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Being Mum Parenting Weekly Update

A challenging start to the year

On returning home from the hospital with our new bundle, eager to show him off to his big sister who had been left for the first time ever overnight without either of us we had hoped for a much more exciting reception than what fate had planned for us. You would think having a complex pregnancy, major surgery, a toddler with limited mobility plus a newborn baby might well be enough to comprehend for one family. You would be wrong!

I walked in to greet everyone, took one look at Ariella and I could tell she was not feeling well at all. She had over the last few months been picking up illness after illness, becoming very withdrawn and screaming much more than ever before. The following two weeks were no fun at all, every night we would wake her up to change her sheets which were soiled, as time went on she became more and more distressed at this time. We took her to the GP thinking she must have a stomach bug or virus, it went on for two and a half weeks before her little legs and feet started to swell. I knew that day something was really wrong as Ariella had become very quiet, very sleepy and was vomiting all her food. She went days without having any wet nappies, she even went into the children ward briefly for suspected dehydration but was discharged quickly. That night I was putting her to bed and noticed how unbelievable skeletal her little frame had become, every rib was visible, she looked anorexic and her legs felt puffy to me. The next day I phoned the doctor surgery and explained things were getting worse rather than better Ariella was given an appointment for later in the afternoon. When I tried to put her shoes on to leave they wouldn’t fit on and I knew something was very off indeed, ditching the shoes we headed out the door three weeks post surgery with both children (one strapped to my chest in a sling and the other too weak to move nestled in the side of my arm). I sat with her in the surgery waiting room feeling like we should be in hospital and very much out of my depth, her breathing was very shallow and fast and she was very floppy. This was not how I imagined the first day flying solo to be, J had gone back to work that same day.

After a throughout exam by a doctor Ariella was sent onto the children ward and didn’t get discharged for seven long days, I was at home with her three-week old brother while her dad stayed by her side. Those seven days felt incredibly extended and during that time Sebastian had changed so much, I wasn’t able to take him into the hospital as he was too small to be on a ward full of very unwell children. The hospital ran a variety of tests from ultrasounds to bloods, tubes to remove air from her stomach as it was incredibility distended. After several attempts to get a cannula in, every single option of a vein had been attempted she was given fluids but we still did not know what was causing her to be so lethargic and swollen. It’s amazing how much time ticks by while you are in hospital, or waiting for tests, waiting for someone to come back with the rest results, waiting to find out if you can go home, waiting for the food trolley. Whereas at home you have a lot of distractions to keep you busy, is no wonder really that patients and their carers become so impatient with such lack of control about their day and frankly future. It feels like having a tiny piece of the path ahead alight for you, but really you want to know where it’s going so you can plan ahead and prepare yourself.

With the results of the tests and a worrying ultrasound showing a bowel issue (that resolved itself but created the need to be transferred up to a London hospital and be prepped for surgery) it was finally agreed that Ariella had “probable” coeliac disease. She started a gluten-free diet in hospital and when she was finally discharged she already seemed much better. It took several weeks for her obsession with food to slowly fade, yet I suppose for several months she would have felt like she was starving it’s no surprise she has become so aware of meal times and snacking. Weeks on her mood is greatly improved, she isn’t screaming at me every few seconds anymore, she’s actually smiling again, her hair although it fell out at first seems to be growing faster, she looks less pale, she’s more able to move around and in general her mobility is progressing again. It’s had a profound impact on us as a family as living with Ariella in her new state is a lot easier, she’s more patient, she’s engaged whereas previously would sit all day in a zombie like state playing with no toys but instead screaming or crying. You might wonder why we didn’t realise sooner, we did but there was always an explanation for the various issues raised. Her stomach was distended, not unreasonable given her weak core. It was only when she began losing weight that I started to feel perhaps Ariella was being misdiagnosed. Even the vomiting with eating and after could be explained by a sensory oral issue or sickness.

We are so grateful that it’s something we can treat and will hopefully enable her to move forward where we’ve been stagnate for a year. I know it won’t be a magic cure for Ariella and that she has struggled long before she ever ate gluten but I hope that it can put her back in the place she was before her second birthday. I hope that it means that she can begin now to live more, be happy and confident and frankly we can go outside more. Once Ariella was diagnosed we decided to become a gluten-free household and I’m very glad we did. When she came home I had hauled all the gluten out of the kitchen and had signed up to CoeliacUK, had gluten-free recipe books on order as per the dieticians advice. There is really great recipe book for children called The Gluten Free Cookbook for Kids which I have now tried quite a few of the recipes from with great success. I suspect I may also have Coeliac Disease as my blood test results came back just the same, so it’s good that we all are living healthier all round. I wanted to make sure that Ariella can pick anything from the kitchen without worry and that it felt inclusive for her. It really hasn’t been too difficult to change our diet as I always cooked recipes from scratch and never really relied on pre-made sauces, the only major change has been that we don’t eat out at often and have less takeaway’s now. Which has been great for my waistline!

Comparison pre and post gluten removal

In the last month and a half while learning we have accidentally given gluten to Ariella twice and the effect are very obvious so I feel quite certain about her CD diagnosis. Right now though I am just pleased that our lives are a little more quiet with a little less screaming, I’ll take that.




Lasting out January, reflecting on the Seasons

When I woke up this morning to another chilly Winters day looking out over the roof tops of Surrey at everyone’s chimneys stood like pillars smoking away, I’m reminded how great the last year has been and felt I should reflect on it a little below. Soon we will be coming up to our “moving home anniversary” and last week we had our purchased new home anniversary, we had a few months to decorate before moving in you see. I think we spent quite a lot of our weekends living here in Surrey in the spare room and London during the week over that time. It was quite exciting those weekends, living on ready meals/takeaways, garage sandwiches and wine in plastic champagne flutes. Ariella always slept very well in her room snuggled into her travel cot and I think it helped so much with her transition when we finally did “move in”, she wasn’t moving into the unknown but a room she had seen shaped just for her.

The Nuna travel cot (large version) is awesome by the way!

It’s absolutely beautiful in Surrey, I don’t know if we were just lucky with the weather in 2016 but the Seasons this last year have been defined. We moved in the Spring and the garden which is quite mature was blooming alive with vibrant pops of colour in very unexpected locations. I’d sit at my dressing table in the mornings, looking out at the garden with beautiful birds chirping away in front of me, foxes dashing across my window and a mass of every changing colour – I’d never really appreciated gardens until that point. I could tell what the day would hold just by looking out the window, whether it would be a cold day and the grass would be frosty or a lovely Summer’s morning. Every season is as it is told in books, this is something I’ve never really experienced before. When living in Bristol we used to get a lot of cloud, sure sometimes it would snow in Winter but usually it was pretty mild and grey – when it’s always grey it’s very hard to see the beauty in England. London it was warm, cold in Winter but comparatively warm to most places due to the build up of people, buildings and stuff.

Summer here is hot, just as you’d expect you get some rainy days but the warm days were lovely. We could eat outside a lot, it was – too warm – at times. Lighting up a BBQ on the terrace, lugging up the ice bucket to chill prosecco by twilight and watching dangling little fairy lights in the dark. Fond memories of Ariella paddling in her first little frog pool, splashing around in her Summer hat while Strawberries are growing (ready to go in the glass with the Prosecco) nearby.

Once Summer starts to wane Autumn arrives with a mass of beautiful leaves, where I grew up we had some trees in the road to mark the season change but it was never on the level of Surrey. The green is everywhere and you are confronted with a mass of ambers and red, it’s impossible to forget that Autumn has arrived here. People dig out their Autumnal wreaths, they bring out pumpkins and Autumn treats. We watch fireworks shoot across the sky to mark firework night, the darkness starts to take over more of the day and you find yourself lingering indoors a little more to keep out the cold.

You can actually feel it here, have you every played the game “Animal Crossing” which was available on the Wifi and Nintendo DS? I loved that game, I enjoyed in the game watching the seasons change too.

Finally here we are in Winter, I actually love Winter. I love the build up to Christmas, I don’t even mind January – not really. As long as Winter is actually cold, cosy and maybe we see a glimpse of Snow that’s always been my view. Far too many Winter’s have passed in a grey, cloudy blip – boring Winter’s those are the ones I don’t like. Surrey has provided us with frost, snow, minus digits on the thermometer. For the first time in my life I’ve had to grit the pathways due to ice and the garden has had a layer of frost on it that has remained there for weeks.


I know that for some people they dislike one Season, or they only like one – Summer perhaps. But I’m one of those people who has a true appreciation for the way that they mark the changing of time. I think it’s rather beautiful and I’m glad that we live somewhere which seems to celebrate this change through nature, festivals, community and life. Soon January will be over and we will be closer to the Spring, only to repeat the cycle all over again. I’ve already heard the phrase “I can’t wait for Summer so we can do…” I love how we all live in tune with the Seasons.

What’s your favourite Season?

Being Mum Featured Lifestyle Parenting

A Winter trip to RHS Wisley

It was forecasted to be quite a dull day, not raining but very wet from heavy rain the night before. I woke up rather indecisive we almost drove down to the sea! I wanted to pick somewhere Stroller friendly as I wasn’t feeling 100% and Jamie has a bad back at the moment. Instead we drove to The Royal Horticultural Society’s garden Wisley, it turned out to be a fantastic choice. On arrival we opted to become members as I felt it would be another great venue to add to our portfolio of places we can go for family picnics and outdoor time. Membership is quite reasonable for the year, It’s going up in price tomorrow I believe but we paid £42.75 for a year by direct debit at the time.

I’m really excited about this place, It’s huge and I wish we had planned to stay longer as we didn’t cover half of what was on offer. I can only imagine how beautiful it is in Summer when all the flowers outside are blooming. I do believe that if you visit somewhere at its weakest point and love it, that’s a great sign.


There is a neat wooden seating area near the fountain which you can sit and admire the water from, it’s sheltered from the rain and in part the wind. In my childless days I could imagine coming just to sit and read here. After a short while we wandered off up a long path to go and explore the rock garden, there is an accessible path way but we only found this out after. I decided to take the long way round and Jamie took a little trip up to check things out. The paths are really great for pushing the stroller around and Wisley are renovating many of the other paths that are a little more bumpy but still very accessible.

The Wisley rock garden, you can just see Jamie in the background.

At the top of the rock garden are lots of alpine plants some growing outside and some cleverly inside greenhouses which are open to walk through. We really loved the Bonsai walk, I’ve always admired the Bonsai but never been able to successfully keep one alive. I loved how it all came down to this big tree point and I can’t upload it here but I took a large panoramic photo. From the end of this path you get a high view across the gardens, in which you can see the huge Glasshouse built around a lake.

Walking down to see some Bonsai trees.

Before heading down to the Glasshouse we stopped off at the teaching garden.

The teaching garden, what a lovely facility

The teaching garden

More from the teaching garden, creating little insect habitats.

I love how the teaching garden (used mostly by school trips) had everything down at child level. I look forward to taking Ariella there on days out when she is older to study gardening, learning about insects, growing vegetables. It’s great to see such a neat resource available, the garden was surrounded by classrooms which must be used by the school also.

Before heading into the Glasshouse we stopped by the Glasshouse Cafe attached, it has a soft play but it was closed. I ordered a couple of coffees, they weren’t bad but they weren’t amazing – on par with the stuff Waitrose normally hands out.

The big glass house

I was really amazed by the underground Root Zone section, fascinating that they built it a level down so you really do feel under the roots of the trees above. Lots of interesting facts about roots, it was very sensory and Ariella enjoyed all the screens and lights. You could spend quite some time wandering around the different zones in the Glasshouse, we didn’t head up to the very top-level as we weren’t sure if it was accessible and had plenty to look at going through the zones.

Ariella found the roof of the glasshouse really fascinating and kept proclaiming “wow” as we walked around. Many of the trees overhung across the top so she must have got quite an interest view.

Moist Temperature Zone

It was fascinating that they had lots of little waterfalls and various water running through, it reminded me a lot of the Eden Project but on a smaller scale. We went to the Eden Project back in the Summer 2016, I highly recommend you go – although it’s quite a trip down to it.

Being big coffee lovers I couldn’t help but snap a shot of one of the coffee bean plans growing, I’ve never seen beans growing in person. I have a lot to thank this plant for!

A coffee bean plant!

coffee beans

Coffee Beans!

We ended our trip by taking the winter walk path up to the exit, that’s the featured photo at the top. I wasn’t expected much from a garden in Winter but I was throughly impressed by Wisley and can’t wait to go back. I think it will be a firm favourite as Ariella grows up, once she is walking then it will be a great way to tire her out. Cost wise it’s really very good, we pay a lot more for the National Trust membership in comparison.

Check it out! We will be going back soon, check back for more updates.

Being Mum Featured Lifestyle Parenting

Bocketts Farm – Leatherhead

I’ve had Bocketts Farm on my list of things to do for a while, when I saw this week that they had a new alpaca cria born this week (via their Facebook page) we decided that we would go during the week between Christmas and New year. As Ariella had gained a Happyland farm set and more interest in naming animals I felt a trip to see them in real life would be a great way to follow on the farm theme. Leatherhead is under an hours drive from us, much like when we visited Fishers Farm, we visited there in the Summer before I established this blog but I’ll have to go again and when I do I’ll be sure to post!

Alpaca cria – Picture credit directly from official Facebook page (Bocketts Farm Park)

Conveniently during lunch Ariella’s new sun glasses arrived, we had to try them on and it was a sunny day so I thought I might as well bring them along. She really likes putting glasses on but I don’t know if she will keep them on for long durations and we are prepping her for our Indian Ocean trip in March.

On arrival we were greeted by a really friendly woman who gave us a map of the farm and a schedule for the day, she explained what animals we shouldn’t feed with the animal feed bag (extra charge).  Feeling like we had a good idea of what was on offer we headed straight to the Little Hoppington small animal village. It really is a village, they’ve created little houses for the animals which are mostly Rabbits, Mice, Guinea pigs and some birds. Each house is themed with a doctor surgery, market, town church. It’s really adorable, I really loved the mice church as they had made a run all the way up the inside to the top steeple so that the mice can really get a good exercise. At the back they had a handling section with animals that don’t mind being handled, each cage had a timed event to spread out the handling sessions for them too.

Little Hoppington – the small animal village

There were bigger animals to see also, horses, ponies, pigs, goats, donkey’s, sheep, chickens and cows. The most friendly cow’s I’ve ever seen, normally I find them rather intimidating. I think it’s great that they had the horses in together in pairs, with each horses name and descriptions about their friendship with the horse next to them. There was one horse that wasn’t feeling too well so he had a sign up to say so, very nice to see that the animals seemed to be being treated very respectfully.

The stables

Snuggling in

Cool girl, trying out her new shades

Feeding time!

Ariella had a little moment when she saw the animal feed bag, expecting something for herself. We found a great little picnic sheltered area for her to eat her snack. Lucky I thought ahead and packed a few things for her as it was only just after lunch!

Someone had food envy when she saw the animal feed

It was very cold out, they had some spectacular playground areas, soft play, farm walks, pony rides for the older children, pig racing, goat milking and trailer rides. We could have made a real day of the farm but Ariella wasn’t feeling too well, she was being a bit grumpy. Which is understandable as she has had a cold, when she started looking very sleepy we decided to head home.

Schedule of the day’s events.

I think we could have made much more of the farm if Ariella was more mobile, many of the children were really enjoying the playground areas but I couldn’t see any baby swings and Ariella doesn’t really like to play on the rest of the equipment. She does enjoy a slide but can’t get to the top of the slide herself and won’t climb the stairs to get there.

There were interesting play diggers, a few of the activities were an extra cost but the cost wasn’t very high. Around £2 for the pony ride, £1.25 for the tractor ride if memory serves I think the diggers were around £1 too. Children could ride little tractors around, lots of fun to be had, if you were up to walking you could enjoy the longer walks around the farm. We didn’t do this as I forgot to put my wellies on and Jamie doesn’t even own a pair. I think perhaps we need to rectify this! It was so frosty out on Thursday that I actually had to grit the steps to our home in fear that we might end up sliding down them today. Alas the weather has changed, didn’t need to bother!

Children under two get in free, adults I think it is £9.50 per adult. So really for a whole day’s fun it isn’t too bad, I particularly like the indoor soft play area as a way to warm up from the cold. Having lived in London it still amazes me how beautiful Surrey really is, truly the best of both worlds.

Being Mum Lifestyle Parenting

In the quiet

Christmas was pretty busy, I feel that I should have taken more pictures in the moment but perhaps it’s nice sometimes to just appreciate it yourself. Ariella has been very throughly spoilt by all her family and friends this year. We bought Ariella the Duktig IKEA kitchen, she didn’t get to see it Christmas day as it really just would not have been transportable. The pots and pans and cutting vegetables/fruit go perfectly with the kitchen, thanks to her Uncle/Aunt and cousins!

It’s been great to see the expansion of her Happyland set courtesy of her grandparents, she now has a farm and a playground to add to her collection. All her new advent friends can space themselves out a little more, I’m undecided exactly what I will do with those special characters after the festive period ends. Perhaps store them for next year, I doubt we will get another Happyland advent unless they change the theme each year? Perhaps you know a nativity one would be great for the new barn!

Mothercare wooden activity cube

It’s been lovely to spend a few days as a family with Ariella, appreciating all her toys and seeing her interacting with them in a way that until now she really hadn’t been. She has a new bigger wooden activity cube which she really loved, on Christmas morning I think this diverted her attention from unwrapping the rest. Thank you to Uncle James and Deni for this! She has learnt to post things with her ELC post box, which I talked about previously. This wasn’t a Christmas gift, I purchased it a little before in the hope that it would help her with her fine motor skills – seems to be the case. It’s been really good for explaining posting Christmas cards too!

Poor lonely tree – all the presents are unwrapped!

Ariella enjoying a sweet potato, coconut and cardamom soup

I thought I would just share a few bits of what we’ve been doing with our time, this is Ariella enjoying some homemade soup. I love this recipe, it’s from Jamie Oliver “Sweet Potato, Coconut and Cardamom”, I don’t bother with the topping but Ariella loves it and so do we. Give it a go, it doesn’t take too long to do as you mostly leave it cooking which is always handy.

As I mentioned Ariella has only had her kitchen for a few days, I’m glad we went with the taller IKEA kitchen as she is just so tall! I’d like to modify the kitchen, have a look at all these DUKTIG hacks on Pinterest. If/when we get around to it I’ll upload it to the blog, I have a few ideas. It’s currently in its temporary home until the tree is removed and then it will sit in its place. It’s only really when you start pretend play that you realise you are missing some things, I need to get or make a tea towel. Ideally some plates, bowls, I’ve found some lovely wooden ones that I like on Etsy.

TreasureToys – Etsy

Ariella loves the little wooden tea set from Plan Toys, I purchased it on Amazon but have removed the sugar cubes and stirrer for now. When Ariella is suitably not putting things in her mouth I’ll introduce those again. Generally speaking she doesn’t often put things in her mouth anymore but she does occasionally and the cubes are just too tempting. Since getting home Ariella has gone straight to her kitchen and played with everything all day long, I’m so pleased as it will be helping her standing practice too.

Playing with her new kitchen with daddy!

We purchased some self-care Melissa and Doug boards, the latches board and one which teaches buttons, zips, velcro –  Basic skills for self care. She hasn’t been introduced to these yet but I’m really happy with the quality of the boards, I was recommended the latches one and the recommendation seems to be on form. They are bigger than I thought they would be too, luckily we had lots of storage space so I’m going to add these to the rotation of toys. I’ll be clearing off the shelves and changing them quite a bit as I feel rotation is really important.

Melissa and Doug – Self Care board

Melissa and Doug latches board

Mini Micro Scooter 3 in 1

Ariella has a new scooter too, she is still very scared to get on but we hope that in time she will start enjoying the scooter. It will be great for her muscle tone and allow her to get around more freely, just a matter of building up confidence.

Here is a few of our walk today, it was -1 outside and frosty but we had a few things to do and decided to walk for them. A great workout, I achieved my exercise goal on my Apple watch – whoop! Which I then counted with a nice brunch at the Natter Cafe in Farncombe.

On our return the cleaners had come and gone, so we were greeted to a tidy and refreshed home. They had even accepted a delivery for us, a package from some family members in Australia came. We had been keeping an eye out for it and it seems it was clear why it had been held up, Royal mail had opened it to check the contents. But it had arrived and two lovely Winnie the Pooh books for Ariella were wrapped up along with a bunch of beautiful cookie cutters for us. Thanks guys! I can’t wait to bake some cookies with Ariella, particularly loving the kangaroo and the crocodile. 

Being Mum Featured Food Lifestyle Parenting Weekly Update

The last few days before Christmas

These last few days are mad, everyone running around trying to tie up loose ends before the big day. Looking for some kind of resolution in the chaos of the whirlwind so that you can just relax and chill out with family and friends on Christmas day. For that reason I decided not to book our calendar up with much during the run up, we already have Hydrotherapy (or so I thought – duh broke up for Christmas) and Physiotherapy on Thursday. This gives plenty of time to finish anything last-minute jobs and tasks, such as post parcels, write last-minute Christmas cards from unexpected sources, buy the last few presents (then subsequently be in for their delivery).

With that in mind we wandered to the park Monday (with firm instruction from any couriers to leave our packages in our preferred safe place). It was a really wet day out so Ariella wore her all in one waterproof which given the other parents were having to dig deep to find something to dry off the playground proclaiming loudly “Mummy forgot your waterproof” I think it was a good call, this normally does not happen for me! Without the fleece liner in it’s actually pretty mobile, you can easily fold it down to fit in a handbag. This is why Polarn o Pyret market it as season variable (perfect for our unpredictable weather here).

Lunch this week I wanted to try a few different recipes as I was getting quite bored with the same combinations. I found a recipe online for Lemony Fish Bites, a simple method which if you have covered things with bread crumbs before you’ll recognise. If you want to give them a try yourself I’ve linked the recipe above, Ariella liked them. I think they were surprisingly easy to do as the Cod I purchased had the bone removed and also the skin had been removed already. This meant that really it was just a matter of dipping in each bowl and then frying. I’m sure you could bake them if you preferred rather than frying.

I don’t know why everyone seems to do this but the Christmas deadline really makes you want to clear out any old jobs that have been sitting around for a while. One of which was sorting through Ariella’s outgrown clothes. This is something that I used to have to do a lot more frequently than I do now, when she was outgrowing clothes sizes from Newborn/One Month, 1 – 3 months, 3 – 6 months, 9 – 12 months, 12 – 18 months then 18 – 24 months. The first few months it felt like she had just arrived and we were already shipping out her clothes from the drawers. I remember fondly keeping back  few outfits that had sentimental value to us and selling the rest for another parent to enjoy on Ebay. You really don’t get much for the clothes, even the designer clothes online but It felt reasonable to give those clothes a use.

I had stored up things from over a year ago, Christmas 2015! Probably 9 – 12 months onwards. We are now in the 2 – 3 year range, although some things from 18 – 24 fit fine still but I won’t buy anything in that current range now. We are keeping all of this though, I feel that any other siblings should have their own newborn clothes so that they too can have a special box of memories of things I identify as “theirs”. Ariella’s drawers now look as they did long before her arrival, neat, tidy, organised. This pleases me, I do love an organised home as I feel it gives me the ability to hold an organised mind. I must try harder to keep this so!
On Tuesday we needed to play Postman, I had a few parcels to send and thankfully everything arrived in time to do so. I think I may have mentioned in a previous post that this year two of my deliveries (although it’s now looking like three) have gone missing? The rest of the year I can’t even think of one time that my parcel has wandered off. Picture me with a huge parcel in my hands, two parcels in a big side hold shopping bag and Ariella strapped to my front in the Tula as I walk down to the post office. If someone had been around to take my picture I would have asked them to! It was all in the careful knowledge that my efforts would be rewarded with a foot long sandwich from Subway after.

Tuesday afternoon there was a chill in the air, but we decided to catch up with one of my friends and her son at the park and to check out how the birds were getting on.

I forgot to say another job on the list of tasks was building the IKEA kitchen that is our gift to Ariella for Christmas. I wanted it pre built as there was little point in wrapping it, so for now it’s hidden in the Study, I’m so pleased with it. It took some time to build even with the two of us doing it, but it’s a great height for Ariella and I’m sure she will enjoy it for years to come. If you are still looking for ideas for your toddler at Christmas please check out The ultimate Montessori gift guide on Fridabemighty.

Wednesday I thought we had Hydrotherapy in the madness of all the letter’s I receive I had just auto pilot entered a lump of dates into my calendar on my phone. We didn’t have it, which I realised when we got there and were told it wasn’t on today. But never mind, the trip out settled Ariella and when we got home she had a major nap. She had been really unhappy all day, it was only during the evening that I noticed she has some more teeth coming. Finally the gaps between the front and back teeth are starting to fill out, but it explained why she was grumpy and why she had started to expect her milk and bottle again.

We don’t have any of the bottles in the kitchen anymore, so we haven’t given in at all with this. I’m sure once those teeth are through she will be back to her normal self. In the afternoon we baked some mince pies! I didn’t make my own pastry, I could say this was because it’s quicker and yes it definitely is in my view. But it’s mostly because every time I make my own pastry it looks like some of rerun of the days where I used to make play doh food (or my mum’s home-made version of it). I loved doing this with Ariella, it really did make us feel very festive and set the mood for the rest of the holidays. Little hands can really help with cookie cutters, when she got bored she could go off while I finished up. One thing she made sure of was that she got a taste straight after they came out the oven!

Today we had Physiotherapy as expected! It went really well, Ariella is making progress and progress is always good! We have a few things to concentrate on, lots of work with standing and sitting. At the moment Ariella isn’t able to reliably get back down from standing, so we will work on getting in and out of this position with her and hopefully by our next appointment things will have progressed again. Our physiotherapist is going to be running a few of the Hydrotherapy session so it will be good fun to see her more regularly!

Tomorrow I have not one single thing in the calendar booked in. Blissful!

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.