10.05

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T H E   P E R F E C T   S A T U R D A Y .

Our Saturday began the same way as ever other day- with a 6am wake up call from the little pup downstairs. She’s as regular as clockwork, always ready at 6am on the dot with a whine and a scratch at the gate to let us know she’d like to be let outside and then to have her breakfast, please.

Jason and I had sat out around the fire pit until almost 11pm the previous night, and so waking up so early on a weekend morning felt pretty tough going. Good practise though, I guess…

We always take it in turns to do the early shift, and Saturday was my day to be up with the birds. The morning was hazy but warm already, and I opened the curtains in the living room to find the bunch of peonies I’d bought a couple of days previously in full, beautiful bloom.

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There’s no flower that makes me happier than the peony. They’re always the most spectacular, don’t you think?

After a leisurely breakfast, and an even more leisurely walk with the dogs, our first order of the day was to visit the garden centre to pick up some new greenery for our little garden.

I feel like I’ve talked a dozen times before about how much I wish I was naturally green-fingered (and how sadly UN-green fingered I actually am!), but since I know that I’ll never get better at keeping our garden looking ship-shape if I don’t try at all, try I will!

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We bought a few new plants to fill up the beds- purple and white dahlias that I would just love to grow tall and flower every year without fail, a huge rosemary plant to sit potted on the deck, a lovely ornate fuchsia, and some strawberry plants to put in place of the herbs that didn’t make it through the winter in our wall planters.

Oh, and a hanging vine tomato plant too!

I’m thinking that maybe the fact it’s hanging, as opposed to on the ground, will help to keep pests like slugs and snails away…though perhaps that’s just wishful thinking?

But still, we’ve dutifully given all the new plants a good feed with Baby Bio (which we bought purely because I remember using it with my Grandma as a child, to feed the tomatoes we grew in a gro-bag on our patio), and now we’re keeping our fingers crossed that they all flourish!

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And speaking of growing, this bump of mine seems to have suddenly popped!

About time too, given that I’m now only week away from being six months pregnant. Can you even believe that? I’m starting to worry about stupid things, like that we haven’t chosen curtains for the nursery yet, and how many layers to dress the baby in at night. I need to get a grip…

This dress was a treat from my lovely Mum around Easter time, and I’ve been saving it since then to wear when A- the weather finally got warm (and now it has- hurrah!), and B- for when I could actually fill the belly part with bump!

And it turns out that maternity clothes, funnily enough, actually highlight your bump rather than it just looking kind of awkward when you wear your regular stuff. Who knew? ;)

Pale blue polka dot dress

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We had family coming over later that day for a barbecue, and so my afternoon was spent tinkering in the kitchen.

Salads were prepared (my favourite of all- caprese- was made with those fist-sized tomatoes in the photos above), chicken was marinated, and the sweetest pineapple I ever had the pleasure of tasting was sliced up and laid out ready to become the basis of a tropical fruit salad.

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^^ Sweet pineapple, ripe mango, tart passionfruit, and fresh (homegrown!) mint. The best. ^^

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The evening become our second in a row spent sitting around the fire until late, toasting marshmallows and talking as the night drew in.

We’re really trying to make the most of these calm, peaceful months, both by spending as much time as we can savouring all the free time we have right now, but also by trying to fit in as much as possible whilst we only have ourselves to think of!

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I think it’s the fact that we’re on something of a countdown right now that’s making everything feel that bit more heightened. I’m happier, more emotional, more ‘in the moment’, more sensitive, more appreciative, just more…more!

It feels so lovely to just soak in weekends like this, all whilst wondering and dreaming about how wonderfully different our lives will be in a year’s time.

And I think that that, combined with the flowers and the sunshine and the quality time spent with some of my favourite people, and all that delicious food and the smell of woodsmoke in my hair, is what made this particular weekend such a perfect one.

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27.10

Cider-with-Rosie-Sunday-morning

S L O W   D O W N .

My alarm went off at 8.30 on Saturday morning, and I drove to Heathrow feeling more than a little bleary-eyed after having accidentally (but happily!) spent every evening since Jason went away to the Highlands on Wednesday catching up with friends over dinners and drinks.

We decided that our weekend needed to make up for having spent most of the week apart, but between the Saturday catnaps, the tidying and organising that always comes after a trip away, and the errands we each had to run, it felt as though we barely saw each other for the first half of our weekend.

And so, it fell to Sunday to make up for lost time…

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We started with coffee, freshly ground and served with warm, frothy milk. I’ve found recently that oat milk makes the best foam- I’ve even managed to nail one of those fancy latte art ‘hearts’ once or twice, which is absurdly happy-making!

The winter sunlight streams in though the kitchen window first thing in the morning, and makes the pond outside look like a sheet of glass.

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Next came breakfast, both hearty and healthy all at once.

We’re in love with green smoothies at the moment (usually frozen mango and pineapple, then a ripe banana, a handful of kale, and splash of coconut water), and, of course, bowls of nourishing oats topped off with raspberry jam.

It took me years to fall in love with porridge, but now I wouldn’t be without it. There’s nothing like waking up to dew-tipped grass, and having your breath curl like smoke on the air as you stand watching the dog stretch his legs outside, in the knowledge that a pan full of oats is thickening on the hob whilst you wait.

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With bellies full and coats and scarves piled on, what next to do but head outside?

We picked up my sister on our way over to the woods not far from where my Mum lives, and spent an hour tramping up and down the hills and through the bracken with Teddy dancing along in front of us. All that was missing was some hot chocolate

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S O U P   +   B R E A D .

Lunch came in the form of ribollita soup, with my current favourite snack served alongside it- sourdough rye toast with hummus and homemade tapenade! The combination of the creamy hummus and rich, salty tapenade is just heaven. I’ve gone through a whole jar of olives in three days…

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Our final stop of the day was at the lake, with family. We headed up about an hour or so before sunset, so that I could shoot some maternity photos for my sister-and-brother in law, who are expecting their first baby in January. <3

Oh, and I should explain that this shoot is why I’ve been pinning lots of maternity and baby photos on Pinterest lately- for inspiration! I’ve had a few questions about whether I’ve been hinting at something recently, and I can promise you that that’s not the case!

We caught the most beautiful light, and finished the shoot down by the waters’ edge just as the sun dipped over the treeline. The results were some of my favourite photos I’ve taken in a long time.

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Tell me, how was your weekend?

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22.09

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A   Q U I E T   S U N D A Y .

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve written about, and shared photos from our weekend walks in this particular patch of forest. There’s something special about this woodland though, that I can never quite put my finger on.

Maybe it’s the fact that we see more wildlife there than anywhere else we walk (deer, pheasant, birds of prey, and on this particular walk, a little rodent of some sort scurrying to safety in the undergrowth), or perhaps it’s how quiet and peaceful the area always feels.

The quiet only really gets interrupted by Teddy as he crashes through the bracken and brambles, or by Jason and I shouting a desperate ‘NO!’ at said dog as he bombs towards a particularly stagnant-looking puddle. (I’d say he stops and listens to us maybe 60% of the time. Not bad, given how obsessed he is with dirty water.)

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We’d spent the previous day with my brother-in-law Russell and his other half Clare, and all stayed up late watching the rugby and marathoning The Walking Dead (have you seen it?! I’m obsessed but also totally repulsed by it!) and ended the day with a spectacular Indian takeaway from a local place Jason and I had never even heard of before. (P.s. Vegetable dhansak is my order. This one was so hot it almost blew my head off, but was all the better for it!)

And so, having had such a late night the day before, Sunday began slowly. We spent the morning lazing around with coffee in one hand and magazines in the other, then finally got ourselves layered up and headed out to the forest.

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The coat I’m wearing here is a new one from Joules, and I can already tell it’s going to be a favourite for the season ahead. The cut is so well tailored and smart, and I love the earthy-toned tweed. In fact, even just putting it on this Sunday, along with one of my most loved tartan scarves from last winter, made me feel the first flutterings of excitement for the long months of cosiness we’ve got ahead of us.

With our walk over, we headed home for a lunch of hot soup and warm buttered toast and enough biscuits to feed a small army.

Sunday done right, if I do say so myself.

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Tweed coat || Grey skinnies || Tartan scarf || Tan knee highs {similar}.

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16.03

Cider-with-Rosie-countryside

Our weekend began late Friday afternoon, with a mad dash for a train to London we were almost certain we’d miss. Jason and I were heading over to Shoreditch for Tania’s birthday, and between Jason getting stuck in close-of-day Guildford traffic, my trying-on of a thousand different outfits, and our collective inability to get out of the house without 20 minutes of needless faffing, we were running decidedly late. {That sentence there could honestly be the precursor to every single blog post I write, since the running-late routine happens so very frequently. Maybe I should copy and paste?}

We met with up Freya and Adam, Tania (of course!), and some friends, and after a glass or two of champagne at Tania’s flat, the rest of the night was spent at the pretty fabulous Beach Blanket Babylon on Shoreditch High St. It was the most fun evening- cocktails were drunk (a lychee and grape on in particular was my absolute favourite!), french fries were eaten, and dates were put in each of our diaries for a cheese & wine extravaganza at our house in a few weeks time! We chit chatted about road trips we could take this summer, about getting Teddy and Molly together for a dog-date, and about the merits of different burger joints in London {The Lucky Chip is next on our list to try!}. It was exactly the sort of evening that makes my heart happy- great friends, great conversation, all rounded off with a packet of Percy Pigs picked up from the station on our way back home. It’s basically mandatory that every night out in London be finished off with a stop in at M&S for journey-home sweets, don’t you think?

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Saturday began with a trip to the gym for Jason and a lie-in for me, and panned out to be easily one of the most enjoyably laid-back weekend days we’ve had in a long time. Think Lush baths, chocolate-eating, an 80-20 split of time spent in pyjamas vs. regular clothes, and a US Office marathon. We took Teddy out mid-morning into the woods, and the spent most of the walk trying to keep him from charging after the myriad of pheasants hiding out in the tall grasses at the moment. It’s a job, I can tell you! He spends most of our walks these days with his nose either glued to the floor or twitching in the wind, and goes into a total trance when he catches scent of a pheasant. He went haring off into the undergrowth on a walk last week and with the noise and commotion that followed, I honestly thought he’d managed to catch a live one. The relief I felt when he came charging back out towards me carrying nothing more than a few sprigs of dried fern leaves stuck in his ears was pretty great!

As silly as it seems, it’s not that often that Jason and I actually get out and walk Teddy together these days. I’m up and down from London like a yo-yo at the moment, and Jason often takes Ted to training classes on a Saturday which means we don’t get to go walking together, so getting out all three of us on Saturday was the biggest treat. It’s these quiet moments that make me the absolute happiest, routine though they are. Only downside was that I’d forgotten to make up a flask of hot chocolate to bring out on our walk with us, a la this happy scene here. Next time…
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And finally, to Sunday! It was, of course, Mother’s Day, so I spent the day at my Mum’s house enjoying a few happy hours of girl time with my Ma and sister. Mum was adamant she didn’t want gifts from us this year, but instead for us to spend the whole day together just hanging out and doing mini at-home spa treatments. And so, apart from a couple of bunches of flowers we couldn’t *not* buy, we obliged! I painted Mum’s nails (and mine too, both in Essie’s Master Plan), we did Sanctuary facemask treatments that made my skin feel like it was being stripped raw but ended up looking totally amazing, and then settled down to watch The Imitation Game whilst working our way through a box of Malteasers.

The day was particularly poignant for us since this year, since Mother’s Day fell on the anniversary of my Grandma’s passing. I kept marvelling to myself all day long about how in that very same house four years previously we’d experienced some of the saddest and hardest moments of our lives, and yet there we were, on a day that could’ve been so very sad for my Mum especially, smiling and laughing and reminiscing about my Grandma without feeling that soul-crushing sadness that stops everything else in its tracks. I know I’ve written before about how the ability of time to heal astounds me, but it’s so very true it bears mentioning once again.

Spending a day with my Mum and Francesca was totally therapeutic. We talked about silly things and the Big Stuff too, we compared our similarities and differences, challenged one another and got into heated debates and sang our new favourite song (Gypsies Tramps + Thieves by Cher) a hundred times, before rounding off the day by cooking a roast dinner that Jason came round and joined us for. It was total heaven.

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How did you spend your weekend? I hope it was a lovely one! And here’s to a beautiful, cherry blossom-filled week!

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