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ORGANIC SURGE




I have always been good at taking care of my skin. It just made sense to me that the better you treat your skin, especially the skin on your face, the better you will look and ultimately age. Since I was a preteen I washed my face every morning and night, never went to bed with makeup on (unless I passed out, you remember those college days?), and always remembered to moisturize. All that care throughout the years has paid off and I have been lucky to never suffer from acne or a massive blemish breakout, other than that little monthly pimple I get when you know what happens. So with having great skin my whole life I just assumed after I had Oslo my skin would continue to be great, and I would still glow and  look youthful. Well was I ever in for a shock when the combination of hormones, lack of sleep, and dehydration from breastfeeding, led my skin into a downward spiral. I was also so focused on Oslo and tired, that I started skipping my daily face washes and completely forgetting to moisturize. My skin was seriously taking a hit from my lack of attention to it, and it showed.

After the first few initial months as a new mama, my life started to get back on track. I started my daily skin care routine again, but I felt like I needed something more. I needed to find a new skincare collection that gave me a little 'extra care'. With that in mind, off I went on my internet search to find a natural, organic, locally made, small beauty company that could provide me with the extra care I needed. That's when I discovered the UK skincare brand, Organic Surge



Organic Surge has an exclusive skincare collection called Extra Care, that focuses on rejuvinating, conditioning, and protecting our skin. With those three words and reading through the incredible ingredient list, I was sold. I treated myself to the Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser, the Intesive Smoothing Serum, the Hydrating Eye Cream, the Nourishing Rose Day Cream, the Radiance Recovery Night Cream, and the Muslin Face Cloth. It's rare for me splurge on myself like that, but any new mama can attest that we rarely focus on ourselves, and I really needed a bit of pampering. 

Any new product I get, I try it out for a full week and then give an honest review of what I think. As soon as I received my package from Organic Surge I ran to my bathroom, ripped open the box, and tried it all out on my face. From the first use I could feel a change in my skin. It was instantly smoother and more hydrated than it had been since having Oslo. I was shocked and thrilled with how quickly it had worked for me. I have now been using the Extra Care collection twice daily for one month, and my skin is back to its pre-teen days. 



With any product I love I knew I had to reach out to the company and get more information, and then of course share it all with you. So I am excited to have the founder of Organic Surge, Alan MacKenzie on the blog to answer a few of my questions. 

Why is it so important to use natural and organic products on our skin?

I suffered from skin sensitivity for many years until I tried using products containing natural and organic ingredients. I made the switch and the difference was amazing – my skin felt and looked better within days. This inspired me to create Organic Surge. Simply put by using the right natural and organic products you are treating your skin to more of the good and less of the bad. The fact that all of our products are also certified as suitable for sensitive skin is testament to how skin-friendly they are. Choosing organic also has significant benefits to the environment.

What sets Organic Surge apart from all of the other skincare companies?

Our objective is to make life better; from creating high performance yet pure formulations to our charitable work.



What is the best selling product from Organic Surge?

Our Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser. It contains 99% natural ingredients and is a favourite with all skin types. It's essentially five products in one as it cleanses, tones, exfoliates, detoxifies and removes all traces of make-up. I personally read every single customer review and from the moment our Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser launched it received five star reviews. It's since go on to win awards and our customers come back and buy it again and again and again.

I can back up those five star reviews and would shout it from my rooftop, if Alan wanted me to. This Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser is skin changing, I might even go as far to say it's life changing. Okay calm down Jules... but really I've tried and tested a lot of natural face cleansers and this one is at the top. 

What advice would you give to someone looking to take the plunge and switch to all natural and organic beauty products?

You won't look back! I created Organic Surge as exceptional quality organic skincare products just weren't available at an affordable price. Everyday we hear from our customers that moving to organic has made such a difference to their skin so we are passionate about spreading the word and encouraging more people to go natural.

When I switched all of my beauty products to natural and organic ones two years ago I found it a challenge to find affordable products, that were high performance. It took a long time and I had to try a lot of different companies, but the change is so worth it. I really wish I knew about Organic Surge when I initially made the switch. Their products are simple, straight forward, and are high perfomance. As a busy stay at home mum, that's all I am looking for. Well that and a product that will make me look and feel like Gigi Hadid, is that asking for too much?

Thank you very much to Alan and Daisy of Organic Surge. It's always lovely to support a locally made, certified, and charitable company.

Some other products I love from Organic Surge: Lavender Meadow Hand & Body Care Duo and Clove, Orange & Geranium Foaming Bath.

Stay tuned for an exciting Giveaway on my Instagram October 1st.

SAYING GOODBYE TO SUMMER



Summer in the South is winding down slowly, but surely. In September the days are still very warm, sometimes even unbearably hot, but the nights begin to cool down and you have to put a sweater on to go out. Those kind of chilly nights are my favourite, because it means Fall isn't far from arriving. Last weekend we wanted to soak up one of the last Summer nights before it's too cold, to enjoy the beach just the three of us. As the sun was setting we arrived and all of the sun bathers were leaving. To have a beach all to yourself in Cannes is a rare thing, so this moment was even more special. We watched the golden sun descend behind the hills of Théole-sur-mer, James and I snuck a couple of beers to drink, and Oslo ate handfuls of sand. It was the perfect end to an incredible Summer spent with my family. 











THE BIRTH OF OSLO



As I am about to pour my heart out, I want to start by saying this is the hardest thing I have ever had to write. I write 'had to' because this story needs to be told to help me heal. I need to release it and in a lot of ways let go. For the past year I have tried countless times to sit and type this out, but each time I couldn't. Either the words wouldn't form or I was too overcome with emotion to get anything out. I guess I wasn't ready to share this part of me and this story that has shaped the person I am today as a mother, wife, and woman. Now only a week away from the day that changed my life in so many ways, I feel it is time for the final steps in my therapy and recovery.

This is a story James and I have told few people. Of course we have talked about Oslo's birth, but we rarely get into the details and emotions of it. At times the birth still feels like an unhealed wound we are waiting to scab over. Time and therapy has been our friend and we feel stronger today than we have more recently, but like any trauma, it will always be a part of us. Embedded in our roots and our relationship, and is at the base of our journey beginning as parents. Telling this story more publicly feels right at this time, and as my fingers type these words out, strangely I feel more weight being lifted. It's another form of therapy I need to help heal the wound I have carried with me since the birth of Oslo.



The Birth of Our Little Oslo

The birth I wanted and dreamed of was planned out meticulously. I was going to have a home birth with a midwife, in my bedroom, all natural, with James by my side. I imagined myself having one of those hypnotic births, where the baby slips out in a deep breath and the mother scoops him up in her arms, and she cries tears of joy and bliss. I was so excited for it. Weeks before my due date I had prepared my room by writing birth affirmations on paper and sticking them all over my walls. I placed candles to set a relaxing mood, lay a second mattress on the floor, and had my yoga ball ready in the corner. All the boxes were checked to have this so called 'dream birth', and James and I felt prepared, anxious, and happy.

I had found an incredible midwife who we really clicked with. She was calm, quiet, and had the sort of energy that I knew I wanted present while in labour. I went to her every month for my check up and she always reassured me, and gave me so much confidence for my home birth. 6 weeks before my due date during my monthly appointment, she told us she had a midwifery training out of the country the week before my due date. James and I felt a bit let down, but she told us not to worry and to find a back up midwife just in case. The problem we were facing with finding a back up midwife that assists in home births was a lot more difficult than we initially thought. Home births are not common in France, and we could only find one other midwife available to help us. She was a sweet woman, but she didn't speak a word of English which made me feel uneasy. We naively pushed forward with our plan for a home birth and thought positively that I wouldn't go into labour when our original midwife was away.

But as fate would have it on September 27 at 11:00pm, 7 days before my due date and while my midwife was away, I awoke suddenly with the feeling of cramps. This feeling was sort of familiar to me and almost instantly I knew I was in labour. They were light and bearable so I tried to sleep, knowing I was probably in for a long day tomorrow. James and I both woke up early the next morning and I told him to go to work because I wasn't sure if anything was really happening. He left and I began to time the constant contractions. Finally I gave in to the fact that this baby was ready to make its debut soon after timing my contractions every 5 minutes, lasting between 30 seconds to a minute. I called James around 11:00am and told him he should probably come home now, because it was really happening. He came home and called the new midwife to let her know things were starting, but not to rush over. I felt confident and like I had a handle on the pain, which was still light and consistent. I spent the day with James massaging me, rocking on the yoga ball, lying on the sofa, and going in and of the bath for comfort.

As 5:00pm approached, 18 hours into my labour, the pain started to increase dramatically. I could no longer just breath through it. I felt very uncomfortable and that I needed the midwife to come to check me. James called her and she arrived about an hour later. I asked her to check me right away so I could know how much longer I had to go. She told me I was 5cm dilated and that made me happy to know I was half way there, but I was also very discouraged to think I had worked for 18 hours and was only at 5cm. I felt very clinical in my head as she told me, I wanted to know the facts. She tried to get me to stop thinking about numbers and times, and told me to just give into the pain. I couldn't. She tried hard to soothe me, but this woman was a complete stranger and I had a hard time accepting her comfort. It all felt lost in translation, as she had to tell James in French then he had to translate it to tell me in English. It was an unnecessary pressure for James, but he handled himself calmly and was very direct with her instructions.

After 2 hours or so the labour was slowly moving, but the contractions were still very consistent. At this point they were every 3 minutes, lasting 1 minute. The pain was now unbearable. I started to have back labour, which was the most excruciating pain in my sacrum, where the hip bones and pelvis are fused together. As I felt another contraction come on, my body would seize up, I would be overcome with a hot flash, and begin to tremble and scream for someone to come and push my hips inward. I was flustered and losing control quickly. James and my midwife tried very hard to get me to breath through the pain, to moan, to let go. I couldn't. It's like I forgot everything I read about natural birth and how to deal with the pain. It all went out the window and all I could think about was how this didn't feel right. I was antsy and went from the bed, to the floor, to the tub, to the yoga ball. I couldn't get comfortable and just wanted it all to stop. I couldn't picture the end or that my baby was coming soon, the only thoughts that flooded my brain were about the pain.

My midwife suggested I go in the bathtub because it would help relax. As I attempted to relax in the warm water I felt a sudden explosion. Finally my water broke which really scared me with it's power, but James tried to get me excited that this meant the baby wasn't far from arriving now. Soon after I wanted to get out of the tub and lay feeling helpless on the bed. The midwife suggested her and James leave the room to help me focus on giving into the birth and to take away outside distractions. This was the worst thing she could have done. I felt so alone and frightened. I was upset that they left me and called out for James to come back to be with me. What I needed support and reassurance everything was fine.

Time creeped on slowly and after 24 hours of labour I soon had an urge to push. I was so relieved to have this feeling and to know it was all coming to an end. My midwife checked me and told me I was at 10cm now. In reality she lied. I was actually 9cm but she didn't want to discourage me as she knew I was at my breaking point. So she told me I was 10cm to give me a last push to hang in there. I asked her if I could start trying to push the baby out, and she said I could if the urge was strong enough. I began to get a little excited, and stopped focusing on the pain. I began pushing on all fours, next contraction I tried squatting, the next I went on my back. But nothing felt right and I started to feel exhausted. After about 20 minutes she wanted to check the baby's heartbeat. As she put the doppler on my belly the expression on her face changed and she looked a bit worried. She told James the heartbeat sounded slow and that if I couldn't push the baby out in 10 minutes we would have to go to the hospital. The hospital? No. I never even thought the hospital was an option, I was having my baby at home. I was too close to those final moments. I lay on my back on a mattress on the floor with James by my side and I pushed as hard as I physically could. Screaming with each breath out, trying to get my baby out in time.

Time was up. We knew we had to go to the hospital, so James quickly ran around grabbing things we would need. The hospital never entered our heads when we planned the birth, so a bag was never packed. I felt worried, but very calm. I yelled out things for James to pack, like my glasses, toothbrush, and other necessities. He then rushed out of the house to get the car from our parking garage down the street. The midwife helped me walk down the stairs and down the street. I could feel the baby's head right in between my legs and I could barely walk. Another contraction came on in the middle of my street, it was nearing midnight but I didn't care who I woke up. I screamed out in pain and just wanted to make it to the car and drive to the hospital in time. The car ride is a blur and a moment I prefer not to think about. Minutes later we arrive at the hospital and James drops me and the midwife off at the emergency doors, while he scrambles to park the car. We are greeted by a security guard who casually asks us why we are here. I wanted to hit this woman, couldn't she see I was in labour and in an extreme amount of pain? My midwife explains the baby was arriving and I needed to be taken to the maternity ward immediately. The security guard switched on and got me into a wheelchair. James met us and like a scene out of a movie, we all raced down the halls to maternity. A team of midwives greeted us and were surprised to see us there. I was put on a bed, given an IV, hooked up to multiple machines, and the head midwife checked the baby's heartbeat. I was expecting bad news, but she turned to us and said everything is fine, and the heartbeat was normal. I could relax. She told me I was officially at 10cm now and the baby would be here very soon. She spoke perfect English and was so direct with me. I felt relieved and took my first calm breath in hours. I knew I was in good hands and was ready now to meet my baby.

A contraction came on and the midwife ordered James to hold my left leg, my midwife held my right, and I was told to take a deep breath in and push down on my pelvis as hard as I could. I pushed with all my might and it felt right. The pushing was a natural relief. The head midwife was between my legs and looked me straight in the eyes, and told me I was pushing well but I needed to focus more on getting the baby out. After a couple more pushes she told me my baby would be here after two more contractions. I was determined and driven more than I had ever been since the beginning. Her calm confidence was just what I needed. I took one last breath in and pushed with every ounce of my strength. I began to tremble, my eyes were fluttering, I grabbed both my legs, and that's the last thing I remember.

I woke up the next day alone in a hospital room, hooked up to three IVs, with machines beeping all around me. A nurse greeted me and explained I had just woken up from an induced coma and I had a baby boy. I was weak and couldn't move, dizzy with emotion, I couldn't process what had happened. James was with the baby in maternity and was notified immediately that I was awake. He rushed down to see me in the ICU, and as he entered the room he embraced me and we both began sobbing. I had so many questions for him about what had happened and about the baby. He told me our baby's name was Oslo, which was the name I had picked if we had a boy. I wanted to meet our Oslo and hold him in my arms, because it didn't feel real yet. My belly was gone, there was no baby inside me, but being told I had given birth didn't make it feel real.

The nurse told me I had to wait to meet Oslo because they had to organise with maternity to set up a private room for us to meet in. I patiently waited hours and hours, immobile in my bed. Finally I was told it was time and they hooked up all my machines to portable ones and connected my IVs to the bed. They wheeled me down the hall where I was put into an empty room, halfway between the ICU and the maternity ward. Again I waited, watching through the open door down the hallway, until finally James turned the corner and I could see him wheeling a tiny bassinet with my Oslo inside. So many emotions came over me when I first laid my eyes on the most gorgeous baby I had ever seen. James handed me Oslo and I held him in my arms. I was too weak from the labour and my arms hurt from the IVs so this moment couldn't last long. I was frustrated that these first moments of bonding were impossible to have because of my physical state. I tried my best to enjoy this time, but it was hard to feel like this was my baby and I had just given birth. It felt like they could have handed me any baby from the hospital and told me it was mine. I had none of the incredible natural instincts, hormones, or instant bonding that a new mother gets, especially after having a natural labour. I was left feeling empty, even though I knew I should have felt overjoyed to be alive and to have a healthy baby.

After meeting Oslo for the first time (which is now a blur and not a vivid memory for me), I was wheeled back to maternity with James and was greeted by doctors who were there to try their best to explain what had happened to me.

During the last seconds of pushing Oslo out, I began shaking and all went black. What was happening was I began having an epileptic seizure, at the same time my blood pressure increased rapidly to 230/130, and I stopped breathing. Oslo wasn't completely born yet and as I began to convulse, my body was sucking him back in. The head midwife had given me an episiotomy during the first moments of pushing, so she had room to stick her hand in me and grab under Oslo's armpit. She grasped him and pulled him out just in time, as I lay on the bed with no life left in me. He was born at 12:20pm, just 20 minutes after I first arrived at the hospital. The doctors were called in and James was handed a healthy new baby and told to leave the room while they worked on me. He stood with our Oslo in his arms, terrified with the image of my lifeless blue body. He thought I was dead. What I can only imagine was the most horrific hour later, a doctor came down the hallway and told him I was breathing but unstable, so I was put into an induced coma. James was then transferred to a maternity room with the baby and was left to nurture him alone, without me.

For the next 4 days I stayed in bed in the ICU and received brain scans, had eye tests done, and extensive blood work to ensure I was healthy and didn't have any brain damage. They were left without answers to give me though. Because this was such a freak health scare and one they had never seen before, they couldn't explain what had happened. We were frustrated without answers and no explanation as to how this could have happened.

How can a perfectly healthy pregnant woman go from being stable and well to almost dying in seconds? This is a question that will forever be unanswered, and one that has taken this whole year to be at peace with.

Everyday in the ICU was so difficult. I would wake up lay in bed for hours and continue to ask the nurses when I can see my baby¬ I would ask until finally they would have a room available for me and I would get to see Oslo again, but only for a couple of hours each time. I felt like they were robbing me of those first extremely special days a mother should have with her baby. Finally after four days the doctor said I was well enough to be transferred to my maternity room and that I could be reunited with Oslo and James. Those were the best words I could have ever heard. I felt so relieved to be leaving the ICU, to know I didn't have any permanent damage, and that I could begin to be a mother.

I spent another 4 days in maternity, slowly bonding with Oslo and recovering. The life had literally been taken from me, so the first few days I couldn't walk or even stand up without help. All my strength was stripped away. I continued getting regular testing for my blood and blood pressure which was still very high, but by day 8 I was in the clear. I could go home, finally.

On my last night at the hospital I still had so many questions unanswered. I was so dizzy and fuzzy all the time and kept repeating questions to James, who was still dealing with all the trauma he had gone through. Before I was about to go to sleep the head midwife, the one who grabbed Oslo out of me and witnessed everything, came into my room, sat on my bed, and told me she was there to talk if I needed to. This was the most important thing she could have done to help me begin emotionally healing. I asked her question after question about what happened to me for the next hour. She was calm and strong, and just provided me the facts I needed to process what had happened.

The last morning I was visited by the OBGYN, who was the first doctor on the scene when I stopped breathing. She wanted to say goodbye and to tell me my story will be one they will learn and grow from. She said in all of her years and deliveries, she had never witnessed what had happened to me before. She told me I was a miracle and lucky to be alive, and those words are ones I hold in my heart with me everyday now.



Even to this day Oslo's birth and how it happened doesn't seem real. It seems more like a dream, until I get a flash from my memory. I still get extremely emotional and flooded with mixed feelings of joy and sadness when I think back to that day. On a day when I should look back and only feel incredible love and happiness, I'm still saddened that only part of me feels that way. The birth is my stolen moment with my baby. That is how the therapist I saw months after the birth described it to me. He hit the nail on the head so to speak, with the word 'stolen'. It was stolen, taken out of my hands, never to come back to me. I didn't get to pull my baby out and onto my chest, I didn't get to do skin to skin, I didn't get to look into James' eyes and share that first moment of our baby being born with him, and I didn't get to breastfeed right away. I did all the work of a natural labour for 25 hours, but received none of the rewards. This for me is the hardest thing I have had to overcome.

The labour and delivery I had doesn't change the love I have for Oslo now. It just changed the initial emotions and feelings that are so necessary in the first fleeting moments with a new baby. I had a hard time for the first four months with bonding, feeling like Oslo was my baby, and breastfeeding. I really hate to admit that, especially because for so long it made me feel like a horrible mum. But I know now my story is special and difficult, and was out my hands. Now I feel like I handled it as well as I could have under the circumstances. I am proud of the strength James and I found together and separately to carry on and raise Oslo in this first year. It has been far more difficult and emotional than I could have ever imagined it. But because of what happened to us, it has strengthened us as a family and as a couple, which to me is the silver lining in this story.

Oslo is the greatest thing that has ever happened to us and even though he did not enter the world as planned, he has changed our lives for the better. I love you baby Oslo.

MINI PLUM TARTS

I'm a sucker for any kind of mini dessert. For some reason I feel a lot less guilty when I eat small versions of regular food, even if it's in large quantities. I'm sure I am not alone here! Mini desserts are found everywhere in France, so that inspired me to make these little tarts instead a traditional one.

This recipe happened randomly when I went a little crazy while shopping for fruits last week. I decided to get an insane amount of plums with the intention of eating them. But like most fruit I bring home in large quantities, most of it just sits in my fridge up until the point where I can't eat anymore, so I turn it into a dessert. It kind of defeats the purpose of eating fruit for my health, but desserts make me happy so it's a win-win, I suppose. I've made many a pie in my day, so I based this recipe off of my tried and tested favourites. The only upgrade I made to these little beauties is I added some freshly made blackberry jelly, that my Mother in-law brought home from her recent holiday on a farm in the middle of France. She picked the berries herself and made this delicious jelly that same day. So I thought the freshness and sweetness of the blackberries would be a great addition to the plums.

These mini plum tarts are the perfect treat for this time of year. When the evenings are cool and you are craving something a little more than ice cream. Warm these tarts up and you have yourself a cosy and delicious treat to accompany the crisp Autumn days ahead.

Mini Plum Tarts

prep time: 1 hour + time for pie dough to cool in refrigerator
baking time: 30 minutes
makes: 4 mini tarts

INGREDIENTS

Dough:
300 grams of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
225 grams of cold butter (cut into small cubes)
3 tablespoons of cold water

Filling:
12 plums
75 grams of blackberry jelly/confiture
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 vanilla pod (seeds scraped)
2 tablespoons of flour

4 small pie tins
Rolling pin

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large bowl add flour, salt, and sugar, and mix to combine. Add the cubes of cold butter and begin to crumble with fingers. You can use a food processor to cut the butter into the flour, but I prefer to use my hands for a more accurate consistency. Once butter is completely mixed into flour you may need to add up to 3 to 4 tablespoons of cold water to make dough less crumbly. Your dough should be buttery and smooth, if it's too wet add more flour or too dry add a little more water. Once combined, form a ball and cut into 4 equal discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Pop the dough discs into the refrigerator for an hour or so.

2. In the meantime while the dough is cooling you can make the tart filling. Chop up the plums in medium sized pieces, add them to a medium sized pot. Add sugar, jelly, and vanilla seeds and cook on medium low heat for 15 minutes. The plums will have cooked down, but will be a bit liquid. So add 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk into the filling mixture. Cook on low for another 5 minutes until it has thickened. Transfer plum filling to a bowl and leave it until it has completely cooled.

3. After an hour or so in the refrigerator take one dough disc out and cut in half. One half is for the bottom layer of the tart, and the other half is for the lattice on top. Roll out onto a floured surface until about 3-4mm thick. Butter your pie tins and transfer your rolled out dough onto the tin, and gently push dough down to create an even bottom layer. With the other half of the dough, roll it out and cut into a square. Then with a knife cut 10 lattice strips length wise (15cm long/0.5cm-1cm wide). Fill the lined pie tin with your plum filling, just to the brim. Top your filled pie with the lattice strips and arrange 5 horizontally and 5 vertically on top. Trim the ends of the lattice and press down to seal with the bottom layer of the dough.

4. Continue rolling out your dough and filling your pies one by one. Be sure to leave remaining dough in the fridge, so they do not get too warm before you roll them.

5. Preheat oven to 350°F | 175°C. Pop your mini tarts in the freezer for 15 minutes to ensure the dough and filling are very cold.

6. After 15 minutes and when your oven is preheated, put your mini tarts onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

7. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then run a knife along the edge and take the tarts out of the tins and put them onto a serving plate.

8. Top with a scoop of your favourite vanilla ice cream and enjoy!





OUR FAVOURITE BOOKS


Oslo is a very busy baby and few things keep his focus for very long. The only thing that seems to captivate and interest him for more than five minutes are books. This kid is obsessed! I recently gave him a few Dr. Seuss board books, you know the ones he can't eat or rip? He is completely in love with them and I often find him sitting and reading them out loud to himself. It makes me so happy to see he has such an interest in books and stories. Reading to him has quickly become one of my most treasured moments, and I look forward to sitting down and reading him a story everyday.

Before I became a Mum I always dreamed of reading to my baby one day. I have always loved children's books and have grown quite the collection as I grew up, and I wanted to do the same for Oslo. In my own collection I have all the classics, Winnie the Pooh, Dr. Seuss, the Velveteen Rabbit, the complete series of Beatrix Potter, Rupert, Babar, you name it, I probably have it. Since I have all the oldies, I wanted to start building a newer collection of books. Slowly over the past year I have been buying or receiving different books from family and friends for Oslo and we have grown very fond of a few. I know as Mothers we are always looking for new suggestions, so I wanted to share them with you.


Let's Go Hugo by Angela Dominguez
I love this visually stunning book! A story of a little bird living in Paris who is afraid to fly. He meets a new lady bird friend and their adventure around Paris begins. So cute and I love that it is set in France.

An Awesome Book of Love by Dallas Clayton
My good friends gave Oslo this book and I love the meaning of the story. It's message is all about love. No matter who you are and what you do, the person that loves you will always love you. The illustrations are so fun too!

Ribbit by Rodrigo Folgueira and Poly Bernatene
Ribbit is a funny little book about a pig trying to make friends with frogs. I love a good moral at the end of the story and this one definitely delivers.

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear by Monica Carmesi
A tale of a bunny and bear and their unlikely friendship through the seasons. Such a cute story and Oslo loves any book with animals in it, so this one is a big hit.

Home by Carson Ellis
I swear this book was made with the parents in mind more than the kids. It is a piece of art and poetry all in one. The illustrations are gorgeous, I seriously want to frame them in my own home. This book has no story, instead it takes us around the World to show us what other people's homes look like. I love it because it shows a home in France, which is where we live so it's special for us.

Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman
This book is a little story about a chicken in a painting who comes alive and decides to help finish the artwork. Just a simple story but I love it because of all the farm animals. Oslo is a sucker for ducks, chickens, and cows, so this book always gets him excited.




You're Here for a Reason & Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You
by Nancy Tillman

Both of these books are very special to me. My Mum gave me Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You when I moved to France. It was her way of saying that it doesn't matter where I am in the World, she will love me near or far. Now being the Mother of Oslo this book means even more to me.

For Christmas my Mum gave Oslo another Nancy Tillman book, You're Here For a Reason. This book is so lovely and lets your child know they were born with a purpose.

Both books have such a beautiful and heartfelt message, I hope every child gets to hear them. The illustrations are so gorgeous as well, each page is filled with different animals and children from all different cultures. I love Nancy Tillman books and am looking forward to adding more of her stories to Oslo's bookshelf. 


Apart from reading being amazing for brain development and teaching kids about language, animals, morals, and countless other benefits, it is also such an incredible way to bond with your baby. There is nothing better than to take some time just the two of you, and relax. In a World full of technology and fast paced living, it is so important to stop and sit, and discover the pleasure of reading children's books.

I hope you love this selection of our favourite books. If you have any children's books your babes love please leave me a comment. I am always on the search of great books.

Thank you!
Jules
xxx

A WEEK IN CORSICA


This trip to Corsica was the last hurrah of an amazing Summer. We stayed in the most secluded spot in the Southern part of Corsica with our good friends, for one week of bliss and relaxation. I had only heard incredible things about Corsica or Corse as they say in French, so I knew this place was going to be special. As we drove off the ferry that took us from Nice to Bastia in the North part of the island, I felt like we had entered into a land perfectly mixed with France and Italy. It was actually strange to me to have the sense that I was in two countries at once, but since I love both of them very much it made me love Corsica even more. We arrived at night, which I've always enjoyed because it means you get to see a new place with fresh, rested eyes in the morning as the sun is coming up. To me it is the best way to start a holiday.

My friend Alex's Aunt offered us her holiday villa to stay in while we were there, and this place was so gorgeous, we never wanted to leave. It was complete with an infinity pool, sweeping views of the sea, and we could even see flamingos swimming in the bay across the marshes. It was the perfect spot for us all to relax.





We spent most of our days at the house because how could we not? But there were a couple of spots Alex suggested we visit to get a true sense of the Corsican life. Just a short drive away was the charming village of Porto-Vecchio. It's a pretty small town, but they have an incredible market where we bought fresh fruits, vegetables, and cheeses. We also had to get some local liquer, wine, and rosé, Let me tell you, I would make the trip back just for that rosé, so good to sip poolside.

On our last day we drove to the most Southern part of the island to the breathtaking village, Bonifacio. It is perched on top of a cliff, so the views were incredible. We could even see Sardinia from the lookout point.









For the rest of our days we took our time in the morning, had late breakfasts, swam in the pool, sipped cocktails under the sun, played Mölkky which is so much fun if you haven't tried. We all pitched in to make some delicious meals and ate every meal outside. We were so lucky with the weather, it was sunny and hot everyday, except for one night when we had the most amazing thunderstorm.

September really is the best month to go. We avoided the summer tourists, the weather is still beautiful, and the sea is so warm. So if you ever plan a trip to Corsica, definitely go there for the end of summer, if you can.










This holiday was one of for the books. We made so many memories with Oslo, who thoroughly enjoyed himself, especially swimming in the sea. I feel so lucky to be able to take Os to so many places, he really is a pleasure to travel with. To remember these moments I have created another travel diary video above and am thrilled to share our photos from the trip as well. I hope you enjoy our week in Corsica!