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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 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 Lifestyle Parenting

Lazy Saturdays…

We have had a rather laid back day, with grand plans in the calendar which did not come to fruition. This all started when one of my orders had not arrived yesterday, after leaving it a few days I decided to give the company a call to chase up where the order had got to. Typically it had “disappeared” somewhere between them and Royal Mail before it was even scanned, indeed! No problem, all arranged for next day delivery for Monday – great! This morning I get an email telling me my order is with the courier and going to be delivered today, no option for changing to a safe place I could only pick Monday. Well you’d think this would be a good thing but the hour delivery slot was slap bang where we wanted to venture out after prime post nap time.Ariella standing at park fence

After much discussion about whether to go or not we decided to head to the park and accept that I probably would not see that package until Monday. Meanwhile we had a few other Amazon parcels arrived, good old Prime membership. We realised we had lost Ariella’s hair brush, we could not find it anywhere! How you lose one I don’t know, it’s not like it really leaves our home much as her hair really has only just started to need brushing.

I really must recommend the HIP Peas Brush if you are looking for a new one, its natural wood (which of course we love, a great feel on the senses) and it’s the softest brush I’ve had to opportunity to touch. It’s advertised as “natural kids care” designed to “gently groom your precious tots locks and helps tame fine baby flyaways”. It also boasts cruelty free bristles is Paraben free, Sulfate free, Petrochemical free, Phthalate Free. If you’ve managed to understand half of those I congratulate you! what I can tell you is it’s a lovely brush, I remember fond memories of one just like this but much bigger. It was owned by my grandmother and used to sit on her dressing table, whenever I would visit I would go straight to her room and sit down, brush my hair for ages. In the later years I think she gave it to me, but I’m not sure what happened to that lovely brush.


While at the park we did a little bit of walking around, swinging and a few goes on the slide. It’s only really recently that the slide has been added to our little park routine, for a while it was very worrying and scary but over time Ariella now enjoys it – mostly! We’ve been trying to encourage one-handed walking and it’s something we have been working on for a few months now, here is a little clip I captured.

I mentioned in my last post yesterday that I would take a picture of the summer dresses once I had picked them up, here they are! These are from Piccalilly, a British organic children’s clothes company, they won best Eco fashion brand in the Junior Design awards and everything on their stocklists is ethically sourced. All of their pieces are very bold which I think will be perfect for our holiday. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to rinse out lots of Ariella’s clothes while there, last time we went the heat dried clothes out in the air very quickly. It’s hard to know exactly how much you buy (if you can even get the clothes out of season) but I really am looking forward to these.

Piccalilly Summer dresses

Ariella is feeling much better, this is a huge relief as the amount of times this past week we have had to clean up masses of vomit I cannot remember. It’s lovely that she is fully herself again and seems to have all her strength back. Earlier today she stood up using her Happyland cottage, looked up at the Christmas tree and tried to point at the bauble saying “balbal”. Pointing seems to be the latest thing, we’ve been trying to encourage this as much as possible by pointing at lots of her toys, animals, the cats everything really.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen the sticky dot bathroom fun this morning, I’ve been encouraging her to do this activity whenever she has access to the shower area. It’s useful to keep her entertained and encourages her to try to stick them on herself, it’s not 100% perfected as often patting them down to stick is forgotten – which then leads to frustration on her part. But with repetition usually we see gains so I’m hopefully that with encouragement this will be something she enjoys!

Eight days until Christmas by the way! I’m well prepared with my list of ingredients to make the second batch of the years of Mulled Wine for Christmas Eve. We are firmly ready to go, let the count down commence!

Being Mum Featured Lifestyle Weekly Update

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!