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A WEEK IN DORSET

I have been to England countless times, but this was my very first time to Dorset. My Mum is English and my Grandparents, Aunt, and cousin still live there, so whenever we visit we end up going to the same places. Not that I am complaining because my Grandparents live in a gorgeous farmhouse just outside of Ludlow. I always love to stay there, but it's nice to discover somewhere new.

Admittedly I am a massive Broadchurch fan! If you haven't watched it, you must. Do it now! Without giving away any major plot lines, it is set in a small seaside town on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. Just picture rugged cliffs, wild beaches, and a charming, quaint village. It's the stuff English summer dreams are made of. Ever since watching Broadchurch I knew I needed to visit this gorgeous landscape and see it for myself.




We narrowed our search on where to stay down to Isle of Portland and rented a stunning seaside house. My Dad, older sister Alex, cousin, her boyfriend, Oslo, and I all came together for an incredible week. The weather was gorgeous and sunny, so not the traditional moody English Summer. This made our days by the beach so enjoyable. My family is super easy going when we travel, so most days we took our time, went for walks on the beach, and little country drives to charming towns for pub lunches.

Is it just me or is a vacation an excuse to be gluttonous? We all love food so much and our meals were planned out much more than anything else. For me the food was one of the best parts of the whole trip. I indulged myself in fish pies, fish and chips, mussels, crab, you name it I probably ate it.

If you are ever in the Isle of Portland area you have to try the Cove Inn restaurant. We went there a couple times at the recommendation of the house rental's host, and it lived up to the reviews. The Crab House is another fabulous spot we went to on our last night there. We shared oysters and I ate an entire crab, it was all so delicious!











I've learned that when travelling with a baby, days are best spent taking it easy and not packing
too much in. Oslo was so amazing the whole time. He makes travelling really fun and he is
very adaptable, so we ended up seeing a lot more than I anticipated. One of the highlights was
seeing over 600 swans at a swannery in Abbotsbury. I loved watching Oslo's reaction when
he first caught a glimpse of them. I don't think he could believe his eyes!

It is such an incredible feeling to be able to show him different parts of the world.  I have said
before that I know he won't be able to remember these trips, but I do know he takes a little
something with him from wherever he goes.








One week with my family is never enough, but regardless we had such an amazing time. We always manage to have fun especially once a few gin & tonics are downed. Whenever I return to England it feels like my third home, after Canada and France of course. I am already dreaming of my next trip back. Next time I want to stay in another new spot I have never been to, so please send your must have spots to stay at my way!

I'm not one to take videos when I travel, but since Oslo was born I have been trying to film little scenes to be able to cherish later. I have put together all of the clips and made a little movie
memory, so if you are interested you can watch that below.


I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of my week in Dorset. Thank you for taking a peek!
Jules
xxx

LAVENDER BABY BODY BUTTER



When it comes to Oslo and taking care of him, I tend to be a little bit of a freak on what products I use. His skin is so new and delicate that the thought of putting anything other than all natural & organic products on him, just doesn't seem right. Before I had Oslo I spent a ton of time searching online for the best baby lotions and oils, but I found most of the ingredients were unnecessary. So, I decided to buy a few simple ingredients, go into my kitchen, and whip up my own baby body butter. This body butter is so simple to make, very inexpensive, and completely all natural and organic.

I add 100% pure lavender essential oil, but feel free to add whatever oils you want, as long as they are pure. I love to give Oslo a bath before bed and quiet him down by massaging this body butter all over his skin. The smell of lavender soothes him and helps him have a long and deep sleep. Every mother's dream right?

Just three simple ingredients and voilà! The perfect, most nourishing baby body butter you could ever want for your little one.



Lavender Baby Body Butter
INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup of pure organic shea butter (I use this one)
3/4 cup of pure organic coconut oil (I use this one)
20 - 30 drops of 100% pure lavender essential oil
1 glass jar with lid (I use a leftover jelly jar)

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Add shea butter, coconut oil to a small pan and melt over low heat.

2. Once it has all melted, add the lavender essential oil and stir together, then pour into a glass jar.

3. You're done! Now pamper your babe with this gorgeous butter and hopefully it helps them sleep through the night :)

The body butter should firm up after it cools down. In the Summer months or at least in my home it stays in liquid form, but that helps make it easier to massage in.


Here's a very relaxed Oslo after his massage, all ready for bed.


MIDWEEK MUSIC MIX 22


We are already halfway through the week, we made it! To celebrate here is a brand spanking new Midweek mix for ya'll. Since I have been back from England our home has been a bit mellow. Oslo and I both came home sick and now James has joined in on the party as well. We are not up for much these days, except for relaxing inside and trying to get healthy again. So I thought this week I would share with you a chilled out mix of songs, that's the perfect pairing to snotty noses and sore throats. But hey if you are a healthy buck then this mix will still tickle your fancy. Enjoy and please send healthy vibes our way!



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.