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A very Surrey Sunday – Polesden Lacey

Sunday started pretty relaxed, we had a couple of things on the to-do list, Jamie (the husband) was tasked with taking a bunch of items to the local recycling centre, I needed to find those items from around the house  – we often wait and bulk up until we have enough that needs recycling to make the trip worth while. It feels great to have lots of extra space again, we had acquired silly things like two steam mops and two floor mops (yes lots of mops). I guess these things are made, bought and then when they break they are a pain to actually get rid of. We’ve also gone completely digital, finally we have taken all our DVD’s everything from games to films and they’ve been sent packing, even the PS3 is gone. Of course now everything is either stored digitally or streamed, there really isn’t much need for physical media and if anything it’s more effort to retrieve. I’m a huge fan of really clearing out things that just aren’t used, it’s how we maintain such a organised life here, our cupboards are organised purely because the things in them are used and put back. Everything has a place, if it has a use!

After all that hard work, we had earned a nice lunch, home made Eggs Royale all round!

Ariella loves eggs just like her dad, she also likes smoked salmon although doesn’t get it too often due to the salt content and is a big fan of home made hollandaise sauce on top of a poached egg. Once she caught sight of it, she was pretty difficult to keep distracted while hers cooled down.

Lunch followed a long nap for Ariella she usually sleeps for two hours in the day now, this was perfect for us to get ready for the afternoon. Since joining as members of the National Trust we’ve been seeking out new places to go visit and Surrey is absolutely filled with venues. Alongside looking for somewhere to spend the afternoon we also decided to really start hitting the Christmas Shopping list, we ordered Ariella’s main Christmas present from us (we’ve gone down the route of a kitchen and accessories). This will hopefully help her to stand up and play more and work alongside encouraging imaginative play. I’m hoping to top up her presents with extra from “Santa” for her personalised sack that we bought her last year from a store on Etsy.

Once Ariella woke up we packed up the car and drove to check out Polesden Lacey.

‘This is a delicious house…’ remarked Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother on her honeymoon at Polesden Lacey. This country retreat, only four miles from Dorking and junction 9 of the M25, has glorious views across the rolling Surrey Hills and acres of countryside.  It was home to famous Edwardian hostess Mrs Greville, who entertained royalty and the celebrities of her time.

Marvel at the glittering Gold Room, designed to impress kings and maharajahs, or Mrs Greville’s extensive collection of art and ceramics ranging from world-famous Dutch old masters to sparkling Fabergé objects.

The gardens offer something for every season, including climbing roses at their best in June, a herbaceous border that we’re currently restoring to pre-war glories and a winter garden bursting with yellow aconites.

The wider estate provides plenty of space to let off steam on a walk through woodland or over rolling hills, with four waymarked trails to try.

– Official Website

On arrival we were surprised how vast everything was, there are walks that you can do up to around two and a half hours (maybe another day!). The carpark was packed and there were so many people which surprised us as we did go later in afternoon.

We were really just looking for somewhere to walk but we were hoping to actually go into the house too, sadly one of the staff waiting by the entrance to the house said they were closing. Which was quite surprising as it was only 3:20pm! However we are hoping to visit again during the Christmas festivities they have planned and it’s only a forty minute drive so disappointing but we hadn’t made the trip exclusively to view inside the house.

Polarn O. Pyret Fleece OverallThe grounds are truly beautiful it’s really no wonder that this is one of the National Trusts most popular venues. Looking out onto the renowned Surrey Hills, I could very easily picture living here back in the 1900’s. The gardens were very well maintained and in spring and summer would be spectacular, at the moment everything is sitting quite dormant preparing for the long winter ahead. Even driving to the property was a treat, it’s a really pretty area. Over the weekend I ordered Ariella an all in one waterproof fleece overall from Polarn O. Pyret so once that arrives (providing it fits) I’ll be able to put Ariella down on the Autumn/Winter ground to explore more for herself.

There is a play area too but it’s a little walk from the main parts of the property and we didn’t have our wellies on (we were hoping to spend more time in the house). Certainly though we will be taking a look at that next time. It was great getting about with the Tula Toddler, although we did see plenty of families pushing strollers/prams around so if you wanted you could definitely do that too. One downside was that they had wrapped up the statues for winter, they had done this tastefully with white material and white tape but it was a shame. I can understand why though, to preserve them but It did definitely felt like the venue was somewhat like the plants in a dormant phase, preparing for the winter and that if we wanted to see it in it’s best light we would have to come again (which we will be! Look out for the Christmas 1930’s makeover blog post that I will be doing once we visit in December).
Sun in Sky - Polesden LaceyHolly

Ariella and Daddy

After a little walk around to see the chickens and stomp around the grounds we decided to head back so that I could make dinner ready for Ariella. She always eats at 5-5:30pm and predictably in the car on the way home she was having a few grumbling moments about us daring to allow her stomach to remain empty.  This evening we all had Paneer Butter Masala which is a very mild creamy curry, I have been making this dish since long before Ariella was born. My first taste of paneer was actually during our honeymoon in the Maldives, once of the dishes offered was Butter Paneer and once home I loved it so much that I had to find a recipe. As you can see, she loved it and if you fancy trying it at home you can follow the recipe here.

Right at the end of eating Ariella decided to run her hands through her hair (Noooooooooooo) so we had to give her a bath. We don’t bathe her every night, it’s definitely not part of her routine for bed and it seems to work quite well for her skin type. But alas tonight we did! Ariella suddenly developed a phobia of the bath, completely out of no where but we’ve been able to tackle this by using her bath toys – mostly George from Peppa Pig, this along with some reasoned talk seems to get her into the bath and happy once in to stay there. It was lovely to end such a wonderful day with a long line of words from Ariella, Jamie was showing her how bubbles from the bath can be squished together in the air and float down like snow. Alongside this saying “Ready, steady, go!” and Ariella copied every word completely and fully.


Being Mum Featured Parenting

An Autumnal picnic in Surrey

Picnics are one of my favourite things to do with Ariella, until now they’ve always been a Summer event. One of my most mundane parenting tasks is wiping the floors, highchair and Ariella after her meals, the beauty of picnics means that a good shake down usually does the job for you. Cleaning up after meals closely follows my other soul destroying task –  emptying the dishwasher, but needs must.

We were going for an Autumnal picnic with good friends originally, sadly life had other plans but we plodded on just the three of us. I’m nothing if not a creature of habit and soon as our groceries arrived yesterday morning, after unpacking I immediately started mulling wine.

Prep work!

Excuse the rather surprise half smile, Jamie took this after appearing around the corner!

Prior to making mulled wine myself I can’t say I’ve ever really thought that much of it. I realise now that the best mulled wine is home made rather than from a packet or bag, the recipe I highly recommend is one of Jamie Oliver’s which you can find here. I had ordered two huge 1L flasks in the shop to put hot tea and the wine in but we decided only to take the mulled wine as with just the three of us (and one of us not being particularly helpful in the holding department) it would have been just too much for us to carry. We also ditched the wicker hamper in favour of a more practical backpack number that Jamie could attach to his back while carrying Ariella. This left my hands free to carry the food cooler bag, picnic blanket and my trusty flask of mulled wine.

Winkworth Arboretum in the Spring with Ariella

We have been to the Winkworth Arboretum a handful of times, once in the spring when glorious blue bells were out in full swing (for a picnic too) and once in the summer purely for a nice walk with visiting family. This time once again the season change was clear to see, truly beautiful colours can be seen here in Autumn. Winkworth Arboretum is run by the National Trust, which we finally decided yesterday to sign up for a membership for. It really was about time and now free’s us up to enjoy many of the other venues held by the National Trust in Surrey.

We walked around for a little while trying to find the right place to sit down and finally found this really interesting very red tree, it was definitely a point of interest as many onlooker stopped to admire it (as well as point and smile at Ariella). 

Autumnal Picnic

I always like to take a big muslin square, one of those huge ones for Ariella to sit on because otherwise she would stain the picnic blanket when eating. It’s probably not the most sensible of colours for a picnic blanket, grey and white but I really love it! The extra layer helps and means I can bundle up the muslin once she is finished and wash it which removes any marks, unlike the picnic blanket which is a hand washing affair.When we weaned Ariella we decided to use a baby led approach so she has eaten well independently for a long time. When we first starting weaning her at six months old I remember the Health Visitor (HV) at the time saying that she may struggle to to swallow food, this was definitely a hard pill to swallow it’s hard to imagine now that we know she eats well the worry before. She was quite right though it’s a concern for children with Ariella’s suspected condition but luckily not a challenge we have had to deal with.

Ariella Eating

I poured out our cups of mulled wine while Ariella tucked into some pesto pasta, the wine went down a treat as it was bitterly cold out. We wrapped up warm though and Ariella was nice and toasty. Half way through Ariella went really quiet and strange then starting crying intermittently, immediately we both tried to work out what was wrong. Did she wants more food on her plate? What food did she want? A fresh nappy? Her water bottle? Eventually we worked out that she would cry each time Jamie put a crisp into his mouth, how unusual we thought. Crisps that definitely would not normally be part of Ariella’s diet, alas we caved and gave her some – sweet chilli thins seem to be right up her street as she was very demanding of more!

Mulled Wine
Next time I would opt for a hot soup as well as the mulled wine (in flask B), bread to dip in the cups and probably some blankets. It would have been a little difficult to carry though so perhaps we would have to rethink our storage solution! We tried to use more Summer appropriate foods which really didn’t work well in the cold, the cheese for example had no chance to warm up out there.

With all that being said I still highly recommend a lovely Autumnal picnic, it was beautiful to sit there as a family while leaves fell onto the blanket. Ariella had such fun looking up at the sky and for the first time said “Skiay” which we are taking as a another word! I’d love to hear about your Autumnal picnic food suggestions, so please if you do have any lovely recipes to share in the comments or you can message me directly using the about me page.