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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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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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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07.07

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And so the wedding celebrations begin! {p.s. The teapot contained ice for a picnic. I’ve not taken to carrying one around just on the off chance I might fancy a cuppa…}

I remember my early teenage years as being pretty much an endless series of sleepovers. My best friends and I would spend our weekends and holidays hopping between each other’s houses (or rather, being taxi-ed around by our long suffering parents), taking nothing with us but a toothbrush because we knew we’d all wind up raiding one another’s wardrobes anyway. We’d stay up into the early hours of the night talking about everything from boys to whatever gossip was hottest at school to our art GCSE projects, and our days were filled with nonsense like dressing up in the silliest outfits we could concoct (then taking 1001 photos, of course), eating ourselves stupid, and maybe (if we’d manage to wangle it with our parents), heading out to a party armed with a four pack of alcopops to share between us. It was bliss.

And so it turns out, when your best friend organises for you a three day hen weekend sleepover (a bachelorette, for my American readers!) that encompasses everything you loved most about those carefree teenage days, you’re in for a pretty special time!

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All I knew about my hen party was that we were heading down to Chichester on Friday evening, and that we’d spend two nights staying in a little country cottage before heading up to my Mum’s for afternoon tea on the Sunday. My cousin Sophie picked me up a little before 7 after work on Friday, and after getting ourselves so badly lost on the drive that we actually went through the Hindhead tunnel twice and made a brief accidental detour into a caravan park, we finally arrived at Flintstones cottage! We (my sisters-in-law-to-be Nat and Clare, maid of honour Jo, cousin Sophie, and soul sisters Tania and Freya) polished off a few rounds of fajitas, and then got to the main event of the evening. Tequila!

Now, you’ll know that I’m not the biggest fan of alcohol. Sure, I’m happy to indulge in the odd glass of wine or cocktail, but anything beyond that? I’m out. In fact, I’m such a notorious lightweight that Jo came armed with ample suppliers of painkillers (for headaches) and lemonade (for watering down my drinks!)! But do you know what? I’ve finally found my calling- I can handle tequila like a trooper! Salt – tequila – lemon…and not even a shudder! I hope you’re suitably impressed ;)

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We woke up on Saturday morning feeling surprisingly sprightly (after such a late evening of games and silliness the night before!), and even managed to sneak down to visit the ponies and have a wander around the wheat fields before settling in to breakfast.

After a few rounds of toast and croissants, the girls and I suited up in workout gear (Jo requested we all bring with us ‘something we could move in’- intriguing!) and then proceeded to spend the rest of the morning in a state of hysteria. You see, Jo had arranged for a dance teacher called Sarah to come and teach us a routine to ‘Work It’ (a song I once choreographed a dance to for an assembly at our very-Catholic-indeed senior school, not realising that the lyrics are out of this world inappropriate!;), and it was seriously the most brilliantly fun way to spend a morning! Sarah was the sweetest, and we wound up with aching bellies from laughing so hard! Since there’s not a single person on earth who looks attractive whilst photographed midway through performing the running man I’ll save you from the photos, but just know that making up dance routines is most definitely just as fun at 24 as it was at 14!

After giving the performance of our lives for the various people who pottered past our cottage whilst we did one last rendition of our dance routine (they loved it, I could tell), we made a quick change from leggings to dresses, armed ourselves with picnic hampers, and headed off to Priory Park in Chichester.

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Priory Park was beautiful- I’d never visited Chichester before this weekend, and now can’t think why not! After demolishing our picnic (roast chicken, salads, quiche…champagne. You know, the usual Saturday afternoon picnic routine!) we went for a potter around the town centre, and into a vintage and antique fair that tested every ounce of will power I have not to walk away with armfuls of vintage dresses and recovered Scandinavian enamelware. Be still my heart.

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^^ Next stop- cocktail o’clock back at the cottage! ^^

Strawberry daiquiris and mojitos were on the menu for the afternoon, so we set about crushing ice and muddling limes with mint and sugar and adding liberal amounts of rum to strawberries. And we made some good’uns!

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The final surprise of the day was to come via Jo’s laptop. We settled round the dining table to play the Mr and Mrs game, but instead of it being just a regular set of Qs and As, Jo had asked Jason to record himself asking me the questions and then sharing the correct answer instead! It wound up being a pretty emotional afternoon- the ‘what did I say when I asked you to marry me’ question resulted in all 7 of us getting just a *touch* teary-eyed! And when I say a ‘touch’, I mean that *some* of us had to leave the table to go and get supplies of tissues…Clare ;) Can you even imagine how we’ll all be at the wedding?!

The evenings were maybe my favourite part of the weekend. We stayed up late both nights, but on the Saturday evening we stayed bundled up on the sofa talking until almost 3am. Spending quality time with some of my favourite people in the whole world, laughing and drinking tea and snaffling biscuits and putting the world to rights- it did my heart good! In fact, I honestly can’t remember when I last laughed as much as I did this weekend!

Final stop on the hen weekend adventures to come tomorrow- a summer garden tea party!

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Posted in DAY TRIPS, FAMILY, FRIENDS, SUMMER, TRAVEL, WEDDING, WEEKEND BREAK

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