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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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Review: Grand Hotel Eastbourne Spa Day If you are looking for a last minute gift idea for someone in your family, or perhaps you're thinking of spoiling yourself with a trip to the spa in the New Year to help recover from the Christmas madness,...

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#Review: A Day Out At Drusillas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out | Posted on 27-04-2016

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We are no strangers to Drusillas. We’ve been many times before, as featured on this blog in fact, but it’s been a couple of years since we went and decided it was high time Little Dude got his first visit under his belt. Needless to say we were thrilled at Drusillas impeccable timing at inviting us down to their East Sussex location to take a look around and see what was new.

The last time we went was a little over two years – when I was pregnant with Little Dude in fact – so we were well overdue a visit. It is a great place for a day out with the children. There’s plenty animals to see, lots of viewing areas which accommodate visitors of all ages and sizes, and the fun doesn’t stop when you’ve seen all them all. To be honest the animal areas haven’t changed at all. There’s a huge array of them and both children were fascinated. The monkeys remain amongst the favourites, and Little Man loved seeing the penguins after a term at school where he’d been learning all about Antarctica. Little Dude is cat obsessed, and any animal that isn’t a cat is apparently a “COW!” which he yells rather enthusiastically. There are apparently a lot of cows at Drusillas…

Drusillas-Penguins-SussexMummy

The play areas are brilliant. Both children went off into soft play with Daddy and were lost in there for ages. A bit of peace for me, but there was one very tired Daddy at the end. The outdoor area was briefly climbed over, but it was rather cold out despite the bright blue skies. There is a new ‘Get Wet Splash Pad’ area that is open now where there’s jets of water squirting around and your children can run around in their swimming stuff. Not keen on the idea of this when we visited, but I imagine in summer it will be fabulous. The Thomas The Tank Engine Train ride is a must do – both children were glad for the sit down, and Little Dude spent his entire journey waving from his seat, whether it be at animals, people or the occasional tree. I kid you not.

Last time we visited the Hello Kitty Secret Garden was under construction but now it’s been open for ages, so it was good to get a look in there. It consists of three rides – the Hopper Ride where you get propelled into the air and bounced back down, the Car Ride where you get to “drive” a cute cat car around along a railed track, and the Tea Cup Ride where you spin around to your hearts content in pink or blue cup. All three rides were a massive hit with my children. Despite his dramatic screams I can assure you that Little Man did enjoy all three turns on the Hopper, and it goes without saying that my cat obsessed Little Dude spent most of the time in a car going round and round the track.

DrusillasCollageSussexMummy

There are multiple quality merchandise stores selling an array of relevant, and not so relevant things to remember your visit. Little Dude came home with a Hello Kitty toy which he randomly yells “CAT!” at, and Little Man was most insistent that we got him a penguin. There may also have been plastic dinosaurs and swords bought, but they were less about the visit and more about my children’s current obsessions!

Drusillas is brilliant. We’ve been many times, and we will go many times again. There is so much to do whilst you’re there, lots to see, and the facilities are always up to standard. God bless the person that put Starbucks Coffee into the restaurant by Hello Kitty! Do make the trip – it is well worth it.

#Review: Santa Maria Pulled Pork Dinner Kit

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie | Posted on 25-03-2016

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I’m a bit of a fan of pulled pork. It’s one of those things that always seems to taste delicious when I eat it out somewhere but that I’d never try at home because it takes hours, and I doubt I’d be able to replicate the flavour anyway. When it comes to cooking at home I tend to get quick and easy food. The boys eat together, and then I eat with my husband in the evening when the children are in bed. I don’t have time to do any major cooking, so I like things that are fast to prepare, and tasty.

Santa Maria contacted me recently to see if I wanted to review one of their brand new meals kits. I’ve used meal kits in the past to make an array of Mexican dishes, so the concept was familiar. What interested me was that it was a kit to create Pulled Pork, and that it was going to take just 90 minutes to cook. I was intrigued.

PulledPork-Box

All I needed to buy was some pork and some red onions. Now, we didn’t get any red onions – inexplicably the local supermarket was out when I popped in to get some – but we did everything else that the recipe required.

PulledPork-Contents

So the box contained everything else we needed – seasoning for the pork, a bag to cook it in, seasoning for the red onions had we had any, chipotle BBQ sauce, and small tortillas.

PulledPork-Bag

I put the pork into the special bag and added the seasoning mix and some water. Bit of a shake and it looked like this… not entirely appetising but it was hardly going to look delicious at this stage! I put the bag in a dish in the oven for 90 minutes and that was it – job done. The smells coming from the kitchen we very enticing.

When it was finished cooking you simply pulled the pork apart and served it on the tortillas with some marinading red onions if you had them and the chipotle sauce.

PulledPork-Wrap

Now the tortillas were indeed mini, so we shared the eight included between the two of us and served it with sweet potato fries. The box suggests that these would make good canapes or that you could put the meat on rolls for a bigger meal.

The meal was delicious. It was an authentic pulled pork, and the only thing that let it down was the piece of pork I bought, but that was nothing to do with the meal kit. A better less fatty piece of meat would have created far more delicious pulled pork. Next time I’ll also make sure I get some onions!

Santa MariaPulled Pork Dinner Kit and Santa Maria Pulled Chicken Dinner Kit will be available in Morrisons from late November, RRP. £3.99.

Blaze and the Monster Machine’s Party Invite…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Blogger Event | Posted on 14-03-2016

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We’re having a party!!

Blaze-Invite

On Wednesday 16th March between 1pm and 3pm I will be holding a party, along with a team of other bloggers, to co-incide with the HOUR LONG Blaze and the Monster Machine’s special which will be airing on Nick Jr that same afternoon. We have a huge array of fun and educational activities planned for the children at home, all of which are STEM related – science, technology, engineering and maths – and you can follow all our games via my Twitter account @SussexMummy. There’ll be images going up on my Instagram, and if you also follow @NickJrUK and the #NickJrBlaze you’ll spot lots of chat and exclusive competitions being run too.

There’ll be four main activities going on in my house that afternoon. Our Science activity will be a bit of a wet one and we might just be testing out Blaze’s swimming ability. Our Technology activity will be creative and very tasty thanks to the fabulous @KiddyliciousUK. Our Engineering Activity will be testing out Blaze’s driving skills and might also feature a few edible components. And finally our Maths Activity will see just how far we can make Blaze go.

Many of our activities are going to feature new toys from the Fisher Price Blaze and the Monster Machines range which you can find at your nearest Argos and Smyths Toys Superstore.

Please do follow the party using all the appropriate social media, and most importantly don’t forget to watch the brand new HOUR LONG special on Nick Jr too.

#Montessori: Flockmen

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Montessori | Posted on 09-03-2016

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Where better place to start my new series on Montessori Play than with the gorgeous Flockmen.

I first discovered Flockmen on Instagram. I think it was a regram from someone I follow, and I remember thinking how versatile they looked, and how gorgeous they were. I contacted them to see if they were interested in working together, and was thrilled when they said they would send me a set to review. With an almost 2 year old and a 5 and a half year old in the house I saw a wealth of play possibilities, and was interested to see how each child would play with them.
Flockmen-CollageWell we’ve been making shapes, building armies, doing basic counting and math, and they’ve even been on a bus trip. We’ve had towers of Flockmen, rows of Flockmen, and even Flockmen playing with Happyland and being attacked by dinosaurs. They’ve been rather busy.

For me Flockmen are what Montessori is all about. A basic tactile object that provides endless play and learning activities. At just a few inches tall these little wooden figures have been used in a huge number of ways in our house in the last few weeks, and I’m sure there’s a huge number of other ways yet to be discovered.

I spend a lot of time on Instagram and if you search for Flockmen on there you’ll find them being used to build gravity defying structures, climbing trees, getting used in art and crafts, and even helping themselves to some cake. I am hugely inspired by what I’ve seen, but I’m also keen to let my children decide how they want to play with them, and to see what they can come up with themselves.

Flockmen arrive in a lovely hessian bag, and come in a choice of two sets – 16 or 32. For me there is no contest – I’d go for the bigger set every time as the play options are just endless. Prices start at just £19.99 for the toy that will truly last a lifetime, but if you take a peek in my sidebar, and on my Instagram, you might just find a discount code…

There’ll be more from Flockmen and the team behind them soon, with a few guest posts planned. Keep your eyes peeled!

Right As Rain…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion | Posted on 12-02-2016

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Is it me or is it always raining at the moment? Particularly when its time for the school run? The showers seem to always kick off just as I step out of my car, and it generally results in a wet mummy and two wet boys. I’m beginning to think I need to start leaving emergency rain gear in the car at all times. I mean I tend to have coats lying around in the car anyway, I just never seem to have the right coat for the right conditions. Clearly I need to be more organised.

The lovely Joules have a new “Right As Rain” range out at the moment, perfect for the inclement British weather, with designs sure to brighten up our school run. I am severely tempted to get my boys matching coats for the first time and purchase two of these Showerproof Jackets.
Joules-SharkI think my boys would look super cute in these, though Little Dude might have to wait till he’s a bit bigger first. Joules, you need to make this in a size 2 years please! I think the Shark print is really cool and no doubt my boys would look gorgeous in this coat. There are of course beautiful patterns for the girls too but I don’t think my boys would be particularly keen to wear this, do you?

Joules-GirlsCoat

Maybe a bit too floral for their liking. Now of course if the boys are getting cute coats then surely Mummy deserves one too… best go take a look hadn’t I?

#Review: Hotter Ribble Boots

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 27-01-2016

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You’ll remember that I went to a blogger event at the new Brighton branch of Hotter a few weeks ago where I was lucky enough to leave with a pair of Ribble boots. They are officially my favourite shoes ever.

Hotter-Ribble-SussexMummy

They are superb for the school run where I walk on pavements and paths which have been covered in puddles, mud and more recently ice.  My feet are warm and cosy, but because the shoes are breathable they aren’t uncomfortable. The Gortex feature is amazing – they’ve got wet, splattered in mud, and hit with hailstones. They still look brand new. I could walk for miles in these boots, and no doubt I probably have.

But I don’t just wear them on the school run. I’ve worn them to go out in the evening – they are smart enough for dinner with friends and drinks at the pub. They get worn when I go food shopping, they get worn when I go into town. I wore them at Toy Fair this weekend, where comfortable shoes is vital for the miles you walk around the Olympia. I’ve worn them every day since I got them, in fact the only time I don’t wear them is when I’m at work, though you’ll still find me in Hotter shoes.

Hotter-SussexMummy-Collage

I remember thinking Hotter was very much an old persons shoe, and to be fair to them I think several years ago their styles were certainly ones I was more likely to see my mum in than me – no offence mum! Nowadays their styles are a lot more fun, their colours vibrant, their designs altogether more trendy. If you head on over to the Hotter website today you’ll find there is a huge sale still on, and lots of great bargains to be had. I’m off their now to lust after the Antoinette’s I tried on in Brighton. Maybe its time to treat myself…

 

 

#Review: Trolley Bags

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 18-01-2016

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I’ve been having my food shopping delivered for years, even before we had children. I tried shopping with my eldest when he was young but he got bored in the trolley really quickly so it became a nightmare. When my youngest was born I thought I’d have another go, with his older brother off at school it seemed like a good idea. He LOVES it. Happily sitting in the seat, “helping” put things in the trolley, and grinning and waving at anyone and everyone. A sneaky snack also helps.

I own about a million bags for life. Okay maybe not a million, but probably more than my fair share. So I’d set off with a bundle of these bags and go and do my shopping, keen to avoid the 5p bag charge where possible. The system worked well, as long as I remembered my bags, but I seemed to always struggle to fit all the full bags back in the trolley whilst packing and keeping Little Dude amused. You need about seven pairs of hands by the time you get to the checkout! Help is at hand.

TrolleyBagsLOGO

I spotted an advert for Trolley Bags on Facebook and was intrigued. They looked incredibly clever, yet the design seemed simple. Could it really work? A row of four bags for life attached by velcro that sit in your trolley? Even with an enthusiastic 20 month old? I got in touch with Trolley Bags to see if I could test out the theory, and was really excited to receive a set in the post to review.

I received the Original Set in Vibe – four brightly coloured bags designed to sit in a standard shopping trolley. You can also get an Express version which is for shallower trolleys. The bags arrived ready to take to the shops – stuck together and rolled up. They’re easy to carry with the handle – my youngest actually likes to carry them to the car for me – and whilst the bars that help the bags sit in the trolley are sometimes a nuisance, you can easily pop them in the boot and go.

Here’s what Trolley Bags says.

“Trolley Bags Original are a system of four reusable shopping bags that are used to pack your shopping at the supermarket checkout, sized to fit larger deep trolleys. In one simple action the Trolley Bags system spreads out and rests on the deeper supermarket trolleys, giving you a series of open and upright bags into which you can pack and sort your shopping with both hands. Each durable bag holds up to 15kg and are designed to make your shopping trip easier and more convenient. The simple system can halve the time at the checkout as packing is quicker and easier without the hassle of holding bags open.”

My verdict? They’re genius. Once I’ve emptied my shopping onto the checkout belt I have my bags open and ready within seconds. I then park my trolley at the end of the checkout and drop my shopping in with speed and ease whilst Little Dude watches and/or helps. No having three or four part filled bags cluttering the checkout with me frantically putting things in each. No having to buy dozens of carrier bags because I’ve forgotten my own. And no bored toddler kicking up a fuss whilst I get more and more stressed. Shopping is almost a joy.

TrolleyBags-SussexMummy

Now I shop at a supermarket that doesn’t offer Scan & Shop – mostly because they employ me! These bags would be excellent at our rival supermarket where you could set them up open in your trolley and pack as you go round. I love Scan & Shop, and used to use it weekly before I went back to work and switched allegiance. Clearly I need to get in touch with our company director and encourage him to bring it in to our stores too…

Trolley Bags are £17.99 for the set of four, so they work out at just under £4.50 a bag. Your average good quality reusable bag tends to set you back £3 or £4 for to get a set of four at this price isn’t particularly expensive. They are great quality, very sturdy and will undoubtedly last far longer than the plastic bags for life or even the fancier hessian ones.

Say “Eh-Oh” to the new Teletubbies toys!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Launch | Posted on 11-01-2016

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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 tell you all about it and what’s inside.

SussexMummy-Teletubies-Box

First out the box was Tinky-Winky – without doubt Little Dude’s favourite. He gets very animated when Tinky-Winky appears on the screen with lots of enthusiastic pointing and shouting. We were lucky enough to receive a super cute 8 inch replica which features a variety of sounds and phrases when pressed. Whilst this is in no way Little Dude’s favourite toy he does get carried around every so often and there was a definite sense of recognition and excitement when we handed him over for the first time. I love the soft touch faces on these – makes them a great companion.

SussexMummy-TinkyWinky

Next came a slightly smaller 6 inch Laa-Laa. Super soft and cuddly these are suitable from birth and would make an ideal first toy for any young baby. Again this is another great replica and ideal for bed time, as there’s no danger of it making noises and waking baby up! Little Dude isn’t a massive fan of soft toys unless its a character he recognises so he again does play with this but much preferred the other items in the box.

SussexMummy-LaaLaa

We received Dipsy wearing the trademark black and white hat, Po riding his orange scooter, and Noo-Noo as small figures. The two Teletubbies stand at around 3 inches in height whilst Noo-Noo is probably only a couple of inches high. Suitable from 18 months they are perfectly sized for little hands. Little Man has always been a fan of plastic and wooden figures above soft toys. Something he can grab onto. These are ideal. His imagination is clearly just developing, and he’s often found playing with these figures and others like it. He mixes them in with his Happyland figures, he adds them to his Tonka Fire Station, he uses them with the Peter Rabbit figures, There’s recognition and the beginnings of small world play being acted out with them and its great to watch.

SussexMummy-Figures

There’s a huge range of other Teletubbies toys out there too, from a Jumping Po and Lullaby Laa-Laa, to a Superdome Playset and remote control Drive & Steer Noo-Noo. You can take a look at them here at Character Online.

Coming Soon…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Teletubbies | Posted on 05-01-2016

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If you take a look to the right of this post you’ll see a new button. If you have young children the return of the show “Teletubbies” is no doubt something you are aware of and, if you’re a fan like we are, you’ll be excited to hear that there are some brand new toys set to hit the shelves soon.

On Monday 11th January I will be giving you a sneaky look at a few items from the range after I was chosen to receive a top secret parcel just before Christmas…

Teletubbies-Box-SussexMummy

Much excitement in this house when the box arrived as my youngest loves the show. I did well to hide it before he started tearing into it!

Pop back to the blog on Monday where you’ll see what we find when we open the box…

#Review: Aubeterre Blue Cookie Cutter Lights

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 18-12-2015

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We finally got around to putting our Christmas lights up this weekend. There’s no tree going up this year – the idea of spending weeks telling our youngest to not pull it down just strikes me as making the whole season more stressful than necessary. To compensate we’ve gone a bit overboard with the lights. We’ve got them up in the playroom, around the lounge and in the kitchen windows. The ones that would typically be adorning our tree are instead illuminating our house and when they’re all turned on it looks very festive and cheerful.

I particularly like have twinkly lights in my kitchen. If you ever watched the older series’ of Nigella Lawson’s cooking shows you’ll know they were set in her own home, her own kitchen. As well as wanting that immense walk in pantry she had which is about the size of my own kitchen, I wanted the lights. String lights in a variety of colours seemed to cover every surface and I thought the whole room looked gorgeous. I’ve often looked for similar lights for my own kitchen but never quite managed to find any that I thought suited that picture in my mind that I have of how I’d like to replicate her incredible kitchen in my vastly smaller space. That was until I was contacted by Aubeterre Blue.

“Aubeterre Blue – Bringing the Magic into Entertaining.

Believing that every moment you spend around a table should be special and giving you the tools to make it so.

Named after Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, one of the top ten most beautiful French towns where both sets of founding partners were married, Aubeterre Blue has a clear vision; to make the world a more joyful place by Bringing the Magic into Entertaining, this means enabling friends and family to share magical Aubeterre Blue moments wherever they may be.

Believing that every moment should be magical, from a cosy quiet night in, to hosting a party for family and friends. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lazy Sunday brunch or Christmas Day, we want to empower and inspire you to make special moments magical, by creating gorgeous and exciting spaces both in the home and out.

Aubeterre Blue’s ambition is to provide you with the inspiration to entertain in ways that you may never have thought, with unique and beautiful home-wares that have a story to tell and are show stopping centrepieces, generating conversation and perhaps a little envy.

Any moment can be an Aubeterre Blue moment with friends, family and a little magic…”

aubeterre-blue-cookie-lightsAubeterre Blue stock a gorgeous range of products for the home, specialising in entertaining. I was very excited to find a beautiful section dedicated to string lights, and to find ones which were precisely what I was looking for. Copper Cookie Cutter String Lights are the perfect choice for year round decoration in my kitchen. They are battery operated which I love, as it means I can literally hang them anywhere without having to hunt around for a none-existent free plug socket. At present they are draped over our meal planning chalkboard on the kitchen door, the white battery pack practically invisible on our white wooden doors. What I love is that I can, and invariably will, move them around the kitchen and possibly even the house in the New Year once our Christmas decorations come down.

If you head over to the Aubeterre Blue website right now you’ll find these gorgeous sparkly copper lights with 20% off, as well as the all the other string lights. A beautiful addition to your home, for Christmas and beyond.