Remember our trip to France last summer, with an 11 month old Ottilie who seemed so grown up to me at the time but now in photos looks like the littlest chubbiest baby ever!? Well, 10 months later, we went back for round two!

Ottilie and I kissed Jason goodbye at the airport last Saturday, and headed off to the Pyrenees for a girls’ week away with Tania and Freya. And whilst I’m going to be straight with you and confess that travelling with a toddler isn’t quite as easy as travelling with a baby (good LORD, the tantrums!!!) , we still had so much fun!

Ottie was in her element with eggs to collect daily from the chicken coop, horses to ‘feed’ grass to (thank you Hugo for pretending to enjoy it and making my little girl so happy!), and homemade crepes with jam that were better than any I’ve ever tasted before. In fact, we all ate so well I’ve come home resolved to try and recreate some of the delicious recipe’s that Tania’s wonderful Dad made us whilst we were there. First on the list is a chickpea curry that was one of the tastiest and most comforting I’ve ever had, and a ratatouille of dreams.

A few snapshots from our week away…

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^^ My water baby, never happier than when busy in the garden with a watering can. Wonder where she gets it from? ^^

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^^ I’ve been desperate to rescue some ex-battery chickens for the longest time, and am even more keen now after our week in France! They make the most charming noises and one in particular is so keen to be a part of the family, she’s learnt to fly the fence and escape! I just think they’re the sweetest. Would it be madness though to take on chickens, alongside two babies and working from home and the veg patch and everything else? ^^

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Ottilie is completely and utterly obsessed with Auntie ‘Taya’, and asked for her from the moment we woke up in the morning (usually at around 6am, yikes!) until when we went to bed! <3

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^^ There’s nothing quite like seeing your baby running around free in the countryside, covered in grass and mud and completely content. ^^

I feel as though I learnt so much about Ottilie’s personality this week, how much she is like me and loves the comforts and familiarities of home. She found being away quite difficult for the most part, and I’ve always had such dreadful homesickness whenever I’ve travelled ever since being little that I guess it shouldn’t have come as a great surprise. Her behaviour was so challenging at times but despite how hard it was, it’s made me a better parent in the long run I’m sure. The learning never stops as a Mother, does it? <3

(P.s. We used biodegradable Naty nappies instead of our usual cloth whilst away, and they were great! Not a single leak, even at night. I don’t like them as much as Kit & Kin biodegradable nappies though, I’ll be using those on the new baby when he or she is born and is too little for our cloths!)

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Shout out to this jumpsuit for being the most comfortable non-maternity maternity outfit ever! Granted it’s not the most flattering and makes my bump look ginormous (at 6 months I swear I’m as big as I was a good few weeks further on with Ottie!!), but what it lacks in flattery it makes up for in comfort! I’ve linked it below, if you’re in the market for an adult onesie ;)


* Photos of me by Freya Dowson.


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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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B R E A K F A S T   B Y   T H E   W I N D O W .

At 9am on the dot, on our second full day in the city, a knock on our door signalled the arrival of my very favourite thing in all the world- a breakfast tray! Or, in this case, a breakfast table!

We filled ourselves up on fruit, toast (thick with salted butter + liberal amounts of Bonne Maman), yoghurt, eggs, and, of course, a pot of strong coffee, before heading out for a new day of exploring.

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Since neither Jo or I had ever spent any proper time in the city before, we decided to make the obligatory pilgrimage to the Eiffel Tower. We hopped on the Metro at the station just outside our hotel, and only got lost twice on our way over to the Champ de Mars station!

A sidetone, whilst we’re on the topic of transport- we found that getting around in Paris was much cheaper than in London. Taking the Parisian equivalent of a black cab cost about the same as an Uber would in London, and the Metro was only a couple of euros for a return journey.

It made London prices seem pretty eye-watering!

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The area around the Eiffel Tower was crowded and pretty touristy, so after snapping a few photos, we jumped back on the train and headed North, to our main destination for the day- Montmartre!

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Montmartre was quaint and picturesque- a muddle of wide boulevards and tiny alleyways, ornate ironwork and panelled doorways.

We decided to stop at a little restaurant down in the village for a ‘quick bite to eat’, before tackling the steps up to the Sacre Coeur. But that quick bite turned into a lengthy two hour dissection of our lives, accompanied by several courses, an almost revolting quantity of cheese, and a glass of wine to boot!

But if you can’t linger over lunch in France, when can you?


The Sacre Coeur was the most spectacular sight. It’s set high on a hill overlooking the whole of the city, with the village of Montmartre sprawling out from its feet.

I kept turning round as we climbed higher and higher up the steps, thinking ‘The view can’t get any better than this, surely!’, and yet as we reached the top, sure enough, the view beat all all.

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 ^^ Isn’t it something? ^^

I couldn’t get over quite how far into the distance we could see- all of Paris’ distinctive grey roofs blurring into a haze.

We stood and watched as the sky grew darker and thick grey clouds rolled in, and ducked inside the church just as the first few drops of rain began to fall.

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The church itself was the most incredible sight- well worth a visit, if you’re planning a visit to Paris and are in two minds as to whether or not to go.

The architecture is stunning, and the windows inside are worth a visit all of their own. There’s a strict ‘no photography’ rule inside, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, I’m afraid :)


We came out to a Paris that’d been refreshed by its brief showering, and was left bright and warm once again.

With our final hours in the city ticking away, we hopped into a cab to head back to the Renaissance for a pre-dinner freshen up. Angelina caught us on the way through though, because for goodness *sake*, if any of you have the ability to walk past an urn of molten chocolate ready to be taken away and drunk through straws, then you’re a stronger person than either Jo or I!

That hot chocolate is something special though, truly. It’s kind of like liquid praline, and I’m pretty sure it’s possible to hear angels singing whist you drink it. Like 99% certain.

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That evening dinner was eaten, wine was drunk, long, life-arrirming discussions had (the type that put the world to rights but also manage to be completely ridiculous at the same time), and very early the following morning, two sleepy but contented travellers caught a flight back home to a shockingly cold England.

Paris? You were magic. I’ll be back soon…


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T H E   S T U M B L E D   U P O N   S Q U A R E .

I’d been to Paris on a day trip with my Mum a few years previously (I think maybe before Jason and I even got together, so that really is a long time ago!), and one of my strongest memories from that day was of the Place Vendome.

I remember that we’d walked our way down through the city from the Gare de Nord, stopped for lunch outside the Opera House (and popped inside to marvel at the huge mirrored ballroom, and the grand central staircase) and then slowly made our way down towards the Tuileries gardens.

As we walked, our haphazard path took us through the Place Vendome, a part of the city my teenage self (on her first ever trip to Paris!) had never come across in photographs before. I remember marvelling at the wide expanse of neat square paving stones, and the cloistered shop fronts with their glittering window displays.

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And history repeated itself on this particular trip! Jo and I had been on our way back to the hotel in a taxi, but when we found ourselves driving through the centre of the Place Vendome, stopped the cab early and hopped out to explore the square.

It was every bit as beautiful as it’d been to my younger self. Peaceful in its own bustling sort of way, vast and airy, and with the same feeling of understated glamour that makes Paris so very special.

That day, I wore a feminine A-line skirt and a soft, Peter Pan collar blouse in the same navy and white colour scheme that (quite unintentionally) become my uniform for the trip. All I needed was for the red on my nails to be just a shade or two brighter, and I’d have been about as French as it gets…;)

Pea coat || Collar blouse || Spotty skirt {similar shape, & pattern} || Patent loafers.

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