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Lifestyle Parenting Weekly Update

Hello Spring!

What a welcome back to England to leave on the cusp of Winter and return in Spring, in those two short weeks the garden had come alive as if to welcome us home. The very first weekend on our return was blissfully free on our calendar and we headed straight to the garden centre to pickup our Spring plants.

Before long we were back in normality and waving the jet lag on its way, I had missed the sound of the coffee machine grinding up the morning’s cup and the daffodils which I had ordered in our return shop were starting to blossom in their vase. This week we had a few tasks in our schedule, Ariella had physiotherapy to attend and her weekly portage (learning through play) session. I on the other hand had a billion and one things to arrange for Ariella’s fast approaching second birthday party.

Typically during Spring the weather can be what we call a “mixed bag” some day’s it was raining heavy and others lovely, sunny and sometimes warm. We had one of those rain shower day’s this week and I felt that it would be great to honour the rain being indoors making rainbow umbrella’s (and to buy myself a raincoat). The concept is the same as the Autumn leaf sun catchers but instead just making the umbrellas by themselves and I used some bluetac to stick them to the window.

Ariella has over the two weeks blossomed too, she spent quite a lot of time on her iPad while we were away – although we had some open-ended toys with us too. We noticed then that something had changed, she was playing with the various apps in a way we’ve never seen before. She was able to match every item in her matching game which is quite tricky as you have to drag them over to the right item with your finger. On our return she was suddenly able to do the matching puzzles too and understand that different shapes fit into different pieces. Many of the iPad games have puzzles too in the traditional sense, which she was again able to do.

Music class was back on much to Ariella’s pleasure, she loves her music class and was very happy to attend again. Monkey did not get lost in the Indian Ocean as you can see!

Practising fine motor skills

She had come back a more confident child and less scared of her surroundings, for example this wiggly worm exercise. I’d tried it with her before and she had cried not wanting to touch any of the worms, throwing everything to the floor. I had a feeling this time with the big change we had noticed that it well work and as you can see she enjoyed it very much.

Thinking I might be on to a winner I grabbed her dolly out too and tried a bit of pretend play, amazed again that Ariella was engaged straight away. The same day I took her to a local toy shop to buy a more baby style dolly for her pram in the hope that it might encourage her to push her baby along (like her mum).

It’s been a week of fun new playing and It’s making for better days all around. Ariella is a lot happier now she can communicate well and enjoys playing with her toys without becoming frustrated. She loves her kitchen and has taken to carrying around utensils while she cruises around the room. Her vocabulary has exploded, she knows all the vegetables for her kitchen food and we’ve been making soup with the saucepans. While we were away we a book which has all the letter’s of the alphabet called ABC which I bought second-hand as it’s not being made new anymore. I really wanted it to be exactly the same format as her numbers book seeing as she did so well to absorb her numbers. I’m so pleased that it seems to have worked, Ariella now knows her A – Z’s and is able to read three-letter words like “Cat, Dog, Car”. As well as this she is able to sound out phonetically for some words that she see’s (usually on TV) and I’m finding this rather amazing to watch. In summary lots more imaginative play, lots more fun all round – it’s been a blast this week!

We’ve decided to try a new approach with Physiotherapy, Ariella has a body wrap made of Lycra for her torso and still wear the Piedro supportive boots. Her ankles are still very bendy so she will need to wear them more often than not for the next three weeks, only taking them both off for sleep/foot/travel. Hopefully this might provide extra support for her torso as the muscles there aren’t quite as strong as required to help her walk. We will see how this goes the next week!

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Weekly Update – Wintery walks, Oxenford Christmas Tree farm & The Enchanted Grotto

What a great week to start December off with, sub-zero temperatures mixed with beautiful crisp days and warm sunlight. I actually felt prepared for this, with the cold winter coat I had picked up from Vertbaudet I just popped in the warm insert. Fully prepared with the finger gloves too, which are 100% times better than mittens (a topic discussed by my fellow mummy friends) I’m just lucky she keeps them on!

It was absolutely freezing, even the bar of the swing was frozen and Ariella did not want to stay on the swing for as long as she normally does. I wasn’t quite ready to take her home yet so we went for a wintery walk.

Wintery Park

A wintery park visit in minus figures, even the handle bar was frozen

Winter Walk


Ariella' s Name

This week Ariella surprised me by counting to ten! I’ve always known she likes numbers but I hadn’t realised she knew the sequence of them. Often I’ll count the steps up to our home out loud, we do a lot of counting. Colour’s have really developed too, she likes saying purple “pur pel” and is linking more objects with their colours. The other theme for the week has been posting, she really likes slotting things under other things or into little gaps. To encourage this I bought the ELC Post box which has gone down a treat, they had a nice little discounted sale on for a few days. I’ve tried to get all the Christmas presents done this week and by doing so we’ve made use of many of the sales that have been on.

In other news Susie was put on her chair this week by Ariella, clearly Susie knows her place in Happyland Cherry Lane Cottage. Perhaps Ariella was making room for all the new friends that will be joining Susie and Savannah with the new Happyland Advent calendar she received. Although Ariella seems quite pleased we are even more happy that she has an advent calendar that is suitable for her age and should be better long-term use for her aka not chocolate. It’s a lot more expensive than its chocolate counterpart at £25 and was very tricky to get hold of due to the stock, but we did manage to get one on the second wave of restocking. Part of me is irrationally excited to show Ariella that Susie and Savannah will be getting a Christmas tree in their cottage this year, I hope in years to come when we get more expansive dolls houses (which I already have my eye on many) this imaginary play will just blossom further.

- Picture from ELC website

– Picture from ELC website

We had booked in to a local garden centre in Milford to their Enchanted Grotto to see Santa for the first time. I think we knew given the fact that Ariella isn’t fond of strangers specially those with beards that she might not find the whole experience joyful but in the interest of getting her used to the big bearded man we wanted to try. To help ease the process I picked up a couple of Christmas themed books a few weeks ago That’s not my Santa by Usborne, Nativity by Usborne and Spot’s First Christmas by Eric Hill. I’m hoping given that the Santa book has a touch page for Santa’s beard that it might help. We will be seeing Santa again on Christmas Eve so I will be sure to update! We did still get a present from Santa for Ariella and also to see some Reindeer which I had planned to do later in the month, I’m not sure the reindeer are part of the Enchanted Grotto. I think we just got lucky that they were appearing that weekend, but it was a lovely experience and the elves were definitely in character. These reindeer had come down from the North Pole for Christmas and were staying at a local hotel which they liked very much!


Reindeer stroke

Did you know their fur is exceptionally soft?


Meeting Santa for the first time – Ariella was not impressed, hence not sitting on Santa! Oh Dear, maybe next time Santa! Sorry

We also popped by Oxenford Christmas Tree farm to pick our own Christmas Tree, it was lovely and I highly recommend you go down and get yourself one. They offer delivery too, which we’ve taken advantage of because we are both pretty unenthusiastic when it comes to leaving pine needles in the car and faffing around with ropes. They have some beautiful decorations in their Christmas shop and they picked a really gorgeous high ceiling barn to display them in. It really feels like the spirit of Christmas in there and I’m glad we didn’t just arrange to have a tree delivered from the garden centre. Oxenford sell a whole range of Christmas Tree types which you can read about here. We decided to go for the Nordmann Fir which typically is the most popular style, I love the shape and needles but given it’s our first real tree we will see how it lasts once we put it up for decoration.Barn Ceiling

Christmas shop

The Christmas Shop in Oxenford Christmas Tree farm

Picking a Christmas Tree

Deciding on a Christmas Tree!

It was also my turn to host the play date this week, to keep things festive Ariella and her lovely little friends all made some of the snowflake ornament’s which you can find the post for here. Using a lid is a handy way to get everyone to help press down clay so that it’s flat (just roll it into a ball shape first!).

Festive Crafting with friends Once they departed to go enjoy their dinner Ariella sneakily found a triple chocolate cookie tucked away on a plate for the adults, she helped herself to it obviously. Not long after she then proceeded to vomit twice, I think that’s a lesson learnt!

Evening chillout

Natural order was resumed by bedtime!

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Godalming Fireworks Extravaganza 2016

We all have favourite time of the year, some love the summer or the spring and some of us enjoy Autumn or Winter – perhaps both. I have two times of the year that I enjoy the most, two eventful days that I adore the run up to (well I suppose one is actually more like a week). Halloween/Bonfire night and Christmas, I bundle Halloween and Bonfire night together because they really are so close, they go hand in hand. It’s not just the actual day itself but all the festivities and food that really make me love the nights getting darker. Last year we stayed home, pretty unintentionally as I had purchased some baby ear defenders for Ariella from Baby Banz of Amazon and I was all set to go.

Ariella wearing baby bans ear defenders

Ariella wearing baby bans ear defenders 2015

Then our plans dropped out due to our friends daughter being unwell and we would have been going alone, it was dark and cold – Ariella was much younger then and we ditched it in to watch them instead from the window in the warm. Now that I think about it, we even missed them the year prior while we were living in London – Canary Wharf. I was pregnant and did not fancy going out, waddling around the London crowds when we had such a great view of the fireworks from our apartment.

This year however, there was no backing out. Even if we were going alone it was happening, the tickets were booked ahead of time and Godalming were doing a torch little procession – of which we had a touch booked too. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have dreamt of being part of a town that gets to hold a flaming touch and walk it through the high street, the only downer was that the bonfire at the end was binned off this year. Health and safety of all things, I’d hope that next year this might be rectified with a few volunteer stewards and the like. Apparently people like to lit up the bonfires ahead of time, vandals I guess. Personally I can’t see why anyone would want to ruin the fun ahead of the event, but I am getting old now -ha-.

We heading off around 6:30pm to pickup our torch, the firework display wasn’t until 8:00pm and I had wondered how the time would pass between those two points. It was a pointless thing to be concerned about, Ariella cocooned nicely into the Tula Toddler carrier was completely dazzled by the light up gizmos on display and glow sticks.


Alongside this a band played, she was well catered for. We stood for quite a while before everyone set off and torches were lit around 45 minutes later. I hadn’t really comprehended the impact of so many townsfolk carrying flames down such a historic high street would have. The band played a matching tune the whole way to the firework field and many members of the public had come to watch the torch lit procession,  great sense of community.


Once we arrived at the firework display area Ariella’s attention was drawn to the carousel wheels and bouncing harness attractions for children. This again was the perfect distraction as by now we were well past her normal bed time (6:30/7pm).


The firework display popped into action after a little speech by the mayor, thanking everyone whom had a hand in arranging the event this year. The display was immense! It had been a long time since we had been to a display, mostly smaller displays at our families homes or watching from a distance in London. They played a variety of music alongside and even had a couple of sections with children’s favourite movies and low bang fireworks mixed in.

Me & Ariella

We weren’t sure at all how Ariella would respond, she is usually quite particular about certain sounds and is quite wary of new things. However it seems fireworks are a complete exception, she was completely mesmerised by the light show. I kept my mitted hands over her ears but half way through she demanded I remove them so she could listen properly.

It reminded me much of days gone when she was younger and the wide eyed look they have when they experience something for the first time, something truly amazing.

Before long the show had ended, there were different stalls setup if you fancied a burger. I’m not a huge fan of waiting in line with Ariella as lately she has taken to having a bit of a meltdown about this. So instead we had our eyes on the Fish and Chip shop – Deep Blue – on the high street. Making a quick exit we managed to get in just as a huge queue of people turned up behind us. By this time Ariella was now -very- tired, safe to say she fell asleep pretty quickly once home.

I was so pleased we decided to take her, we weren’t alone. There were many children the same as Ariella who were up past their bedtimes. We will definitely be going next year again and hope that perhaps the bonfire is reinstated (you can see it below in 2015).

Godalming bonfire 2015 - Picture credit to Getsurrey,

Godalming bonfire 2015 – Picture credit to