19.10

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Now, I’d like to head up this post with a little disclaimer that Ottilie’s facial expression in the vast majority of these photos is in no way a reflection of the comfort of this pushchair. ;) She’s at that awkward stage right now where she’s just started taking her first few independent steps (just this weekend, woohoo!!) so now all she wants to do is walk, but isn’t anywhere near steady enough to toddle along with us when we’re out and about for any length of time. And so, pushchair rage ensues!

Anyway! We snapped these photos whilst in Haslemere over the weekend, which will be our closest town when we move next month. We’re so, so ready to get going now…though I do of course mean ready in the emotional sense, and not a practical one. I’m still yet to book a removal company and our loft is crammed full with 7 and a bit years worth of crap…but we’re basically pretending that doesn’t matter and are busy selecting paint colours instead! Some great adulting going on over here in the Chappel household…

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Haslemere’s such a pretty little town, and is where we’ve dreamed of moving nearby to for a good few years now. I’m so excited to explore the area, so any tips for places to visit will be welcome!

And I seriously cannot wait to show you around our new home! Though thinking about it you might never get to see photos or anything given that the internet is basically non-existent and I’m not sure the mobile data situation will be any better. (Basically, pray for me!!)

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We got to Haslemere bright and early, and after swinging by our new house just to say ‘hello’! to it, parked up in the centre of town and went for a mosey up the high street with coffees in hand and Ottie in the pushchair.

Now, let me talk to you about the Featherweight

When I was pregnant one of Jason’s cousins advised me that there may come a time when I’d be more concerned about having a lightweight, one-handed folding pushchair than the ginormous fancy one I was about to order. I privately thought she was crazy, and that it really wouldn’t be all that big a deal, but now? I TOTALLY get it!

The real genius about the Featherweight for me is the fact that it’s just so, so easy to put up and collapse. It weighs a mere 3.7 kilos (the lightest pushchair in the UK!), and with just the press of a button on the handlebar and one simple action, it pops up and is ready to go! And when you’ve got a baby on one hip, not having to faff about sorting out a chassis and then clipping on a seat is a total lifesaver!

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Above we have a photo of an angry mouse, totally unimpressed by her Mum’s attempts to use a dried up old leaf as a way of coaxing a smile out of her…one to frame, for sure!

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The other feature of the pushchair that’s just complete genius, that I mentioned a little in this post here, is the fact that because it’s so light and comes with an attached carry strap, you can carry it on one shoulder!

Which would be ideal if you’re travelling in a city and want to hop on and off buses, or go on the tube without having to worry about step-free access, or, if you’ve got a baby like mine who has an aversion to being strapped into anything for longer than she deems truly necessary, you can give in to the inevitable and let them come out and walk whilst you carry the pushchair like some kind of long suffering mule! ;)

Alternatively, you could just let them use the pushchair as a walker which, it turns out, is a great game and will keep your babe happy long enough that you can sit and drink your coffee whilst it’s still hot! Bliss.

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This post was part of my ongoing partnership with Graco! Thank you for supporting the branded content that makes Cider with Rosie possible.

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01.10

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Ottilie’s now just over one year old and has been on the move for a good four or five months, though I honestly can’t remember a time before she could crawl at 100 miles per hour!

Gone are the days when I could park her on a playmat in the middle of the living room and then dash into the kitchen to wash and sterilise bottles (whilst checking in on her every minute or so, of course!)- now she can get from the living room to halfway up the stairs in the blink of an eye, and is never happier than when bombing around pushing her walker and leaving a trail of mess and destruction in her wake! Books come flying off the bookshelf, shoes get picked up and redistributed around the house, and she’s drawn to my sock drawer like a bear to honey…the mess is like nothing I’ve ever experienced!

As part of my ongoing collaboration with Graco this year, I was recently sent over a little factsheet all about how non-stop and physically strenuous the life of a new parent is, and it totally blew my mind. Did you know that according to Graco’s research, new parents typically spend an average of 8 hours a day on their feet and carry around up to 17.5kg in weight (SEVENTEEN KILOS!), all whilst functioning on less than 6 hours sleep a night?!

So, as a kind of of two-parter to this post here, all about the tips and tricks I’ve learnt for life with a new baby, I thought today I’d share a few things I’ve learnt about juggling life with a baby on the move!

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01 :: Go lightweight…

As any parent with a mobile baby knows, as soon as they can crawl or walk, it’s basically all they want to do!

The pram used to be the place Ottilie took her longest and most peaceful naps- some days we’d go out for lunch and she’d snooze in her bassinet for two solid hours! Bliss! Now however, when she’s done with being in the pushchair, she is DONE!

Which is why the new Graco new Featherweight pushchair that we’re currently road testing is a total dream- it’s only 3.7kilos, so light that you can fold it down and throw it over your shoulder when little one wants to get out and be carried or to walk along holding your hands. As much as we’ve loved having a larger travel system pushchair over the past year, being able to fold up and carry the Featherweight when Ottilie wants out and so avoid the ‘baby on one hip whilst awkwardly manoeuvring pushchair with the other hand’ scenario is completely amazing.

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02 :: Plan, plan, and plan some more…

With an older baby comes a wider variety of demands. Up until six months the cries are usually pretty simple to decipher, with milk, a good burping, a nappy change, and sleep often being the cure for all evils!

But now…you’re hungry? You’d like a snack? Not that kind of snack, no? You’d like to walk, or crawl around on the floor of this busy restaurant? You’re tired but can’t go to sleep without Jeffie the giraffe and we left him in the car?…Things are more complex!!

I find it helps to plan my day in chunks, with the morning spent at home so that Ottilie can have plenty of time to crawl around and burn off a load of energy before a decent late morning nap, and then we’ll head out to meet friends or go to a class or activity of some sort before getting home for a later afternoon nap and another play before bed.

And having your changebag (top tip- go for a rucksack for hands-free carrying!) packed and organised is more important than ever, when it comes to getting out and about with an older and more active baby. Keeping a tupperware pot filled with a selection of snacks is essential (you know, for all the food based bribery you said you’d never do but totally will ;), and a little toy bag filled with a couple of fun pop up books, puppets, and musical instruments is great for keeping baby busy when you’re on the go.

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03 :: Hide cleaning supplies in every room!

Graco’s research says that 53% new parents number one stated their number one challenge is keeping on top of household chores. Well, I can fully believe that let me tell you!

In fact, I’m undecided if it was harder to keep the house tidy with a tiny baby who you can’t put down or with an older baby who makes a mess of whatever you’re attempting to clean and organise…I mean, it’s basically a never ending task either way!

The best way I’ve learnt for keeping on top of things is to have cleaning supplies to hand at all times! Stash away a bottle of polish and a duster cloth in the bedrooms so you can whizz round whilst baby plays on the floor by themselves for thirty seconds, and when little one is at the stage where they’re sitting completely steadily in the bath, bath time can be a great opportunity to clean the sink/put bleach down the loo and polish the toothpaste marks off the mirror. And hey, you’re a parent now! You get to clean AND sing Dingle Dangle Scarecrow all at the same time! ;)

But seriously, it might feel like one level of multitasking too much at the time, but anything that means you can actually sit down once you’ve put your baby to bed for the night and not have to then get cracking on the cleaning is a winner in my book.

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04 :: Streamline the food shopping process…

Tanith Carey, author of Parent Hacks, suggests snapping a quick photo of the inside of the fridge before heading to the shops, so that when you’re in the middle of Sainsbury’s wondering whether or not you finished the mango chutney last Tuesday or how many bottles of soy milk are left in the fridge, you can glance at the picture and have your answer!

Attempting a food shop in person can often be difficult in itself, and so online shopping is king if you ask me! It means you don’t have to attempt to juggle taking your baby round the supermarket with you, and most importantly allows you time to actually concentrate on what you’re buying so that you don’t end up overspending and wasting food.

I’ve also found it a godsend to have one or two basic food shops saved on Ocado, so that when you’re having one of those parenting weeks where it feels like you’re stretched to your absolute limit, getting in your groceries is just a case of logging onto your favourite supermarket delivery site and clicking ‘Order!’!

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05 :: Make time for yourself.

Okay, here’s my number one tip as learnt many, many times over this last year- when you put your baby down for a nap, the absolute first thing you should do is make yourself a cup of tea and something to eat, and then sit down and enjoy it! Because by the time you’ve thought ‘I’ll just stick a load of laundry on, and actually the dishwasher needs filling and maybe I’ll just sort out the baby’s lunch whilst I’m in the kitchen’, nap time will be over and you’ll not have had a single second of downtime!

So whether it’s by napping when baby naps, heading upstairs for a relaxing bath at the end of the day, or running out to a Pilates class once baby is in bed, it’s important that you take time to relax and unwind after expending so much energy all day long. And remember, happy Mum equals happy baby!

~ This post is part of my ongoing collaboration with Graco. Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible! ~

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29.09

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It’s always the small moments of joy that make a day, isn’t it? Whether it’s that first sip of coffee in the morning, or finding that your favourite top is hanging washed and ironed in your wardrobe, or waking up feeling rested after a great night’s sleep (the MOST important thing to me these days!), there’s nothing quite like being able to look back at a day and realise that it was full of moments of simple happiness.

The best kinds of weekends are the ones that have an abundance of those kinds of moments, and last weekend we were lucky enough to spend the day devoting ourselves to chasing life’s little victories in a brand new, very beautiful car! Vauxhall loaned us one of their swish new Astras, and challenged us to spend the day as a family using the car to seek out some of those little ‘wins’ that never fail to bring a smile to our faces.

And so, our happy day began first thing Saturday morning, with a hop into the car and a quick drive into Guildford to go and view some houses…

(Sidenote- did I tell you yet that we’ve sold our house and are moving?! Things are happening fast so I need to do a proper update soon…!)

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Now, I think I’ve told you before how much that baby girl of mine just HATES being in the car. Unless she’s sleepy and ready to drop off straight away, I can pretty much guarantee that she’ll get cross and loud about how unhappy she is to be strapped into a seat with nothing to look at but the boot of the car within about 5 minutes of our journey commencing.

And so because of this, I plan any day involving car journeys that’re going to last longer than 10 minutes or so with military precision! The outward bound journey ALWAYS occurs during Ottilie’s morning nap, and we head home after lunchtime and a few hours of play when I know she’ll be about ready for another doze in the carseat! And when all goes quiet in the back and I know she’s fallen asleep? Well, it’s bliss!

I used to hate driving, but with a sleeping babe in the back and an audiobook running through the speaker system? It’s basically a holiday!

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And speaking of media systems, I’m pretty sure the Astra’s is a fancier bit of kit than the laptop I’m currently writing this post on! It’s all touch screen and totally intuitive, with wireless connectivity that lets you play your best Spotify playlist loud and proud through the car’s speakers!

We made use of it to lull Ottilie off to sleep with a few rounds of her favourite nursery rhyme playlist, and she was asleep by track three…

…which left Jason and I free to switch over to Haim’s new album and enjoy the heated, MASSAGE seats the whole way over to Guildford! I mean, it was such a little victory, it pretty much turned the journey into a date!

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With houses viewed (we’ve since had an offer accepted on one and I honestly can’t wait to share it with you, it’s our dream home!), car parked (with the help of the Astra’s reversing camera- a GODSEND for those of us challenged in the field of car-parking!!), and little legs stretched, we made our way up into town and in search of lunch.

And where do you head when you’re all juuuusstt edging into ‘hangry’ territory and need feeding with something delicious and quick?

To Franco Manca, of course!

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Seriously, does it get any better than Franco Manca? That base is just the best! Jason likes his pizza with ALL the cheese and meats…and for Ottie and I, we like our veggies!

I think my obsession with olives has been passed on to this baby girl, because she honestly can’t get enough. The ones in Franco Manca were so delicious but so salty I felt guilty letting her have more than one or two, and you should have seen the strop she had when I wouldn’t let her eat any more…

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We followed our pizzas with a portion of the gelato, and Ottilie couldn’t quite decide whether she liked it or not at first!She gave it her best effort though, and after the first couple of mouthfuls was like a little baby bird opening her mouth for spoonful after spoonful!

I was so precious about her not having sugar for the first year, so I think she’s enjoying being one now!! ;)

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After a mosey around the shops running a few errands and falling in love with expensive homewares in Anthropologie, we headed back to the car and loaded up ready to drive back home. Oh, and speaking of loading the car up, check that boot space! We could’ve fitted both dogs in there with the pushchair and change bag no problem at all, and they’d both have been happy with plenty of room!

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With the end of Saturday traffic beginning to build up on the main roads home, and an Ottilie who was about ready for another snooze in the car, we decided to use the Astra’s sat nav system to show us the best route home.

And so with our car guiding us back home through beautiful orange leaf tree-lined country lanes and not a hint of traffic in sight, we had a calm, peaceful end to the day.

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And if that doesn’t count as one of life’s little victories, I don’t know what does.

~ This post was sponsored by Vauxhall. Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible! ~

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14.09

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1. Watching my baby girl trundle along with her pram around the pond outside our house on Wednesday afternoon! She thought it was the best thing ever, being able to go for a walk outside, and it felt like the next step towards her being a toddler and not a baby! My heart actually broke a little when she stopped to wave hello at a builder working a few houses down from ours, the cuteness was just too much <3

2. The piles of fallen leaves we crunched though on our way up to the park after tea a few days ago. Autumn is here!

3. Using this dreamy Aesop oil before bed- it makes my skin GLOW. And aren’t Aesop products the best smelling products going? (It was a gift to me from Tania and Freya for being a Mama for a whole year! Aren’t they the sweetest?)

4. Fresh bedlinen, spritzed all over with ThisWorks Deep Sleep spray. So relaxing!

5. This lentil dahl for dinner, ready and waiting when I got home from Body Balance on Wednesday.

6. Having a batch of homemade cookie dough in the fridge, ready and waiting to be baked. I think it should be a permanent fixture of our kitchen, to be honest!

7. Rediscovering an old pair of shoes. Currently living in a pair of striped French Sole flats I’ve had for a good two years but never really worn, and loving them!

8. Handing over bedtime duties to Jason! Just this week we’ve introduced a bottle for Ottilie at bedtime (rather than me breastfeeding, which I’m still doing in the day), and it’s so lovely seeing her go to him for a bedtime bottle and cuddle at the end of the day. And also so lovely feeling like I’m gaining a little bit of freedom! Ready for another baby now…;)

9. The GIANT bag of spinach and Swiss chard my neighbours gave me from their allotment this week! My Swiss chard is having a lull since I replanted a load of it, so I was very grateful!

10. Celebrating a year of parenthood with our NCT friends last weekend! We had a little party for the babies (complete with mini bouncy castle!), and it was so sweet seeing them all together again for the first time in a good few weeks. We’ll ignore the fact that at least half of them now have colds after having played together last Sunday- I’d forgotten how much germ sharing goes on when you get seven babies together in the same room!

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