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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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HomeSense Brighton

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Home & Lifestyle, Information | Posted on 06-09-2013

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A few weeks ago the brand new HomeSense store opened in Brighton, just up the road from the existing TKMaxx Store. Unsurprisingly it was a rather popular event, as these images show.
brighton homesense openingI popped along recently to take a look at the new store and see what I could find on the shelves.

The store itself is in a great spot and a perfectly chosen building. Lots of glass allowing the light to flow in and illuminate the store which is spread across two floors. I have only been in one other HomeSense store and Brighton’s is much better. Its logically laid out and well stocked. The other store always tends to be chaotic, manic and unloved. I found a wealth of great bargains and quality products from some impressive brands in the Brighton store, and plenty to encourage me to return.

The kitchen department is my favourite, and probably one of the biggest. Great items from Le Creuset and Bodum stood out for me, as well as cookbooks from much loved chefs as well as hidden gems from lesser known people. If you want to bake a cake HomeSense is your destination for tins and pans in a huge range of shapes and sizes. Plastic storage boxes are also present in their multitude, along with a mind boggling array of gadgets and gizmos. I am terrible when it comes to kitchen bits and pieces and my kitchen is already groaning under the pressure. I tried my best to avoid buying the whole department.

Now HomeSense is all about finding something that little bit different, that little bit unique for your home without breaking the bank, as you can see from their new advert.

Well they’ve also teamed up with Abigail Edwards to provide you with some top tips from decorating YOUR home this year, whatever your style.

How to Achieve the ‘Urban Cool’ Look:

  • Keep it simple and slick using graphic shapes to achieve a minimalistic vibe
  • Look for accessories such as clean glass shapes, graphic cushions and simple accent colours

How to Achieve the ‘Country Chic’ Look:

  • Natural tones and textured fabric are essential for achieving a modern country look
  • Illustrated cushions and cut-out shapes add a contemporary twist
  • Try grouping lots of clocks together to make a room look more eclecti

How to Achieve the ‘Global Traveller’ Look:

  • Homeware items collected from your travels are ideal for achieving this look
  • Try layering cushions and rugs to achieve a naturel and thrown together feel
  • Don’t worry about mixing patterns – overlapping colours, shapes and different textures will add interest
  • Accessorise with imagery and vintage pieces you’ve gathered from places visited on holiday

Key Autumn Trends:

  • Texture
  • Weaves
  • Chunky knits
  • Mixing patterns
  • Tribal
  • Ombre

Tips for Easily Transforming a Room:

  • The easiest and most affordable way to style your home is by adding cushions and throws as it doesn’t affecting anything else in the room and it adds colour and texture quickly
  • Lighting also makes a massive difference so rather than having just one pendant light in the middle of the room, try having little table lamps dotted around and task lighting is also a good alternative
  • Filling a sofa with lots of different cushions is a quick way of changing the look of a room and adding a splash of colour
  • Pictures are another quick way of adding interest to your room

Feeling inspired? Well you can find more in the way of hints, tips and advice on HomeSense’s Twitter and Facebook pages. What’s even more exciting though is that I have a £50 voucher to give away to one reader, to spend in the new Brighton store. To be in with a chance of winning this voucher you need to comment on this post and tell me which look you’d like to achieve in your home this Autumn. Closing date for entries in Friday September 20th at 8pm and one winner will be chosen from all the entries and notified as soon as possible.

What Can YOU Make From Pebbles…?

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Foodie, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 04-09-2013

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If you were in Brighton just before the Bank Holiday weekend you might just have spotted a rather unusual castle had been constructed on the seafront. Rather than being made from sand, this was made from pebbles. Not too strange I know; Brighton beach is full of pebbles. However THIS castle was made from Cadburys Pebbles – the new sugar coated chocolate snack. Not only are they delicious, but they are also a great shape for building things with, and if you have 90,000 you to can create a castle just like this one.

 Yes there are 90,000 Pebbles here, a long with a quarter of a tonne of fondant icing and twenty kilos of icing sugar. Upon completion it weighed a massive half a tonne and was an incredible eight feet wide. It took 400 hours to build and was in position for just one day before being moved up to Cadburys World for the rest of the Bank Holiday.

What would YOU make with Pebbles? I managed to stack a few, without the assistance of fondant and icing sugar, but if I had some I’d probably try and replicate a famous landmark or building. Maybe the rather topical Walkie-Talkie Skyscraper in London would be a good one to try?

I’d love to hear what you’d make it you had 90,000 Pebbles!


Brighton Sealife Centre – Timmy Time Fun!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out | Posted on 05-08-2012

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The Brighton Sealife Centre is famous for being the oldest aquarium in the world still running since its opening in 1872. Despite its age the centre is still one of the biggest tourist attractions on the south coast and keeps visitors of all ages thoroughly entertained whilst teaching them all about the world beneath the waves. This weekend we took Little Man on his first – and no doubt not his last – trip to the Brighton Sealife Centre to take part in their Timmy Time celebrations.

The centre itself is much bigger than you expect and has a vast array of marine life on display. Little Man was fascinated and spent most of his morning signing “Fish” at everyone and everything. The Glass Bottom Boat Ride is a must, largely because its entertaining watching everyone step on the glass bottom nervously as they get on board! The short journey across the tank gives you an amazing view of the creatures below – which you can view again from the glass tunnel later – and your guide provides you with great facts about what you’re looking at. We were a big fan of the huge sea turtles and the giant ray who got up for us even though it was still a little early for him.

From the 21st July until the 2nd of September there are daily Timmy Time inspired activities on at the centre to help promote “Timmy’s Seaside Rescue” which premièred this summer, and if you visit between August 6th and August 22nd you can meet the sheep himself! Every hour from 11.30am to 4.30pm Timmy will be appearing inside the centre ready to meet his fans. He was meant to be there from August 3rd but sadly he got lost on the way. Thankfully Little Man didn’t notice!

So book your tickets now and get your little ones down to Brighton to meet Timmy this summer. Tickets are available on the door, or in advance from the Sealife Centre website. You can now buy “Timmy’s Seaside Rescue” on DVD from Amazon.

7 Child Friendly Pubs in Brighton

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Information | Posted on 02-07-2012

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Pubs are wonderful places to catch up with old friends and swop gossip and news; conversations in cafes just never seem as interesting or candid!
However, if you’ve got young children in tow it can be tricky to find a pub which welcomes you. This is why it’s always best to plan pub get-togethers well in advance if some of your drinking companions are young children.
In the interests of research I spent much of last weekend touring the pubs of Brighton to find the most child-friendly hostelries. It was thirsty work but here are the results!
The Setting Sun
You have to travel up a steep street to get to The Setting Sun in Hanover but the journey really is worth it. The view over Brighton that you get from the Sun’s garden is worthy of a painting and it’s good to know that kids are welcome until 7pm (9pm if you’re eating food).
The Hanover
The Hanover is located at an even higher altitude than the Setting Sun; you can find it up in the clouds at the top of Queen’s Park Road.  The pub’s proximity to Queen’s Park makes it the ideal watering hole for families who have spent an afternoon playing in the park; the pub generally welcomes children until 7:30 pm.
The Good Companions
Located in the heart of Seven Dials this pub used to be a real spit-and-sawdust affair. The Good Companions has always had potential but just seemed to lack the right owners. I always remember being amazed that for many years the beautiful pub windows were covered with the kind of shuttered blinds you would find in a 1980s office!
Thankfully times (and owners) have changed and the Companions is now the trendy, tastefully-decorated pub it deserves to be. The pub is reassuring child-friendly and adult-friendly too – the bar staff are always chatty. Like all the other pubs in this list, the Companions provides a child-friendly food menu.
The Tin Drums in Seven Dials and Hove
Is The Tin Drum really a pub or a restaurant? I’m not really sure but it is plain to see that these pubs are pleased to see families with children come through their doors: they were one of the first licenced premises in Brighton to provide colouring books and crayons for their younger customers. My only (very small) complaint about The Tin Drum in Seven Dials is that it can get quite noisy in there. However, this is not the fault of the kids; I think it’s something to do with the acoustics involved with its open-plan design!
Chimney House
Not all Brightonians are aware of the Chimney House’s existence. The pub is tucked away in Hamilton Street in the backstreets of Seven Dials, not far away from The Prestonville Pub. The Chimney House used to be a pub called The Marquis of Exeter but when it changed name it went upmarket (becoming more ‘foodie’ and child-friendly in the process). The price of a roast dinner in the Chimney House might be a little costlier than your average pub meal but children will be fascinated to see the chefs at work in the open kitchen.
The George Pub
What do you do if you are a vegetarian with a dog and want to have a pub meal with your children? The answer is invariably to head to The George Pub at the foot of Trafalgar Street. Children are welcome until 7pm in the pub (I’m not sure what time dogs are welcome too) which should give you plenty of time to sample the George’s delicious food. I had Halloumi in batter with thick-cut chips there last week and it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had!
The Hartington Pub
The Hartington Pub is the type of foodie pub which serves meals on wooden cheese-boards; a real sign of class! The left-hand corner of the pub always contains a charming jumble of kiddies’ books and toys in the place where a busy dart board used to be located.
How times have changed; Brighton is certainly becoming more child-friendly!
James Christie writes for Thomson Local Business Directory. Use Thomson to find child-friendly pubs and pub restaurants in your area.

Top 5 Jubilee Activities For Children In Brighton

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 28-05-2012

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With the Jubilee Weekend just around the corner – and half term beckoning – here are some great activities to keep your children entertained!

1. Have a right royal picnic at Preston Park
The green grass of Preston Park should be covered with picnic blankets on the afternoon of Saturday 2nd June as families travel there to celebrate the Queen’s latest Jubilee with a feast of food.
It’s best to turn up early to nab a good spot far away from the busy road which runs past the park
You’ll have to bring your own food and tartan picnic blankets but music will be provided courtesy of Patcham’s silver brass band. There will also be the chance for the kids to have their face painted and to take part in a make-and-wear a crown competition.
The festivities kick off at 12 and last until 3pm – turn up early to nab a good spot far away from that noisy road which runs past the park!

2. Party like it’s 1953
Adults and children will both enjoy an event at Brighton museum on the same day (Saturday 2nd June). Our present Queen’s coronation took place in 1953 and the museum will, for one day only, invite you to journey back to this historic year with an exhibition of memorabilia, arts and crafts events and jiving lessons.
Bring Granny and Grandad along and they might be able to tell you what it was like to live through these stylish times!
The event starts at 1pm, continues until 4:30 pm and you can find out more details at the Brighton Museum website.

3. Catch a steam train at Hove Park
Hove Park is well known for its tennis courts, café and the fact that it used to be situated opposite the Goldstone Ground, Brighton’s old football stadium.
But did you know that it is also home to a miniature steam railway?
You will find this hidden gem at the north end of the park and, on Bank Holiday Monday, June 4th, you can have a ride on the steam train.
Tickets cost £1 for adults and 50p for children and you can find out more details at the Hove Park Railway website.

4. Play on the beach at Yellowave
If Brighton ever stages the Olympics, the Beach Volleyball event would have to be staged at Yellowave, the oasis of golden sand near the Concorde II on Madeira Drive.
On Wednesday 6th June, six to nine-year-olds will get the chance to take part in a ‘Fun and Climb’ event at Yellowave and ten to 14-year-olds can play beach volleyball.
The cost is £5.50 per child and you can book a session by phoning 01273 672222.

5. Make a video in Hove
Film makers certainly seem to be getting younger and younger these days. It is a fact not lost on Bite Size Movies; an organisation which will be running a video film-making course aimed at nine- to 14-year-olds on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th June.
Kids will be talked through the process of story-boarding, shooting and editing a film and encouraged to come up with short fiction films. It is hoped that the finished products will be screened at the Duke of Yorks; a great showcase for budding Steven Spielbergs and Guy Ritchies.
You can find out more details by phoning 07906712553.
Whatever you and your kids decide to do during Diamond Jubilee week, be sure to have a memorable and fun time!
James Christie writes for Yellow Mooncraft supplies shop. Check out Yellow Moon’s extensive range of Jubilee crafts for kids.

Guest Post: Bonnie Baby Sample Sale in Hove on 19th May!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Guest Post, Information | Posted on 04-05-2012

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Local designer baby/childrens clothing company Bonnie baby are teaming up with another local brand Bob and Blossom on the 19th May 2012 to hold a great clearance sale.
Products from both brands are sold in stores such as Selfridges, Harrods, Liberty and Harvey Nichols, but prices at this exclusive sale will start from as little as £3.00 and will include clothing for both baby and child; Bonnie baby recently launched Bonnie Kids and many of their items are now available in sizes up to 5 years. You will find great summer dresses, babygrows/playsuits, lovely knitted cardigans and sweaters, baby blankets plus much, much more.
The sale is taking place in Holy Cross Church Hall, Tamworth Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 5FQ, 10am – 4pm. Holy Cross church hall is easily accessible from the centre and outskirts of Brighton. If travelling from the centre of Brighton, jump on one of the following buses; #2, #46, #49 and jump off at the Westbourne gardens bus stop, Tamworth Road is on the right hand side just past a Sainsburys Local. If travelling by train the nearest station is Aldrington with the church hall just a 2min walk away. Parking is available on the road side however this is on a pay and display basis.
This is definitely a date for the diary and I suggest that you pop along early in order to get your pick of the best bargains. Once you have visited the sale there is a park directly opposite which is always very popular with the children and also has a lovely cafe for the mums.
Have you been to a Bonnie baby clearance sale before? Did you find some great pieces? Leave your comments below and let us know what you found!!

I’m off to BlogCamp in Brighton!!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 31-08-2011

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Hipp Organic Coffee Morning, Brighton

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 31-03-2011

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 As a member of the HiPP Organic Baby Club, and someone who has used their formula since my little one was born, I was very excited when they announced a coffee morning was being held at the Debenhams cafe in Brighton.  It was advertised as being an interesting and informative event:

"Our midwife and nutritionist are going to be giving short talks on topics like baby sleep patterns and the best nutrition for a new mum.
If you’re interested in coming along and asking their advice over a free cup of tea or coffee, as well as picking up a few HiPP goodies and the chance to win even more in our competitions, come along and see us."

Sadly this wasn’t the case.

For some inexplicable reason the staff of the Debenhams cafe had decided the best place to locate the numerous mums and their babies in buggies was up a, albeit short, set of steps – thankfully I’d taken Grandma along who helped hoist the pram up! We did get our free cup of tea, though sadly I’m not convinced it was ever particularly hot.  When the midwife eventually turned up – sadly late – she spoke for about three minutes on the importance of sleep, before dishing out goodie bags which contained items all members of the Baby Club would already have received directly, and then the event seemed to end!

A disappointing trip out I’m afraid, and not one that I imagine did any favours to HiPP.  That being said I continue to be a huge fan of their formula and their range of foods which my little one enjoys as well.  Luckily for HiPP I was already a fan before I attended, otherwise I may have looked elsewhere for my babies needs. 

Better luck next time HiPP.