21.09

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1. Finally having my birth bag all packed and organised! Ready when you are, baby…

2. Having a husband who came home from town a week and a half ago to tell me he’d booked me a pedicure for last Friday morning. The best gift ever for this Mama whose feet are so tired and sore by the end of each day!

3. Cake. Cake for morning treat, cake for an afternoon treat, cake after dinner. Basically cake eaten at any point during the day is a winner in my book, because sugary carbs are aallllll I want to eat these days…

4. Swimming with Ottie. I’d not been with her in ages, and she’s just as much of a fish as ever! She’s decided she likes using arm bands now, and is swimming by herself when she wears them which is amazing to see!

5. Slow cooked garlic runner beans. The recipe idea was from a River Cottage cookbook, and it’s so delicious!

6. A super chic ensemble comprising a pair of maternity leggings, one of Jason’s T shirts, and an oversized supersoft jumper. Bliss!

7. Taking the dogs for an evening walk, with a bag in hand of course for blackberry-picking on the way! It feels so good to blow the cobwebs away with some crisp evening air, and lovely to see the dogs bombing around so happily too.

8. Big bowls of pasta for dinner, eaten with tons of sautéed kale and Swiss chard from the garden.

9. The start of the new school term bringing with it the reopening of playgroups and toddler classes, plus a quietening down of soft plays as so many children return to school. Win win!

10. Ottie’s frequent exclamations of ‘I love you baby! I want to kiss you baby!’ which make my heart melt into a puddle <3

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14.09

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T W O   Y E A R S…

of loving you, Ottilie Dorothy!

It’s of course the biggest cliche going, but I can’t wrap my head around the fact that we’ve had Ottilie in our lives for two whole years already.

I’m an emotional wreck at the best of times anyway these days (third trimester hormones are killer, I tell you!), but I was extra soppy all last week in the run up to Ottie’s birthday. I’ve found myself just staring at her sweet face as she’s been playing or reading stories or tucked up in bed at night, thinking how strange it is that it was her we were waiting on during those long days of labour in the first week of September two years ago. We didn’t know what joy we were in for, that’s for sure! And it’s making both Jason and me extra excited to meet this new little baby, knowing that there’s a real little person with its very own personality just as distinct as Ottilie’s coming to join our family in the next couple of weeks!

Ah, parenthood. It’s a rollercoaster isn’t it?

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We’d gone to bed late the evening before Ottie’s birthday, staying up past our bedtime to decorate the living room, set out gifts, and bake cakes for the family tea party we were hosting the following day.

Ottie woke around half past 6, and the look on her face when we told her it was her birthday was just the sweetest. ‘Now?’ she asked, ‘it my birthday now? I go downstairs?’

Knowing that there’d undoubtedly be a mountain of presents coming Ottie’s way later that day, we kept our gifts minimal and simple. A chalkboard easel for our little artist, a dolls house and some dolls and furniture, and her very own shopping trolley and basket because a trip to the shops or to the supermarket is still my baby girl’s favourite thing to do! I just don’t know where she gets it from…

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You can’t have a birthday morning without cake, and this simple vanilla traybake was just the thing! When Ottie saw it she shouted ‘BIRFAY CAKE! Look Daddy, birfay cake!’ which made my heart melt!

She ate one single bite of cake and then decided she was far more interested in the icing and sprinkles (what toddler isn’t, I guess!), but I’ll be honest and say I ate more than my fair share that day. It was just SO delicious and the baby wanted it, okay?! The recipe was one I found on the lovely Martha’s Instagram, and it was the easiest thing ever to make. Definitely would recommend for a quick throw-together cake with great results!

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This little girl was a PRO at blowing out candles!! We were very impressed, haha! I guess all the practising she’s done with her wooden birthday cake and candles has paid off…

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We decided to keep the celebrations this year low-key, so that it wasn’t too overwhelming and Ottie could enjoy celebrating her birthday just with family. And it worked so well! She was so happy opening up her presents (and even wanted to share the fun of opening with her cousin Beatriz!), and playing with all the lovely new toys she was given.

p.s. Ottilie’s dress is linked below. I absolutely love it!

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And a few hours of play and lunch and chat later…time for more cake!

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Ottie had been requesting chocolate cake for her birthday for weeks on end and so of course I obliged, in the form of three-tiered chocolate cake, covered in white chocolate ganache drizzle, and topped with enough biscuits, buttons, and Smarties to give you toothache!

A toddler’s dream, ha!

Ottilie and Bea dove straight in, picking off biscuits and buttons quicker than I could cut slices for all our family! The cake itself went down a storm though, and I’m so pleased with how it turned out. It’s Jason’s birthday in less than a month, so I might have a go at making another one in a similar style for him…providing I’ve not got my hands full of newborn, that is!

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All in all, the day was just perfect. So good to take time out with all our family to celebrate our sweet Ottie, and to see how happy and loved on she was all day long.

Here’s to being two, and to all that the next year will bring! <3

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10.09

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It’s safe to say that I’ve been a bit hyper organised when it’s come to getting Ottilie’s birthday plans sorted and in my diary this year. Knowing that I’d be entering my 9th month of pregnancy over the weekend she turns two, I’ve been extra keen to get things organised for my little big girl! I may or may not have had some of her presents stashed away since June. JUNE.

Given how Ottie’s all-out obsession with trains and buses has been going strong for a good couple of months now, we decided to take her to the London Transport Museum for her birthday treat! She actually turned two on Sunday 9th, but given how crazy attractions like this can get over weekends, we headed up on Thursday last week instead. And that turned out to be the best decision we could have made, because the museum was super quiet and we had it mostly to ourselves!

I’d been a bit nervous about whether or not Ottie would love it as much as I hoped she would- you can just never tell these things in advance with toddlers, can you?

But in all honesty?…

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She LOVED it!

The buses especially were a big big hit- there are a couple that children can take turns ‘driving’ which Ottilie thought was the best thing ever, but she was just as mesmerised by the model train that runs back and forth a track along one of the galleries, by the little cut outs on her stamper card, by the pretend horses that stood harnessed to a century old London bus…she was in heaven the whole time!

Jason and I were so impressed by how well set up for children the whole museum was, whilst also being full of interesting displays for adults too! I think Jason got as much from it as Ottie did, ha!

In fact, testament to how great museum is that we stayed for a full two hours whilst Ottilie ran around exploring and shouting ‘I SEE ANOTHER TRAIN’ at the top of her voice- and as anyone who knows how short a toddler’s attention generally is, two hours is like two days in normal time!

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I thought the ticket price was pretty great too, children (under 18!) go free, and if you book online it’s just £16 per adult for a full year’s admission (vs £17.50 if you buy tickets in person on the day). If we lived in London, I reckon we’d be back once a month! Definitely planning on heading back before our passes run out next September.

All in all, it was just the perfect family day out. I may have done that classic hormonal Mum thing of shedding a little tear at seeing my baby’s face alight with joy and excitement when we first got there, and I’m so glad we had some quality time just the three of us before our family grows in a couple of weeks time and the chaos increases 10 fold!

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Posted in FAMILY, LONDON

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07.09

Cider-with-Rosie-farm

1. Seeing how extra cute Ottie looks in all her trousers now she’s wearing pants instead of a nappy! Potty training wasn’t exactly high on my agenda of things to do in the final month before having a baby, but Ottie was totally insistent and who am I to argue! She’s doing so well (though we’ve had our fair share of accidents, of course!), and it’s very surreal not to be changing/washing nappies for the first time in almost two years!

2. Homemade chocolate and beetroot cake. I kind of made up the recipe, and it’s been one of the tastiest cakes I’ve ever made! I didn’t write the recipe down though, so let’s hope I can remember it for next time…

3. Runner beans, picked fresh from the garden and simply boiled until tender and tossed with a little butter and salt. They’re just so delicious!

4. The look of total joy and wonder on Ottilie’s face when we sat down to watch ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’ together the other afternoon. The Gruffalo books are her absolute favourite, and so being able to watch the film just blew her mind! It was raining outside too and kind of chilly, which made the moment all that much cosier.

5. Erm…BAKE OFF! I can’t tell you how pumped I am that it’s back, it’s my favourite TV show ever! And I also love that it signals the count down to giving birth, because I really vividly remember watching it whilst heavily pregnant and then also whilst in labour with Ottilie this time two years ago, and we’re rapidly approaching D-Day again now!

6. Sowing the final few seeds of the year! Winter lettuce, turnips, cabbages for next spring, and some spinach too…

7. Breakfasts of warm creamy porridge with generous spoonfuls of apple and vanilla compote stirred in.

8. Picking tomatoes with Ottilie in the greenhouse. I love seeing her snack as she picks out the reddest fruits to fill her basket with, and how she knows to feed any split or damaged ones to the dogs. It’s the sweetest thing!

9. Cooler weather, leaves changing colour, hedgerows packed with berries ripe for the picking…I’m getting serious autumnal vibes these days, and loving every minute of it!

10. Taking some time out a couple of times a week to listen to the pregnancy and birth affirmations that come as part of the Positive Birth Company hypnobirthing course we’re following. It makes me feel so calm, peaceful, and E X C I T E D about giving birth!

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