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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 Lifestyle Parenting

Santa arrived today – The Logic of children toys

He did, today Santa entered into the world of the Happyland people. Which got me thinking, who decides which toys sit behind which advent calendar window? The logic in me would put Santa on door 24, Christmas Eve and yet here he is December the 15th. Seems a bit early to me but is it planned? Now he has to put his feet up like everyone else and wait. I wonder how much thought actually goes into these things, is it just me who wonders?

One day for example one window would reveal a single chair, but you know what? We have two chairs, but no table. Who decided to split the chairs and the table up so much? But still here is Santa? Never the less, perhaps it doesn’t matter? Maybe they won’t notice, but If I was a child I think I would. Why has Santa appeared on day 15? Where is is sleigh? How has he got here? Did he fly on the back of the single reindeer that ventured out of the calendar in the first week? It’s still an amazing advent calendar, perhaps logic serves no purpose here.

It’s been a quiet morning here, we stayed indoors yesterday as Ariella was still quite tired after her sickness bug over the weekend/start of the week. This morning after opening up our advent calendars and getting ready we needed to venture out to post a letter, pickup some groceries and generally show our faces to the wind. We have a play date to attend later, I really can’t believe it’s already nearly the end of the week and tomorrow is Friday!

Lunch time we tried out a new recipe taken from Annabel Karmel’s website, we don’t often buy any of AK food (if we are getting a meal I prefer the Cooks children’s menu or little dish) but I was browsing for recipes on Sunday evening and thought we could give this a go. It’s called Mummy’s Pot Noodle, I thought it was yummy but Ariella wasn’t really in the mood for noddles. She did have home made Spaghetti Bol last night so maybe she wasn’t up for another noodlely textured meal. Instead she devoured a pot of yoghurt, we made some progress with her using a spoon. To be honest she has always been able to eat with a spoon if it was loaded but prefers to use her hands. Today I showed her how to load the spoon herself and she definitely tried a few times before chucking the spoon away and using her hands.Mummy's Pot NoodleYoghurt Yum Yum

We have some wonderful Gruffalo cutlery eagerly sat in the drawer which was a brilliant gift from one of our friends. Every time we put it out, which is pretty much ever meal it immediately is thrown to the floor. We shall keep persevering! I’m always on the look out for healthy toddler lunch ideas so if you have any recommendations I’d love to know!

After lunch the post lady always brings our post at the same time every day, give or take ten minutes. For someone who likes routine it’s a reassuring sound hearing the bundle of mail hit the floor then off I go to collect it. Some days instead of a dropping sound there is a nice big knock at the door, we have a big lion knocker which resonates around the hallway. Those days I know there is a parcel waiting for me, today it brought me a book I ordered from Amazon called “A parents guide to developmental delays – by Laurie LeComer”, I ordered it alongside another book called “Small Steps Forward: Using games and activities to help preschool children with special needs – by Sarah Newman” which is more based around activities for SEN early years. We are still waiting due to high demand to be assigned with portage and an early years key worker so I wanted to find some structured reading. I feel like the activity list I designed needs some work as Ariella has moved forward in the last few months, so the activities need to be more fluid.

Activity Plan

Salmon Pesto, Mozzarella and Couscous

A quick dinner, Salmon home made pesto with mozzarella and couscous – Recipe from The baby-led weaning cookbook

Now that I’ve done all most of my Christmas shopping I have made some mental space to start planning for our next holiday. We are heading to the Indian Ocean and I can’t wait to write a long post about my choices on what I’ll be taking with us, how to cope with a long haul flight and in general my thoughts after on choosing the Indian Ocean as a family holiday destination. I’ll also be looking to plan Ariella’s second birthday party prior to this too as most of the work will need to be organised before we go. Exciting times! Well I’ve got some reading to do, by my next post I’ll be all up on the terminology and a child development expert – where’s my wine.