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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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Book Review: Splat The Cat Says Thank You

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review | Posted on 25-02-2013

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Little Man has become something of a book lover in the last year. No bedtime is complete without at least three books and one of his favourite characters is Splat The Cat, creation of author Rob Scotton. His latest adventure is “Splat The Cat Says Thank You” and we were more than happy to review it for Harper Collins.

In this new title Splat The Cat is saying “Thank You” to his friend Seymour, a mouse who has appeared in other titles with him, and who takes part in many adventures with Splat. Poor Seymour needs cheering up – he’s covered in spots and feeling a little poorly – so Splat sets about to make his friend smile. Instead of a simple “Thank You” card, Splat decides his friend needs a “Thank You” book so he makes him one, charting all the adventures they’ve had together, as well as the many things Seymour has done for him.

This is another wonderful title from Rob Scotton and I think the message it brings is lovely too. Its a great book for any young child who is learning about saying please and thank you, and I’m sure it will help encourage that. Little Man is a big fan of this book and requests it most nights. Luckily for Daddy who reads the bed time stories every night, he enjoys it as well. A lovely addition to our bookcase. We’ll certainly be on the look out for future Splat adventures in the future.

You can discover more from Rob Scotton and his Splat The Cat range at his website.

Book Review: “Saved By Cake” by Marian Keyes

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review | Posted on 17-07-2012

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Depression is a very real condition, though it remains somewhat of a taboo subject even in 2012. Beating it is of the utmost importance, but some days its just about making it through. Irish Author Marian Keyes is most famous for her witty and poignant fictional books, most of which are set in her native Ireland – which is one of the reasons I love them so much. What Marian is perhaps less well known for is her battles with depression and addictions, and the somewhat unorthodox method she found for battling her demons. Marian Keyes was “Saved By Cake”.

Yes, every girls favourite author has decided to turn her hand to baking, and with spectacular results. And don’t worry – there is still bucket loads of her infamous humour thrown in for good measure.

“Saved By Cake” is packed with over 80 recipes to help “bake yourself happy”. Now my love of baking and cookbooks is probably well known by now after my recent reviews of “Biscuit” and “A Passion For Baking”. What I particularly loved about this book though is Marian’s overriding message that its only baking. Its nothing to get stressed about, and if your batch of “B-List Chocolate Chip Cupcakes” are not identical and topped with professional looking icing its okay. Life is too short to worry about perfect baking – its meant to be fun after all! And if you only have 397ml of condensed milk and the recipe asks for 400ml DON’T PANIC!! The missing 3ml won’t make the slightest bit of difference.

There are a few things she is adamant about however. Full fat coke must be used in “Rita Anne’s Birthday Cola Cake”, edible blue glitter is an essential part of any good “Blueberry Mess” and plain vanilla biscuits should generally be cut into handbag or shoe shapes!

“Saved By Cake” combines a very honest insight into Marian’s battle with depression and the journey she went on with baking, with some great fun recipes which will soon become family favourites. This book is not just for those of you who may be suffering with depression yourselves, but I’d like to think it would put a smile on the face on anyone who is.

“Saved By Cake” is available now from all good book shops.

Book Review: “A Passion For Baking” by Jo Wheatley

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review | Posted on 06-07-2012

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I love baking. It’s something I’ve enjoyed doing since I was little and used to “help” my Mum in the kitchen. Now I’m a Mum myself finding the time to bake does prove tricky. I can’t wait until Little Man is old enough to join in, though I don’t look forward to cleaning up afterwards! When I do find the time – usually at weekends when Daddy takes over – there’s nothing I enjoy more than whipping up a cake or a batch of biscuits for my little family to enjoy, and this book is perfect for doing just that.

Available exclusively at Sainsburys for a bargain price of £7.99 “A Passion For Baking” is the debut book from the winner of The Great British Bake Off Jo Wheatley. Whenever I get a new cookbook – and yes, I own a ridiculous number – I flick through it immediately to see what stands out for me. After a few moments of flicking through the pages of “A Passion For Baking” I was salivating. Not only does this book contain loads of recipes that I actually want to make, but the photography makes me want to make them right now! Page after page of beautifully photographed food, either as a completed bake or as partial ingredients, makes this book a visual feast. My personal favourites are the photos of the Mini Mississippi Mud Pies and the Raspberry Torte. But this book contains so many recipes which I can’t wait to try out on my family.

For Fathers Day this year we had Jo’s American Pancakes with some fresh fruit. My Husband and I have been to the USA twice – once when we’d been dating a year, and again for our honeymoon – and on both occasions visited New York. Our main memory from these visits is the food – mostly the sheer size of it – but specifically the breakfasts. Nothing started the day better than a stack of pancakes, more often than not with maple syrup and some crispy bacon. Jo’s American Pancakes are JUST as delicious, and brought back amazing memories. They were light and fluffy, and super easy to make. I can see them being made again and again in our house for years to come.

Baking conjures up so many memories for me, and I look forward to making lots of new ones with my Little Man, and this book.

“A Passion For Baking” is out now, and available from Sainsburys.

Book Review: New Titles From Harper Collins

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review, Information | Posted on 04-05-2012

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“Secret Agent Splat” by Rob Scooton
Bestselling author Rob Scooton returns with a new adventure for Splat The Cat. A mystery unfolds when Splats fathers toy duck start to go missing and then are inexplicably returned minus their beaks! Splat sets off on an investigation to discover who is responsible for the duck-napping, and what they really want with all the beaks!

“Lulu and the Best Cake Ever!” by Emma Chichester Clark
Award winning author and creator of the hugely popular Blue Kangaroo series Emma Chichester Clark has created a brand new world – Wagtail Town. In this new title you’ll meet all her new doggy characters and learn about Lulu as she enters the school cake competition. Helped by her best friend Alfie she learns that there is more than one way to be a winner when her baking doesn’t entirely go according to plan!

 

 

“Marshall Armstrong Is New To Our School” by David Mackintosh
When Marshall Armstrong starts his new school he causes a bit of a stir. He looks different to the other boys with his straight laces, his fancy glasses and his very unusual silver wrapped lunch. But after his classmates visit his house for a party they soon learn that what may be different can also be excellent fun. A great book for children about to head off to school for the first time!

“The Somethingosaur” by Tony Mitton, illustrated by Russell Ayto
Set in the time of dinosaurs this beautifully illustrated book begins with a purple egg that hatches. The creature inside is lost and sets off to find its Mummy, and also to find out just what he is. Meeting many dinosaurs along the way the little creature struggles to find anyone that looks like him, until he finally stumbles upon his Mummy and discovers that he’s something even more exciting than a dinosaur after all!

“Love Monster” by Rachel Bright
Whilst the world is quick to love things which are cute and fluffy – like kittens and puppies – nobody could possibly love a “slightly hairy, I-suppose-a-bit-googly-eyed monster…” could they? Join a slightly funny looking monster on his quest to find somebody to love him, and learn that sometimes love finds you when you least expect it. A valuable life lesson for us all!

 

Book Review: Chocolate Chipped

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review | Posted on 30-04-2012

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This is a book I hope you never need, but if you do, I know you’ll love it.

“Chocolate Chipped” by Shelley Gilbert and Vicky Baruch tells the story of Charlie, a little boy who is struggling to come to terms with the death of his father. The book shows how Charlie learns to deal with his grief, and how he is helped along the way. The brilliant thing about this book is that it uses real smells which are embedded in the pages to deal with sensitive subject of grief in an honest, simple and at times humorous way. Grass, chocolate cake, and even “pongy socks” feature, and all you need to do to smell them is rub the pages, and I can confirm that the smells are extremely realistic.

The book was written in association with the Grief Encounter Project, one of the UK’s leading child bereavement organisations. The Grief Encounter Project aims to provide the support and understanding bereaved children and their families need to cope at the most difficult of times. You can find out more about the amazing work they do on their website.

“Chocolate Chipped” can be bought now from Amazon and more ‘smelly books’ are on their way from Smellessence this summer.