26.07

Cider-with-Rosie-baby-shower-11

C E L E B R A T I N G   B A B Y   C H A P P E L !

So, this weekend, I had a baby shower! And it was amazing!

All of Sunday morning Jason had been chivvying me along through the errands we had to get done, and I couldn’t understand it.

We were due to nip over to my brother and sister in law’s house to shoot their six month baby photos (or so I thought, at least!) at around midday, but Jason was dashing around like a man on an important mission all that morning! The timings aren’t that important, I remember thinking!

I was a bit confused about why Jason was so insistent on driving me over there and also that we be there at bang on midday, but it all became clear when I opened the door to Russell and Clare’s living room, and was greeted by my Mum, sister, mother in law, Clare, cousins, Auntie, and best friends (plus all the babies too!), all shouting ‘Surprise!’!

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Clare had decorated the room *so* beautifully it totally blew me away!

There was a whole table of homemade sandwiches and cakes and popcorn (the stickers say ‘Ready to Pop!’- how cute!) plus some family favourite sweet treats made by my Mum.

Fun games and activities were set up in every corner (wooden blocks to be decorated for baby C, & a pin board of baby pictures I had to identify!) and, of course, all the babies had scattered their toys far and wide across the floor!

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We spent our afternoon playing ‘guess the baby’s weight/sex/due date’ (most guesses are for girl right now!), eating mountains of cakes, passing little Beatriz around for baby cuddles, and watching one year olds Darcey and Dylan toddle around the room holding court!

Oh, and the baby (and I!) were so spoilt with so many beautiful gifts. In fact, I don’t think I’ll need to buy a single sleep suit, blanket, book, or toy for this lucky baby for another year!

Though who am I kidding, I totally will…;)

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The whole afternoon was just so lovely, and I was so touched by the effort all my family and friends had gone to to celebrate the impending arrival of our baby that once I got home I cried like a baby myself, ha! So grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life, all ready to love this baby come September.

Thank you x1000 to Clare for organising me the greatest baby shower, and to my friends and family for making it so special.

And now, Baby Chappel, you can just keep cooking in there for another four weeks, and then feel free to make your appearance at any point! We’re all waiting! <3

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17.09

Cider-with-Rosie-Dishoom-12

E A S T   M E E T S   W E S T .

If there’s one thing I’m learning, it’s never to question my friends’ taste in restaurants.

Tania and Freya have been raving endlessly to me about Dishoom, and telling tales of its ‘bonkers’ egg naan rolls (Freya’s exact description, I’ll have you know), the famous bottomless Chai, and the restaurant’s beautiful decor.

We’d been trying to make plans to go for months, and so when this past weekend we all were free, in the same country (novel in itself!), *and* had the added bonus of Maja being over from Amsterdam- to Dishoom we finally went!

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We’d spent Friday evening eating macaroni and cheese, drinking wine, and cuddling Molly at Freya’s over in London Fields, then separated off for sleepovers (me at Tania’s, Maja with Freya), before coming back together at Dishoom mid-morning on the Saturday.

The first order of the morning was a round of drinks, including, but not limited to, Chai, coffee, juices, water, and…I’m forgetting something. Oh right- more Chai!

The girls had been horrified when I said I didn’t like Chai, and insisted that I’d like Dishoom’s offering more than the sickly sweet stuff Starbucks pretend is Chai. I was sceptical…

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…but, of course, they were right! It’s creamy without being heavy, and the spices are fragrant and warming.

It was the most perfect thing to drink on a September morning that couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be blustery and grey, or bright and warm.

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^^ The photographer brigade! ^^

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It was almost impossible to choose from the menu, and so in the end, we sort of went for a little of everything and shared between us.

There was ‘Kejriwal’- chilli cheese toast topped with fried eggs- a couple of rounds of the famous egg naan rolls, yoghurt with fruit and homemade granola, and a bowl of the banana and date ‘house porridge’.

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The egg naan was even more delicious as I’d hoped it might be. The runny-yolked eggs sat sandwiched alongside sweet chilli tomato jam and fresh coriander (usually my least favourite herb, but in this it just…worked), and were wrapped up inside a soft, chewy naan.

Even better though was the nutty house-special granola, served alongside vanilla-flecked yoghurt and with a handful of fresh berries and melon on top. I’m not sure if it was the honey on top of the yoghurt or the vanilla seeds within it that made it so special, but it truly was the best I’ve ever had.

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Once we’d finished eating, we lingered over yet another round of Chai, talking about everything from the merits of different areas of London and the housing market in Amsterdam, to our dream travel locations and the eternal struggle of how to store the hundreds of gigantic photo files we all take on a weekly basis!

The sun kept bursting through the clouds overhead, and by the end of the morning, we’d shed our layers and lay back in our armchairs with faces turned skywards.

{What I wore :: That dress, again. It’s on sale now, too…}

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Dishoom? You were worth the wait.

~
Dishoom Shoreditch
7 Boundary Street
London E2 7JE

{The wait for a table can be long, so consider booking!}

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07.07

Cider-with-Rosie-hen-weekend-16

And so the wedding celebrations begin! {p.s. The teapot contained ice for a picnic. I’ve not taken to carrying one around just on the off chance I might fancy a cuppa…}

I remember my early teenage years as being pretty much an endless series of sleepovers. My best friends and I would spend our weekends and holidays hopping between each other’s houses (or rather, being taxi-ed around by our long suffering parents), taking nothing with us but a toothbrush because we knew we’d all wind up raiding one another’s wardrobes anyway. We’d stay up into the early hours of the night talking about everything from boys to whatever gossip was hottest at school to our art GCSE projects, and our days were filled with nonsense like dressing up in the silliest outfits we could concoct (then taking 1001 photos, of course), eating ourselves stupid, and maybe (if we’d manage to wangle it with our parents), heading out to a party armed with a four pack of alcopops to share between us. It was bliss.

And so it turns out, when your best friend organises for you a three day hen weekend sleepover (a bachelorette, for my American readers!) that encompasses everything you loved most about those carefree teenage days, you’re in for a pretty special time!

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All I knew about my hen party was that we were heading down to Chichester on Friday evening, and that we’d spend two nights staying in a little country cottage before heading up to my Mum’s for afternoon tea on the Sunday. My cousin Sophie picked me up a little before 7 after work on Friday, and after getting ourselves so badly lost on the drive that we actually went through the Hindhead tunnel twice and made a brief accidental detour into a caravan park, we finally arrived at Flintstones cottage! We (my sisters-in-law-to-be Nat and Clare, maid of honour Jo, cousin Sophie, and soul sisters Tania and Freya) polished off a few rounds of fajitas, and then got to the main event of the evening. Tequila!

Now, you’ll know that I’m not the biggest fan of alcohol. Sure, I’m happy to indulge in the odd glass of wine or cocktail, but anything beyond that? I’m out. In fact, I’m such a notorious lightweight that Jo came armed with ample suppliers of painkillers (for headaches) and lemonade (for watering down my drinks!)! But do you know what? I’ve finally found my calling- I can handle tequila like a trooper! Salt – tequila – lemon…and not even a shudder! I hope you’re suitably impressed ;)

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We woke up on Saturday morning feeling surprisingly sprightly (after such a late evening of games and silliness the night before!), and even managed to sneak down to visit the ponies and have a wander around the wheat fields before settling in to breakfast.

After a few rounds of toast and croissants, the girls and I suited up in workout gear (Jo requested we all bring with us ‘something we could move in’- intriguing!) and then proceeded to spend the rest of the morning in a state of hysteria. You see, Jo had arranged for a dance teacher called Sarah to come and teach us a routine to ‘Work It’ (a song I once choreographed a dance to for an assembly at our very-Catholic-indeed senior school, not realising that the lyrics are out of this world inappropriate!;), and it was seriously the most brilliantly fun way to spend a morning! Sarah was the sweetest, and we wound up with aching bellies from laughing so hard! Since there’s not a single person on earth who looks attractive whilst photographed midway through performing the running man I’ll save you from the photos, but just know that making up dance routines is most definitely just as fun at 24 as it was at 14!

After giving the performance of our lives for the various people who pottered past our cottage whilst we did one last rendition of our dance routine (they loved it, I could tell), we made a quick change from leggings to dresses, armed ourselves with picnic hampers, and headed off to Priory Park in Chichester.

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Priory Park was beautiful- I’d never visited Chichester before this weekend, and now can’t think why not! After demolishing our picnic (roast chicken, salads, quiche…champagne. You know, the usual Saturday afternoon picnic routine!) we went for a potter around the town centre, and into a vintage and antique fair that tested every ounce of will power I have not to walk away with armfuls of vintage dresses and recovered Scandinavian enamelware. Be still my heart.

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^^ Next stop- cocktail o’clock back at the cottage! ^^

Strawberry daiquiris and mojitos were on the menu for the afternoon, so we set about crushing ice and muddling limes with mint and sugar and adding liberal amounts of rum to strawberries. And we made some good’uns!

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The final surprise of the day was to come via Jo’s laptop. We settled round the dining table to play the Mr and Mrs game, but instead of it being just a regular set of Qs and As, Jo had asked Jason to record himself asking me the questions and then sharing the correct answer instead! It wound up being a pretty emotional afternoon- the ‘what did I say when I asked you to marry me’ question resulted in all 7 of us getting just a *touch* teary-eyed! And when I say a ‘touch’, I mean that *some* of us had to leave the table to go and get supplies of tissues…Clare ;) Can you even imagine how we’ll all be at the wedding?!

The evenings were maybe my favourite part of the weekend. We stayed up late both nights, but on the Saturday evening we stayed bundled up on the sofa talking until almost 3am. Spending quality time with some of my favourite people in the whole world, laughing and drinking tea and snaffling biscuits and putting the world to rights- it did my heart good! In fact, I honestly can’t remember when I last laughed as much as I did this weekend!

Final stop on the hen weekend adventures to come tomorrow- a summer garden tea party!

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Posted in DAY TRIPS, FAMILY, FRIENDS, SUMMER, TRAVEL, WEDDING, WEEKEND BREAK

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14.05

Cider-with-Rosie-off-duty-London-2

Does it feel like an age to you since we last had a proper sit-down-with-tea-catch-up type post? It does to me, at least. Please consider this your polite notice that now’s the time to go and make a cup of something. Maybe go for an iced coffee (for me the year goes Autumn, Winter, Spring, Iced Latte season), or a green juice, or whatever’s about to become more trendy (…fleek? Am I using it right?) than green juice.

I’ve nothing and everything to fill you in on. Important stuff and nonsense, something and nothing. Probably more nonsenical nothings than important somethings, to be honest.

Let’s kick off with a little round up of all the things that’re swimming around in my mind most frequently at the moment!: Female friendships, and how life-enhancingly beautiful they are. Capsule wardrobes. Puppies and babies. YouTube and videoing and cameras. The wedding. How Time Flies. And also all the usual nonsense, like how I need to buy a mop (OH MY GOSH MY LIFE RIGHT NOW SUCH EXCITEMENT), and how annoying it is that the stupid living room curtains shrunk at the dry cleaners last week, and that I wish I could be someone who didn’t scuff their shoes to buggery after just a handful of wears.

To friendships, first.

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Working for yourself, in whatever capacity that may be, can sometimes be an isolating experience. Incredible and exciting and freedom-providing, yes, but also tricky. I spent hours (and I really mean hours!) chewing the fat with my friend over drinks a couple of weeks ago about the logistics and nuances and challenges of being your own boss. Of being at once creative and free-thinking, yet also logical and evaluative and driven. To act as your own greatest champion (self-belief, yeah!), but also needing to be your own greatest critic too. I feel especially that sharing content online can sometimes feel like shouting into the abyss- we pour out our hearts and souls via photographs and stories and posts and updates, then try to make sense of the numbers and statistics that come back so that we can learn and grow and progress. It’s an imprecise art! And if you ask me, it’s for exactly these reasons, for the imprecision and the sometimes-solitude, that friendships and connections become so vital.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the past three years of running this online space, it’s that there’s nothing as powerful as collective creativity. Nothing as strengthening as a pep-talk from kindred spirits, or as empowering as being part of a community that encourages sharing and cross-promotion and leg-ups as much as it does personal growth. It’s the brain-picking WhatsApp messages sent to blogger friends 11 o’clock on a Thursday evening that matter, and the sharing of contacts, and the passing along of opportunities.

The expression ‘all ships rise in high tides’ is a true one, that’s for certain.

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And now, to the dumb stuff! Like capsule wardrobes! I’ve nothing to tell you really other than that I’ve become a bit obsessed with them as a concept. Many hours have been spent scouring Caroline’s blog, and looking at ‘how to capsule wardrobe’ thingies on Pinterest.

The idea of havingsomething resembling a uniform is so very appealing to me. My uniform at school was beyond hideous- a shades-of-green striped blazer with brown shoes that made your feet look about 8 sizes bigger than usual- and yet despite the ugliness, I adored it. Loved the ease of getting dressed each morning, loved the feeling of well-worn fabrics against my skin, loved how it became a part of my identity. The focus on mixing and matching within a capsule wardrobe seems so much more sensible to me than constantly trying to reach some impossible state of ‘enough’ within a larger wardrobe, and surely would stop me doing the whole ‘I need more tops- now I need more jeans/skirts/trousers to go with the tops- a few new dresses wouldn’t go amiss- oh look coats and jackets’ thing year round. I feel like it’s a big life decision (it’s not, I’m being dumb, but dumb is fun and that’s kind of a rhyme so there’s that), so maybe I’ll think on it. Start ‘capsuling’ after the wedding, when I’m a wife who just totally gets this sort of stuff done, and never ever scuffs the toes of her nude ballet flats whilst running for trains or forgets to buy tickets for said trains then has to bat her eyelashes at the ticket inspector to avoid getting a fine.

That’s it. August. Rosie Chappel- wife, organised, tidy, never late, owner and creator of capsule wardrobe. It’s happening. Watch this space.

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What’s next on the agenda to discuss? Oh yes, puppies and babies! I’m feeling clucky and would like some (of each, though probably not simultaneously), essentially. And also some chickens, and maybe a horse. I’m going through a ‘let’s have a smallholding’! phase- can you tell? I opened Jason’s phone the other day and found he’d been researching sheep farming. I mean, at least we’re both on the same page, even if that page is coloured in all fanciful and ridiculous and nonsensical. Speaking of colouring, I’m still making my way through that colouring book I told you I’d bought a couple of weeks ago. I’ve moved onto *shading* now. That’s right. Pretty impressive, isn’t it?

Lastly, weddings! I was talking with Jaclyn the other evening on Twitter about how weirdly, the smaller our wedding related to-do list becomes, the more stressed about it I feel. I think because it feels like perhaps we’ve forgotten something, or made some horrendous oversight, or maybe it’s just that in all honestly I actually lost the wedding to-do list itself about 4 months ago, and so am relying solely on mine and Jason’s collective brain power (HA!) to make sure we actually *don’t* forget anything. The wedding anxiety dreams are still here, largely still centring around some sort of panicked rush on the morning of the wedding, though just one that involved me realising that Tania and Freya hadn’t to the wedding. I don’t think I need to worry about that circumstance one bit though, since if I know one thing about my friends, it’s that if they’re given opportunity to eat burgers and toast marshmallows, they’ll be there with bells on ;)

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And now, actually lastly (not like the last time I wrote ‘lastly’ at the start of the previous paragraph, which was quite clearly a lie), I should probably give these photos some context.

They were taken during an admin-y kind of day spent in East London with Tania on Tuesday, that involved a few hours spent blasting through emails in the Albion cafe whilst on a caffeine high, a lunch meeting over in St Katherine’s Dock, and then a trade off of photo-taking in the afternoon. Turns out though, sometimes it’s just not sensible to take photos with someone who sets you off laughing and encourages you to pull faces and prance around like a fool in front of a camera. You wind up with photos like the below, which look more like stills from some modern dance piece (I was going back to my roots, I guess!) instead of super slick and uber-Pinable blog photos. What can I say? We’re just too good an audience for one another ;) (I should say that it was the model’s fault, not the photographer’s. The photographer was a total pro. It was the other party who let herself down. The worst of the photos will never been seen on the Internet, and for that you can thank me.)

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^^ Hopeless. ^^

What I wore :: Trench || Chambray || Breton || Silk trousers || Ballet flats || Watch

Oh MY it felt so good to write! Guess I needed it too, because we’re 1200 words in and still going.

Now, what’s new with you? Are you doing thrilling things like I am today, such as purchasing mops and arguing with your significant other about whether straight or rotary washing lines are better (I say straight, Jason says rotary, you’ll likely not care which is totally understandable)?

Fill me in on what’s up!

x

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