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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17.04

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W A K I N G   U P   I N   T H E   B A R N

We slept so soundly, that first night in Kent. The bed was a total dreamboat of crisp white linens and soft, feathery pillows, and so we were quite reluctant to climb out from underneath the duvet when Elsie began her 6.30am ‘banging on the crate door’ routine…

But get up we did, and I wound up being grateful for our early morning furry alarm clock, as it meant we were up in time to see the sun rising over the fields that lay behind the barn. I watched the sunrise out in the garden with coffee in hand and with the dogs running around in the dewy grass by my feet, thinking about the fact that that morning was the first of my 19th week of pregnancy. It was a pretty lovely way to welcome in the new week.

And then, to breakfast!

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We’d had a delivery of groceries the previous afternoon, which thankfully for me and my fruit craving, was packed full of berries, as well as so many other things besides.

We washed and chopped, fried and scrambled, and between us put together a breakfast table fit for kings. Or, two hungry people plus two doe-eyed dogs…

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Blouse

Is there anything better than a warm croissant, spread with salted butter and berry jam? We had a pack of four arrive on the Sunday afternoon, and despite Jason not eating any, we went home on the Tuesday with only one croissant left in the packet.

I’m going to pretend the dogs snuck into the cupboard and ate some during the night…

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With bellies full of fresh strawberries, croissants, eggs, and orange juice, we got ourselves ready to head out into the woods with Teddy and Elsie. In fact, maybe my belly was just a bit too full (with breakfast & baby…), because me and my jeans had a bit of a tussle when it came to getting zipped up that morning…

Emma, our host, had pointed us in the direction of a walk we might like to head out on the previous day, and so with the dogs in tow, we headed off through the sheep fields and into the woods.

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Shirt || Chinos

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Layered up in our fancy new checked shirts (you know how much I do love a checked shirt!), we made our way through the forest with the dogs bounding along ahead of us. Elsie was in heaven chasing fat bumblebees (and giving me heart attacks every five minutes in doing so…) and Teddy’s heaven came in the form of the pheasants he kept flushing from the undergrowth left and right.

The woods were alive with the sounds of spring- birds calling, bees buzzing, lambs and ewes calling out to one another- and as Jason and I walked we played our new favourite game of shortlising baby names. You should know that it’s currently a very short shortlist, because it turns out we’re both super fussy about names…it’s just *so* tricky to choose!

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Shirt || Jacket || Jeans


With both the dogs suitably worn out from our walk through the woods, and the lure of a lemon drizzle cake calling us back to the barn, we retraced our steps back through the fields and up the lanes back home.

The rest of that drizzly, cosy Monday afternoon was spent curled up on the sofas, sipping our way through cups of coffee and eating generous slices of lemon cake. We went out for a lovely dinner that evening at a pub called The Milk Barn, and despite not being able to eat most things on the menu (I miss unpasteurised soft cheeses like you would *not* believe!), it was totally lovely.

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T O   T H E   B E A C H

For our final day in Kent, we packed up and said goodbye to the barn, then drove the half hour or so journey down to the beach at Camber Sands. The sun shone more brightly on us than it had the whole stay so far, and so what else was there to do but hit the sand?

Sure, the winds were strong enough to make your eyes water and neither of us dared venture down into that freezing water, but still, you just can’t beat an English beach if you ask me.

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It was Elsie’s first taste of salty air, and I think she loved it! Though to be honest, so long as that little pup is running free alongside her big brother, it’s safe to say she’s happy. She’s pretty low maintenance, and we’re glad of it!

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Dress || Cardigan

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It felt so, SO great to ditch my tights for our walk that day! I’d put a pair on in the morning, but the weather was so lovely and warm I ended up shimmying out of them in the car as we drove over to the beach.

This little outfit combination, of a floaty dress and longline open cardigan, is one I think I’ll be living in over the next few months. It feels so lovely to do away with any pressure on my lower belly from waistbands, and wear something so loose and comfortable for a change.

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That walk on the beach was the perfect way to wrap up our few days away. With salty winds whipping through our hair, and the dogs leaving tracks of paw prints in the sand all around us, I was pretty happy.

In fact, the whole long weekend was filled with happiness, and I’m already dreaming of recreating another trip just like it before the summer ends, and four becomes five…<3

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This post was sponsored by FatFace, who right now are offering an exclusive online 15% discount to Cider with Rosie readers!

The offer is for 15% off a single purchase of full price merchandise at FatFace, and is valid until the 24th April. Quote ROSIE at checkout to redeem the discount!

(Terms and conditions: This promotion cannot by used in conjuction with any other promotion. Returned items will be refunded (on production of a valid receipt) at the discounted price paid. Offer cannot be used in FatFace stores.)

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Posted in BEACH, Sponsored, TRAVEL, WEEKEND BREAK

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14.04

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A   C O U N T R Y S I D E    S T A Y C A T I O N .

If you asked me to describe my perfect weekend away, I’d tell you about a weekend in the countryside.

I’d be with Jason and Teddy and Elsie, of course, and we’d spend our time taking long leisurely walks through the fields and forests (with no time constraints, or need to rush back to crack on with work), and then coming home to eat so much delicious food we feel as though we might burst, before falling asleep on the sofas for a spell.

This past weekend had all those things, and more.

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Our ‘Weekend of Happiness’ came courtesy of the lovely folk at FatFace, and it was such a treat. We’re really trying to treasure the time we spend just the two of us right now, since we know our lives are set to change so drastically in September!

We arrived at Bemba’s Barn (set in a sweet village called Biddenden in the heart of the Kent countryside) at around midday on Sunday, with our bags packed full of beautiful pieces from FatFace’s dreamy Spring Summer collection to see us through our stay.

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We were greeted by our host Emma, handsome labrador Bemba (who the barn is named after, and who Elsie become OBSESSED with during our stay!), and a bowl of freshly laid eggs on the dining table from Emma’s brood of chickens.

Ted and Elsie ran along behind us as we explored the barn- they were giddy with excitement, both at having such a big space to charge around in, and also because they’d spotted pheasants in the field behind the barn as we arrived!

Once our bags were unpacked, and after a brief pause to admire our new surroundings over a cup of coffee, we welly-booted up and set out down the lane that ran along the back of the barn.

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Jumper || Jeans

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Jacket

The bluebell woods near where we live haven’t sprung to life yet, but the little patch we stumbled upon just down a bank between some farmers’ fields were out in their full glory. There’s nothing quite like bluebells in the spring time, is there?

The light was low and shining golden through the trees, and we paused for a moment to appreciate the quiet and stillness. Well, as much stillness as you can get with two spaniels bounding around your feet…

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Now, we need to pause for a moment, in these beautiful bluebells woods, to talk about this pair of dungarees I’m wearing…

All my life, I’ve had this secret silly life goal of being a pregnant lady wearing dungarees.

I don’t know why, exactly, it’s just always been an idea that captured my heart! In the way that some girls grow up dreaming of their wedding dress, in all its magical ivory glory, I always dreamed of the day that I’d shimmy myself and a bump into a pair of dungarees made from the softest, most worn-in denim, perhaps with a rip here and a fray there to add to the cosy, well-loved feel.

And so, as you can imagine, these dungarees are something of a dream come true for me!

 Dungarees || Breton top

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FatFace don’t sell maternity wear, but their pieces are so well cut and have such a wonderful relaxed feel to them that just ordering a size or so up from normal makes their clothes totally ideal for wearing through pregnancy and beyond.

And these dungarees really are the *most* comfortable thing to wear with a growing belly. Despite still being fairly small on the bump front, I can’t bear having anything tight cutting into my stomach or putting any extra pressure around my abdomen. These are so roomy around the middle, I’m practically living in them at the moment!

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^^ Both Jason and I agreed that this jumper is one of the nicest pieces of knitwear he’s ever owned. You won’t believe the price either- a total bargain! ^^

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With the dogs suitably worn out (and as muddy as only a pair of fluffy spaniels can get during a 20 minute jaunt), we waved goodbye to the bluebells and the stream and the setting sun, and made our way home to the barn.

Dinner was made and eaten in a flash when we got back, and after an evening spent chatting and cat-napping on the sofas, we took ourselves off to bed for a night of sound sleep in the countryside quiet.

The perfect beginning to three blissful days away…

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This post was sponsored by FatFace, who right now are offering an exclusive online 15% discount to Cider with Rosie readers!

The offer is for 15% off a single purchase of full price merchandise at FatFace, and is valid until the 24th April. Quote ROSIE at checkout to redeem the discount!

(Terms and conditions: This promotion cannot by used in conjuction with any other promotion. Returned items will be refunded (on production of a valid receipt) at the discounted price paid. Offer cannot be used in FatFace stores.) 

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Posted in COUNTRY WALKS, COUNTRYSIDE LIFE, TRAVEL, WEEKEND BREAK

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22.12

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T O   T H E   S H O R E S   O F   T H E   E M E R A L D   I S L E .

On Sunday morning, we woke feeling a little foggy-headed after more than 12 straight hours of wedding celebrations the day before. Jason and I flown to Donegal to see our friends tying the knit on Friday morning, and it turns out that everything you’ve ever heard about Irish weddings being the best kind of party is true!

We danced until the early hours of the morning on the Saturday, with the music becoming steadily more ‘folky’ and Irish as the night went on.

Guinness flowed non-stop throughout the day and into the evening, and stilettos and high heels were cast aside as the dancing grew more serious.

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With our time in Ireland brief, Jason and I decided to force ourselves out of bed early on the Sunday morning, and head via the Giant’s Causeway on our journey back to Belfast airport.

We’d heard that it get be pretty busy, but hoped that seeing as we were so far our of season, we might be lucky and avoid the crowds.

That turned out to be exactly the case, and we found the causeway pretty quiet on the whole. We made our way through the visitors’ centre and out onto the hillside, and began meandering our way down towards those famous stones.

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The gusts of winds the hit us as we walked were like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, and the spray coming off the sea left my hair a giant bird’s nest by the end of our trip.

The scenery was completely stunning, and the little audio guide that Jason listened to whilst I snapped photos to my heart’s content wove the legends and myths of the causeway in with its history so beautifully.

I’m so glad we made the trip, not least because the drive back from the causeway was pretty picturesque in its own right.

A few photos from our time exploring the causeway below, if you’d like to see…

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Raincoat || Jeans

             

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Posted in IRELAND, TRAVEL, WEEKEND BREAK

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