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MINI PEACH COBBLERS

When I think of Summer I often think of fruit, like berries, watermelon, but more often than not I think of peaches. Oh glorious, juicy, sweet peaches! They are in abundance here in France, you can't walk a block without seeing all of the local markets overflowing with them. So normally my home is full of them too and over the past couple of years I have tried and tested many desserts with peaches. I love a good tart, cake, fruit salad, but my favourite dessert I make with peaches is cobbler. This recipe has the perfect balance of sweetness and freshness. It doesn't feel too heavy which is always nice in the Summer, when I hope to put a bikini on after a meal and hop in the pool. After many attempts I finally feel like I have mastered the measurements and cooking times for these mini cobblers, and knew I had to share it here. 

In the beginning I made a big batch of the cobbler but found when I needed to serve it, it was always a bit tricky to make sure everyone was getting equal amounts of biscuit and peaches. Now I love to make individual sized portions, so when it comes time to serve them you just pop a scoop on vanilla ice cream on top and enjoy. This recipe is so simple and delicious every single time I make it. It's also super adaptable, so if you fancy adding blueberries, apples, raspberries, or whatever, go for it!



Mini Peach Cobblers

prep time: 40 minutes
baking time: 35 minutes
makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

Filling:
6 ripe peaches
1 vanilla pod seeds
1/2 lemon juice
6 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of flour

Biscuits:
1 cup of flour
1/4  cup of sugar
1/4  teaspoon of salt
6 tablespoons of cold butter 
1 egg yolk 
1 1/2 tablespoons of water

4 ramekins

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat over to 350°F | 175°C. Cut up peaches into slices and add to a medium sized bowl. Slice vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds and add to the peaches. Add lemon juice, sugar and flour, and stir until combined. Divide the peach mix between the 4 ramekins.

2. In a bowl, add the flour, sugar and salt, and mix until combined. Add butter and blend with a hand mixer or in a food processor. Mix until just blended, then egg yolk add the water. Put the dough onto a work surface, pat down into a sphere and wrap in plastic wrap. Pop it in the fridge for at least an hour so the butter can firm up.

3. After an hour or so divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and place on top of the peaches in the ramekins. Take another egg yolk and lightly brush the biscuits. Once oven has heated place ramekins on baking sheet and cook for 35 minutes or until peaches are bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown. 

4. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy.

It's that easy and delicious! 



CHESIL BEACH SUNSET WITH OSLO

Oslo and I just got back from an incredible week with my Dad and older sister Alex in Isle of Portland, England. We stayed in a tiny seaside town and rented a house perched on top of a hill. I hold England very close to my heart, so every time I return all of my childhood memories from there flood back. Our days were spent waking up to a sea view and sipping coffee in the garden surrounded by English roses. We would walk around town, or hop in the car to drive along the breathtaking Jurassic Coast, and stop off at a pebble beach so Oslo could stretch his legs and pick out a few pebble souvenirs. He was such a dream baby on this trip, and seemed to adapt to every day trip we took him on. I love showing him different parts of the World and even if he is too young to remember, I know he takes a little something from each place.

On the last day my sister Alex, who happens to be a seriously talented wedding and family photographer, organized a sunset photoshoot for Oslo and I on the beach. She has captured so many pivotal moments in my life. From my engagement shoot with James, to when she came to France and captured my new little family when Oslo was just 6 weeks old, and now his first trip to England. She sent me a sneak peek yesterday of few photos, so I was dying to share them here. I swear this kid was born to be in front of the camera. 

I love these photos so much and am so happy she could capture this amazing vacation. I have about a thousand photos from our week away to go through and edit, so stay tuned for next week's post on my travel photos in Dorset.

If you want to see even more amazing photos from Alex, please check her out at Wild Eyed Photography and on her Instagram.

MY BREASTFEEDING JOURNEY











My friend recently posted on Facebook an observation about black-and-white thinking. She observed how many of us have a difficult time seeing the grey area in certain things. She asked in her post, what areas in our life could it pay to consider the grey area? The first thought that popped into my head was breastfeeding. 

Admittedly, before I entered motherhood and was smacked in the face with my own reality, I only saw breastfeeding as a black-and-white matter. To me women either breastfed, which meant they were selfless mothers doing what was best for baby, or they formula-fed which meant they were selfish, not the greatest mums, and not doing best for baby at all. I am actually embarrassed to type that out for you to read now. How naive I was to have those opinions and to even think those thoughts. But as the saying goes Breast is Best, right? 

Wrong! What that phrase doesn't explain is that, Breast is Best if it is best for the Mother and she wants to, or has the ability to. Making the decision to breastfeed is such a personal one, and one a Mother has to make for herself. 

I knew even before I was pregnant, that I would breastfeed. I yearned to do it. I could feel this
viscerally, though I knew nothing about it. The only example I had were those lovely photos on Instagram of Mums feeding and cuddling their babies in bed, with a caption mentioning something about how they treasure these moments. It looked like such a beautiful time to bond with the baby and provide the nutrients it needs to grow to be a healthy one. So I had that vision in my head and left it there, not doing much more research or seeking stories from real life Mums about their breastfeeding journey. No one was offering free advice on the topic so I thought, OK, the birth is painful and sucks, but after you have the baby everything is wonderful and the breastfeeding will commence soon after. It sounds perfect doesn't it?






So I have a question. Why doesn't anyone tell you the truth about breastfeeding? I'm all ears over here and would have loved to know that I will soak through nipple pads and have to buy 15 nursing bras because I will go through three a day! I would love to have known that if you don't get a good latch from the beginning then your nipples will feel like someone lit them with a match, and they will crack and maybe bleed. It would have been great to know if you don't fully empty your breasts each time, then you can get engorgement which can lead to mastitis. Which will make you want to die because mastitis is excruciating, and that's coming from a woman who was in labour drug free for 25 hours! Now I get that during my pregnancy it would have been hard to imagine the struggle you can have with it, but it would have been nice for a heads-up. In a way I feel stupid for my naivety and not educating myself more, but when you're pregnant it's hard to think past the part after the baby arrives. I feel as Mothers we are all a bit shaken when we find out how hard and unnatural at times breastfeeding is. In a way I felt a bit let down by my fellow women, why aren't we speaking up about our struggles?

You might scroll through my instagram and say, ''Um hey Jules you have photos of you and Oslo breastfeeding and it looks blissful and dreamy. It doesn't look painful and horrible, and like you struggled at all.'' Yes I admit I did and still do post photos of Oslo breastfeeding, but my reason for doing that is to help normalize it, and less to bring awareness to how difficult it can be. As I write this I do think it might sound a bit hypocritical of me to not share my experience with breastfeeding. So I want to lay it all on the line to hopefully help other Mothers through their challenges with this incredible journey.




I haven't talked openly other than to some family and a small number of friends about Oslo's birth, because it was the worst/best day of my life. Without going into too much detail here, as I will share my whole story in another post, the birth was quite traumatizing for James, Oslo, and me. As Oslo was entering the World, I was leaving it. For whatever reason (the doctors still don't know why) at the last push my blood pressure spiked off the charts and I had an epileptic seizure, and stopped breathing. The midwife had to grab Oslo under his arm and pull him out as I started to convulse on the bed. I spent 4 days in the ICU only getting to see my sweet new baby for 2 hours a day. So we started our breastfeeding journey at a bit of a disadvantage. On day 4 the doctors said I could move to the maternity ward and finally be with James and Oslo. I went home after a week at the hospital, feeling weak, scared, and completely physically and emotionally unprepared to care for this tiny thing.

I began breastfeeding Oslo on demand and quickly got the hang out it. It felt amazing to bond with him, because I really felt those moments in the first few days were stolen from us. I was producing a lot milk and he was gaining weight at a good pace. All seemed wonderful in those first couple of weeks. Then out of nowhere I started to have breast and nipple pain. It was severe and I stopped enjoying feeding Oslo. I told James I could maybe only last one more week and then I would have to stop.

I struggled with the notion that I might have to quit breastfeeding and that my body had failed me again. It had failed me so horribly during the birth and this time I was going to try and use my mind over my body. I kept telling myself suck it up, this is good for your baby. You are a mother now so it's your job to provide Oslo with nourishment. I had felt so let down by myself during the birth of Oslo that I couldn't even fathom quitting.

We got a breast pump to help keep my supply up and I could pump bottles to give to Oslo. The pump definitely helped but I was still in pain. After searching endlessly on the Internet and asking a few midwives for someone who can help us with breastfeeding, we finally found the only widwife in the South of France who specializes in lactation. In France breastfeeding is not common, so many of the midwives aren't trained in how to help when issues come up. I finally had my appointment with the midwife and she was my saviour. My breasts were a mess! I had clogged milk ducts, nipple blisters, and thrush. I had no idea I could get a yeast infection in my boobs! In case you didn't know either and without giving TMI, the pain I had with thrush felt like a million needles were jabbing me from the inside out, everytime Oslo sucked. It was excruciating and a pain I will never forget. My midwife saviour fixed my latch which was completely wrong also, because again no one teaches or tells you this stuff, not even at the hospital. She prescribed me homeopathic remedies and pain killers, and sent me on my way. 

The thrush soon vanished and the milk ducts cleared, and I wish I could say all the struggles were over. But a couple weeks later I was still suffering and got hit with two cases of mastitis, one after the other! So yeah I had a completely messed up journey through breastfeeding and I wouldn't wish it on any mother. I would gladly go through 10 drug-free labours than have the feeling of it all over again! 

After all that I get it now. This is why other Mums formula feed! This is why they make the decision that suffering is not an option anymore and we have to find an alternative. This is why formula exists, so women have an option in case breastfeeding doesn't work, or women can't phsically do it. This is why we shouldn't judge a Mother's decision to formula feed her baby, because we may not know what she has been through to get to that decision. To put it impolitely, breastfeeding is fucking hard! It's by far the hardest thing I have ever done. Period. Again I will say I laboured for 25 hours drug free, but at least with that I knew there would be an end. Breastfeeding is ongoing. 

It took me over 4 months to finally feel comfortable and pain free, and right now I feel like I am out of the woods. I can't say completely because again breastfeeding is ongoing, but things are pretty smooth. Oslo is 10 months now and one of the proudest things I can say is, I have been successfully and solely breastfeeding him the whole way. I'm still surprised with myself that I stuck with it even through the struggles. I can't say I would have regretted to stop breastfeeding and switching to formula, because that would have been the right decision for me if I made it. All I can say is I am so thrilled to still be on this journey with my baby. Through all of the highs and the very low lows, I accomplished what I set out for myself and Oslo, and have learned so much along the way.

Never be fooled by the lovely and perfect photos you see of mothers. It does not mean they are without struggles. We are all human and because motherhood is so personal sometimes it's easier to only post the curated photos of life with a baby, even though in reality it can be chaos. I hope if you are reading this and are about to begin your breastfeeding journey, or are already in it, or have ended it, you can take something away from my story. It feels like a bit of therapy writing this out to share with you. I continue to be in awe of mothers and our abilities, and the tough decisions we have to make for ourselves and our babies. So whether you breast or formula-fed, all you need to remember is Fed is Best, and you are doing an incredible job!

We are all in this together.

Jules
xxx

PHOTOS BY WILDEYED PHOTOGRAPHY.

MIDWEEK MUSIC MIX 21


Hello fellow midweekers! If you aren't familiar with the way we do things here at M+M, then I am happy to fill you in. Every Wednesday to help fight those midweek blues, I share with you a brand new playlist I have put together for us all to listen to. Music is a powerful thing and can turn almost any bad mood int a good one. Any time I am feeling a bit blah, then on goes some tunes and within minutes I feel a whole lot better. So instead of you endlessly searching for music that will brighten up your day, I have gone ahead and done that for you.

This week's music mix is all about feeling good. Whether you are at home with the kids, at work in front of the computer, out and about round town, or driving to your next destination, then push play and just relax & enjoy.

THROUGH HER EYES... KAT SCHULTZ

I'm not sure if you are aware of my obsession with Instagram, but it runs deep. For me the best part is seeing how women from all walks of life, from all around the World, capture their life. It is a beautiful thing to see a Mother in Ireland waking up with her two boys in a sunlit bedroom, or a twenty something entrepeneur open a café in New York, or even a mama-to-be document her growing belly in Vancouver. No matter who or where they are, I find inspiration seeing life through another woman's eyes everyday. So I am starting a new post series called ''Through her eyes...'' where I will feature a different woman and her beautiful photos every week. I can't wait to share these amazing women with you all, so without further adieu, here is my first feature.



I am thrilled to introduce you to the ever so talented Kat Schultz. No joke she was the first person that popped into my head when I was cooking up this series idea, because she is too good not to share. We have been following each other for almost a year now, and I'm not sure if it was me who found her or her who found me, but either way I am so happy to follow along on her visually stunning life.

She gives you a double dose of her gorgeous photos with not one, but two Instagram accounts! One capturing her daily life, her travels, the delicious food she eats, and her hobbies & the other capturing her professional life as a family and wedding photographer. This girl has got the eye! What I love about her wedding photographs is she has a way of documenting love. Nothing posed or perfect, just true and real moments between two people who clearly love one another. She makes me want to marry James all over again! 



She has that kind of account that takes hold of you and pulls you in. Next thing you know you have been scrolling and clicking through her thousand photos for an hour, living vicariously through her life in beautiful Adelaide, Australia. So I wanted to selfishly reach out to her to also pick her photography brain and get some tips on how to make my own Instagram account pop like hers. 

What inspired you to become a wedding and family photographer?

It’s not really a straight answer! Bear with me. When I was around fifteen, I found a beautiful blog run by a lady called Sheye Rosemeyer. There was definitely a night where I spent 4-5 hours reading post after post after post and marvelling at her whimsical photography of her four children. Sadly, Sheye lost one of her children to a tragic accident, so much of the blog was an open journal on grief & life after loss. However, despite the unimaginable grief, Sheye’s photography captured happiness and love and I will never not be moved by the strength that radiated from it. At the same time as this blog discovery, my family had broken in two - with my parent’s divorcing and leaving our family home. While this could not even be compared to Sheye’s loss, it was after reading her blog through and through that I was inspired to capture happiness & love in the depth of a dark time, too. My siblings at the time were around 10, 9 & 5 and they were my subjects. It’s very sweet to look back on now, but I used to photograph them after school in the last light of the day and almost always to this tune (www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlFCfkyuQM0). I truly fell in love with faces and expressions and capturing happiness. I began blogging the photographs I took and then started planning bigger shoots with hired clothes from companies and models. While this was an incredible creative outlet, I found my way back to families eventually which quickly became weddings…and here I am.  


What do you love to capture in your daily life, when you aren't taking gorgeous photos of babies & couples?

If you were to scroll through my camera roll on my iPhone right now you would find a lot baked goods I’ve been making, breakfasts I’ve had at lovely cafes and travel photos I can’t part with yet. You might also find extreme close ups of my dogs. My phone is just a day to day journal of things that I’ve liked, really. How it should be!




How do you stay creative even on the days when you don't feel so?

I listen to ridiculous music (aka certified bangers,) very loud. At the moment Drake’s ‘One Dance’ and Skee Lo’s “ I Wish’ are on rotation. I actually feel sorry for my two dogs who are out to have a peaceful day. I get cabin fever so easily, and when I’m not being productive I get loopy. On days that I am working from home, it will be just me from 9-5pm, not that I ever sit still for that long. But the point is that a one woman office can be really lonely, and that affects my productivity. In the past couple of months, I’ve made a big point of taking my work into a cafe on my laptop, or breaking up my work day into blocks and getting out in between.  I also love yoga & walking. Adelaide has some beautiful tracks and sometimes a sweaty walk is the best way for me to get rid of the itches and pull me from a lull.  In terms of creativity, if I’m having a quiet period, my favourite thing to do is plan for more exciting times. That might be work related or it might not. For instance, at the moment, my spare time is being spent planning a trip to Hong Kong. Finally, connecting with others - especially those who are in a creative field - is super beneficial. I love to chat all things business/creativity over coffee and/or lunch to get me back on track. 




What are three Instagram accounts we should all be following?

Heidi Apples - @heidiapples (Heidi has hugely influenced the way I think about and prepare my food. She’s a gorgeous dietician with a no bullshit approach to food and wellness. Plus her banana bread recipe is off the charts. Among others.)

Naomi Davis - @taza (Naomi has three incredibly cute children and lives in NYC. She also travels a lot. Do I need to say more?) 

Etta Store - @etta_store (bit of shameless plug to my a new business that myself & my partner will be launching in around 2-3 months time. We’re pretty excited about it.)



Any words of wisdom from a professional to an amateur on how to better ourselves as photographers?

Take more photographs of the things you are personally drawn to. That’s all there is to it. It’s almost sickly how cliche what I’m about to say next is but: there is no right or wrong way to document something you like. The point is simply doing it. On the technical side, a steady hand & good exposure is paramount. If you are using an iPhone, download VSCO. They have wonderful presets. Sometimes I like them better than my own editing hehe. 

You're hooked already aren't you? For more beautiful and inspiring photos on the daily check out her Instagram accounts @katshultz & @katherineschultzphotography. If you want even more babies, weddings, and all that good stuff then check out her website here.

Thank you so much Kat for your incredible insight into photography and creativity. I can't wait to see what you post next!

A NEW CHAPTER



My, my it has been a lot longer than I hoped it would be. It's so nice to be back and dusting off this little blog of mine. Time really got away from me and before I knew it, it had been 11 months since the last time I posted. But I have a pretty good excuse. You might have guessed since my last post here was my baby nursery tour, that I did in fact pop a baby out. Wishing that popping part was true, childbirth is not a walk in the park, but more on that in a later post.

I now have a bouncing bundle of joy named Oslo. I'm certain babies like him are the reason this world is overpopulated. I am a little biased, but he is so sweet, kind, funny, charming, and don't even get me started on how gorgeous he is. He also thinks I am hilarious, especially when I exaggerate my sneezes, so I love him even more for that. I feel Motherhood is the greatest and most challenging thing that has ever happened to me, and I am so overwhelmed with how much I can love such a tiny little thing.

I'm going to stop myself now from writing a 50,000 word essay on why I love being a Mother and how Oslo is the best thing ever. Instead I will do a few seperate posts on all that and more, so stay tuned.

Hello again if you are a retro reader of M+M and enchanté if you are a new comer. I am so thrilled you are here, and coming along on this journey with me trying to figure out how to be a blogger and a new Maman.



I thought since it has been so long since my last post, you might be wondering who the heck I am, well let me reintroduce myself.

My name is Julia Theis, but nowadays (especially in France) everyone calls me Jules.
Fun fact: for the first three months of James and my relationship he thought my real name was Jules and that Julia was my nickname. That's one of a thousand reasons why I fell in love with that goofy Frenchman.
James, that man I mentioned above, is my husband and baby Daddy. We met in Toronto six years ago on Halloween. I was dressed like a store mannequin with a bald cap on and he was dressed up as a 1970's dodge ball player, complete with knee socks and very short shorts. I think I won in the pick up that night, because I was not a pretty sight. You can read more about that crazy night over here!
Three years ago we packed our bags, quit our jobs, said goodbye to my family, and moved to James' hometown, Cannes, France.
After many Immigration issues, being deported, and not being able to work, I am finally a legal resident and have free health care, woo hoo!
We got married two years ago in a gorgeous villa in Fayence. If you want to take a peek at what we look like as a bride and groom, you can take a look here.
We live 10 minutes from all of the flashing lights and celebrities in Cannes, up the hill in a quaint but oh so charming village called Le Cannet. Just over two years ago we moved into and completely renovated a traditional village house built in 1760. Don't worry it's not haunted, I checked!
On September 29 of last year we welcomed a tiny bébé named Oslo Georgie Theis.
I have a rescue dog named Pee-wee Herman. Although I only use the Herman part when he has been a bad boy, and needs to know I am very disappointed in him.
If you haven't already guessed from reading some past posts, I love interiors, style, Instagram, food, and travel. I admit I am a cliché francophile. I love all French things... wine, cheese, lavender, playing some Michel Delpech on a Sunday afternoon, and don't even get me started on the viennoiseries.

I started this blog three years ago in an attempt to stay connected with family and friends back home, and fuel my creativity. Now I am hoping to continue with that, but also grow much more. So please come along, join in, reach out, and virtually touch me... well that sounded weird!

Merci beaucoup!
Jules
xxx