03.08

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1. That magical moment when Ottie falls asleep in the car, and I get to switch over from The Gruffalo audiobook to a podcast! Current favourites are At Home With by Lily and Anna, and Giovanna Fletcher’s ‘Happy Mum Happy Baby’!

2. Pickling, jamming, and jarring! Getting a bit obsessed over here with seeing my cupboards slowly fill with homegrown, freshly preserved produce for the winter months. Pickled beetroot was my latest venture, and next up I’m planning some courgette chutney!

3. Rain! Sweet, sweet rain! I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see a storm roll in and the heavens open. Blessed relief for this overheated pregnant Mama!

4. Wednesday playdates with my sister in law and my niece and nephew! Ottilie is obsessed with her cousins, they children play so nicely together (mostly, we only have to wade in and referee the girls every 15 minutes or so ;), and two adults to three children makes everything a million times easier! A couple of weeks ago we put them all in the car, drove around until they all fell asleep, then went to a McDonalds drive through for fries and milkshakes. It was totally amazing…

5. Five sweet, ripe raspberries eaten straight from the canes in the garden. I planted them in the most stupid spot this year and am in the process of putting together new raspberry beds ready for next summer, but the few we’ve had are just delicious! Already excited for next summer’s (hopefully!!) bountiful crop!

6. Being kicked in the ribs, and feeling little tiny fingers tickling behind my hip bones. So weird, so wonderful.

7. Putting together a little stash of lovely gifts ready for Ottilie’s birthday! Can you believe she’ll be 2 in a month’s time?! I’m sure it was only a couple of months ago I was planning her first birthday! I’ve been a bit obsessive about getting everything organised ultra early this year since her birthday is less than a month before my due date, so now I’m done getting sorted for her birthday I’m moving on to Christmas. Not even kidding..

8. Seeing little baby butternut squashes growing on the vines down in the vegetable patch. So very exciting!

9. Beginning our online hypnobirthing course! We’re using The Positive Birth Company’s digital pack, and loving it so far. SO amazing to be able to follow along with it at our own pace, in the comfort of our own living room where I’m hoping to give birth come October.

10. Ottilie-isms: ‘Peel my toast Mummy’ (she wanted the crusts taken off…), ‘I love purple/dinosaurs/chocolate cake/Elsie/(literally anything!), dat my favourite!’, and her current obsession with playing ‘midmife’ and measuring my bump with a tape measure <3

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31.07

Cider-with-Rosie-foraging-10

There’s something quite magic about stumbling across something edible, when out in the countryside. I’ve become a bit obsessed with scanning the hedgerows whenever we’re out on walks or driving along the lanes near where we live, watching out for berries or tree fruits or whatever’s in season at the time.

I feel so fortunate every day to live somewhere with such an abundance of wild foods available, and so inspired by our beautiful surroundings to learn more about what edible plants and fruits are growing all around us.

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It all began with wild garlic season back in early spring.

A chance sighting of a sea of glossy green leaves whilst driving along the lane about two minutes from home, a hasty stop, and minutes later Ottilie and I were picking as much as we could cram into a bag I found stashed away in my car.

Some went to making a batch of vividly green pesto that I froze into blocks for use over the months ahead (we’ve only just finished it!), and the rest was wilted down, combined with cooked fresh nettle tops that we picked from the uncultivated area of the veg patch, and used to fill homemade pasties for a delicious, iron-rich dinner.

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Next came the elderflower.

Side plate-sized sprays of delicate off-white blooms that arrived just as Jason’s hay fever did, leaving him so swollen in the face he looked as though he’d spent a weekend having Botox, not doing something as innocent picking flowers and turning them cordial.

Our rookie adventures in cordial making haven’t been as successful as I’d have liked though. We didn’t realise that we needed to add Campden tablets to give it a long shelf life, and so our bottles have all become cloudy and suspicious looking. It seems a waste to throw it down the drain, but I suspect that might be its sorry fate…

But we’ll try our luck with the berries instead when they ripen later this year. I’ve got plans to make elderberry syrup (apparently a potent homeopathic cold and flu remedy), and elderberry vinegar which, by all accounts, is the most divine cooking ingredient imaginable and as good as the finest balsamics!

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Above, sloes ripening on a blackthorn bush, and below the first of the windfall eating apples. We made sloe gin a couple of years ago and it was the most delicious, warming drink the following Christmas! Hoping we’re able to do another batch this year…

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And now, even though we’re only at the beginning of August, the late summer and early autumn wild fruit bounty is looking tantalisingly close to being ready.

The farm track up to our house is lined with both apple and (I think? I hope!) crab apple trees, as well as one tall and statuesque walnut tree. I’ve got grand plans for storing up a freezer full of stewed apples for pies and crumbles, and making as many jars as I can of delicious, cinnamon-flecked apple compote to store through the winter months.

And over from our house, around the stables and up the lane, are more blackberry bushes than we could ever hope to find. I’ve got the fondest memories of going blackberry picking with a little Ottilie on my hip last year, who insisted on a ‘one for me one for the pot’ rule for all the ‘backbees’ we collected together.

This year we’ll be picking blackberries with an Ottilie who can very much help herself, so it’s just as well there’s enough to feed the 5000 all around the farm or else we’d be lucky to get enough for a jar of jam!

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And now that I’ve well and truly caught the foraging bug, I’m so keen to know more about how to eat from the landscape around me!

Do you pick and eat wild foods? Has anyone read any brilliant books about foraging I should know about? And does ANYONE know where a girl can find a damson tree in the Surrey Hills area?!

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27.07

Cider-with-Rosie-toddler-bedroom-9

And just like that, my little girl’s baby bedroom transformed into a space perfect for the toddler that she is!

It feels a fitting time to have made over Ottilie’s bedroom, whilst pregnant with our next baby. It seems to fit the natural flow of our family life- as one little bird hops the nursery-nest and flies off into the realms of big-girl beds and reading corners, the next is ready to take her place in the cot! Oh, how the time flies when you’re watching children grow.

At the time of writing this I’m exactly 30 weeks pregnant, and feeling the familiar rise of the Urge To Nest! Lists are being made of all I want to get done by October, a list which includes (but is not limited to) painting the nursery, putting up a plethora of photos and prints, packing a hospital bag (in case my homebirth plans go awry), getting a truckload of newborn clothes washed and ironed, and of course I’m hoarding cleaning products like a madwoman and suddenly obsessed with scrubbing bathroom grouting and washing down cupboard fronts. Jason learnt last time to stay out of my way when I’m in nesting mode and to comply swiftly with all requests to tidy, clean, and sort, which is probably for the best ;)

So, back on topic, today I’d like to share a few photos from the mini makeover we’ve done of Ottilie’s bedroom over the last couple of months! I’m so pleased with how the room’s come together, and Ottie loves it too!

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First up, walls! Jason painted the room as a surprise for Ottilie and me when we were away in France (the cutest <3), and the shade is Farrow & Ball ‘Chamomile’. I love how it’s a slightly dirty pale pink, and not a traditional ‘baby’ pink shade.

I think Ottilie’s favourite addition to the room though has been her new teepee! We’ve put it in place of the armchair that used to be in that corner, which we found just wasn’t being used since Ottilie started having bedtime milk and stories in her bed after we switched her out of her cot. And it’s been a standout hit! Ottie loves taking books in there to read either by herself or with us, putting her teddies and babies to ‘bed’ inside it under the blankets, or using it as a hiding spot during one of our very, VERY frequent games of Hide and Seek!

It was a total bargain too, bought from Hobbycraft on recommendation from Jen! I’ve put a few cushions inside (the watermelon one Ottie picked herself from H&M, she’s obsessed with ‘walkermelon’ and so I couldn’t say no to buying it for her!), and also strung that sweet felt pompom garland over it too! It was Etsy find, from a shop called Nordic In Kent.

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A quick note on Ottilie’s bed and the cot > bed transition- I’ll be honest, there was a period when I wasn’t sure we’d made the right call. We had a LOT of nighttime wanderings and very early starts, and I was a bit worried we’d turned our toddler from an excellent sleeper into a dreadful one!

But actually I think it was just a case of timing, as Ottilie’s cut two new teeth over the past few weeks since she went into her bed which has upset her sleep, and also I do distinctly remember her being an early riser last summer too. And she’s got loads better over the last few weeks- with a bit of help from the Gro Clock, she doesn’t really ever get out of bed at night anymore and we’ve pushed bedtime back to 8pm to help her sleep in slightly later in the mornings!

Oh, and still swearing by the Gro to Bed set for its genius integrated pillow and duvet with zippable sides, to prevent covers being kicked off in the night. Not so essential in this heatwave, but I think it’s the cleverest idea!

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These toy storage boxes have been doing us proud for a good 18 months now I think! Ottie’s current favourite are all the wooden puzzles in the White Company box, which actually once contained a gift at my baby shower when I was pregnant with her!

I came across this ‘hello’ faux-neon sign whilst shopping for some artwork for Ottie’s room, and I’m totally in love with it! It’s a lovely warm light just right for reading bedtime stories by, and I think it adds such a fun, modern feel to her room.

And the peg shelf has been one of my best purchases, which we’ve had since putting together the nursery in our old house before Ottie was even born! It’s another Etsy piece, though annoyingly I can’t seem to find a link for the shop online now. I’ll update here if I manage to track it down!

And on the mantlepiece below is a print I’ve been meaning to put up in Ottie’s room for months on end, and figured if I waited until I was organised enough to get a frame for it I’d probably still have it carefully packed away in an envelope when she’s off to senior school!

The print was an incredibly kind gift from Wendy at The Charming Press, and I just adore it. It’s personalised with the details of Ottilie’s birth, and I think it makes such a lovely addition to the room I’m going to get one done for the next baby when she or he makes an appearance later this year!

I’m so, so happy with how this space has shaped up, and it feels so good to have given it all a good sort out in preparation for the baby coming as well. I’ve had a big reshuffle of Ottilie’s dresser to make space for baby clothes, and put together a big basket full of muslins, swaddles, and blankets too. So, we’re getting there!

Let me know in the comments if there’s anything I’ve not linked to that you’d like a source for :) And I hope you like the room as much as we do!

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24.07

Cider-with-Rosie-7-days-of-self-care-3

It occurred to me a few weeks ago how little time I dedicate to myself these days.

I used to take so much joy in playing around with different make up looks whilst getting ready in the mornings, or having a lovely relaxing bath at the weekend followed up with a full body-smothering of moisturiser or oil, or even just taking an hour before bed at night to read a book together with Jason.

Naturally, the time I have available to dedicate to all this was cut down suddenly and massively with the arrival of Ottilie, one year, 10 months, and two weeks ago! I mean, it isn’t as though I’m running around with her without catching a breath from dawn until midnight, but it’s just that my responsibilities and general life admin have increased 10 fold, my priorities have changed, and good GOD the general tiredness of parenting leaves very little energy spare for indulgent bedtime routines!

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But a couple of months ago, I realised that my lack of self care was leaving me feeling massively run down, and a bit drab. I was throwing on the barest bit of makeup in the car each morning, never taking any pride in my appearance, and wearing the same old clothes day in day out.

So I decided to set myself a series of week-long self-care challenges, all with the end goal of seeing whether making effort to take care and time for myself would have an impact on my overall wellbeing. And of course, I want to blog about it here too!

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And the first of those challenges has been to set up a nice, neat makeup area in our bathroom at home, and put on a full face of makeup every day!

I’ve never been into super heavy makeup, but some days it’s been fun to wear foundation, blush and bronzer, a couple of different types of eyeshadow…the whole shebang! Usually on mornings when Ottie’s in nursery and I’ve actually got some time on my hands for once, ha! But more often than not I’ve returned to a very fresh, minimal, pared down look that’s made me feel put together but not at all weighed down by make up.

My friends at Birchbox actually sent over a few of their favourite products for me to try out when I spoke to them about my idea for this challenge, which was so kind and also made putting on my makeup each morning extra fun!

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And they truly have the best taste, because a couple of those products have become firm favourites so fast that I’ll be repurchasing the very second they run out! I’ve been raving the Lumene Beauty Serum ever since the first day I tried it, and honestly I haven’t worn a thing else on my skin in six weeks. It gives the most effortless glow, just the right amount of ultra light coverage, and feels nourishing too.

The Stila palette in the photograph above too has become a ‘can’t be without it’ product, since it combines eye shadows in exactly the right shades to put together the perfect neutral or smokey eye, and two gorgeous blushers too! A time-saver, through and through…

And that Bourjois matte liquid lipstick has been my go-to for months now- it’s got such great staying power, is the perfect soft pink shade, and can be layered up heavily for a bold look or just dabbed on with topped with lip balm for a subtle pink glow. I love it!

My current favourite products :: Stila ‘Perfect Me Perfect Hue’ palette || Lumene Watercolour Blush || Benefit Roller Lash || Nuxe Prodigieuse eye cream || Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream || The BEST candle ever

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Interestingly, and not at all surprisingly, making time in my morning routine to put on a quick, 5-10 minute make up look has had the biggest impact on my mood. I’ve found I’m so much more confident when I’ve taken just a few minutes care over my appearance, and feel like I’ve reclaimed some of my ‘old self’ again!

~ ~ ~

So, fellow Mamas, I’d love to know how you get on if you try this challenge too! I’m of course, of COURSE not suggesting that we all need makeup to feel good and confident in ourselves, but for me it’s been such a lovely way to steal back a bit of time all for myself each day, and to give myself a boost in positivity every morning.

Here’s to self care! <3

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Posted in BEAUTY, SELFCARE

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