29.06

Cider-with-Rosie-home-decor-playspace-COVER

I thought today I’d share a little update on a new play area I’ve just made for Ottilie that so far has been a storming success!

Our kitchen and dining room are adjoined to form one big space, with an eight-seater table taking up about two thirds of the space in the dining half of the room and French doors down the end of the room letting in lots of lovely natural light. It’s one of my favourite spaces in the house, but I’ve always felt that we weren’t making the best use of the room. The other third of the dining room not taken up by the table and chairs has always been a bit of a dead area, containing just the piano, the dogs’ beds, and not a lot else!

I decided it might be nice to create a little play area there for Ottilie, not only to give the room some life but also to give Ottie some on-hand distractions for when I’m cooking and preparing food. She has a tendency to cling to my legs and whinge, which makes moving round the kitchen quite tricky!

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Since I’m already in full nesting mode and therefore want our house made perfect as of NOW, I had everything for the play area ordered and sorted within about 3 hours of deciding it wanted doing!

My favourite find of the whole area might just be that gorgeous pompom basket in the photo above, not least because I very nearly bought a similar one from La Redoute for £65, but found this one at an independent shop near us for £20! A bargain if ever I saw one!

It’s currently home to Ottilie’s collection of tractors, trucks, and diggers, because my goodness this little girl of mine is obsessed with anything on wheels right now! We’re planning on a trip to the London Transport Museum for her 2nd birthday in a couple of month’s time, which I think she’s going to adore!

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My main aim for the space was to have just a small selection of toys, laid out in an easily accessible and inviting way.

Like basically other parent ever I ordered a set of the infamous IKEA Eket modular shelves, which, may I just say, I TOTALLY built all by myself and didn’t have any husband-input on. You can’t even imagine how proud it made me, especially being totally DIY-phobic and always keen to delegate boring jobs to Jason! ;) Ottilie was a great helper too!

So cheap they may be, but I think the shelves look so great! They’re just the right height for Ottilie to reach and take whatever toys she wants to play with from the top, and I find that since her toys, puzzles, and books are all out and visible and accessible, it seems to tempt her to play too.

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I’ve also made it a space to introduce some new and different toys, like her new boxes of puzzles! In the living room we have her toy kitchen and wooden tea set, babies, prams, and toys that in general invite more imaginary play. Since I knew this space would only be used for short bursts, I’ve filled it with toys that will absorb her attention fully but are things she tends to move on from fairly quickly. Like puzzles!

I’m very much enjoying picking up scattered puzzle pieces from round the room 18 times a day, let me tell you ;)

Oh, and I’ve been using the corner as a place to display some of the bits that Ottilie’s painted lately, which I love! She’s especially proud of her little birdhouse, and likes to ask herself ‘Who painted dat?…Ottilie!!’ whilst showing it off!

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Last but not least is the rug! It’s from Next, and perfectly fit my criteria of having a dark pattern and being durable enough to withstand toddler spillages and muddy dog feet, but not look drab and boring! I’m so pleased with it, and think it’ll be a nice place for the baby’s bouncer and playmat to go come October time too.

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So that’s our new play area! You can’t imagine how happy it makes me seeing Ottilie enjoy the space, especially when it means I’m able to cook meals without a toddler sitting up on the worktop next to me throwing handfuls of salt/onions/pasta onto the floor at random!

~ ~ ~

I’m on a bit of a mission to update parts of our home at the moment, so would you like to see more as I go? We’re almost finished sorting Ottilie’s bedroom (we’ve done a nursery to toddler room makeover lately, and it’s looking so cute!) and are about to tackle the spare room too!

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22.06

Cider-with-Rosie-France-24

Remember our trip to France last summer, with an 11 month old Ottilie who seemed so grown up to me at the time but now in photos looks like the littlest chubbiest baby ever!? Well, 10 months later, we went back for round two!

Ottilie and I kissed Jason goodbye at the airport last Saturday, and headed off to the Pyrenees for a girls’ week away with Tania and Freya. And whilst I’m going to be straight with you and confess that travelling with a toddler isn’t quite as easy as travelling with a baby (good LORD, the tantrums!!!) , we still had so much fun!

Ottie was in her element with eggs to collect daily from the chicken coop, horses to ‘feed’ grass to (thank you Hugo for pretending to enjoy it and making my little girl so happy!), and homemade crepes with jam that were better than any I’ve ever tasted before. In fact, we all ate so well I’ve come home resolved to try and recreate some of the delicious recipe’s that Tania’s wonderful Dad made us whilst we were there. First on the list is a chickpea curry that was one of the tastiest and most comforting I’ve ever had, and a ratatouille of dreams.

A few snapshots from our week away…

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^^ My water baby, never happier than when busy in the garden with a watering can. Wonder where she gets it from? ^^

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^^ I’ve been desperate to rescue some ex-battery chickens for the longest time, and am even more keen now after our week in France! They make the most charming noises and one in particular is so keen to be a part of the family, she’s learnt to fly the fence and escape! I just think they’re the sweetest. Would it be madness though to take on chickens, alongside two babies and working from home and the veg patch and everything else? ^^

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Ottilie is completely and utterly obsessed with Auntie ‘Taya’, and asked for her from the moment we woke up in the morning (usually at around 6am, yikes!) until when we went to bed! <3

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^^ There’s nothing quite like seeing your baby running around free in the countryside, covered in grass and mud and completely content. ^^

I feel as though I learnt so much about Ottilie’s personality this week, how much she is like me and loves the comforts and familiarities of home. She found being away quite difficult for the most part, and I’ve always had such dreadful homesickness whenever I’ve travelled ever since being little that I guess it shouldn’t have come as a great surprise. Her behaviour was so challenging at times but despite how hard it was, it’s made me a better parent in the long run I’m sure. The learning never stops as a Mother, does it? <3

(P.s. We used biodegradable Naty nappies instead of our usual cloth whilst away, and they were great! Not a single leak, even at night. I don’t like them as much as Kit & Kin biodegradable nappies though, I’ll be using those on the new baby when he or she is born and is too little for our cloths!)

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Shout out to this jumpsuit for being the most comfortable non-maternity maternity outfit ever! Granted it’s not the most flattering and makes my bump look ginormous (at 6 months I swear I’m as big as I was a good few weeks further on with Ottie!!), but what it lacks in flattery it makes up for in comfort! I’ve linked it below, if you’re in the market for an adult onesie ;)

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* Photos of me by Freya Dowson.

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Posted in FRANCE, SUMMER, TRAVEL

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15.06

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We seem to be all about growth, round these parts.

Living in the middle of the countryside, as we do now, I’ve never been so in tune with the rolling change of the seasons. The hedgerows are swelling, narrowing the lanes that lead up to the fields from our house and groaning under the weight of elderflower, wild roses, and brambles. I monitor the latter’s growth most expectantly, with blackberry crumbles and pies and jams on my mind.

Ottilie is changing and growing faster than ever, too. She still has just one volume- loud- and bellows long strings of words from morning until bedtime (‘get downstairs Teddy, no dogs upstairs!’). I find she seems suddenly keen to do things independently, likes to sing a medley of nursery rhymes to herself during bathtime, and is fascinated by seeing what happens when she throws things from a height.

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And then there’s my growth, of course.

My bump seems to have suddenly become big and rounded, and with stomach muscles already relaxed from carrying Ottilie, it’s been a quicker process this time around. The baby stretches and rolls and punches away inside me, reminding me that it’s very much as real and present as its attention-absorbing older sister. Maybe it knows I sometimes forgot I was pregnant during the early weeks, and is making up for time now it can make its presence felt?

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I find the stretching, swelling, expanding nature of pregnancy strange at times, difficult to adjust to. It feels as though my body isn’t my own, and I worry it won’t ever be mine again. But I remind myself that I worried about this during my first pregnancy, and when I was breastfeeding, and yet eventually, somewhere in the gap between one journey of pregnancy and feeding ending and this one beginning, it was mine again.

I’ve never once stopped to appreciate it though, and often look back at photos from the past few years and wonder what it was exactly I was so concerned about, at the time. This body of mine was strong and lean in the two years leading up to my wedding, and yet I didn’t give it credit then. It softened in pregnancy and carried a baby girl safely and healthily from womb to earth, and was able to nourish that baby girl’s chubby arms and thighs and cheeks during the first year of her life.

And now to do it all again? It’s a gift, simple as that.

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I’m writing this to capture this moment of gratitude and contentment, before it slips away. Commit these happy thoughts to my laptop screen so that I can look back on them in weeks, months, years to come, and remember this season of growth.

And also because it feels good, cathartic in the way that writing often is, to admit to myself how complex this funny old relationship is with my body, my self. I remembering worrying first time around that it meant I wasn’t grateful enough for my pregnancy, or that it meant I was too silly and self absorbed to be a good mother. Madness, of course.

I think it’s normal for our perception of growth to waver and change. Well, it’s my normal anyway, and never more understandable than at a time when our body must expand so fast the skin can mark, crack, and split.

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So I’m writing this for my future self, who will look back on these photos one day and wish she hadn’t ever wasted time fretting over her body, and instead wish she’d appreciated this season of life, this six month baby bump, this growth, for all that it is.

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Posted in COUNTRY WALKS, PREGNANCY STYLE

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15.06

Cider-with-Rosie-sweet-peas-7

1. Watching Ottilie devouring fresh peas straight from the pod in the garden, with little soil-flecked fingers and joy on her face.

2. The morning pot of coffee. I’m not awake until it’s on and brewing…

3. Baking a loaf of bread and it coming out *just* right! I find bread tricky at times so it always makes me happy when I have a real win.

4. Finding my favourite La Roche Posay serum in a French pharmacy for about two thirds of the price it is in the UK! I stocked up…

5. Our first taste of homemade elderflower cordial, so delicious and refreshing! And we’ve frozen some in little ice cube moulds to add to gin and tonics later in the year, when I’m no longer pregnant. I’d like a cold one ready and waiting for after I give birth ;)

6. The look of delight on Ottilie’s face when she saw Jason at Arrivals in Gatwick on Thursday. She was so happy, and it made my week!

7. Having my Mum feel the baby kick for the first time <3

8. Fajitas for dinner. I always eat at least one more than I really am properly hungry for, but they’re so delicious I can’t stop!

9. Rediscovering old blogs, the ones that made me fall in love with blogging way before I even thought of starting my own. Have you ever read David Lebovitz’ work before? I’ve loved it for so long now, there’s just something about the way he writes that captures my imagination and makes me want to head straight for the kitchen. Either that or to get on the first train to Paris!

10. Ottilie having had her first truly happy nursery session after a difficult first month! She made a little friend, joined in with all the activities, and was just generally a different child to how she’s been for all her other sessions so far. It made my week!

What’s made you happy this week?

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Posted in 10 THINGS

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