30.04

Wow. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I honestly can’t remember the last time I sat down at my laptop and starting typing…it feels good. Good to be back, but it was also good to be away!

After six years of blogging non-stop (plus Instagram, and all the other social media that goes alongside running a blog), back in January I just…stopped. Deleted my emails from my phone, stopped worrying about keeping my numbers on Instagram up or sharing particularly popular or ‘likeable’ content, and decided to take a break from posting on my blog all together. The effect was like a cool breeze on a summer’s day- all the years of trying to keep up and keep posting and keep current and keep on keeping on, all that pressure just gone in an instant!

It’s been a mini maternity leave of sorts, and it’s been just wonderful. Don’t get me wrong, blogging isn’t the most stressful job going. At least, not for me. I love working from home, and being able to work around my family. Love the creativity, the freedom to experiment and try new things on a whim. But equally, it means that the work/life divide can become blurred at times. The constant pressure that sits on your shoulders, almost imperceptible until it lifts, to make sure that not only are you staying present and ‘living in the moment’ and giving your children your fullest attention at all times, but also documenting and photographing and planning content simultaneously without dropping any of those spinning plates.

I never feel like I’m doing it especially successfully. In fact, I follow countless incredible women online (Hannah! Gem! Jaclyn! Jess! Elena!) who inspire me on a daily basis but also make me wonder why I seem to plod along without ever making any progress.

But there’s going to be a shift here, as of now, and I’m so excited about it. Blogging used to be one of the greatest joys of my life. Cider with Rosie was my first baby! Back in 2012 when I first starting my blog, I used to get a little thrill of excitement every single time I published a post. The blogging community was the most exciting place to be, the community was supportive and close and way less ‘professional’ than it is now, and still now my Instagram DMs are full of messages from amazing, intelligent, insightful women whose advice and perspective and experiences my life would be poorer without.

I want to recapture that magic.

~ ~ ~

As of September, this won’t be my job any more. That feels so strange to say! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that back in January I accepted a place at university to start training as a midwife. A midwife!! And THAT feels WONDERFUL to say!!

Midwifery has been a sort of secret passion of mine ever since I had Ottilie. Before then I never ever considered it as a job, it just never seemed to be on my radar! I always knew I wanted children in my early twenties, and had dreamed of being a mother my whole life.

As a teenager I was absolutely obsessed with pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. I used to devour pages and pages of Mumsnet threads, feeling like I was being let in on some secret world I wasn’t yet part of. Pregnancy fascinated me- round bellies stretched tight with a small miracle growing away inside. I used to daydream about what it would be like to be pregnant, grill family members and older friends about their birth stories, and remember vividly crying at the age of 14 because I knew I had years left to wait before I could experience it all myself.

I felt as though I was just in waiting, waiting to become a Mum.

And then I had Ottilie, and something clicked in my brain. I left the hospital, bruised and battered and elated and sore and absolutely sure that I was supposed to become a midwife.

It was like a fire had been lit in my belly, and I knew that all those years of obsession with birth and pregnancy weren’t just a longing to experiencing it all personally, but a desire to learn how to provide care for women and their babies at the most pivotal moment of their lives.

 ~ ~ ~

It thought maybe at first it was just a hormonal thing, that I’d get bored of the idea and move on in a few months. But it didn’t. The interest grew, I researched and learned and made initial, tentative enquiries to local universities about their admissions policies. I doubted myself, whether it would be possible or if I was academic enough. Midwifery is tough and competitive, with roughly a 20% success rate. I contemplated training as a doula instead, and at one point had a course picked out and my finger hovering over the ‘Pay Now’ button on the page ready book.

And then I had a chance meeting in our local CoOp with a retired midwife. Her name was Helen, she stopped to chat to me about Ottilie and we got to talking about midwifery straight away. Her words were the sweet, encouraging push I needed- she told me that she could tell I wouldn’t be satisfied as a doula since my interest was in providing medical care as well as emotional support, that I should have my babies first and enjoy every minute of them, then to be bold and go for it.

So one more pregnancy and another baby later (my sweet Arlo boy, he’s 6 and a half months now if you can believe it!), one UCAS application started 10 days postpartum and one personal statement written in the evenings with a small bundle sleeping on my chest, two interviews and two offers and one place joyfully accepted…and I’ve done it!

~ ~ ~

I won’t lie, I’m nervous. About the pressures it will put on my time, about spending less time with my own babies and about the responsibility of caring for others, about keeping up with the academic rigours whilst maintaining balance at home and in my personal life. I’m nervous I’ll drop the ball, not keep up, find it too challenging.

But I’m ready. And I’m excited! It’s been a pipe dream for two and a half years, and now I’m just 5 months away from the start line. Let’s do this!

~ ~ ~

I’m not sure exactly how much I’ll be able to share here or via my social media about my training. There are, rightly so, tight regulations about confidentiality within the medical field, and I’ll err on the side of caution always so as to protect myself and and anyone I meet in a professional setting.

But I want to keep Cider with Rosie alive. It’s a relationship I’m not finished with, and a love I’m ready to rekindle.

And I hope you’ll stay with me, as I start this exciting new chapter of my life. <3

 

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17.12

CiderwithRosieChristmas

I’ll be honest, I keep writing these happy lists and then never getting round to posting them, and by the time I come to put them live they’re so old not relevant any more! Newborn Mama life, hey? I wouldn’t say I’m in the newborn fog over here so much as just being so busy with every aspect of life I feel like I barely sit down all day long. It’s a hectic season of life that’s for sure!

1. Mince pies. Every year I forget how much I love them! Especially when eaten midway through a busy afternoon looking after the children, when I’ve barely had chance to eat all day and am completely and utterly ravenous. That makes them taste all the more delicious!

2. M&S 3-wick rhubarb candles. They’re my absolute favourite at the moment, they throw out so much scent and at £9 each? A total bargain!

3. Personalised stockings with my babies’ names on. There’s something about seeing their lovely names printed out side by side that makes me so happy!

4. Arlo’s double chin. I made that!

5. Baking and crafting with my sweet little girl. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve done Christmas biscuits, painted baubles for our tree, visited the pottery cafe…it’s the best! (Let’s just not talk about my epic fudge failure this week…it’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever made!)

6. White noise. Because it helps my baby go to sleep…and because after 9 weeks of listening to it I now find it so relaxing I can’t sleep without it. Basically, I’ve sleep trained myself!!

7. Breaking into the courgette pickles I made earlier in the summer, to eat in a delicious wrap alongside veggie ‘pulled pork’ and hummus. The best lunch! (p.s. have you tried the veggie meat by a brand called Vivera? So good!)

8. How easy having children makes it to connect with new people. I feel as though I meet so many lovely people when out and about these days, and it’s never felt easier to make friends. It’s a positive I never saw coming ahead of becoming a Mama, and I love it!

9. Ottie referring to whispering as ‘little talking’, because she didn’t know the word. My heart melted!! <3 <3 <3

10. Tuesdays with my Mum. She comes each week to lend a hand, before Arlo was born it meant I could crack on with work but nowadays it just means there’s a person per child which makes the day go by so much smoother, haha! Forever grateful for her love and support.

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30.11

Cider-with-Rosie-Cadburys-cocoa-life-11

In the weeks leading up to Arlo’s arrival, to say I went into nesting mode is a slight understatement. Our house has never been so clean and organised- every spare minute I had was spent mopping floors, cleaning skirting boards, vacuuming carpets, and tidying Ottie’s toys to within an inch of their lives. Trips to Tesco for new cleaning products became a fun jaunt for me (I’m being deadly serious), and I had such strong aversions to certain cleaning product scents that I was genuinely upset with Jason when he bought the Wrong Kind of Washing Up Liquid.

Of course, that’s all died away ever so slightly now that I’ve got my hands full of newborn! And with two dogs in the house who seem to shed mud and hair with every step they take, you’d never know a very pregnant cleaning-obsessed woman was present in this house just a couple of weeks ago…

But the one thing I am so grateful to my past self for is the effort I made in filling our fridge, freezer, and cupboards with delicious food to enjoy in the first couple of weeks post-partum. There was a courgette and lemon cake stashed away in the freezer to serve when our parents came to meet our sweet baby boy, portions of garlicky courgette and tomato sauce frozen ready to be tossed together with pasta for easy dinners, and I kept our cupboards stocked full of tasty snack food and sweet treats to keep our energy and spirits up in these energy sapping early days!
  Cider-with-Rosie-Cadburys-cocoa-life

Perhaps the best thing I prepared in advance was cookie dough mixture for the Best Cookies in the World, made with the chocolate of my childhood- Cadbury’s Dairy Milk!

The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed a slight change to wrappers of Cadbury’s chocolate lately, in the form of a new logo marked ‘Cocoa Life’. The Cocoa Life programme is Cadbury’s new venture to support and give back to the communities who grow the cocoa from which their delicious chocolate products are made.

Cadbury’s are aiming to create positive change for their growers and their communities, which I think is a brilliant thing. They’re keen to encourage quality education for young people, protect the landscape in which their delicious cocoa grows, and improve farming methods too.

The good that comes out of the programme- including treating farmers fairly and ensuring they have an excellent quality of life- makes me feel happy every time I buy Cadbury’s chocolate, which is why it’s such a pleasure to partner with them in this post!

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The recipe for these delicious cookies came via my friend Lucie, the kind of friend everyone should have who never fails to have some delicious baked treat ready and waiting when you visit. We met met on our NCT course and quickly discovered that we lived just two roads apart, and the first time I ever tried these particular cookies was when our older two babies (born 3 days apart, and our second two are less than a month apart!) were around 8 months old. We ate them whilst the babes got stuck into a sensory tray of jelly in the garden, and I’ve never forgotten how delicious they were!

And so with the idea in mind of having a batch of warm, freshly baked cookies ready and waiting for me in the hours after I’d given birth to our new baby, I got to work. I weighed out and mixed up dry ingredients, stashed the mixture away in the cupboard, and made sure that our kitchen was never without a bar or two of the chocolate

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And cookies have never tasted better than these ones did, whipped up and baked by Jason when we got back home from hospital just a few hours after our beautiful boy had arrived into the world. It was cold and blowing a gale as we left hospital late that afternoon, and getting back home to our warm, cosy house and then curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and warm, meltingly soft chocolate cookies was just bliss. Thank you Cadbury’s, for the best cookies I’ve ever eaten.

Makes 9-10 perfect chocolate cookies:

Ingredients:
110g butter
200g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
1 capful vanilla extract
Pinch salt
165g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
30g Bournville cocoa powder

200g Cadburys Dairy Milk chocolate

- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.

- Cream together the butter and sugar, then mix in the egg and vanilla extract.

- Add in the flour, baking powder and bicarb, and cocoa powder, and mix to combine. Add in the chocolate (chopped into smallish chunks), and stir again to evenly distribute into the dough.

- Roll into balls, and either bake immediately for 10-12 minutes (until the edges are just beginning to set), or put into the fridge or freezer to be cooked at a later date.

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The tastiest cookies ever, whether you happen to be eating them a few hours post-birth, or simply because it’s a day ending with a y. And with the feel good factor too, thanks to Cadbury’s Cocoa Life scheme. What could be better?

~ This post was sponsored by Cadbury’s. Thank you supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible! ~

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16.11

Cider-with-Rosie-10-things-3

1. The joy of a baby sleeping in my arms. I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to while away an evening with a newborn snoring quietly on your chest <3

2. Smoothies! Salads! KALE! After craving nothing but cake, pasta, and biscuits for the final couple of months of my pregnancy, my body has finally started asking for healthy stuff. And I’m more than happy to oblige! Though it’s been four days now since I stopped gorging on biscuits every waking hour of the day and I’m not yet back in a size 8, which is totally outrageous.

3. Tea tea and more tea. I can’t get enough!

4. This week’s thunderstorms. Nothing makes me feel cosier than listening to heavy rain falling when I’m laying in bed at night.

5. Seeing my two babies in the bath together! Ottie’s always been a water baby and it seems her brother is the same- he’s so relaxed and peaceful in the water, and his evening bath chills him out so totally he always crashes right after. Right on cue for an evening of him sleeping on my chest on the sofa (refer back to point one)…

6. Season two of The Sinner! Have you watched it yet? Jason and I loved the first season so much we binged it over the course of a couple of evenings earlier in the year, and the new one is shaping up to be pretty great too. I get genuinely excited to watch another one when Ottie goes to bed each evening!

7. Homegrown cabbage! I could eat it until I turn green, honestly. With a little butter and salt, there’s nothing better!

8. Buying little boy clothes. The cutest! Zara Baby is killing it, as per! Just don’t get me started about why the vast majority of high street shops seem to put trucks/diggers/trains on 95% of their boys’ clothes…

9. Spontaneous baking with my little girl! She asked to make a cake late on Sunday afternoon, and we had a chocolate cake baking in the oven half an hour later! It was truly delicious.

10. New PJs. Candlelit evenings. Cosy dressing gowns. Loving every second of this season, so far…<3

What’s made you happy this week?

(p.s. That photo above? Ottilie’s concentrating hard on stomping in a big pile of rabbit poo. Delightful…)

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