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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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My New Office

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie, Information | Posted on 16-02-2015

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I’m sure I’m not the only blogger who spends most of their time working on their laptop on the sofa in the lounge. Whilst it may be the comfiest place for me to blog from – except perhaps led on the bed – its not the most convenient. Having no proper location for working makes the process that bit harder, with paperwork and notes often getting lost and misplaced, and reminders and deadlines being frequently missed. Living in a three bedroom house with no available spare rooms makes an office out of the question, but my husband made a suggestion for somewhere in the house which could be my work space, and whilst I thought he was slightly crazy when he initially made the suggestion, it is working really well.

Our kitchen has bench tops all the way around with cupboards fitted beneath most but not all of them. Under the section that doesn’t have cupboards you’ll find our kitchen bin, our Little Helper, and the vacuum cleaner. That stretch of bench is something of a dumping zone, with post, bags, shopping and letters from preschool generally get lost in the muddle. You’re probably thinking I’m not the tidiest of house wives and you’d be correct! “Stick your laptop on there and create a mini office. Obviously you’d have to tidy it first.” I suspected it was just a ploy to get me to tidy up but I went with in and decluttered before popping my laptop on the new clear bench and moving the kitchen phone next to it. Since then I’ve added a fab bar stool which I got for Christmas – blogging stood up is not comfy at all – and there is always a vase – okay giant jam jar – of flowers to brighten the place up a bit. Yes there’s still piles of paperwork but the rule is that if its on the desk its important so I keep track of what’s there and I’m yet to lose anything in the carnage. I think.

The great thing about my new office is that my laptop is permanently turned on so I can dip in and out of blogging when I get chance, and I can look things up or reply to emails whilst I make dinner or cups of tea. I can’t blog to any kind of schedule anymore as Little Dude doesn’t understand the concept of a routine, but this setup means that when I do get time to myself, whether it be 5 minutes or one of the rare two hour naps he takes, I’m ready to go.

The bad thing about this setup however is that I’m in the kitchen. Now whilst that’s handy for cups of tea, its also a little too handy for food and I’ve been finding myself grazing as I blog. The biscuit tin is a little to handy and this isn’t helping my vague resolution to watch what I eat and start exercising ever. I decided that what I needed was an office snack box. Something I could pop on my desk – somewhere around the clutter – and fill it with healthy things to eat whilst I sit here. So I went on the hunt for healthy snacks that didn’t taste like cardboard, but aren’t too strict. I’m after a balanced healthy diet. I’m not necessarily looking to count calories and all that – I just don’t have the time to worry about everything I eat and double check whether I’ve enough points left in the day to enjoy it guilt free. Luckily for me the new Good & Counted range of snacks from Asda was on hand to provide me with tasty treats.

The Good & Counted range include a selection of tasty lentil crisps in some really interesting flavours. I was sent a multipack of their Flavours of the Mediterranean and Flavours of Asia to test out, along with some Savoury Popcorn to try out. My favourites have to be the Mediterranean lentil crisps. They’re nice and crunchy which I like in my crisps, but the flavours are also delicious. I think the Seasalt & Summer Herb were the nicest. The Flavours of Asia sounded a bit odd to me, but they were also reasonably tasty. The popcorn was a bit of a disappointment. I found them to be a bit small and hard and the flavours weren’t all that nice. The snack range also includes more traditional crisps, rice cakes, cereal bars and crispbreads which I think I’ll be popping on to my next online shop and adding to my snack box.

Kitchen-Office-SussexMummy

So with my box – okay pile, but I will get a box – of healthy snacks and my new found love of hula hooping my New Years resolutions aren’t off to a bad start. Of course there’s still chocolate biscuits lurking in nearby cupboards and sneaky cakes in a tin of the shelf next to me, but I guess that’s just a hazard of having your laptop set up next to your KitchenAid.

Where do you blog?

Review: Panasonic Remote Pan & Tilt Cradle

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Panasonic Brit Bloggers | Posted on 21-01-2015

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I think I’m turning into an even bigger geek than I thought I was. Previously I’d get excited by deliveries of toys for the children to review. I’m known for finding Brabantia washing lines far too exciting. Nowadays I find deliveries from Panasonic massively thrilling. You’ll all hopefully recall my review of the V550 HD camcorder last summer, a camcorder I’d played with during a visit to Panasonic HQ which I was really keen to test out at home. Another highlight from my visit to HQ was without doubt the Pan & Tilt Cradle and so you can imagine my delight when one landed on my doorstep.

PanTiltPanasonicThe Pan & Tilt is a great little accessory. You fix your compatible camcorder to the unit using the screw on the top and you are then able to capture the action without missing any of it yourself. The unit pans a full 180 degrees and can tilt up to 15 degrees which provides you with a pretty wide scope. Using the rather clever Panasonic Image App you can use the WIFI function of the camcorder to operate it remotely, having a full range of functions and options available to you, and being able to direct the action with your smart phone or tablet.

For me this is a definite “Wow” accessory. The freedom of movement is brilliant, and the resulting field of vision is amazing. The controls are so easy to use and I think it would be a great accessory for families and video bloggers. I know lots of bloggers do video reviews, where they are sat talking to the camera a bit news presenter style. To have your camcorder set up on the pan and tilt in front of you and then to be able to see the images that were being recorded and adjust them accordingly would be really helpful for me. To be able to move side to side, or to zoom in or out of the shot, just by tapping a button of your smart device would provide great freedom.

Families would get lots of use from this accessory. Filming family occasions by making use of the motion sensor and face recognition functions on your camcorder means you’ll get all the memories without missing the event itself. You could even set it up as a security camera for your property, or to keep an eye on your pets whilst you’re at work. It also adds an extra dimension to the baby monitor function of the camcorder, giving you freedom to adjust your view of your – hopefully! – sleeping child without disturbing them.

We’ve been attempting to set the baby monitor function up fully with our camcorder and we’re keen to test it out with the pan and tilt. A few technical problems so far – I will endlessly blame baby brain for this – but fingers crossed I’ll figure out what I’m doing and get some footage of my gorgeous Little Dude sleeping up here soon.

 

Water and Sensory Play with Munchkin

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 09-01-2015

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Long before Christmas we were sent a big box of Munchkin’s bath toys to play with. We are practically drowning in bath toys so I set about finding different things to do with them as well as adding them to the already bustling bath where there’s barely any room for the boys any more.

Water play was an obvious but popular choice with regards to Little Man. Being able to splash about in water with his new toys outside of bath time was lots of fun. Stood in his Little Helper at the kitchen sink or using a giant mixing bowl laid on a waterproof mat in the playroom and he was entertained for ages. Little Dude on the other hand much preferred playing with the bath toys on dry land, mainly with his mum not being keen on having him loitering around open bowls of water! Little Dude is all about the sensory play experience, and some of the Munchkin bath toys provided him with ample opportunity for this.

Here are our favourites from the box.

This Bath Shape Sorter is the ideal toy for out of the bath play and Little Dude was happy to oblige. It claims to be suitable from 18 months plus but it doesn’t strike me as particularly dangerous to me. Admittedly Little Dude can’t get the pieces in the right holes – by choice anyway – but he does love bashing the pieces about and having a bit of a chew on them. Little Man thinks this is great fun mainly because to him it looks like our tortoise Oscar!

These Float & Play Balls have never made it near water, instead spending most of their life being shaken, rolled and cuddled by Little Dude. He’s a big fan of sensory balls and these are a brilliant version which can be used in and out of the bath. They are a great size for his little hands to grab and he loves watching the spinner fly around or the penguin bounce about.

We put the Swimming Bath Bugs in Little Man’s Christmas stocking and they’ve been enjoyed by both the boys at bath time. A quick pull on the tail – something which Little Man can do himself which is essential for bath toys – and the wings spin around and the bug swim all round the bath. They dart around for a great length of time in a kamikaze fashion which Little Dude tries to catch them.

MunchkinBathToys

Pour and Strain Whales are ideal for water play, and I can see them getting used in the garden in the summer for outdoor water play. Pouring water from whale to whale, or just watching the water fall through the holes is great fun for Little Man, and when he’s doing it in the playroom Little Dude loves to sit and watch giving mummy five minutes to make a cup of tea. Bring on the summer.

A surprise hit were the Cupcake Bath Squirters. Little Man likes to make as much watery mess as he can in the bath but he’s yet to discover the squirting ability of these cakes. Instead these play a crucial role in his provision of tea and cake in the bath. Apparently its the best place to play with these cakes and his tea set. Who knew eh?

 

 

Counting Your Pennies This Christmas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 08-12-2014

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Ah Christmas. Its the most wonderful time of the year. And its also one of the most expensive. The number of gifts that need buying seems to go up every year, and as parents we often get a little carried away when it comes of buying presents for our little ones. Add to that the numerous sales and special offer days that go on before Christmas where bargains are there to tempt us, and you’ve probably had your heating on more in the last couple of weeks in order to keep warm, and those piles of food, drinks and treats that you’re making sure you have in ready for the festive season. Plus all your usual household bills. It’s pretty terrifying really when you think about it. Hardly surprising therefore that around one million households don’t even OPEN their bills!

Household bills Infographic

SO how do you manage your money during December? Do you save throughout the year? Do you have a strict budget that your stick to? Or are your reliant on credit cards? Have you ever thought about changing your bank account to make more money? No really. The 1-2-3 Current Account from Santander pays an impressive 3% on all balances above £3000. And they give you cashback on your household bills. Think how that would help you save for Christmas, or for a family holiday, or even a wedding.

I’ve always considered myself pretty happy with my own bank account, but I must say I’m looking into moving it across to Santander in the New Year. It’d be fascinating to see how much cashback we could earn in time for next Christmas. There’s a really handy online calculator on the Santander website where you can get a rough idea how much you could earn based on the cost of your household bills and how much you tend to have in your bank account. In just a few clicks you can work out approximately how much you could gain in terms of cashback and interest payments. I think I’ll be transferring my earnings into a separate account so I can keep track on it – the ideal starter for my Christmas 2015 savings.

What would you spend your cashback and interest earnings on?

#Christmas: Babies First Christmas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Information | Posted on 03-12-2014

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Christmas is a pretty special time of year when you have a new baby in the house. Its one of many lovely ‘Firsts’ to look forward to, and look back on. Its safe to say most babies won’t remember their first Christmas but as parents I think we’ll all remember those special moments. Picking gifts for a First Christmas are, for me, harder than subsequent ones. You want something they can treasure, something to mark the occasion perhaps, but generally something they’ll just enjoy.

This Christmas will be Little Dude’s very first Christmas, and he’s going to be seven months old. That makes him a bit easier to buy for because he actually DOES something, unlike brand new babies who, and lets be honest here, aren’t that interested in anything apart from milk and sleep. Here are my picks of some of the best First Christmas gifts out there, for babies of all ages up to one year. What would you add?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (TM) Play Time Toy

A classic book and probably one of the first we bought for Little Man, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is known and loved worldwide. There’s lots of related products you can buy – books, jigsaws, cup and plate sets – but for a First Christmas I think this sensory toy fits the bill nicely. Suitable from birth its a bright and appealing caterpillar which includes some of the highlights from the book. There’s a sun on one section of his body and an apple on another which, when pressed, plays “You Are My Sunshine”. Each section of the caterpillar is a different texture, makes a different sound, has a different interactive part. There are soft knotted legs along its length, and the tail features two chew rings for those babies that are teething. His head is bright and round, an exact copy of the images from the book. His antenna are sparkly and bright, and there is a bell hidden inside which rattles nicely. This would be great for tummy time, or even in the pram.

Very-Hungry-Caterpillar-SussexMummy

Its a great sensory toy in its own right, but it would make a lovely gift for your baby this Christmas, perhaps along with a copy of the book for you to read to them.

Sophie The Giraffe Gift Bag

Sophie-The-Giraffe-SussexMummySophie is a much recognised classic too. Probably the most famous teething toy ever, you rarely see a baby without one of these. The Gift Bag features one of the iconic Sophie’s – a squeaky sensory toy designed to alleviate all areas of teething, an easy grip flower shaped rattle featuring a spinning clear ball centre housing a mini Sophie, and a mini teether which is also Sophie shaped but has a delicious vanilla scent to it. This all comes in a handy clear fronted fabric bag. This gift is a multi-sensory experience, with the visually stimulating spots on Sophie, the noise from the squeaker and the rattle, and the scent from the mini teether.

I think it would make a great first stocking for any baby, and it is, as you’d expect, suitable from birth. If you head down the page, you can win one of these for your own baby this Christmas!

Lamaze Flutterby Photo Album

This is one of my favourites – its one of those really clever products which would also make a lovely gift. Lamaze have created a butterfly that is suitable from 6 months. Your baby can hold it or it can stand up, and each of the four wing sections can be lifted up with ease. Beneath them your baby will find a photo of your choosing and, what is even more exciting for your little one, they will also hear a message which you can record. This is brilliant fun, and really easy to do. Photos and greetings from parents, siblings, grandparents, favourite characters, whatever you think your baby will love. I can also see this being indispensible to mothers that need to return to work, or that have babies with separation anxiety. Okay its not as good as the real thing, but to see your face and hear your voice is bound to bring a little happiness.
Lamaze-PhotoFrame

I love that it stands up by itself so you can have it one display in the nursery or playroom, and I love the simple yet brightly coloured design, The frame of the butterfly wings are textured too so your baby will love gripping on. A great Christmas gift.

Ella’s Kitchen Christmas Dinner

Ellas-Kitchen-SussexMummyIf you have a slightly older baby enjoying their first Christmas as I do you may well be weaning them. Another fun little stocking filler for them then would be their very own special Christmas dinner, which as well as being organic and delicious, is also raising money for a fantastic cause. Ella’s Kitchen’s Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner contains everything you could possibly wish for in a Christmas dinner – turkey, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, cabbage, cranberries and even sprouts. Suitable from ages 7 months plus it the perfect first Christmas dinner. And whats more 30p from the sale of each and every pouch will go to Kids Company – a charity helping vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families across the UK. By buying one of these pouches you are helping a child get their very own Christmas dinner this year.

The pouches are available from Tesco’s and there are also some available direct from the Ella’s Kitchen website.

Discoveroo Peg Smackeroo

Yes okay so I chose this for the funny name. Peg and hammer sets are nothing new, and whilst this one claims to be appropriate from 18 months plus I see no reason why it can’t be bought for a babies first Christmas. The bright colours make it visually attractive so it could be placed on display in a nursery, to be played with when parents see fit. I probably wouldn’t give this to Little Dude just yet – he’s firmly in that everything I pick up must be eaten and or dropped phase – but I’d happily let him play with it with supervision in the next few months. Eight coloured pegs fit in a sturdy wooden bench, to be bashed in with the included hammer. Its a classic toy with a fun name. A great buy.
Peg-And-Hammer-SussexMummy

My First Christmas Cheeky Face Tree Bauble

A first Christmas generally calls for some kind of commemorative keepsake, and I am a big fan of this personalised bauble from Born Gifted. A cheeky faced baby surrounded by pink or blue snowflakes shines out from this ceramic bauble beneath the words “My First Christmas”. You can include their name and the year on the front as well, and then on the reverse you can include four lines of text which is enough for a short message as to who the bauble is from. Whilst this is clearly not a gift specifically for your baby its a great item which you can bring out year after year and hang with pride on the tree and remember that very first year. When your child is old enough you can explain to them what it is and what it represents.
Born-Gifted-SussexMummy

I love the cheeky cartoon style of the face on this bauble, because if there’s one thing we all have its a cheeky baby.

Baby Scrapbook

We finish with another item which isn’t really for baby but can again be shown to them in later years. This bespoke Baby Scrapbook by the incredibly talented Scrapbookerry is the perfect way to record all your babies firsts, so would be ideal for a very new baby this Christmas. It can be custom made to your needs, and can include ways to mark first moments, first baths, first smile, first steps, right through to their first birthday. The detailing on this book is breathtaking and it would certainly make a much loved and long treasured addition to any celebrations this festive period. If you want one of these though do get ordering it as soon as possible to ensure delivery before the big day!
Scrapbookerry-SussexMummy

So are you feeling a bit spoilt for choice now? Well I have a Sophie The Giraffe Gift Bag to give away to one lucky reader, just by following the really simple steps on the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Tommee Tippee Steri Bottle

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews, Travel | Posted on 10-11-2014

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On my recent trip to the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough I decided I didn’t want to drag our steriliser all that way just for one night, and what was eventually just a few hours in the hotel. Its a large, though essential piece of equipment and as you will all know packing space is often at a premium when travelling with babies. We are Tommee Tippee fans here, having used their bottles and equipment with Little Man and repeating this with Little Dude. A few weeks before my trip I was offered the chance, purely by coincidence to review their brand new Steri-Bottles, and thought I’d found the perfect solution.

Steri_Bottle_TommeeTippeeWe were sent two packs of their Steri-Bottle twin packs to test out on our trip. Little Dude has been using Tommee Tippee bottles since day one after a rather traumatic birth left me unable to even consider breastfeeding so I thought these bottles would be ideal for him. The bottles come ready to use and already sterile. They are incredibly well packed, and the instructions ensure you don’t touch the teat or the inside of the bottle when unpacking them or when preparing your feed. They are single use BUT are recyclable which I love. They sounded too good to be true.

Sadly for Little Dude they were. Despite almost six months of daily Tommee Tippee bottle use these bottles were not for him. The teats were too different to the ones he’s been using that he simply refused to drink from them. We use ready made formula which he isn’t the biggest fan of, much preferring it to be made fresh in the Perfect Prep machine, but whether it was cold or warm, or ready made or fresh, he just wouldn’t drink it. I’d taken some of his usual bottles with me too, so we had to do a bit of make shift sterilising by soaking bottles and teats in boiling water fresh from the kettle.

In theory these are brilliant. A safe sterile way of feeding your little one if you’re away for the night and can’t face lugging your steriliser with you. I guess the ultimate test is whether your baby is as fussy as mine! Great idea Tommee Tippee, sadly not for us though.

#OnAMission with Mission Deli

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 25-09-2014

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Soft play seems to be a big part of every childhood. My Twitter feed seems to constantly feature at least one parent who is at their local soft play centre with the children, and Little Man is no exception. He’s a big fan of soft play, loving nothing more than dragging one of his parents round for some fun too.

Like a lot of parents I am not a fan of soft play centres. They are generally deafening places, overrun with children who are more often than not far too big to be in there, and they are amongst the least clean places I’ve ever been. A trip to soft play is generally followed a few days later with some kind of illness. Maybe we’re just unlucky with our local venues!

I do love the concept of soft play. Lots of running around, lots of rolling about, lots of fearless tearing about and tiring out. Its also a great way of exercising, whatever your age. Mission Deli have done some research into playtime as they launch their new super soft wraps.

“Somewhere along the road from childhood, many of us have stopped playing and it may be more likely that you’ll find us watching TV or playing on a tablet. With the hectic lives we lead, we need to find a way to take our minds off work and family commitments and have fun! Existing research shows that play can be an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults. It can also be a fun way to fuel your imagination, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and improve your mental health.”

We try and avoid soft play centres, but we do like to make sure Little Man gets plenty active play at home too, as opposed to spending all his times playing Angry Birds on his tablet. Mission Deli sent us a great giant beanbag to help us during our active play, and Little Man’s imagination has gone into overdrive. There’s been lots of jumping on it, falling onto it, hiding under it, as well as climbing up it like its a mountain, and sliding down it. Being bright red its also made a pretty spectacular jelly flood – fans of Ben & Holly will know what I mean. If I’d only known how much entertainment and activity would come from something as simple as a beanbag I’d have bought one ages ago!

Of course there’s also lots of relaxing going on too. The beanbag is just huge and so comfortable. Its a great place to sit and chill out whilst he watches TV or plays his favourite Angry Birds, and being usable outside too I look forward to putting it out in the garden next summer and sitting back with a drink. For now though its being well used as Little Man’s own private soft play.

We were also sent some new super soft wraps to keep us energised for our play sessions. I LOVE wraps – they are so versatile – and I for one have been enjoying a variety of meals and snacks made from wraps this week. There are a huge number of recipes using Mission Deli Wraps on their website.

So get out there. Get playing. Get active. How do you play?

Review: Pink Lining Bramley Tote Bag

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Pregnancy, Preparing For Baby, Product Reviews | Posted on 03-09-2014

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I am addicted to bags. Since having my first son this addiction shifted slightly to include changing bags, and looking at the changing bag market whilst I was pregnant with my second son I saw things had come a long way. Changing bags no longer looked like changing bags. They looked like handbags. This excited me greatly. Now I did spoil myself somewhat after Little Dude’s dramatic arrival and bought myself a rather pricey changing bag which is just gorgeous. Prior to that however I arranged with Pink Lining to test drive one of their famous Bramley Totes.

Pink Lining has been a hugely popular changing bag brand for a very long time. Their “Yummy Mummy” bags must be one of the most instantly recognisable bags on the market, but if I’m truly honest they never really appealed to me. I wanted something a little more subtle from my changing bag, and something a bit less obviously a changing bag. When I fell pregnant with Little Dude I was rather excited at the chance to get a new changing bag, generally ignoring my husbands protestations that we had several in the loft and was I crazy. The bags in the loft were not going to suffice – I had two children now. I needed to carry all those baby essentials around with me – nappies, wipes, bibs, muslins, bottles, milk cartons, spare clothes… – as well as any bits and pieces my eldest might need – sonic screwdrivers, pine cones, interestingly shaped leaves, sticks for daddy… – and occasionally maybe even things for me – purse, keys, phone, headache pills…! You get the idea. There is a veritable mountain of stuff. I needed a much bigger bag.

Bramley Tote bags are very much similar to a TARDIS – yes, I live with a three year old Doctor Who obsessive. It rubs off. Its HUGE on the inside and stores so much more than you might expect. I get insane amounts of stuff in there, and more often than not to the point where lifting it becomes tricky. But that is not a problem thanks to the nifty straps. They attach to the bag with a clip at either end, and you can attach and detach them easily. You can attach them to use the bag as a shoulder bag or, when it gets a little heavy or for pure convenience,  to fasten the bag onto your pushchair. Switching between the two is quick and easy and it is my favourite feature of the bag.

Being a Tote bag it is not technically a changing bag, so it doesn’t come with anything like a changing mat or an insulated space for bottles which you see in most changing bags. This isn’t a major issue for me as I tend not to use included changing mats when I’m out and about as everywhere I go tends to have a dedicated changing area with no need for a separate mat. In the past week I’ve just loaded up my Designer Change Mat from Munchkin and chucked that in my bag. This fits easily, and still allows plenty of room for the boys’ bits and pieces, as well as my own. There’s even space for small bits of shopping.

I’ve used this bag now for about a month. I’ve used it most days when I go out with the boys, whether that be to the shops, the park, the garden centre, or to visit Nana and Pops. I’ve also used it when I’ve nipped to the shops without either child, effectively using it as a handbag. The design which I went for was the Cream Bows On Navy print. Its a truly beautiful bag and one that works fine with or without the children. In fact the only giveaway that it might be intended for use with small children in the distinctive bright pink lining. I’m sure fans of Pink Lining spot that a mile away.

I love my Pink Lining bag, and at £60 I think its very reasonably priced for something so classy, so well sized and so gorgeous!

Review: Panasonic HC-V550 Full HD Camcorder

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Panasonic Brit Bloggers, Product Reviews, Tech Review | Posted on 21-08-2014

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As a Panasonic Brit Blogger I was really excited to see what product I’d be reviewing for them after my trip to their headquarters earlier this year. I’d been really impressed by so much of what I saw, but I was not-so-secretly hoping to receive one of their camcorders to test out, so I was thrilled when the brand new V550 HD camcorder arrived on my doorstep.

Right lets start with the technical stuff. The V550 is a full HD camcorder with Intelligent 90x Zoom and Optical 50x Zoom. It comes with 10MP High Sensitivity Sensor and Crystal Engine PRO, and a 28mm wide angle lens. It has image stabilisation and level shot, which all combined makes sure your footage is pin sharp and clear. It has a fold out 3″ touchscreen and is WIFI enabled – which is probably my favourite feature but more on that later.

So what does all that mean? It means the box contains a pretty epic camcorder.

Panasonic Camcorder V550

In the box you’ll find the camcorder itself, your charger, a USB cable, a HDMI cable, and 2 CD’s – one with operating instructions and one with editing software on. Now setting up your camcorder is easy enough. You pop your battery in, stick your memory card in, plug in the charger and ideally leave it to fully charge. If you’re like me and keen to make the most of 5 minutes with both children occupied, you can turn it on straight away and have a quick play!

The power button is located beneath the fold out screen, where you will also find the WIFI button, the HDMI and USB cable sockets, and the battery release button. The first thing I wanted to play with was the WIFI connectivity, so by pressing the WIFI button I was presented with a selection of options on the touchscreen. I’d already got the Panasonic Image App on my phone – available on Android and Apple devices – so I turned that on and followed the on screen instructions. I found the easiest way to ensure a good connection was to use the QR code or WIFI option. With my smart phone the QR code was best as I could use the camera on my phone to connect. With my Android tablet which doesn’t have a camera I had to use the WIFI option and manually type in a password. The QR code method was by far the fastest option, but between my initial play with the camcorder and the next time I had chance to use it I changed phones to a Windows phone and the Panasonic Smart App is on there yet, so I currently have to link it to my camera-less tablet. Once your phone or tablet is linked to the camcorder you can remotely view what your camcorder is pointed at, and you can control it. On its own you can zoom in and out, record footage and take photos. You can also set it up as a home security camera and as a baby monitor. Little Dude is 13 weeks old and we haven’t had to use a monitor with him yet as he’s never left unattended, but I’m really looking forward to testing out this function at length soon. I think the remote access feature is amazing and the App is very usable.

Now logic would tell you to include video footage within my review wouldn’t it? Well sadly I’m not going to do that for this review. To be honest the only footage I have is of Little Dude sleeping and that’s not really fascinating to anyone but me, and doesn’t do the camera justice I’m sure. There will be further reviews of this camera throughout the year as I show off its recording skill as well as its baby monitor function. I’m also keen to provide readers with what they want so if you have any questions about any of the camera’s features or functions let me know and I’ll do my best to help you out.

This is a quality little camera, which fits snugly in your hand. Its extremely versatile and I think it would be perfect for filming holidays, family events, as well as brilliant for all you vloggers out there. During my time as a Panasonic Brit Blogger I am going to put this to the test as best I can so expect footage galore to appear on the blog soon. Get your requests in now!

The Panasonic V550 is available now from all good electrical retailers, as well as direct from Panasonic.

Easter In Our House

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 16-04-2014

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Little Man is a bit too young to really appreciate Easter and what its all about. He’s been spotting – and eating – Lindt Gold Bunnies in shops for months but doesn’t really know why they are there, other than for Mummy to buy and him to eat! Last Easter we bought him a Happyland Pirate Ship and some gold doubloons – chocolate ones of course – as we knew his grandparents and aunties and uncles would no doubt supply copious amounts of chocolate, which they did. The same rule applies this year when he’s going to be getting some Peter Rabbit Figures, a Peter Rabbit Book and probably a few Lindt bunnies. There’s already a huge bucket of Haribo in the kitchen for him, and I suspect more chocolate will be coming as well.

We don’t do Easter cards but if we did I imagine we’d take a look at the Dom and Geri website, who specialise in personalised cards and also offer personalised wrapping paper and banners. They have a great range of Easter cards to choose from, from the cute to the more traditional so you’re bound to find something to suit all tastes. Most cards can be personalised with your own text and even with your own images.

As far as plans for the lovely long Easter weekend go we’ll no doubt be heading down to the local garden centre which has a brilliant steam train running for at least one ride, and to take part in their Easter egg hunt. And we might even make it to our favourite National Trust site Nymans to take part in their’s as well. On Monday we’ll be heading down to visit Nana and Pops as its also Pops’ birthday this weekend, making it the perfect excuse to spend time with family. Fingers crossed this gorgeous weather holds.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend I hope you have a great – and chocolate filled – Easter.