30.11

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In the weeks leading up to Arlo’s arrival, to say I went into nesting mode is a slight understatement. Our house has never been so clean and organised- every spare minute I had was spent mopping floors, cleaning skirting boards, vacuuming carpets, and tidying Ottie’s toys to within an inch of their lives. Trips to Tesco for new cleaning products became a fun jaunt for me (I’m being deadly serious), and I had such strong aversions to certain cleaning product scents that I was genuinely upset with Jason when he bought the Wrong Kind of Washing Up Liquid.

Of course, that’s all died away ever so slightly now that I’ve got my hands full of newborn! And with two dogs in the house who seem to shed mud and hair with every step they take, you’d never know a very pregnant cleaning-obsessed woman was present in this house just a couple of weeks ago…

But the one thing I am so grateful to my past self for is the effort I made in filling our fridge, freezer, and cupboards with delicious food to enjoy in the first couple of weeks post-partum. There was a courgette and lemon cake stashed away in the freezer to serve when our parents came to meet our sweet baby boy, portions of garlicky courgette and tomato sauce frozen ready to be tossed together with pasta for easy dinners, and I kept our cupboards stocked full of tasty snack food and sweet treats to keep our energy and spirits up in these energy sapping early days!
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Perhaps the best thing I prepared in advance was cookie dough mixture for the Best Cookies in the World, made with the chocolate of my childhood- Cadbury’s Dairy Milk!

The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed a slight change to wrappers of Cadbury’s chocolate lately, in the form of a new logo marked ‘Cocoa Life’. The Cocoa Life programme is Cadbury’s new venture to support and give back to the communities who grow the cocoa from which their delicious chocolate products are made.

Cadbury’s are aiming to create positive change for their growers and their communities, which I think is a brilliant thing. They’re keen to encourage quality education for young people, protect the landscape in which their delicious cocoa grows, and improve farming methods too.

The good that comes out of the programme- including treating farmers fairly and ensuring they have an excellent quality of life- makes me feel happy every time I buy Cadbury’s chocolate, which is why it’s such a pleasure to partner with them in this post!

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The recipe for these delicious cookies came via my friend Lucie, the kind of friend everyone should have who never fails to have some delicious baked treat ready and waiting when you visit. We met met on our NCT course and quickly discovered that we lived just two roads apart, and the first time I ever tried these particular cookies was when our older two babies (born 3 days apart, and our second two are less than a month apart!) were around 8 months old. We ate them whilst the babes got stuck into a sensory tray of jelly in the garden, and I’ve never forgotten how delicious they were!

And so with the idea in mind of having a batch of warm, freshly baked cookies ready and waiting for me in the hours after I’d given birth to our new baby, I got to work. I weighed out and mixed up dry ingredients, stashed the mixture away in the cupboard, and made sure that our kitchen was never without a bar or two of the chocolate

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And cookies have never tasted better than these ones did, whipped up and baked by Jason when we got back home from hospital just a few hours after our beautiful boy had arrived into the world. It was cold and blowing a gale as we left hospital late that afternoon, and getting back home to our warm, cosy house and then curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and warm, meltingly soft chocolate cookies was just bliss. Thank you Cadbury’s, for the best cookies I’ve ever eaten.

Makes 9-10 perfect chocolate cookies:

Ingredients:
110g butter
200g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
1 capful vanilla extract
Pinch salt
165g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
30g Bournville cocoa powder

200g Cadburys Dairy Milk chocolate

- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.

- Cream together the butter and sugar, then mix in the egg and vanilla extract.

- Add in the flour, baking powder and bicarb, and cocoa powder, and mix to combine. Add in the chocolate (chopped into smallish chunks), and stir again to evenly distribute into the dough.

- Roll into balls, and either bake immediately for 10-12 minutes (until the edges are just beginning to set), or put into the fridge or freezer to be cooked at a later date.

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The tastiest cookies ever, whether you happen to be eating them a few hours post-birth, or simply because it’s a day ending with a y. And with the feel good factor too, thanks to Cadbury’s Cocoa Life scheme. What could be better?

~ This post was sponsored by Cadbury’s. Thank you supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible! ~

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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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Posted in DAY TRIPS, FAMILY, Sponsored

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15.02

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S P R I N G ,   S U M M E R ,   A U T U M N ,   W I N T E R

Do you ever wish you were better at shopping? I mean, it’s a skill many of us practise with relish (much to Jason’s dismay, in my case…) but am I actually *good* at it? I’m not sure!

I seem to forever be buying the same things over and over, never stopping to think if they’re actually adding much to my wardrobe. I’m drawn time and again to the same pieces- stripy tops (see last blog post for proof!), soft knitwear in oatmeal colours, and oversized boyfriend jeans…though I’ve just come round to the Mom jean trend and am loving it!

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This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the reopening of TK Maxx‘s new look Guildford store, and of having a one to one consultation with colour expert Pam from House of Colour. Pam specialises in providing a personalised colour palette recommendation, which is designed to help you shop smarter! It’s a completely fascinating process, and it was so interesting to learn that despite being drawn to the earthy autumn colour palette, I’m actually more of a summer girl! I should’ve guessed really, given how much I’m drawn to pale blues and pinks!

She also recognised just from the outfit I was wearing that day that I’m a very soft and natural person, and she guessed that I’m likely drawn to loose fitting clothing with an often quite feminine feel. She couldn’t have been more spot on!

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And so armed with new knowledge of what clothing colours and styles might suit me best, what better place to put it all into practise than a treasure trove like TK Maxx!

The new-look store felt so fresh and easy to shop, with key pieces highlighted at the end of rails and everything broken down by size. Deliveries come in several times each week so there’s always something new to find, and with such a wide range of clothing- from casual wear to active wear, winter coats to evening dresses, I think it’d be the perfect place to shop for something completely unique. And given that TK Maxx’s prices are up to 60% less than RRP, you’re certain to find some real hidden gems. I’ve actually found that it’s an amazing place to shop for baby bits over the past couple of years- you often can find brand names at a completely amazing price point!

I decided to go in search of some new sportswear, with the muted summer colours Pam had recommended in mind. I’ve not invested in any new gym gear for years, and so thought it’d be lovely to take inspiration from the colours that suit me best when picking out some new pieces. Have a peep over on my Instagram to see what I picked out!

The other piece I chose was a gorgeous oversized slogan sweater, in a off-white shade that made up part of my summer colour palette. I think it’ll be perfect to throw on with a pair of soft denim jeans and my favourite leopard print trainers.

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There were so many beautiful pieces in store, and being able to make a beeline for specific colours and prints thanks to the colour consultation experience made shopping so much easier!

Do you want to know what my favourite piece of advice Pam gave me was?

‘Shopping is a skill, and we should practise it to get better!’

Have you ever been so inclined to take someone at their word before?!

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This post was in collaboration with TK Maxx! Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible.

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21.11

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As you know, over the past six months I’ve been sharing reviews to some of Graco’s brilliant line of carseats and pushchairs as part of a partnership with the brand, and it’s been such a pleasure! It’s been so great to test out a variety of such brilliant baby gear and also to hear from so many fellow new parents and parents-to-be that the review and ‘top tip’ posts have been helpful!

The team behind Graco are so passionate and care so much about their products, and it’s been a joy to work with them and get to know their brand! And thank you also to my lovely readers, who are always so willing to engage with sponsored content and I hope do so with the knowledge that my endorsement of products here on Cider with Rosie is always genuine, honest, and wholehearted :) I’m looking forward to seeing what products Graco release in 2018!

I’ve put links to each of the posts I’ve created as part of my collaboration with Graco below, and included product links also. Thank you again for reading!

Graco Evo pushchair and Snugride carseat (post link)
Graco Featherweight (post link)
Graco Milestone (post link)
Life on the go with a baby- tips and tricks!
Life with a newborn- tips and tricks!

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