03.09

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A   L O N G   W E E K E N D   I N   F R A N C E

I was looking back through my camera album on my phone last weekend whilst ordering a batch of prints and when I came across my photos from our trip to France a couple of weeks back, I suddenly realised I never shared any of them here! Bad blogger!

Back at the beginning of August Jason and I took Ottilie on her first ever holiday, and went down to stay at Tania and Lizzie’s beautiful family home in the South of France. It honestly was the nicest way to spend a long weekend- Tan and Lizzie have been some of my dearest friends for years now, and their extended family welcomed us in with open arms, swept Ottilie off for a thousand cuddles and as much delicious bread and homemade hummus as she could ever want, and gave Jason and I chance to relax and enjoy time in the countryside!

Sadly, my photos from France aren’t the greatest because, like the complete fool that I am, I managed to bring my camera all the way to the airport…and then leave it behind in our car. I guess that what comes when you’re carrying luggage, a baby, and about 8 kilos worth of snacks and toys! So you can thank Tania for taking and sharing with me the only decent quality photos in this post, since she managed to achieve what I didn’t and got her camera all the way from England to France!

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I think a good 75% of our time in France was spent sat at the dining table underneath the canopy outside…and I wasn’t complaining one single bit!

What with our tiny early riser who goes by the name of Ottilie Dorothy, we were usually up before every one else each morning. So we’d come downstairs, feed Ottie some cereal or toast or fruit…and then as Tania and Lizzie and the rest of the family woke up and joined us in dribs and drabs for coffee and more toast…Ottilie would just keep eating. One morning she ate a continuous stream of food from breakfast until lunchtime. But what with the homemade jams, the delicious peaches so ripe the juice would drip from your elbows whilst you ate them, and the sourdough bread so perfect for toasting, who could blame her?

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^^ This particular chicken has decided she’s too good for the hen coop and has made herself part of the family! ^^

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We spent most of our afternoons lazing round the pool, baking in the beautiful sunshine and dipping in and out of the pool to cool off.

Hector the labrador wandered around looking for cuddles and attention, and every hour or so would Tania’s Maman appear bearing trays of watermelon and iced tea or a pot full of the most divine homemade herbal tea. It was complete bliss. I could practically feel stress floating away from my shoulders!

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Totally in love with these two photos of my little family. Ottilie was so happy whilst we were in France, and seemed to learn a new word every day! I’m totally in awe watching her grow.

And she just dotes on her Aunties, which is the sweetest thing to see. There’s something so special about watching your baby love your friends as much as you do!

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When Ottilie went to bed each night, we spent our evenings drinking ice cold beers and chilled rose, giving Tania’s horse Hugo all the back scratches he could ever want, playing fierce games of badminton (Jason and I played a doubles game against Tania and Michael that nearly cost us our friendship ;), and, of course, eating the most delicious food.

Tagines, couscous, curries, pasta, the best tomatoes I’ve ever eaten from the vegetable garden…I’ve never been so full and happy in my life.

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It was the dreamiest long weekend, and totally the best first family holiday we could’ve asked for! We all came back happier, more relaxed, and ready to plan our next family adventure.

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Posted in FAMILY, FRANCE, SUMMER, TRAVEL

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25.06

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S U M M E R   U N I F O R M

What’s this? My first outfit post in about a billion years? YEAH IT IS!

I basically had no choice NOT to post about this dress, since it’s all I’ve been wearing lately. In short, I’m obsessed. It’s from Zara (I can’t find a link, I’m sorry!), is light as a feather and has been so cool to wear in the recent hot spell (which I’m missing already, it felt like being on holiday!). And, crucially, the V neck is just low enough that I can whip a boob out (for Ottilie, you understand) at a moment’s notice. Which is top of my ‘shall I buy this?’ checklist these days, don’t you know…

And anyway, I’m all about minimal effort dressing these days. I had a wardrobe cull a few months ago and am slowly buying a few new pieces, trying to focus on buying not only things that make me feel confident and stylish and happy, but also are comfortable and practical when I’m on the go all day with a baby.

I fell into the trap, when Ottie was tiny, of dressing in plain basics all the time because they were easy and hid milk stains and, looking back, allowed me to shrink into the background at a time when I didn’t feel very confident at all. But lately I’ve been so enjoying refinding my mojo, fashion-wise, and am not ashamed to say that Zara has taken a fair few of my pennies over the past couple of months…

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This particular outing for the Dress Of Dreams, as I’m calling it, was to Wisley Gardens with Ottie and my Mum. We’re both big into our gardens, and Wisley is such a beautiful place to visit for a wander. And since I’m a paid up RHS member these days, it’s basically law that we have to go at every possible opportunity.

It’s such an calming, peaceful place to visit, and I always leave full of grand ideas for my little garden at home.

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I’m going to end this short but sweet post with my Mum and husband’s thoughts on my outfit. Here we go.

Mum: ‘I’ve just worked out what you look like in that dress- Amish. You look like a sister wife. All you need is a bonnet.’ <Thanks Mum, absolutely the look I was going for.

Jason: ‘Those shoes are horrible. They look like you’re in your slippers going out to peg out laundry.’

So that’s that then. I’m hopeful that the comments on this post will be filled with just as positive, glowing reviews.

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Posted in SUMMER, WORN

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28.07

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T I M E   F O R   A   G A R D E N   P A R T Y ?

Now, Jason and I are hardly your typical festival goers.

We’re too fond of home comforts- of the snuggliness of our own lovely bed and crisp, line-dried sheets, of familiarity and routine, of the dogs who fall asleep by our feet each evening, and of, let’s face it, the glory that is hot running water ;)

And, let’s face it, we’re just not that cool either!

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But, the lovely relaxed atmosphere of some of the more family-friendly festivals I’ve seen pop up over the past few years does totally appeal to me!

The ones where children and adults alike enjoy music and great food and refreshing summer drinks from sunrise to sunset, and the whole affair has a garden party kind of vibe, as opposed to being all about mud and tent-burning and the like! ;)

And so, when just recently DFS got in touch and challenged me to give my garden a mini ‘festival chic’ makeover using some of their gorgeous furniture, my immediate response was a big fat YES!

I loved the idea of trying to capture a little of the summer festival spirit, and bringing it home to my very own garden!

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The set we picked out for our garden makeover ‘look’ is called the Napa, and is made up of four woven rattan armchairs and a glass-topped table, comfy grey seat cushions, and a parasol to boot.

The chairs are insanely comfortable (especially when accessorised with a few colourful cushions to complete the look) and the table is the absolute perfect size for our pretty tiny garden and deck space!

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I love that right now the decking is looking so lush and vibrant, flanked on all sides by flowering plants and our hanging basket and wall planters.

The tomatoes are nearing the end of their life (I’ve been picking regular handfuls of ripe beauties for a weeks now, and eating them in salads and on toast in the mornings!) but our strawberry plants are just beginning to spring into action!

I’m a little concerned about the little nibble marks that have been appearing on the strawberry plant leaves, but I can never seem to spot any slugs or caterpillars when I go out looking for them. Keeping my fingers crossed Jason and I get to enjoy the fruit before the bugs do!

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Once Jason and I had finished bedecking the lovely parasol with a set of the festoon lighting we’d bought for our wedding last year, we put some music on (still obsessed with Bear’s Den, and also the Spotify Weekly Discovery playlist!) and then sat back with a tall jug of watermelon and apple juice pepped up with some frozen berries and mint.

Candles were lit, Teddy and Elsie pottered in and out of the house proudly showing off the rawhide treats I’d given them to keep them from getting under our feet whilst we set up the garden, and eventually we all settled down outside on the deck, and whiled away the evening whilst the sun went down.

So what’s that- music? Check! Fancy drinks? Check! A beautiful and cosy outdoor space to enjoy? Check!

All the ingredients for a ‘festival chic’ vibe at home, don’t you think? :)

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Thank you to DFS for sponsoring this post.

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Posted in HOME, Sponsored, SUMMER

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15.07

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O N E   Y E A R   O N .

If you can believe it, it’s mine and Jason’s first wedding anniversary this weekend. Isn’t that just ridiculous?!

I’m not sure where on earth this past year has disappeared to…though I’m pretty sure the speed at which the last 8 months have flown past has something to do with that bump up there…

In the final couple of weeks before my wedding last July, my sister and I took an afternoon out to head to Crockford Bridge Farm for a spot of berry picking. And the experience was such a lovely one, we decided to do it all over again this year!

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The farm sells all sorts of Pick Your Own produce- strawberries, raspberries, runner beans, carrots- but we decided to head straight to the berry fields.

It turned out that, pretty and promising as the strawberry fields looked, the rain had made the crop a little less than plentiful this year! It kind of made me feel a bit better about how sloooowwwllyyyy our own little garden wall planter of strawberries is coming along…

We gathered a small handful, and then moved along to the raspberry fields instead.

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^^ Oh, new (TOTAL bargain) maternity dress! And hello 8 month bump! This baby only has 7 or so weeks left to cook, and I can’t quite believe it! ^^

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The raspberry fields were overflowing with ripe fruits, so much so that it was hard to stay restrained and not fill punnet after punnet with dark red berries!

It was so, so lovely to chatter away as we picked from the raspberry bushes in the sunshine- the first full day of sunshine in ages, it felt like! This summer’s weather hasn’t been a patch on last, and it’s made me so thankful for the beautiful sunshine we enjoyed last July during the week of our wedding.

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With punnets full, we paid for our bounty (plus a scoop each of gelato from the lovely ice-cream shop by the farm entrance), and then were on our merry way home before the clouds rolled in for the late afternoon.

It was the most summery day we’ve had so far this year, and it made me so very happy!

Is there some petition or something we can sign, do you reckon, to get the sunshine to stick around?

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Posted in PREGNANCY STYLE, SUMMER

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