16.04

Cider-with-Rosie-postpartum

A few weeks ago I finally got round to printing out a load of photos from the past 7 months (Ottilie is SEVEN MONTHS. When did that happen?!) , and putting them all into an album. Doing it brought back so many memories of the early weeks of motherhood, when day blurred into night and I felt like I was falling bleary-eyed through an endless cycle of three hourly feeds, nappy changes, and sleepy cuddles. I have so many fond memories of that time- of snuggling a teeny tiny Ottilie with her tufts of dark fluffy hair soft against my cheeks, of the way her breath smelled so sweet and milky and delicious (I used to take great deep breaths of it with my nose pressed up to her lips!), of the funny little squeaks and chirrups she used to make whilst awake.

But I also have found those first few weeks totally overwhelming! I remember crying literally all day, the day before Jason went back to work after paternity leave. Being left alone with Ottilie felt so incredibly daunting, and I didn’t want to leave the lovely little bubble the three of us were in together. My mother in law, Jason’s sister and my niece and nephew came to the rescue for me that day. I drove Ottilie and I over to see them, and they fed me biscuits and cuddled Ottie whilst I attempted to chill out! <3)

Looking back a few months down the line, I can completely see why so many women talk about a ‘postpartum fog’ and say that it took them the best part of a year to start feeling like themselves again. It’s only been in the last couple of months that I’ve begun to feel confidence again in how I look (more on that later), Ottilie’s recently settled into a routine that’s given me back some ‘me’ time during the days, and I feel like I’m back to pre-pregnancy levels of energy and vigour.

~

There’s so much pressure to ‘bounce back’ from having a baby, and I wanted to say in writing, here and now, that I did *not* bounce back! I do remember comparing myself a few times to friends of mine with babies, and to mothers I saw on social media who seemed to have it all together and wonder why it seemed like I was the only one finding some days so tricky. And then it occurred to me ┬áthat judging by my Instagram account, noone would ever, ever have known that I wasn’t spending all day every day swanning around town, dressed immaculately and with an equally immaculately dressed baby sleeping peacefully in her pushchair!

And, since I’m keen for Cider with Rosie to be a place of honesty, and sharing, and kindness and kindred spirits, I wanted to share a few of my ‘postpartum truths’.

- My shape is different. So different! I’ve gone from a size 6 to a size 8/10, and though my tone is coming back and I’m gradually shifting the last of the softness I gained during pregnancy, it’s slow progress. My hips are broader, my thighs are wider, my boobs are GINORMOUS (I must have gone up at least three sizes, honestly!!) and my stomach isn’t taut and toned in the same way any more. I have days where I’m okay with it and days where it makes me sad and I don’t feel particularly self confident, but in general I’ve actually found it less of a concern than I thought I might do before I had Ottilie.

- We have easy days, and tricky days. Days where Ottie is happy and playful and naps like a champ and I have endless patience and don’t feel tired and motherhood honestly feels like growing your own mini best friend! In fact, most of our days now are like that, and it’s incredible! The love I feel now on a daily basis is overwhelming. But during the four month sleep regression when for two months straight Ottilie would wake up every hour during the night, I felt like I might pass out from the tiredness. I pranged my car twice because I was so exhausted and barely functioning, and my patience was tested to its absolute limits. What got us through was co-sleeping, not listening to anyone else’s advice about having to do sleep training/crying it out/getting tough, and holding onto the ‘this too shall pass’ mantra.

- Comparison is the thief of joy, and this is SO true of motherhood! I’ve had to learn not to compare myself, or how I parent to anyone else, because all babies are different. For months I couldn’t for love nor money get Ottilie into any kind of routine or to nap in her cot, and I tied myself in knots agonising over it. I was convinced it made me a crap Mum. But guess what? Ottie just wasn’t ready for a routine, and about a three weeks ago she finally slotted herself into one with absolutely no input from me whatsoever! I’ve learnt that babies basically eat when they want, sleep when they want, and behave how they want to, and there’s very little we do as mothers that affects that!

- Getting out and about and having company kept me sane. When I was just about to give birth, I lost count of the amount of times I was told not to bother getting dressed during the early days and weeks of motherhood and to just camp out at home in my PJs. In reality? That drove me NUTS. I absolutely had to get out every day just to feel like I was coping with the challenges of having a young baby, and meeting up with other new Mums at baby classes and popping out for coffee with my NCT friends was a lifesaver. It’s much easier to cope with a wailing baby when you’ve got a friend there for moral support and a slice of cake in front of you, after all! Advice is there to be taken with a pinch of salt- use what applies to you, and ignore the rest.

~

In short, the moral of this mammoth post is this: It gets easier. And harder. And then easier again. The fog lifts, and you’ll find yourself again. You’re the best Mum for your baby, and noone’s ‘coping’ any better than you are, I promise…<3

{Picture taken a week post-partum!}

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25.03

Cider-with-Rosie-Snuzpod-5

I’ve been meaning to write a review of the Snuzpod for…six months now.

I know. Prompt.

BUT, the timing of this post is really quite apt, because after half a year of daily use we’ve just stopped putting Ottilie down to bed in our room at night in the Snuzpod, and so these photos kind of mark the end of an era!

To put it simply, the Snuzpod has been one of our absolute hero products since having Ottilie. It’s a 3-in-1 system, acting as a co-sleeper (with a genius drop down side that allows you to have baby at arm’s reach with the cot right up alongside your bed), a freestanding cot, and with a lift-off bassinet for transportable napping!

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I loved how having Ottilie sleep in the Snuzpod meant that I would wake as soon as she began to stir, and I’d be then able to either whip her straight out and feed her, or resettle her with some shushing (the former happened waaaaay more than the latter!!) before she fully woke and cried. And being able to stay cosy and warm underneath my duvet during all those hours sat up in bed feeding made being awake at 2am (and 3.30am, and 5am…) so much more bearable!

I have such vivid memories of sitting up for what felt like half the night in those early days, with teeny tiny Ottilie bundled up in her swaddle blanket resting on a pillow across my lap, watching Netflix on silent on my phone to keep myself awake whilst I fed. Funny how time makes memories of the exhaustion fade and the nostalgia (read: broodiness…) grow stronger, isn’t it? :)

Being so close to Ottilie also helped ease my new Mama anxiety! I LOVED being so close to hear that I could hear her gentle breathing, and reach over and check she wasn’t too warm or cold and adjust any blankets if necessary with ease.

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I’ve also been so pleased with what a beautiful addition the Snuzpod makes as part of our bedroom- it’s minimal and sleek but also so classic in its design, and the colour choices are fab too.

There’s space underneath to store extra blankets and bedding, and the rails on the end are great for keeping a muslin or two within easy reach for clearing up any post-feed sick! I was always so dreadful though at having a muslin to hand right when I needed it, and still feel like I’m not a ‘real’ Mum because I never wandered around with one flung over my shoulder!!

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Oh, and I should say too that we used the Snuzpod in conjunction with that other holy grail of baby sleep products, the Sleepyhead! I’d have taken photos of them together, but Ottilie was napping inside the Sleepyhead in her cot in the nursery whilst I shot these photos!

The Snuzpod was kindly gifted to us as a press sample (I wasn’t under any obligation to review it, but have done because, as I said, it’s been one of our favourite baby products!), and is available to buy from John Lewis.

p.s. Now, this is maybe an irrelevant P.S but I think it would have helped me in the fretful early days of motherhood whilst looking at reviews like this online…my bedroom did not, I repeat NOT look this clean, tidy, and Pinterest-able when Ottilie was tiny. In fact, it doesn’t usually look like this now. My bedside table pre-baby was home to a few bottles of perfume, a lip balm, a jewellery box, and a posh candle. Now, you’ll more likely find it littered with tubes of Bonjela (in the early days it would’ve been Infacol and Lansinoh nipple cream), dummies, at least three glasses of water (never remember to take them down in the morning) and the trusty baby monitor. That bedspread has been put on the bed on maybe two or three occasions since Ottie was born, and the dusting sometimes doesn’t get done for longer than is really acceptable. Just want to be real here, because parenthood is a tough gig at times without worrying about why you can’t keep your home looking as pristine as the homes you see in pictures online! :)

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01.03

ottilie

It has been FAR too long since I last wrote a post like this. Especially since there’s such a lot that’s making me happy of late! First and foremost that sweet baby girl of mine, but also so many other of those ‘tiny joys’ I’ve always liked to make note of here too. So let’s make a list!

1. Spring cleaning! I’ve had the biggest clear out of my wardrobe last week and it feels so GOOD!! I’ve donated two big bags of clothes and shoes to charity, and trimmed down my wardrobe to be made up only of the clothes that I *actually* wear, rather than stuffed to bursting with 6 years worth of impulse buys. I was aiming for a 37 piece capsule wardrobe a la Caroline, but turns out that’s harder to achieve that you’d think…

2. Homemade almond butter granola bars. Made with a nosy babe strapped to my front (she was having a cuddly ‘don’t put me down’ afternoon) who enjoyed studying e v e r y t h i n g I was doing!

3. The head massage part of a haircut. Bliss.

4. The two ducks making a home on the pond outside our house. I’m keeping my fingers crossed we have ducklings again this year. It always makes for such a lovely spring and summer!

5. SPRING WEATHER! How lovely is it to just chuck on a jacket and run out the door rather than bundle up in a hundred layers?!

6. This curry recipe. We made it with cauliflower instead of chicken (I’m veggie, and Jason eats veggie a fair bit at home too) & it was our favourite evening meal we’ve had in a long time.

7. Seeing the look of complete satisfaction on Ottilie’s face now she’s managing to shift herself along on her stomach. I’ve got money on the fact she’ll be crawling by the end of March…

8. Sinking my teeth into a photography project for Jason’s company. We’re shooting interviews of some of Flourish’s clients, and it’s so great thinking creatively again!

9. Date night with my husband. We ate the BEST duck (mock-duck for me) crispy pancakes and shared a naff but delicious mint choc chip ice-cream for dessert. Totally great!

10. Finding a fun new music class to take Ottilie to. Give the girl an instrument to wave around, and she’s happy!

What’s made you happy this week? I hope your week’s been a lovely one!

p.s. I’ve been meaning to say for a while- thank you for sticking with me whilst posting has been limited lately. Cider with Rosie has been a huge part of my life for, what, coming up 5 years now, but I knew I wanted to let it take a back seat whilst my baby was small. I’ve been looking forward to being a mother my whole life, and so really wanted to take time to concentrate on Ottilie, and all the daily joys and adventures and challenges that motherhood brings, for the first few months. It’s been fantastic, but I’m definitely ready now to start finding my feet as a ‘work from home’ mother and start blogging more regularly again!

So, I’d love to know, is there anything you’d like to see or read about here? I’m all ears! <3

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Posted in 10 THINGS, HAPPINESS

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15.01

Cider-with-Rosie-Twinings-13

If there’s one thing I’ve realised the value of, over the past few months, it’s a quiet, cosy family morning.

Having Miss Ottilie in our lives means that weekend lie-ins are a thing of the past (though since I do the night feeds, Jason often takes her out of the bedroom first thing so that I can have a little extra uninterrupted sleep!), but instead of mourning the peaceful weekend mornings we used to have, I’ve just been embracing the wonderful early morning chaos.

When Ottilie wakes in a happy mood and spends the first few hours of the day (before the ‘I need a nap crankiness’ hits!!) cooing and laughing and talking to us, it truly makes me feel like I’ve won the lottery with this lovely little family of mine!

My favourite kind of weekend mornings now are all about wearing our PJs for as long as possible, cuddling up together in bed with cups of tea, eating at least two different types of breakfast food over the course of the morning, and then heading out into the fresh air with those two lovely dogs.

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Last week Twinings sent us over a beautiful parcel filled with their range of Fruit & Herbal Infusion teas, and invited us to embrace all things ‘natural’. And it couldn’t be better timing for me, really, since over the past year I’ve all but given up caffeine, and the teas are all naturally caffeine free!

I was never sure of exactly how much or little caffeine was acceptable during pregnancy and so just switched over to decaffeinated for ease, and even though now I don’t worry about the odd cup of coffee, my tolerance to caffeine has all but disappeared!

So now that I’m all about the caffeine-free drinks, herbal and fruit teas have become my go-to. The Twinings infusions are beautiful- light and refreshing, and make the perfect natural alternative to the strong, headache-inducing cups of coffee I used to drink every morning!

I started this past Sunday with a few cups of the Strawberry and Raspberry Infusion, and it tasted and smelled so delicious even Ottilie was leaning into my cup!

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With our bellies filled (Ottilie’s with milk, ours with toast, porridge, orange juice, and a few cups of tea), we decided that though staying in PJs all day was tempting, we were all in need of a blast of fresh air.

And the weather outside obliged on that front, with bracing winds that had us all wrapping up in as many layers as we could fit on!

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Our weekend dog walks always make me so very happy- stomping round the woods with Ottilie tucked up cosily in the wrap on either mine or Jason’s chest, it feels exactly how I always imagined our life as a family of three would be. And I love the idea that Ottilie will grow up with fresh air in her lungs, rosy cheeks, and feeling connected to the natural world around her.

Once the dogs were suitably worn out and mud-caked, and with a quick stop off in the village for a fresh bunch of flowers to brighten up the living room, we made our way back home for lunch.

And since it was a Sunday, and Sunday has its own set of rules, I’m not ashamed to tell you I put my PJ bottoms straight back on and curled up to cuddle my sleeping baby with yet another cup of tea in hand.

Bliss.

Cider-with-Rosie-Twinings-22

* This post was sponsored by Twinings. Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible. *

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