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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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Camping Kit: Toddler Airbed

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Camping | Posted on 27-08-2013

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Its just under two weeks until we head north to Cumbria for our stay at The Quiet Site. You’ll remember that comfort is important to me and how impressed I was with the double airbed that I’d got for Daddy and me. Well Little Man now has his very own airbed thanks to the team at The Shrunks, who sent us their amazing Toddler Travel Bed to test out.
The Shrunks’ Inflatable Travel Bed is just brilliant. Designed for children aged between 2 and 4 – though at nearly 3 Little Man fills it nicely – it is the ideal airbed for camping or for staying overnight at family or friends. The airbed has two inflation points – one for the central mattress (marked “Inflate 1”) and one for the surround (marked “Inflate 2”). The bed comes with a standard bellow foot pump but you can also get an electric pump separately – handy for at home use, but less so in a tent unless you have an electric point on your site. Luckily for us our Camping Pod comes with a power socket! With the use of the electric pump I had the bed inflated in minutes.

Now for the clever bits. This beds surround has an inflatable guard to prevent children rolling out in their sleep. Whilst its not an especially high airbed you don’t want to be woken at 3am by the sound of your little one on the floor, especially in a tent. My favourite bit though is the gap between the mattress section and the surround. Its not huge, its not unsafe, your child won’t fall in to it. What’s its there for is to make the bed just like your little ones’ at home. Standard sized crib sheets fit over the flocked mattress and sheets and duvets can be tucked in the gap so they’re not only cosy, but they’re content in a familiar feeling bed. Little Man has never really done the traditional sleeping bag thing so its good knowing I can use his duvet and blankets on this bed. Though as you can see he’s pretty happy with it as it is.
Now this is going to be ideal for our trip to Cumbria and we’re also going to use it when Little Man and I gatecrash Nana and Pops’ holiday to Scotland later next month. But if my giant Little Man gets any taller he’s going to have outgrown it. Thankfully for us The Shrunks have a bigger airbed for children aged 4 and up. The design of the Twin Bed is just the same, its just that bit bigger. This is the one we’ll be using next year, should Little Man decide he loves camping! Its also going to be great for visits to relatives, or for use when we stay in overnight in hotels which only have high single beds. And should we ever brave having one of his little friends to stay, it’ll be perfect for them too.

You can find The Shrunks range on Amazon.

 

Camping Kit: Footwear

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Camping | Posted on 13-08-2013

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Its only a few weeks till we head up to Cumbria to visit The Quiet Site for four nights. I’m remaining eternally optimistic that the weather will hold out, or at the very least remain reasonably warm. As well as making sure we have all the necessary kit for our camping adventure, I also need to make sure we have all the right clothing. Lots of lightweight clothing, waterproofs in case of sudden downpours, and comfortable footwear. Whilst Daddy and I have trainers, hiking boots and wellies, Little Man only really has wellies which are suitable for all terrains. Whilst we’re clearly not about to start hiking the hills of Cumbria, we may well go on a few walks and some lightweight footwear that is suitable for wet or dry conditions would be a bonus. Off to an internet search engine I go, and I found these cute little sandals on the Jelly Egg website.
JellyEgg Keen Kids SandalsThese infant shoes from Keen look ideal for stomping around the countryside and for any trips to the coast we manage whilst we’re up there. The Quiet Site is very close to Ullswater so no doubt there’ll be some splashing around done there by the Little Man. The soles look pretty sturdy so should cope well with the kind of terrain we’re likely to take him on, but should also work fine on trips into towns and villages.

Now I come to think about it Daddy has been muttering that the shoes he currently walks to work in are getting a but tatty and in need of replacement. He’s awful when it comes to buying shoes so maybe it’d be quicker for him and more painless for me if I just get him a pair of these whilst I’m buying Little Man’s?
These boots are waterproof, breathable, and designed for comfort and stability. Whilst Daddy doesn’t tend to fall over much – there was ONE time he did and it was hysterical – he does walk about three miles a day in all weathers so these look perfect for him. Maybe I’ll just forward him the details and let him spend the money eh?

Camping Kit: Double Airbed

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Camping, Product Reviews | Posted on 08-08-2013

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I’m not really a traditional camper. I was chatting to someone recently about holidaying and mentioned that we’d been Yurting earlier this year and that in September we’d were off to The Quiet Site in Cumbria to stay in a Camping Pod. “What’s a Camping Pod?” They asked. “Well its like a wooden tent. It looks like a really posh shed to be honest!” Was my reply. “Oh so you’re into Glamping then.” Came his response, and you know what? He’s right. I don’t camp, I most certainly “glamp”. I like my home comforts. I like beds and walls and warmth. The Camping Pods have a solid floor and walls. What it doesn’t have though are any beds. The yurt came with four single beds. Real comfortable beds. The Camping Pod does not, so we went off in search of suitable beds for all three of us, the first of which was sent to us by Coleman to review.

The Coleman Comfort Double Airbed may look like any other standard airbed, but this flocked topped airbed is much cleverer than that. Instead of there being one valve for inflating the bed there are two, and each if fitted with a simple to use Double Lock (TM). How often have you settled down to sleep on a fully inflated airbed at night only to wake in the morning led on the floor as the air has invariably leaked out? Well this airbeds valve prevent that from happening as there are two stoppers on each valve which lock in the air and prolong the life of the airbed. Once we’d inflated the airbed even Little Man rolling around on it didn’t make any air escape!

If that’s not enough the two valves inflate different sections of the bed. The first inflates one half and the edges, and the second inflates the other half. This means that each person sleeping on the airbed can have their side inflated as much or as little as they wish. Not only does this feature allow personal comfort, it also means that should one person get off the bed the other occupant wont roll off or get catapulted into the air. I’ve shared an airbed with my husband on many occasions and as soon as he gets off it I invariably get disturbed. With this airbed I barely notice him move!

The bed is easy enough to inflate with a foot pump (not included) and comes with a puncture repair kit in case of accidents. As with all airbeds you will never be able to get it back into the packaging once its been taken out, but that’s nothing new. This airbed is perfect for Daddy and I to use on our impending camping trip. Little Man will be getting a special bed of his own which I’ll be featuring shortly. The Coleman Comfort Double Airbed retails at £44.99 which is a little pricey for an airbed, but with the features this one has I think its well worth it. I have seen it recently on sale at a couple of locations so do shop around if you are keen to buy one.

 

Camping Kit: Glow Sticks

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Camping | Posted on 24-07-2013

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Camp sites aren’t generally known for their bright lights. Tents certainly aren’t. So if you are back late to your tent and its gone dark, how do you find YOUR tent in a sea of other very similar looking tents? You use Glow Sticks. Yes, those illuminating sticks you find at concerts and in clubs. Whilst I was looking for items to include in my Camping Kit series, the team at The Glow Company got in touch offering me a box of their finest camping products. I had a look on their website and nothing was really screaming “Camping Kit” at me, but I handed over my address and looked forward to seeing what they came up with.

First and foremost they sent me a large box of Glow Sticks. Here’s some more information on these sticks and how they work.

How Glowsticks Work Infographic

So these are pretty clever little sticks, and have loads of uses, including when you’re out camping. The ones I was sent could be looped around and fastened together to form a circle. In this form they can be looped around children’s wrists or ankles, fastened around important kit in the tent, or fixed to the exterior of the tent to make finding it that little bit easier. On our camping trip to The Quiet Site in September we are staying in a Camping Pod which has some electricity and a single light. I can still see me using these sticks though to illuminate items we may need in the dark without wanting to put the main light on and wake Little Man. The ones Little Man tested out – and had loads of fun doing so – lasted really well for about eight hours before they started to dim.

Little Man was also a huge fan of the Glowing Frisbee and the Head Torches. I can’t just see him playing frisbee in the dark just yet, but the head torches will no doubt get a good use when we go camping. Once we’d shown him what the torch did he was happy to wear it and wander around with his light on. He’s obsessed with torches and turning the lights out so he can use his torch to wander around, so I suspect the head torch will get used in the Camping Pod. Its a good secure fit and there’s a sofa pad on the back of the unit so its not uncomfortable to wear. As you can see, he looks very cute with it on and can just about operate it himself.
little man wearing head lampSo our Camping Kit Bag will now also include a box of Glow Sticks and some Head Torches for Little Man. What are you taking camping with you this summer?