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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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Festive Bingo!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Sponsored Posts | Posted on 06-12-2016

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The Christmas countdown has began! Crackers, check. Turkey, check. Sprouts….. maybe not this year.

Christmas and New Year are full of traditions. Some are historic like leaving the carrot for the reindeer on Christmas Eve or counting down the minutes to midnight on New Years eve. Others are more recent such as singing hit songs or watching a fight unfold on Eastenders.

I have these fabulous online bingo cards with some known and lesser known traditions on. See how many you can tick off and how traditionally British your holidays is!

paddypowerbingo

Thanks to Paddy Power for these great festive bingo cards – I hope you have fun playing along!

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?

Looking Forward To Halloween

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Sponsored Posts | Posted on 26-09-2014

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October? Can you believe its almost October already? Now the children have all gone back to school its pretty much full pace through until the dreaded C-word, but with October on the horizon there are two other events to look forward to in our house next month. One is Little Man’s fourth birthday, but a couple of weeks after that is Halloween. Now whilst I wasn’t much of a Halloween fan myself as a child – I think it was the idea of wandering around outside in the cold and inevitable rain that put me off – , and whilst I’m still not keen on my two going trick or treating, I am thinking a bit of a Halloween party might be in order for us this year. I’ve got a box of decorations and party wear in the loft I think that I acquired in the sales last November – its pays to forward plan here! – so I just need to sort out some costumes for the boys. Little Man will be at preschool that morning so hopefully there’ll be some kind of dressing up going on there, and I’m sure Little Dude will be happy to get into the “spirit” of things as well.

I’m thinking perhaps something subtle like this t-shirt from Asda might work for Little Man during the day. It doesn’t “scream” Halloween so it could be worn more than once, and its looks pretty stylish too. At just £3 its a bargain too! Little Dude will be joining in as well, probably wearing the My First Halloween sleepsuit. I definitely think something a bit cute is required for your first Halloween, and this fits the bill perfectly. No Halloween is complete without somewhere to stash your treats. Whilst Little Man won’t be heading out around the streets just yet, I’m sure I can supply a few ghoulish sweets for him all the same. A Frankenstein bucket will be just the job. This year we have our new playroom to decorate as well, so purple fairy lights seem appropriate don’t you agree? I think I can have some fun setting up some Halloween activities and decorations whilst Little Man is being spooky at preschool. I’ll have to get up into the loft to see what other bits and pieces I have. I’m sure the stores will be filling up with snacks, treat and sweets soon enough. Maybe its time to brave some more baking with my boys, and perhaps create some Halloween cupcakes. Believe me, there’s nothing “scarier” than our kitchen after a baking attempt with Little Man!

How do you celebrate Halloween in your house?

Winter Olympic Blues…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Sponsored Posts | Posted on 24-02-2014

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The Winter Olympics are over. I must say I haven’t really watched them before, but I did find myself watching quite a bit this time around. I enjoyed the Skeleton – whizzing down an icy slope on what looked like a slightly pimped baking tray strikes me as a rather fun kind of crazy – and like most of the UK it seemed I did watch rather a lot of Curling. I also found the snowboarding and skiing fascinating, especially when somersaults and other tricks were part of the action. In fact I think the only sport I found a little odd was the one where participants seemed to basically be cross country skiing for a while, pausing to shoot things, and then skiing again. It seemed to me like they were all training for roles as extras in James Bond…

I’m sure the UK will be suffering some kind of post Olympic blues this week, but I’ve found a great website to combat this. There’s this brilliant new app launching today that allows people to find remote working spaces and offices that let you to do your day job and then enjoy an afternoon skiing or skating. With remote working you have the freedom to work anywhere, so why not take advantage of this and go somewhere you can enjoy a winter sport and recreate some of the Olympic excitement yourself?

The site will be created as a Google mash up that combines remote working locations and local ski and skate locations that enables you to enjoy the winter sports throughout the year. The site is called Olympic Hangovers and it will host the mash up, allowing users to enter in other locations and resorts they know that will allow people to enjoy the Winter Olympics now it has ended. This allows users to enjoy a winter sport holiday even whilst working.

Now obviously in my current state – 28 weeks pregnant can you believe – I’m not really in a position to try this out for myself, but I think you should all have a go. A few hours blogging followed by a few hours skiing. Who knows, you might find a new passion, and maybe we’ll even see you at the Winter Olympics in the future.

Hive Active Heating

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 27-01-2014

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Most of us have our central heating on some kind of timer control, generally coming on in the mornings and evenings to keep the house nice and comfortable whilst we’re getting up and when we’re getting in from work or school. I’m sure we’ll also all agree that sometimes plans don’t quite work out. What if you’re out late one evening and your heating has long since gone off by the time you get home and you are welcomed by a chilly house? What if you’re on holiday and you don’t know exactly what time you’ll be home and your house is cold after a week or two empty? Or, more relevant perhaps to me in a few months, what if you’re in hospital and you want to come home to a warm house with your new baby and the heating has been off for hours? Putting it on when you get in is all well and good but there’s nothing quite like stepping in to a cosy house as opposed to waiting around for it to reach a warm temperature. With a new app you won’t have this problem again.

Hive Active Heating is a genius piece of technology that allows you to instantly control your heating or hot water from your smartphone, tablet or computer. Your state of the art kit begins with a thermostat which allows you to adjust the temperature and set timers whilst you’re at home, much the same as your current thermostat. You also get a hub which connects to your broadband router and also connects wirelessly to your thermostat, allowing remote control. Next you get a receiver which is discreetly fitted by your boiler, allowing it to communicate with your thermostat, once again totally wirelessly. Finally there’s the app, which is available on both Android and Apple devices. This lets you monitor the temperature of your home wherever you are, meaning you can adjust the timer, pop the heating on or off, and even make sure you have a full tank of hot water when you get home.

Countless times we’ve come home to a cold house, mainly when we’re away on holiday. Our house is generally pretty comfortable during the day, especially when we’re at home, and with it being a terrace – or town house if you’re fancy – we do benefit from the added insulation of having a house on either side. We don’t put our heating on a timer as we have such busy lives. I pop it on when Little Man and I come downstairs in the morning, and again if it gets cold during the day, but with schedules always being so mixed there’s no consistent times to have it coming on or off. With a new baby on the way we do need to ensure our house is a good temperature all the time. Hopefully with our new Little Dude due in May we shouldn’t have much trouble, unless the British weather goes haywire of course.

I am really impressed with the sound of Hive and for £199 with full professional installation it seems pretty affordable too, and by saving you money by not wasting heating on an empty house its bound to pay for itself quickly too. Definitely one to consider.

Travel: The Best Beaches in Devon, Somerset and Cornwall

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Sponsored Posts | Posted on 24-08-2013

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For the best beaches in the UK, look no further than the south west!

For many families, holidays are all about good times spent on the beach. And with the UK’s sunny weather being particularly unpredictable, you need to know exactly which beach to go to when the hot weather strikes. Here’s a breakdown of the best beaches in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, so wherever you are in the south west this summer, you won’t miss out on a great day on the beach.

Bantham Beach, Devon

Bantham Beach is without a doubt the best all-round beach in Devon. Not only is it popular with families, it’s also popular with surfers and those who are looking for a little more adventure. The calmer, shallower area is perfect for children and with lifeguard cover from May to October, you can enjoy the beach all day knowing your family is safe.

The best thing is that dogs are allowed on the beach all year round so there’s no reason for your four-legged friends to miss out. It’s also just a short drive from Haven Devon Cliffs Holiday Park.

Haven South West BeachesWeston-super-Mare, Somerset

The south west has been a popular family holiday destination for generations, and Weston-super-Mare has one of the best beaches in the country for families. It’s also one of the longest beaches in the UK – no wonder tourists flock back year after year to enjoy its golden sand.

And once you’ve built a few sandcastles and paddled in the sea, you can make the most of everything else that makes Weston-super-Mare a great British holiday resort. Donkey rides have been running there since 1886 and the beach also has its own nearby go-karts, miniature railway and aquarium. And with several holiday parks in Somerset to choose from, wherever you stay you won’t be far from the action.

Holywell Bay, Cornwall

For the best fun day out at the beach, look no further than Holywell Bay in Cornwall. Not only is this golden sandy beach perfect for boogie boarding and building sandcastles, there are also loads of games, rides and activities for you to take part in.

Trust us, one day at Holywell Bay will not be enough! Luckily, Perran Sands Holiday Park is just 15 minutes from Holywell Bay so you can go back as many times as you like.

Thinking About The Future

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Holiday, Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 05-04-2013

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Before Little Man made his appearance Daddy and I traveled quite a bit. We visited Paris during the first six months of our relationship, and when we’d been dating for a year Daddy took me to New York for a few days – clearly a sign he was a keeper. We were married on the 5th of April 2008 – today is our 5th Wedding Anniversary – and for our honeymoon we returned to New York again before spending five days on Maui. Most other holidays were much more local, often visiting Dublin but more often than not staying UK based. After Little Man our holidays were always UK based and probably will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

We have fond memories of New York and whenever we see it on the TV, either in the news or in a movie or whilst watching Friends we keep saying “We must go again and do…” but I don’t think either of us believes its going to happen anytime soon. I’d like to think we’ll manage it one day, probably when Little Man and any future siblings have left the nest and we’re heading for retirement. 

I like the idea of travelling when we’re retired. There’s a great big world out there and so many places we’d love to visit, and revisit. New York is a clear favourite, a city that holds a special place in our hearts, but I think a trip to New Zealand is something Daddy would love. America is a vast country and there are several cities and states I’d like to see. And of course a return to Hawaii would be amazing. Perhaps a different island next time. Plus anyone that knows me will know how much I love and adore Dublin, but fingers crossed a trip there will be in my near future.

Travelling is a fun and exciting event, but there are, as with all things, risks to consider. Travel insurance is a sensible option, especially if you are travelling a lengthy distance. Travelling in your later years brings an added dimension, which is why insurance is essential. Age UK offer a great service for older travelers, and are the ideal choice for those with existing medical problems. They cover medical expenses and personal belongings whether you’re sunning yourself in Cyprus or skiing in Switzerland. They also cover medical equipment against loss or theft, and that includes wheelchairs and walking frames.

So if your parents or grandparents are planning an exotic holiday this year, or even just staying in the UK, suggest they take a look at Age UK for their insurance. You can find all the details here.

 

Gardening: A Pond For Your Children

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 03-04-2013

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The Easter holidays are upon us and its FINALLY looking a bit more Spring like outside. This break is a perfect opportunity to get the children outside and give them a project, or at least something to help you with. As a child I was lucky enough to have a pond in my back garden. We had two at one house – a large one for fish and a smaller nature pond which we had frogs in. I spent hours out there in the garden watching the frogs and you could often find me sat there with one in my hand. They were fascinating creatures and it was great fun to have them in my own garden. The larger pond was brilliant too – it house several large fish and lots of plants. During the summer I was hardly ever indoors, instead choosing to spend my time running about the garden spotting fish and frogs in our ponds.

Building your own pond might seem a daunting task, but there are some great supplies out there to help make it easier. Its also a great garden task to get the children involved with. If you’re making a nature pond you just need a large hole, a liner and some plants and weeds. If you’re planning a pond for fish you’ll need more equipment, the most expensive of which is probably going to be the pump. The pump will make the water flow, often with a fountain or water fall, and that keeps it clear. Whilst it is the priciest part of your pond, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you know where to shop. One of the best places to get your pump would be Swallow Aquatics, who stock a range of high quality and good value pumps for your garden pond. Swallow Aquatics are leading pond and aquatic specialists in the UK with stores in Essex, Norfolk and Kent, as well as a easy to navigate online store. They sell everything you need to create your own garden pond, from liners, pumps and plants, to lighting, fish food, and books.

Visiting your local Swallow Aquatics is a great fun family day out. They have a huge selection of fish and underwater creatures on display so your children can choose which ones they want in their pond. There’s also supplies for the family cats, dogs and other small animals, as well as a well stocked reptile centre for any snakes, lizards or chelonian you might have. I only wish I’d known about Swallow Aquatics when I was getting my tortoise recently! Some stores also share their sites with garden centres and coffee shops – check for your local store here – where you can look around the plants and grab a cup of tea and a cake before you head home to get to work on your new garden feature.

Building your own pond not only brings a great focal point to your garden and provides your children with something to do this Easter holidays, but it also provides long term educational opportunities as the year and the seasons progress. Its a great chance for your children to spend time outdoors learning about all the creatures that inhabit the pond, from fish and frogs to all the little mini beasts and insects. I’m sure Little Man would get lots of enjoyment from a pond. Maybe next year.

 

Need Storage? You Need Easistore…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 08-02-2013

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Take a look around your house. No doubts you have a lot of belongings. If you are lucky enough to have a loft, I expect that’s pretty full too – especially if its like ours. Your garage and shed will probably be full of things as well. You may suddenly find yourself short of space – you may be moving house and have to go into smaller rented accommodation for a period, or you may have a new baby on the way and your office is going to become a nursery. Perhaps you are a student who is moving out of home and you need somewhere to put your belongings whilst you are in university halls. Maybe you’re storing things for your grown up children and you are now downsizing and can’t fit it in anymore. Perhaps you’re a small local business who needs somewhere to store their stock, without spending a fortune on large premises. The reasons for needing extra storage are endless. The solution is Easistore.

Easistore have a self-storage facility in Crawley, just beside the M23 at Maidenbower. This convenient locations makes it easily accessible from all over Sussex and parts of Surrey. Here they provide high quality and secure storage facilities for your convenience. Access to your storage facility is available from 7am till 7pm Monday to Friday, 8am till 5pm on Saturdays and from 10am to 3pm on Sundays. There is a wide range of sizes of storage available, from units to rooms to small lockers. To make life even easier for you the Crawley Easistore also has a packing supplies shop, lifts for transporting goods, and accessible loading bays.

At the moment Easistore have two great offers on. They are offering free van hire, worth £60, to help you move your goods in. This also includes removal blankets and a handy trolley. As well as this you could also qualify for up to 4 weeks free storage when you reserve a storage space.

Instant quotes for all your storage needs are available now from the handy Quote Expert Tool where you can input all your requirements and find out exactly how much your storage will cost you. It is so easy to use. You just select whether you’re a person, a company or a student and then how much storage you need. You tell them this by either the number of boxes you have or, for loose items, how many car or van loads you have. If you are packing up your home, just tell them how many bedrooms you have. With this information Easistore works out precisely how much storage space you need. I got a quote for storing a car load of goods for 6 months, purely to test out the functionality of the Quote Expert Tool. I had an affordable price within minutes, and because I was storing for 6 months I saved 25%. If I’d gone ahead and reserved my storage space I would also have received a £20 voucher to spend on packing supplies in the on site shop. The shop sells everything you could need, from boxes and bags to tape and labels. My quote was emailed to me immediately for future reference, handy if you don’t sign up immediately.

If you want to chat with any of the team at Crawley directly you can do by phoning them on 01293 734263 or send them an email at crawleyteam@easistore.co.uk. More details on the Crawley store can also be found on the Easistore website.

Multivitamins For Children

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Sponsored Posts | Posted on 15-01-2013

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From the moment they are born we aim to do the best for our children, and from that first moment nutrition is top of most parents lists. Once you’ve moved on from milk, solid food becomes a massive part of their lives. It seems like Little Man is ALWAYS eating, but as his Mum I want to make sure what he’s eating is good for him. Yes he gets treats, he’s rather partial to Lindt Chocolate Bears – he has extravagant taste – and cake, and he has discovered the magic of McDonalds Happy Meals, but I like to make sure the bulk of his meals and snacks are nutritious. Unfortunately children don’t always eat what they are given, and getting those vital nutrients into them becomes a battle.

The Department of Health recommends that children aged between 6 months and 5 years take supplemental vitamins A, C and D. Multivitamins are not an alternative to a healthy diet, but they can certainly help to ensure your child is getting the right nutrients. Seven Seas has a range of multivitamins specifically designed for children. Their Haliborange range starts with a liquid multivitamin for babies and toddlers which is orange flavoured and sugar free. It helps maintain healthy immune defences, mental performance, skin, energy release, blood formation, bones and teeth. From age 3 they have two flavours of Fruit Softies, which to children look and taste delicious whilst providing them with the essentials they need for growth and development.

We are pretty lucky with Little Man. He loves eating pasta, prefers brown toast to white, and would live on fruit if we let him. I’m confident that his good foods far outnumber his bad, but I think Seven Seas Haliborange range is something which I’ll consider. Like all parents I want my Little Man to grow up healthy, and the right vitamins and nutrients will ensure he does.

You can find the full Seven Seas Haliborange range on their website. You can also find them on Facebook.