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October 2015

Welcome little girl!

Welcome little girl!

by Clare Mansell

On Wednesday lunchtime with exceptional timing and finesse, an 8lb 2oz little girl arrived to join our family. She made her appearance at a planned home birth, on a beautiful autumn day and her half-term birthday meant was able to spend her first afternoon surrounded by her extended family .

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We chose not to find out the baby’s gender before her birth and had convinced ourselves she was going to be another boy. As a result we’ve struggled a little with names and although we’ve announced one already to friends and family (and on Instagram) two days on we are starting to waver a bit. Choosing a name is such an enormous commitment to be made at a time when your head and heart are all over the place that we want to make sure we get it right.

After a difficult hospital birth with Theo, this second one was different in so many ways and I’m pinching myself that we were lucky enough to get to do it as we wanted. Part of that list of things we hoped for was to have the first few moments of the new baby’s life captured in photographs and my sister managed to do this beautifully.

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At some point soon when I have digested it all I will share the birth story and some of those pictures. Homebirthing was a great experience for us and one which I feel strongly that I want to share for anyone considering their delivery options. I really enjoyed reading other people’s stories of the ways they brought their children into the world and it’s great to at last have a story I want to tell too.

Thank you all for the lovely messages we have received already on social media, we are currently enjoying some precious time as a family of four, but we’ll be back with more updates shortly.

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Autumn luncheon with Hector & The Fox

Autumn luncheon with Hector & The Fox

by Clare Mansell

Sometimes you are lucky enough to get exactly what you need in life, when you need it. Sitting around waiting for a baby to arrive exactly what I needed on Monday was an afternoon of good company and wonderful food and thanks to my blogger friend Alys and the talented duo behind Hector & The Fox that’s exactly what I got…

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I passed my due date last Friday, I’m still healthy and mobile with no sign of the baby wanting to make an appearance at any time soon (Theo was two weeks overdue and induced) but a little hesitant to put anything in my diary.

I honestly think Alys slightly miscalculated my due date when she invited me as her lunch buddy and I kept everything crossed that I wouldn’t have to let her down at the last moment… which (hurray!) I didn’t!

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So off we went on an expedition into the West Sussex countryside on the promise of lunch. Hector & The Fox are (to quote their Twitter profile) “the passionate organisers of very special events in Sussex.”  They have a venue in an old mill near Petworth which is often a tea room, sometimes a sales venue and occasionally a pop up restaurant for seasonal lunches. It’s friendly, exclusive and welcoming all in one… and they serve damn good food.

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We joined them for an October lunch of Pumpkin Arrancini, Sussex chicken with wild mushrooms and Pear and Almond Sponge pudding served with a welcome drink of Bramble fizz.

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Also on our table was Julia from Winter’s Moon (a seriously beautiful online homeware store) and her husband Pete and we had a really relaxing time eating warming dishes and chatting. In fact I was slightly horrified when I checked my watch and realised we’d been there for two and a half hours and the “couple of hours” my mum would be looking after Theo over lunch had got ever so slightly longer…

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For thoroughness we sampled a slice of the alternative main course of roasted vegetable tart between us (yum!) and went back for seconds of the pudding (well there were two dishes of it, it’s important to check they were the same, right?)

If I wasn’t fit for bursting when I arrived, I certainly was when I left, which is fine by me at the moment. I’m big into snacking on cheese and biscuits in the evening and avoiding the hassle of cooking a proper meal for one.

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Paulo & Ian who run Hector & The Fox are in their current venue till Christmas and then they’ll be moving to another location to continue their events. There are still spaces for their Sussex lunches in November & December and they have secretive projects up their sleeve for 2016 which sound intriguing.

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You can find out more on their website or by following them on social media where you can drool over photos of their delicious dishes…

Hector & The Fox
Burton Mill
Petworth
GU28 0JR

http://www.hectorandthefox.com/
https://twitter.com/HectorandtheFox

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The last fruits of summer

The last fruits of summer

by Clare Mansell

We haven’t had much luck with growing fruit and veg in our own garden over the last few years. The local wildlife desimated the few small seedlings I planted in the spring and even our basil plant by the backdoor got nibbled, but my parents always have a good harvest on their plot (proper rabbit proofing helps!) and even at this time of year there are a few surprises to be found amidst the wilting plants.

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When Theo heard there were raspberries in need of picking he could barely contain his enthusiasm. This boy has a serious addiction to fruit of any kind, but particularly the kind that can be plucked from bushes by his keen fingers. He knows every blackberry bush within several miles of our house and could tell you exactly where the fruit has lingered longest and is still fat and juicy, but raspberries are a seriously special treat…

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He may look like he’s offering that bowl towards me in the photo, but don’t be fooled, he’s pretty terrible at dividing up his spoils and that outstretched hand is more about showing than it is about sharing, but we’ll forgive him, the last fruits of summer are precious things.

Linking up with Lauren…

Living Arrows
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Quilted giant floor cushions

Quilted giant floor cushions

by Clare Mansell

The nice thing about this period of waiting near the end of my pregnancy is that as my diary is relatively empty, I have time to do less urgent things. These giant floor cushions are a classic example of a really enjoyable project which I would never have got round to normally and it was doubly satisfying because I put them together using only the supplies I had already…

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I was wrong about boys haircuts…

by Clare Mansell

I used to think that all boy’s haircuts should be short and neat, almost (dare I say it) military like in their tidiness. Then I met this boy, with his absolute and profound loathing of the hairdressers and his belief that if his hair is getting too long the obvious solution is to “Curl it Mummy”

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And I realised it was me who was wrong. Cutting his hair might not have been robbing him of his strength, but it was robbing him of his character. With his big laugh and cheeky personality he was never going to entirely suit a uniform cut.

Now it’s grown longer, the highlights in his hair are souvenirs he carries from warmer months and though he dresses smartly and proudly in his new school uniform, his hair says he is still an individual and a little child.

Our compromise is the agreement of a fringe trim every month or so. My sister bravely wields the scissors and we try to get it done with the minimum of fuss. Yesterday was the day : Two minutes in the kitchen in his chair, a quick squirt of water and a couple of bold and precise snips.

I’m loving being able to see his eyebrows again.

Living Arrows
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