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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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Review: Asda Slow Cooker

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie, Product Reviews | Posted on 10-01-2013

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Slow cookers are nothing new. From the looks of my Twitter feed I’d say about 75% of you have one and use it regularly. I was intrigued by the idea of owning one, mostly due to discovering that you weren’t all eating stew every night of the week. The range of foods and meals that were being created was brilliant, and I could see how useful one might be in our house. Days when we visit Grandma and are generally getting home with barely any time to cook dinner. Days when I’m at meetings or events and Daddy is looking after Little Man and there are only so many times you can eat fish fingers and chips again. Days when I just fancy trying something different.

I was reasonably confident one would get used but I must admit to being a little put off by the price. Most of the branded ones I found for £30 to £40. For a kitchen gadget which I might dislike or might get used once and then put away in a cupboard, that was a lot of money to spend. I went searching for a cheaper option but from a brand I could trust. Once again I found what I was looking for at Asda. I don’t know why I ever look anywhere else first.

Asda do a wide range of own brand electrical items, including several kitchen appliances. Their Slow Cooker has a 3 litre capacity so is perfectly sized for our little family, and is similarly sized to its higher priced competitors. It has a brushed steel exterior and a removable ceramic dish inside which makes it really easy to clean after use. Its compact size means it doesn’t take up too much room on the kitchen bench, and I’ve even managed to find a home for it on some open shelves when not in use. It has two settings – High or Low – depending on just how slow you want your food cooked, and the handles on the side and lid are cool touch so there’ll be no danger of burning yourself. My favourite thing about this Slow Cooker though is the price. It retails for just £14.96 – at least half the price of other cookers with the same capacity. The only down side was there were no recipes included, but the internet and book shops are flooded with recipes and cook books so you wont have to look far to get started. I picked myself up a book in Lakeland recently which has lots of great sounding recipes in for all the family.

We’ve used this cooker a few times and every meal has been a success. We made bolognese sauce to start with – something simple – and it was delicious. It even made enough to freeze some for two more meals. We’ve also tried out a packet mix for Slow Cookers which I found in store recently. This makes slow cooking even easier because everything is there for you, you just need to add a few fresh ingredients.

I can see this Slow Cooker being used time and time again this year and it fast becoming an important part of our kitchen. If you’re considering a Slow Cooker but have also been put off by price, or perhaps you’re just not sure how often you’re going to use one, test out the Asda one. Its a great price and a quality piece of equipment. You can find them in store or you can order them online for home delivery or free collection at your local store.

 

Making Christmas Easier With Asda

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Foodie, Information | Posted on 17-12-2012

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We all want to create a magical Christmas this year for our families, and especially our children. Hopefully you have all got your presents bought – and no doubt some of your efficient enough to have them wrapped as well – and houses are probably decorated too. The thing I find that needs the most organisation after the complications of what to buy people, is food.

We have a traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, lots of vegetables, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes and stuffing. There’s usually some bread sauce and cranberry sauce too. Dessert is never a problem as Grandma always ensures we have trifle – the best EVER – and meringues to go with and cake, mince pies and pudding that there may be too. As you can see, food is a big part of Christmas.

Little Man is also a big part of Christmas, and this year as he’s so much more aware of whats going on, and beginning to recognise Santa and understanding what presents are, I don’t want to be spending all Christmas Day in the kitchen. I want to be spending it with my family, and my most important member, my son. So this year I’m going for a nice easy Christmas, without scrimping on quality. I want to be able to pop things in the oven as necessary, but not spend hours preparing and watching over the oven or the hobs as things cook.

This Christmas I am relying entirely on Asda, and I know I wont be disappointed.

Firstly my turkey is coming from there. A nice sized turkey, enough to feed four adults and a toddler on Christmas Day and then give us some leftovers for the next few days. My fresh turkey from Asda’s Butchers Selection is costing £18 which I think is pretty reasonable for the size of it, and for the fact its fresh, not frozen. The turkey will be pimped up a little with some butter which I’ll be placing between the skin and the meat to make it nice and moist, and I’ll probably stick a couple of clementines inside to add to the flavour. Nothing too fancy. This should take about 2 and a half hours to cook, depending on weight of course, and hopefully I’ll be able to cook this then leave it to rest for an hour or so whilst I get the accompaniments cooked.

Next up is a mountain of vegetables. I want to make sure there’s a good variety of vegetables – mostly due to the epic quantities of cake and chocolate which will be coming later – but I don’t want to be wasting precious time peeling, chopping, slicing, and prepping. You could be uber efficient and prepare your vegetables in advance and pop them in the freezer to bring out the night before – and I do know a few of you have done that already and I salute you. Me? I’m going for the lazy approach and using Asda’s Extra Special Prepared Vegetables this year. There is a great range to choose from and I’ve ordered four packets – 2 packs for £4 is the offer on at the moment – which should keep us all happy. On my table this year you’ll find Baby Parsnips with Parmesan Crumb, Baby Sprouts & Bacon with Sage Butter, Slowly Braised Red Cabbage with Apple & Cranberry, and Clementine Roasting Vegetables. The vegetables take between 30 and 50 minutes in the oven to cook, you literally just pop them in there. The Sprouts are even more efficient and take just 5 minutes in the microwave or a quick fry on the hob. More than likely I’ll peel and boil a few carrots for Little Man who is a bit carrot obsessed, but that should be the height of my effort this year.

I am cooking my Roast Potatoes myself, despite the temptation to buy those ready to roast too. This year though we are using Asda’s Extra Special Rudolph Potatoes. These have a distinctive red skin – hence the name – and are perfect for roasting. I’ll be parboiling them, some with skins on and some without, and then roasting in goose fat for about an hour. I’m still debating mash too, and also debating whether it’ll be made by me, or Asda. Rudolph Potatoes come in 1.5kg bags for £1.75 and you can get two 220g jars of Extra Special Goose Fat for £4.

When it comes to drinks those too are coming straight from Asda. I recently attended a wine tasting event organised by Asda. This was great fun, but also the perfect opportunity to discover new wines, and decide precisely what would be on my table this year. I’m a big fan of white wine, and despite many attempts I’m not keen on red, so there will be plenty of white in my house this year. Being drunk in my house this Christmas will be Asda’s Extra Special Prosecco – perfect for the party season and a bargain at just £6.48 a bottle – the French Etoile De Nuit Sauvignon Blanc, and a tasty Spanish bottle of Alba Rino. No doubt these will be getting drunk with Christmas dinner, but also enjoyed later that evening with a few tasty snacks. I advise you all to go and buy a few boxes of All Butter Gruyere & Poppy Seed Twists to nibble on. My newest addiction.

So Christmas this year for my family is definitely an Asda one, but its going to be affordable, easy and above all else tasty. For me, there is nothing better than a great family Christmas, and because of Asda, I’ll be able to enjoy one. Happy Christmas.

Christmas Stocking Fillers: For Mum…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 27-11-2012

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More stocking fillers now, but this time for Mums…

NSPA Products
Available exclusively from Asda this range of beauty products is deliciously fruity. Body butters and lip balms which smell divine whilst also leaving your body and lips super soft and smooth. These butters are not edible despite how delightful they smell, but are exceptionally good value for money. Each of these featured sets costs just £5 and if you go in-store on online you can find a huge range of products for women and men.

Beurer Mini Massager
Perfect for getting rid of those niggling aches and pains at the end of the day this mini massager fits neatly into your hand. Its great used on the shoulders or legs to ease tired muscles after a hectic run up to Christmas. I used this myself after long days at work on my tired calves and it relieved any tension or aches with ease. It has three individually vibrating heads and its compact size also makes it great to carry in your handbag or briefcase in case you need a little relaxation at your desk or on your commute. Every Mum deserves one of these in her stocking this Christmas. Available in a choice of colours, this model costs £11.99 and more details can be found on the Beurer website.

Rosie’s Pantry Measuring Cups
Part of Boots’ famous 3 for 2 gift sets this dinky collection of measuring cups would look great in any kitchen. Recently coveted by GBBO very own Cat, the set comes with four cups – 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 tbs and 1 dsp – each with a pastel colouring in the shape of miniature tea cups. Available now from Boots for just £10.

Betty & Walter Commendably Practical Cosmetic Purse
Again available from Boots this is new range for the store. The cosmetic purse comes with a Rose Lip Balm in a tin, a tub of Elderflower & Lemon Hydrating Hand cream, a Patterned Nail File and a Compact Mirror all inside a Printed Cosmetic Purse. Its a brilliant set and the hand cream included is a great product. It absorbs quickly into the skin and leaves hands feeling soft and cared for. The purse itself will slip neatly into any handbag for taking cosmetics on the go, or for keeping on your dressing table with your favourite odds and ends in. Buy it now from Boots for £14.

Touchscreen Gloves
Most of us own something with a touchscreen, whether it be a phone, an e-reader or a tablet. Touchscreen devices are excellent but when its winter and your hands and fingers need covering in gloves, using a touchscreen device is impossible, and taking your gloves on and off can be tiresome. These Fair Isle patterned gloves from Asda are a great solution and are available at a bargain price of just £5.

 

New Pyjamas For Christmas!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Product Reviews | Posted on 22-11-2012

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If there is one gift you can rely on this Christmas its a new pair of pyjamas. Nestled beneath your Christmas tree this year there will no doubt be at least one pair of pyjamas for someone in your family. There are a great range of pyjamas out there at the moment and they make a great gift – we all need pyjamas! – so here are a few suggestions if you’re searching for that perfect pair.

Once again my favourite store Asda have delivered yet again with some great pyjamas. They have a huge range of womens pyjamas on offer, but these are my absolute favourites – I think we can all admit to having felt this at least once this week already can’t we? With full length legs and sleeves these make great snuggly winter pyjamas, and I think the checked design of the trousers and the matching trim on the top makes them a little bit festive. These are available now online and in store and are currently on offer at just £9!

If you’re significant others fancy getting into the festive spirit – kind of – as well then whilst you’re in Asda getting your own pyjamas, pick up a pair of these great fleece lounge pants. One features a moose design, and the other a polar bear. Both in bright seasonal colours and most importantly cosy fleece material they are a nice fun addition to any present this year. I am rather tempted to get my husband a pair! You’ll find them in store and online at £10 each.

For any pirate fans in your house these cute pyjamas are from Minene. The pattern on the trousers is nice and colourful and features lots of great pirate themed pictures. And for the girls there is this sweet hearts design featuring coloured hearts on the top and coordinated pink trousers. Again these are both long sleeved and have full length trousers, and they are made from jersey cotton making them nice and soft against little peoples skin. You can find both designs and more on the Minene website for just £13.

Beat The Flu This Winter!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 21-11-2012

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Well the weather has certainly taken a dramatic downward turn hasn’t it? Its been chilly for a while but its now decidedly wetter and more miserable out there today. I don’t think a day has gone by in recent weeks when someone or other on Twitter has commented that they or their other halves have been struck down with a cold, and its not really surprising with the weather like it is. Here are a few suggestions to help prevent, or help beat, any colds or flu that might strike your family this winter.

Prevention is better than cure, so eating healthily is a great way to boost your immune system and battle the bugs before they attack. Vitamin supplements are also a great way to give your body that extra fight so think about taking Vitamin C & Zinc. This supplement, with a balanced diet, helps boost your immune system but can also help reduce tiredness and fatigue – something I’m sure we’d all benefit from! You can also take Vitamin E which protects your bodies cells, and is especially beneficial to older people. If you’re particularly concerned about catching Flu this winter – maybe due to age or other medical issues – you may wish to consider a flu jab, which you can now get at your local Asda for just £7.

If you are unfortunate enough to get a cold or flu this winter there are some great affordable medicines out there which you can take. Most branded cold and flu relief is pretty pricey, especially if you need to take it for more than a few days. Cold & Flu Relief Capsules from Asda come in packs of 16 and cost just 65p – less than a quarter of the price of a leading branded packet containing the same number and the same ingredients. There is also a range of hot fruit drinks and decongestants available too.

 

So next time you are in your local Asda or perhaps doing your online food shop take a look at these great value items which could just save you a winter of coughing and sneezing!

Show Your Spots!!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 16-11-2012

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Tomorrow is Children In Need and its a charity I am always pleased to support, especially now I have a child myself. The motto this year is “Show Your Spots, Lets Raise Lots!” and with the help of some lovely items from Asda you can do just that. With clothes for all the family, baking accessories, and food items throughout the store all donating to Children In Need its a great time to get down to Asda and “Show Your Spots!”.

With a huge range of items available in store which donate to Children In Need from eggs and potatoes to tshirts and aprons helping the cause has never been easier. Prices start from just a couple of pounds, and every penny really does help. Even if you’re not in Asda today do dig deep and donate what you can. Show YOUR Spots, and Lets Raise LOTS!!

Potty Training Kit

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 04-06-2012

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When Little Man turned 18 months old the mailing list emails I was getting from baby clubs and baby companies suddenly all started talking about potty training. The idea of potty training is one that has filled me with dread from day one (and quite possibly before that!) so I was surprised to see that it was something that I needed to start thinking about now. I could definitely see the positives of doing it in the summer – lots of running about the garden nappy free in the sun – but the idea of doing it at all scared the life out of me, mostly due to my pale cream carpets. So I started doing some research into ideas and methods, and then looked at the bits and pieces that were out there to make the job easier. We’d already picked up a couple of potties at Nearly New Sales but I liked the idea of have one in all  main rooms, so I was after more. I got pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing, then realised it was probably one of those daunting events for all parents. So I decided to create a “Potty Training Kit” of items which I think you should have at home ready for the day your little one decides its time to stop using nappies, because it could just happen overnight. For those interested, it hasn’t happened here yet. I’m still hoping it wont!

Potties: An obvious one to start with! I have three potties in the house. One in the lounge, one in the main bathroom upstairs, and one in the downstairs bathroom. I’m thinking I might get a fourth for Little Man’s bedroom. I picked up a couple of Ikea potties at a Nearly New Sale – plain basic designs – but you an get a perfectly viable new potty from Asda for just 98p. If you’re after something a little fancier I do like the Smart Potty from Baby Bjorn. It has a splash guard at the front – essential for little boys – and the bowl itself lifts out for quick, easy and hygienic cleaning. Its compact size is also a plus as it fits neatly next to the toilet in the bathroom without being a trip hazard. Whilst Little Man hasn’t “used” it yet, he has managed to sit on it and get off again with ease – fully clothed admittedly!

Potty Seat: You might not want potties dotted about the place or your little one might decide, probably after you’ve bought a selection of potties, that they want to use the big toilet. Obviously you can’t just sit your toddler on the toilet due to the size of the seat, so you’ll need to get some Potty Seats which sit neatly on top of the toilet making it a more appropriate size. There are a wide range available, including ones that come with built in ladders to help your child on their way, but I like this simple design from Munchkin. It has rubber edges to keep it secure on the seat so there’s no slipping when your little one climbs on, it has the necessary deflector at the front, a gentle backrest for optimum comfort, and two handles for security.

Just For Boys: This rather amusing looking piece of kit was discovered when I searched to see if there was gender specific potty training equipment. Obviously with little boys and little girls having different “plumbing” and different methods of going to the toilet I was sure there’d be something, and here it is – the Tippitoes Boys Toilet Trainer. Once your little boy has mastered the art of sitting down to wee, he then needs to figure out that standing up to do it is what the big boys do. This task is being left up to Daddy in our house – I wouldn’t know where to begin with this one – and this product looks like a good idea… assuming their aim is reasonable! The Toilet Trainer fits on all standard toilet seats using the adjustable clip and can be emptied easily afterwards. Its designed to hold a full toddlers bladder – oh how I look forward to testing THAT out – and sits at the ideal height for little boys.

Step: I think a little step in the bathroom is essential, whether you’re using potties or a seat. Reaching the toilet itself will be impossible without the step – unless you get the seat with built-in ladder of course – but also you need to start making sure hands are washed after they’ve been. A step like this will make this possible, and will also help with reaching the sink to brush their teeth. If you have a tiled or lino floor – I have the same ridiculous cream carpet everywhere, including the bathrooms!! – then you want to make sure the step comes with non-slip feet. This Safe Step from Baby Bjorn has just that – non-slip feet for the floor, and a non-slip top so your little one will be safe, even with wet feet. Its also well sized so that your child can carry it around with them. Little Man likes to move it about the bathroom, sitting on it when he brushes his teeth, and standing on it when his bath is being run so he gets a better view. It also matches the Smart Potty nicely.

Wipes: With trips to the potty or toilet comes the need for bottom wiping. With your little one being used to the comfort of moist baby wipes since birth its a good idea to stock up on Toilet Training Wipes. These ensure bottoms are cleaned properly, but are also suitable for hands too. Available With or Without Fragrance they are gentle against delicate skin, and are available from all leading retailers. I like these cute designs from Asda though.


Pull Up Pants: Nappies are officially a thing of the past once potty training begins and its important that you stick to that. Obviously you need some form of protection against accidents so pull up pants are a must have. Similar to nappies in that they have a level of absorption, they go on like underwear with your little one stepping into them as opposed to being wrestled to the ground for nappy change – just me? Huggies lead the way in Pull Up Pants, but I’ll be sticking to the value and success we’ve had from Asda. They sell “First Pants” which have tear away sides for removal and provide protection against any leaks. I’ll certainly be making sure I’m well stocked with these before we take the step to toilet training.

Out & About: At some point during your potty training you’re going to have to leave the privacy of your own home. Whether it be going out in the pram or for a trip in the car your little one is probably going to have an accident. Keeping a potty in the car will help with that – travel potties such as the My Carry Potty are a popular choice – but if you want that added bit of protection I recommend one of these: A Potty Training Mat For Car Seat or Buggy sold at JoJo Maman Bebe. This attaches into the car seat or buggy and protects it from any accidents. The vinyl backing ensures that the seat remains dry so they don’t have to travel around in a puddle. I think this is a great idea for potty training on the move but also for day to day usage to protect seats from spills from drinks cups or leaking nappies before potty training begins.

 

 

What’s New At Asda?

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 22-03-2012

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My love of Asda won’t come as news to any of you. I get my food delivered by them every week, and I spend my time drooling over the beautiful clothes in George for me, and then inevitably go off and buy something for Little Man instead. I love keeping an eye out for new products for Little Man, and I have three here to show you.

Annabel Karmel Porridge & Apple Biscuit Bakes
When these appeared on my doormat I was a little sceptical. The idea of biscuits that taste of porridge was a bit “out there” for me – surely the only thing tasting of porridge should be porridge in a bowl? Apparently not. I nervously handed one over to Little Man, half expecting it to be spat back out at me, and watched in amazement as he finished it off, and promptly requested “More?”.
Being Annabel Karmel endorsed you know these biscuits will be perfect for little children. They can be eaten as they are from 12 month, but can be mixed with their usual milk earlier than that for breakfast. They come in a box of 5 handy 3 portion packs, so can be slipped into a bag or a coat pocket for outings and walks.

Annabel Karmel Carrot & Sweetcorn Rice & Corn Snacks
My Little Man hates rice cakes. He always has. He chews them for a while, then spits it out, usually whilst moving around the room. In fact the only rice cake I have ever seen him finish is one belonging to his girlfriend – but other peoples food always is nicer isn’t it? Due to this I wasn’t really expecting him to appreciate these, and to be honest I was planning on handing them over to his rice cake loving girlfriend when we next saw her.
One evening dinner was unusually rejected – one of those days all round – so instead of giving him some fruit instead I thought I’d stick to the savoury idea and opened these Rice & Corn Snacks. Half a pack later it turns out that he now DOES like rice cakes! Another snack time winner for us!

Little Angels Baby Wipes with Built-In Pot Of Nappy Cream
Nappy rash is a bit of a nightmare in our house. Little Man doesn’t get it very often, but when he does it tends to flare up out of nowhere. It often goes from none existent to intensely painful within half an hour. When I’m at home that’s no problem – Sudocrem at the ready – but when I’m out its a nightmare as I have invariably forgotten our spare pot. Asda have come up with a brilliant solution.
Their new design baby wipes now come with a small pot of nappy cream built it. It’s not impregnated on every wipe, it is simply a small pot built into the packet which sits alongside the opening for the wipes. You can’t open the nappy cream pot without opening the wipes so there is no danger of spillage within your bag. Both lids are very securely fastened. Whilst I did think this might be a gimmick I was proved wrong just earlier today when I changed my Little Man’s nappy at our local supermarket and lo and behold one red bottom, and no pot of nappy cream. I then remembered that I’d popped the new Little Angels wipes in my changing bag and there was my nappy cream. Result! Not only is it convenient it also works, which to be honest is the most important thing. A layer was applied to Little Man’s bottom and at the next change the redness has gone down already. Genius product.

Product Review: Asda Little Angels Range

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 31-08-2011

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Babies are expensive.  The amount of "stuff" the need just to get through the average day is immense – and to be honest there aren't very many average days when you're a parent.  Wipes and nappies are the biggest most constant expense, but once weaning begins theres the need for bowls, plates, spoons and food pots, as well as the actual food itself.  

Shops are bursting at the seems with dozens of brands jostling for position and for your custom, and they come in a wide range of prices.  I've discovered a nice affordable range that does the job perfectly, but doesn't come with the poshest of brand names.

Asda's Little Angels range is vast, and most importantly for cash strapped parents – its affordable.  From the early days there are nappies and wipes, as well as items to make breastfeeding that little bit more comfortable for mums.  As your baby gets older the range available to them just increases.  Bath time products, swimming nappies, bottle warmers, sterilisers, bottles, spoons, bowls, plates, travel pots, freezable food pots, dummies, teethers, potties, it goes on and on.  Then there's the food range – not huge but a nice selection of stage 1, 2 and 3 products and the ever popular rice cakes.  I'd love to see alternatives to the rice cakes because my Little Man hates all rice cakes, but I did manage to donate my sample pack to a very worthy cause!

Since receiving a sample of Little Angels nappies we have stopped buying our usual leading brand and changed to Asda's.  Little Man has a sensitive bottom and one of the leading brands gives him terrible nappy rash so I was a little wary, but Asda nappies are brilliant – no nappy rash in sight.  We already get our weekly shop delivered from Asda, but we're now getting 88 nappies for £10 as opposed to 60 – can't ask for more than that can you?

If you head down to your local Asda now, or take a peek around their online store, you'll find this vast array of Little Angels goodies.  And from yesterday for three weeks the Asda Baby Event is on – bargains galore across all baby ranges.  Go on – get shopping!