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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: Shnuggle Moses Basket

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Preparing For Baby, Product Reviews | Posted on 04-08-2014

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A good bedtime routine is, for me, one of the most important things for a baby. I think that if you start with a routine as early in life as you can, you’ll be getting a good nights sleep much sooner than those who don’t. Little Man began with a bedtime routine after a few months and it has served us well. Naps and bedtime have always been relatively easy to maintain – of course there’s been the odd incident – and even now at almost 4 he lives by his routine. As well as a good routine having a safe place to sleep is just as important, if not more so. As parents – and as part of this great blogging community – we are all far too aware of the horrors of SIDS and cot death. Making sure we put our babies, toddlers and children somewhere as safe as we can make it to sleep is vital.

It is recommended that baby sleeps in your bedroom from day one up until they are six months old. With Little Man we had the family moses basket – a large wicker item that had been used for numerous babies over the years, yours truly included. When we fell pregnant with Little Dude we decided we wouldn’t be using it again – its not the smallest of contraptions, and being wicker its not the quietest either. We heard every movement he made during the night, and the basket used to creak with the slightest twitch. So much so that Little Man actually went into his own bedroom at four months so that we could all get some sleep!

So we set off on our quest to find the perfect sleeping environment for Little Dude. We wanted something long – Little Man had been a very tall baby, and part of our reason for moving him into his own room was the simple fact that he outgrew his basket. We wanted something that was going to hopefully last us the full six months, giving us the option to keep him in with us for as long as possible. We wanted him to have his own space – co-sleeping has never appealed to us, so we didn’t want anything that allowed Little Dude to wriggle his way over and into our bed. We wanted something washable – would we have a dribbly baby? Would we have a sickly baby? Would nappies be leaking nightly? We needed something where we could clean the structure and not just the bedding. We wanted something affordable. Every moses basket we looked at just wasn’t right, and mostly because of the length. If we had another long baby he’d have grown out of it far too soon and we’d need to buy something else. Something we were keen to avoid. In the end we ended up buying a crib for at home – a simple wooden crib which fits neatly at the side of our bed but also is suitably longer than the average moses basket. Fingers crossed we get plenty more months use from it yet.

Soon after we’d bought the crib I was contacted by the team at Shnuggle. They were looking for pregnant bloggers to review a choice of items – either their new bath or their existing moses basket. Baths I had plenty of – Little Dude already has two so a third seemed excessive. Their moses basket wasn’t one that we’d found in our endless searching and comparing so we took a look at the website and checked out the all important size. “10% larger than other moses baskets” was something we were pleased to read. Comparing dimensions to the baskets we’d already looked out we found this was the case – it was just that extra bit longer, and whilst it was a few centimetres shorter than the crib we’d purchased we thought it would make an excellent spare moses basket to keep at Nana and Pops’ house for day time naps and overnight visits. We were also excited by the claim that it was “almost silent” when baby was inside – something our previous moses basket certainly couldn’t offer. Soon after we received the rather gorgeous Sky Blue Shnuggle basket and folding stand to test out with our new arrival.

It was a few weeks after Little Dude’s arrival until we finally got the chance to test it properly. When he was six weeks old he and I relocated to Nana and Pops’ house for a week whilst some building work was done on our new playroom. Lots of builders, lots of mess and potentially lots of noise are not the best things when you have a newborn, so for five nights Little Dude got to sleep in his new Shnuggle basket. I can confirm that this basket IS “almost silent” and you don’t get the creaking typical with other moses baskets. The moulded and well ventilated “basket” itself IS easy to clean and any extraneous fluids can be wiped up simply and quickly. However it would seem that we had yet another giant baby. Even at just six weeks old Little Dude was beginning to look a bit too tall for this basket, and now at eleven weeks he’s almost filled it. Now this is by no means a criticism of the Shnuggle basket – this would have happened with any other moses basket and more than likely far sooner. Truth be told he’s looking a little to cosy in his crib as well. Sadly I can’t see him lasting the full six months in our bedroom, and we may find him departing sooner than his older brother if he keeps growing at this rate.

Moses baskets and cribs are, on the whole, one of those necessary but short lived baby items. Unless you have space in your bedroom for a full sized cot or cot bed you have to buy one, and for us, the Shnuggle basket is probably the best you’re going to get. It ticked an awful lot of our boxes, and width wise its great – there’s still plenty room in that respect. But unfortunately whilst I continue to grow giant babies the moses basket or crib is just something that will be used for a ridiculously short period of time.

Review: Dreamgenii Pregnancy Pillow

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Product Reviews | Posted on 15-04-2014

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Discussions about pregnancy always seem to talk about how amazing it is, and how its a gift, and how lucky we are, and how wonderful it is. Yes, being pregnant is an amazing gift and a privilege that not all women get to experience. And I am lucky to have gotten pregnant twice in my life and I am SO looking forward to Little Dude making his big entrance in the next few weeks. I’m 35 weeks pregnant this week and whilst its hardly been plain sailing – borderline cholestasis, actual anemia, two infections, potentially breech baby, two trips to labour ward so far… – I appreciate how lucky I am. What people rarely talk about however is how uncomfortable pregnancy is!

Feeling those first flutterings is amazing, and as the pregnancy continues they turn into definite movements, and towards the end they turn into fairly brutal jabs where it feels like baby is trying to make and early exit by any means possible. Sitting down is fairly comfy as long as baby is asleep and not beating you up. Lying down is just insane however. You’re encouraged to sleep on your left when pregnant which is fine. If I lie on my back I get cramp in my legs and end up in a beached whale scenario, much to my husbands amusement. However whichever side I lie on makes baby drift that way too, and just this morning I woke up with what I believe was a foot making a beeline for my hip. And then there’s my legs. Whatever I seem to do with them I end up with one dead leg. So all in all not much sleep is happening, and hasn’t been for a while. Whilst I appreciate the comments “Well its all good training for when baby arrives and you won’t get any sleep then…” its not wholly helpful when I have a three year old to look after and I can’t spend the day in bed.

I’ve tried a multitude of pillows in bed to make my life a bit easier and sleep a bit more likely. Wedges, more normal pillows, full length body pillows, you name it, I’ve tried it. I even evicted Daddy from the bed – mainly because there was no room with all the excess pillows… – but sleep was still evading me. I turned to the internet for help, as I often do, and found the Dreamgenii Pregnancy Pillow. The pillow is designed to encourage sleeping on your left, and to prevent you rolling onto your back. It has long pillow at the front as you lie on it that supports your bump and curves between your legs to ensure your hips are comfortable and to reduce the likelihood of waking with a dead leg. There’s a section of fabric that you lie on, and then a smaller pillow which rest in the small of your back. This provides support and effectively holds you in place so you are less likely to roll over. If you do want to roll onto your right hand side however you can, and you simply use the small pillow as a bump support and the curved larger pillow will still sit comfortably between your legs.

DreamGenii Pregnancy Pillow SussexMummy

The team at Dreamgenii were kind enough to send me one of the pillows to review. It was more compact than I was expecting which was great as it meant Daddy didn’t have to sleep on the air bed down the hall, and it didn’t feel like I was being swamped with pillows and supports. The best way I can describe the feeling of sleeping with the pillow is like being hugged. I was comfortably held by the pillow, my legs were supported but relaxed, my lower back was held, and my bump was in a position that meant I wasn’t capsizing. The first night of using it was one of the best nights sleep I’d had all pregnancy. I used it every night for a few days, and then spent a few nights not using it just to compare. Since then I’ve used it most nights. During particularly warm nights it can be a bit overwhelming using the pillow too as I find myself getting even warmer than usual. Pregnant women tend to run somewhat warmer than everyone else, and if I’m too hot I do sometimes remove the pillow altogether, or I just use the longer part between my legs and keep the rest out the way. Its really versatile that way, and one of the many reasons I love it and wouldn’t be without it.

What I didn’t realise until the pillow arrived was that you can use it after baby arrives too, as a feeding support pillow. The longer pillow sits round your back supporting you, and the fabric that connects the two pillows is there to hold baby. Whether you are breast or bottle feeding baby will be in the optimum position, and held there and supported by you and the smaller pillow. Now obviously I haven’t had chance to test this out just yet, but I love the idea of being able to use the pillow after pregnancy as well as during.

Dreamgenii Pregnancy Pillows retail at £45.99 with spare covers available too starting from £9.99. You can also purchase a Dreamgenii Lite Travel Pillow which is just two small pillows and the connecting fabric for £19.50.

Preparing For Baby: Bedtime

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Preparing For Baby | Posted on 04-03-2014

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Since finding out at our 20 week scan back in early January that we’re having another boy we’ve been full throttle buying bits and pieces that we need and transforming what was our office/dumping ground into a nursery. Little Dude will be spending his first six months in a bedside crib in our room, but we’ve got his bed sorted in his own room too, as well as a chair for those night feeds and drawers and shelves full of things.

We were big fans of swaddling with Little Man. He slept really well wrapped up securely in giant muslin cloths and cellular blankets, and its one thing that we said we’d definitely repeat with Little Dude. This time around however we are going to be testing out Gro-Swaddles from The Gro Company. Gro-Swaddles make the act of swaddling even easier. The swaddles are shaped cotton jersey wraps. There are no buttons, ties or velcro patches involved, they are simply just wrapped comfortably and securely around your baby, obviously without being too tight or restrictive. The swaddles are suitable for use up to the age of 3 months (or around 14lb/6.5kg) and can be used to recreate the feeling of being in the womb which your baby will be used to when they are born. The Gro Company sent us three swaddles to test out and I bought a couple more at the recent Baby Show at Excel as I am already in love with them. They look and feed so comfortable and cosy and I’m sure Little Dude will be happy to snuggle into them when he sleeps.

Gro Egg Gro Swaddles Egg Shells Sussex Mummy Gro CompanyAnother product we are testing out for The Gro Company is their famous Gro-Egg Room Thermometer. The Gro-Egg works as a room thermometer so you can keep and eye on the temperature and ensure your baby is appropriately dressed at nighttime. Monitoring the room temperature is very important for newborns especially, but you always want to ensure that your baby doesn’t overheat or get too cold. What I love about the Gro-Egg is that it glows a different colour depending on the temperature. For example, if the room is too cold it glows blue. If its too hot it glows red. This means that with a simple glance you can establish whether you need to act, and it means that you can eliminate the need to think – something I don’t do well at 3am! The gentle glow also acts as a subtle nightlight. During a recent shopping trip we have bought an Egg Shell for our Gro-Egg – a super cute cover which sits on the top of the egg and makes it look like a monkey. Little Man was very keen to help choose this and preferred this design to the others two on offer – an owl and a penguin.

As well as these review products we also have Gro-Bags that we used with Little Man washed and ready for when Little Dude outgrows his swaddles. We are big fans of The Gro Company and have always been thrilled with any products we’ve bought or received to review for them in the past, and I’m sure the Gro-Swaddles and Gro-Eggs will be no exception.

HABA 75th Anniversary Review: The Little Fall Asleep Moon

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 27-03-2013

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This is the final of the three HABA reviews this week as part of their 75th Anniversary activity.
Our last review is our favourite of the products we were sent. Books are a big part of Little Man’s life – he loves at least three books before bed time and usually one at nap time too. Whilst he has his clear favourites this little book is a lovely addition to his bookshelf. First and foremost this is a story that is perfect for bedtime. A lovely tale about the end of the day, with a few simple observation games included on each page. The final page is a match the pairs memory game with easy to remove pieces and familiar characters from the earlier story. Also included is a small wooden moon of your own which glows gently in the dark, ideal for any little ones who might be scared of the being on their own in the dark.

This is a great wind down book for bedtime with some nice calming activities. Its a great interaction book for small children which I’m sure will become a firm favourite in our house. I also love the size of the book and the included wooden moon – perfect for small hands to hold and cherish.