15.02

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S P R I N G ,   S U M M E R ,   A U T U M N ,   W I N T E R

Do you ever wish you were better at shopping? I mean, it’s a skill many of us practise with relish (much to Jason’s dismay, in my case…) but am I actually *good* at it? I’m not sure!

I seem to forever be buying the same things over and over, never stopping to think if they’re actually adding much to my wardrobe. I’m drawn time and again to the same pieces- stripy tops (see last blog post for proof!), soft knitwear in oatmeal colours, and oversized boyfriend jeans…though I’ve just come round to the Mom jean trend and am loving it!

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This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the reopening of TK Maxx‘s new look Guildford store, and of having a one to one consultation with colour expert Pam from House of Colour. Pam specialises in providing a personalised colour palette recommendation, which is designed to help you shop smarter! It’s a completely fascinating process, and it was so interesting to learn that despite being drawn to the earthy autumn colour palette, I’m actually more of a summer girl! I should’ve guessed really, given how much I’m drawn to pale blues and pinks!

She also recognised just from the outfit I was wearing that day that I’m a very soft and natural person, and she guessed that I’m likely drawn to loose fitting clothing with an often quite feminine feel. She couldn’t have been more spot on!

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And so armed with new knowledge of what clothing colours and styles might suit me best, what better place to put it all into practise than a treasure trove like TK Maxx!

The new-look store felt so fresh and easy to shop, with key pieces highlighted at the end of rails and everything broken down by size. Deliveries come in several times each week so there’s always something new to find, and with such a wide range of clothing- from casual wear to active wear, winter coats to evening dresses, I think it’d be the perfect place to shop for something completely unique. And given that TK Maxx’s prices are up to 60% less than RRP, you’re certain to find some real hidden gems. I’ve actually found that it’s an amazing place to shop for baby bits over the past couple of years- you often can find brand names at a completely amazing price point!

I decided to go in search of some new sportswear, with the muted summer colours Pam had recommended in mind. I’ve not invested in any new gym gear for years, and so thought it’d be lovely to take inspiration from the colours that suit me best when picking out some new pieces. Have a peep over on my Instagram to see what I picked out!

The other piece I chose was a gorgeous oversized slogan sweater, in a off-white shade that made up part of my summer colour palette. I think it’ll be perfect to throw on with a pair of soft denim jeans and my favourite leopard print trainers.

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There were so many beautiful pieces in store, and being able to make a beeline for specific colours and prints thanks to the colour consultation experience made shopping so much easier!

Do you want to know what my favourite piece of advice Pam gave me was?

‘Shopping is a skill, and we should practise it to get better!’

Have you ever been so inclined to take someone at their word before?!

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This post was in collaboration with TK Maxx! Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible.

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30.01

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I know, I know. Rosie’s outfit of the day consists of jeans and yet ANOTHER striped top. Groundbreaking. But LOOK! This one has French on it!

True it may be that the Breton department in my wardrobe is already full to bursting, but when I found myself out shopping last week (by myself!! Bliss!), I spotted this particular specimen and just couldn’t leave it behind.

Not only did the cute slogan on the front draw me in, but I’m in love with those navy cuffs and the slightly relaxed fit. Jason always laughs at me for buying my clothes a size bigger than I need (he may have been right about the Mom jeans I purchased at the same time that are so roomy round the waist they’re practically maternity jeans…), but I’m adamant that the cut of this one was calling out to be worn a bit slouchy and oversized.

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Though I hate to admit it, I do fit the Mum cliche of wearing jeans and a stripy top an awful lot of the time. And so a jazzy stripy top totally makes me feel better about the situation!

Seriously though, fellow Mamas- what do you wear that makes you feel semi put together and stylish when home with your children? I’m always looking for that perfect blend of comfort, practicality, and design- something that’ll look nice when out and about with Ottie, but also well suited to romping around on the floor of the living room with her!

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It might be time to start taking a leaf out of the ever-fab Zoe de Pass’ (aka. Dress Like A Mum!) book, and start rocking sequinned tops and bright pink jackets on my Mum days!

But until then, I’ve got my new stripy top, and I’m happy.

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24.01

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T I M E   F O R   N  E W   B E G I N N I N G S .

The beds are finished and filled. Finally! It’s taken us a full month to complete, in scraps of time stolen whilst Ottilie naps and between our work and the household chores and trips out as a family.

The first lorryload of compost was delivered five days before Christmas, and carrying it all round to the vegetable patch round the back of our house one wheelbarrow load at a time was the most arduous task imaginable! During one of the days I spent trudging back and forth fetching soil and tipping it out into the beds, I managed to walk 7 whole kilometres without ever leaving our garden!!

There’s still such a lot to do though, it’s a little overwhelming! Our soil is heavy clay and seems to be slug central (heaven help me and my lettuces this summer!) so I need to copper tape the edges of the beds, the perimeter fence needs rabbit-proofing, and I’m also desperate to lay some pathways to suppress the nettles that are already popping up all over the place!

And possibly more urgently, I need to find a way humane of deterring the moles that have started creating mounds in one of the beds I so painstakingly filled and raked smooth. No doubt they’ve been tempted along by all the worms in the layer of sheep manure that’s spread along the bottom of the bed!

p.s. Anyone want links for my outfit in that photo above? ;) ;)

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But first things first, time to sow the first seeds of the year! My ‘to sow’ list for January has been as follows:

+ Garlic ‘Carcassone Wight’

The garlic went directly into the bed in a double row at the beginning of the month, and almost all the shoots are now up and poking their tiny green tips through the soil! It’s a happy sight.

+ Leeks, ‘Musselburgh’

These I’m hoping to sow successionally over the coming months, to give us a long harvest of leeks starting later in the year and continuing through next winter. I’m also going to test out a technique called ‘multi-sowing’, where a clump of young plants is placed into one position (instead of the traditional one plant per position) and then the leeks can be picked and eaten as they mature one by one. An unclear explanation I’m sure- have a look at Charles Dowding’s videos on YouTube for a much better demonstration of the technique!

+ Mini Savoy cabbage, ‘Caserta’

This will be my first time attempting cabbage (last year I didn’t have space for any winter veg in the tiny garden of our previous house), so I’m a bit nervous about keeping the dreaded cabbage white butterflies away from my crop! I’ve invested in a large sheet of Enviromesh (pricey, but brilliant by all accounts!) and plan on planting the cabbages next to carrots (which will also need netting against carrot root fly), to kill two birds with one stone! Or rather, deter two pests with one big net…

+ Spinach, ‘Red Kitten’

The sowing instructions on these say outdoors from February, but I thought I’d pop a few in a seed tray and try to raise some nice strong, healthy baby plants in the greenhouse to be planted out in a month’s time! If it doesn’t work or they get nipped by frost, then hey! I’ve only lost a handful of seeds.

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And lastly, to the broad beans!

I sowed a tray of broad beans (the variety is ‘Aquadulce’ in a modular seed tray back at the start of the month, but have since learnt that our dining room and kitchen definitely don’t get enough sunlight to raise healthy plants! The seedlings have grown so stupidly tall and leggy that some have keeled right over, so it’s off to the compost bin for them and onto a new batch!

This next lot I’ve sown direct into the bed next to the garlic, and am keeping my fingers crossed that they grow well! I’ve heard that mice like to make a meal of broad bean seeds, so it’ll be just my luck to find out that alongside the slugs, snails, moles, and rabbits, we’ve also got mice to contend with too!

If the broad beans do well though they’ll be one of our earliest crops of the year, with the beans ready in late spring. They’re so delicious added to risottos, pasta sauces, and whizzed up into falafel and hummus, so I’m desperate for them to do well!

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And that’s our progress for the month! I’m so, so ready to start eating homegrown food again. The crisp lettuces and tender beans and shiny courgettes of last summer feel like a distant memory already.

So here’s to Spring!

~ ~ ~

What’re you growing this month? Are you hoping to grow any fruits or vegetables this year?

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Posted in GARDENING, KITCHEN GARDEN

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20.01

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T H E   W O R L D   O F   C L O T H   N A P P Y I N G

{Let me get head off this post by saying that despite how brand-heavy the photos are, this post is in no way sponsored by BumGenius! It’s also a very wordy, in-depth post, so be warned! :) }

I’ve posted a fair bit online recently about my aim to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle. In fact, it’s my one and only 2018 resolution! And as part of that resolution, I’ve decided to take the plunge with cloth nappying.

I recently read that each year, enough disposable nappies are thrown away to circle the Earth 80 times over. A disposable nappy is thought to take between 200 and 500 years to break down, and in the UK alone, 8 MILLION disposable nappies are thrown away each DAY! These facts, and the realisation that the disposable nappies I wore as a baby won’t even have degraded yet, shocked me so much that I figured enough was enough. Time to make a change!

It’s something I’ve been toying with the idea of doing for at least six months now, but it took me such a long time to get brave and go for it! I’m sure for lots of parents, and definitely for me anyway, switching to cloth nappies felt like a very daunting step. With possible downsides like factoring in another daily chore, the upfront expense, the potential for leaks, and having to get more ‘up close and personal’ with the contents of your child’s nappy (not to mention the time it takes to decipher all the lingo and jargon when working out what to buy!), it’s a whole new level of parenting I wasn’t quite sure I was brave enough for!

But after approximately a billion hours spent researching types and brands of cloth nappies, watching YouTube reviews, asking for advice on my social media channels (thank you to all the sweet Mamas who’ve given me help!), I’ve done it!

Ottie’s been in cloth full time for around a week now and so I thought I’d write up a ‘first impressions’ style post, as well as some consolidated tips of my own from everything I’ve learnt through all my research! So let’s go!

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First up, let me talk to you about the brand I chose, and why!

We’re using the BumGenius v5 Pocket Nappies, which come incredibly highly recommended both from friends who’ve used them, fellow Instagram Mamas, and via online reviews!

A pocket nappy is a nappy system in which absorbent pad/pads of material (in this case, microfibre) are inserted into the space between the waterproof outer layer (that’s the coloured or printed part), and a soft cotton layer that sits against baby’s skin. The pocket can be stuffed with a single or multiple fabric pads (to provide extra overnight absorbency for a long stretch of sleep), and then when the nappy has been worn the pads are removed, both parts are washed, and then can be hung out to dry.

So far, I’m absolutely thrilled with them! We’ve had no major leaks at all, only two incidents of a slight dampness right at the edge of Ottilie’s vest- once when she’d been sat in her carseat for a long time and had been in the same nappy for a little over 4 hours, and once overnight when she’d worn the same nappy for 13 hours and drunk a lot right before bed.

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Here’s what made me choose BumGenius:

- Ease of use: once the pocket of the nappy has been stuffed, it goes on just like a disposable would- all in one piece, with no faffing about using clips or pins or multiple nappy parts!

- Popper closure rather than velcro: time and again I read that nappies with velcro tend not to be as long lasting, since they degrade in the wash and get loaded up with lint and lose their ‘stick’. Even changing a wriggly toddler, poppers have been super easy so far.

- Good looking nappies: I had previously ordered a few of a cheaper brand of nappies, (‘Sandy’s nappies by Motherease) and when I tried them on Ottie they were laughably huge and bulky, even when bone dry! Cloth nappies are always going to be slightly bulkier than disposables, but BumGenius are a very slim fitting cloth nappy and though I have bought a couple of new, slightly roomier bottoms for her, they do fit under all Ottie’s regular clothes. Plus I love the nappies’ cute colours and prints!

- Quick to dry: being able to pull out the absorbent inserts and hang them on a line all separated out cuts down drying time such a lot, important given that it’s not recommended to use a tumble dryer on cloth nappies. Some types of cloth nappies can take 18+ hours to dry, whereas these are washed in the evening, hung out around 9-10pm, and are dry by the morning.

- One size fits most: the adjustable popper system make these nappies fit from around 8lbs, to 35lbs. The other brand of nappies I originally bought ran from 18lbs up, so I would have had to buy a whole new smaller set for any future babies.

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F A C T S   A N D   F I G U R E S :

One of the things I found most tricky when researching cloth nappies was knowing how many I’d need, so here’s our cost breakdown:

12x BumGenius pocket nappies: £217.
I ordered two sets of BabiPur’s ‘Five for £89′ offer, plus two extras. I’m planning on purchasing a couple more as backups for when I’ve been late to hang the nappies out after washing and they’re not quite dry come the morning when I need a fresh one, but we’re getting on fine with 12 for now.

We tend to change her every 3 hours or so in the day, and so use around five over a 24 hour period. Of course, with a younger baby you’d be looking at roughly double this amount of nappies needed!

4x HempBabies doubler: £19.80
This acts as an extra layer of absorbency for nighttime, and gets inserted into the pocket along with the BumGenius microfibre pad. To be honest, I only really needed to buy three of these as I wash the nappies every other day.

1x pack of fleece liners, + 1x triple pack of Bambinex disposable liners: £7.99, + £13.99
Liners are laid inside the nappy to catch any poo. The benefit of a disposable is that they can be either flushed (though we don’t) or put into biodegradable nappy sack and binned.

The downside though we found is that they tend to get all scrunched up and poo still ends up on the main part of the nappy (not a problem, but kind of defeats the object of the liner) but more importantly I found they got sodden quite quickly and then sat damp on Ottie’s skin. I can’t imagine it’d feel very nice, so we’ve switched mostly to washable fleece liners. These are a bit more ‘yuck’ to clean after a poo (we tend to sluice them off in the (clean!!) toilet, honestly not horrible to do but of course more of a faff then lobbing a rolled up Pampers in the bin!) but feel so nice and soft and add a ‘stay dry’ layer against baby’s skin inside the nappy.

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T H E    D O W N S I D E S ?

You can’t just throw them on and forget about them in the way you do with a really decent quality disposable, because I just don’t think they’re as absorbable as, say, Pampers Baby Dry. I just used to change Ottie when her nappy felt a bit heavy before, whereas now it feels like I’m changing far more frequently. Not a bad thing, but worth thinking about!

Does it save money? I’m sure it does, but disposables are SO cheap to buy (until Ottie was around 8 months we used Aldi, which were dirt cheap!!) that the cost is so spread out it might feel more affordable to use disposables. Long term I’m sure the saving is there with cloth, but it feels like a luxury to be able to blow £300 up front. There are cheaper cloth alternatives of course- I just chose what felt like the best option for us.
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M Y   H O N E S T   T H O U G H T S ?

It’s way, way easier than I expected! Not the disgusting, poo up to your elbows kind of situation I feared, but actually incredibly simple and a lot more ‘clean’ than I could’ve imagined. They don’t smell bad at all, when it comes to washing them I simply unzip the top of the waterproof laundry bag and empty them all out into the machine, and they’re away!

And it makes me feel so, SO good not taking out a huge mound of nappies to the bin at the end of each day, knowing that they’re destined to sit in landfill indefinitely! Seriously gives me a little ‘pat on the back’ happy feeling every time :)

And despite what I mentioned about the cost, I don’t feel as though it’s been too bad- coming in at slightly under £300 is pretty good! I hope that with careful washing, drying, and use, we’ll be able to use these on future children once Ottilie is finished with them, of course supplementing with extra nappies during the newborn stage.

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All in all, I absolutely love it! Love the feel good factor of knowing I’ve cut down our waste an incredible amount, love the sweet prints and colours (we have a couple of bright red and purple nappies too, which are so cute), love how effective and simple the nappies are. To anyone deliberating about it, I’d say go for it if you can! Buying a couple of tester nappies in different brands and styles can be helpful, and TheNappyLady is a brilliant place to go for free bespoke advice.

If you got to the end of this mammoth post, you’re a hero! Thanks for reading, and I hope it helps!

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Posted in BABY, CLOTHNAPPIES, ECOLIVING

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