I'm a Mummy but I still SPARKLE thanks to Simply Be...

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

(photo copyright Clare Elise)

I wanted to talk honestly about becoming a mummy. 

Everyone tells you about the sleepless nights and friends who already have little one's will say about how baby will do this and do that, however how often do people talk about how you might actually feel when you become a mum for the first time?


I had Baby Lewis in January 2015. Baby Lewis is now 8 months old and is totally amazing and I can truly say that he makes every single day sparkle and he makes everyone smile wherever we go. I really love being a mum, Baby Lewis is the best thing and has added so much to our lives - he is a little superstar. 
(Clare Elise, Baby Lewis and Nats from Dubai 92)

I've always had curves and have always battled with my weight and felt the pressure to stay slim because of my job as a singer / radio presenter.
During my pregnancy I put on quite a lot of weight; most of it was water weight by the end of my pregnancy and was soon to go after I had my little one. However I remember one day looking at myself in the mirror not long after having Baby Lewis and thinking, where's me?! There I was in my bathroom looking washed out after a few sleepless nights, I had this huge belly bump still and no mater which way I turned it was still there, my hair was super long as I hadn't gotten round to getting it cut yet and my lovely long nail extensions were nowhere to be seen. I remember looking at myself for a good ten minutes thinking "Who the heck is this!". I got frustrated as only certain items fit over my belly comfortably- no one tells you that after having a baby you will be left with a bit of a belly for a while. 
(Clare Elise at the end of her pregnancy)

Now me being me I was determined not to feel down about anything and I quickly changed things round. I got myself into the hairdressers and had my hair cut and coloured, I treated myself to some new bits of makeup and made sure that every day I dressed myself up and popped on a full face of makeup and decided to get online and get some new items of clothing that actually fitted me instead of feeling sad that I no longer fitted into my old pair of jeans!

I was very lucky as breast feeding Baby Lewis was very easy for me from day one and I found that breastfeeding, and also using a Belly Bandit for belly support in the early days, really helped to get my belly back down to near normal.

In June I got an awesome packet of goodies from Simply Be in the post. I decided to check out Simply Be after seeing their awesome link up with Tess Holliday.

I'm glad I checked them out as their pixie wide leg jeans are the best thing ever for new mummies or just ladies out there who want a flattering pair of jeans. Since having Baby Lewis I hadn't been able to wear any jeans before these as every pair that I tried on rubbed or pressed on my belly and made me feel very uncomfortable, however this wasn't the case with my Simply Be pixie wide leg jeans. As soon as I put them on I felt like me again - they flattered my curves and were so comfortable over my belly. YAY! 

I have to say these are my favourite jeans right now, I love them and I would totally recommend them to any new mummy who finds herself like me struggling to fit back into her jeans they are just the best. 

My outfit:

Butterfly Print Strappy Top
Simply Be Pixie Wide Leg Jeans
Simply Be Statement Necklace

So let's talk about this pretty Butterfly top that I'm wearing. You may or may not know that I have a thing about Butterflies...I love them! We had butterflies as our wedding day theme and trust me the venue was covered in sparkly butterflies by the end of the day on our wedding day. However this is a slightly unusual top for me for two reasons... a) its not stretchy and is made out of kinda floaty material (I normally go for stretchy tops simply because they are normally an easy fit) & b) it has only thin straps... I always worry about my arms!

I can say this top from Simply Be has changed my views on these kinda tops and I will be buying more! This top fits again so well and nicely covers the belly again ;) I've also had so many compliments when wearing this that I've actually forgotten about my arms! 

The joy of this outfit is that you can either dress it up or down and if you add a chunky bit of knitwear such as a lovely black cardigan this look can easily be worn from Summer to Autumn.

Also dress this look up or down; wear some pretty bright trainers or pop on a lovely pair of sparkly wedges like these ones... 

(Simply Be Jewel Wedge)

I totally love a super sparkly statement necklace don't you? It adds a bit of sparkle and glamour to the dullest of days and trust me if you're a new mummy feeling a little tired, pop on a sparkly statement necklace and no matter how tired you may be it will make you feel sooooo much better! 

(Simply Be Statement necklace)

I guess what I wanted to achieve by writing this post was to say no matter how tired you may feel as a new mummy get yourself up, dress up as much as you can in the time available put on some make up and you will feel a million times better. When you're a new mummy don't forget about you remember you are still you and you can still sparkle and if like me you looked in the mirror and felt a little down... DON'T! Give yourself a little bit of time and soon you will feel like you. However remember if you do feel really down after having a baby don't struggle through make sure that you go and see your midwife or a doctor and get some support. 

(Clare and Baby Lewis)
(This post is in collaboration with Simply Be)

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It's all in boxes... Moving House!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

I'm a little late posting this... However I thought I would still post it...  Moving House is a BIG thing... MOVING COUNTRY is a totally different thing... 

Today was a very random day.

Back in 2011 Chris & I arrived in Dubai with just a couple of suitcases and a smile on our faces excited for this new adventure that we were starting.
I remember opening the front door to the very first apartment that we moved in to. It wasn't all that glamorous to be honest and was pretty basic as it was company accommodation. Don't get me wrong it was ok and we were provided with all the basics but it wasn't a home.
That changed though over time. Before we knew it we had kitted out our new home with the help of Dubizzle, Pan Emirates and Ikea and after a little while we moved closer to the city and owned a house full of furniture. Dubai had become our home.

I said to Chris earlier today that today is a pretty random day as I feel kinda a mixed bag of emotions right now. It only feels like yesterday that Chris & I were unpacking our suitcases and getting to know Dubai. However it is actually nearly five years ago and here we are not unpacking but packing the suitcase and heading back to the UK to start a brand new adventure.

As I type I'm surround by a pretty empty looking apartment. Items we need in the UK have been collected and are now on their way to be shipped, bags of items we no longer need are neatly stacked near the door ready to be thrown away or to be given away and all around there are piles of items here and there that I need to go through in order to prepare for leaving this beautiful place that we've called home for so long.

I laughed to myself this Morning! I really thought that we didn't have that much. HOWEVER now going through cupboards and drawers I see that we've managed to accumulate quite a lot of stuff between us and now that we also have a Baby Boy... yeah the amount of "stuff" we own is a little bit crazy.

I tell you something that is really cool. I've met so many lovely people in our community these last few weeks. How? By selling things online. It's great. I've listed so many items and all have been sold and have gone to good homes. This makes me happy as I'm not someone who likes to throw things away or waste things that can be used or reused again.

Last week I even found myself handing over a big bag of different types of tea bags to a couple who've just moved out to Dubai from the UK. They probably wondered why I was handing them a packet of Rington's Tea. However guaranteed one day they'll fancy an English cuppa and find that in the back of a cupboard and hopefully it will make them smile and think of us.

Our old Baby Clothing went to help a family in need and some of my clothes are going to the Philippines to help a girl's family out, our small baby cot went to a lady who's pregnant and due to give birth in October and some of my old sparkly hair clips went to a little girl who was happy because she looked like a Princess. 

All in all I'm happy because what we need from our Dubai adventure is heading back to the UK and other things have gone to other people to make them happy. 

Life is Good! 

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Baby Lewis is 7 Months Old

Monday, 10 August 2015

When I had Baby Lewis back in January we received so many messages saying "Congratulations on your new baby" but also many people said at the same time "Treasure this time as it goes so quickly".

At that point I was a brand new mum feeding Baby Lewis every 2 hours and looking after his every need and when people told me that he'll grow up so quickly I remember thinking "Yeah whatever". However now I'm sitting here with Baby Lewis to my side and thinking "How the heck are you seven months old already!".

(Grandma, Clare Elise & Baby Lewis)

It's so exciting watching him develop and grow in front of my eyes but at the same time there's a small part of me going slow down I still want to cuddle my little baby.
Over this last month we've started the weening process. He tells me when he likes his food by eating it quicker than quick but with also either knock the spoon away from his mouth or screw his little face up to let me know that the food is below par!

Nappy changing time is now becoming more of a challenge. Getting him to lie in one position for a whole 5 minutes takes skill and patience. Distraction is key, otherwise before I know it he's rolled over, the nappy's hanging half off of him and he's off to try and crawl! I found that Huggies wipes are a great way to keep him occupied during this time as he likes the rustling noise that they make.

As you can see Baby Lewis is now sitting. He absolutely LOVES his quilt from Daisy's Little Attic  . My super fabulous friend Faye set about making these lovely quilts a few months back and I was absolutely over he moon when a special one landed on our doorstep here in Dubai for Baby Lewis. At the time he was still a little to small to enjoy it. However now we have it out for playtime and he loves rolling about on it and looking at all the pretty pictures and colours. Definitely check out Daisy's Little Attic if you are a mummy as the quality of these quilts is absolutely awesome and they make a great keep sake for your little one.

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Leaving Dubai...

Monday, 20 July 2015

It was a cold January morning back in 2011, Chris and I were doing the normal routine of getting up popping the kettle on and getting sorted for the day ahead.
Suddenly Chris' phone binged. It was the email we had both been waiting for, an email that would change our lives forever and take us on an adventure. Chris opened up the email and there it was an offer of a job and a contract, however this wasn't just a new opportunity in the UK to move companies this was an offer to work in Dubai!

(the front door of our old flat in the UK)

That afternoon Chris signed on the dotted line and before we knew it our flat was empty, everything we owned was either sold on Ebay or neatly packed into boxes and we were on a plane to a country we'd never even visited before.

Before leaving to Dubai I read lots of things on the internet and some of it made me nervous as I wondered how my bright hair would be accepted and was worried about fitting in. However I decided just to jump in feet first with the Mr. and see what it would be like.

(Our first photo together in Dubai)

I'm glad I did because we were welcomed with open arms. Originally we said to one another "Let's just try it for a year!" - this was nearly 5 years ago.

Dubai has given us both so much and has opened our eyes to different culture, religions and lifestyle. Dubai's helped us to grow as a couple and it's brought close to us some amazing people from all walks of life and of all different nationalities. 

(Our friends in Dubai)

Our time out here has also been filled with heartache as during our time in this amazing city we met two beautiful souls who were sadly taken away from this world - Ruth and Ian. We'll always remember them and what happiness they brought to our lives. For instance, when I first got to Dubai I didn't feel to well and remember Ian making me a huge bowl of soup and bringing it to our apartment to help me feel better, I'll never forget his kindness. Ruth and me met through my first job here in Dubai; she stood by me through thick and thin and was an inspiration. I know both Chris & I feel blessed to have had these people brought into our lives and they will forever have a place in our hearts.


Back in 2012 as a Valentine's Day gift to us both we decided to rescue a cat. We visited the Sharjah Cat and Dog rescue centre and walked from compartment to compartment seeing all these lovely cats that had been rescued off the streets. In the second to last area there was a lively little black cat that bolted straight toward Chris and I and within minutes began climbing up my leg; he was definitely our cat! The next day I drove back to the rescue centre and picked up our little black cat. His name is Monty and the rest is history... 

(Monty the cat)

Dubai has given us so much; work wise Chris and I have enjoyed working in radio out here and will be forever thankful for the opportunities given to us and the amazing people that we've met on our radio journey out here in the UAE.

Last but not least, Dubai is the place where Chris and I decided to start a family. Baby Lewis was born earlier this year in a fantastic hospital in the centre of Dubai. I feel truly blessed to have been surrounded and looked after by such amazing nurses, doctors and midwives and also afterwards when I suffered with my gallbladder to have been looked after by some fabulous specialists in that same hospital. So thank you if you're reading this right now.

(Lewis' Christening)

After nearly 5 years in this beautiful city we've decided it's time though for us to return back to the UK. There's many reasons for this and it's not because we've fallen out of love with the city - it's just because life has decided to take us back home. We're looking forward as a family to some exciting times ahead in a lovely part of the UK and for Baby Lewis being able to spend time with his Grandparents, Great Grandparents and other family members and our friends. 

Thank you Dubai for giving us so much.

We came to Dubai as a couple, just the two of us with a couple of suitcases. We return to the UK as 4. Chris and me, our cute little boy and a loving rescue cat called Monty.
Here's to an exciting time ahead and a brand new adventure... 

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