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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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#BritMumsLive2015 : Me & My Sponsors

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Blogger Event, Brit Mums Live | Posted on 23-05-2015

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So with less than a month to go Brit Mums Live I thought it was time I introduced myself, and my sponsors.

Name: Sarah LovettSussex-Mummy

Blog: Sussex Mummy Reviews

Twitter ID: @SussexMummy

Height: 5’8″ ish…

Hair: Short brown, we’re ignoring the grey yes…?

Eyes: Blue

Is this your first blogging conference?: No! I attended CyberMummy which was my very first conference and I have been to BritMumsLive twice before. I didn’t attend last year though as I’d just had Little Dude.

Are you attending both days?: Yes.

What are you most looking forward to at BritMums live 2015?: Catching up with blogging friends face to face and meeting new friends I’ve been chatting to. And having some me time away from the chaotic boys!!

What are you wearing?: As yet undecided, but something comfortable!

What do you hope to gain from BritMums LIVE 2015?: Getting my blogging mojo back which has been AWOL for a while now. And hopefully talking about my new blog…

Do you have any tips to pass on to others who haven’t been before?: Wear comfy shoes! There are stairs, lots of stairs. Oh and talk to each other!!

So that’s me. Now for my favourite part – introducing my sponsors. And yes, this year I have more than one. In fact I am incredibly lucky to have THREE! When I set about looking for sponsorship I was keen to work with the smaller independent brands as opposed to the big names. A lot of the reviews on my blog are products designed by mums so it felt natural to speak to these companies above all others. But I also know how expensive sponsorship can be, which is why I didn’t want one single brand to sponsor me. I am so happy with the three companies I have sponsoring me, and look forward to talking to you all about them at the conference.

BundleBeanFirst up is the superb Bundlebean! Bundlebean is one of my all time favourite genius products. The ones you can’t believe you lived without, and can’t believe you didn’t think of the idea first. I reviewed one for the ever lovely Emily years ago when she sent me her original blue spot design for use with Little Man. It is such a great product, so more than just a blanket for the pushchair. It got so much use with him, and was brought out again when Little Dude was born. It was a regular fixture on his car seat for ages, and it became like a security blanket for him when we traveled. It was a lifesaver as he wasn’t keen on driving in the dark, but with this on him he was fine. It also got used on the travel system in all its forms, and has been used on his new pushchair too. We use it as a blanket, a portable playmat and when the back carrier gets dragged out the loft this year we’ll attach it to that too. If you’ve never seen one – where have you been! – DO come and find me at the show where I’ll happily talk to you about them and provide you with contact details.

Next we have Cheeky Wipes! A brand you will no doubt recognise from The Baby Show if nowhere else they are very well known for their range of reusable baby wipes. But that’s not what I’ll be talking to you about, or showing you if you come and find me. Cheeky Wipes recently branched out, and are now selling washable sanitary towels. Now if you use washable nappies the idea of this is probably not too alarming, if you don’t you may be slightly put off. Don’t be. Since the birth of Little Dude I have had “issues” shall we say with disposable sanitary towels and so went off in search of a more “area friendly” alternative. I didn’t even know washables existed, but took a leap and bought myself one of Cheeky Wipes’ Starter Kits. By the end of the first day of using them I was converted, and by the end of my generally erratic period I was buying more. They are so comfortable, so easy to wash and care for, and yes, they do come out totally clean. I will be bringing a selection of towels with me to show you – clean new ones just in case you’re concerned – and will be more than happy to answer any questions you might have about using them.

CosyPlayFinally there is Cosyplay! Cosyplay is without doubt the comfiest play mat you will EVER find. We reviewed a mat three years ago when Little Man was technically too big to need a play mat. He adored it, and still does. For him it was a crash mat, somewhere to lie whilst watching TV, a roof for his dens, a floor for his tent, somewhere to chill. When I brought it back out for Little Dude it became somewhere for them to play together, to bond, to cuddle. Little Dude spends pretty much every day on it, and because of its waterproof backing, at the moment he spends a lot of that time in the garden. Rolling around on it, lying on it in the rare moments he’s still, crawling over it, eating his lunch on it picnic style, and yes, it is still the only floor that will do in our tent. I love the fact that they can both lie on it together and there is still just enough room for me to join them too. We also have the change and play mat which is smaller and our regular changing mat. Removable washable covers – on both the play mat and the changing mat – are a god send. I will have all the information you might need about these mats so DO come and ask me about them.

So there we have it. My three incredible sponsors. I am really excited to be attending Brit Mums Live this year after missing out last summer, and I am so proud to have these brands supporting me as I do. I look forward to seeing you all there!

#LeanOnTurkey : Marco Pierre White Christmas Masterclass

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Blogger Event, Brit Mums Live, Christmas, Foodie | Posted on 24-09-2013

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Ah Christmas. The one time in a year that most competent cooks go totally bonkers and freak out at the sight of a turkey. When all knowledge of the previous 52 weeks worth of roast dinners leaves their brains and they turn into a gibbering wreck. We’ve all been there. But its not that hard, I promise. Its basically just a giant chicken, so why does the idea of Christmas lunch cause a sense of dread and panic? Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea Football Club and the rather fancy “Marco” restaurant to meet the man himself – Marco Pierre White – and learn his tips and tricks for creating the perfect Christmas lunch without the stress. Now Christmas lunch doesn’t really fill me with dread – like I said, its a giant chicken – but I know it does intimidate a lot of people, so I wanted to be able to pass on some pearls of wisdom from an expert.

Marco Pierre White is probably one of the most intimidating people you’ll ever meet. He has a definite presence when he enters the room, and there was generally a sense of hush and awe when he wandered in, apart from the muffled squeals of one over excited blogger who spent a good part of the day trying to find ways to declare her undying love for him. I’m not sure if she succeeded…

There were 21 bloggers at this event and so we were split in to two groups for our masterclass sessions. Our group went first and we were allowed access to Marco’s kitchen where we stood listening to his tips for the perfect Christmas lunch whilst watching him in action. As you can see here, there was a lot of knife wielding involved – nobody was brave enough to point out the handle end – as we watched him cook turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy.

Marco’s Top Tips:
* Remove the legs and wings of the turkey before cooking, or simply buy a turkey crown. Nobody really wants the brown meat, and it will speed up the cooking process. He cooked our turkey in about an hour and a half! The best way to find out if your turkey is done is to invest in a meat probe and use that in the thickest part of the bird to ensure its properly cooked and at the right temperature.

* To stuff your bird use a 50/50 mix of Paxo – yes, he did specifically say PAXO – and the best sausage meat you can afford – there’s is from a posh place in Chelsea, mine will probably come from Asda…. You can also add chopped onion or herbs if you wish. Don’t use as much water as the Paxo instructions tell you, but otherwise do as it says on the packet.

* Marco’s Cranberry Sauce is made using 500g cranberries, 250g sugar, 100ml port and 100ml of orange juice. Simply boil the fruit and sugar together until you get a runny jam consistency. Take it off the heat to add the port and orange juice, and stir it all together. You can make this in advance and store it in your fridge in a sealed jar for up to a month. It also makes a nice gift if you put it in a fancy jar.

* The gravy was made from the chopped up bones from the legs and wings of the turkey which Marco removed at the start. He added onion, garlic, water, butter and bouillon. He thickened it to taste with cornflour. He did mention that we could use Knorr stock pots instead of bouillon if we preferred. No surprise there though!

Christmas lunch truly can be simple. It can be calm and it can be stress free. Now admittedly Marco cooked this in a quiet kitchen apart from having ten bloggers looking on, and he did have ONE thing that none of us will have on Christmas morning to help us. Marco has Roger. Roger has been working with Marco for 25 years, and there is a sense of “old married couple” about them. Roger is his right hand man and I get the impression he’s pretty indispensable. Despite many pleas, Roger is not available to hire out for special occasions, nor is he free Christmas morning to do all the hard work so we don’t have to.

After watching Marco – and Roger – cook, we got to eat which I think most people were rather keen on. We watched as the food was carved in the kitchen, plated up school dinner style – a fairly orderly queue was formed – and then we were dispatched back to the dining area to enjoy our meal with the odd glass of wine. Here’s my first Christmas lunch of 2013.

Yes I know, there’s no potatoes. Much devastation on my table about the lack of potatoes. It was, as expected, delicious. Was it the best Christmas lunch I’ve ever tasted… I’m not sure to be honest. My Mum is rather good at Christmas lunch to be fair. It was really nice though, and the cranberry sauce was very tasty. I don’t tend to enjoy homemade sauce, but this was simple and one recipe I will be doing this December. I’ll probably also be found mixing sausage meat with Paxo – other stuffing brands are available… – to make my stuffing. The idea of just cooking the turkey crown is interesting, especially with the speed of cooking factor. I do like leftovers though, so I’m not sure if I could get on board with this totally. In fact after Christmas Day you can generally find me stood by the open fridge picking bits of cold turkey from the carcass for ages!

This Christmas Day there will be me, Daddy, Little Man, Nana and Pops for lunch. I will certainly be using some of the tips and ideas I picked up on the day, and I hope you all will too. Most of all, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas – when it gets here! – and a wonderful New Year.

One last photo – the obligatory shot I think.
#LeanOnTurkey

 

Brit Mums Live: Using The Kurio

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Brit Mums Live | Posted on 04-07-2012

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At the end of June 500 mummy bloggers descended on London – along with a handful of brave daddy bloggers – to attend Brit Mums Live, and I was so lucky to be one of them. Held at The Brewery – the same venue for last years CyberMummy – this two day event was the “must attend” event for all mummy bloggers. The range of break out sessions and talks was incredible (if only I’d been able to be in four places at once) and the brands on show in The Hub was perfect for the Mummy in us all, as well as the Blogger. My attendance of Brit Mums Live was only made possible thanks to Inspiration Works, my superb sponsors, who not only got me there, but also provided me with a brand new pre-release Kurio to use and promote.

Using the Kurio at the conference was a dream. With it being a full android tablet I was able to download Evernote before I went so I could make notes during the sessions. I was worried that doing a lot of typing on something which has a 7 inch screen was going to be difficult, but the touch screen keyboard keys were perfectly sized and I could tap away merrily. The only irritation was that every time I touched a key it made a noise, a feature which I must figure out how to turn off!!

The Kurio comes with WIFI so I was able to hook up to The Brewery internet connection with a few simple clicks – the WIFI settings button is in the bottom left of the screen at all times – so I could check my Twitter feed using TweetCaster and send a few tweets myself. I could also do surf the internet which was useful during sessions when a cool website or brand was mentioned which I wanted to look up immediately.

Promoting the Kurio was part of my sponsorship package, and I really enjoyed demoing it to a few people and letting them have a go, though I did think a few people were going to run off with it!

The Kurio is branded as a “family tablet”, though it is predominantly aimed at children aged 4 to 15. Adults using the tablet can use the profile interfaces as shown above, or via the parental controls they can make it look like any other tablet and much less child like. As an adult using this I was thrilled with its speed, performance and usability. Since Brit Mums I have largely used it to read ebooks on the inclusive application and do any quick internet surfing when I don’t have the time or inclination to fire up my ailing laptop. I also tuck it into my handbag when I go to any blogging events or press days, including yesterdays Christmas In July.

This tablet is going to be on every child’s Christmas list, and a fair few parent’s as well I bet. You’d best get your orders in now!

The Kurio will be available from Toys’R’Us, John Lewis, and all good toy retailers.

Coming Soon: Kurio Review from my Little Man!!

Bagabook Giveaway At Brit Mums Live!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Blogger Event, Brit Mums Live, Competition, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 18-06-2012

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Bagabooks are designed to protect your precious paperbacks from damage when you’re reading them if you’re out and about. Whether you’re travelling by train or plane, or sat on a warm sandy beach (clearly not in the UK…) or just like to have your book with you in case you fancy a quick read, your paperback may end up a little dog-eared and damaged. Bagabook to the rescue!!

Bagabooks slip around the cover of your book and protect it from the elements. They come with a built in bookmark and a handy pocket for a travel card or train ticket – perfect for all you commuters out there. There is even a pen holder as your Bagabook can also house a notepad or diary. You can even fit an e-reader or 7 inch tablet inside – and that’s why I’m bringing my Bagabook to Brit Mums Live this weekend with my new Kurio inside. As you all know I’m going to be showing off the pre-release 7 inch Kurio to anyone who wants a look, but I am also going to be running a competition to giveaway a brand new Bagabook of your choice.

Bagabooks come in two designs – Classic or Executive. The Classics look rather like a stylish handbag, with a strap to pop it over your shoulder or carry it.

The Executive has a briefcase look to it with a much shorter and neater handle, and has a discreet zipped pocket to pop in your mobile or mp3 player or some loose change.
Take a look at the full range on the Bagabook website – there are a host of colours and designs to choose from.

Fancy winning one of your own?

Track me down on Friday or Saturday at Brit Mums Live and give me one of your business cards.  You’ll be entered into a Prize Draw and on Sunday I’ll pick one of the cards out of a hat – or the discreet hidden pocket of the Bagabook – and that person will win a Bagabook of their choice from the website. What’s more is that ALL entrants will be emailed with a discount code to use in the online store.

Brit Mums Live: Introducing My Sponsor…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Blogger Event, Brit Mums Live, Information, Product Launch | Posted on 15-03-2012

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It is with great excitement and much enthusiasm that I can officially announce my Brit Mums Live 2012 sponsor is… InspirationWorks!!!

How many people just said “Who?”

Whilst you might not have heard of InspirationWorks specifically, if you have children there is a reasonably high chance that you own a product which they have played a major part in.  Launched in 2005 InspirationWorks develop and distribute licensed electronic learning products in the UK. They have a huge range of laptops and phonics learning toys aimed at children from 12 months and upwards. Their licensed products feature popular characters including Peppa Pig, Bob The Builder, Waybuloo, Ben & Holly and the newest star of CBeebies Mike The Knight.

2012 will see InspirationWorks become more known as a brand as they release the Kurio – an Android tablet for children and families. The Kurio is a multimedia and entertainment device for children which has the benefit of full parental control and internet content filtering making the Kurio is THE safest tablet around to let your children use. You can even set timers for how long they play on it. What they are really going to love is the ability to personalise their own interface with their favourite licensed character. What you will love is that you don’t have to have Peppa Pig on your interface! Profiles are available so that it can be used by the children for fun and games, but can also be used by parents as a work device. Skins and cases will also be available for both children and adults for even more personalisation. Being Android it also means you can download any App you want from the same Android Market you’d find on your SmartPhone or other tablet.

The Kurio will be available to buy in July 2012 and comes in three sizes:

  • 7 Inch 800 x 480 capacitive multi-touch screen priced at £149.99 – Available from July
  • 9.7 Inch 1024 x 600 capacitive multi-touch screen priced at £199.99 – Available from Autumn
I’m sure you’ll agree that for something of this quality those are not-to-be-missed prices.
If you want a sneaky preview of the Kurio you’d better come and find me at Brit Mums because I will have a pre-release 7 Inch Kurio with me! The Kurio has advanced multimedia capabilities with a USB key and a SD card portal – it also comes with HDMI connection so can be used as a mobile HD video player.  A dedicated car mount system will be available to purchase to mount this in cars as a mobile DVD player – perfect for the children on car journeys. The Kurio has 4GB integrated memory, extendable up to 36GB using the micro SD card slot. The Kurio 7 Inch comes with a front and rear side camera so you little one can take photos of the world around them, or portraits of themselves!
I will be using it throughout the event for taking notes during the breakout sessions and tweeting, but I will also be demonstrating it to anyone who wants a look. The Kurio is guaranteed to be on your child’s Wish-List this summer so this is the ideal chance to get a first hand look at exactly what it can do. Bearing in mind that the Gadget Show Live named Kurio “Best of Show Gadget” at Toy Fair 2012 there is no doubting that this tablet is going to be huge.
I am so excited to be going to Brit Mums Live and so proud to be representing such a great company, and such a fantastic product. If you have any questions about InspirationWorks or the Kurio specifically don’t hesitate to tweet or email me and I’ll do my best to help!