15.06

Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-7 Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-25 Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-27

We seem to be all about growth, round these parts.

Living in the middle of the countryside, as we do now, I’ve never been so in tune with the rolling change of the seasons. The hedgerows are swelling, narrowing the lanes that lead up to the fields from our house and groaning under the weight of elderflower, wild roses, and brambles. I monitor the latter’s growth most expectantly, with blackberry crumbles and pies and jams on my mind.

Ottilie is changing and growing faster than ever, too. She still has just one volume- loud- and bellows long strings of words from morning until bedtime (‘get downstairs Teddy, no dogs upstairs!’). I find she seems suddenly keen to do things independently, likes to sing a medley of nursery rhymes to herself during bathtime, and is fascinated by seeing what happens when she throws things from a height.

Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-2 Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-4

And then there’s my growth, of course.

My bump seems to have suddenly become big and rounded, and with stomach muscles already relaxed from carrying Ottilie, it’s been a quicker process this time around. The baby stretches and rolls and punches away inside me, reminding me that it’s very much as real and present as its attention-absorbing older sister. Maybe it knows I sometimes forgot I was pregnant during the early weeks, and is making up for time now it can make its presence felt?

Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-6 Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-11

I find the stretching, swelling, expanding nature of pregnancy strange at times, difficult to adjust to. It feels as though my body isn’t my own, and I worry it won’t ever be mine again. But I remind myself that I worried about this during my first pregnancy, and when I was breastfeeding, and yet eventually, somewhere in the gap between one journey of pregnancy and feeding ending and this one beginning, it was mine again.

I’ve never once stopped to appreciate it though, and often look back at photos from the past few years and wonder what it was exactly I was so concerned about, at the time. This body of mine was strong and lean in the two years leading up to my wedding, and yet I didn’t give it credit then. It softened in pregnancy and carried a baby girl safely and healthily from womb to earth, and was able to nourish that baby girl’s chubby arms and thighs and cheeks during the first year of her life.

And now to do it all again? It’s a gift, simple as that.

Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-14 Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-13 Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-16 Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-26 Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-8

I’m writing this to capture this moment of gratitude and contentment, before it slips away. Commit these happy thoughts to my laptop screen so that I can look back on them in weeks, months, years to come, and remember this season of growth.

And also because it feels good, cathartic in the way that writing often is, to admit to myself how complex this funny old relationship is with my body, my self. I remembering worrying first time around that it meant I wasn’t grateful enough for my pregnancy, or that it meant I was too silly and self absorbed to be a good mother. Madness, of course.

I think it’s normal for our perception of growth to waver and change. Well, it’s my normal anyway, and never more understandable than at a time when our body must expand so fast the skin can mark, crack, and split.

Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-9 Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-10 Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-3

So I’m writing this for my future self, who will look back on these photos one day and wish she hadn’t ever wasted time fretting over her body, and instead wish she’d appreciated this season of life, this six month baby bump, this growth, for all that it is.

Cider-with-Rosie-six-month-bump-country-walk-12

0 Comments
Posted in COUNTRY WALKS, PREGNANCY STYLE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

15.06

Cider-with-Rosie-sweet-peas-7

1. Watching Ottilie devouring fresh peas straight from the pod in the garden, with little soil-flecked fingers and joy on her face.

2. The morning pot of coffee. I’m not awake until it’s on and brewing…

3. Baking a loaf of bread and it coming out *just* right! I find bread tricky at times so it always makes me happy when I have a real win.

4. Finding my favourite La Roche Posay serum in a French pharmacy for about two thirds of the price it is in the UK! I stocked up…

5. Our first taste of homemade elderflower cordial, so delicious and refreshing! And we’ve frozen some in little ice cube moulds to add to gin and tonics later in the year, when I’m no longer pregnant. I’d like a cold one ready and waiting for after I give birth ;)

6. The look of delight on Ottilie’s face when she saw Jason at Arrivals in Gatwick on Thursday. She was so happy, and it made my week!

7. Having my Mum feel the baby kick for the first time <3

8. Fajitas for dinner. I always eat at least one more than I really am properly hungry for, but they’re so delicious I can’t stop!

9. Rediscovering old blogs, the ones that made me fall in love with blogging way before I even thought of starting my own. Have you ever read David Lebovitz’ work before? I’ve loved it for so long now, there’s just something about the way he writes that captures my imagination and makes me want to head straight for the kitchen. Either that or to get on the first train to Paris!

10. Ottilie having had her first truly happy nursery session after a difficult first month! She made a little friend, joined in with all the activities, and was just generally a different child to how she’s been for all her other sessions so far. It made my week!

What’s made you happy this week?

0 Comments
Posted in 10 THINGS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

12.06

Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-2 Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-3

T H E   S E A S O N   O F   G R O W T H

Oh, June. The dreamiest of months, where the plants seem in a race against one another to show off who can grow the tallest, climb fastest, sprawl widest. I’m utterly obsessive about my daily (okay twice, or sometimes thrice daily) wander down to the vegetable patch to observe, tend, harvest, and water, and now that there’s often a pod of peas or two to snack on whilst I’m down there, all the better.

The jobs seem as constant as ever this month, with successional rounds of seeds to sow, the first row of potatoes to harvest, and a jungle of tomatoes to support in the greenhouse. My most-used phrase these days seems to be ‘I’m just popping outside to do X/Y/Z, be back in 5′, and half an hour later I’m still outside, with hands caked in soil and half a dozen jobs ticked off my endlessly updated to-do list.

Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-7

Like peas in a pod…

If there’s one most important thing I’ve learnt so far this growing year (and there’s been many things I’ve learnt), it’s that I can afford to sow three, four, five times as many pea and bean seeds and still have plenty of space to spare! In fact, that’s been my lesson in general this year, that it’s much better to have spares, extra spares, and a few more as backups rather than too few and risk being left with gaps in the beds and a sparse crop!

Especially since things like peas and beans ripen just a few at a time on each plant, I’m learning that to gather a really decent harvest in one go you need a LOT of plants! They really are so delicious though, sweet and tender straight from the pod and wonderful cooked into a pasta or risotto dish.

I’ve just sowed a new batch of petit pots peas (the variety is ‘Calibra’) to take over when the ‘Kelvedon Wonder’ main crop peas are done, and will be sowing some broad beans to overwinter in late autumn this year ready for the following spring.

Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-6 Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-10 Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-11 Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-12 Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-13

(Between Ottilie and the dogs, who all are more than partial to a pea pod or two, it’s a wonder I’ve even managed to get a look in this year. Roll on the sugar snaps!)

Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-4 Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-5

Flowers flowers everywhere… 

…some bringing the promise of food, and others merely for show!

It was actually Ottilie who put the ‘Lady Salisbury’ sweet pea seeds into a little tray of compost back in January of this year, with more care and dexterity than I ever expected from her tiny, then-16 month old fingers. And now look at them! They’re the most gorgeous variety, with each bloom having a unique pattern of lilac tinging around its white petals. I cut the first little bunch today, actually, and Ottilie was so proud to carry the tiny vase I’ve put them in into her bedroom and up on the mantlepiece.

And much less delicate, but equally as exciting for the promise they bring, are the courgette flowers! Big, bold, blousy- a screaming yellow beacon amongst the muted green and brown tones of the vegetable patch. It’s the ‘Soleil’ courgettes that are first to flower, two plants ready and raring to go with at least five little courgette babies on each and a couple of fruits already a few inches long and only a week or so away from harvesting I should think.

I’m sure I’ve said before but growing my own courgettes last year absolutely ruined all shop-bought varieties for me, in fact, I’ve not bought a single one single before last summer’s glut began! I’ve got three varieties all romping away in the garden right now, and am already dreaming of the light summer pastas, ratatouilles, risottos, curries, pickles, and even cakes I plan on making with their fruits this season.
  Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-16

 ^^ Always and forever tending to trays of seedlings- above are purple sprouting broccoli and winter savoys on the left, mixed radicchio on the right, and just out of shot is my next tray of lettuces ready to go…

In the greenhouse are trays of swedes, winter carrots (attempting multi-sowing in cells!), kales, cabbages, and some more runner beans all sown just this weekend, because I promised my mother-in-law an ample summer supply of her favourite runner beans and so must deliver! ^^

Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-8

Now, I like to think that so far this year I’ve done okay. Most things have germinated, I’ve overcome issues with imbalanced soil and still-unidentified diseases in my broad beans and a courgette plant that sulked for weeks after planting out, but lettuces? That most easy, foolproof of crops? It’s been a nightmare!

One variety of seeds just would NOT germinate, despite me trying another packet of the exact same type, and all those I’ve got to planting-out stage have grown so very slowly I’ve only just begun picking the odd leaf here and there! In fact, most have stubbornly refused to grow at all ever since planting out…except the ones that were munched to the ground by rabbits, and now have come back as full, beautiful lettuce heads.

Nature, eh. I don’t know, sometimes!

Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-14 Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June-9 Cider-with-Rosie-Vegetable-Patch-June  

And lastly, happy and flourishing are the ‘Chioggia’ beets, a pink and white striped variety I just can’t wait to cut into and taste, the ‘Swift’ first early potatoes are up and mostly eaten and all completely delicious, and a supposedly mini, two-foot wide Savoy cabbage that is just beginning to heart up and is my pride and joy!

What’s growing for you, this month?

0 Comments
Posted in GARDENING, KITCHEN GARDEN, SUMMER

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

25.05

Cider-with-Rosie-favourite-childrens-books

I thought today we’d talk about one of my all-out favourite things to buy…children’s books! Ottilie has adored books ever since she was teeny tiny, and reading together is one of our favourite activities. I’ve recently discovered the lovely independent bookshop in our local town of Haslemere, which has a beautiful selection of children’s books to choose from and such an inviting atmosphere. She’ll happily mill around in there for ages, picking out books to read there and then and a couple to buy and take home for our growing collection. It gives me so much joy.

So today, I’m sharing a few of our favourites! We tend to keep paperback story books for reading at bedtime or during Ottie’s meals, and lift-the-flap board books to read whilst we play in the living room. That way we don’t end up with many torn page-casualties…though a couple of Ottilie’s most-loved books for reading during dinnertime are in a pretty bad way, covered with sticky marks and the odd smudge of pasta sauce I can’t get rid of!

Cider-with-Rosie-favourite-childrens-books-3

‘The Koala Who Could’, + ‘The Lion Inside’  by Rachel Bright and Jim Field

These story books are two of our most-read, largely I think due to the outstanding Australian accent I deliver during readings of The Koala Who Could ;) Ottie seems to be so engaged by these sweet stories about courage and self-discovery, and the illustrations are brilliant too.

She also now thinks that all koalas are called ‘Kevin’ as per the book, which is just adorable and not something I’m in a rush to correct her on!

Cider-with-Rosie-favourite-childrens-books-4

‘Lost and Found’, Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers’ books are just beautiful, with stylish, inky illustrations and simple storylines about friendship and overcoming challenges. Lost and Found tells the story of a boy who discovers a penguin on his doorstep, and in trying to help the penguin find his way home, realises that all he actually wants is to be the boy’s friend.

Ottilie always seems so taken in by the stories of friendship in Oliver Jeffers’ books, and in ‘How to Catch a Star’ (another of our favourites), she always takes my hand and asks me to help the little boy reach the star in the sky he wants to make friends with. And yep, it makes me want to cry every time!

Cider-with-Rosie-favourite-childrens-books-7

‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’, by Judith Kerr

I think we’ve read this book every single night before bed for two months on the trot now, but it’s such a classic I still completely love it! The story tells of a ‘cheeky tiger’ (as Ottie has dubbed him!) who visits Sophie’s house, and eats his way through all the cakes and sandwiches, the packets and tins in the cupboard, all Daddy’s beer, and all the water in the tap! The story’s so quaint and old fashioned, and we love the illustrations too. A classic!

Cider-with-Rosie-favourite-childrens-books-8

‘Busy Baking’

This book’s one that we keep downstairs for playtime, as it’s so sturdy and a quick read. It’s got tabs to open and pull and twist that perform different actions within the book, and Ottie especially likes to ‘mix’ the cake batter in the bowl just as much as she does when we bake together in the kitchen! It’s such a simple one but a great toddler book, and any from the series would make a lovely first birthday gift.

Cider-with-Rosie-favourite-childrens-books-2

‘Peep Inside’ series by Usborne

I LOVE this series of books- it’s definitely my favourite series of baby/toddler board out there…MUCH better than ‘That’s Not My [insert literally anything here!!]‘! These books were the first that Ottie really fell in love with, with the ‘Peep Inside the Farm’ and ‘Dinosaurs’ being our firm favourites. She does sound effects for all the dinosaurs in the book now which makes me laugh every time, and the books have really expanded her vocabulary too. I recommend these to anyone looking to start up a book collection for their little one!

Cider-with-Rosie-favourite-childrens-books-6

‘All In One Piece’ by Jill Murphy

Or as it’s known in our house, ‘the paint one’! Along with ‘the tiger one’, this is another that’s been part of our bedtime story line up for a good couple of months straight now. Ottie’s obsessed, and always asks me to wipe the paint from Mrs Large’s dress at the end! I just love Jill Murphy’s writing, and remember so vividly finding the Large Family series absolutely hilarious as a child. Isn’t it the best seeing your children love the things you loved when you were little?

Cider-with-Rosie-favourite-childrens-books-9

What books do your little ones love? :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
0 Comments
Posted in PARENTING

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Read from the beginning >