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With these chilly winter days and being 16 weeks pregnant there is a whole lot of lounging arou...

MIDWEEK MUSIC MIX 27


With these chilly winter days and being 16 weeks pregnant there is a whole lot of lounging around at home happening right now. I love to light candles on the dark days, cosy up on the sofa and put a few relaxing tunes on. So with all that in mind, this week's music mix is all about staying warm at home with great music. I hope this mix makes feel as chilled out as it does me, enjoy!

Okay so this isn't the most glamorous of posts, but I have wanted to share these guy...

SCHMIDT'S DEODORANT


Okay so this isn't the most glamorous of posts, but I have wanted to share these guys with you for ages now. Let's talk natural deodorant shall we? I have probably tried twenty different kinds of natural deodorants over the past five years and have been very disappointed with the results, so I always switched back to the chemical sticks. I found they wouldn't last longer than a couple hours and left me feeling dirty, or something in them made me perspire more than I would have if I wore nothing. Whatever was going on was not working so I gave up on natural deodorant and went about my life not too worried about what horrible chemicals my Lady Speed Stick had in it. That was until I became pregnant and knew now was the time to switch all of my products that had chemicals in them to all natural ones. 


My search for natural deodorant began again and that's when I discovered Schmidt's Deodorant. I was sceptical of how well it would work, but I was open to it because all of the reviews I read were positive. I bought the Lavender + Sage scent and was instantly impressed. The smell was so natural and fresh and it simply worked. I applied it in the morning and it lasted the whole day and even absorbed any perspiration I had. 

Now the real test was if it would work on James, especially during and after his workouts. So I got him the very masculine and woodsy Cedarwood + Juniper scent and like me he loved it right away. It lasted all day and even after he had a hard sweat at the gym. It was incredible! 

As a very happy consumer I wanted to reach out to Schmidt's deodorant to ask them a few questions about their product and amazing company. They happily responded and enlightened me as to why their formula works and why it is so important for not only pregnant and breastfeeding women to use natural deodorant, but for everyone to make the switch to a chemical free lifestyle.


 What inspired Jamie Schmidt to start a natural deodorant company?

Schmidt's started humbly in a Portland, Oregon kitchen, when founder Jaime Schmidt was pregnant with her son. Jaime had always had a passion for natural body care products and studied their benefits, and she became motivated to make natural products for her family's health. Knowing that natural deodorant had a reputation for being ineffective, Jaime made it her mission to change the way people think about deodorant, refusing to compromise any effectiveness when formulating her deodorant. 

Why is it so important to use natural deodorants?

While there has been a lot of conversation about risk of antiperspirant use, both sides of this conversation are in disagreement about whether these products are actually detrimental to your long-term health. However, considering that 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and that aluminium used in the formulation of antiperspirants has been found in the breast tissue of those diagnosed with breast cancer, we're going to stick on the safe side and suggest that you do not use these products on your skin. It's no wonder that so many doctors recommend the use of natural products to individuals who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.


 I love all of the scents Schmidt's Deodorant offers and the best part is they are so long lasting. I can go a whole day with fresh smelling under arms. 
What makes your deodorants smell so good and why do they last so much longer than all of the other natural deodorants I have tried?

Schmidt's doesn't use any fragrance or parfum that can be made of harsh chemicals, instead our formula contains all natural essential oils that are more effective in making the deodorant last throughout the day. 

Many people opt for antiperspirant to stop them from sweating, that's exactly what I used to use. But since using Schmidt's it has strangely helped me stop from perspiring under my arms, like magic! 
How is this even possible with a natural deodorant?

Schmidt's doesn’t use aluminium which blocks the pores to prevent your body's healthy process of sweating. However, our formula does contain natural plant powders to absorb wetness, so even though Schmidt’s doesn’t prevent you from sweating, it will still help keep you dry!

If that isn't enough for you to make the switch to natural deodorant then I don't know what will. They are such an amazing company with such a great product, I'm just thrilled I discovered them when I did. Since then I have turned my whole family onto Schmidt's and each of us has our own favourite scent. Currently my favourite is the Geranium scent for sensitive skin.


GIVEAWAY

Schmidt's Deodorant wanted to giveaway one of their popular Holiday 5-pack of deodorant sticks to one lucky Maple + Macaron reader. This is the perfect pack if you are just starting out with natural deodorants because you can try 5 different scents and see which one works best for you.

Go to my Instagram to enter and good luck!

Thank you so much to Schmidt's deodorant for collaborating with me on what I think is an important health post. For more information on Schmidt's feel free to check out their website here.

It's the last day of the year, so why not go out with a bang? With very full hearts and lots...

A NEW BÉBÉ IS ON THE WAY


It's the last day of the year, so why not go out with a bang? With very full hearts and lots of excitement we are thrilled to announce we are expecting our second bébé in early July!

James and I were hoping to get pregnant early this coming year, just like we did with Oslo last year, but as fate would have it we got pregnant much quicker than I ever expected. Turns out when you stop breastfeeding your body is crazy fertile, so to our unexpected surprise we got pregnant as soon as we were open to the idea of having a second baby. 



I knew right away this time, it's like my body was more in tune from the get go. Having my usual glass of red wine at night just didn't sit right with me and my nasty attitude towards James really tipped us off. So the morning after we went apple picking (which I posted about in November) I hurried off to the pharmacy with Oslo to stock up on pregnancy tests. I took two and waited patiently for the results. I prepared myself a little for a negative test because I knew I would be disappointed  if it was. Deep down I really didn't think it was possible to get pregnant this fast after finishing my breastfeeding journey, so I did expect the test to say negative. As luck would have it I turned the two tests over and saw the words 'Pregnant 2-3 weeks' clear as day. I was overcome with so much excitement and shock! I picked up Oslo and cried and laughed, and really couldn't believe it was real. James was at work so I decided to put a surprise together for him when he got home. Earlier that week he gave me a couple cute presents just because, so I decided to pretend to do the same. I wrapped the tests up in a box with lots of layers of wrapping paper just to be cheeky. As soon as he came through the door I gave him the present and he began to unwrap it, suspecting nothing at all. As soon as he saw the tests he knew, and just like me was so overwhelmed with emotion and excitement. He was even more shocked than I was that it happened this quickly!

Knowing this will be our last planned pregnancy makes this time around even more special. So far I am savouring every moment along the way because I know this will be the last time I experience this incredible gift. I'm even a little bit more excited than the last time because I have done this before and feel so much more prepared, which makes me feel so confident.


I am currently 13 weeks along, which has flown by so quickly already. I feel because I have Oslo to look after day to day that this pregnancy will really go by much quicker than my last. This time I am feeling completely different than when I was pregnant with Oslo. I only had two weeks of nausea in the beginning, but that soon disappeared and now I am feeling strong, healthy and well rested. I am hoping I stay feeling like this because running after a toddler all day while pregnant can be tricky business. 

Oslo does not suspect a thing so far, but I am already teaching him about babies and being gentle which he is picking up quickly. I can't wait to see him as a big brother! He seems to love babies and other kids, so I think he will enjoy having this new addition to the family. If not he is going to have to adapt pretty quickly to the change. Time will tell and I am so looking forward to seeing how he is with his new sibling. 

I just wanted to share the news and a quick update with you, and I am so excited to bring you along on this exciting journey with me. 

That's a wrap on another incredible year. Happy New Year and lots of love!
Jules
xxx

I have never really been one to create New Year's resolutions. Sure I've started the new ...

RESOLUTIONS


I have never really been one to create New Year's resolutions. Sure I've started the new year saying I'm going to start exercising more, but let's be real, that never lasts longer than a few days so I can't really count myself as a resolution maker or keeper. I live a fairly balanced and healthy life so for me I never felt it was necessary to set up a goal for myself to fulfil throughout the year. But just like every other year that has passed before me, I sit here with only a couple of weeks left in 2016 and wonder what I want from my 2017.

For the past month I have really thought about how I can improve myself and what I need to hold myself more accountable for. I always think there is so much power in self reflection and even though it is not always easy to do, it can help us grow so much and I think it leads us to live better and happier lives. It is so easy to look outward and at times judge others who are potentially not living up to our standards of life. Just for a moment though, take the time to look inward and have a conversation with yourself. Being conscious of who you are and what you project is the only way to self improve.

So I have been taking this time to be conscious and look at myself a little closer, and think about what I can do to improve and enhance myself in 2017.

This year I want to create a completely realistic goal for myself that I can apply to my everyday life. In fact it's not even really a goal, it's more like a change in my behaviour and how I present myself publicly.

Ah! This is the moment when I reveal a little embarrassing thing I do, that after four years of living in France I am ashamed I still do. Here goes... I still use my expat status and lack of confidence in French as a crutch to get me out of social interactions in my everyday life.

I will admit that since having Oslo I have come more out of my shell and have definitely interacted more with strangers. I have been a bit forced into new conversations because having a new baby in a small village gets a lot attention. At first I dreaded leaving my house, but slowly I grew more confident to speak in French. But, I do still avoid many interactions because I am still so shy with this language that seems so foreign to me.

I have been very much in denial that I did hide behind my over used phrase ''Je ne parle pas français.'' With a little self reflection I came to terms with my behaviour and am now owning up to it. This year enough is enough, I am no longer a new comer to France and it's about time I integrate myself into French life that much more.

Plainly speaking and so you can all hold me accountable, in 2017 I will stop using my expat status and lack of French as a crutch. I will go out into the land of cheese and baguettes, and immerse myself in every awkward French conversation that is presented before me. I will attempt to give the lost little old lady directions if she asks me. I will continue to order my food in French even if the waiter hears my bad accent and starts to speak to me in English. Finally the hardest one of all, I will start to speak French in fun social environments with mine and James' friends, even though they love to speak English, and jokes in French are hard to make.

Phew, there it is! That is not easy for me to admit or write out to you, but it does feel good to come to terms with it. It also makes me feel challenged which always drives me to be a better person. I will begin my 2017 with this in the front of my mind and face my fears head on, and hopefully gain even more confidence. And really what's the worst that can happen?

Since I laid it all out on the line, I would love to know if you like to make new year's resolutions?
If so, what is at the top of your list this year? I would love to know and maybe we can all hold each other accountable in 2017.

Happy New Year you lovely lot!

Today I am sharing my brand new mix of songs I have only just recently discovered. Normally my mi...

MIDWEEK MUSIC MIX 26


Today I am sharing my brand new mix of songs I have only just recently discovered. Normally my mixes comprise of songs I have listened to for a while and feel I must share with you, but this week is new for you and for me. These songs had me from the first few notes, which always makes my job of putting together a new playlist so fun and easy.

I am dedicating this Midweek Music Mix to my friend Jules, the super blogger over at This is Jules. She shared my mixes on her blog and I was so touched she did that, that I wanted to make this mix specially for her. If you have yet to discover her gorgeous blog, then do yourself a huge favour and check it now!

I hope you enjoy this brand new mix as much as I do. Happy midweek you lovely lot!

I was not planning on doing a Christmas gift guide this year, but then so many lovely little...

CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR THE LADIES


I was not planning on doing a Christmas gift guide this year, but then so many lovely little things kept popping up and I thought, how could I not share these? Better late than never, and technically it's not late because it isn't even December yet. Holy moly where has this month gone? I've been a bad girl this year and haven't even begun my Christmas shopping, so if you are as bad as me then hopefully this guide will help you out. 

This is a simple gift guide of little things that I have been loving lately. Most of these were actually given to me as gifts, so I know first hand how amazing they are to receive. So go spoil that lady in your life with some of these coveted items.

BELMTO KNOT CUFF & CLARA DROP NECKLACE

This gorgeous bracelet and necklace from Belmto are my go to jewelry pieces for day to day wear. I am not much of an accessory wearer, but I love how simple these pieces are. When my outfit needs a little more something, something, then I pop these on and instantly feel more polished. 

BELMTO Knot Cuff $15.50 & Clara Drop Necklace $14.80

GAMBETTES BOX 

The Gambettes Box is a monthly subscription box for the chicest tights you ever did see. James has surprised me with a Gambettes box subscription a few times now, and every time they come in the mail I am so happy with the designs. Like most women I have tried countless tights and I can say these are the best quality of any pair I have ever worn. I still have the same pairs from two years ago and there are no runs and look as good as new. I always love to give subscriptions as gifts because the surprises continue even after Christmas. 

You can sign up online for one month €13.90, three month €40.90, or six month €81.00 subscriptions. Only available in France.

ORGANIC SURGE ROSE WHISPER HAND & BODY DUO

It's no secret that I love Organic Surge, so I had to include my new favourite product from them. This Rose Whisper moisturiser and wash are simply divine. The smell of roses is so beautiful and pure I really can't get enough. With 99% natural ingredients and 73% from organic farming, this is the perfect gift if you want to pamper a special lady. 

Organic Surge Rose Whisper Hand & Body Duo €37.53.

JAMIE MAGAZINE

I received my very own Jamie Magazine subscription for my birthday and I look forward to receiving my new magazine every month. It is jam packed with easy and delicious recipes, and really helps keep me motivated to cook every night. This is an amazing gift to give to the lady in your life who loves to cook, but is always searching for new inspiration. Jamie really does it best!

Jamie Magazine annual subscription £38.99 (with promo code jmag).

EMOI EMOI POSTER

I love the French brand Emoi Emoi for their fun graphic tees, mugs, and posters. This framed print was given to me by a dear friend and now it is hanging above my bed, to remind me of how beautiful life is with family. A simple statement piece that any family loving lady would adore. 

Emoi Emoi 'La Vie Est Belle En Famille' (without frame) €10.00, (with frame)  €22.00.

LILY LOLO EYE PALETTE

Since making the switch to natural makeup I have looked far and wide for a beautiful eye shadow palette in neutral colours. This Lily Lolo palette is the perfect blend of natural and drama. It can go from day to night with these high pigmented, long lasting colours. Made with some natural ingredients and vegan friendly, this eye shadow palette is such a lovely gift for a makeup loving girl.



There you have it! So many goodies don't you think? All of these will be well received by your loved one, it might be hard to pick just one or two to give. Happy Holiday shopping!

Get ready for another talented and inspiring woman that I am so thrilled to share with you for a...

THROUGH HER EYES... OLGA PRINKU


Get ready for another talented and inspiring woman that I am so thrilled to share with you for another 'Through her eyes...''. Olga Prinku is a maker through and through. The effortless beauty she crafts and creates daily is always captivating to me. With nature just at her door step she makes her home come alive with gorgeous handmade wreaths and floral arrangements. Her photos are always simple, yet so magical that it's no wonder her following is growing everyday.

Not only is she inspiring through her photos, but this Mum has recently ventured out on her own and became an entrepreneur. She put her knitting talents to great use and opened a handcrafted wool goodies shop online, called Prinku. So if you were like me and wishing you could get your hands on one of her knit blankets, stockings, or Christmas baubles, well now you can! There's nothing I respect and admire more than a Mum who has the courage to create her own worth and support herself and family through her craft. I told you she was inspiring!

Welcome to the stunning and whimsical world through Olga's eyes...


Through your photos you look like such an incredible homemaker, you love to craft, knit, cook, and design, among a long list of other things I'm sure. Were you always such a maker & where did your passion come from?

Thank you so much for such kind words dear Jules. I think we are all creative deep down, we just have to discover it. I remember as a child making little Christmas wreaths and always shifting furniture in my mum’s home to make it look cosy and find the perfect fit. My mum used to knit and sew and I’ve grown up always being exposed to it. I’m originally from Moldova and I was a child in the last few days of the Soviet Union, when there wasn’t much to be found in shops so you had to create your own beauty. Later I did a degree in graphic design and worked as a graphic designer for an interiors magazine, which exposed me to so many amazing homes and creative ideas. 


Your new knitting shop Prinku is gorgeous, I really love everything you have created. Where did your love for knitting come from & what urged you to sell your goods?

When we started a family I decided to take a career break, and while I was pregnant I took up knitting again. I started with little bear hats, and my friends kept saying I should try to sell them. I thought maybe it could become a little business that I could fit in alongside being a full-time mum. 


Similar to Elizabeth Dalton @blowyinthewind we don't see much of you in your photos, so I would love to know more. What are some things about you that we wouldn't know from your Instagram?

I am an extremely shy person and always love to be behind the camera rather than in front! English is my third language, after Russian and Romanian. I moved to the UK after I met my husband, and at first we travelled around a lot with his work. After we had our little boy we bought a house in north-east England, to be close to my husband's family. We live in a little village and there’s plenty of land around to forage for my plant-based Instagram props!


What in your daily life inspires you to take photos and get creative?

My boy and all his changing funny faces as he grows older and more conscious of the camera. Watching the changing of the seasons and how it affects the various corners of our home and garden and the rest of the village. Discovering what grows where around us, and deciding what to plant in our garden. Going out for walks in the nearby hills and moors and seaside, when I can persuade my son and husband to get away from their screens!  


What are some photos you love to take that are on your camera roll, but you would never post on Instagram?

It’s mostly family photos, and also recently lots of photos of my son’s Lego creations. He understands now that I make things and photograph them, so he insists that I photograph the things he makes too!


I love your photography style - direct, to the point, simple and unadorned, with a strong undercurrent of subtle magic. Your feed really is a gallery of constant beauty and inspiration for me and I know for many others. Do you have any secrets or tips on how to stay consistent & how to take a beautiful photo every time?

Thank you so much! I try to keep things simple, but only because I’ve learned that I can’t seem to do elaborate - every time I try, I think it looks contrived and unnatural. So I like simple backgrounds and very few things in the photo, and I look out for things to photograph that will fit a minimal colour palette. I always try to use natural light and a lot of my photos are taken near a south-west facing window in our house. But I’m also always now observing how light falls elsewhere in the house at different times of the day and year. I find the pictures I’m happiest with are the ones that happen naturally. I’m definitely much more observant since I started with Instagram! 


What are three Instagram accounts that we must all be following?

That’s a very difficult one to answer! All the people I follow are amazing and creative and inspire me everyday. Can I cheat and pick out some favourites in three categories of accounts? I love to follow mums who have a beautiful eye for detail and are great homemakers, like @anna.cor @wunderblumen @bykiddycut @hierwohntdasglueck @thislittlehouse_ @gatheredthreads. Also I love beautiful floral accounts, like @niki.at.the.cottage @thewelshhouse @jannelford @botanical_tales. Needless to say I get a lot of inspiration from the gorgeous feeds of fellow makers, like @hand_made_by_olga @notary_ceramics @posyandpetal @fox_and_weave. But I could carry on listing accounts all day!

What a treat that was! It is so nice to get to know the lovely Olga a little more. She is so incredibly inspiring to me I hope she sparks something in you as well. Thank you so much Olga for opening up to us! Keep those gorgeous images flooding my feed everyday please. I cannot wait to see all of the beauty you create this Christmas.

Happy Friday friends! Technicall y  it's  not midweek, but this week flew by for me and today...

MIDWEEK MUSIC MIX 25


Happy Friday friends! Technicallit's not midweek, but this week flew by for me and today is a holiday in France, so for me that is a good enough reason to post a new playlist. With the winter weather making an abrupt appearance in the French Riviera, all I feel like listening to is a slow mix of songs to get cosy with. Every year around this time I instantly want to spend my evenings inside, warm, with a good book, possibly in the bath, with some relaxing music. I'm not one to throw on classical music to relax to, instead I prefer a playlist exactly like this. Now go pour yourself a glass of wine (preferably red), get some comfy pyjamas on, put those tired feet up, and push play....

Have a relaxing weekend!