As anyone who runs their own business will know, one of the biggest challenges is to take time off. Hence why it took me 6 months of pestering to get Jason to finally put a free week in his diary! We’d hoped to make it out to France to be with Tania and Freya, but since Ottilie’s passport didn’t arrive in time (boo!) we decided to just schedule in a load of family days instead.

It turned out to be one of my favourite weeks we’ve had together since Ottilie was born. We took Ottie swimming (she’s a water baby!), we had lunches out together (Franco Manca forever), we tag-teamed childcare to steal an hour to ourselves here and there…and, we day-tripped it over to Oxford for a visit to Blenheim Palace!

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The palace was easy as pie to get to, about an hour and a half’s drive from where we are in Surrey. We packed up a picnic, got on the road right when Ottilie was due her morning nap, and she snoozed the whole way! (Tell me it’s not just us who has a car-hating baby? If she’s awake we have maybe a 5-10 minute tolerance period before she wants out, and she isn’t shy about vocalising her feelings!!)

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^^ Those two <3 Ottilie LOVED spending a week with her Dadda, and when he left for work this morning she was so sad. It was the cutest thing <3 ^^

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Blenheim Palace is Churchill’s birth place and childhood home, and is without doubt the most beautiful stately home I’ve visited. We decided not to take a proper tour round the state rooms since we knew we’d end up missing most of it as we juggled Ottilie between us, but there was so much information laid out all round the rooms that I still felt I came away having learnt so much. Did you know Churchill predicted the day he was going to die?! And he was once heard to say ‘All men are worms, but I believe I am a gloworm!’. I love that!

Since we were there midweek the place was quite quiet, so in one of the empty rooms we let Ottilie have a whizz around on the floor since she was tired of being carried. We thought it’d be fairly quiet and discreet and that she wouldn’t get in anyone’s way…until she realised that the room had an amazing echo, and so spent a good five minutes shrieking and chatting to the ceiling. I’ve never known a baby love the sound of her own voice as much as Ottilie does, honestly!

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^^ This is the actual room Churchill was born in, and locks of his hair cut when he was just five years old are on display on the headboard. Isn’t that amazing? ^^

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With the tour finished, a tea pitstop was in order. Ottilie shouted ‘GUCK!’ over and over at some ducks (She’s all about the animal words! Cat is ‘cak’ and dog is ‘gog’!), and Jason read ‘Dear Zoo’ three times on the trot.

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We finished up with a mosey around the rose gardens, and whilst I made notes on the different flowers I want in my fantasy garden, Ottie moseyed around on the grass and handed each and every leaf she found to Jason one by one. Who needs toys, hey?!

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S U M M E R   U N I F O R M

What’s this? My first outfit post in about a billion years? YEAH IT IS!

I basically had no choice NOT to post about this dress, since it’s all I’ve been wearing lately. In short, I’m obsessed. It’s from Zara (I can’t find a link, I’m sorry!), is light as a feather and has been so cool to wear in the recent hot spell (which I’m missing already, it felt like being on holiday!). And, crucially, the V neck is just low enough that I can whip a boob out (for Ottilie, you understand) at a moment’s notice. Which is top of my ‘shall I buy this?’ checklist these days, don’t you know…

And anyway, I’m all about minimal effort dressing these days. I had a wardrobe cull a few months ago and am slowly buying a few new pieces, trying to focus on buying not only things that make me feel confident and stylish and happy, but also are comfortable and practical when I’m on the go all day with a baby.

I fell into the trap, when Ottie was tiny, of dressing in plain basics all the time because they were easy and hid milk stains and, looking back, allowed me to shrink into the background at a time when I didn’t feel very confident at all. But lately I’ve been so enjoying refinding my mojo, fashion-wise, and am not ashamed to say that Zara has taken a fair few of my pennies over the past couple of months…

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This particular outing for the Dress Of Dreams, as I’m calling it, was to Wisley Gardens with Ottie and my Mum. We’re both big into our gardens, and Wisley is such a beautiful place to visit for a wander. And since I’m a paid up RHS member these days, it’s basically law that we have to go at every possible opportunity.

It’s such an calming, peaceful place to visit, and I always leave full of grand ideas for my little garden at home.

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I’m going to end this short but sweet post with my Mum and husband’s thoughts on my outfit. Here we go.

Mum: ‘I’ve just worked out what you look like in that dress- Amish. You look like a sister wife. All you need is a bonnet.’ <Thanks Mum, absolutely the look I was going for.

Jason: ‘Those shoes are horrible. They look like you’re in your slippers going out to peg out laundry.’

So that’s that then. I’m hopeful that the comments on this post will be filled with just as positive, glowing reviews.


Posted in SUMMER, WORN

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My favourite thing to do at the moment is just sit quietly and watch Ottilie play. She’s into EVERYTHING, and whizzes round non-stop at top speed finding new things to make messes with!

Favourite games right now include throwing piles of laundry around from one spot to another (always with a very serious look on her face, like she’s got a system going on and is busy sorting things out…), tipping out the contents of my purse and ripping up all the receipts, dancing to music or Mama’s (tuneless) singing, putting things on shelves and then taking them back off again, and shaking the little rattles that came with that red shape sorter bus we bought her for Christmas.

I feel like we’ve reached such a fun stage lately, and every day Ottie seems to be getting more and more interactive. It’s the most exciting thing, watching her little character develop and to see her communicating more and more with me as she grows.

Now, I’m off to install a pack of plug safety covers all over my house…

Posted in BABY, HOME

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Over the last few months of motherhood, I’ve realised how important the design, functionality and practicality of the products we use are to helping streamline the sometimes mammoth task that is getting out and about with a baby. And so from now until the end of this year, I’m excited to say that I’ll be working with Graco to test out and share my thoughts on some of their newest products!

We’ll be trying out some of Graco’s range of pushchairs and carseats that’ll grow with Ottilie over the coming months, and were lucky enough to preview a few of the products at the Generation Graco event at Legoland a couple of weekends ago (the photo above is Ottilie testing out the Featherweight stroller, the lightest in the UK!).

I hope the reviews prove useful for any new parents or parents to be who, like us, found the world of travel systems and car seats a total headache to navigate!


Thanks for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie, and thanks to Graco for inviting us to take part in the project!


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Posted in BABY, REVIEW

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