18.01

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1. Seeing the first shoots of the year peeping up through the compost! The garlic in one of the raised beds in the garden is just starting to shoot, and the broad beans are popping up in trays on my kitchen window ledge. The promise of things to come!

2. Taking Ottilie swimming. She shouts ‘splash splash’ non stop and wants to jump in from the side approximately 75 billion times, and it’s the best! (Even if the floor of swimming pool changing rooms make me want to bathe in Dettol afterwards.)

3. Doing yoga each evening after Ottie goes to bed. It makes me so relaxed, I feel as though I’m melting into the floor at the end of each practise!

4. Beautiful tulips from my beautiful husband. Spring flowers are my favourite, and he knows it!

5. Pasta pasta and more pasta. I can’t get enough of it at the moment- linguine with simple tomato & basil sauce is my favourite!

6. Seeing the birds eating from the feeder outside our dining room French doors all day long. My Mum bought Ottie and me a beautiful bird feeder for Christmas, and it’s so lovely to sit at breakfast and watch the blue tits and great tits and robins flitting back and forth, eating their seeds.

7. Eating nori sheets as a snack. I’m weirdly obsessed with it at the moment!

8. The smell of fresh coffee rising up the stairs, when it’s my turn for a weekend lie-in and Jason’s taken Ottilie downstairs to do breakfast. Bliss!

9. When Elsie curls up in my lap in the evenings. She waits all day for her chance for a cuddle, and sneaks onto my lap as soon as we’ve eaten dinner and sat down to relax in the evening. Even though she does smell like horse poo 90% of the time thanks to her penchant for eating it from the paddocks on our daily walks, it’s still pretty cute <3

10. An evening shower with the lights on low and a candle burning, and then fresh PJs just before bed. Basically a trip to the spa ;)

What’s made you happy lately?

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10.01

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16 months felt like a lifetime away when Ottie was a little baby. A whole world of toddlerdom and next-level parenting that I, with a baby stuck to my chest 24/7 and a social life that consisted of leisurely afternoons spent chatting over cups of coffee with Mum friends in Starbucks, couldn’t even imagine belonging to.

And yet, here we are! Ottilie’s a real little person now- walking, talking, obsessed with babies and animals alike, stubborn as a mule (she gets that from Jason…and me too. Oops!), so incredibly sure of her likes and dislikes, always keen to share, and getting sweeter and more fun by the day. I thought today I’d share a little update of her, and of motherhood, at 16 months! More for myself and my own memories than anyone else really, so you’ll have to humour me…

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O N   T H E   G O .

Walking! It felt like it took Ottile aaaages so get her confidence with walking. She wasn’t ever keen to be stood up on her feet as a baby (she liked to sit, crawl, or more often than not just be carried around!!), and was a pretty reluctant walker even after she’d taken her first steps a couple of weeks after she turned one. It wasn’t until we moved to our new house midway through November that the walking really clicked, and she’s been off ever since! It’s something I’ve really noticed with Ottilie actually, that she takes a fair while to master a new physical skill. She was the exact same when it came to learning to crawl, she tried for a good couple of months before it finally happened. I think she’s naturally quite a cautious child, and doesn’t like to throw herself into something until she knows she can do it well. So it took a while, but we got there in the end! Talking however, is a whole other kettle of fish…

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H E L L O ?

I remember Ottilie turning to me at 7 months old and saying ‘Mama!’ clear as day, and thinking ‘no way, she can’t possibly be talking this young’, but when by 9 months she was saying about 10 or so clear words, it became pretty obvious that she’s a bit of a chatterbox! Now, at 16 months, she  parrots literally  e v e r y t h i n g   we say, and so we’ve learned to be very careful with our words around her!! She likes to sign ‘friends’ (which she learnt from our Sing and Sign classes…and also Mr Tumble!) and then list off all her favourite people! Her cousin Bea is always top of the list, as is her best friend Archie, and then then her Nanny and her Grandma and sometimes if we’re REALLY lucky, Mama and Dada make the list too! My favourite, favourite thing she’s learnt so far is to ‘sing’ happy birthday, and it made my year when she sang me ‘happyooooo doo Mama’ on my birthday just before Christmas! She’s started stringing two or three words together, and still uses baby signing to communicate a lot too. It’s been the best thing I ever did with her, I’d recommend Sing and Sign to any new Mum!

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Y U M !

Ottie’s generally always been a very good eater, always happy to try new foods and fairly adventurous with what she’ll eat. She’s been through a few fussy phases, but over the last couple of months seems to have become really clear on what she does and doesn’t like, and found her appetite! At the moment she’s a bottomless pit of hunger, and likes to tuck into whatever she sees me eating as well as her own meals and snacks all day long. At breakfast time she tends to eat either avocado toast or a bowl of porridge or bircher muesli (I like bircher as it means I can sneak yoghurt into her diet, one thing she outright hates on its own!), lunch might be a bowl of pasta, some tofu chunks with veggies, or soup with added grains, and at dinner Ottie loves risotto, lasagne, noodles, mild curries, or a jacket potato with beans.

She asks for apples approximately 85 times a day (often the first thing she says in the morning is ‘apple?’) and last week decided that she’d rather share my slice of dark chocolate tart instead of eat the strawberry sorbet I’d ordered her as a treat whilst out for a meal! We both eat a vegan diet so I’m quite conscious of making sure she eats a very well rounded and balanced range of foods, and she takes a multivitamin each day added to a small amount of green smoothie or some watered down orange juice to make sure that she’s getting all the nutrients she needs! I’m actually planning on sharing some ‘What my toddler eats in a day’ type posts soon, just as soon as I get myself organised enough to take photos of each meal whilst I’ve got a hungry toddler whinging around my ankles ;)

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L E T ‘ S   P L A Y

I love watching Ottilie at play, it’s one of my favourite things. She’s never been a very independent baby, and still now usually wants my input into whatever toys or games she’s playing with. Her current favourite game? Organising! Ottie’s big into moving her toys (whether it be her blocks, wooden animals, musical instruments, or the contents of her tea party set) in and out of boxes, from one neat pile to another, or from the sofa to the coffee table and back again! It makes me laugh every time!

Her other true love is her baby dolls- oh does my baby love her babies! I’d held off buying one as I was keen not to do the whole ‘little girls need a baby doll to play with’ thing, but when she made a beeline for them every time we visited her Nanny and tried to put one she was given to play with at our singing class into my change bag to take home, I figured it was about time to buy Ottie her very own baby doll! She likes to feed them with one of her old bottles, cover them with a blanket, and smother them in kisses and cuddles. It melts my heart <3

O T T I L I E   L I K E S . . .

Feeding carrots to the horses in the yard over from our house. Singing songs at playgroup, especially ‘Hop Little Bunnies’…though the hopping is more of a knee bend as we’ve not quite learnt to jump yet! Apples, bananas, avocados, blueberries…basically anything sweet or creamy. Playdates with her cousin Bea. Watching Mr Tumble, or Hey Duggee. Popcorn. When the sheep next to our house come right up to the fence and say hello. Throwing seed out for the birds. Rubbing the paws of her giraffe comforter on her face (and sniffing them too!). Being carried around by her Mama. Emptying out the contents of the kitchen cupboards, and playing with her own mini kitchen too. Being allowed to carry the feather duster around the house. Jumping in from the side of the swimming pool.

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O T T I L I E   D I S L I K E S . . .

Having her teeth brushed. Being encouraged to eat yoghurt, or carrots. Hair wash night. Being put down when she’s hungry or tired or just doesn’t want to be put down, thank you very much. Being barged by the dogs. Having her hands covered over by gloves or the sleeves of her coat. Having cold hands whilst out on dog walks.

So that’s my baby girl! The last year and a bit have been the best whirlwind, and it’s getting more fun by the day. I can’t wait to see what the year ahead will bring!

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I’m wearing: Silk spotty blouse – c/o Boden, FatFace Midwash Skinnies (my FAVOURITE jeans ever!)

Some of our current favourite toys + baby clothes:

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Posted in BABY, OTTILIE, PARENTING

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04.01

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We did it, our first proper grown up Christmas where WE were the hosts! I’m still kind of in shock that I’m an actual real life adult with a toddler, but now that I’ve hosted Christmas and cooked lunch for 11? Well that’s it. Feeling pretty swish these days ;)

In all seriousness though, we had the best time having Christmas with our family in our new house. Jason and I worked out that this was the first time in eight (or is it nine? I lose track…) years of being together that we’ve stayed in one place for the whole of Christmas Day, and it was so lovely!

And having Ottie running round was just the best, she was such great entertainment all day as she opened up parcel after parcel of beautiful gifts and said ‘wooowwweeee’ each time. In typical toddler style of course, her favourite thing to play with at the moment, despite our living room now looking like a JoJo Maman store, is the jam funnel that she goes and pinches from the kitchen cupboard every morning after breakfast. She likes to carry it round and shout into it like it’s her own mini megaphone, and it’s hilarious and deafening in equal measure!

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Silk Spotty Blouse (now on sale!)

If you can believe it, this was the one and only photo of Ottilie and I from the whole Christmas! And isn’t it a corker! ;) It was taken right at the end of our meal, when Ottie had just woken from her glorious two and a half hour nap and arrived downstairs just in time to polish off a portion of peanut butter and chocolate pie!

Speaking of food, this was my first vegan Christmas, and honestly I barely noticed a difference! My favourite part of Christmas lunch has always been all the veggies anyway (Brussels sprouts! Braised red cabbage!), and my Mum makes the most delicious veggie stuffing so was in charge of that this year.

The only thing I ‘missed’ was that normally I’d eat myself until I was almost sick on cheese late in the evening, but as I’m not a major fan of most vegan cheeses (though want to make some nut cheeses this year, Tania raves about them!) this year I just had a few crackers and the tasty vegan garlic and herb cream cheese that Sainsbury’s sell, and then went all out on the chocolate instead!

For dessert I made Minimalist Baker’s chocolate and peanut butter pie, and it was amazing! I’d absolutely make it again, though with just a touch more sweetness added to the pie filling as it was ever so slightly too savoury from the peanut butter for my taste.

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Our Boxing Day was quiet and slow to start, with plenty of coffee brewed and rounds of toast made and panettone eaten by my husband who might be panettone’s biggest fan.

My Mum and her partner Rob had stayed the night at ours, and once we all were up, dressed, and ready to go, welly boots and thick coats were donned and we all wandered up the lane to stretch our legs and burn some energy off the dogs who’d been thoroughly treated with leftovers the day before!

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You know what goes great with a Boxing Day walk? A hip flask of two year old homemade sloe gin!

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We stopped for a good twenty minutes to give these darlings some Christmas cuddles, which is basically my favourite part about every dog walk these days! There are a couple of young horses in the field just up the lane from our house and they’re the sweetest, most affectionate little things. I could honestly stay there all day!

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Oh, and last but not least a photo from my birthday! Which is three days before Christmas and so I always forget about it all together in the hustle and bustle of preparing for the festive season, but I actually remembered to take a quick, very awkward outfit photo this year!

I’ve been telling everyone I’m 27 all year, for some reason, which is unfortunate given that I actually only turned 27 two weeks ago. But hey! I’m thinking of it as gaining a year! I spent most of my day working on a really fun last minute project that came in the week before Christmas, and then got spruced up and headed out for a pizza and cocktails with Jason later in the evening. It was perfect.

~ ~ ~

I hope you all had the very best Christmas, and a wonderful start to the New Year too!

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Posted in CHRISTMAS, COUNTRYSIDE LIFE, FAMILY

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28.12

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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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