25.09

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World, let me introduce you to our daughter- Ottilie Dorothy Chappel! <3

We welcomed our baby girl at 4.40am on the 9th of September, and it was the most magical and overwhelming and beautiful moment of our lives. Jason and I are head over heels in love with Miss Ottilie, and can’t quite believe she’s ours!

~ ~ ~

It’s taken me a good couple of weeks to finally get round to posting here about Ottilie’s arrival, because as any new parent learns pretty sharpish, the first few days are a whirlwind adjustment period!

I’ve also been laying low and spending some time recovering after my labour and delivery, which was not at all the experience I’d hoped for or expected! We found out the week I went into labour that Ottilie was laying ‘back to back’ inside me, which meant it took me days and days of prolonged, hideously painful contractions to make almost no progress at all! After three full days of labouring and getting to only 4cm dilated (my body did *not* want to let this baby go!) I wound up needing some strong pain relief, which was a blessed relief I can tell you!

Delivering Ottilie was the most incredible experience of my life, and my goodness, I’d have a hundred babies for that single moment of having a warm little body placed up on my chest, and the overwhelming joy and relief and bliss that washed over me as I looked between her and Jason. It was better than I ever could have imagined, and even though the labour had been so intense and long, I remember thinking to myself just minutes after she was born ‘I’d do that all over again!’

I was a bit unlucky and suffered a compressed nerve during my labour which has left me with a temporary paralysis in my left ankle and foot, so I left hospital on crutches! I’m slowly slowly getting better and more steady on my feet though, and have managed a fair few trips out just me and Ottilie this week which feels amazing!

Now that I’m getting up and about again I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back to blogging a touch more frequently! I’ve missed updating here so much, but I hope you’ve not minded there being a little break whilst I’ve recovered and adjusted to the amazing whirlwind that is life with a new baby!

Big kisses to you all, from me and Ottilie Dot! <3

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09.08

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How far along: 36 weeks! I’m officially in my ninth and final month of pregnancy, which is so surreal. Baby is apparently around the size of a papaya this week…though I’m guessing my app means one of those giant papayas you see in fruit markets and greengrocers, not those teeny mango-sized ones you can pick up in the supermarket…

Days until due date: 28!

The bump: Allllll out front these days! I keep forgetting how much bigger I am compared to my normal self, and am forever bashing my bump into the corners of tables, my car door, cupboard handles etc. etc. I’ve even managed to bruise it a couple of times, which isn’t very comfortable!

Weight changes: No idea!

Stretch marks? None, thank goodness. I’ve been very lucky so far- hoping the luck holds out over these final couple of weeks!

Cravings: I’ve definitely got more of a sweet tooth than normal, but I’ve not been craving anything much really. Oh, though I did get a major hankering for flapjack on Friday, and ended up making a batch on a whim! They were pretty tasty. My favourite snack at the moment though is frozen raspberries- so refreshing and tasty!

Sleep: What with my constant trips to the loo, the need to sleep on my left side (which I HATE!), and just my general restlessness, it’s fair to say neither Jason or I are sleeping all that well these days! I guess it’s all good practise though, and I’m amazed at how well I’m functioning on such broken sleep. I keep waiting for the third trimester exhaustion to hit me, but apart from the odd tired day, I’m not really feeling it at all.

Symptoms: A slight touch of occasional heartburn (having to order a mild curry when Jason and I treated ourselves to an Indian the weekend before last was SO rubbish!!), and a definite loosening up of my joints. But nothing I could complain about, really!

Best moment this week: Finishing up our beautiful nursery with a lovely armchair from HomeSense! It was a total steal, and I’m thrilled with it. Oh, and packing mine and baby’s hospital bag, which makes everything feel so very real!

Worst moment this week: Probably the super stressy, hormonal couple of days I had the weekend before last (so technically not exactly this week, but still…)! I’ve been fairly chilled this whole pregnancy, and since I usually suffer so badly with my hormones once a month, it’s been both a surprise and a joy! But I wasn’t myself at ALL the weekend before last, and I think Jason was glad to go back to work on Monday, ha! But I’m back to normal now, thank goodness! Thank goodness for us both…;)

Miss anything? Oh, just cheese. I’ve been thinking longingly about all the mouldy, stinky cheeses I’ll be able to eat once baby is here, and will be totally gutted if our first meal home post-birth isn’t a cheeseboard with lots of fresh apples, grapes, and crusty bread. Oh man, I can’t wait!

Movement: Lots, though I think baby is running out of space now since the movements aren’t quite so expansive as they were a few weeks ago. Instead I’m feeling tiny knees, feet, and elbows pressed up against the sides of my belly, and a little baby bottom right underneath my ribs!

Gender: A surprise!

Belly button in/out: Out! Especially when the baby is pushing right out against the front of my stomach.

Wedding Rings on/off: On!

Mood: Pretty fab! I’m both insanely impatient for what’s to come, and also nervous about how much our lives are about to change in just a few short weeks. We’re so, SO excited to be parents though, and think we’re as ready as we’ll ever be for the chaos!

Looking forward to: Being considered officially ‘full term’ from this coming Monday onwards!

 

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05.08

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 A   G R E Y   +   P A S T E L   B A B Y   N U R S E R Y .

I’m so excited to finally be sharing photos of our finished nursery today! I’ve been working on this room for months now, and it’s been so much fun.

Okay, the first part, where we had to clear out several years worth of clutter and dismantle a huge IKEA daybed and take endless bags of rubbish to the dump, THAT part wasn’t so fun. But getting to design this space from scratch, and give the room a proper purpose rather than it just being a place to put the laundry airers, and hide all the junk we were too lazy to deal with? It’s been the best!

We wanted to create quite a classic and timeless feel in the room, one that we can easily adapt as the baby gets older. And since we don’t know whether I’ve got a baby boy or baby girl cooking right now, we’ve kept things totally neutral, too!

So, below are photos, links, and details of our nursery. I hope you love it as much as we do!

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D R E S S I N G   T H E   W I N D O W S

Since the space we have to work with isn’t huge, we decided to go for lightweight curtains in a neutral colour- ones that wouldn’t sit too bold and heavily within the room.

One of my favourite things about this room has always been how much lovely natural light it gets (and that creeping wisteria!) so it felt a shame to hang anything really heavy! We plan on getting some blackout blinds for when the baby is sleeping in the nursery on a nightly basis.

The little box above in the photo above has a few of the toys we’ve been kindly been given for this lucky baby, and the other end of the window ledge holds the start of baby’s library. A few of my favourite childhood stories, gifts from my Mum and sister!

That far corner of the nursery also right now holds the lovely charcoal grey Stokke bouncer* we’re so excited to use! It’s ingenious in that it sits either free on the floor or clips onto the top of the Stokke Steps chair*, which we’ll have in our kitchen as a place for baby to sit or snooze (we hope!!!) whilst I’m in there cooking.

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T H E   P E G   S H E L F

The amount of love I have for this sweet little shelf is kind of ridiculous!

Right now I’m using it more for decoration, as a place to hold some of the sweet books we’ve bought and been given for the baby, but it’s also a useful place to hang some of the larger items we’ve got (the snowsuit, and lovely hooded towel) that are a bit bulky for folding into drawers.

I think it’ll come in handy too as a place for hanging winter coats and jackets as baby gets bigger, and for storage of the mountains of little toys I know we’re set to accumulate over the coming years! It’s from a little shop on Etsy called Furneco, and we’ve been thrilled with the quality.

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T H E   D R E S S E R   +   S T O R A G E

One of the main things we desperately needed for the nursery was a big dresser, since the only storage space in the room (a big mirror-fronted cupboard) is already absolutely full with mine and Jason’s coats, all our accounts and paperwork, toiletries, and piles of bedlinen and towels!

We ended up choosing this white three drawer dresser from Boori*, which acts both as storage and a changing table too. It’s such a beautiful piece of furniture (and matches our cot, which I’ll show you next up!) and the storage space it offers is amazing.

Now, I can’t lie to you- organising all the baby’s sweet clothes and things into those lovely big drawers has been so much fun! Since the drawers are so deep, I bought a couple of inserts from IKEA to keep all the little sleep suits, vests, and socks organised.

Right now, the top drawer holds newborn and up to 1 month clothing plus a basket for nappies and wipes (I’ve taken quite a few sleep suits, vests, and nappies out and packed them into our hospital bag, which is why it’s looking a little depleted!), the second drawer holds clothes aged 0-3 months plus muslins, swaddles, blankets, and bed linen, and the third drawer holds towels and a few of the odds and ends we haven’t got use for right now, like the baby monitor!

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V I N T A G E – S T Y L E    A R T W O R K

One of the things I was most excited about when it came to putting together the nursery was finding some beautiful prints to pull the whole room together! I knew I didn’t want anything that would look too ‘babyish’ and would need replacing in a year or so’s time, but I also wanted some prints that had a retro childhood kind of feel to them.

These three Ladybird prints (Apple, Balloon, & Cake*) matched my criteria exactly, and the colours happened to be exactly what I was after for the room too. Pastel shades, but still bright and fun!

We decided to have quite big prints up on the wall above the cot to provide a big splash of colour, since the rest of the room is so soft toned and neutral. I’m thrilled with how they look!

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T H E   C O T B E D

The cotbed we’ve chosen for our nursery is the beautiful Eton convertible*, which matches the dresser and changing table unit.

I love the very simple, classic style of the cot, AND the fact that not only does it convert to a cotbed that’ll last until baby is around four years old, but it also can be converted into a full double bed too!

We decided to keep the cot free from any bumpers, and have just popped a few of baby’s little toys in the corner and a soft blanket or two in there for now.

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And that’s the nursery! We’re so thrilled with how it’s turned out- I kind of want to spend all my time in there now!

A few of the items in this post were kindly gifted to us by brands, and so for clarity, I’ve marked those items with an asterisk.

Thanks for reading!

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02.08

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R O L L I N G   B A C K   T H E   Y E A R S

Back when Jason and I first met and started dating, I was just getting ready to move to London and start studying ballet and contemporary dance full time.

Jason would come up to visit me at the weekends and the odd midweek day too, and so we spent those early days and weeks of our relationship getting to know one another whilst wandering through the British Museum, and through the galleries of the Tate, and over lingering lunches and late, post-dance class dinners.

We look back on those early days so fondly, remembering how young and carefree and fresh we were, with so many amazing adventures ahead of us!

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We decided a few weeks back to put a date in the diary for a day spent in London, to spend some quality time just the two of us before the baby arrives in the next five or so weeks.

It turned out to be one of my favourite date-days we’ve ever had together!

We had no plan at all other than to head to South Kensington to be within reach of the museums, and so spent the train journey into London deliberating over where to head for lunch.

Inspiration came via Google Maps, which I was scouring whilst looking for best route to take from South Ken station over to Jojo Maman Bebe (my spiritual home these days, of course…). I spotted The Ivy Chelsea Garden on the map, immediately launched into a sales pitch to Jason about how great I’d heard the food is and how it’s such a beautiful restaurant, and that was it! Sold!

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The restaurant is totally gorgeous, with a bright and airy botanical feel to it.

We started with a couple of mocktails in a colour palette that blended in with our surroundings just perfectly- a peachy-hued iced tea for Jason, and an apple and elderflower spritz for me. Both delicious!

Though if I’m being honest, were I not pregnant I’d totally have been drinking something spiked with copious amounts of gin, which would’ve been just that little bit better ;)

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And when the food arrived, it more than lived up to expectation.

I ordered the roasted butternut squash with herbed grains and crumbled feta (praise be for waiting staff who can tell you straight off with 100% confidence which cheeses on the menu are and aren’t pasteurised! Made this pregnant woman a happy one!), whilst Jason went for the classic chicken and chips.

Oh, and a portion of the truffled arancini to share, which strangely enough tasted 1000x more delicious when they were almost cold at the end of the meal, than they did piping hot at the start!

We both spent the meal waxing lyrical to one another about how delicious each of our dishes were, and trying to keep from eating too fast so as to leave room for dessert…
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Which, as you can see, we managed! Troopers, aren’t we?

Now, I need to take a moment to discuss this dessert with you, because it’s truly one of the most fantastic I’ve ever eaten.

Hot, salted caramel sauce is poured over a chocolate bombe set in a sea of milk foam, and as the bombe melts, it reveals inside a scoop of the most delicious vanilla ice-cream and popping honeycomb pieces.

It is, in short, DIVINE. I haven’t stopped thinking about it all week since we went!

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After a spot of shopping in the sunshine along the King’s Road, and a much-needed walk back up to South Kensington, we headed to our second and final stop for the day- the Natural History Museum!

Neither Jason or I had been there in years, and had the best time reliving our childhood visits whilst wandering through the dinosaur exhibits (still as magical as ever!), and marvelling at just HOW huge that blue whale model really is.

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After we’d spent a couple of hours exploring the museum, we headed back out into the sunshine to soak up the last of the day’s rays over coffee and juice. 

It really was the nicest…and the whole time all we could think of was that the next time we head into London to spend the day together, there’ll be three of us instead of two! 

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Posted in DATE, JASON, LONDON, RESTAURANT, REVIEW

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