13.09

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O N   T H E   9 T H   S E P T E M B E R ,   A T   4 . 4 0 A M…

…and I haven’t stopped going on about it for a week solid! All last week my catchphrase was ‘this time last year!’ as I reminisced over the week I was in labour with Ottilie. ‘This time last year my contractions just started and I was rushing to get my hair washed and legs shaved!’ (let me tell you, no rush was necessary!!!), ‘this time last year was the first full night of contractions’, ‘this time last year I was in the birthing pool!’ and so on and so on…you get the picture!

But really, how on earth has it been a year? Watching Ottilie grow from a tiny baby into a miniature- and very, very sure of herself!- little person, has been the greatest joy of my life so far. She fills our days with so much laughter, and hearing her sweet chatter all day long makes my heart feel so full with love I’m sure it might burst.

I still can’t get my head around the fact that this sweet baby girl is all ours, and when she shouts ‘Mama Mama Mama!’ as she climbs the stairs each morning after she’s had her breakfast downstairs with Jason I feel so privileged that it’s me she’s calling for. I never take for granted what a gift it is to be a Mother, and have embraced all the opportunities this year has brought me to grow as a person as I’ve found my way into this new role.

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We decided to have a little get together over the weekend to celebrate this year with our baby girl, and it was such a fun afternoon! My Mum, sister and I spent most of the day before her birthday preparing sandwiches, rainbow skewers of fruit, chocolate traybakes, salads, and then I stayed up super late baking a vanilla and homemade blackberry jam birthday cake! Just don’t ask me about the first batch of cake that went into the bin, okay?

I honestly think could stare forever at these photos below of Ottilie when she first spotted her pretty confetti balloons, the joy on her face makes my heart ache…

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^^ Getting so steady on her feet these days ^^

We bought Ottilie the a beautiful wooden dolls pram for her birthday, and she wants to push it around non-stop now! I ummed and ahhed for ages over what to choose for her as her gift, but it’s been a hit so far! Up until recently she hadn’t been keen to try and walk at all, but since we gave her the pram over the weekend all she wants to do it stand up holding it and trundle it up and down the hallway. I wonder how long it’ll be until she’s off and running? I’m not sure I’m ready for a walking baby!

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We’d been holding off letting Ottie have anything majorly sugary until she turned one, and so I’d been so excited about giving her a slice of her very first birthday cake! But I’ll be honest, she wasn’t majorly interested…I think she’s still a fruit girl at heart! She really just ate the jam out the middle and then mashed the rest up a bit…but hey, she’ll learn! ;)

Also, seeing the way she’s playing with my cousin Emily’s sweet little girl Darcey in the photos melts my heart! Cousins are just extra siblings, if you ask me <3

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See what I mean about Ottilie and her fruit?! We ‘borrowed’ a couple of apples from the tree next door that has branches hanging over into my Mum’s garden, and they were seriously delicious!

Also, please note the crumbs of something or other in my hair in the first of those two photos above! I nearly edited it out, but then I thought, hey, it’s representative of Mum life!

(p.s. I’ve had a lot of questions about the dress I’m wearing in these photos! It’s from LK Bennett, I bought it in the sale at the end of June. As far as I can see it’s no longer on the website, so I’ve put a few alternatives, at a range of budgets, in the widget below :)


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Tania, Freya and their other halves came down from London to celebrate with us, which of course made me the happiest. I’ve missed being able to be spontaneous and pop up to London as much as I used to this year, and so having them come down to visit is the best! In fact, Tania Freya and Lizzie’s visits when Ottilie was a tiny baby were complete lifesavers- they used to come down for the day, take over Ottie-cuddling duty and send me off upstairs for a relaxing bath! I have the best ever friends- fact.

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And that’s it, my baby is one! It’s been so lovely sharing her first year of life and my first year of motherhood here with you all, and I’ve been so grateful for being able to turn to this community for support and advice along the way. Here’s to year number two!

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Posted in BABY, BIRTHDAY, OTTILIE

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03.09

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A   L O N G   W E E K E N D   I N   F R A N C E

I was looking back through my camera album on my phone last weekend whilst ordering a batch of prints and when I came across my photos from our trip to France a couple of weeks back, I suddenly realised I never shared any of them here! Bad blogger!

Back at the beginning of August Jason and I took Ottilie on her first ever holiday, and went down to stay at Tania and Lizzie’s beautiful family home in the South of France. It honestly was the nicest way to spend a long weekend- Tan and Lizzie have been some of my dearest friends for years now, and their extended family welcomed us in with open arms, swept Ottilie off for a thousand cuddles and as much delicious bread and homemade hummus as she could ever want, and gave Jason and I chance to relax and enjoy time in the countryside!

Sadly, my photos from France aren’t the greatest because, like the complete fool that I am, I managed to bring my camera all the way to the airport…and then leave it behind in our car. I guess that what comes when you’re carrying luggage, a baby, and about 8 kilos worth of snacks and toys! So you can thank Tania for taking and sharing with me the only decent quality photos in this post, since she managed to achieve what I didn’t and got her camera all the way from England to France!

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I think a good 75% of our time in France was spent sat at the dining table underneath the canopy outside…and I wasn’t complaining one single bit!

What with our tiny early riser who goes by the name of Ottilie Dorothy, we were usually up before every one else each morning. So we’d come downstairs, feed Ottie some cereal or toast or fruit…and then as Tania and Lizzie and the rest of the family woke up and joined us in dribs and drabs for coffee and more toast…Ottilie would just keep eating. One morning she ate a continuous stream of food from breakfast until lunchtime. But what with the homemade jams, the delicious peaches so ripe the juice would drip from your elbows whilst you ate them, and the sourdough bread so perfect for toasting, who could blame her?

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^^ This particular chicken has decided she’s too good for the hen coop and has made herself part of the family! ^^

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We spent most of our afternoons lazing round the pool, baking in the beautiful sunshine and dipping in and out of the pool to cool off.

Hector the labrador wandered around looking for cuddles and attention, and every hour or so would Tania’s Maman appear bearing trays of watermelon and iced tea or a pot full of the most divine homemade herbal tea. It was complete bliss. I could practically feel stress floating away from my shoulders!

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Totally in love with these two photos of my little family. Ottilie was so happy whilst we were in France, and seemed to learn a new word every day! I’m totally in awe watching her grow.

And she just dotes on her Aunties, which is the sweetest thing to see. There’s something so special about watching your baby love your friends as much as you do!

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When Ottilie went to bed each night, we spent our evenings drinking ice cold beers and chilled rose, giving Tania’s horse Hugo all the back scratches he could ever want, playing fierce games of badminton (Jason and I played a doubles game against Tania and Michael that nearly cost us our friendship ;), and, of course, eating the most delicious food.

Tagines, couscous, curries, pasta, the best tomatoes I’ve ever eaten from the vegetable garden…I’ve never been so full and happy in my life.

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It was the dreamiest long weekend, and totally the best first family holiday we could’ve asked for! We all came back happier, more relaxed, and ready to plan our next family adventure.

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Posted in FAMILY, FRANCE, SUMMER, TRAVEL

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31.08

Cider-with-Rosie-France

1. Picking up a new copy of The Simple Things, and taking it up to bed with me along with a cup of lavender and chamomile tea earlier in the week. Such a relaxing way to end the day.

2. The crisp bite in the night air that’s come about over the last few days. I’ve loved this beautiful summer we’ve had but am excited for the colder months ahead, too!

3. Ordering some adorable party bits from Etsy for Ottie’s 1st birthday party next week. I’m a bit addicted to buying all things customised…

4. Trying out a new workout class, BodyPump! I’ve been meaning to try it for years and finally did on Thursday, and it was such a fun, tough workout. Two days of workout classes on the trot, so I’m going to be aching this weekend!

5. Homemade jam on toast and in my porridge. Ottilie suddenly much prefers eating Mama’s porridge to her own, I wonder why? ;)

6. Lighting a candle in the evenings. I never burn candles during the summer, and love how warm and cosy they make things.

7. Fresh tomatoes from the garden! The variety I’ve grown is a bit rubbish (‘Alicante’, if anyone’s wondering!), but it’s still so great being able to nip out into the garden whenever I need a tomato or two for lunch!

8. Game of Thrones finale (OH MY GOD AMAZING) new Great British Bake Off (not as great as before, but I’ll take it)…it’s been a good week for TV!

9. Pad Thai for dinner! The recipe was a new one that I found in a vegetarian food magazine a month or so ago, and it’s so tasty. Brings back memories of our Thai honeymoon <3

10. The sweet way Ottilie repeats ‘yeppees!’ when we prompt her to say ‘yes please’ in answer to a question. It’s the most gorgeous sound and makes my heart melt! (In other news, she’s also learnt to ask for milk by saying ‘boobies’ which isn’t nearly so great and I’m not sure how to stop her saying it…!)

{Photo above taken during our trip to France- more to follow next week!}

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27.08

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G O O D B Y E   S U M M E R

Blackberry season always feels like the beginning of the end of summer, doesn’t it?

I’ve been picking berries a few times a week for a good few weeks now, and built up a stash in my freezer with the idea of making jam. I’ve been on something of a jam kick lately, after eating so many delicious kinds made by our friends Lizzie and Tania’s sweet Maman in France at the beginning of the month.

And so, it was to Cathy’s recipe that I turned for my first foray into jam making…

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A kilo of berries (mine were frozen), left to defrost and macerate in 800grams of sugar overnight, and then mixed with the juice of a lemon. Bring to the boil in a large pan, and then cook for 20 minutes. Do the ‘wrinkle’ test by pouring a little of the juice onto a clean plate and then let it go cold- if it forms a skin that wrinkles when pushed with your fingertip, it’s ready to jar.

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Pour the jam out into clean, sterilised jars, and screw the lids on tightly. And that’s it! I tasted a jar the next morning, spreading the jam onto freshly buttered toast and eating straight from the chopping board. Quite possibly the most satisfying piece of toast I’ve ever had!

And you know the best thing? When I nipped out to take the photos of the brambles that I wanted for this blog post, the hedges were so heavy with berries that I ended up collected another great bag-full.

So I think I’ll be making more jam again quite soon…

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Posted in AUTUMN, EATING SEASONALLY

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