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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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iPhoneography Kit Competition

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition | Posted on 22-08-2015

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How many photos do you take every day? How many of those do you take on your phone? All of them? Most of them? I can’t remember the last time I dug out my “proper” camera to take a photo of anything. Camera’s on smart phones are so convenient and produce stunning results that traditional camera use is becoming few and far between. They are certainly the best thing for capturing shots of the children. The speed they move and the short time they actually pose nicely there just isn’t time to drag out my big camera. And when you’re taking sneaky shots of them doing something, phones are definitely the way to go. For example this shot of Little Dude playing in Nana and Pops’ garden and this one of Little Man in the hall upstairs. Both taken quickly and easily with my phone, and with great results.

PhoneographyCollageSussexMummy

Now the iPhones are well known for creating incredible images. I only have to take a look at my Instagram feed to see just how talented the phones and the photographers are. To celebrate their skills, I have teamed up with Three to offer my readers the chance to win a mobile photography kit, perfect for creating your very own at-home “phoneography” studio. Of course you don’t need an iPhone to use this kit – it’ll work perfectly with all phones. Included is a Bubble Pod, two Mini Studio Lights, a Phone Stand, A Mini Light Box with 4 colour backgrounds, and a Bag to carry all your kit in.

Bubble Pod Blue Sussex Mummy

I’m sure you’ll agree this is a pretty epic prize, so how do you win I hear you ask? Well I need you to share your top “phoneography” tips. How do you create those amazing shots? What must you avoid when taking great photos with your phone? What is the best way of capturing top shots? Write your tip in a comment below and then myself and Three will pick a winner after the competition ends on Monday 21st September. You have four weeks to come up with your best tips – good luck!

#Christmas: Hipp Organic Festive Treats

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Competition | Posted on 23-12-2014

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We’re on the home straight now, with just a few more sleeps before Christmas. I for one will be glad when its Christmas Eve and I can stop work for the festive period and focus on having fun as a family, and not what blog post I should be writing! Tomorrow my online food shop will be arriving and I’ll be playing “Christmas Tetris” as I try and find spaces in the fridge, freezer and cupboards for all the food. We’re a traditional “Turkey and all the trimmings” family, though with two small children I like to make things as easy as possible and I’m not ashamed to admit that there’s a drawer in my freezer with bags of Asda’s Chosen By You pre-prepared frozen vegetables in!

range shot 3As for Little Dude? Well he’s got a lovely selection of Christmas foods to choose from this week, thanks to a gorgeous stocking he was sent by Hipp Organic. From a breakfast of seasonal Apple & Cranberry through to his Christmas lunch of Parsnip, Potato and Turkey Casserole he’ll be celebrating with the rest of us. We’re big fans of Hipp Organic over here anyway, and its one of the brands of baby food you’ll always find tucked in a cupboard. As well as being organic the food always smells and tastes like its meant to, even if it doesn’t always look it. But then again, not much baby food does! I for one will be happy knowing he’s eating a similar meal to us, without much effort from me, and at Christmas that’s ideal. From 4 months upwards you’ll find something in the Hipp Organic range to satisfy your little one this Christmas, whether it be a pouch of Parsnip, Sweet Squash and Chicken Dinner, or a more textured Chunky Vegetable & Beef Casserole.

To celebrate Christmas Hipp are offering a “Hipp Hungry Hamper” to one of my readers. It’ll contain a great selection of Hipp’s products, ideal if you’re just starting out weaning. To be in with a chance of winning just follow the instructions on the below Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Brabantia: The Secret Life Of Laundry

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Home & Lifestyle, Product Reviews | Posted on 28-05-2014

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Nobody enjoys laundry. Its one of those necessary evils, and one you really can’t ignore. It was a shock how much our dirty laundry increased when we had Little Man. Little Dude’s arrival earlier this month eclipsed that. Baby grows, vests, muslin cloths, and the odd piece of Mummy and Daddy’s clothing seems to get covered in milk every day, and there’s also the occasional wee incident to look forward to as well. The washing machine seems to be permanently on, and with the questionable weather we’re experiencing we are starting to run out of places to hang it too.

Brabantia have created this infographic full of fascinating – and often amusing – facts and figures about the laundry habits of people in the UK as well as across Europe. Do take a look, and at the bottom you’ll find a great little competition to win a great 50 litre laundry bin so your washing can at least look stylish!

Brabantia Sussex Mummy
Who knew laundry habits could differ so much!

Brabantia Sussex Mummy LaundryBrabantia recently sent me one of their brand new 50 litre laundry bins. They heard I was expecting a new baby and thought it might help. As well as having a great big capacity the bin is nice and slim meaning it fits neatly in Little Dude’s bedroom without taking up too much precious floor space. It has a “quick drop opening” so you can easily throw small items in without having to remove the lid – perfect for Little Dude’s tiny clothes – and when the time comes to do the laundry there is a removable bag inside which you can take out quickly and easily without having to carry the whole bin to your washing machine. The bin comes in white or steel colours, and we chose the white. For me the steel looks a little too like a kitchen bin, and I thought the white would go better in the nursery.

Now Brabantia has another of these laundry bins to giveaway to one lucky reader. You can choose either the white or the steel, and you have the choice of either the 50 litre bin or the 30 litre bin. To enter just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below, and GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

World Book Day Competition

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review, Competition, Information | Posted on 06-03-2014

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Books are a big part of Little Man’s life. He has a huge Tidy Books Bookcase which is almost groaning under the pressure of so many books. Every night without fail Daddy reads him at least one of these books, and every Saturday morning they go to the local library to get new ones to read. They always come back with two or three new books, generally one of which is a Doctor Who book which doesn’t get read but Little Man likes to carry it around and look at the pictures. We love that he is so keen on books, and we’re hoping this will last a lifetime.

When Little Dude makes his entrance in a couple of months we want to ensure he follows in his big brothers footsteps and develops a passion for books. We’ll be reading to him every night and hopefully Little Man will want to share his love of books with his brother. We’ve already got some books ready for Little Dude which will be attached to his pushchair and car seat so he can “read” whilst he’s out and about.

axel scheffler buggy books sussex mummy competitionMacmillan sent him some gorgeous little Buggy Buddy books which feature illustrations from the super talented Axel Scheffler to take a look at. The set of four books each feature a different animal and these special books have a large button on the front of them that once pressed make the sound of the animal in question. The featured animals are a frog, a cat, a dog and a sheep. The illustrations are amazing and go nicely with the other books that Scheffler has illustrated – many of which adorn Little Man’s bookcase. I love the large button which Little Dude will no doubt have no trouble pressing, and they attach so easily and securely to his new car seat. These will be a great introduction into the world of books and reading for Little Dude.

Now I have THREE SETS of these gorgeous four books to giveaway to my readers to celebrate World Book Day, just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below to be in with chance of winning one of the three sets of books. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition: Charlie & Lola Best Bestest Play Tickets

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Competition, Days Out | Posted on 03-12-2013

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This festive period sees everyone’s favourite siblings take over Glow at Bluewater with their Best Bestest Play. Charlie and Lola – stars of the hit BBC TV series and the gorgeous books by Lauren Child – will be brought to life through the magic of puppets, live action and music.

Will Charlie ever get Lola to sleep, even though she is not sleepy and will not go to bed? It wont be easy – the Tigers want their bedtime milk, the Dancing Dogs have borrowed Lola’s pyjamas and Lola thinks there is an ogre hiding in the wardrobe!

Charlie and Lola has been something of a hit in our household since Little Man first discovered the CBeebies channel. We’re a big fan of the lively animation and the cute little stories, though Daddy and I often wonder exactly where their parents are! Little Man and I will be heading to Glow in a couple of weeks to see this show – a review of which will follow – and we’re so excited to have a family ticket to give away to one of our readers. The Family Ticket allows up to four people into a performance of their choice – subject to availability – during the shows run from December 13th through to January 5th.

To win this great prize enter via the Rafflecopter below – and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win Tickets To Peppa Pig’s Big Splash LIVE!!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Information | Posted on 07-10-2013

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Come and join in the fun with Peppa, George and their friends as they tour the UK with the new theatre show Peppa Pig’s Big Splash. I have a Family Ticket – four people with a minimum of 1 adult – for you to win! We are big Peppa Pig fans in this house – we’re off to Peppa Pig World next week in fact for Little Man’s third birthday!

The nursery roof is leaking and Peppa and her friends need to fix it quickly. They set up a fete to raise the money for Mr Bull to do the repairs. There’s plenty of fun to be had as Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig, as well as Danny Dog, Pedro Pony and Suzy Sheep put up bunting, run stalls and organise a great day out.

There’s also a Champion Puddle Jumping competition judged by Mr Potato where everyone gets wet and Peppa needs to find her Golden Boots. Another all-singing, all-dancing adventure full of songs, games and muddy puddles is guaranteed for all the family.

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash will be heading down to Sussex next February, and I have a family ticket to giveaway to one of just four performances that will be taking place at the Theatre Royal, Brighton. I have a Family Ticket for Wednesday 19th February at 1pm – remember that’s four people, with a minimum of one adult – to giveaway to one very lucky reader. Your children are bound to love the show!! We can’t wait to go along and see it. Ready to enter? Just follow the instructions below – and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition: Best Driving Views

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Information | Posted on 26-09-2013

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I’m sure over the course of the summer you’ve been doing a lot of driving, whether it be on holiday or visiting family and friends. Have you seen anything amazing from the comfort of your car? Did you take a photograph? Well if you did you might want to enter this competition in association with Carcraft to win a brand new Nikon Coolpix S3500 Digital Camera. They want to see your photos of the best driving view – taken safely and legally of course – and an explanation as to WHY you think its the best view, whether it be near your home or on the other side of the world.

I know a lot of you are keen photographers and I’ve seen some of the amazing shots you’ve taken for your own blogs. Now’s the time to dig out you very best and enter it to win this great prize. Entering is really easy too.

There are three methods to enter. You will get one entry per method, and you can enter using all three methods to get three entries. So if you do use all three methods, you will have a higher chance of winning!

• Email us your photo to marketing@carcraft.co.uk
• Tweet us your photo with the hashtag #VROOMwithaview
• Post your photo on your blog/website with a link back to the Carcraft website

If you email and/or blog about the competition please tell us in no more than 200 words why your driving view should win our competition and what it means to you.

You have until the 15th October 2013 to enter this competition and the winner will be announced on Monday 21st October 2013.

HomeSense Brighton

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Home & Lifestyle, Information | Posted on 06-09-2013

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A few weeks ago the brand new HomeSense store opened in Brighton, just up the road from the existing TKMaxx Store. Unsurprisingly it was a rather popular event, as these images show.
brighton homesense openingI popped along recently to take a look at the new store and see what I could find on the shelves.

The store itself is in a great spot and a perfectly chosen building. Lots of glass allowing the light to flow in and illuminate the store which is spread across two floors. I have only been in one other HomeSense store and Brighton’s is much better. Its logically laid out and well stocked. The other store always tends to be chaotic, manic and unloved. I found a wealth of great bargains and quality products from some impressive brands in the Brighton store, and plenty to encourage me to return.

The kitchen department is my favourite, and probably one of the biggest. Great items from Le Creuset and Bodum stood out for me, as well as cookbooks from much loved chefs as well as hidden gems from lesser known people. If you want to bake a cake HomeSense is your destination for tins and pans in a huge range of shapes and sizes. Plastic storage boxes are also present in their multitude, along with a mind boggling array of gadgets and gizmos. I am terrible when it comes to kitchen bits and pieces and my kitchen is already groaning under the pressure. I tried my best to avoid buying the whole department.

Now HomeSense is all about finding something that little bit different, that little bit unique for your home without breaking the bank, as you can see from their new advert.

Well they’ve also teamed up with Abigail Edwards to provide you with some top tips from decorating YOUR home this year, whatever your style.

How to Achieve the ‘Urban Cool’ Look:

  • Keep it simple and slick using graphic shapes to achieve a minimalistic vibe
  • Look for accessories such as clean glass shapes, graphic cushions and simple accent colours

How to Achieve the ‘Country Chic’ Look:

  • Natural tones and textured fabric are essential for achieving a modern country look
  • Illustrated cushions and cut-out shapes add a contemporary twist
  • Try grouping lots of clocks together to make a room look more eclecti

How to Achieve the ‘Global Traveller’ Look:

  • Homeware items collected from your travels are ideal for achieving this look
  • Try layering cushions and rugs to achieve a naturel and thrown together feel
  • Don’t worry about mixing patterns – overlapping colours, shapes and different textures will add interest
  • Accessorise with imagery and vintage pieces you’ve gathered from places visited on holiday

Key Autumn Trends:

  • Texture
  • Weaves
  • Chunky knits
  • Mixing patterns
  • Tribal
  • Ombre

Tips for Easily Transforming a Room:

  • The easiest and most affordable way to style your home is by adding cushions and throws as it doesn’t affecting anything else in the room and it adds colour and texture quickly
  • Lighting also makes a massive difference so rather than having just one pendant light in the middle of the room, try having little table lamps dotted around and task lighting is also a good alternative
  • Filling a sofa with lots of different cushions is a quick way of changing the look of a room and adding a splash of colour
  • Pictures are another quick way of adding interest to your room

Feeling inspired? Well you can find more in the way of hints, tips and advice on HomeSense’s Twitter and Facebook pages. What’s even more exciting though is that I have a £50 voucher to give away to one reader, to spend in the new Brighton store. To be in with a chance of winning this voucher you need to comment on this post and tell me which look you’d like to achieve in your home this Autumn. Closing date for entries in Friday September 20th at 8pm and one winner will be chosen from all the entries and notified as soon as possible.

How About Holidaying In Barbados?

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Fashion, Holiday | Posted on 21-05-2013

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With the weather we’re currently experiencing – where DID summer go? – a bit of sunshine would be nice wouldn’t it? How do you fancy a 7 night half board break at the 4* Bougainvillea Beach Resort in Barbados? Sounds good doesn’t it. A bit of relaxation in this beachfront resort sounds like my idea of heaven right now. Well the team at Littlewoods is offering just that. A family of four – 2 adults and 2 children under 12 – can jet off to Barbados and enjoy all this island and resort has to offer. The resort itself has so much to do from water sports and spa treatments, to a great kids club so you can get a bit of me time whilst they play.

Littlewoods has just launched Myleene Klass’ first swimwear range which you’ll find in the Littlewoods Online Holiday Shop. Here you’ll find a range of bikinis, tankinis and suits that will be perfect for that Barbados trip. As well as Myleene’s beautiful range you can also pick up all the clothes, shoes, accessories, skin care and travel products for all the family that you’ll need, whether you end up in sunny Barbados or enjoy a holiday at home instead.

So if you fancy winning the trip to Barbados head on over to the Littlewoods Facebook page where you’ll find all the details. Entry is simple: just “Like” the page and then design your own swimwear, using the tools on the page. There’s already a gallery full of them if you need inspiration, or you could just check out what’s available at Littlewoods. Not only could you win the holiday of a lifetime, but you could see your design featured in Littlewoods next summer. Good luck!

Review + Competition: Stamptastic

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition | Posted on 10-05-2013

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One of my clearest memories from childhood are those white labels with my name on in blue text which my Mum would spend ages sewing in to all my school clothes, shoes and bags. From the age of about 4 they seemed to be a permanent fixture in my clothes through school. Whilst she was good at sewing it must have been a tedious chore to label everything like that, and its not something I look forward to doing for Little Man when he starts primary school in a couple of years.

Whilst Little Man isn’t at school yet he does start pre-school this September, and for the past few weeks we’ve been going to taster sessions once a week. Just for an hour every Friday afternoon we go along so he can meet his new classmates and get used to the teachers and the environment. Its a big step, and the start of his education, and whilst I’m sure I’ll be sobbing at the gate come September, one I’m looking forward to for him. He’ll only be going for a morning at a time so won’t be needing a packed lunch, but no doubt there’ll be a list of things he will need to take. A bag is an obvious one, but there’ll be coats, hats and scarves during the winter months, and sun hats during summer. There’s no official uniform, but you can get tshirts and jumpers for them to wear as well, plus he’ll probably have one of his drinks bottles with him too. All these things will need to be labelled with his name. And so it begins…

I can’t sew. My Mum sews, and my Mother In Law is VERY clever and can make all kinds of things with a needle, thread and a pile of fabric – and believe me, she has immense amounts of fabric. Me however? Not too good with a needle and thread. In fact I’m more likely to stab myself with a needle a few times then pass the job on to someone else. Imagine my relief therefore when I discovered Stamptastic. My prayers had been answered.

Stamptastic create personalised stamping kits. A clear block with your name on one end – clear so you can position it more accurately – and an ink pad. The stamp works on fabric, metal, plastic and wood and survives wash after wash after wash. I was sent a stamp with Little Man’s name on to review and I am thrilled with the results. I’ve gone a little stamping crazy – its weirdly addictive – and stamped his name on his drinks bottle, his sun hat, his Trunki and his coat amongst other things. I even stamped his name on the bottom of a tin I found just to try it out on metal! I’m thinking I’ll probably also do his wellington boots, his trainers and his sandals, and in future his pencil case and things within that.

The ink dries pretty much instantly – take care on metal as it takes a few seconds and can smudge if you are impatient like me – and lasts really well. The font is easy to read and not too big so it doesn’t look out of place on the item you’re stamping. Its ideal for school use, but also for sports kits and holidays. I stamped Little Man’s Trunki just to test it out, but if you’ve ever gone through an airport every child seems to have a Trunki. Putting a stamp on yours will make sure you don’t take the wrong one on holiday!

Fancy testing a Stamptastic Kit out yourself? I have one to give away. All you need to do is follow me on Twitter (@SussexMummy) and tweet the following:

“I want to get organised and go stamping crazy with @StamptasticLtd & @SussexMummy and WIN: http://ht.ly/kMxCG”

The competition will end at midnight on Friday May 17th and the winner will be notified on Monday May 20th, when I get back from my holiday! Good luck!