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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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Guest Review: Acer Iconia B1

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Reviewer, Tech Review | Posted on 24-06-2013

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This review was written by my husband. We received the Acer Iconia B1 on loan for the purpose of this review.

The Acer Iconia B1 Android tablet costs £99.99.  That’s right £99.99 and currently Acer are offering £20 cash back on this model.  So what do you get for your money? I bet you’re thinking not much?  Well you’d be wrong.  I have played with my fair share of electronic gadgets and I admit to being pretty sceptical when my wife handed me this Acer B1 to review.  When you first pick it up if feels a little light, a bit plasticy but at the same time surprisingly substantial.  The case has a little bit of flex to it but it doesn’t feel like it will fall apart if you drop it.  The fact of the matter is you’re more than likely to buy a case for any tablet you purchase so the case was “good enough”.  It also has a little bit of blue styling to it that I think makes it stand out from the rest of the black slab crowd.

On powering the device up you get a small animation and then you are straight into Google’s android operating system.  Acer haven’t messed around too much with this version of Android which those that class themselves as a bit geeky will be pleased to hear. Manufacturers have a habit of trying to “improve” Android and invariably end up making it worse.  This is pretty much pure Android with only a slight modification to the notification area which has some settings options available.  The screen is plastic but is nice and bright at the top most setting and responds well to input.  There is a slight lag on some inputs when swiping around the interface but nothing to get upset about.  Talking of performance this tablet is has a dual core 1.2Ghz CPU and 512mb RAM which is enough for most activities.  It pushes along most games (Angry Birds, Talking Tom, Where’s My Water?) without any problems.  Web pages load quickly enough, Youtube videos play smoothly and it just gets on with most tasks that you throw at it.  The Acer only has a low spec front facing camera for video chats and poor quality “selfies” but I wouldn’t use a tablet for taking photos with anyway so this didn’t worry me.

The sound is a bit tinny but loud enough from the small rear facing speaker.  This is probably the one area I would have liked to have seen a better component used.  A speaker that could produce a little bit more bass would have improved the package considerably.  On saying that there is nothing to stop you sticking a pair of headphones into the 3.5mm headphone jack and the problem goes away.  There is a standard micro usb port for charging and data and a micro USB slot for expanding on the 8GB storage.  I know the fashion is to stream music and videos off the internet these days but I still prefer to have all this data locally under my control and not eating up my internet bandwidth.  Because of this the addition of a micro USB slot was a welcome feature.

To summarise this is a nice little tablet. It’s great for not really worrying about if you give it to your kids, especially if they have sticky fingers or drop it in the way you might panic if they were using your iPad.  It lets you run all your favorite apps, plays your music and videos, links in with your google account and does pretty much all the basic tasks you could ask of it.  Lets not forget the asking price for this is £99 and with the £20 cashback you’re talking about £80.  It was too good a bargain for this reviewer to let pass.  No sooner had the review unit gone back I went and bought one and that I suppose is the highest praise I could give!

Acer Iconia B1 Used By Toddler

Review: Fun To See Wall Stickers

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Reviewer, Home & Lifestyle, Product Reviews | Posted on 12-01-2013

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Decorating a child’s bedroom when they are old enough to really appreciate it is great fun for parents. One of my Guest Reviewers recently turned 1 and her parents were sent an Enchanted Fairies Room Decor Kit from Fun To See to use in Daisy Doo’s room.

Here’s what they thought:

“We loved the room stickers from FunToSee.  They are easy to put on the wall and to peel off again. They are bright and pretty and have really transformed Daisy Doo’s room. We were able to personalise the design and the fairies, bugs and flowers blended in well with the rest of the room. As you can see from the photos, Daisy Doo is delighted with her enchanted garden!”

The Room Decor set contains 30 movable stickers featuring flowers, fairies, toadstools and enchanted creatures sure to brighten any little girls room. The stickers are great because you can re-position them time and time again without danger of damaging your walls.

Fun To See also sent Little Man an Undersea Adventure Mini Wall Art set which contained 28 smaller stickers designed for a small space. We used these in our bathroom to add a child friendly nautical theme. He is very pleased with them, and waves goodnight to his underwater friends every night after his bath. 

So if you’re planning on doing any redecorating this Spring, head over to Fun To See and take a look at their extensive range.

 

Guest Review: Bionaire Steam Cleaner

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Reviewer | Posted on 07-01-2013

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One more new Guest Reviewer, and this time its my Mother In Law! I was sent a Steam Cleaner to review and handed it over for her to test it out.
“Well winter is on us once more and the challenges of winter cleaning loom again. The wet weather and mud, especially when you have to contend with a dog who loves splashing through puddles and running through long grass they then leave marks all around the house. Even when we have rubbed them down with a towel you still get that wet dog odour, not to mention the ‘nice’ line around your furniture where they will insist on rubbing themselves’ dry. So when I was offered the chance to trial the new Bionaire Steam Cleaner I was eager to see if this could resolve some of these problems.
Layla’s dog basket is a particular problem, it is washable but by the time you have put it through the washing machine, it then takes an age to dry.  By this time she has made herself another bed, usually the most comfy chair in the house. She was reluctant to let me get at the basket but I persisted and after brushing the loose bits off I set too, to see if I could freshen and clean it up. She was very content with it after it had been cleaned and curled up in it straight away.  I wasn’t even allowed to put it back into the correct place in the lounge.
The steam cleaner came with simple instructions on how to assemble and included some accessories for different functions.  I found that it was quite light to handle even when it was filled with water, and it quickly heated up.  Layla’s bed was made from a fake suede material, on the exterior which looked quite shabby and a fleecy lining.  I passed the steam cleaner over the external surface and it immediately restored it to the original look.  The interior lining took a little longer to look clean but what was instantly apparent it no longer had that doggy odour.  The whole process only took a few minutes and as you can see she soon snuggled back down in it.
My next project was the furniture. Now I have a black Labrador and even after drying her with a towel after her walk she will rub herself along the furniture, which unfortunately is a light gold colour so I have a ‘lovely’ black line.  So after attaching the brush head to the steam cleaner I lightly steamed the area and the brush head picked up all the black hairs.  Again what was immediately apparent was that the doggy odour had gone.
Well after you have cleaned the house with the Bionaire Steam Cleaner you can also use this handy gadget on your clothes as well.  I have a lovely new top, just in time for the seasonal parties.  This top has a loose draped front and after washing it I tried to iron it.  Unfortunately this stretched the garment.  So I washed it again but this time I used the steamer to steam the creases out and hey presto those gentle folds came back and it fitted perfectly.  There is also a tool for pressing trousers for that sharp crisp look.
So now I have cleaned the house and resolved some ironing issues I am now ready to enjoy the Seasonal Holiday and party party party!!”

Guest Review: Sanamama Carrier

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Reviewer | Posted on 03-01-2013

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The New Year brings another new guest reviewer on Sussex Mummy. Local mummy Louise carries her daughter Evelyn around all the time and is somewhat of an expert when it comes to carriers, slings and all things “Baby Wearing”. She was therefore an ideal candidate to test out the Sanamama carrier. This is how she got on.

“Being an attachment minded parent for me (and my husband) meant that leaving my daughter to cry wasn’t an option and I enjoyed nothing better than holding and nurturing her – good job really as she hated to lie on her back so as you can imagine car seats and prams weren’t designed with her in mind.

My daughter is now 20 months old and still loves to be carried, as do many toddlers I’m sure, and using a sling or carrier enables you to do this without the back breaking side effects of trying to multi-task when pushing a pram, allowing you to have your hands free for the pushchair you bought out anyway and the dog you are supposed to be walking.

The Sanamama is so easy to use and is ideal for this age group as they can be standing up and clipped into the fabric seat section and ready to go in seconds. The fabric is soft and the clips are strong enabling you to safely manoeuvre them on to your back with little experience of baby wearing and back carrying. There is one large clip that does up around your stomach and thick padded straps that can be adjusted on your shoulders. The carrier has wide fabric on each side that you can cover your little ones legs with before fastening or the fabric can go under their legs, either way, supporting babies back and bottom with no pressure  through their the spine, hips or crotch area.

The durable fabric enables baby to have their arms tucked inside and snuggled against mummy or out ensuring they can still read a little book or enjoy their favourite snack.  The back of the sling comes up nice and high so it supports the neck of your child enabling them to relax, or in Evelyn’s case, sleep.  Evelyn slept for two and a half hours on my back while I successfully completed my Christmas shopping hands free.

The sling comes in neutral colours making it ideal for daddy to wear.  Also, the seat pouch section they sit in means it is easy to swap from mummy’s back to daddy’s back and vice versa, easily adjusting the straps to suit when she is in situ. I must also mention the zip pocket for those all important snacks to nibble on along the way was rather handy.

The Sanamama is machine washable which is ideal and is so lightweight it can be worn as a rucksack until they are ready to be carried. It is also compatible with my Peekaroo fleece that fits over both of us and also works great with a standard poncho with enough room for both of us with none of the bulkiness of huge winter jackets under the sling.

I would definitely recommend the Sanamama and would have liked to have had this as an option among my many carriers when my daughter was smaller too. I think it is the easiest of my slings to have used around the house while hoovering or while she was taking a nap as I like the internal seat harness for its quickness and support while getting her on and off my back awake or asleep.”

You can find out more about the Sanamama carriers at their website and you will also find them on Twitter @MySanamama.

Review: Grand Hotel Eastbourne Spa Day

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Guest Reviewer, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 14-12-2012

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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, take a look at what the Grand Hotel Eastbourne has to offer. I was lucky enough to spend a day there recently with one of my Guest Reviewers, and this is how we got on.

The Grand Hotel Eastbourne is the only 5 Star seafront hotel in the country and its quality is shown from the moment you arrive – I only wish we’d been staying the night too! We were directed down to the Spa which is in the basement of the hotel and were pleased to find that the “grand”-ness of the hotel continued downstairs.

When arranging the Spa Day we’d already pre-booked which treatments we were having. The first would be just after our arrival, and the second later that afternoon once we’d had time to relax. My first treatment was a Back Massage whilst my Guest Reviewer Katherine was having a Facial, and after changing into our swimming costumes, robes and slippers – which would be our outfit for the day – we were taken off for our first pampering session. Here’s how Katherine got on:

“After being shown around the spa areas by a member of staff, I started the day with a relaxing facial. The therapist (Jillian) introduced herself and then, after completing a short health questionnaire,  left me to get changed. When she returned, the lights were dimmed and she asked if I had any issues with my skin. A deep cleansing facial was decided on, using luxurious skincare products. Jillian started with a brief arm and hand massage, before cleansing my face with a lavender gel.  Next was an exfoliation, both were removed with hot towels wrapped around my face. Then followed the choice of a ‘mask’ or facial massage – I chose the massage, which was delightful. After another hot towel, Jillian applied an eye cream, lip balm and a moisturising cream. My face felt wonderful, almost as if it wasn’t mine, and glowed in a way that it hasn’t done for a very long time.”

Meanwhile I was enjoying a Back Massage with my therapist Emma. Having never had a massage before I was rather looking forward to the experience. Emma left the room whilst I settled face down on the table and when she returned relaxing music was turned on and scented oils were used on my back as I lay there enjoying the peace. Emma did a full back massage including my shoulders, neck and head and after a deliciously relaxing massage on my back I turned over to she could do the front of my shoulders and upper arms. Whilst lying on my back I had a Lavender Pillow placed over my eyes, and this combined with the music and relaxing massage was amazing. If I’d been there a little longer I may have fallen asleep!! The perfect start to my day of rest.

Following our first treatments we had a few hours to fill before our next ones. Upon return to the main spa area and taking up camp in chairs beside the pool we were handed menus from which to choose our lunch. There was a great range on offer from sandwiches and light bites, to slightly larger meals and hot food. We both settled on the Grand Club Sandwich and a glass of fruit juice and were told it would be served in the lounge area in about 20 minutes. The service was swift and we were soon seated eating our lunch. The food was amazing and the portions were ideal. It was lovely and unusual for both of us to eat a meal without having a child hanging off us, so it made for a very pleasant time!

The afternoon was spent lounging by the pool, taking a dip in the Jacuzzi and generally not doing anything too strenuous. Relaxation was the name of the game, and we were certainly going to make the most of the opportunity. The area around the pool was nice and warm and there was a water cooler providing plenty fresh water whilst you relaxed. Before long it was time for our next treatments. This time I was having a Maintenance Manicure, and once again Emma arrived to do my treatment. There was a large number of colours to choose from, or for an extra £5 you could have a French Manicure. After some deliberation I decided on a deep plum colour. My fingernails were filed and buffed and my cuticles treated before base coats, colour and top coat were applied. Throughout it was nice to chat with Emma and watch her in action. I was really happy with my nails once she finished and was all to happy to go and sit somewhere for about 15 minutes until they’d dried fully as she advised! Whilst I was having a manicure Katherine was enjoying a very different treatment.

“My second treatment was  a Turkish salt scrub, and Jillian was my therapist again. Again, she left me to get ready and the lights were softly dimmed (not so much this time). I laid on my front to begin with and Jillian worked on my arms, applying the scrub (with a lovely soft eucalyptus scent), ‘melting’ it with warm water, and then removing the scrub with a warm mitt. Each arm & leg was done individually & then my back. Jillian then asked me to roll over and the fronts of my arms and legs were treated in the same way. Jillian then gave me the choice of whether or not I wanted my stomach and chest area done – I took her up on the offer. After completing the body scrub, Jillian applied a soothing camomile body lotion. It was a wonderful treat, I left the room very relaxed, and ready to face the world again  – it definitely made me feel like a “Yummy Mummy!”

I think its fair to say that we both thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Grand Hotel Eastbourne Spa and would go back again in a heartbeat. It was lovely to get a day to relax, but the facilities and the treatments made the day even more special. An amazing day out.

So for a last minute treat for yourself or for the New Year, or perhaps to buy a gift voucher for a loved one this Christmas, head over to the Grand Hotel Eastbourne website and make sure you pay a visit soon. You will also find them on Twitter @GrandEastbourne.

We Love Squirrels…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Reviewer, Product Reviews | Posted on 29-10-2012

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“We Love Squirrels” is a great online boutique to check out if you’re looking for something a little bit different for your little one to wear. Featuring Scandinavian inspired wear and animal patterns – largely squirrels obviously – the clothes are bright and colourful designs, perfect for grey winter days.

The team at “We Love Squirrels” sent my newest guest reviewer a dress and legging set to review from the Little Green Radicals range. The ‘Woodland Smock‘ features a gorgeous embroidered scene around the bottom which includes lots of squirrels, and the matching ‘Teaberry Button Leggings‘ are a versatile pink colour with button details on the cuffs. Both items are made from 100% organic cotton so its super soft to touch – essential on Little Daisy Doo’s skin.

Do you think Little Daisy Doo likes her new outfit?

I think the grin says it all doesn’t it?

If you’re looking for something for the little boy in your life then I highly recommend this great nautical shoes from Poco Nido. They are suede soles so are ideal for those first tentative steps, and I LOVE the design.

“We Love Squirrels” features some great unique brands. As well as the ones mentioned above you can also find fantastic items from Red Urchin, Toby Tiger and Beau LOves. They also offer FREE UK delivery which is excellent news for all you shopaholics out there!

“We Love Squirrels” can also be found on Twitter so get following @WeLoveSquirrels for all the latest news.

Product Review: Dino Happy Hopperz

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Reviewer, Product Reviews | Posted on 23-05-2012

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Happy Hopperz have been hugely popular with toddlers – and their parents – since they first hopped onto the scene. A modern take on the traditional Space Hopper of the 1970’s this animal shaped toy comes in a wide range of designs, and this spring they launched the newest model – the Daring Dinosaur!

Happy Hopperz are designed for children from 1 year plus and as well being fun to play with provides your child with a bit of a workout and helps improve their balance and coordination.

We were sent one to review and I handed it over to my dinosaur mad Guest Reviewer to try out, and I think we can safely say he likes it:

This Cheeky Chappy can be found bouncing about the lounge, or using his new Happy Hopperz as a step stool to help him reach things – which generally keeps his Mum on her toes. She likes the fact that he can carry it around with him, and finds it rather amusing when the Dinosaur “fights back” and her Cheeky Chappy gets thrown off!! His Mum’s only criticism is that she’d like the included hand pump to be a little larger, but then again Cheeky Chappy enjoyed “helping” to inflate his new friend.

Daring Dinosaur Happy Hopperz are available now in a choice of three colours – one of which is limited edition – direct from their website.