17.04

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W A K I N G   U P   I N   T H E   B A R N

We slept so soundly, that first night in Kent. The bed was a total dreamboat of crisp white linens and soft, feathery pillows, and so we were quite reluctant to climb out from underneath the duvet when Elsie began her 6.30am ‘banging on the crate door’ routine…

But get up we did, and I wound up being grateful for our early morning furry alarm clock, as it meant we were up in time to see the sun rising over the fields that lay behind the barn. I watched the sunrise out in the garden with coffee in hand and with the dogs running around in the dewy grass by my feet, thinking about the fact that that morning was the first of my 19th week of pregnancy. It was a pretty lovely way to welcome in the new week.

And then, to breakfast!

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We’d had a delivery of groceries the previous afternoon, which thankfully for me and my fruit craving, was packed full of berries, as well as so many other things besides.

We washed and chopped, fried and scrambled, and between us put together a breakfast table fit for kings. Or, two hungry people plus two doe-eyed dogs…

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Blouse

Is there anything better than a warm croissant, spread with salted butter and berry jam? We had a pack of four arrive on the Sunday afternoon, and despite Jason not eating any, we went home on the Tuesday with only one croissant left in the packet.

I’m going to pretend the dogs snuck into the cupboard and ate some during the night…

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With bellies full of fresh strawberries, croissants, eggs, and orange juice, we got ourselves ready to head out into the woods with Teddy and Elsie. In fact, maybe my belly was just a bit too full (with breakfast & baby…), because me and my jeans had a bit of a tussle when it came to getting zipped up that morning…

Emma, our host, had pointed us in the direction of a walk we might like to head out on the previous day, and so with the dogs in tow, we headed off through the sheep fields and into the woods.

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Shirt || Chinos

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Layered up in our fancy new checked shirts (you know how much I do love a checked shirt!), we made our way through the forest with the dogs bounding along ahead of us. Elsie was in heaven chasing fat bumblebees (and giving me heart attacks every five minutes in doing so…) and Teddy’s heaven came in the form of the pheasants he kept flushing from the undergrowth left and right.

The woods were alive with the sounds of spring- birds calling, bees buzzing, lambs and ewes calling out to one another- and as Jason and I walked we played our new favourite game of shortlising baby names. You should know that it’s currently a very short shortlist, because it turns out we’re both super fussy about names…it’s just *so* tricky to choose!

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Shirt || Jacket || Jeans


With both the dogs suitably worn out from our walk through the woods, and the lure of a lemon drizzle cake calling us back to the barn, we retraced our steps back through the fields and up the lanes back home.

The rest of that drizzly, cosy Monday afternoon was spent curled up on the sofas, sipping our way through cups of coffee and eating generous slices of lemon cake. We went out for a lovely dinner that evening at a pub called The Milk Barn, and despite not being able to eat most things on the menu (I miss unpasteurised soft cheeses like you would *not* believe!), it was totally lovely.

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T O   T H E   B E A C H

For our final day in Kent, we packed up and said goodbye to the barn, then drove the half hour or so journey down to the beach at Camber Sands. The sun shone more brightly on us than it had the whole stay so far, and so what else was there to do but hit the sand?

Sure, the winds were strong enough to make your eyes water and neither of us dared venture down into that freezing water, but still, you just can’t beat an English beach if you ask me.

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It was Elsie’s first taste of salty air, and I think she loved it! Though to be honest, so long as that little pup is running free alongside her big brother, it’s safe to say she’s happy. She’s pretty low maintenance, and we’re glad of it!

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Dress || Cardigan

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It felt so, SO great to ditch my tights for our walk that day! I’d put a pair on in the morning, but the weather was so lovely and warm I ended up shimmying out of them in the car as we drove over to the beach.

This little outfit combination, of a floaty dress and longline open cardigan, is one I think I’ll be living in over the next few months. It feels so lovely to do away with any pressure on my lower belly from waistbands, and wear something so loose and comfortable for a change.

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That walk on the beach was the perfect way to wrap up our few days away. With salty winds whipping through our hair, and the dogs leaving tracks of paw prints in the sand all around us, I was pretty happy.

In fact, the whole long weekend was filled with happiness, and I’m already dreaming of recreating another trip just like it before the summer ends, and four becomes five…<3

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This post was sponsored by FatFace, who right now are offering an exclusive online 15% discount to Cider with Rosie readers!

The offer is for 15% off a single purchase of full price merchandise at FatFace, and is valid until the 24th April. Quote ROSIE at checkout to redeem the discount!

(Terms and conditions: This promotion cannot by used in conjuction with any other promotion. Returned items will be refunded (on production of a valid receipt) at the discounted price paid. Offer cannot be used in FatFace stores.)

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06.09

Cider-with-Rosie-Jetskiing-1

After we’d stopped to refuel at The Breakfast Club (and agreeing that yep, the food there most definitely lives up to the hype), Mum and I hopped onto the little train that runs along the sea front, and headed East from the pier towards the marina.

Comfortably full from lunch, we trundled slowly along the beach on the tiny train, working up more than a few butterflies in our stomachs thinking about the next activity on our agenda for the day…

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…J E T   S K I I N G !

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Our slot on the skis was booked for 4pm, and we were equal parts nervous and excited. Neither Mum or I had ever done anything like jet skiing before, and I had visions of us being so appalling at it we’d end up crashing into a passing boat or falling off our skis or something else equally ridiculous!

A worrier, me? How dare you. ;)

We met Steve, our instructor and the owner of Brighton Jet Ski Tours (who I’d booked our experience with), on one of the jetties, eagerly donned wetsuits, and then took our places on a couple of jet skis.

After a quick lesson in how to work them, we carefully negotiated our way one by one out of their little docking points, and began cruise slowly out of the marina.

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I’d expected that perhaps we’d have to be given lots of lessons about how to ride the skis once we were out on the water, and that Steve would stick pretty close by us to monitor how we were getting on, but in fact, just as soon as we were clear of the land, we were off!

Steve and my Mum were up ahead of me flying so fast it was all I could do to keep up with them both (my Mum’s got this thing about speed!), and the adrenaline that rushed through me the second I opened up the throttle and began to speed faster and faster across the open ocean…well. I can barely explain it!

(We’re switching to iPhone shots from now on- I had it strung round my neck in one of those little cheapo waterproof bag cases. A true lifesaver- at the speeds we were doing, I’d have lost it over the side for sure otherwise!)

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The water was still as could be, and the faster we went on our skis the more it felt as though we were skimming just above the surface of the water, barely touching it at all.

I kept finding myself laughing out loud as we raced faster and faster towards the horizon, and had these bursts of pride watching my Mum flying in circles around my jet ski looking more vibrant and joyful than I think I’ve ever seen her.

It was the *most* fun!

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After a good 10 minutes or so of racing along at speeds of 40 miles per hour, we paused to catch our breath.

Mum and I were in mid-flow discussing the feasibility of us buying our very own family jet ski (not feasible, as it turns out…), when Steve interrupted us to shout the most magical two word sentence I’ve ever heard in my life.

‘Look, DOLPHINS!’

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A pod was a little way away from us following along in the stream of a boat, playing and dancing and cresting out of the water every few metres or so.

We watched them, mesmerised, as the group danced along beneath the still water and the mothers led their tiny calves up to the surface for air.

The experience of watching them from a distance was more than wonderful enough, and yet our luck was to double, treble, quadruple!- because about twenty minutes later, we found ourselves with a second pod swimming all around our jet skis!

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At times they were close enough that we could’ve reached out and stroked their sleek grey backs (we didn’t, of course!), and they kept pace with us as we floated slowly along on the water.

It truly was the most breath-taking experience of our lives- having these beautiful, powerful creatures gliding along next to and beneath us, watching them leaping clear of the water, and knowing that the experience we were having was a real once in a lifetime encounter with truly wild and free animals.

I’ve been obsessed with sea life for as long as I can remember (I wanted to be a marine biologist for a long time, but had to let go of the idea when I realised I lacked a vital aptitude for science ;) and so getting to be so close to dolphins in the wild was pretty much a dream come true.

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This little video snippet does the experience more justice than I could do in a thousand words!…

{Dolphins in Brighton! from Rosie Chappel on Vimeo}

And with that, our time out on the water had to come to an end.

I could happily have stayed out there all evening, watching the dolphins play and the sun dip lower and lower in the sky. In fact, Steve told us that he was going to head back out again right after we’d said (a somewhat reluctant!) goodbye and thanked him for an incredible afternoon.

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Mum and I hopped back into our ride, put the music up loud, and drove back home towards the setting sun.

And given how many times since we’ve turned to one another and said ‘Wasn’t that just the best experience ever?’, I don’t think it’s a day we’ll be forgetting any time soon.

~ ~ ~

 ~ This post was sponsored by Vauxhall, as part of their #ThisGranCan campaign and in celebration the relaunch of the VIVA. Both Mum and I were so impressed with how light and easy to handle the car was- in fact, I was quite sad to say goodbye to it when the time came! ~

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03.09

Vauxhall-road-trip-Cider-with-Rosie

Do you know what I’ve always admired most about my Mum? Hands down, it’s her joie de vivre.

She has this incredible, unending appetite for life that seems never to diminish, but instead to grow as the years go by.

I’m sure I’ve told you before about how the dynamic between us has always been the total opposite of that of the typical Mother-Daughter relationship, in that my Mum is by far in a way the more adventurous and outgoing of the two of us.

She spent her younger years travelling the world on the QEII (the biggest cruise liner in existence, at the time!), booked herself onto a trip to Ghana a couple of years after hitting the big Five-Oh, and barely a week goes by where she’s not signing up for some new short course at the local adult education centre, or zipping off to visit friends in far flung corners of the UK.

Meanwhile, I’m more likely to be found researching recipes for the perfect winter chutney, or rereading my favourite books (Little Women, anyone?), or telling anyone who’ll listen how elated I am that I’ve managed to keep my tubs of herbs growing happily for almost an entire season now.

I mean, if you ever want advice on how to grow older with style and grace and exuberance, you’ll just have to ask my Mum!

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A couple of weeks ago, Vauxhall dropped me an email asking if I knew of anyone over the age of 50 who happened to embody the spirit of their ‘#ThisGranCan’ campaign. The campaign, as I was to find out, is a celebration of the adventurous spirit and ‘can-do’ mindset that many women over the age of 50 have, and is coinciding with the launch of the VIVA, their newest and nippiest little car (the first model launched over 50 years ago!) And you know, as it happens, I *did* know someone who fit the bill just beautifully!

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Which is how it came to be that, a couple of Fridays ago, my Mum and I were seated comfortably in the smart leather seats of a shiny grey Vauxhall VIVA, shooting down the M3 singing loudly and poorly along to my wedding playlist! And I’ll tell you for starters, that car won major bonus points with me for its swish USB connector alone…looking at you Fiat 500 with your stupid non-functioning media system.

We left bright and early for Brighton that morning, keeping our fingers crossed for a day of good weather to go along with the adventures we had planned. I’d been given strict instructions by Vauxhall to let my Mum take the reigns when it came to selecting our activities for the day, and given that my usual idea of a good time pretty much just involves eating, pottering, and taking photos, it was probably a sensible plan to put our Day Of Fun in the hands of one Ms Dianne B! ;)

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First on the agenda? Why, a trip to the pier, of course!

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^^ Oh Brighton and your beautiful pastel paintwork. You stole my heart! ^^

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If you can believe it, despite living a mere hour or so’s drive from Brighton almost my entire life, I’d never actually been before. Sacrilege, right?

We decided that our first port of call should be a visit to one of the vendors of hot sugary carbs that are scattered at handy intervals along the pier. Mum went classy (-ish, this is Brighton pier we’re talking about!) with a crepe, whilst I bagged myself some doughnuts with Nutella dipping sauce (did you see that coming? I’m as predictable as there being rain on Bank Holidays in the UK). The crepe was good, but the doughnuts, if you ask me, were best. But then again, anything with Nutella was bound to be, wasn’t it?

Once we’d eaten our fill and left ourselves feeling a little sick from all that sugar (though I’m lying when I say ‘ourselves’ here, since really it was only me…), what better to do next than hit the rides?

To the carousel!

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N E V E R   T O O   O L D   F O R   T H E   C A R O U S E L . . .

Friends, the carousel is just as much fun at the ages of 20-something and 50-something as it was when you were a tot. The tinny music, the wind in your hair, the view from the brightly coloured horses that always zip round faster than it looked like they would from the sidelines- it felt like the clock had rolled back!

A little sidenote here, but I’ll treasure that snap of my Mum up there forever! I just love it so very much. (And for goodness SAKE please let me have inherited her beautiful skin!)

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What I wore :: Skirt || Top || Flipflops

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Our morning went by in several goes on the carousel, one trip down the Helter Skelter, and a myriad of turns taken on the arcade games right at the end the pier. My especial favourites were the basketball throwing and air hockey games, though no fluffy unicorns were won on any of our goes, which was maybe the biggest disappointment of my adult life to date…;)

What came next in the day though, after we’d paused for a little lunch at The Breakfast Club in the Lanes, turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences either of us had ever had in our lifetimes.

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But for those adventure stories? You’ll have to come back on Sunday…

~ This post, and our day down in Brighton, was sponsored by Vauxhall. Watch the ‘This Gran Can film here, & find out more about the VIVA here! ~

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07.01

Rosie-and-Jason-Cider-with-Rosie

You’ll forgive me for sharing just one more post of photos from our trip to Dorset, won’t you? Thanks. Knew you would.

The novelty of getting to make so many trips to the good ol’British seaside during the past year just isn’t wearing off, not one bit! I’ve always lived at least an hour or so’s drive from the coast, so whenever we get to go down and stay with my soon-to-be father in law in Christchurch, I always come away with a memory card rammed full of photos. Having such frequent opportunity to take photographs of wide blue skies and soft waves and pebbly beaches and ocean sunsets just never gets old! This particular set were taken during a long walk down the spit to Hurst Castle, which ended just as the sun melted into the horizon. We were glad this beach was a pebbly one, since the mess Ted got himself into last time we went to a sandy beach was quite a sight to be seen. I was hoovering sand up from our carpets at home a full week later! It’s always a treat to watch him become so completely mesmerised by the waves though. That little dog of ours really does make my heart melt.

Oh, and before I leave you with a hundred photos from the seaside, that one up top of Jason and I? Officially my favourite ever photo of the two of us. We’re nowhere near organised enough to get ourselves sorted with an engagement photoshoot, but I sort of think this one photo is good enough for me :)

What I wore :: Jumper || Scarf || Jeans || Boots
What Jason wore :: Jumper (c/o Barbour) || Boots

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Posted in BEACH, DAY TRIPS, DOG WALKS, DORSET, FAMILY, WINTER

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