02.08

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R O L L I N G   B A C K   T H E   Y E A R S

Back when Jason and I first met and started dating, I was just getting ready to move to London and start studying ballet and contemporary dance full time.

Jason would come up to visit me at the weekends and the odd midweek day too, and so we spent those early days and weeks of our relationship getting to know one another whilst wandering through the British Museum, and through the galleries of the Tate, and over lingering lunches and late, post-dance class dinners.

We look back on those early days so fondly, remembering how young and carefree and fresh we were, with so many amazing adventures ahead of us!

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We decided a few weeks back to put a date in the diary for a day spent in London, to spend some quality time just the two of us before the baby arrives in the next five or so weeks.

It turned out to be one of my favourite date-days we’ve ever had together!

We had no plan at all other than to head to South Kensington to be within reach of the museums, and so spent the train journey into London deliberating over where to head for lunch.

Inspiration came via Google Maps, which I was scouring whilst looking for best route to take from South Ken station over to Jojo Maman Bebe (my spiritual home these days, of course…). I spotted The Ivy Chelsea Garden on the map, immediately launched into a sales pitch to Jason about how great I’d heard the food is and how it’s such a beautiful restaurant, and that was it! Sold!

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The restaurant is totally gorgeous, with a bright and airy botanical feel to it.

We started with a couple of mocktails in a colour palette that blended in with our surroundings just perfectly- a peachy-hued iced tea for Jason, and an apple and elderflower spritz for me. Both delicious!

Though if I’m being honest, were I not pregnant I’d totally have been drinking something spiked with copious amounts of gin, which would’ve been just that little bit better ;)

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And when the food arrived, it more than lived up to expectation.

I ordered the roasted butternut squash with herbed grains and crumbled feta (praise be for waiting staff who can tell you straight off with 100% confidence which cheeses on the menu are and aren’t pasteurised! Made this pregnant woman a happy one!), whilst Jason went for the classic chicken and chips.

Oh, and a portion of the truffled arancini to share, which strangely enough tasted 1000x more delicious when they were almost cold at the end of the meal, than they did piping hot at the start!

We both spent the meal waxing lyrical to one another about how delicious each of our dishes were, and trying to keep from eating too fast so as to leave room for dessert…
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Which, as you can see, we managed! Troopers, aren’t we?

Now, I need to take a moment to discuss this dessert with you, because it’s truly one of the most fantastic I’ve ever eaten.

Hot, salted caramel sauce is poured over a chocolate bombe set in a sea of milk foam, and as the bombe melts, it reveals inside a scoop of the most delicious vanilla ice-cream and popping honeycomb pieces.

It is, in short, DIVINE. I haven’t stopped thinking about it all week since we went!

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After a spot of shopping in the sunshine along the King’s Road, and a much-needed walk back up to South Kensington, we headed to our second and final stop for the day- the Natural History Museum!

Neither Jason or I had been there in years, and had the best time reliving our childhood visits whilst wandering through the dinosaur exhibits (still as magical as ever!), and marvelling at just HOW huge that blue whale model really is.

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After we’d spent a couple of hours exploring the museum, we headed back out into the sunshine to soak up the last of the day’s rays over coffee and juice. 

It really was the nicest…and the whole time all we could think of was that the next time we head into London to spend the day together, there’ll be three of us instead of two! 

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Posted in DATE, JASON, LONDON, RESTAURANT, REVIEW

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05.04

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Oh, you have NO IDEA how good it feels to have finally been able to share the news of my pregnancy here on Cider with Rosie! Keeping the secret from you all has been so hard, and made me realise quite how much of myself I do share here. Finding out that we were expecting and my first few months of pregnancy have been totally all-consuming, and so not being able to share what had immediately become the hugest, most thrilling part of my life really was such a challenge. I’ve missed you!

Today I wanted to share with you a little round-up of my first trimester (I’m actually 18 weeks pregnant now, so roughly a month into my second trimester…), and update you on this whole pregnancy experience so far. If you’ve already watched my 15 week update video on YouTube then there might not be anything new to find out, so you can just look at the pictures if you fancy ;)

(p.s. The baby’s busy kicking me over on the left hand side of my stomach as I type, so I like to think it’s on board with this whole blogging thing already…)

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Jason and I found out we were expecting on New Year’s Eve, though we did suspect I might be pregnant over Christmas. This meant that the whole of this ┬áChristmas turned into a game of ‘hide the fact that Rosie’s not drinking from our friends and family’…Jason stepped up and subtly drunk everything alcoholic that came my way, so he had the best Christmas season of his life! ;)

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I feel as though I was relatively lucky during my first trimester, since I escaped the dreaded ‘morning sickness’ and got away with just some nausea.

Instead, my main symptoms were fatigue (oh my GOODNESS the fatigue!!! It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced! I feel as though I basically dozed my way through the whole of January and February…), a loss of appetite combined with crazy hunger (all I could stomach was bland carbs, but needed to eat constantly!), a sense of smell that I reckon rivalled even Teddy and Elsie’s, and (this might be kind of an overshare, but hey!) the most INTENSE boob pain ever!

In fact, that pain was pretty much my first clue I might be pregnant, and is still with me three or so months later! The worst thing was it meant I had to stop sleeping on my stomach at 8 weeks, even though my ‘bump’ was non-existent enough at the time that I otherwise could’ve stayed on my front for at least another month or so. Sob!

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I felt as though the first 12 weeks or so of pregnancy passed me by in a haze of bone-aching tiredness, nausea, worry, and…have I mentioned the exhaustion enough times yet? Being able to tell our families after the 12 week dating scan was absolutely magic (I secretly filmed a lot of their reactions, and the footage is priceless!), and the scan itself was an incredible, emotional experience. I breathed a sigh of relief, seeing our baby wriggling away on that screen, and hearing its heartbeat so strong and loud. I’ll never forget what a joyful, grateful moment that was.

At around the beginning or March it felt as though I ‘woke up’, and started to feel more like myself again. And since then, the pregnancy’s been racing past!

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Spotty dress || Stripey dress

I know I said it yesterday, but I’m so excited to share this next chapter of our lives here on my blog. When I first started Cider with Rosie I was at the end of my second year of university, lost in a fog of grief and trying to will myself to complete a course I wasn’t interested in, and Jason and I were only a year or so into living together for the first time in our relationship.

You’ve been with us as we found our feet and grew up, got engaged, got married, and now (I’m feeling a little choked writing this), I hope you’ll be with us as we enter this next chapter of our lives as parents.

Thank you, all, for continuing to read. It means more than I can say.

X

p.s. I’ve begun sharing pregnancy videos over on YouTube (this ones going up this week are from earlier in my pregnancy, and from next Sunday onwards they’ll be up to date), so if you’d like to watch and follow along, you can find my channel here!

~ Photos by Freya Dowson ~

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Posted in BABY, FAMILY, JASON, LIFE LATELY

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09.08

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After a few days of being so very lazy we’d all but melted into our sun loungers, Jason and I decided it was probably time to get out and explore the island a little. We wanted to try and find a balance on our honeymoon between spending enough relaxing days at our hotel that we’d come back refreshed, but also making sure we didn’t waste the opportunity to explore such a beautiful part of the world!

Our hotel was set about a five minute drive away from Bophut fisherman’s village, and so we hailed a cab (and by that I mean the lovely team at our hotel called one for us, and gave us strict instructions that if we got charged more than 400 baht per journey, we were being quite literally taken for a ride!), hopped in and headed into town to spend the evening exploring.

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Our first port of call in the village was the main street itself- a chaotic collection of awning-covered shop fronts, restaurants sending wafts of incredible cooking smells out towards us, and endless tiny stands all claiming to be serving Koh Samui’s Very Best Pancakes! The whole place was pretty set up for tourists, of course, but still kind of charming too!

We made our way through one of the little beachfront restaurants and set ourselves up at one of the tables they had on the beach at the back, ordered ourselves a round of drinks, and settled down to watch the sun begin to set over the bay. The waitress brought over a Singha (for Jason), and a strawberry daquiri (for me), and we sat and drank them whilst having yet another (you’d roll your eyes if you knew how much we talked about the wedding on honeymoon!) conversation about The Big Day. It’s been amazing to us both how we had such different experiences of the same day- we kept saying ‘do you remember when this happened?’ and ‘where you here for this moment, or that moment?’, and having our memories jogged by the photos our friends and family put on Facebook.

If I’m being honest with you though, I secretly only half listened to Jason whilst we chatted that evening, because I was so busy staring out to sea hoping so much to see dolphins in the bay…;) We spotted some in the distance during a boat trip we’d taken the previous day (the captain shouted that a pod were swimming nearby, and I almost fell overboard trying to get a better look!), but I had this dream that perhaps if we were really lucky, we’d see some leaping in the bay. It never happened, but it didn’t stop me gazing out at the water all day every day, just keeping my fingers crossed…

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Once we’d finished our drinks (Jason just as clear-headed after as his final sip as he was his first, myself…not so much. It was POTENT!), we wandered down the sand to the next restaurant along, whose name, in truly unhelpful blogger fashion, I’ve totally and completely forgotten.

Whilst the name of the restaurant wasn’t at all memorable though, the meal most certainly was. We ate Massaman curry, steamed rice, spring rolls, and I know I’m forgetting things again because it felt like we had at least half a dozen dishes on our table. The curry was *so* incredible though- rich and warming and decadent, and with a glass of Merlot on the side? It was heaven.

What I wore ::
Camisole – Abercrombie
Skirt – past season, similar here.
Bikini top – Monsoon (similar).

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The real highlight of the meal though came halfway through, and wasn’t food related at all. I glanced up at Jason mid-way through taking my fifty millionth mouthful of curry and rice, and caught sight of the sunset I’d been waiting for all evening lighting up the sky behind him. Spoons were thrown down, napkins fell to the floor (well, the sand, since we were eating on the beach and all), and I grabbed my camera just in time to catch a couple of photos of the dreamy, violet-hued sunset below. Wasn’t it a good one?

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Next to come? A walk through the palm trees, & our day spent driving a lap around the island…

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Posted in HOLIDAY, HONEYMOON, JASON, THAILAND, TRAVEL

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31.05

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Since our route back home from Yorkshire last weekend skirted us round the outside of York, we decided to take the opportunity to head into the city. When we arrived I asked for recommendations on Twitter for where we should go to eat, drink, and sightsee, and immediately started making an agenda based on all the suggestions. A tour of the cathedral! Lunch at The Star! And Betty’s Betty’s Betty’s!

Turns out though, my plans were to be thwarted by time. We couldn’t really spend any longer than two or three hours in the city without getting caught in the mad end of Bank Holiday traffic, and also only had enough change on us to feed the meter to the tune of a couple of short hours.

With our time restraints in mind, we got moving…

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York turned out to be even more adorable than I’d imagined- full of narrow, cobbled lanes and leaning buildings and tiny, beautifully-dressed shopfronts. The cathedral above doesn’t even look real, does it?

We wandered through the Shambles, quickly gave up trying to compete for photo-taking space with every other tourist in York that day, and then headed out in the direction of Betty’s. Betty’s is, as it turns out, the most famous tearoom and bakery in the North of England. I’d only heard of it once before via my lovely friend Kat, but when we said we’d be in York for the day, countless people recommended we go! Sara (another Y.shire-based blogger friend!) had mentioned that the queue for Betty’s might be long, and I’ll admit scoffed at the idea initially. A queue? To get into a bakery? Do me a favour, was precisely what I thought to myself.

HA. How wrong I was! By the time we got there, the queue was right out of the door and wrapped round the first corner of the building! It must be *seriously* good cake! With such a short time in the city, we decided to pass up the experience and turned to Twitter for a recommendation of where else to go instead.

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To the rescue came Becky, blogger behind the beautiful Poppy and Pickle! She recommended that we head to a cafe called Brew + Brownie, promising that they serve really great coffee and cake. And you know what? She couldn’t have been more right!

Brew + Brownie was a total photographer’s dream- beautiful filament lightbulbs and natural wood surfaces everywhere, with the counter covered in rows of the most tempting cakes imaginable. It was pretty busy, but we managed to nab a couple of seats at the bar. Good job too, because the hanger was setting in *fast* ;) The menu was pretty simple (whopper sandwiches, toasties, all-day pancakes, and just one lone salad thrown in for good measure), and everything looked so tempting we easily could’ve ordered one of everything and been done with it. In the end though, Jason chose the pulled pork ciabatta, whilst I went for a toasted brie and bacon sandwich that turned out to be the very best decision I’d made all weekend.
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I mean, just *look* at it. Have you ever seen a more beautiful sandwich in all your life? The brie was toasted to perfection (soft and oozy!), the bacon was thick cut and delicious, and the bread? Oh, that bread. Sourdough, crisp on the outside and soft within, with plenty of little golden cheesy crunchy bits clinging to the crust. As a rule I try not to eat wheat too often (meaning that I’ll pass up heavy, twice-weekly bowls of pasta in favour of a once a fortnight burger or pizza blow out ;), and so having a toasted sandwich like that was a total treat.

If picking out that sandwich from the menu was the best decision I made all weekend, the next best was only eating 2/3rds of it, so that I could save space for a slice of the toffee apple cake. Because I’m being serious now, that cake might be the best of its kind I’ve ever had. Rich and cinnamony, peppered with slices of soft cooked apple, and a layer of sticky, treacly toffee sauce on top. I ate it halfway down the M1 during our drive home back down to Surrey, with my feet up on the dashboard and an expression of total bliss on my face. I did share the slice with Jason and am not at all ashamed to say that the sharing was somewhat begrudging, because a cake that good is bound to bring out someone’s selfish side. Right?

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So really, with cake that divine, who needs Betty’s? Okay okay, I do, but I’m determined to head back North sometime soon and stick it out in the queue for a table!

And that, as they say, was that! Whistlestop three-day tour of Yorkshire? Done!

P.s. I just shared a video from our trip on my YouTube channel! Click through to have a nosy! It contains the words ‘oh my god the wedding’s off’, just FYI ;)

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Posted in CITY, DAY TRIPS, FOOD, JASON, RESTAURANT, TRAVEL, WEEKEND BREAK

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