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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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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?

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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.

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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.

Last minute Christmas Ideas for the boys!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide | Posted on 17-12-2014

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This time next week it’ll be over. All the shopping will have been done and you’ll either be buried in wrapping paper tackling the pile of presents, or smugly sitting back relaxing, pleased you spread your wrapping out throughout the month. If you’re me, you’ll be smugly pleased you got your Mum to do most of the wrapping for you one morning because your children were poorly and you couldn’t find the time to do it yourself. So with one week to go, do you have all your presents yet? Or are you still struggling to find that one extra present for a little boy in your life? May be you’re after a main present for a slightly bigger boy? Do not fear. Read on, and hopefully I can help point you in the right direction.

Lets start with a smallest boy in your life. Now I know I recently provided you with a great array of First Christmas items for your babies, but this one is very much aimed at baby boys. My 1st Years is a great store providing truly beautiful products for babies, and I am a big fan of this cute Car Comforter and Knitted Teddy set. The car – which you can have personalised if you wish – features those loops of ribbon that all babies seem to be instantly drawn to for fiddling and chewing. The teddy is a lovely blue shade and has a traditional knitted appearance which will no doubt provide a long term friend for your little boy.

Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m a bit of a wooden toys fan, so it’ll come as no surprise that I’m going to direct you to my ultimate favourite wooden toys company. I am so proud to represent Bigjigs as one of their Play Patrol team and for the little boys in your life you won’t find many toys as fabulous as their Heritage Fire Station set. The station comes with four fire fighters, a sleeping area for when they aren’t out at work, a tower for training, and a nice big area to park their fire engine. The included engine features a fire hose that you can unroll and an extendible ladder for tackling even the biggest fires. This is a gorgeous set with lots of great features, and plenty detail. This is sure to keep your little boys busy on Christmas morning, and beyond.

Gioteck RC 3

If you have gaming fans in your house – and despite only being four years old Little Dude is rather partial to some Xbox action himself – then giving them somewhere comfortable to sit whilst they enjoy the latest platform or racing game, as well as somewhere to store the seemingly endless array of controllers, boxes, cables and other associated paraphernalia might just be the thing you’re looking for. The RC-3 Gaming Chair is the ultimate in gaming accessory, providing not only enviable comfort and compact storage, but is compatible with a wide range of consoles and game play devices. Now whilst I think this may be a bit on the extreme side for Little Man – he’s more of a Just Dance fan anyway – I think the older boys – and their dads – will find this a much appreciated addition to their gaming zones.
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Christmas 2013: Last Minute Gifts & Treats from Asda

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide | Posted on 18-12-2013

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Can you believe its just a week until Christmas? Where did December go? Whilst physically I’m feeling a lot better with my pregnancy I seem to be tired most of the time and some days I’m just exhausted and don’t achieve anything helpful. One thing I did manage to organise though was my food shopping delivery for the end of this week. We’re off to my parents for Christmas Day and we’ll be spending the New Year at my in laws so I don’t need to panic buy lots of food as nobody will be here to eat it. I am going to need a few bits and pieces and by getting my delivery from Asda, it gives me a chance to make sure I have a few treats in and finish up any last minute stocking fillers too. If you’ve got a delivery to finalise before Christmas why not pop a few of these bits and pieces in your virtual basket.

Christmas is a great time to treat the children – big and small. Gingerbread is very popular with Little Man and his Daddy so I’m sure a box or two of these Gingerbread Santa’s & Snowmen will find their way onto my food order this week. At just £1 a box they are super cheap and adorable designs are bound to make Little Man smile.

Beauty gift sets are always popular at Christmas, and are great for buying for friends. I usually shop on the high street for this type of product but Asda have a great range available and at a fraction of the cost. This Simple Travel Gift Set is just £5 and is part of the 2 for £8 offer making it great value. Wipes, Facial Wash, Facial Toner and Moisturiser are included in this neat set which would be an ideal purchase for anyone jetting off over the festive season as they are all hand luggage compliant.

Mugs are another classic gift, and especially ones that come with a sweet treat inside. Love Hearts are a classic retro sweet. This bright and colourful mug comes with some fruity fizzy sweets to enjoy, and is a useful gift when all the sweets are gone. At £5 its a great little stocking filler.

And of course Asda has a full complement of Christmas foods and drinks on offer too. Having been lucky enough to attend their Christmas In July event earlier in the year and sample some rather delicious meats, snacks, sweets and party food there’s no danger of anyone going hungry. Whilst I can no longer eat some of the bits I tried earlier in the year I will certainly be hunting out their jars of sweets and their dessert range which were all delicious. I’m just going to have to wait till next year for the Extra Special Prosecco and stick to the soft drinks for the time being!

Get online fast to book a delivery slot before Christmas, or better still head down to your local store and pick up some delicious treats and some last minute gifts before the big day.

Christmas 2013: Sheepskin Slippers

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Product Reviews | Posted on 11-12-2013

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As parents we spend all day on our feet, running around at home after our children or taking them here there and everywhere to keep them entertained. At the end of a long busy day there’s nothing I enjoy more than relaxing on the sofa and putting my feet up. My feet are more tired and achy at the end of each day at the moment as I’m pregnant so I often slip off my shoes and wish I had something comfy and cosy to pop my feet into. Thanks to the team at the Soak & Sleep I do now! When they contacted me and asked if I’d like to choose something to review from their website I was instantly drawn to their Sheepskin Slippers. My feet are without a doubt the coldest part of my body – just ask my husband who I poke with them in bed… – so keeping them cosy was really important. I was very excited when these gorgeous slippers landed behind my door.
Slippers Sussex MummyJust looking at them makes my feet feel cosy. They are sheepskin lined throughout, as well as the decorative band on the top. They are VERY cosy and my feet are nice and warm when I’m wearing them. I was a little worried at the fact they had no backs to them though. Other backless slippers and shoes I’ve tried tend to flap about and are something of a hazard on stairs. These fit snugly and comfortably and can be worn without worry all day if I’m at home. They have a sturdy sole which, whilst not suitable for continued outdoor use, can safely make trips to the bin or on down the path in the garden.
The slippers come in three sizes – small which is a size 3.5, medium which is a 5.5 and large which is a 7.5. I have size 5 feet but sometimes wear a 6 so the mediums were an ideal fit for me. At £30 they are not the cheapest slippers you’ll ever buy, but the snuggly New Zealand fleece will probably make these the last slippers you’ll ever buy. I’m sure there are plenty parents who’d enjoy finding these under the tree on Christmas morning. Best make sure you write your letters to Santa in time too!

Christmas 2013: Breville Blend Active

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Foodie, New Year New You, Product Reviews | Posted on 04-12-2013

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Christmas is a time for indulgence. I’m sure we’re all guilty of overdoing things a little during the festive period with too much food or drink. Huge Christmas lunches, boxes of chocolates and biscuits, and just one more slice of cake. January dawns and everyone starts panicking about how much weight they’ve put on, as well as how much they’ve spent. If you or a loved one is planning on embarking on a new diet and fitness regime come 2014 then a Blend Active by Breville may well be the best present you get this Christmas.
“Not another blender/smoothie maker!!” I hear you cry. Well this one is a little bit different. This compact blender comes with two 600ml drinks bottles which you use to mix your drink in, and then take out with you to the gym or on the school run or for a healthy drink later in the day thanks to the none spill lids. The one-touch blending system is super easy to use, and the blades and bottles are all dishwasher friendly. The Eastman Tritan Copolyester bottles are also durable, shatterproof, and odour, taste and stain resistant.
Now I don’t do exercise – apart from running around after a three year old all day – and my school run is particularly lame as I take the car because my stamina is pathetic due to me being pregnant, so I gave this nifty little blender to my Dad to review – also known as Pops. He works four days a week for a taxi company in Chichester and generally tends to leave for work at 4am – don’t ask me how he does it, I have no idea! Leaving that early means his meals are generally at random times and he tends to grab things on the go. Not the healthiest way to live. He’s a fan of smoothies but has never had the facilities to take them with him. He is the PERFECT guinea pig for this little review then.
I must confess I expected the novelty of this to wear off pretty quickly, but I can report that Pops has been using this machine daily – even when he’s at home –  since I took it over several weeks ago. He’s having a huge range of fruit smoothies with yogurt in and fruit juice, and the machine is so easy to use.
He is a huge fan. The convenience of the pieces being dishwasher proof is a huge plus point as he can make his smoothie at 4am before he leaves and pop the blades in the dishwasher. Having two bottles is brilliant as there is always one in use and one getting washed.
Its the ideal healthy drink for someone who spends the day in a car driving, and its much more cost effective than stopping and buying food and drinks when you’re out on the road.  You can currently get this Blend Active for just £20.00 on Amazon which is great value for this nifty bit of equipment.

I was sent a Breville Blend Active to review by Amazon.

Christmas 2013: Hendon Kitchen

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Product Reviews | Posted on 27-11-2013

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Whenever we went to baby and toddler groups or toy shops there was always one toy that Little Man would make a beeline for. The kitchens. Generally always the ones that were that big that they’d fill my house and would look fancier than my own kitchen, but cooking and pressing buttons was always something that enticed him. I bought him a compact table top cooker from a charity shop in our village about eighteen months ago and its had lots of use. It came with a good stash of play food, and when combined with some new pots and pans he was set and would often bring us random meal combinations. Whilst I was at Christmas In July this year I spent a lot of time at the Plum Products stand where they were displaying their new indoor toys, to compliment their extensive outdoor range – some of which is occupying our garden, as well as Nana and Pops’. The stand out product for me was the Hendon Kitchen, and Plum were kind enough to send us one over to review.
The main thing that stood out for me about this kitchen was the colour – its not pink. SO many play kitchens – especially the quality wooden ones – are pink. Now believe me this has not stopped my Little Man from playing with them, but wouldn’t it be nice for someone to create one without the pink stereotype, assuming only girls want to cook? What I also love about this is its size. Despite incorporating a cooker top, a sink with taps, an oven and two shelves its surprisingly compact and takes up very little room in our already jam packed lounge. It is in fact the ideal height for my Little Man who plays with it loads, and randomly gets himself a drink of air from the taps during the day, or washes his hands, or even, on the really odd occasion, gives Teddy a bath in the sink.
I like the details too. On the end of the cooker there are three hooks to hang the included utensils on, and there’s a picture of a tea towel hung up too. There is a hot and cold water tap – they don’t move but Little Man is happy to press them and make the noise of water coming out. There’s two dials on the front which turn round and make clicking noises to control your oven, and there’s even a (fake) digital clock. The two spacious shelves are well sized and we’ve managed to cram plates and Little Man’s tea set on there so all his “cooking” items are together. I must get him some new cutlery for Christmas though, as currently we get to eat our meals with either a ladle or a teaspoon!
Could it be better? Yes. Whilst its a great little kitchen I’d make a few small changes. I would add a shelf to the oven itself – currently its just one huge space and more like a cupboard than a realistic oven. I’d also make the taps turn and click in the same way the oven dials do. I would probably also make the overhead shelf run the full length of the kitchen and perhaps add a second, for items like condiments and tins of food.
On the whole this is a brilliant little kitchen, and it was really easy to put together, even with the help of Little Man. At £70 it is also really well priced, with other wooden kitchens on the market for a lot more. Whether its for a little boy or a little girl I think this compact kitchen would look great in any lounge, bedroom or playroom this Christmas morning.

Christmas 2013: Aeromax Nasa Jr Astronaut Suit

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Product Reviews | Posted on 20-11-2013

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Little Man is a typical boy. He’s into cars and trains, science fiction and Peppa Pig, and above all else, Buzz Lightyear. Toy Story has been very popular in this house since he was old enough to focus on a TV screen, and Buzz Lightyear has always proved his favourite character. We bought him his own Buzz Lightyear action figure for his third birthday last month and he barely puts it down. As well as a love for Buzz he also likes rockets, stars and the moon. Space is a topic which I think will prove very interesting for him as he gets older. It seemed very apt therefore that Maps Toys sent us an Aeromax Nasa Space Suit to review.
An impeccably well designed and detailed dressing up costume that is ideal for future astronauts, this is a full body which comes with a replica Nasa cap. Bright orange in colour it features a Nasa badge, as well as an American flag,  a space shuttle badge and a “Commander” patch. There are zip pockets, stitching detail and adjustable velcro straps to the ankles.
I was immediately impressed with this costume when I saw photos of it, and the reality was even better than expected. It has great detail and the quality is incredible. It will last for many years to come and will withstand lots of wear, even from the most boisterous of children. Its very lightweight so there’s no danger of your little space traveller overheating whilst they are on their missions, even with their usual clothes on underneath. And most importantly for us parents, its machine washable!
Now whilst it might not look like look like Buzz Lightyear, it does bare a tremendous resemblance to a suit worn by his second favourite TV character – David Tennent’s Doctor Who – in a couple of episodes, so Little Man is a big fan. I would LOVE to show you photos of him wearing it, but unfortunately this costume is a bit too big for him at the moment – the one we received was age 4-6 – but I am sure he’ll never take it off when we do get him into it.
This costume is available in sizes 2-3, 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 and 12-14 and retails at £38. Its not the cheapest costume you’ll ever buy your children, but I guarantee it’ll be the longest lasting.

Christmas 2013: Winter Fashions from Fat Face

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Fashion, Product Reviews | Posted on 13-11-2013

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I LOVE Fat Face. It is without a doubt my favourite high street store when it comes to buying clothes for myself. Whilst it may not be the cheapest place to buy clothes, you know you are always going to end up with a high quality item which will last for ages. Truly worth the investment. I actually went into the Chichester branch yesterday to take advantage of their new sale. Finding clothes to fit when pregnant is never particularly easy, and despite being only 13 weeks I already have a not-so-subtle bump to work around. The determined part of me however managed to pick up a couple of bargains which show off my lovely little bump brilliantly, and I’m content in the knowledge that I’ll be able to wear them again afterwards.

A while ago the lovely team at Fat Face sent me an early Christmas present from their new Autumn Winter range. They’d been in touch a few days before to ask about my clothes size so I was very excited when a parcel landed on my doorstep. I wasn’t worried about being sent a mysterious item of clothing as I’d happily wear anything from the store, but I was particularly thrilled with the contents. They sent me the Amy Gilet in Navy to test out.

I tried it on the instant it was out of the packaging – I do love a good coat. At that stage I could still fasten it up – sadly my 13 week bump is now a little too big for me to fasten it comfortably – and pulled the hood over my head. I felt SO snuggly and warm. In fact to say I was only wearing a gilet I felt the cosier than I did in most coats! I headed over to Fat Face website to read more about my lovely Christmas present.

“In a shower resistant outer with super warm duck down and feather filling, plus a cosy deep pile fleece lining; this gorgeous gilet is perfect for beating the chill this season.”

That’ll explain the warmth then!

I adore this gilet. The length is brilliant – a previous gilet I’ve owned was irritatingly too short – and makes sure no drafts are getting in. It can be worn over layers or thick jumpers – if you’re not pregnant… – and whilst I wouldn’t wear it in a downpour it copes admirably in brief showers. I love the fleece lining which feels nice and soft and whilst I ordinarily wouldn’t choose a fur trimmed hood it does add to that feeling of cosiness.

The Amy Gilet is available in a choice of six colours – the Cobalt Blue is an online exclusive – and retails at £65. If I went into store and tried this on I don’t think there’d be any doubt in me buying it. I think this is a very reasonable price for a gilet of this quality which looks and feels great on. A lovely item to add to your Christmas Wish List or to drop subtle hints to family about wanting. If anyone asks me what I want this Christmas, I think I’ll just point them at the Fat Face Gift Guide! What would you choose from Fat Face this Christmas?

 

Christmas 2013: Chill Factor Squeeze Cup Slushy Maker

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Product Reviews | Posted on 06-11-2013

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I’m sorry, but there’s no escaping it any longer. Christmas IS coming and so begins my weekly series on the top gifts for your children this year. Please don’t hate me.

A while ago we were sent a Chill Factor Squeeze Cup Slushy Maker to review after seeing it at Christmas In July. The concept of it is fairly simple – you place the cup in the freezer and once its frozen pour in a drink of your choice. Squeeze and release the soft sides of the cup repeatedly until its frozen into a slushy type consistency, and enjoy. Overall its a very clever cup which can transform pretty much ANY drink into a slushy. Now we tested this out with Little Man so obviously we used something child friendly like orange squash. He was fascinated by the giant yellow cup and once I poured the drink inside he was happy enough to start squishing the cup. After a few minutes the drink had started to solidify and a slushy was made. I handed Little Man the included straw with spoon on the end and he duly sat there and ate the slushy, occasionally offering me a spoonful. The drink we used was a strong mix and we found that worked much better than a weak mix which lost most of its flavour during the slushy making process.

Now whilst this product is aimed at children – suitable from age 3 upwards – there is no reason why adults can’t get in on the action too. This Christmas and New Year how about a nice frozen cocktail? I can see this method working very nicely with a Pina Colada or Margarita to make delicious frozen cocktails. Obviously I recommend cleaning it out thoroughly afterwards especially if your children are going to be using it again! Like I said we used orange squash for Little Man, but pure fruit juices, milk or even fizzy drinks would work well. My main tip is not to overfill the cup, and to squeeze calmly and gently. Frantic enthusiastic squeezing from Little Man did result in a slight overflow issue!

Priced at £12.99 for one, or £39.99 for a family pack of four, I think the Chill Factor is a great little item for all the family to enjoy.

Review: The White Company Candle

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Product Reviews | Posted on 21-12-2012

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If you are looking for any last minute gifts and don’t fancy braving the insane high streets today, you have until 6pm Saturday to get your order in with The White Company for delivery on Christmas Eve. The White Company sells a beautiful array of items for the home, and if you’re still looking for that ‘Perfect Little Present’ for someone look no further than their selection of candles.

We have a few scented candles in the house – in the bathrooms primarily – but their Orange Grove Signature Candle would make a delicious addition to any lounge this festive period. It has a zesty scent as you would expect, but there are also undertones of an earthy smell, which makes it an uplifting and comforting fragrance. I think the orange scent is lovely at this time of year and it has pride of place on our new mantelpiece. I expect it will get lit frequently during Christmas, and with 28 hours burning time there is plenty opportunity.

The Signature Candles range – which includes Orange Grove, Flowers, Pomegranate and more – cost £20 each and are available online or, if you’re feeling brave, from stores across the country. I suggest you get to their website before 6pm Saturday and place your order from the comfort of your sofa!