Fleur De Force – mama, influencer and business owner – rose to fame after starting her career on YouTube, talking all things fashion, lifestyle and beauty. Now, after more than a decade vlogging, Fleur is mother to children River and Enzo, sharing her family life with her over one million followers.
The Edit caught up with Fleur on pregnancy, parenting and balancing family life with her ever-growing career.
Congratulations on baby number two! How did you find pregnancy this time around?
Thank you so much! I actually struggled a lot more with this pregnancy than last time. I loved being pregnant the first time, with River, and definitely felt pretty mobile right until the end, but this time I had a few niggly issues with my pelvis which meant the last month was very uncomfortable! I don't think it helped that he was a much heavier baby at 9lb 3oz and it was also summertime, so I was definitely overheating! It was all worth it in the end of course, but I definitely felt it more this time around, right from the start.
This was your second planned C-section. How was your experience?
Both of my birth experiences were really positive. I was lucky in the sense that I knew the C-section would be happening rather than being flung into emergency surgery. I had time to mentally prepare for the idea of having major surgery and also conveniently knew when it would be happening too ¬– which meant a lot less anxiety in the run up! Obviously, the recovery isn't the easiest process, but I think this time I really knew what to expect so made sure I had everything organised that needed to be before coming home and it was great! We had been trying for a baby for about three years when Enzo was born, so we were just overjoyed and so thankful to be able to hold him in our arms finally!
What are you loving about having a newborn again?
All the cuddles! Our daughter River is almost five, so it's been such a long time since she was this tiny. You forget how little they are – it's been so wonderful to be able to really share the experience with River too and for her to be old enough to understand what's happening. She's so caring, it's amazing seeing them together and although the age gap wasn't what we had originally imagined for our family, it is wonderful that I got so much time to dedicate to River on her own. And now she's off to school I'll have a lot of time to dedicate to Enzo too.
Is River excited about having a little brother?
She wasn't at first! She was desperate for a little sister and she cried and cried when she found out we were having a boy! (I'm very glad we found out while I was still pregnant rather than waiting for a surprise!) But now he's here, she adores him.
You’ve had an incredibly successful career as a vlogger and influencer. How do you balance your online life with the realities of family life?
I think it's all about managing expectations, while being very organised. I find time-blocking very helpful to ensure I get everything I need to get done finished in the time I have. But at the same time you have to resign yourself to the fact that when you have a tiny baby, sometimes it doesn't always go to plan!
I've always been very flexible when it comes to working at night or at the weekends and I think that works well for me. It's not a 'normal' job and sometimes people think it's a bit crazy that I only really take a month off for something of a 'maternity leave' but I live and breathe it, so it's not really like work for me. And of course, I'm super lucky that it's so flexible and I can work when I need to and take time for the kids when I need to. It's certainly become a lot more structured now that River's at school and I have to stick to much more specific time slots during the day!
What inspired your passion for fashion and beauty?
You know what, I'm really not sure when it comes to beauty... as my interest in fashion has always come from my mum who studied fashion at college and has always loved it. Beauty was never her thing though and I'm very much alone in being interested in beauty and makeup in my family! I think what appeals to me about it is that feel-good factor – makeup has the power to be so transformative not only to the way you look, but the way you feel.
What are your top style tips for new mums?
Oh goodness, that's a very hard one as everyone has their own style! I think there is so much pressure to be fitting back into your clothes so soon after having a baby and it's really important not to have that expectation too soon, as your body has been through so much!
I tried to avoid buying too many new things for that in-between period when your body is adjusting back to its non-pregnant self, but it can be hard when most of your wardrobe doesn't fit! I think one of the best things for me was investing in really good underwear, like comfortable shapewear (rather than the full-on super tight ones!) and really good nursing bras, as they can make such a difference to your shape and how you feel in your clothes. Even when your new body can feel totally alien to you, I've found that can really make a difference.
Which new mum products you couldn’t live without?
Spanx nursing bras, and their underwear (as above – their medium control underwear – not full-on original Spanx!) were amazing for me – I'm still wearing them three months on and will be much beyond I'm sure!
Most of the other products that have been game changing for me have been for the baby to be honest... but I have to say the cordless, wearable breast pumps are a total game changer (I had the Elvie ones but there are a few on the market now). These didn't exist at all when I had River and they are total life-savers if you're on-the-go a lot.