16.04

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D O N K E Y S   A N D   C H I C K E N S   A N D   L A M B S ,   O H   M Y !

Living on a farm, you’d think we might’ve had our fill of cute baby animals already this spring. There’s often a row of sheep and lambs there to greet us when we open the living room curtains in the morning, the horses lean over the fence for a fuss when I’m working out in the vegetable patch, and there’s a nest of baby rabbits next to the outbuilding that pop up for a snack and drive Elsie bonkers as she stalks them from inside the house. Telling the truth, I’ve half a mind to let her out there to scare them off since they’ve already had all the new shoots off my lovely raspberry canes…

But aside from our rabbit troubles we’re still animal-obsessed over here, and none of us more so than Ottilie! She asks to go out and visit the lambs approximately 400 times a day (‘coat, shoooos, NAMBS!’), can’t see a carrot without shouting ‘neigh neigh!’ at the top of her voice, and gives the dogs more ’tisses and duddles’ than they really care for.

And so when the team over at F&F (Tesco’s very own brilliant clothing line) offered to send us off on a visit to Odd’s Farm Park decked out in their very latest and loveliest Spring collection, we jumped at the chance!

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Let’s just take a moment to talk about these clothes, because aren’t they lovely?

The F&F line has been one of my favourite places to shop for children’s clothes ever since we had Ottilie. Initially lured to Tesco by the deals on Pampers, the clothes caught my eye with their fun patterns and gorgeous designs and I’ve been a fan ever since. In fact, one of my favourite ever pieces of Ottie’s baby wardrobe, a grey marl jumper with embroidered multicoloured pompoms on, was an F&F find!

I’m just in love with that floral romper Ottie’s wearing, and the raincoat is her new favourite thing in the world. The moment it arrived at our house she asked to put it on and stomped around the house in it right up until her bathtime! And it’s come in very handy already this spring, what with all the April showers we’ve been having…

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^ So taken with the friendly goats! ^

And yet I’ve never once thought to shop at F&F for clothes of my own, or Jason’s for that matter!

I absolutely love that Bardot top with the floral embroidery (you know how much I love a floral inspired pattern!), the yellow coat is the most cheerful clothing item I think I’ve ever owned, and the cropped-length navy trousers are such a lovely alternative to the jeans I seem to live in these days. And Jason too has been so impressed by his first taste of F&F clothing- he’s lived in that outfit ever since, which is true testament to the cut and quality of the pieces!

Ottilie’s outfit : Raincoat || Daisy cardigan || Daisy romper

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Grey marl jumper || Jeans || Canvas shoes 

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Odd’s Farm Park was such a lovely place to spend a morning too, with so many beautiful animals there to admire and feed by hand. My favourite was the snoozing pile of piglets (their little wrinkled noses just melt my heart) whereas Ottilie thought the rabbits were the best things ever.

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Once we’d had our fill of gazing at all the baby animals in the barn, we headed outside into the bright and blustery spring sunshine.

It feels as though this winter’s gone on for the longest time, so the sight of blossom unfurling on branches and people all around us taking off heavy winter coats as the day warmed up made my heart sing. With my garden back at home suddenly picking up in pace (onions are in, the first potato shoots are up and through the soil, peas are growing like weeds and the lettuces are tiny but flourishing), it’s just the best time of year.

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^ It was a little embarrassing how much I struggled when I tried walking along this wobbly board in the playpark at the farm…Ottie sauntered along it making it look easy, but when I tried? Well, I think my pelvic floor nearly gave way. ^

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Next on our list of animals to visit at the farm was the turkeys and chickens, because we’re all a little in love with them and I’m badgering Jason non-stop right now about when would be the right time to rescue some ex-battery hens!

I just think they’re the most beautiful things, with their knowing eyes and glossy feathers, and I’m desperate to add some to our menagerie. Ottilie just loves them too, though wasn’t nearly so keen on the turkey, who gobbled so loudly at us all that Ottie jumped so hard she nearly fell over!

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And so to our final stop of the day, the gift shop of course! Ottie had beelined for the little rubber ducks (of all the toys!!) as soon as we entered the shop when we first arrived at the farm, and was equally smitten with them on our way back out again. So home one came with us, with Ottie stopping every few paces on our way back to the car to bounce it along the floor whilst shouting ‘QUAAAACK!’  as loudly as she could!

It’s has been confiscated since we’ve been home though, since a certain toddler kept putting it in the dog’s water bowl for a swim…

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It was the nicest day out, and with life feeling so busy lately, a real treat to go on an outing as a family and get to spend some quality time just the three of us.

The biggest thank you to F&F for sending us on such a lovely day trip, and for making us the most colourful, smartly-dressed family around in their beautiful new season clothes!

~ This post was created in collaboration with F&F. Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible! ~

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04.01

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We did it, our first proper grown up Christmas where WE were the hosts! I’m still kind of in shock that I’m an actual real life adult with a toddler, but now that I’ve hosted Christmas and cooked lunch for 11? Well that’s it. Feeling pretty swish these days ;)

In all seriousness though, we had the best time having Christmas with our family in our new house. Jason and I worked out that this was the first time in eight (or is it nine? I lose track…) years of being together that we’ve stayed in one place for the whole of Christmas Day, and it was so lovely!

And having Ottie running round was just the best, she was such great entertainment all day as she opened up parcel after parcel of beautiful gifts and said ‘wooowwweeee’ each time. In typical toddler style of course, her favourite thing to play with at the moment, despite our living room now looking like a JoJo Maman store, is the jam funnel that she goes and pinches from the kitchen cupboard every morning after breakfast. She likes to carry it round and shout into it like it’s her own mini megaphone, and it’s hilarious and deafening in equal measure!

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Silk Spotty Blouse (now on sale!)

If you can believe it, this was the one and only photo of Ottilie and I from the whole Christmas! And isn’t it a corker! ;) It was taken right at the end of our meal, when Ottie had just woken from her glorious two and a half hour nap and arrived downstairs just in time to polish off a portion of peanut butter and chocolate pie!

Speaking of food, this was my first vegan Christmas, and honestly I barely noticed a difference! My favourite part of Christmas lunch has always been all the veggies anyway (Brussels sprouts! Braised red cabbage!), and my Mum makes the most delicious veggie stuffing so was in charge of that this year.

The only thing I ‘missed’ was that normally I’d eat myself until I was almost sick on cheese late in the evening, but as I’m not a major fan of most vegan cheeses (though want to make some nut cheeses this year, Tania raves about them!) this year I just had a few crackers and the tasty vegan garlic and herb cream cheese that Sainsbury’s sell, and then went all out on the chocolate instead!

For dessert I made Minimalist Baker’s chocolate and peanut butter pie, and it was amazing! I’d absolutely make it again, though with just a touch more sweetness added to the pie filling as it was ever so slightly too savoury from the peanut butter for my taste.

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Our Boxing Day was quiet and slow to start, with plenty of coffee brewed and rounds of toast made and panettone eaten by my husband who might be panettone’s biggest fan.

My Mum and her partner Rob had stayed the night at ours, and once we all were up, dressed, and ready to go, welly boots and thick coats were donned and we all wandered up the lane to stretch our legs and burn some energy off the dogs who’d been thoroughly treated with leftovers the day before!

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You know what goes great with a Boxing Day walk? A hip flask of two year old homemade sloe gin!

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We stopped for a good twenty minutes to give these darlings some Christmas cuddles, which is basically my favourite part about every dog walk these days! There are a couple of young horses in the field just up the lane from our house and they’re the sweetest, most affectionate little things. I could honestly stay there all day!

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Oh, and last but not least a photo from my birthday! Which is three days before Christmas and so I always forget about it all together in the hustle and bustle of preparing for the festive season, but I actually remembered to take a quick, very awkward outfit photo this year!

I’ve been telling everyone I’m 27 all year, for some reason, which is unfortunate given that I actually only turned 27 two weeks ago. But hey! I’m thinking of it as gaining a year! I spent most of my day working on a really fun last minute project that came in the week before Christmas, and then got spruced up and headed out for a pizza and cocktails with Jason later in the evening. It was perfect.

~ ~ ~

I hope you all had the very best Christmas, and a wonderful start to the New Year too!

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Posted in CHRISTMAS, COUNTRYSIDE LIFE, FAMILY

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07.11

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The relationship between these two little cousins is just the sweetest, sweetest thing! There’s about a 9 month age gap between Ottie and Bea (I was 6 weeks pregnant when we went to visit Beatriz in hospital the day after she was born!) and they absolutely adore one another. If either Jason or I ever go over to visit Jason’s brother and wife without Ottilie, the first thing Bea asks is ‘Ottie? Ottie Dots?’ and looks so disappointed not to have her playmate there for a visit!

I’ve treasured my relationships with my own cousins all my life, and feel so lucky that those relationships have developed and strengthened as we’ve grown up together. I mean, cousins are basically just extra siblings aren’t they? I really hope Ottilie and Bea treasure each other just as much :)

And judging by the spontaneous hand holding and looks of love between them going on in these photos from last week, they certainly seem to! <3

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29.09

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It’s always the small moments of joy that make a day, isn’t it? Whether it’s that first sip of coffee in the morning, or finding that your favourite top is hanging washed and ironed in your wardrobe, or waking up feeling rested after a great night’s sleep (the MOST important thing to me these days!), there’s nothing quite like being able to look back at a day and realise that it was full of moments of simple happiness.

The best kinds of weekends are the ones that have an abundance of those kinds of moments, and last weekend we were lucky enough to spend the day devoting ourselves to chasing life’s little victories in a brand new, very beautiful car! Vauxhall loaned us one of their swish new Astras, and challenged us to spend the day as a family using the car to seek out some of those little ‘wins’ that never fail to bring a smile to our faces.

And so, our happy day began first thing Saturday morning, with a hop into the car and a quick drive into Guildford to go and view some houses…

(Sidenote- did I tell you yet that we’ve sold our house and are moving?! Things are happening fast so I need to do a proper update soon…!)

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Now, I think I’ve told you before how much that baby girl of mine just HATES being in the car. Unless she’s sleepy and ready to drop off straight away, I can pretty much guarantee that she’ll get cross and loud about how unhappy she is to be strapped into a seat with nothing to look at but the boot of the car within about 5 minutes of our journey commencing.

And so because of this, I plan any day involving car journeys that’re going to last longer than 10 minutes or so with military precision! The outward bound journey ALWAYS occurs during Ottilie’s morning nap, and we head home after lunchtime and a few hours of play when I know she’ll be about ready for another doze in the carseat! And when all goes quiet in the back and I know she’s fallen asleep? Well, it’s bliss!

I used to hate driving, but with a sleeping babe in the back and an audiobook running through the speaker system? It’s basically a holiday!

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And speaking of media systems, I’m pretty sure the Astra’s is a fancier bit of kit than the laptop I’m currently writing this post on! It’s all touch screen and totally intuitive, with wireless connectivity that lets you play your best Spotify playlist loud and proud through the car’s speakers!

We made use of it to lull Ottilie off to sleep with a few rounds of her favourite nursery rhyme playlist, and she was asleep by track three…

…which left Jason and I free to switch over to Haim’s new album and enjoy the heated, MASSAGE seats the whole way over to Guildford! I mean, it was such a little victory, it pretty much turned the journey into a date!

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With houses viewed (we’ve since had an offer accepted on one and I honestly can’t wait to share it with you, it’s our dream home!), car parked (with the help of the Astra’s reversing camera- a GODSEND for those of us challenged in the field of car-parking!!), and little legs stretched, we made our way up into town and in search of lunch.

And where do you head when you’re all juuuusstt edging into ‘hangry’ territory and need feeding with something delicious and quick?

To Franco Manca, of course!

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Seriously, does it get any better than Franco Manca? That base is just the best! Jason likes his pizza with ALL the cheese and meats…and for Ottie and I, we like our veggies!

I think my obsession with olives has been passed on to this baby girl, because she honestly can’t get enough. The ones in Franco Manca were so delicious but so salty I felt guilty letting her have more than one or two, and you should have seen the strop she had when I wouldn’t let her eat any more…

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We followed our pizzas with a portion of the gelato, and Ottilie couldn’t quite decide whether she liked it or not at first!She gave it her best effort though, and after the first couple of mouthfuls was like a little baby bird opening her mouth for spoonful after spoonful!

I was so precious about her not having sugar for the first year, so I think she’s enjoying being one now!! ;)

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After a mosey around the shops running a few errands and falling in love with expensive homewares in Anthropologie, we headed back to the car and loaded up ready to drive back home. Oh, and speaking of loading the car up, check that boot space! We could’ve fitted both dogs in there with the pushchair and change bag no problem at all, and they’d both have been happy with plenty of room!

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With the end of Saturday traffic beginning to build up on the main roads home, and an Ottilie who was about ready for another snooze in the car, we decided to use the Astra’s sat nav system to show us the best route home.

And so with our car guiding us back home through beautiful orange leaf tree-lined country lanes and not a hint of traffic in sight, we had a calm, peaceful end to the day.

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And if that doesn’t count as one of life’s little victories, I don’t know what does.

~ This post was sponsored by Vauxhall. Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible! ~

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Posted in FAMILY, GUILDFORD, Sponsored

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