I’m so pleased that I’ve been able to accumulate such wonderful pieces for Ariella’s holiday wardrobe, after a few items arrived this week we are pretty much there with completing her holiday wardrobe. The only things missing now are shoes, a few more swimsuits and possibly a UV all in one. I need to speak with her physiotherapist about ordering the Piedro sandals as the specification is very detailed.
Most of the clothing was purchased in the UK Summer sales or sales during this Winter that we were just lucky to get hold of. However this last week or so holiday wardrobes have been sprouting up everywhere, I was able to get some great new season Gap items further down this post. This is all a mixture of the following brands – Piccalilly, Viller Valla, Gap, Polarn O. Pyret, Next, Monsoon, Blue Zoo and Jojomamanbebe.
When I laid it all out like this I was really surprised how much she has, I think it’s important to have more clothes than not when you have a child who is either messy or is sick quite a lot. We won’t be able to go to any shops so having things to hand is key and we have such a generous luggage allowance, why not? I love the different prints, the variety in the T-shirts she has available and then a few playsuits for on the beach. I really feel that the organic designer has more vivid colours, It’s really inspired me to look into independent designers – something I was somewhat forced to do due to being out of season.
I was super pleased with the additional last few orders from Gap, I feel their new holiday collection really increases the outfit options. Beautiful teal’s, pinks and vibrant summer colours which will hold their ground in the sharp sunlight.
I couldn’t find her green aviator style glasses for the picture at the time but alas I’ve managed to find them since. This Jojomamanbebe sunglass strap is ideal, it can be attached to normal toddler glasses to help keep them on their face. Ariella’s head size is over the size for any baby glasses so this is the perfect next stage for her. You can buy lots of holiday wear online from Jojo all year around so if you can’t find it in store check online with them. Their hats are great, we’ve used them in Summer during the warmer months, whoever came up with little straps underneath – Thank you!
The only swimsuit so far (other than her normal UK swimsuit for Hydrotherapy) is this one below from the GAP haul. Beautiful minty, teal really so happy that they brought this out in time for us!
Now I just need to get us sorted out – and a last few bits for Ariella, Before we say bon voyage!
What is it good for? Sales, eating up left over Christmas chocolate, starting (and failing) new goals. This week we braved the shops to check out the sales, I’m not the best “sales” shopper. I prefer to have my outfit choices taken straight from the mannequin, trying to match items that are on sale, in a random order and out of season is really tough. We struck very lucky however when we headed into House of Fraser to find their Polarn O. Pyret section had been filled with lots of summer wear and they had Ariella’s size! They must hold some summer wear back as I didn’t see this before in that store.
I managed to grab a single pair of shorts (the white ones) in GAP kids too, it seems that most of Ariella’s holiday wardrobe has been compiled from bits and pieces I’ve found so far. I think however she is going to be the best dressed of us, it’s even harder to find items for ourselves.
January is a strange month, it’s incredibly long, it’s Winter but the build up to Winter feels like it’s -done – once New Year’s Eve is over with. What do people do in January? My first thought was clean, tidy and organise but applying that to a non walking toddler isn’t easy. For now we’ve been working on practicing to post items with her post box, make tea with her Christmas tea set and reading books has come back in favour with Ariella. With the MRI now behind us we have a long month to get through, but I’ve had lots to do with reading, preparing for our holiday, lots of fun shopping and compiling a huge spreadsheet as our packing list.
A few designers have thrown up an unexpected holiday selection, I was greatly informed by a friend this week that Boden have a bunch of summer items in (they indeed do!). Next also have a small selection of playsuits and swimwear, GAP also have a holiday wardrobe in. Knowing Ariella fits GAP the best I’ve made an order with a selection of their holiday range which should arrive shortly.
Picture credit to Piedro official site
I’m trying to hold off on buying any shoes until I know what size feet Ariella will have, but we will order her these Piedro sandals so her ankles are supported still.
I’ve been doing some reading into this whole organised home notion, while browsing I found that Apartment Therapy are doing a January Cure which you can sign up to. I’m in no way affiliated with them I should say, but if you fancy being sent a daily organisational task then it looks great for motivation. As I said though I find these things -enjoyable- so I’m a bit of a weirdo, but I do struggle now to find as much time. I have fond memories of clearing out and organising our wardrobes when we lived in London and I was no longer working. Colour coordinated, perfectly folded, organised into sensible sections – perfect! Nowadays things are still organised (probably because we’ve moved three times since 2013) but only because they get put back where they were originally put when we moved. I made sure this time around to not just fling everything away and to take time to organise where all our belongings were going, particularly in the kitchen.
I’ve decided to start exercising, cliché I know! I’ve signed up with Asana Rebel which is a yoga fitness app, the app gives you weekly exercises with an end goal. I’m currently starting the “Fatburn” programme which has four workouts to do in a week. You can adjust it though if you wanted to work out more or less. This programme is eight weeks long which should put my nicely into the start of our holiday, it was hard to decided whether to go for Fatburn or beach body but seeing as I think I need to lose the fat first that’s probably best. I don’t have a huge amount to lose but it would be great to drop a few lbs before I’m destined to wear a bikini as my daily outfit. I’ve been using Myfitnesspal on and off for years with varying results, it does work – naturally if you eat less your body uses up it’s reserves. But I lack the commitment to the cause, enjoying food too much – I’m hoping that with a scheduled goal and date in mind that I’ll find motivation again to keep to it. I’ll be trying to combine this with using Myfitnesspal too, with all the cooking I do now it’s a little more time-consuming to add in the recipes but I’ll try!
It was this or join the local gym, I feel like this is a more gentle approach to exercise. One in which I can’t terribly embarrass myself too badly and the only faces will be those of my daughter and my husband. I’ll be keeping you up to date as to how it goes so check back for updates or sign up to my newsletter on the right hand side to get a monthly highlight of things going on here.
I had such high hopes for this week, we had lots of lovely things planned starting with a music class, classical music performance to watch and finally a Christmas market/fair. Then on Monday morning I woke up with Ariella’s cold and I knew then that the week was going to be challenging. I understand that children pass germs and viruses around, they don’t really understand the concept of breeding germs but my immune system has taken such a battering since becoming a parent. Somehow I managed to survive the first year without a single cold, but now Ariella touches everything and mixes with other children it’s just a matter of time until the next and the next.
Due to my inability to function as a person we started our Monday off pretty quietly, it’s not too long before a toddler realises that they’ve been indoors all day so the easy morning can only last so long. We worked through as many activities as I could encourage her to be interested in, she played with her Teddy. She has learnt to share her stacking cups and pretend they are cups of tea along with a big slurping sound. It was lovely to see such great pretend play.
Cup of tea Bear?
I also really wanted her to start practicing more with her cubes on the spindle as this activity helps children thread later on and works on fine motor skills. It’s something she until this week couldn’t quite do fully but she mastered it!
Mastering blocks on a wooden spindle, well done Ariella!
Never underestimate the fact that parents do not get to recover from their illnesses, I think every illness I’ve had since Ariella has taken me double the time it used to recover from. After realising this yesterday I’ve decided it’s because life just continues as normal when you are unwell. I’m not medically trained, just an observation but I guess if you are not resting then it would make sense?
When I’m not feeling 100% it’s hard to muster the energy to do new interesting activities, we spent a lot of time at the park this week which is my go to. Ariella absolutely loves the swings though so I don’t think she minds! Being in a totally lazy mood I also didn’t feel like cooking, so lunch on Tuesday was a quick trip to a local sandwich shop Pegs Parlour on Godalming high street. We hadn’t ordered from there before but It was delicious and I highly recommend you pop in for a visit. I don’t eat meat so sometimes sandwich choices can be quite limited, the kind member of staff recommended the goats cheese and caramelised onion filling for me. He made one up and a cheese sandwich for Ariella, both to takeaway and off we went. We will definitely be going back!
Sadly we didn’t make it to the music class which is our weekly class in the mornings, we could have gone but I really didn’t want to infect everyone else. I was in full cold mode, spending most of my time running around with a bunch of tissues in my pocket and in no real state to want to sit in a room trying not to cough or sneeze. Am I the only one who thinks this?
To make up for my completely lack of effort in the food department at lunch I felt I should try something new for dinner so I did whip up a storm using a new sweet and sour recipe recommended from one of my friends months ago. It went down a treat, I was surprised how little sugar you can use when making it yourself. Normally we don’t have sugar in our sauces which is why I have to make everything from scratch all the time.
We had a couple of new things happen this week, Ariella’s vocabulary is increasing day by day. She can now say “Cow” and make the noise to go with Moo. Also she likes to say “Ready, Steady, Go!” all together and my favourite “No” pronounced Noaw. Learning to say no has certainly made things interesting, not because she uses it irrationally – no in fact she doesn’t say it that often. But because now It’s very clear what she wants and does not want, we ask Ariella a lot of questions. “Do you want to do this? Do you want to do that? Do you want to get out the bath?” now she understands to express her view sometimes respecting it can be challenging. We try though!
We have also had lots of fun with our lighting, Ariella can say all the colours and so far seems to really love “purpurl” purple, we let her shout out the colours and change the lamps to suit. It’s easily done with the Phillips Hue lighting system and can be easily be controlled from the luxury of our mobile phones, or by just asking Siri on our watches.
Physical and Motor Development
Gross mobility has come along slowly too, although she doesn’t seem to be too interested in walking much she can now get down herself when climbing the sofa. This is great, no more worrying that she’s going to fall off or frustration from her because she can get up but cannot get down again. Next week I’ll try introducing the stairs more again, she does have access to a staircase 24/7 while at home. We have a neat little one which has walls on each side so it’s rather safe to learn on (the others are gated!), she doesn’t show much interest in it at present though.
I almost forgot – Ariella learnt to dance! On demand.
I’ve spent all week trying to get her to stack a tower of blocks working on fine motor, will she? No. She loves knocking them down though, I think that’s just how she likes to be. She can stack a single block if in the mood and she enjoys the spindle blocks which helping a lot. Ariella also has been practicing with her little activity cube from Asda, dropping balls down the track and has shown some interest in positioning the cars on her ELC Click Clack Track. It’s been quite difficult to take her interest away from her iPad this week, I don’t know if using an iPad counts as fine motor? I guess it does, she’s become quite good at manipulating the objects. Check out the little video below.
Sensory and Cognitive Development
Ariella has really come on a long way since her review in this area, she understands now that objects don’t just disappear if she cannot see them. She likes to hide her sticky dots for her bath under the bathroom rug and knows when I hide her iPad that it’s not gone (mean mummy!)
This week she learnt about different shapes and their names, she can even say certain ones and she’s able to complete the shape puzzles used in the review. We are trying to move towards using a shape sorter but I think once fine motor improves she will be mastering the sorter in no time.
Here’s a few pictures of our week, I shan’t bore you with a blow-by-blow account all you need to know if it’s been raining a lot and pretty cold here in England. However we have had lots of festive fun, with the cold season starting the various fairs and markets are kicking off. We intend to end our week on a high with a trip to a Christmas Market this afternoon!
Autumnal park fun!
Goats cheese and caramelised onion sandwich from Pegs Parlour in Godalming
It arrived! Polarn O. Pyret all in one suit!
Devotion, pushing the swing in a rainstorm
Testing out the new suit!
The first minced pie of the season
Practicing standing ready for a trip outside.
Trip to check out the Guildford Cathedral Christmas Market
Lunch at Zizi’s in Richmond, London. Lovely children menu, went down well!
At the dentist, waiting for a long time (two hygienist appointments back to back). She did very well!
The Good the Bad and the Ugly
The whole week so far has been a bit of a silly flop, we couldn’t go to the music class as I haven’t been well. Our trip to the park ended up with me soaked to the bone in a deserted playground pushing Ariella on a swing in a rainstorm, with a cold and no coat (silly me!). Once I was well enough Thursday we missed the classical music children’s show because there was nowhere to park, on Friday we went to a local Christmas Fair which was advertised as a big market in Guildford. The most amusing part of Friday was trying to find the place with one of my lovely mummy friends and her son, we certainly worked off the chocolate cake we had once there but the market turned out to be more of a crafting fair.
To top it all off a trip to the dentist, which actually was quite amusing for Ariella at least. I have my fingers crossed that today will be better, we are off shortly to another Christmas Market this afternoon, if I don’t get some mulled wine this time I’m going to write the week off entirely.
On the plus side, Ariella got a new hat, she visited the park A LOT, her new all in one came so things aren’t as difficult outside in the rain without her walking, Ariella isn’t unwell thank goodness and I’m starting to feel better finally.
All in a days lifetimes work eh? I did get a minced pie though, just saying.
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.
The 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).
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.