like me could actually form words from my mouth and be a courteous human being.

I can still hear it now.

Claire wearing black body con dress.

As I entered adulthood I was still very shy, but I could absolutely hold my own in my friendship group. I was one of those 'quiet, until you really get to know me' type people, and I was okay with this.

My confidence had definitely grown, however I still struggled in large groups of people, especially in regards to showing my opinions. I'd always let people with louder voices speak over me & never once confronted them. It put me in sticky situations a couple of times & looking back now I wish I'd have just spoken up.

But you live and you learn.

And I think this is where my confidence and level of fearlessness has come from. I'm embracing my flaws, understanding that there are things I'm not so great at, and I'm not letting them make me feel bad about myself anymore.

I'm giving self doubt the middle finger!

Claire wearing pink loungewear set.

This year in particular I've learnt to be fearless being me.

Last year I gave so much of myself to motherhood, that my journey of self discovery & personal development took a back seat. If I'm being honest it more likely that it took a couple of steps back, rather than a back seat.

But isn't that motherhood?

2020 Claire, although cooped up at home embracing lockdown knows herself and accepts herself more than ever... And that's what makes me fearless.

Claire wearing black body con dress.

I'm fearless wearing a slinky body con dress.
I'm fearlessly accepting of my post baby body.
I'm fearless going makeup free.
I'm fearlessly giving zero f*ks.
I'm fearless being underestimated.
I'm fearlessly sticking the middle finger up at self doubt.
I'm fearless admitting my flaws.
I'm fearlessly sassy in bubblegum pink loungewear.
I'm fearless in knowing exactly who I am.
I'm fearlessly saying no to diet culture.
I'm fearless showing parts of me deemed unacceptable.
I'm fearlessly living my best life.
I'm fearless in motherhood.

I'm fearless being me.

Claire wearing pink loungewear set.

Black body con dress*
Pink loungewear set*

How fearless are you being you?

Claire. X


FEARLESS IN MOTHERHOOD. FEARLESS BEING ME. Pinterest graphic

5 BEAUTY PRODUCTS THAT GIVE THE ULTIMATE GLOW.

*This blog posts features gifted items*

I began lockdown life thinking the only way to get through was with no makeup, unruly hair & the comfiest of comfy clothes, however now we're seven weeks in, I'm all about wearing makeup again, in particular beauty products that give the ultimate glow.

Because even if the world isn't having a glow up right now, I am!


I've reorganised pretty much all aspects of my life during lockdown, minus my husband & my child of course (although sometimes I question that decision). Part of my reorganisation includes my makeup and skincare collection, because Lord knows it needs some looking at. During the clear out I've rediscovered some old favourites all of which give the ultimate glow & leave me feeling like a total mum boss!

After weeks of not wearing makeup, getting back in touch with some old faves has been brilliant. It's really made me appreciate the transformation not only in the way my face looks, but my confidence and how I carry myself.

I feel pretty without makeup, but with makeup I feel pretty darn powerful!



These 5 products are giving me the ultimate glow right now.

1. Botanics all bright radiance balm*
I received the Boots Botanics all bright radiance balm in an advent box for Christmas last year, and although Botanics is a range I'm familiar with and have enjoyed, the radiance balm didn't quite make it into my daily makeup bag. Thankfully however, after my Hinching sesh it takes pride of place in my makeup bag and is a product I now rely on for that ultimate glow.
I apply this product after completing my current (& really affordable) skincare routine using my fingers to blend the balm into my previously cleansed skin. I've not tried using a brush to blend the Botanics all bright radiance balm in as it felt much more natural to do it myself & so far so good, it blends really well & leaves my skin being the perfect glowy base.
The product has a slight rosy nude tone to it which means even if you just use the radiance balm & nothing else, you're still provided with a sheen of coverage.
I love this product, just as I do a lot of other Botanics products & I'll definitely be repurchasing the radiance balm when this one runs out.

2. No7 skin illuminator*
It seems that Boots were really pushing that winter glow last year because in the same advent calendar box I received the No7 skin illuminator.
I like to use the skin illuminator either as an illuminating primer or mixed in with my foundation to give that extra glow, depending on how much time Amelia allows me to get ready. I'm currently using the Body Shop matte clay shin clarifying foundation because I love the coverage it provides, however it leaves quite a matte finish, but with the No7 skin illuminator it gives such a boost and leaves my skin with that holiday type glow. I love it!
It's not something I tend to do, but you could also use the No7 skin illuminator as a highlight, brushing a light amount over the cheekbones. The only reason I don't use this purely as a highlighter (and it's a boujee A.F reason) is that I already have plenty of other highlighting products I like to use to give my cheekbones that extra pop & ultimate glow.


3. Nude by Nature touch of glow highlight stick*
To give my cheekbones the ultimate glow I always begin with the Nude by Nature touch of glow highlight stick, simply because it's the easiest thing in the world to use. I love applying makeup & playing around with it, but honestly some of the best products in my opinion are the simplest!
I literally twist the touch of glow highlight stick up and draw two lines on the tops of my cheekbones before buffing in with the real techniques stippling brush. I feel very camo-girl doing it! I'm not sure if the stippling brush is the most appropriate type of applicator but I like how it doesn't blend the product 100% into the skin and leaves the majority of the product sitting on top of my foundation.
I have the shade opal, which is more of a rosy/champagne tone than opal but I think it's the most perfect, subtly warming shade for me.

4. Illamasqua beyond powder highlighter.
To give my cheekbones that extra pop & the ultimate glow I've been using the Illamasqua beyond powder highlighter in the shade Deighty. It's been in my collection for quite some time now after opening it in a Look Fantastic advent calendar, and although I knew it was going to be a product I'd enjoy using, for some reason I didn't reach for it.
I apply the beyond powder highlighter using the Look Fantastic fan highlighter brush over the Nude by Nature tough of glow highlight stick; The phrase 'go hard or go home' comes to mind, but I really love the ultimate glow it gives

5. Bellapierre shimmer roll*
A shimmer roll is something I at first thought should have stayed in the 90's however after experimenting with different ways to use the Bellapierre shimmer roll, I've decided it needs to take pride of place in my makeup bag. It can't not!
The shimmer roll can be used in a number of ways, however me being me, likes to use it in the easiest way possible, which I find is on my eyes. After I've applied my eyeshadow I like to give a couple of sweeps of the Bellapierre shimmer roll to 'jujh' them up a bit. I don't even really do anything afterwards, I just let the product sit there to dry for a few seconds and then get on with everyday life.
I'd never have thought I'd like a glittery eye makeup look, as everything I own is very very matte, but I love the transformation this little product gives. It's a real beauty!



Although I'm not getting dressed up for anyone but myself, I'm really loving getting back into makeup & experimenting more with products I wouldn't necessarily have used before. I didn't think I'd be so into a glowy makeup look, but here we are, lockdown makes us do crazy things... And this is mine! Wild right?

Have you had a rearrange of your makeup collection? What are your favourite products to give the ultimate glow?

Claire.X


5 BEAUTY PRODUCTS THAT GIVE THE ULTIMATE GLOW. Pinterest graphic.

5 THINGS I'VE LEARNT DURING LOCKDOWN AS A PARENT.

Day 532 in lockdown & I'm feeling all kinds of reflective about my time spent in isolation, focusing especially on what I've learnt about myself as a parent.

I've definitely felt the rollercoaster of emotions of being a parent during lockdown, but I finally feel like I'm at a place where the positives outweigh the negatives.

Claire wearing pink crop top.

Lockdown itself and the reasons behind being in isolation are unnerving; For me it's the fear of the unknown as I still feel like there's so much about coronavirus that we just don't know about yet & I find it all really alarming. Dan & I are both on furlough with neither of us 100% sure we'll have jobs to go back to once this is all over and done with - Whenever that may be. I think it's naive to believe that once lockdown ends we're all going to go back to normal, back to our usual jobs, living our regular lives - I'm convinced Covid isn't going to work like that.

That being said, I do feel positive (on a whole) about the situation we're in. We've got so much more family time now; It's time we'd never make the most of & time we'll probably never get again, so I'm 100% in the mindset of making the most of the situation we're in. We're enjoying seeing our daughter grow, especially as she's changing so much at the moment; I'm just so grateful we get to witness it all first hand, instead of from a WhatsApp message from our childminder.

I presume the vast majority of us are feeling reflective right now, whether that be with your employment, dreams or aspirations or in my case what I've learnt about myself as a parent. We may not all the in the same boat, but we're sure as hell in the same storm & I'd like to think my reflections as a parent can help others, no matter what their reflections are right now.

Mother and daughter looking at each other.

5 things I've learnt during lockdown as a parent.

1. Kids are resilient, but so are you.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from stress, challenges or trauma, it's something which children are renowned for having, but I bet if you look a little closer to home, you're pretty darn resilient too.  Look at how we're pulling together & how we're supporting one another in our communities, we're actually amazing & we need to celebrate it.
I'm big on quotes over on my Pinterest and the saying 'you've got through 100% of the bad days you've had' has definitely gotten me through. Being a parent you have to be resilient & pull yourself through the sometimes really awful days, so I've been applying that mindset to my lockdown life & it's 100% worked for me.

2. It's okay to miss the 'old me'.
Gosh the days are long aren't they! Pre-lockdown I was so used to having my parenting day split up by going to work, but these days I haven't got a choice but to be a parent 100% of the time. And I mean this in the best way possible, but I really enjoyed my time 'being me' at work, the me who wasn't a mum, the me who could put herself first for a few hours out of the day.
I miss the old me & at the beginning of lockdown I used to beat myself up over feeling the way I did, but now I've come to realise that it's totally okay & in no way reflects the way I feel about my daughter.

3. You don't have to do it all.
I think the biggest issue for me when lockdown was first introduced & furlough life began was that as a parent  I felt like I had to do it all. This added weight on my shoulders however came as absolutely no surprise to me, as I'm 100% that mama that rushes around like a crazy person during nap time trying to get 101 different jobs done... Why would lockdown be any different?
I've definitely learnt to chill a bit more over the last couple of weeks and instead of feeling like I need to be preparing the next activity to keep my toddler occupied during lockdown, I'm putting myself first. These days I take myself outside, leaving my phone indoors meaning I can fully enjoy a coffee in the back garden, listening to absolute nothingness around me... And it's bliss, I 100% recommend you try it.

4. You'll have good days & bad days.
Understanding that you'll have good days and bad days through lockdown is so important. I think it's imperative when you are having a bad day to know that it is just one day, and that tomorrow could and probably will be totally different. The bad days you have shape you, and I 100% believe you learn from them & become better for having them, even though it really doesn't feel like it at the time.
I used this mindset when I was in labour; Yes, it was hard, yes it was painful, but it was just one day (almost two) out of all of the days I'll ever have & I 100% put my positive birth story down to this mindset.

5. Giggles get you through.
Oh Lord, the giggles can get you through anything! And I don't just mean the laughs from my daughter, although these are the absolute best laughs, I mean all forms of chuckles...
I've howled over FaceTime with friends reminiscing on the days of underage drinking and telling our parents we were staying at each others house when really we were staying at our latest squeeze's. I've been silly with my husband & acted life goofs embracing each others weirdness. It's been brilliant, and it's so nice to let loose and forget responsibilities and pressures of day to day life!

6 month old girl sitting in garden chair.

Who knows how much longer we'll be in lockdown for? All I know is that I'm going to spend the rest of my time with a positive mindset & enjoy the extra time we have as a family together. I'm blooming in my own way & doing my own thing in my own little bubble - I hope you guys are too!

How are you feeling about lockdown? Have your feelings changed over the previous six weeks?

Claire.X


5 things I've learnt during lockdown as a parent. Pinterest graphic.