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Educational Play with Schleich I'm a big fan of learning through play. Unforced educational play. I'm not a teacher and I don't want to be. I want my children to naturally learn whilst they are having fun. When I was contacted recently...

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Say Eh-Oh to the new Teletubbies toys! There back!! Teletubbies made a joyous return to CBeebies last year, and this year marks the launch of the new range of toys. As you know I was sent a box just before Christmas, and today I can finally...

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Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough Last weekend Nana and I took a rather lengthy journey north for a night away at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough, with Little Dude in tow. The Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is a luxurious country hotel...

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A Place To Enjoy My Garden I love my garden. I love the fact that I have a garden, especially with the recent gorgeous weather we've been having. Whilst I have a pretty compact garden, there's a lot going on out there. Plants, fruit...

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Cuddles With Ben Cohen Some days I have a really difficult job. Days like this for example. *Ahem* That rather nice young man is former rugby player Ben Cohen. Ben is a bit of an expert when it comes to cuddles. He has...

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It’s Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Christmas…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 06-12-2017

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I do wish the weather would make its mind up. Its oddly mild today, yet a few days ago I was scraping ice off my windscreen. Thankfully we’ve managed lots of clear bright yet cold days recently, which is by far preferable to wet miserable days. Doing the school run at this time of year is amongst my least favourite activities, and that is largely down to the weather. Cold early mornings battling ice and trying to bustle the children into the car before they catch yet another round of coughs and sneezes is never enjoyable. And then there’s me; decking my boys out in coats and hats and scarves and gloves, and then dashing out myself hardly dressed for the occasion.

My school run uniform of choice during this period always features my trusty Gortex boots I got from Hotter a few years ago. But my winter coat has been seriously lacking. I broke the zip on mine last year and now I can’t fasten it, so its hardly doing its job when it comes to keeping me warm. And with daily school runs and a weekly evening spent outdoors watching my eldest play tennis – yes tennis is played outdoors even in winter around here… – I’ve started turning rather blue.

You know when you get those emails from PR companies or brands at literally the right moment in your life and you just grin? I got one of those a couple of weeks back from the team at JD Williams. “Would you like to pick yourself a new winter coat from the selection on our website and mention it on your blog?” Don’t mind if I do.

I am warm. I am cosy. And I think I look rather good too. This super cosy yet amazingly lightweight jacket from Tog24 has a thermal insulation to keep me warm – crucial for someone who is basically always cold – it is breathable so I don’t overheat and start sweating, it is windproof which is ideal for draughty playgrounds and tennis courts, and its showerproof for those occasions when the weather can’t make its mind up. I’ve been wearing this daily for a couple of weeks now and its been marvellous. The fit is really good, the pockets store me keys and phone without adding bulk, and when I use the hood I feel snug and protected from the elements.

Now this jacket is currently reduced on the JD Williams website, and comes in Navy or Red. But if this doesn’t take your fancy there is a huge range of other jackets and coats for all occasions to take a look at, and you get 20% off your first order. Sounds like a good opportunity to do some more Christmas shopping if you ask me.

Countdown To Christmas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas | Posted on 14-11-2017

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It’s 41 days until Christmas – how did that even happen? This year has just gone by so fast, and now the kids are back at school and we’ve had Halloween and Bonfire Night, its now just a blink until Christmas. I must confess that I have started my shopping already, with a couple of bits for the boys hidden away already. This Christmas is going to be a bit of an usual one for them though, as its the first since I separated from their Dad, so I’m looking at it as an opportunity to start some new traditions with them.

We have a new Advent Calendar which I will be filling with sweets and treats for them to enjoy throughout December. We will be sending Father Christmas their letters in a special envelope bag I picked up at the local garden centre soon. The Christmas Eve box has been ordered and its contents are being planned and gathered. And we have an Elf Door all ready to put out for those magical elves to use to deliver the box. I also have a couple of trips planned for the days leading up to Christmas, my favourite of which is a return to Drusillas.

We are long time fans of Drusillas and we had a lovely visit there in the run up to Christmas last year, so it made a lot of sense for us to return this year. The already amazing zoo is transformed into a Winter Wonderland, with a large display set out in the event area, as well as the opportunity to meet some huskies and have a chat with Father Christmas himself.

The Winter Wonderland Light Show is being switched on this Saturday 18th November at 4.30pm, and from this weekend you’ll have the chance to meet Father Christmas, his reindeer and his huskies every weekend through until 14th December when they’ll be there everyday. The boys and I will be heading over in the days before Christmas, once school has broken up and excitement levels have no doubt reached fever pitch. It was a magical experience for them last year, and I’m sure they’ll love it again. If you are heading to Drusillas this festive season my main advice to you is to get to Father Christmas early. Queues last year were huge, and I recall standing there for about an hour and a half which the children looked around with their Dad. Something I’m going to try and avoid this year.

 

#Guest Post: Get Dad Something He Actually Wants

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 13-06-2017

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Father’s Day in our house is usually a bit of a last minute affair. A handmade card from the kids (probably some sort of painty handprint affair), maybe a Toblerone and some novelty socks if he’s lucky.

But this year I’m on the ball. I’ve had a search round the Internet for some unique Father’s day gift ideas that he’ll actually want and enjoy using. If you’re stuck for a good Father’s day present too, here’s my shortlist so far:

1. Leather wallet

A good wallet is always a safe option when it comes to buying presents for guys. These leather wallets from Colville Leather make a particularly special gift. They’re handmade to order in their Devon workshop, which means that each one is unique. You can also get 10% off any wallets, belts or accessories at the moment by using offer code FATHER2017.

2. Phone mount for the car or bike

If you want to go for practicality over sentimentality, a car phone mount or a bike mount is a great idea. He’ll be able to use his phone to navigate safely on the go and they have the extra benefit of being really affordable. It’s not something I’d go wild about myself, but I know a few men who’d be pretty chuffed with a gadget like this.

3. Posh pen

At the top end budget, this brass fountain pen would be a bit of a treat for Father’s Day. It’s practically indestructible and pretty compact, so perfect for slipping into a back pocket. Or head over to Etsy and personalise a pen with your own message – this one comes in its own wooden presentation box.

4. Charging station

Got a gadget lover on your hands? A charging station that can hold his various devices is the perfect gift. It looks much better than trailing cords and chargers all over the place and keeps his gadgets all in one place.

5. Pocket Speaker

A pocket speaker is the ideal gift for music lovers. I’m a real fan of this mini wood style nut speaker which would also double-up as a key ring.

6. Bonsai tree

OK, maybe not the most practical gift, but a bonsai kit is a unique and quirky present that green-fingered guys would love. I stole this idea from my friend’s wish list – its all he wants for Father’s Day!

7. Home brew kit

This is an original gift idea for adults to buy their Dad on Father’s Day. Get a fancy starter kit gift set online, or head over to Wilko to pick-up all the bits you need.

8. Personalised keyring

If all else fails, print a photo of your kids on a keyring and add a personalised message. Everyone can use a keyring! Notonthehighstreet have some really nice wooden designs.

Whether you’re looking for presents for your own Dad, or helping your kids find something special for Father’s Day, I hope some of these ideas have inspired you. If not, there’s always that trusty Toblerone to fall back on!

#Review: Berocca fuelled half term fun

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 02-06-2017

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Half term is nearly over, and it’s certainly been a busy one here. A fun filled five days of shopping trips, running around, tennis, football, park trips, walks, and the occasional time chilling out in front of the television. Life with two young boys is never calm or quiet, but its always fun filled. But as a newly single parent, I must admit to approaching this first half term with a degree of trepidation. How was I going to keep up with them, and run a house, and not have someone else to pass them over to at the end of the day for a bit of a break?


Determination has played a huge part. Wanting to do what’s best for them, particularly at the minute when they are getting used to the new routine, has got me through. There’s been quite a lot of tea as well, but that’s pretty standard for me. But I’ve also been making use of Berocca. They sent me a pack to test out and see how it helped, as well as some very nice tennis equipment for the boys and me to play with. My eldest is already a keen player, and his little brother obviously wants to copy. So it seemed time I got them both, and me, out on court. Living just a few minutes walk from the local tennis courts is going to be great for them, and it meant we could have a fun filled afternoon playing together.

The Berocca has been something of a god send, and I really think its helped. Berocca contains vitamins B1 & B2 that help naturally release your energy, and so help keep you going all day, which is vital when your day sometimes starts at 5am… So every morning I’ve been dropping my tablet into a glass of water and drinking it, and then getting on with my fun filled and action packed days with my boys. By 7.30pm each evening they are in bed, and I can then get to work on cleaning and tidying, and eventually sitting down to get some me time. Without the power of Berocca I’m pretty sure I’d be asleep myself by 8pm, but by using it, I’m managing to get everything that needs doing done, and still having the energy to sit down in front of Netflix at the end of the day and enjoy a box set.

Once the pack I’ve been sent runs out, I can definitely see me buying more myself and keeping using it. Especially during the summer holidays… Do you use Berocca?

#Review: Super Geek Heroes

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Educational Play | Posted on 18-05-2017

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As a parent Super Heroes are a big part of my life. Power Rangers, Superman, Spiderman, Batman, you name it, my kids are probably a fan of it. Now there’s a new band of Super Heroes in town, and these ones are not only fun, but also educational.

“The SUPER GEEK HEROES are a unique group of super-kids… having fun in turn with a mission to learn! Their seven friendly ‘super-powers’ are derived from the three prime and four specific development areas of the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’.”

The team behind Super Geek Heroes took these seven areas and came up with these brand new, and rather awesome characters:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development – Suzi Smiles
  • Understanding the World – Peter Planet
  • Communication & Language – Vicky Voice
  • Literacy – Jake Jotter
  • Numeracy – Mille Maths
  • Physical Development – Ant Active
  • Creative Arts & Design – Ronnie Rock

Now you can catch these guys on YoutubeI love them. They’re bright and cheerful, teach the kids without them really knowing it, and most importantly for me, hold their attention. My six year old enjoyed watching, but my three year old was hooked. As a bit of a geek himself, he enjoyed watching all the episodes over and over again. Perfect. If you want to learn more about them, head over to their website for more details.

Head on over to the Youtube channel and subscribe to receive brand new episodes.

#Christmas at Drusillas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas | Posted on 17-12-2016

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With just over a week to the big day, and school finally out for a couple of weeks, you are all no doubt thinking of ways to keep the children entertained and distracted before Christmas. Last weekend we took a trip to Drusillas to check out their Winter Wonderland and we had a wonderful time.

If you head down there in the run up to Christmas you’ll get the chance to meet Santa’s reindeer, meet and hug some of his huskies, and then meet the big man himself. And if you go before January 2nd you’ll get to watch the Winter Wonderland Illuminations too.

Yes that is Thomas The Tank Engine wearing earmuffs and a scarf – the cutest most festive train I’ve ever seen.

Now a logical word of warning here: when you arrive and buy your tickets to get in and your tickets to see Santa which are an extra £11 per child, you’ll be advised to visit him early because he’s going to get busy. Do this. We walked around the zoo first and ended up with me queuing for over an hour whilst Daddy amused the children. By the time we’d reached the front of the queue, it was a little over double the length it had been when I joined it.

The reindeer are really cute, but the huskies are a definite highlight. Such beautiful friendly dogs who are well worth a visit. Handily they are right next door to Santa so they’re a good place to go with the kids whilst someone else joins the queue. I must admit to thinking £11 per child to meet Santa was a little steep, but he was probably the best Santa I’ve ever seen, and the grotto was lovely. He takes time to talk to the children and you don’t feel like you’re on a conveyor belt. The gifts are also perfect, but I won’t spoil the surprise there.

Sadly we couldn’t stay for the light show as it starts at 4.30 and the children were starting to droop. We left about 2pm and it was definitely getting busier, with a lot of people obviously coming specifically for that part of the day. But we did see the area where the show was going to be, and the illuminated wonderland creatures. I’m sure the display was amazing once it went dark.

We love Drusillas and we love having the opportunity to visit again and again. It’s truly a fantastic day out for the family all year round, but it certainly gave us a lovely start to the festive period.

Festive Bingo!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Sponsored Posts | Posted on 06-12-2016

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The Christmas countdown has began! Crackers, check. Turkey, check. Sprouts….. maybe not this year.

Christmas and New Year are full of traditions. Some are historic like leaving the carrot for the reindeer on Christmas Eve or counting down the minutes to midnight on New Years eve. Others are more recent such as singing hit songs or watching a fight unfold on Eastenders.

I have these fabulous online bingo cards with some known and lesser known traditions on. See how many you can tick off and how traditionally British your holidays is!

paddypowerbingo

Thanks to Paddy Power for these great festive bingo cards – I hope you have fun playing along!

December 1st

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas Gift Guide | Posted on 01-12-2016

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I have been rubbish at blogging recently. I have no idea where the time has gone, or how it is already the start of December. But today I decided would be the ideal time to show off this awesome product that arrived many weeks ago.

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I love this mug. Looks like a plain boring white mug yes? Nope. How about now?

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Cool huh? Or what about this?

e-s-d-mug-penguin

Yep. Same mug. Bit proud of the penguin I must confess.

You see this mug comes with a special pen which lets your draw on a design of your choice. It looks permanent, but it washes off, so you can change your mug every day if you wish. Or you can write a special message for a friend or loved one before you give it them as a gift. Maybe even your child’s teacher as a Christmas present. The pen makes it totally personalised and unique, making it the ultimate bespoke gift. And you can give them the pen too so if they wash the design off, they can re-doodle their own.

Eat Sleep Doodle do lots of products with the same doodling feature. As well as the mug, they sent me two of their Placemat-To-Go’s.

e-s-d-placemat

Each cotton sheet features a printed on plate and cutlery on one side and a graph paper design on the other. It comes in a handy carry bag and includes a set of ten coloured pens. We’ve not tested this out yet – I’m thinking it’ll get lots of use over Christmas though. Ideal for taking to the grandparents for when the kids are waiting on their food, or for when you’re eating out at restaurants. The children can draw to their hearts content – maybe try and doodle their dinner – and then you simply pop them in the washing machine and they are ready for next time. I’m thinking they’ll also come in handy in the car for keeping the boys entertained on our way to visit family over the festive period. The fact it comes in a bag is just super convenient. Hopefully I’ll get some action shots of this in use over on my Instagram in the coming weeks.

Do make your way over to the Eat Sleep Doodle website and take a look at their awesome products – lots of Christmas gift inspiration for those of you who haven’t finished shopping yet. Fingers crossed, for the first year ever, I might be done by December 1st… hopefully.

Help Keep Families Close

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 20-10-2016

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What child doesn’t love McDonalds? I know my two are very enthusiastic when we say we’re going there. You can’t beat a Happy Meal if you’re 6 or 2. But what they don’t realise about McDonalds, and what some of you might not realise either, is the awesome charity work they do as well as feeding us.

McDonalds currently has 14 Ronald McDonald Houses in the UK – houses which provide free accommodation to parents and families when children are in hospital. “Ronald McDonald Houses give families the chance to remain close to their child whilst they are in hospital. Their location, as close as possible to one of fourteen specialist children’s hospitals across the UK, means that families can be by their child’s bedside in a matter of moments, whilst maintaining a degree of normal life and reducing emotional and financial strain. To ensure a sense of closeness, where possible, a direct telephone line connects families’ rooms in the Ronald McDonald House to their child’s ward.”

Needless to say fundraising is vital to the work McDonalds do, so this Saturday October 22nd they are having a charity day at branches up and down the country. McDonalds will be turning Jungle Themed and selling special cuddly toys for £2.50 each, with every single penny going straight to the charity. These toys will be purchasable from the counters, kiosks and drive thrus of most branches across the country, and there will also be collection boxes available. Last year they raised a fabulous £3.9 million so hopes are high for beating that this year.

rmhc-collage

Campaign ambassador Jeff Brazier has created this video about the appeal, so please do take a look.

Four new houses are desperately needed, and McDonalds hopes to get them opened in the next few years. Days like Saturday are only going to help, but there are other ways to get involved if you head over to the RMHC website. Here you’ll find out more details about the fourteen existing houses, as well as stories from families who have used them.

Please please head down to your local McDonalds this Saturday. Every penny really does count, and the effects will be life changing for families.

This post was sponsored.

#Review: Tangle Teezer

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 14-09-2016

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Tangle Teezer’s have been around for ages. They are one of those things I’ve wanted to try out for a while, so when a bright and funky Lemon Sherbet teezer landed on my doormat a few weeks ago, I was very excited.

sherbetlemonCute isn’t it? I love the contrasting colours. The sharp lemon and the softer pink make this stand out from the rest, and perfectly epitomises its name. I love how compact it is. It pretty much lives in my handbag, handy for keeping my hair looking neat when I’m constantly on the run. I love the shape. It is ergonomically brilliant, fitting perfectly in the palm of my hand giving me complete control.

Banish tangles and knots with a minimum of fuss, breakage or damage with the Tangle Teezer detangling brush uniquely designed with teeth that glide through your hair leaving it soft and shiny without tugging and pulling.

Using the brush leaves my hair smooth and sleek, and I think it works very well with my short bob style. A welcome addition to my handbag.

The Salon Elite Tangle Teezer is available in a range of fun and funky colours. There’s one for everyone.