A Loseley Park Wedding

I can’t believe it’s already been 3 years since we tied the knot.  I love looking back over all the beautiful photos from our day, it gives me all the feels!  We got married at Loseley Park, near Guildford, Surrey on 18th September 2014.

When we started searching for a local venue, I had quite a specific idea in my head as to what I wanted.  I didn’t want to get married at a hotel or a golf club, as I personally felt they just weren’t us.  I wanted a venue where you could add your stamp on, somewhere that wasn’t your bog standard wedding venue.  But we also didn’t want to spend the earth on venue hire, as we were paying for our own wedding, and didn’t want to take out any sort of loan to pay for it.  We decided straight away the smart way to go was a weekday wedding, as the hire prices were reduced straight away.  In fact we found that a lot of the services we used offered lower prices on a weekday wedding.

I stumbled across Loseley Park one night whilst hunting through the web and I showed it to my husband.  I think we instantly decided it was perfect.  Just a month or two later they were holding a wedding fair, so we went along and as soon as we got there we just knew it was the place we wanted to get married.  In fact it ended up being the only place we visited!

I loved the character in the Great Hall, it felt so regal.  The Tythe Barn was magical, and had the potential to really make it our own.  When we went to book it was SO booked up, considering it was about 18 months ahead of time, however, we had already decided we wanted to get married on a Thursday, in September.  This was mainly because the hire fees were so much less, and September usually had good weather.  There were only two Thursday’s left, one at the end of the month, and the 18th.  We thought about it for a short time, as both Stuart’s sister and his best friend had got married on the 17th September, and we didn’t want to step on any toes.  But we also wanted to catch the best of September.  So the date was set for the 18th September 2014.

I set up a Pinterest board, and went about googling other weddings at Loseley Park. I  started deciding what did and didn’t work with the venue, in terms of decor.  I decided to go with quite a countryside feel.  I wanted lots of flowers, bunting and it to just look really pretty!  I started looking at hiring or buying bunting, but I couldn’t find anything that was quite the right colour or style.  Then my AMAZING little sister, who is quite the whizz on the sewing machine, told me she would make the bunting!  She ended up making 110 metres of double sided bunting, it took us ages, but it was just perfection!  It was amazing, and so personal.

In terms of wedding cakes, I always knew that I wanted a cupcake tower over a traditional cake.  I again looked around at prices of local cake makers, but I couldn’t believe how expensive having cupcakes made for you was!  So I decided to make my own!  I had previously made cupcakes for family and friends special occasions however I had never made quite so many!  So on the Monday before my wedding, I spent the whole day baking, and the Tuesday was spent decorating them.

When we went to set up the venue on the Wednesday, we were so excited.  My husband and I were so pleased to see all our plans come together.  It looked magical when we left, even tough all we had done was hang the bunting, set up the sweetie table and decorate the tables with some confetti.  So when we walked in the next day, as a newlywed couple our minds were blown by how gorgeous it looked.  Our florist had done an amazing job, the floral centrepieces were stunning and so effective.  The whole room felt so us.

It truly was one of the most amazing days of my life, only to be topped with the birth of our son Oliver.  It was spoken about by all our family and friends for months after.  It was a nice intimate wedding, with only about 65 in total to the day, mainly family with only our best friends.  It was then nice to invite lots of our other friends to the evening, and to catch up with some of our friends we hadn’t seen in a long time.

I have really enjoyed reflecting on our big day, and I thought I would share with you a selection of our wedding photos!

Venue: Loseley Park    Photographer: Alexander Leaman Photography   Florist: Stella Rose Flowers

 

 

 

 

 

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Oliver at 19 months

We’re already here again, another month closer to 2….Oliver’s lost the whole babyness about him, he’s a fully fledged toddler now.  I can’t believe that my baby is so grown up already. I don’t think he’s changed too much this month, but there are some things that he’s definitely learnt.

His speech is slowly coming on, ‘oh dear’ is still his favourite phrase, but he also loves saying ‘bang’ when he walks into things (or touches things, brushes things, basically any time his body comes into contact with anything!) He has now learnt the difference between a car and a bus and will point and tell us what it is.  Oliver still doesn’t say no, he will shake his head, but he will say yeah and nod as well! Other words he has learnt this month are ‘banana’ (pronounced ‘balala’) and chair.

Oliver absolutely loves running around, being free and he has some real speed now.  He will climb on anything, his favourite thing at the moment is climbing up on the kitchen side which is a nightmare!! He loves to jump, and really gets off the ground now, he jumps up and says ‘ju!’  He also loves jumping off the curbs and with my help he really loves jumping off of the bed and dining chairs!  He also taught himself to walk down the stairs this month, with every step down he says ‘down’ which is so sweet.  Sometimes I can’t believe how physically advanced he is, he always seems to be well ahead with all his physical milestones!

Oliver has started to eat so much more now, and generally will eat most of a meal, rather than before when he would pick out his favourite bits of it.  He seems to be really enjoying his vegetables recently, as well as his fruit!  He will try to eat most meals with his spoon or fork, I think he finds it a real novelty still because he always gets so excited when I bring his fork out!

This month Oliver came down with chickenpox, so we haven’t been up to much at all as we were housebound for about a week whilst we waited for him to scab over.  He still wasn’t 100% himself for another 5 or so days after he scabbed over and was very clingy, tired and emotional.  Other than being stuck inside we have been out with a couple of my work friends, lunch with our baby group friends and a trip to the local fire station for their open day.

We have lots of plans this month coming, our first family holiday with just the three of us, and hopefully some fun days out as well!

 

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Warming Shepherd’s Pie

I try to make sure that as a family we have a healthy balanced diet, having plenty of fruit and vegetables, a mix of both red and white meat, dairy, fish and starchy foods.  We usually try to have red meat twice a week.  It provides us with a range of important nutrients, such as iron, zinc, selenium and potassium.  These vitamins are often low in toddlers and children, so including red meat in their diet helps maintain a healthy level of these nutrients in their bodies.  Dr Emma Derbyshire, a public health nutritionist says “Including a small portion of red meat in the diet a few times a week after weaning can help to bridge nutrient gaps and so help to maintain good health through childhood and beyond.”

Now Autumn is firmly on its way, I love to begin to bring in those warming winter meals.  I often end up changing our summertime light meals to something a bit heavier, warmer and filling.  Shepherd’s pie is a firm favourite in our house, served with a few vegetables, it’s the perfect meal for the whole family.  Oliver loves it and always seeks out the meat first!  So I thought I would share with you my recipe for Shepherd’s Pie.  I would love to hear if you try it and how you find it!

This post is an entry for the BritMums #HealthyRedMeat, sponsored by the Meat Advisory Panel.

Print Recipe
Warming Shepherd's Pie
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Bring the potatoes to the boil and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Once they're tender drain and mash. Add a little butter and some milk and mix well, until the desired texture is reached. Season as desired.
  2. Whilst boiling the potatoes, heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the onions and mushrooms for around 10 minutes until softened. Add the lamb mince and fry until it's browned all over.
  3. Stir in the tomato puree, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder. Add the stock and season as desired. Leave to simmer for around 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Spoon the mince mixture into an ovenproof dish and cover with the mashed potato. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
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A new look wagamama Guildford

I love eating out, it’s something we don’t do often, but when we go out as a family, it’s something we love.  I am always looking for a good family friendly restaurant with a menu I know my child will love.  I love introducing new cuisines to Oliver, he enjoys trying something new and I am always happy when we find something new that he loves.

We were recently invited along to wagamama Guildford to check out the restaurant after their recent mini makeover.  I must say I have only been to wagamama a handful of times in the past, and even though the Guildford branch is my local, I’ve only been there once!  Luckily I had been there earlier this year, so I could easily see the differences they’ve made.   The makeover looks really great and has definitely given the restaurant a modern update.

We had a cooking demonstration from one of the chefs, he went through the different areas within the kitchen and explained why your food all comes out at different times.  Different types of dishes come from different areas within the kitchen.  There’s no ‘chain’ meaning when your food is ready it will be delivered to you.  This is why if you have dined there before you may have noticed that everyones dishes come out at different times, unlike other restaurants that bring it all out together.  There aren’t any microwaves to warm food up, it’s all hand cooked to order.  Everything is so fresh, even their noodles are all freshly made and delivered to the restaurant every day.

After the demonstration we were taken to the dining area upstairs for a meal.  Oliver was definitely getting hangry at this point, not wanting to sit down and generally becoming a bit unreasonable.  Thankfully the staff were more than happy to order his meal straight away.  I had thankfully brought the iPad in my bag (as a tool to keep him awake on the way home as I didn’t want him to danger nap!) so with the free wi-fi I could stream something on Netflix, which kept him happy whilst he waited.

The children’s menu were mini versions of the adult portions and there were all so healthy!  I love it when a restaurants children’s menu reflects the cuisine in the restaurant. I think it really helps children to try new tastes and broaden their palette, rather than sticking with the same old meals.

His meal arrived really quickly.  I had chosen the mini grilled chicken katsu with amai sauce for him,. He seemed to really enjoy his meal, especially because it came with sweetcorn and rice, two of Oliver’s favourites!  Oliver loved using the children’s chopsticks, he seemed to really get the hang of them, which I thought was pretty amazing considering he’s only 18 months old!

After a message to my sister (a seasoned wagamama visitor) asking for recommendations.  I ended up choosing the yaki udon and pulled pork gyoza.  Her recommendation was well received, the noodles were delicious and the gyoza were to die for!  It was quite nice, as I mentioned before, because they’re made in different areas of the kitchen they came out staggered.  So I was able to eat them both whilst they were still hot!  This is always a luxury with a toddler in tow!  The yaki udon portion was HUGE, I reckon you could happily share it, I couldn’t even finish it!

It was really nice as the chef came around to chat to us about our meals and he was very friendly and knowledgable.  The staff were all really friendly and made me feel at ease, as Oliver wasn’t really on his best behaviour (a hungry toddler is never to be messed with!).  I never felt like I needed to leave because of his mini meltdowns.

To keep Oliver happy we order some dessert, he had a scoop of ice cream with chocolate sauce whilst I opted for the white chocolate and ginger cheesecake.  I didn’t realise that wagamama did desserts, but their selection all sounded amazing!

I will most certainly be returning to wagamama very soon.  I hadn’t visited with Oliver before, as I didn’t realise they had a children’s menu, so now I know they do and the staff were all so friendly, I will be taking him back again!  My husband has never been, and since seeing the photos he can’t wait to go too.

Thank you very much to Wagamama for inviting us along to see the new look restaurant and for a lovely meal.  All words and opinions are my own.

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4 lessons I want to teach my child

These days we live in a world of instant everything.  You really don’t have to wait long for anything.  TV shows and films can be streamed within seconds, you can get next day delivery on pretty much any product.  There are so many things I value that I want to teach my children, and make sure they understand growing up.  I thought I would list some today!

1. To be patient

In this age of technology and having everything in an instant, I feel like we aren’t teaching our children the art of patience.  We can find the TV show they want to watch straight away. There’s no such thing as dial up internet.  We just don’t have to wait for anything.  I want to make sure my children know they can’t just have it all when they want it.

2. That shops exist

This may sound like a bit of an odd one, but I want my children to know there are shops.  I still enjoy online shopping, the weekly shop is 100 times easier online.  But I think it’s also important to take our children to the shops, to do a weekly shop with them.  They will learn a lot more than you realise.  Counting fruit and vegetables out, adding prices together, or even how to make a fort out of packets of loo roll!  There’s a lot to learn in a supermarket!  I remember getting so excited to help my mum count out change to pay for something.

3. Where their food comes from

It’s astounding how many children don’t realise milk comes from a cow or that eggs come from chickens!  I’ve already started trying to teach Oliver the association between the food he eats and where it’s come from.  Even things like where fruit and vegetables come from.  I want to grow vegetables in our garden and teach Oliver where his food comes from.

4. To boost their imagination

I want my children to be able to be able to imagine, to make up stories.  I want them to be able to play and imagine another world, to be able to tell me the story they’re acting out.  I try to limit screen time because I think too much screen time isn’t good for the imagination.  Role play toys are really good to help boost imagination.  I loved pretend play growing up and I want that for my children too.

What do you want your children to know when they grow up?

 

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