30.11

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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!
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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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Posted in BAKING, CHOCOLATE., COOKIES, RECIPE, Sponsored

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16.11

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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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Posted in 10 THINGS

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09.11

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Oh hi. It’s me, sharing an outfit post for the first time in literally forever!

You might have noticed the complete lack of photos I shared of myself during the last six weeks of my pregnancy. That was mainly down to the fact that blowing up like a balloon (water retention’s fun isn’t it? Didn’t have that with Ottie, so it was a fun surprise!) and carrying a 9 pound baby when you’re not an especially tall woman and there’s nowhere for it to go but aaalllll out front, makes you look roughly the size and shape of your average double decker bus. And so surprisingly, my confidence wasn’t especially high as a result!

But four weeks post partum, and I’m starting to feel slightly more like myself again. A totally different shape of course and with a belly that still looks kind of sad, but it’s a joy to be feeling somewhat ‘normal’ and able to dress my non-pregnant body again!

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Choosing breastfeeding-friendly outfits comes with its own set of challenges, of course, but my formula for an easy ‘Mum day uniform’ kind of outfit is the same as 99% of other Mamas out there- a top to pull up, a top to pull down (my vest top collection is taking over our house), and jeans! Speaking of jeans, I fit into mine again! Not the normal kind, just the maternity ones I got too fat for by the end of my pregnancy…ha!

This sweater is a new one from Boden, and it’s just what my wardrobe needed. It’s been a very long time since I loved a top this *isn’t* stripey as I love this one, so this is a big moment for me.

And with that sweet star design, it’s kind of a nod to the festive season ahead! It’s suddenly struck me how quickly Christmas is creeping up on us, and I need to get organised.

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We shot these photos exactly four weeks since Arlo’s arrival, and the baby days seem to be slipping by so quickly. Too quickly!

We’ve hit the evening witching hour phase for sure, and yep I do seem to be wearing some sort of bodily fluid at all times, but second time round it’s all just dreamy. Please don’t grow too quickly, my not-so-little little boy.

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Star sweater (very kindly gifted to me…shown below in alternative prints!). There’s 25% off everything this weekend…go go go !

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Posted in BODEN, WORN

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07.11

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Up until maybe three or four years ago, you couldn’t get me out working in the garden for love nor money. Too cold, too dirty, too many bugs- absolutely none of it appealed to me! It seems bizarre now to look back on my past self, and think of what I was missing out on.

I’m not sure exactly what the turning point was or why I changed my mind about the whole idea of gardening, but last spring, when Ottie was around six months old, I decided to try my hand at growing some vegetables in our little garden.

Two growing seasons, one move to a house complete with so much land I didn’t even know where to start with cultivating it, four beds (then four more…), more bags of compost than you could count, and thousands upon thousands of seeds, and it’s safe to say I’m addicted!

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And it’s absolutely changed my life for the better, in every way.

Over the past two years I’ve taught myself, through knowledge gleaned from books, YouTube, and the incredible Instagram ‘allotmenteer’ community, how to grow enough vegetables to keep us from having had to buy any since around May of this year. The novelty of being able to wander down to the vegetable patch to pick some fresh beans or courgettes or cabbage for dinner still hasn’t become old, and we’re eating a greater variety of veg than ever before. In fact, there were times this summer when we couldn’t eat the produce growing in our garden fast enough and everyone who came to our house was sent away with a bag or basket full of veggies!
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Possibly my favourite thing though about gardening and growing our own vegetables has been what it’s given Ottilie.

This summer as she’s grown, she’s learnt how to identify vegetables by looking at the shapes of their leaves and how they grow. She’s eaten her way through an entire season’s worth of raw peas picked straight from the plants, and almost every single plum tomato that our little greenhouse had to offer. She has unfailing faith in my ability to conjure up a fresh cucumber for her at a moment’s notice, and wants to stroke and hold every single worm, caterpillar, and frog we come across amongst the soil and plants.

To know that she truly understands where her food comes from, and that she’ll grow up with a connection to the natural world around her, makes me so very happy.

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And if gardening with a toddler in tow has taught me one thing this year, it’s about the importance of speed and efficiency.

Ottilie loves being out in the garden with me and taking part in any jobs I happen to be doing, but as with any young child, her attention span is short! So I’ve learnt that in order for us both to have fun and also for me to get as much done as possible in a short amount of time, we need to work fast and efficiently when we garden together. And that means having the right tools for the job!

I’m so proud to be partnering with Fiskar’s for this post, a company who make quite possibly the sleekest tools for gardening I’ve ever had the pleasure of using! I naively had always thought that a spade was a spade and a fork was a fork, but I was so wrong!

The trowel that Ottilie’s using was so lightweight and easy to manipulate, and made planting out our rows of garlic such an easy job! I’d also used the cultivator tool to prepare the bed just before planting- loosening up the top layer of soil and working in the manure I’d spread on it a couple of months previously, and scraping out the many, many weeds too!

I’ve never owned or used a tool like that before, and it was honestly amazing and made such light work of a job I’d been putting off for ages!  

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The fork in these photos too is a dream to use- it’s part of Fiskar’s ‘Light’ range, and my goodness I wish I’d had it to use all this year instead of the super heavy one I inherited from my Grandma! It would’ve made easy work of all the prep work that went into creating and filling the raised beds back in January!

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Also on my list of jobs was picking the last of the borlotti beans to have dried on the wigwam, and cut down the plants that have finished cropping for the year.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it was being down in the veg patch again with my hands (and trowel and fork!) in the soil, after being too heavily pregnant for the last 6 weeks or so to manage anything much beyond picking a few veggies here and there! I’d missed the gratification of preparing ground, sowing and planting, weeding and harvesting. It’s a wonderful, refreshing break from the all-consuming nature of keeping two small children fed, happy, and entertained (though granted Arlo needs nothing on that front just yet!)- a little bit of ‘me’ time I’m always grateful to have taken.

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I’m so thankful to Fiskar’s for giving me pause for thought about how much gardening has brought to my life, and for the tools too! I’m ready to tackle that rather weedy, overgrown vegetable patch now and tame it ready for next year…

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

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Posted in GARDENING

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