28.12

Cider-with-Rosie-bestof2017

Go vegan!
Probably the biggest lifestyle change I’ve made this year has been to go vegan, and it’s been such a positive, joyful change in my life. I feel as though it’s led me to engage with food in a completely different way- not only am I a better cook now as I’ve learnt to be far more adventurous and creative in the kitchen, I’m so much more switched on to nutrition too. And not just mine, but since Ottie eats a vegan diet also and Jason too eats vegan for all our shared meals, the nutrition of our entire family! As well as seeing benefits to my health and wellbeing, it’s led me to become more conscious of my impact on the planet and take steps to live in a more environmentally friendly way. I feel like I could write a whole post, (or even a whole series of posts!) all about this, so please do shout if you’d like to see more!

Find a love of gardening and growing vegetables
I’ve always adored the idea of growing my own vegetables and fruit, but never really imagined it was something I could do. I remember telling Jason back in February of 2017 that I’d bought some courgette seeds, and he was sceptical that my interest in the whole project would last longer than it took me to plant the seeds and then promptly kill them off!! ;) But lo and behold, by midsummer I not only had a supply of courgettes coming from my little garden that was so plentiful I was handing them out to everyone in our street (Crazy Courgette Lady, that’s me…) but I also was growing runner beans, cucumbers, lettuces, carrots, cucumbers, potatoes and so much more. It’s become such a passion that Jason’s even picked up the bug too now, and we’re in the process of building several huge raised beds for all my fruit and veg and had a lorryload of compost delivered just a couple of days before Christmas! I honestly can’t even tell you how excited I am for the growing season to begin this coming February so that I can get gardening again.

Get back to a workout routine
This year I not only got back into a routine of weekly Body Balance classes (I’ve been banging on about how much I adore Body Balance for years now, it really is my favourite!), but I also discovered Body Pump! I was so nervous before my first class since I’d never really worked out with weights before, and though it’s tough, it’s also the biggest endorphin rush and such a great workout! I’m looking to find decent classes round where we live now, so that I can get back into the swing of regular classes. My biceps have never looked better than with a weekly hit of Body Pump!

Breastfeeding my baby
Ottie’s now completely stopped feeding from me and my boobs have shut up shop for now (what an image…), but we managed an entire year of exclusive breast feeding and about 14 months of feeding all in all. It’s honestly been one of my proudest achievements, and I never imagined I would feel this way about breastfeeding at all! It wasn’t something I felt especially passionate about prior to getting pregnant, and doubted whether I’d be able to do it at all. It wasn’t easy at times, but to look at my little girl and know that not only did I grow her from the tiniest little dot of a being, but that my body nourished her for the first year of her life? It makes me fill with pride! <3

Get organised!…(kind of)
This kind of seems like a silly one, but this year I’ve learnt a couple of tricks that’ve honestly changed my life when it comes to keeping on top of all the household life admin that can become such a chore. Firstly, meal planning! I used to write out our week’s meal plan on a random note on my phone or in a notebook, and then never really look at it again once we were done with that week. Now, I keep a running note on my phone in Evernote (my favourite app!!) with each meal plan listed in there as I write them, so that I can look back at what we’ve eaten in previous weeks when I get stuck for inspiration. It’s honestly been a total time saver! The second trick is to keep a couple of microfibre cloth (and a can of polish, if you fancy) stashed in different rooms of your house, so that you can have a quick whip round every couple of days rather than feel as though the cleaning jobs are piling up and the house is getting on top of you. Such a boring life lesson to learn, but it’s totally changed my game when it comes to keeping the house feeling clean and not getting bogged down by the never ending chores!

Print photos!
This year I made it my mission to not only print out all my favourite photos, but to put them all into proper albums with a date and a little note written for each picture too. And I did it! I use the Truprint app because it makes it so crazy easy ordering straight off your iPhone (not an ad, just a recommendation!) and just bought a couple of big cheapo albums from Boots to put all the prints in. It’s so lovely to flip through tangible photographs, and hope that the little notes and dates next to each print will make it more fun for Ottilie to look back through the albums in years to come.

Embrace my post-baby body
This hasn’t always been an easy one, but I feel that this year I’ve got to a really happy, healthy place with my body. Going through pregnancy, childbirth, and then the postnatal period is a huge, huge thing for your body to deal with, and I found it hard at times to look at my figure and see such a different shape to the one that I was used to pre-baby. But it’s true that it takes the best part of a year for a mother’s body to grow a baby, and a year to readjust afterwards too.  Stopping breastfeeding, making some slight readjustments to my diet (simply being a little more conscious of how many sweet treats I was eating back at the start of the year), and getting back to a workout routine all kind of coincided so it’s hard to know what’s led to my body getting back almost to how it was before, but I’d say it’s kind of, nearly there. But the biggest, most positive and powerful change for me is that I’ve come to embrace the fact that certain things probably won’t ever be the same again, and that’s okay! My body created my daughter, and I can’t be mad about the soft skin on my tummy or the wider hips I know possess when I got Ottilie out of the deal, can I? <3

 

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03.07

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As anyone who runs their own business will know, one of the biggest challenges is to take time off. Hence why it took me 6 months of pestering to get Jason to finally put a free week in his diary! We’d hoped to make it out to France to be with Tania and Freya, but since Ottilie’s passport didn’t arrive in time (boo!) we decided to just schedule in a load of family days instead.

It turned out to be one of my favourite weeks we’ve had together since Ottilie was born. We took Ottie swimming (she’s a water baby!), we had lunches out together (Franco Manca forever), we tag-teamed childcare to steal an hour to ourselves here and there…and, we day-tripped it over to Oxford for a visit to Blenheim Palace!

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The palace was easy as pie to get to, about an hour and a half’s drive from where we are in Surrey. We packed up a picnic, got on the road right when Ottilie was due her morning nap, and she snoozed the whole way! (Tell me it’s not just us who has a car-hating baby? If she’s awake we have maybe a 5-10 minute tolerance period before she wants out, and she isn’t shy about vocalising her feelings!!)

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^^ Those two <3 Ottilie LOVED spending a week with her Dadda, and when he left for work this morning she was so sad. It was the cutest thing <3 ^^

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Blenheim Palace is Churchill’s birth place and childhood home, and is without doubt the most beautiful stately home I’ve visited. We decided not to take a proper tour round the state rooms since we knew we’d end up missing most of it as we juggled Ottilie between us, but there was so much information laid out all round the rooms that I still felt I came away having learnt so much. Did you know Churchill predicted the day he was going to die?! And he was once heard to say ‘All men are worms, but I believe I am a gloworm!’. I love that!

Since we were there midweek the place was quite quiet, so in one of the empty rooms we let Ottilie have a whizz around on the floor since she was tired of being carried. We thought it’d be fairly quiet and discreet and that she wouldn’t get in anyone’s way…until she realised that the room had an amazing echo, and so spent a good five minutes shrieking and chatting to the ceiling. I’ve never known a baby love the sound of her own voice as much as Ottilie does, honestly!

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^^ This is the actual room Churchill was born in, and locks of his hair cut when he was just five years old are on display on the headboard. Isn’t that amazing? ^^

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With the tour finished, a tea pitstop was in order. Ottilie shouted ‘GUCK!’ over and over at some ducks (She’s all about the animal words! Cat is ‘cak’ and dog is ‘gog’!), and Jason read ‘Dear Zoo’ three times on the trot.

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We finished up with a mosey around the rose gardens, and whilst I made notes on the different flowers I want in my fantasy garden, Ottie moseyed around on the grass and handed each and every leaf she found to Jason one by one. Who needs toys, hey?!

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15.01

Cider-with-Rosie-Twinings-13

If there’s one thing I’ve realised the value of, over the past few months, it’s a quiet, cosy family morning.

Having Miss Ottilie in our lives means that weekend lie-ins are a thing of the past (though since I do the night feeds, Jason often takes her out of the bedroom first thing so that I can have a little extra uninterrupted sleep!), but instead of mourning the peaceful weekend mornings we used to have, I’ve just been embracing the wonderful early morning chaos.

When Ottilie wakes in a happy mood and spends the first few hours of the day (before the ‘I need a nap crankiness’ hits!!) cooing and laughing and talking to us, it truly makes me feel like I’ve won the lottery with this lovely little family of mine!

My favourite kind of weekend mornings now are all about wearing our PJs for as long as possible, cuddling up together in bed with cups of tea, eating at least two different types of breakfast food over the course of the morning, and then heading out into the fresh air with those two lovely dogs.

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Last week Twinings sent us over a beautiful parcel filled with their range of Fruit & Herbal Infusion teas, and invited us to embrace all things ‘natural’. And it couldn’t be better timing for me, really, since over the past year I’ve all but given up caffeine, and the teas are all naturally caffeine free!

I was never sure of exactly how much or little caffeine was acceptable during pregnancy and so just switched over to decaffeinated for ease, and even though now I don’t worry about the odd cup of coffee, my tolerance to caffeine has all but disappeared!

So now that I’m all about the caffeine-free drinks, herbal and fruit teas have become my go-to. The Twinings infusions are beautiful- light and refreshing, and make the perfect natural alternative to the strong, headache-inducing cups of coffee I used to drink every morning!

I started this past Sunday with a few cups of the Strawberry and Raspberry Infusion, and it tasted and smelled so delicious even Ottilie was leaning into my cup!

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With our bellies filled (Ottilie’s with milk, ours with toast, porridge, orange juice, and a few cups of tea), we decided that though staying in PJs all day was tempting, we were all in need of a blast of fresh air.

And the weather outside obliged on that front, with bracing winds that had us all wrapping up in as many layers as we could fit on!

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Our weekend dog walks always make me so very happy- stomping round the woods with Ottilie tucked up cosily in the wrap on either mine or Jason’s chest, it feels exactly how I always imagined our life as a family of three would be. And I love the idea that Ottilie will grow up with fresh air in her lungs, rosy cheeks, and feeling connected to the natural world around her.

Once the dogs were suitably worn out and mud-caked, and with a quick stop off in the village for a fresh bunch of flowers to brighten up the living room, we made our way back home for lunch.

And since it was a Sunday, and Sunday has its own set of rules, I’m not ashamed to tell you I put my PJ bottoms straight back on and curled up to cuddle my sleeping baby with yet another cup of tea in hand.

Bliss.

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* This post was sponsored by Twinings. Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible. *

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31.10

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Last week Jason took a week off work, so we made the most of having time together as a family and headed into Guildford for lunch and a spot of shopping on Friday!

Ottilie is so much more alert and awake now, and it’s amazing! She spent our whole lunch sitting up with us at the table- staring around, smiling at us both, and peering nosily over our shoulders at the people sitting around us. It felt like she was really there *with* us, you know? It really is so true what people say about parenthood, it just gets better and better! We’ll just not mention the fact that she left the restaurant wearing a different outfit to the one she arrived in, due to a certain nappy situation…

Lunch itself was pretty great too! The Giggling Squid is a new Thai restaurant on Chapel Street in Guildford, and the green curry is without doubt the best I’ve ever tasted in England! It came pretty close to being as amazing the ones we ate in Thailand on our honeymoon (that are up there as some of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten), and that really is saying something!

You’ll have to excuse the grainy iPhone shots in this post, but I keep forgetting to take my proper camera out and about with me. But I figured it’s been such an age since I posted, you wouldn’t mind? ;)

I hope you’re all well, and have a happy Halloween!

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