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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?

Product Review: Packard Bell Easy Note TV Laptop

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews, Tech Review | Posted on 02-10-2012

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As a busy blogger my laptop is probably the most important piece of kit I use. Yes I use my phone to take photos and send and receive emails, but when it comes to sitting down to do the major parts of my work – writing the blog posts, researching products, making first contact with PR’s, scheduling tweets – that is all done from my laptop. So you can imagine my distress when my laptop slowed to a practical stop a few weeks ago. Thankfully my in-laws had a spare laptop they weren’t using – don’t ask my why – so I’m currently using that until we sort out a new one for me. In the mean time I was contacted by the team at Packard Bell asking if I’d like to review one of their new models. This seemed an ideal opportunity to try-before-you-buy, or at least take a look at what is out there.

I was sent a black Easy Note TV laptop to test out. When it comes to choosing the best laptop for me it needs to be comfortable and easy to type on. The keyboard is nicely spaced out – no danger of hitting the wrong keys when typing at speed – and the palm rest area is a good size. The touchpad is 20% bigger than on other laptops of this size and is “multi-gesture” which gives you complete control.

The screen is 15.6″ HD display which makes it bright and clear which is essential when you’re staring at text on a screen for hours on end. Its not the greatest screen for videos or gaming, but websites and text documents are beautifully clear. The sound isn’t the best I’ve heard, but if you want a bit of music playing whilst you work, its absolutely fine.

As a blogger I am a keen and frequent user of social media, so I must admit that the feature which excited me the most was the “Social Networking Key.” Just one tap of this button and you are instantly connected to your social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Youtube. Social media is an essential tool for bloggers so this is a great function.

If you are after an all-singing and all-dancing high-tech piece of equipment which you can do multiple things on at once and play the latest games on, this might not be the right choice for you. If you are a blogger like myself who needs fast internet access, a good clear screen for reading text and writing, a comfortable keyboard, and super fast access to your social media, then this definitely is the laptop for you. It was a joy to use and work on and is one I may well consider getting myself when we take a proper look at whats out there in the new year.

The Packard Bell Easy Note TV has a RRP of £399 and can be found at all good laptop retailers.

Brit Mums Live: Using The Kurio

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Brit Mums Live | Posted on 04-07-2012

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At the end of June 500 mummy bloggers descended on London – along with a handful of brave daddy bloggers – to attend Brit Mums Live, and I was so lucky to be one of them. Held at The Brewery – the same venue for last years CyberMummy – this two day event was the “must attend” event for all mummy bloggers. The range of break out sessions and talks was incredible (if only I’d been able to be in four places at once) and the brands on show in The Hub was perfect for the Mummy in us all, as well as the Blogger. My attendance of Brit Mums Live was only made possible thanks to Inspiration Works, my superb sponsors, who not only got me there, but also provided me with a brand new pre-release Kurio to use and promote.

Using the Kurio at the conference was a dream. With it being a full android tablet I was able to download Evernote before I went so I could make notes during the sessions. I was worried that doing a lot of typing on something which has a 7 inch screen was going to be difficult, but the touch screen keyboard keys were perfectly sized and I could tap away merrily. The only irritation was that every time I touched a key it made a noise, a feature which I must figure out how to turn off!!

The Kurio comes with WIFI so I was able to hook up to The Brewery internet connection with a few simple clicks – the WIFI settings button is in the bottom left of the screen at all times – so I could check my Twitter feed using TweetCaster and send a few tweets myself. I could also do surf the internet which was useful during sessions when a cool website or brand was mentioned which I wanted to look up immediately.

Promoting the Kurio was part of my sponsorship package, and I really enjoyed demoing it to a few people and letting them have a go, though I did think a few people were going to run off with it!

The Kurio is branded as a “family tablet”, though it is predominantly aimed at children aged 4 to 15. Adults using the tablet can use the profile interfaces as shown above, or via the parental controls they can make it look like any other tablet and much less child like. As an adult using this I was thrilled with its speed, performance and usability. Since Brit Mums I have largely used it to read ebooks on the inclusive application and do any quick internet surfing when I don’t have the time or inclination to fire up my ailing laptop. I also tuck it into my handbag when I go to any blogging events or press days, including yesterdays Christmas In July.

This tablet is going to be on every child’s Christmas list, and a fair few parent’s as well I bet. You’d best get your orders in now!

The Kurio will be available from Toys’R’Us, John Lewis, and all good toy retailers.

Coming Soon: Kurio Review from my Little Man!!