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BOY!!! It has been a few weeks now since we found out our second bébé on the way is another boy. After telling many shocked f...

IT'S A...


It has been a few weeks now since we found out our second bébé on the way is another boy. After telling many shocked family members and friends who all thought I was having a girl (including myself!), we are thrilled to finally announce the happy news publicly. We're having a boy!

When I was pregnant with Oslo we waited to find out if he was a boy or a girl until the birth. For us it was such an exciting surprise and a lot easier than I thought it would be. Once we had made the decision not to find out, we never really talked about ever wanting to know. 

This time was different for me though, I really wanted to find out for a few reasons. I thought it would help me connect even more this pregnancy knowing a bit more about this precious little life growing inside of me. I knew it would be much easier in planning what we needed to buy or sell and for decorating the nursery. I also wanted to be able to have Oslo know beforehand if he was going to be a big brother to a baby girl or boy. At 18 months he can't fully grasp it yet, but I like to think he always knows more than he lets on, so I'm happy to tell him either way. Finally, James and I had a really hard time choosing a boy name for my first pregnancy and we spent months and months going back and forth on names. So I wanted to make it less stressful this time in knowing we only had to choose one name for the baby. Well two I guess if you count the middle name, which we are stuck on this time as well!

But the problem was James was very uncertain if he wanted to find out or not. He liked the surprise of waiting till the birth and wanted to do that again. After a few conversations and even a suggestion from James that I should find out and he shouldn't, which I promptly turned down, we decided it would be fun to both find out together.

As soon as we told our OB we wanted to find out the gender, he put the ultrasound wand to my belly and there was no denying what we were expecting. There he was in all his glory!

I must say I had an extremely strong intuition that this baby was a girl. I am sure it was a bit of me really wanting a daughter, but also because this pregnancy has been so different than my first. I really thought there was no way it was a boy. So when my doctor announced it was in fact a boy I was a bit shocked and for a few seconds disappointed. Ah I hate admitting that, but it is the truth! I had the feeling I needed to mourn that I wasn't having a daughter to then fully accept I would be raising just boys.

Now that I have taken the time to reflect on it, I am so beyond thrilled to be having two gorgeous little boys in my life. How lucky am I!?

With my two sons only being 21 months apart I can already imagine how close they will be. I love to think of them being the best of friends and discovering so many fun things together. Oslo is the most sweet-natured and loving little boy, especially to babies, and it brings me to happy tears just thinking of how he will be with his baby brother. It is only a short three months before those incredible moments are going to happen and without anticipating too much, I really can't wait.

Here's to raising boys!

''Raising Boys'' shirt from Ren&Gem.

Thank you to my brilliant sister for capturing these photos. You can see more of her work at Wild Eyed Photography or on her Instagram.

For the past few years I have been watching a dream unfold for my friend and former shop manager Elisa Marshall. After working together f...


For the past few years I have been watching a dream unfold for my friend and former shop manager Elisa Marshall. After working together for two years at a high end clothing boutique in our hometown, we parted ways and Elisa went on to meet a French man named Benjamin. They fell in love, moved to the big apple and opened up several classic French cafés in the city and one in Toronto called, Maman.

Maman is every francophile's dream. The menu will make you feel like you are in a traditional boulangerie in France, yet the decor will have you thinking you've just walked into an Elle Decor set. I knew after seeing how gorgeous these cafés were I wanted to take a peek inside Elisa and Benjamin's abode.

Elisa and I share a passion for all things French, including food, wine, design and men...bien sûr! When I first laid eyes on her gorgeous loft it reminded me so much of Provence, I was so surprised it was smack dab in the middle of Manhattan. She has such a subtle way of making her home look styled and chic, but with a lived in appeal. Her eclectic mix of antiques and miss matched furniture and accessories are so beautifully styled, it's not wonder it is one of the most photographed lofts in NYC.

I was lucky enough to get some time out of Elisa's busy schedule to ask her a few questions about her style, inspiration and advice she has for interior design.

Your loft looks so unique compared to other New York apartments. What drew you to this space and did it take you a long time to find this beautiful loft?

It did take a while to find our space and we are very glad we were patient, I was also very picky. Our ‘rules’ were nothing new and it must have charm, exposed brick walls and big windows with lots of light. We actually saw another apartment in the same building originally that I fell in love with until we realised it didn’t have a kitchen…(yes that is a thing in NYC!). The street, floor plan, everything about it was perfect, except for that one (major) detail. The agent knew how much I loved the space and about a month later, when another unit became available in the building before it was even listed he contacted us, and we took it right away! It is a super competitive market in NYC for apartments and we are very lucky to have found ours! 

Where do you source your inspiration for design and creativity from?

I source it from all over, never one single piece. From window displays while walking on the street, an amazing colour combination on someone’s outfit to my 100’s on Pinterest boards, I am always inspired by so many things. I think one of my favourite sources of inspiration are from individual pieces – I love antiquing and finding one amazing piece that will inspire a full room around it or a great plate that will inspire a new tablescape! Inspiration is everywhere if you are open to it!

Like you I have made a big move Internationally and I know how important it is to hang onto very special pieces and rid yourself of the rest. What are some of your most cherished pieces that you will never let go of?

I think that is one of the most important (and difficult) things to do. I have so many and I wish my favourite ‘special pieces’ were ones that fit into a suitcase, but that isn’t always the case! I have many items that I have actually shipped with me on all my travels. One of my favorites would be a set of Fendi suitcases that I bought at a garage sale when I first moved to Montreal. I remember that beautiful day specifically, and the wonderful story the seller told me about them – they seemed to be a very important part of his life & and had so much beauty and history to them.

I love how each piece in your home looks like it was carefully selected for the space. Where did you find all of these unique treasures?

All over to be honest. I don’t like going to a store a buying a piece that anyone else can have or buy. It is too easy and lacks character in our home. I like each important piece here to have a story and a memory attached to it. We have many pieces we bough from antique markets and weekend road trips we took together (our dining room set and many or the small details), items that we made together (our pallet couch, our headboard, our lighting) and some of my fav pieces to be honest…we found in the garbage! No lie. From chairs to a beautiful white vintage trunk, to a huge china hutch, we have some sort of strange luck being in the right place at the right time when someone puts something out on the curb. I am a strong believer in one persons junk is another person’s treasure!

How would you describe your interior style?

I would say feminine industrial and opportunistic... that's a tough one!

What advice would you give on how to make your home look styled and chic, but with that lived in appeal?

I would say most importantly it’s to surround yourself with things you love and things that make you happy to look at every day. Maybe a great antique find or a piece you can’t live without from the store, make sure it is something you enjoy, and don’t settle on an object just because you need one. I think sticking with that rule, a defined colour palette and not being afraid to mix and match objects in your home is a good recipe to make your house a home and give it a styled yet lived in feel!

Having a French partner do you ever have a desire to pack up everything and move to the land of cheese, wine, and baguettes?

Funny, we were actually just talking about that an hour ago! How we should sell everything and move to a little cabin in Megeve in the middle of the woods, have dogs and babies and a good simple life. (Wine cheese & lots of bread of course too!)

I have yet to treat myself to a cup of their famous lavender hot chocolate, but I am looking forward to stopping by Maman the next time I am in Toronto. Thank you so much Elisa for your design inspiration and sharing with us a peek into your beautiful life. Watching your journey has been so inspiring and really teaches me that with a big dream and through lots of hard work and dedication anything is possible. Congratulations on all of your amazing success!

(Photos by Nicole Franzen)

So it's not technically midweek, but I finally finished another music mix and have been listening to it nonstop. So I wanted to share...


So it's not technically midweek, but I finally finished another music mix and have been listening to it nonstop. So I wanted to share it with you now, as opposed to waiting till next Wednesday. This playlist is a short but sweet mix of new songs that will help ease you into the weekend. Whatever you may be up to enjoy yourself and please enjoy my newest mix. Bon weekend!

It seems when you embark on this new journey as a mother, advice will be offered at every step of the way. Whether it be your own mothe...


It seems when you embark on this new journey as a mother, advice will be offered at every step of the way. Whether it be your own mother, grandmother, a mother of three at the doctor's office, your colleague, or maybe even a stranger at the grocery store, advice will always be free flowing, welcomed or not. As much as it is all appreciated I find the advice doesn't always apply to modern day mamas, like us. I think back to when my mum was a young 27 and first time mum to my sister. She had friends, family, doctors, or books for advice, she couldn't just quickly go on her iPhone and Google like we do today. She needed that advice passed down and around from mother to mother.

Nowadays I feel we are a bit more closed off to these words of wisdom, because we as women have more of a voice, which can sometimes mean we think ours is the only voice worth listening to. I must admit I was not given much advice when I was first starting out. In my darkest hours I know I needed some, but didn't really know where to look. Recently I asked my mum why she didn't tell me to slow down in the beginning, instead of jumping right back into my 'normal' routine. She told me she knew I wouldn't listen and would just get upset, and she was probably right. I most likely would have been upset by her observation that I was rushing back into my pre-baby routine too fast, and that I knew what I was doing was right for me. Now looking back even if I would have been upset at the time, those words of wisdom would have possibly helped me make an easier transition.

At times it seems advice from past generations doesn't always hold the same merit as advice from today's mothers. Unfortunately our generation is a bit less open about giving advice and more open to giving criticism. In my own experience so far I feel there isn't much of a community of helpful advice being given from one mother to another. With that in mind, I wanted to reach out to some incredible modern day mamas who I admire so much. They give me daily inspiration to be a stronger mother, so I have asked them to share with us a token of wisdom from their experiences. Let's unite in this crazy, exhausting, incredible, love filled journey we call motherhood.

First off I wanted to share my own bit of advice that I wish I knew when I was starting this journey as Oslo's mum.

Take the time in the beginning for just you and your baby and partner. I felt so unlike myself in the first couple of months, which made me want to try hard to get back to my normal daily routine as quickly as I could. Looking back I wish I just forwent the social outings and going out in public for staying in bed and savouring every fleeting moment. Don't feel guilty if the house is out of sorts and you haven't put on makeup in a week. None of that matters in the beginning. 

My second piece of advice that would have been invaluable to me is, don't feel ashamed or embarrassed about seeking professional help in whatever form you need. I was in massive denial for the first month about the pain and struggle I was having with breastfeeding. I really assumed I was doing it correctly because the midwives at the hospital and the osteopath I went to see all said everything looked great. It wasn't until I was hit with mastitis, thrush, cracked nipples and my breaking point that James suggested we find a lactation consultant to help me. Within five minutes of her watching me breastfeed she could see the issues and fixed them right away. She did more than just help me successfully breastfeed for a year, she helped me connect even more to Oslo and helped me heaps in my postpartum recovery. It is so important to be aware of what you are struggling with whether it be physical or emotional and to seek the help you need. 


Katie Macdonald 
Mama of four

There are endless philosophies on how to parent. And there is an equal number of parents who swear that their selected philosophy is "it".

My husband and I have four children. Our eldest three were born within 21 months of each other.  Three kids under the age of two may sound impossible, but there we were. We took a bit of a breather before number four joined. I'm not sure if four kids under the age of five sounds more sane or less. Let's add three international moves into this equation and you are now caught up with our madness.

For all of this experience, I do not have an "it" philosophy to share.  

My eldest children had more of a strict scheduling than the others. I was a first time mum with twins, and I survived by organising absolutely everything. They never missed a nap or went to bed late or ate a meal that did not contain the required fruits/vegetables/protein/grains ratio. They were breastfed for exactly six months and then swapped over to formula until they reached 12 months and could drink cow's milk. I obsessed over what types of shoes they needed to be wearing while learning to walk, which types of foods needed to be introduced at which stage so as to lessen the chances of developing food allergies. I was looking to books and experts to tell me how-not-to-screw-these-little-creatures up.  And I was terrified.

A few years, and two children later, our household is very different. My youngest is 2 years old, and although he has slept in his own single bed, most nights he co-sleeps with my husband and I because it is one less battle to flight when we are exhausted at the end of the day. He breastfed well into toddlerhood because we both still enjoyed it and the convenience of it. And despite being able to run and ride a bike, I still carry him, tied into a sling on my back because little legs get tired and we both like the cuddles. I am not making decisions based on fear or what others tell me to do anymore.  

I trust myself, and I am more forgiving when I make a mistake. I am comfortable in doing what feels right for me because I know what is best for myself, my kids and my family.

It is still not easy. I go bed worried about one of my kids nearly every night.  I question whether I reprimanded one too much, or didn't spend enough time with another. I cry, feeling guilty for locking myself in the bathroom to check my mobile, starved for adult attention. My heart breaks when I hear about a problem my child is having with another child at school.   

Everyone's situation is different.
There is not one way to do this.  
So breathe, relax, be open, be kind, be confident and support each other. 

Julia Williams
Mum of one
Blogging at This is Jules 

I remember thinking that my body would never ever feel normal again after Oscar was born. It’s incredible what we go through as women. Pregnancy and childbirth, are massively physical things, and while I suspected there would be a recovery process in the aftermath of his arrival I didn’t quite realise the extent of it. I was induced and after a long labour, things concluded with me having an episiotomy and Oscar being born via forceps. Afterwards, over several weeks I healed well – but I remember six months on confessing to friends who had all recently had babies too, that I still didn’t feel back to normal down below. I wasn’t in any pain or anything, I guess I can best describe it as an uncomfortable weighing down kind of feeling. It was constantly there, but especially when walking. I was worried that I still felt this way all this time later. But it turned out that some of them felt it too. It was a relief for me to hear that this was just part of the recovery process. Though even after that reassurance I resigned myself to the fact that maybe I’d have the discomfort forever. Until one day out of the blue in the weeks that followed I suddenly realised that the feeling had gone. I couldn’t pin point when it had gone, but it had. Please know that if you experience this, it is normal and it will pass. And I guess the long and short of this little tale is when you have worries about anything like this, talk about it. Whether it’s to your friends, GP, your local midwifery team or your mum – just ask! Chances are something that’s worrying you, needn’t worry you at all.

The second bit of advice I would give is to remember that everything you are going through is just a phase and that’s in relation to the good and the bad. Your little person is/will be a teeny tiny newborn for the shortest window of time. As in weeks. It passes by so quickly so treasure that time as much as you can and take TONS of videos (just on your phone even) and capture their mannerisms, expressions – the funny little sounds they make in those early days because once it’s passed you’ll find it hard to remember the details of what they were like. And for the really, really challenging stuff like dealing with lack of sleep and things you probably haven’t anticipated which may or may not affect you such as if your baby suffers from colic – as Oscar did, I promise it will pass. I know how very testing, draining and emotional it can be and it can feel like you’re losing your mind – but it will come to an end and before you know it your baby will be on to the next thing. And no doubt that will consume you too!

Victoria Lowry
Mother of two
Owner of Mezaya Baby

The piece of advise I cherish the most from my mother is to have the courage to follow your own 'mama instincts'. Everyone is going to parent differently and only you know what is ultimately right for your baby. Trust yourself. Give yourself permission to do things your way and don't be afraid to ask for help. 

When it's time to take your baby for their vaccinations, wear a sling. Babies cope with painful procedures so much better when they have close contact with you and I've found it so much less distressing (for both of us!). Also, if you are nursing, breastfeed them immediately afterwards as this will help to comfort and relax them.

Oh and if you are struggling with breastfeeding (pain etc) try biological breastfeeding (google it! ) it saved me!

Erin MacDonald
Mother of two

After some thoughts I think my best advice is to ask for help, and be honest with the people around you. When Mac was first born I thought I had to do it all. I put so much pressure on myself. Breast feeding was a challenge, I was discharged from the hospital with cracked & bleeding nipples, and recovering from a c-section. The sleep deprivation was a complete shock! "Sleep when the baby is sleeping", advice is much easier to give than accept. I should have asked for help; watch him so I can go have a shower, watch him so I can have a nap, watch him so I can go get my haircut, etc. If we don't take care of ourselves, it's hard to take care of others. We have this idea that we need to be supermoms, and the perfectly crafted Instagram photos that now invade our lives make us feel inadequate. We have to learn to trust ourselves, and most of all, believe in ourselves. Women can be so hard on each other, especially when it comes to mothering. We need to support each other. Being a parent is tough! We will all make mistakes, we will lose our tempers, we will say things we regret, but we must move on. So to all new moms, and especially experienced moms in the trenches - ask for help!
(And if you plan to breastfeed, don't leave home without your Jack Newman all purpose nipple cream!)

Lauren Shepard
Soon-to-be mother of two & step-mum of one
Blogging at Hunters and Heels

The words "This too shall pass". Something to remind yourself when you're cluster feeding for days, or your tiny baby decides they no longer need sleep, or it's wind, teething, endless crying....the list goes on. I've found, as I was warned by other mama's, "it's all a phase". Even on the hardest of days, I remind myself "this WONT last forever", and sure enough, it never does. Stay calm, breathe and just let it be. I like to think that learning this pretty early on has made me a relaxed and confident mother and I really have enjoyed every single day with my boy, even the toughest ones. 

I must say though, the same goes when you're smugly celebrating an adventurous eater or a few weeks of sleeping through the night...unfortunately that's all just a phase too...
So enjoy it while it lasts!

Hannah Straughan
Mum of one

Having a newborn is magical, but not as you imagine it might be. You've created a life, but you have greasy hair, it hurts to pee and walk (at the start, unless you are super lucky!), you live in a milk-stained nightie and you're more tired than you ever thought possible. It's magical, but not picture-perfect.

Every mama finds it hard. Really hard. Don't believe for a second that that other mama friend you have from yoga class or Instagram is totally nailing it, whilst you feel like you're just about keeping your shit together, because it's just not true. There are plenty of others that choose to not talk about the bad bits, and give off the air of some kind of multi-tasking superwoman, but they do this because either they don't feel comfortable to admit the nitty gritty truth, or because it truly helps them to survive day to day if they put on a cheerful front. I believed that I was the only one that was really struggling, but the moment that I opened up about it, I was met with a flood of, "oh thank goodness, me too!".

Every new mama has a problem, but it might not be the same as yours, so try not to compare yourself to others. For us, terrible nights and sleep deprivation was the biggest problem, and I was bitterly envious at times of my friend whose baby, who was the same age, slept through the night. Then I saw my friend break down in tears because she had been struggling with breastfeeding and her baby was not gaining weight as expected. I felt silly for comparing myself to her, felt thankful that breastfeeding was so easy for us, and vowed not to compare myself to another mama again.

 It gets easier! 

Kellee Macdonald
Mum of one

My new mummy advice is, sleep when baby sleeps.
Sleeping when baby sleeps during the day is a key piece of advice I was given before my little Lexie came along. But it is harder than you think! You have to be disciplined and MAKE yourself sleep sometimes. You may be so tired, yet you see all that cleaning you should do, you want to make those phone calls, look on Facebook or read the latest blog post. STOP. You must sleep (Well just after you read this right!). When you don't feel incredibly tired, life and looking after your little one is so much easier and fun, and not to mention easier on your relationship with your main man/partner! Amazing how much more you can squabble when you are both tired. Look after each other, watch your mouth and don't sweat the small stuff there. Sleep, sleep, sleep when you can!
P.S. My Lexie is sleeping right now, I better go and lay down too!

Jessica Shilling
Soon-to-be mother of two

I feel like I am learning lessons every day. It's true when they say your baby will be the one to teach you new things. So as I sit here as sick as a dog, in horrible pain with almost 2 months to go until our next son arrives, the best advice I can think of in this moment is that not everything goes the way you plan. No matter how well you plan. Your birth, your recovery, feeding, parenting, sleeping training... all of it. I quickly learned to embrace the "just roll with it" parenting attitude and I'll tell you, for the most part, it's working.

Another piece of advice is good old patience, patience, patience. Twice since babe number one was born I've lost my patience. It wasn't pretty, and it was the point where I literally threw my hands up in the air, walked out of the room and declared "I cant take this anymore!" (And of course, there were a lot of tears, because if you don't know already - new moms cry A LOT). I felt bad for taking out my lack of sleep on my toddler who was also cranky, teething, sleep-deprived and miserable, but those moments will happen. So try very hard to be patient and understand that your little one is new to the world and doesn't know how things work. They need you, for everything. You are their comfort, so be there to hug them when they cry and tell them everything will be okay. This kind of transitions into another piece of advice: the importance of talking to your little one. Seriously, talk to them as if they understand everything you are saying from day one (because they will). Baby talk is cute, but they are learning from the moment they are born. Listening to you, picking up on your cues, emotions, tones and gestures. It will save your sanity a little, or make you look crazy when you get caught having a one-way conversation. Oh and read to them - every. single. day.

And lastly, from one mom to another, just do the best you can. It will be good enough, I promise. We are so much more capable than we realise and motherly instincts are real! You really will just know what to do and your baby is going to love you and adore you the same way that you will love and adore them.

Miki Miljian
Mother of two
Blogging at Like Miljian

Follow your instincts. Never be afraid. Being a mother is written in your DNA. Let yourself be carried by nature and enjoy each moment with your baby. 

Rebecca Raynham
Mum of one
Blogging at This Little Bird

My advice would be to take help if it is offered and to look after yourself. I made sure that I showered everyday in the first two weeks postpartum and it helped me a lot. Being clean helped me to feel a bit fresher and more like myself, while I was recovering. My mum came and held Alfred, when my arms needed a break and brought groceries etc. Dan made sure that I ate and drank enough everyday and made sure the kitchen was relatively clean. Our health visitor gave us her mobile, so we could contact her with any questions. I talked about my tiredness on social media, which helped me stay connected and not feel alone. Also, don't be afraid to say what you need, if that means that you don't want any visitors that day. Be strict. People can wait, if you need some alone time as a new family.

My final bit of advice would be to not take everything to heart that people say. People are mostly well meaning when they try and tell you what to do or give you parenting suggestions. I realised that listening to them (just in case it was useful), but then doing what I wanted anyway, was best for me. It's only YOU that truly knows what's best for you and your baby. You have to do what works for you.

I am blown away with all of this incredible and relatable advice, and could have really used it when I was a new mum. It is comforting to know that all mums struggle in the early days and even in the months and years that follow, and that we are not alone.

I am so touched that all of these wonderful mothers contributed their words of wisdom. Thank you so much ladies! I hope this advice will be used to help many soon-to-be mums, new mamas and veteran mamas feel less alone and more united through motherhood.

If you have any advice that was invaluable to you or some you wish you knew about when you were starting out, please leave it in the comments.

(Top photo by Wild Eyed Photography).

I finally have my first Frenchie addition for this series and I couldn't be more excited to share with you the sweetest Parisian, M...


I finally have my first Frenchie addition for this series and I couldn't be more excited to share with you the sweetest Parisian, Marion Angelin. She is quite new to the Instagram world, but Marion is a complete natural at it and captures her beautiful family life in London with such a delicate beauty that I had  to feature her photos. She has one of those accounts where you would think she has thousands upon thousands of followers, yet strangely only a thousand or so people (fans!) have discovered her secret space. I hope to change that today as her photos bring me such creative inspiration and delight. that I know they will do the same for many more. 

You will soon discover when scrolling through Marion's gallery that she does not show herself all too often, yet somehow through every photo she posts you can easily see who she is. Over the past few months of following along in her beautiful life I've been in awe of her creative touch, her whimsical spirit and sweet nature. She also knows how to capture light at its most magical moment and that is something I know as Instagrammers/wannabe professional photographers we all struggle and strive for. I could go on and on about how much I adore Marion and her photos, but I will let her and her gorgeous shots do the talking now. 

Seeing your photography skills evolve through your gallery is very inspiring. How did you learn to refine your photography style and create such beautiful images?

When I was younger I used to collect drawings, pictures, anything that was catching my eye so I have always been drawn to photography but somehow, the technical side of it felt a bit daunting. The fact that you could take decent pictures with a phone was quite a revelation to me and even gave me the confidence to experiment with a DSLR camera. I am very much an amateur but I picked up a few tips along the way mainly from trial and error, reading blogs and probably spending too much time on Instagram. As with any new skill, practice makes perfect and I am learning something new every time I pick up my phone or camera. I am a textile and print lover so colour, layout and texture is very important to me. I usually have an idea in my head of how I would like a picture to look, it rarely turns out the way I had in mind but the unexpected can be a wonderful surprise.

You are definitely more about quality than quantity as you have less than 150 photos posted. Since we don't get to see very much of you and would love to know more, what can you tell us about yourself that we wouldn't know through Instagram?

I first opened my Instagram account last year as way to have my own little creative project, something I had very much put to one side since becoming a maman. I have since realised that I do indeed feel much more comfortable being behind rather than in front of the camera - self portrait is an art I have yet to master. When I was 18 and applying to university I couldn't decide between art or English so I decided to do a bit of both by studying fashion in England. My heart may always belong to Paris but 3 children and 16 years later, I still complain about the bread and the weather but London is very much home now and a great place to raise children.  In my pre-baby life I was a textile designer where I spent a lot of time drawing flowers - this is probably where my love for anything botanical comes from, even though I am a hopeless gardener. 

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

It is usually the simple little things of everyday life that I find the most inspiring, a forgotten object that tells a story, a flower, the changing light and colours of the seasons and of course my three favourite little people who are growing up way too fast. This is one of the things I love most about Instagram, it makes me look at things differently and appreciate something beautiful everyday.

What are three Instagram accounts that give you daily inspiration and we must be following?

This is such a difficult question because there are so many amazing accounts and people who inspire me for very different reasons, but I'll start with a few women who give me a daily dose of beauty and creativity... 

Krissy @oftheeveryday captures beautiful and simple daily moments. There is something very poetic and almost magical in the way Krissy sees the ordinary.
Becca @cherry.rebecca, as well as being multi-talented, Becca has a gift for colours and the eye of a painter . Her compositions and beautiful landscapes are truly inspiring.
Sara @me_and_orla, think Wuthering Heights meets fairy tale, her moody, romantic pictures will make you want to forget all about city living and move somewhere in the Yorkshire moors. 
Émilie @sweetcabane because We'll always have Paris. One look at her gorgeous, delicious looking gallery and you'll feel at home.
Melanie @geoffreyandgrace, it was love at first sight when I discovered Melanie's beautiful earthy photographs, honest articles on motherhood and slow living tips are a constant source of inspiration.

I am sorry Jules, I am pretty sure that this is more than three but hopefully no one will notice.

You capture la joie de vivre so simply in your photos. What makes you experience la joie de vivre living in London? 

Merci beaucoup! Since having children I really aspire to a slower and simpler life probably because I feel that I am constantly running after time. London with its open spaces and amazing parks is still very fast paced so making time everyday for the little things that bring me joy like taking pictures, knitting or savouring a cup of tea is something I am learning to do. But for me true joie de vivre is spending time outside in a beautiful park in the middle of the city, being with my little family exploring new places or spending ages at the natural history museum just to see my son's face in awe... oh and pistachio macarons of course!

So nice to know more about lovely Marion and to learn about what inspires her. To see more of her beautiful life in London and inspiring daily captures be sure to follow her on Instagram (@thefamilywardrobe). Merci beaucoup Marion!

With one birth under my belt and a traumatic one at that, I wanted to take a different approach to my second pregnancy and birth. If...


With one birth under my belt and a traumatic one at that, I wanted to take a different approach to my second pregnancy and birth. If I have learned anything along the way it's that we can always improve ourselves and learn from our experiences, whether they are good or bad. So over the past year I have reflected back to what went wrong the first time around and why I lost so much control during my labour. It was hard for me to pinpoint the exact reason, until I became pregnant this second time and started to meditate and educate myself on HypnoBirthing and connecting with my body.

When I was pregnant with Oslo I was hungry for information. I read every book, watched every documentary, and visited every blog I could about natural birth. I couldn't get enough information on how to have a dream natural birth. In a way I viewed my birth like a test that I needed to mentally prepare for with tons of facts and information. But what was lacking was the connection to my body. Instead of practising breathing techniques and learning how to connect with my body during contractions, I was studying endless information and feeding my brain all of this knowledge that in fact let me down in the end. The thing is I was in such uncontrollable pain during my labour, that my mind was not switched on to the facts that I spent so much time learning. What I needed was to connect with my body, slow down, and reassure myself that I can do this, but because I hadn't taught myself how to do that, I simply lost control.

If you have read my birth story, then you will know that because I lost control and the pain took over my body went into shock, and it's no wonder that I ended up in such a horrific state after Oslo was born. Like any bad experience through time we learn and grow from them, and now I can see so clearly what I really needed during my first pregnancy was to connect with my body and baby. During labour your mind sort of fades away and your body takes over, so the best thing to do is give in to your body's natural control and connect with it. So this second time around I have made a huge effort to do just that.

Now I should say connecting with my body meditatively does not come naturally to me. When I started to look into prenatal meditation it seemed like a joke because my mind is always full of silly thoughts, and I thought there was no way I would be able to clear it in order to meditate. So I knew I needed to find a program that would assist me in daily meditation and help teach me exactly how to do it. I found an amazing program for beginners like me called Expectful. Expectful is a meditative program for expectant mothers and new mums, that simply and clearly assists in daily meditation. It's a monthly program you sign up for that takes your through your entire pregnancy with trimester specific guided meditations. Each audio meditation focuses on a different aspect of pregnancy, from connecting with your body to gaining confidence to breathing. You can choose between ten or twenty minute meditations, which is great because you can always find a little time in the day to do it. I have been following the program for two months now and what I quickly learned is that thoughts are not the enemy and are quite normal, so just go with it and accept your thoughts, then go back to your cleared and meditative mind. Now my daily meditations are something I look forward to and I am seeing the huge benefits to it.

Another thing I am trying this time that I did no attempt last time is prenatal yoga. I noticed after my first birth I became very inflexible and stiff, so I thought it was a good idea to loosen up my joints and become a bit more flexible for my second labour. I just searched on Youtube for beginner prenatal yoga and stretching and found the channel Tonic. They have a bunch of videos on pregnancy yoga that are great if you don't have a lot of experience with it. I try and practice three times a week while Oslo naps and I have found it has also helped with my breathing when I do my meditation. It seems yoga and meditation go hand in hand, and I have found it has made me so relaxed and confident throughout my pregnancy so far.

I have learned based on my last labour and birth that you cannot prepare for what kind of experience it is going to be, but I do feel that this time I can help myself and baby by better preparing my body and not my mind. I guess only time will tell if it has paid off! 

As always I would love to hear from you! What helped you during your pregnancy and labour & what advice would you give to me for my second time around?

Thank you!

(Photo of Oslo by Alex Neary of Wild Eyed Photography)