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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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Guest Post: Online Safety

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 25-10-2013

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As technology evolves so do privacy settings and controls meaning parents have a responsibility to ensure they are aware of the changes and the ways in which they can keep their children safe whilst surfing the Internet.

There is a great deal of pressure on parents to restrict the access children have to sites that may contain inappropriate content. With the importance of technology constantly growing, the younger generation are feeling the impact and they too express interest in using devices such as a smartphone or tablet computer.

With so many different forms of technology now being present in the household, there is a greater need to understand each item and the controls that are present which will prevent children from accessing adult material or being targeted by other Internet users in a negative way. 1 in 25 children have experienced online sexual solicitation, where another Internet user has contacted them inappropriately.

A recent survey determined that only 3 of the 15 top web-filtering services blocked 100% of pornographic sites meaning children are still able to see inappropriate content. There is now a greater need to establish as many of the privacy controls as possible.

The Steps to Take

Most Internet providers will offer privacy controls that can be put in place by parents keen to protect their children whilst allowing them to use modern technology.

Content Filters

Filters provide parents the opportunity to block and restrict certain sites they do not want their children to see. It reduces the chances of adult material being seen or pop ups from emerging while on certain sites. Filters can be set dependant on the age of the minor, with younger children needing stronger restrictions whilst older children can be trusted to have more freedom online.

Timed Access, Monitors and Locks

Children would happily spend a majority of their free time surfing the Internet and using devices. There is a setting that will turn off access for users during certain times such as homework or bedtime. Parents can also monitor a child’s online usage, including the sites they look at and any online movements. Locking inappropriate sites will prevent children from accessing adult material from any site so they only use and visit relevant and appropriate websites.

Be Responsible

Before taking steps to secure the Internet, parents must have a discussion with their children. An explanation of the dangers and why the controls are to be put in place will highlight the need to stay safe online and make children aware of the sites they should be looking at and the ones they should stay away from.

Set Ground Rules

Parents need to be strict when it comes to home technology. Children need to know there are boundaries and restrictions on when they can use devices and how long for. For instance, no phones at bedtime or the use of a tablet only after homework has been completed.

The safety of children is the main priority for parents and online safety should not be ignored. There is a need to prevent children from being exposed to adult content, harassment and from receiving unwanted attention. Parents must understand technology and the controls they come with, gaining peace of mind about the content that can be seen, before allowing children to use them.

Guest Post: Top Tips For Storing Away Your Kiddie Clutter

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 22-09-2013

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Kids can be great to have around – they often bring out your more youthful and fun side. However, they’re also quite messy. Whether it’s toys, clothes, books or shoes, there’s always clutter in a family home.

I know the feeling. I can’t make it from the kitchen to the living room without tripping over a jigsaw puzzle.

If you’re fed up of your adult space looking more like a day care centre, you need to get clever with your storage. There are some fairly simple ways to ensure your kids have everything they need, without it being strewn all over the floor.

Modular shelving

Instead of the usual bookshelf, why not create a modular unit that’s specifically designed for your little one’s bedroom? Whether it’s to hold toys, books or other bits and bobs – it will ensure that everything has a place.

Window seat

Clever storage solutions use the space you already have. I’ve got a gorgeous bay sash window in my living room, so as well as being the perfect place to relax, it also stores anyway anything I don’t want to see. Just lift up the padding for a secret junk hideaway.

School lockers

Upcycling is the next big interior design craze, so why not give their bedroom an edge with some repurposed school lockers. They’ll look really cool, add to the design and mean that they’ve got somewhere to stash their textbooks at the weekend.

Colour-coded bins

While those rectangular plastic boxes are good for storing things away, they’re not particularly attractive. Instead of the usual clear ones, why not find some coloured bins – like the rubber ones for the garden. You’ll be able to use the colours as a way to organise what goes where too.

Living in a house full of messy kids can sometimes be an absolute nightmare, but you wouldn’t have it any other way. To ensure that you don’t lose your marbles the next time you stand on a toy in bare feet – provide your kids with plenty of storage.

Remember, storage doesn’t have to be unattractive. Use your imagination and get creative!





Keep Safe In The Sun This Bank Holiday

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 23-08-2013

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Unusually this Bank Holiday weekend is shaping up to be quite nice. The sun looks set to shine for the duration, so no doubt we’ll all be heading outdoors. Whether its down to the beach, out to the park or off to a theme park I’m sure everyone’s first priority will be making sure the children are protected from the sun. I always make sure Little Man has suncream on if we’re out somewhere and he’s in direct sunlight and that we have cream with us to top up when needed. I also attempt to make him wear a hat, but to be honest the only hats he’s interested in wearing are cowboy or pirate ones. Me? Well I – like an alarming 40% of all parents – tend to forget to protect myself. I’m too busy making sure he’s safe that I often forget to put suncream on me. Like everyone I’m fully aware of the dangers of sun exposure but rarely remember those dangers apply to me, not just Little Man.

Cancer Research UK recently teamed up with Nivea Sun – the team behind the aforementioned statistic – to make sure that EVERYONE remembers to keep safe in the sun this summer, and as a sunny weekend approaches, now’s the best time to take note.

· Spend time in the shade if your shadow is shorter than you. If your shadow is shorter than you are, then the sun is strong.  During the UK summer, the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm

· Wear a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses when the sun’s strong. Wide brimmed hats or foreign legion style caps are best

· Cancer Research UK recommends you use at least factor 15 sunscreen with a high star rating. Sunscreen rubs off easily if you sweat, swim or change clothes. So whether you’re in the UK or abroad, when the sun is strong remember to apply generously and reapply regularly

Make sure you stay safe and sun smart this weekend whilst you’re out enjoying yourself. More handy tips and information can be found online.


Guest Post: The New Importance of Child Led Learning in Primary Schools

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Back To School, Guest Post | Posted on 19-08-2013

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Children are being encouraged to develop skills that go further than the ability to read and write. Schools are now focusing on the idea of helping children learn to become independent, assertive, confident and to develop an idea of importance. Although this is an area of focus for children of an older age, that has since changed and children as young as 5 will be encouraged to become independent and take as much control as possible for their own learning.

Studies of home-schooled children have been taken and comparisons made between those in mainstream education and those that are taught at home. Home schooled children were found to be far more independent and willing to learn, they had the opportunity to choose the areas they learnt about on each day and this not only made them far more interested and focused but they performed well during tests and exams.

Teachers are keen to work closely with parents in a home-school agreement to ensure that the need to learn educationally and with regards to child’s environment is continued outside of school. Parent mail is one of the best ways to ensure the constant communication between school and parents and this will ensure that the child is not only the main priority but that any issues are ironed out, both parties are constantly aware of anything relating to the child and the education which is taking place. PrimarySite developed the concept of parent mail for this exact purpose with this new self-directed learning concept in mind.

Within school environments, the concepts of traditional schooling and home-based schooling will be united to, hopefully, develop the perfect learning environment. The environment will be substantially more relaxed to allow children to learn, as they want to and to reduce the immense pressure that is currently put on children to perform well and to learn specific areas regardless of interest levels and abilities.

Although the curriculum will remain specific, children will now be responsible for their own learning. The rate at which they learn, the involvement they wish to have and the enthusiasm in tasks will hopefully increase dramatically with the new system and children will not simply learn just to pass tests but will take a genuine interest in their education and the things they are being taught. Not only does this concept encourage self-motivation, it also encourages children to feel relaxed at school and even enjoy themselves whilst they learn.

“Children learn the most and do their best when allowed the freedom to take control, lead the way and explore as their confidence grows.”

The classroom environment will not become a free for all, with children dominating the room, running wild and taking self expression to the extreme. Instead it will be a room that is filled with participating children that have a desire to learn and will be proactive about their education. The main purpose of the change to the traditional teaching methods is to increase student engagement, provide a good education that children are keen to have which will eventually shape and mould the rest of their lives.

Guest Post: 5 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Weekend With Your Kids

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Guest Post, Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 29-05-2013

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For many parents, the pressures of working life during the week means that the days seem to fly by without having enough time to really enjoy being with the kids. This is why it is essential to make the most of free time at the weekends and to have as much shared time as you can.

Of course, it can be tempting to get other things done that you need to do and let’s face it – there’s never enough time to strike everything off of that list. But it really is essential to make sure that the real joys of family life don’t get lost in the rush to fit everything else in.

Juggling simple things like doing the weekly shopping and trying to have a few moments to yourself can be difficult to fit into the time you have but the really important thing is to enjoy family life for all it has to offer.

So here are five ways to make the most of your weekend with your kids:

1. Make time

The best thing to do is just to make time to be together. This means you need to put other things on the back burner and actually give your full attention to spending time as a family. So turn off the smartphone, stop checking emails and enjoy the offline world.

2. Plan ahead

A little planning is a good thing and living in the UK it’s a good idea to have a back up that doesn’t rely on the weather playing ball! This is where spending time in your own home can be the best idea of all.

3. Make a mess

Kids love nothing more than making a mess, whether intentionally or accidentally! Messy play is LOTS of fun but accidents do happen. This is where having hardwearing and easily cleaned furniture such as a leather sofa comes in really handy – beautiful and practical at the same time. Just remember to relax – I got a biro stain out of my leather sofa this week using a baby wipe!

4. Try something new

You don’t always have to stick with the same old tried-and-tested methods of entertainment. Break out and try something new. You never know, you and the kids might discover a new love.

5. Have fun

Ultimately, the way to make the most of a weekend spent together is just to have fun in whatever way you can so relax, smile and let the good times roll.

This is a guest post submitted on behalf of Sainsbury’s. If you want to make the most of your weekend family time with your kids a leather sofa can be a great idea to help stop worrying about spills and stains. Check out the full range on the website.


Review: Kelloggs Cereal For Children

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Foodie, Product Reviews | Posted on 08-04-2013

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We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but finding the right cereal for your children can be a real struggle. Most are full of sugar and not something we want our children eating. To help with our quest Kelloggs are introducing four new cereals which meet the strict OFCOM guidelines for sugar allowing them to be advertised to children, but are also wholegrain and high in fibre. A much better alternative to most children’s cereals out there.
Coco Pops bring you Croc Prints which have less sugar and more fibre than the traditional Coco Pops. The already popular Multi-Grain Shapes now comes in a new strawberry flavoured versions. Honey Loops are now a new healthier recipes whilst still tasting great, and Honey Pops is a brand new cereal which you may have spotted in Europe. All of these cereals taste great – Little Man is especially fond of the Croc Prints and the Honey Loops. He has them for breakfast occasionally but more often than not dry in a bowl as a mid-afternoon snack.

Whilst I wouldn’t give Little Man one of these cereals EVERY day – he is only 2 and a half after all – they are great as a weekend treat or a portion controlled snack. You children are going to love the taste, and you can rest assured that they won’t be rotting their teeth or bouncing off the walls.

If you want to WIN a box of each cereal for your little ones to try out follow these simple instructions:

1. Follow me @SussexMummy on Twitter.
2. Tweet “I want to try the new cereals from @KelloggsUK thanks to @SussexMummy”
3. Leave me a comment on this post below about which you most want to try.

A winner will be chosen from all the entries on Sunday 14th April and they will be announced on Twitter on Monday. The winner will receive one box of each of the four new cereals from Kelloggs. Good luck!

Spring Summer Range From me&i

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Information | Posted on 11-03-2013

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The brand new Spring Summer range is out now for Swedish retailer me&i. Here are my favourite pieces, including a couple of things for Mum as well. You’ll find all these pieces and more on their website now.

This medallion dress is perfect for summer. Brightly coloured and made from a quality jersey material its sure to provide a comfortable fit. The tie string at the back allows for a defined waist and despite being sleeveless the wide straps provide good coverage.

The military style jacket is great for mums on the go. Its very on trend and although military in styling has a feminine cut to it. It is double breasted and a nice fitted feel to it, but looks just as good open as fastened.

This A-line tunic is a cute one for any little girl. It has elasticated edging at the neck and sleeves to make getting dressed and undressed easy, and the contrasting piping detail on the pockets really makes them stand out. The adorable velour panda peeping out of one pocket is a lovely feature and one I’m sure children will love.

Little Man is definitely going through a dinosaur loving faze at the moment so he would adore this t shirt. Brightly coloured and comfortable to wear its a lovely unisex t shirt for the summer. I love the way the orange dinosaurs stand out against the turquiose background.

We own the long sleeved t shirt version of this cute bodysuit which was a hugely popular part of the Autumn Winter range last year. I’m sure this bodysuit will be just as popular. Multi-coloured vehicles facing in all directions make this a great bright item, and the green trim frames the whole thing nicely.

If your little one is a fan of “helping” with DIY tasks around the house – Little Man certainly is – then this is the t shirt for them. A solid black background with bright outlines of an array of tools makes this the ideal outfit for helping out in. Again a bright contrast trim on the collar and cuffs sets of the t shirt beautifully.

Fairtrade Fortnight: Boys & Girls Tshirt

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Product Reviews | Posted on 08-03-2013

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Fairtrade fortnight is just coming to an end but I have one brand great brand to share with you before it does. Boys & Girls create high quality bright and fun unisex clothing for toddlers and children. Designed to look and feel good their range certainly stands out from the crowd. They want children to be able to have fun in their clothes and for them to last, so quality and design is very important to them. Boys & Girls also has a line of fun Fairtrade Tshirts which will make your child look great and you feel great when they wear them.  Here’s my favourite design:

Made from 100% organic Fairtrade cotton this tshirt features the Fairtrade Certification Mark so you know its the genuine article. Its bright and colourful print makes is ideal for summer and its totally unisex.

The quality is great and it feels nice and soft so won’t irritate even the most sensitive of skins. My Little Man will look great out and about this summer in this tshirt, but it would look equally good on a little girl. A nice pair of shorts, some sandals and a hat and your little one is ready for anything.

All of Boys & Girls clothes are equally bright and stylish, so why not head over there now to grab your little one a quality Fairtrade tshirt and a few other bits for their summer wardrobe.

Mummy Worries: Asbestos In Schools

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 16-01-2013

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In recent years, the dangers of asbestos exposure have come to the attention of the public. In particular, the presence of asbestos in UK public schools may leave you feeling worried about your children and the serious conditions they may be exposed to everyday in their classrooms. Read this article to learn more about asbestos in schools—and whether or not your child is at risk.

Asbestos: What It Is and Where It’s Found

The reason why asbestos exposure is such a major concern in the UK is that it was heavily used as a building material in UK properties from the 1950s through the 1990s. Asbestos was highly favoured in construction projects because it is a good insulator and not easily flammable. The material can be found in many forms in buildings constructed prior to the year 2000—loose asbestos is present in wall and floor cavities, asbestos reinforced composite materials can be found in toilet cisterns, and asbestos coatings may be found in roofing, shingles, siding, ceilings, and door gaskets.

Presence in Public Schools

The Department of Education (DfE) estimates that asbestos-related materials may be present in up to 75 per cent of UK schools. This issue has been highlighted by various news stories in recent years, in which students and faculty have been evacuated from UK public schools as the result of potentially dangerous asbestos exposure levels. Last year alone, evacuations at Cwmcarn High School in South East Wales and Catherine Junior School in Leicester made headlines in the media, causing many to wonder just what the government is doing to help protect the nation’s children from this serious health threat.

Should You Be Worried?

The asbestos epidemic has caused a great deal of alarm to the public over the past few years. The potentially fatal consequences of being exposed to asbestos materials over a long period of time include diseases like lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. There has consequently been a rise in people looking to make a mesothelioma claim, especially amongst construction workers who spent their lifetimes working with the material, as well as those who have been exposed to its deadly fibres. It has also been discovered that children are particularly vulnerable to asbestos exposure, as symptoms can take decades to develop and manifest themselves in the human body.

The good news is that as long as asbestos remains undisturbed, it is generally considered safe to leave it in its current place. Circumstances that may disturb asbestos materials include construction work and fires, so if you have concerns about asbestos in your child’s public school, ask to see a report on what measures the local school district is taking to monitor it. As long as the asbestos is being monitored closely, you can sleep soundly knowing that your little one is not at risk.

Multivitamins For Children

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Sponsored Posts | Posted on 15-01-2013

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From the moment they are born we aim to do the best for our children, and from that first moment nutrition is top of most parents lists. Once you’ve moved on from milk, solid food becomes a massive part of their lives. It seems like Little Man is ALWAYS eating, but as his Mum I want to make sure what he’s eating is good for him. Yes he gets treats, he’s rather partial to Lindt Chocolate Bears – he has extravagant taste – and cake, and he has discovered the magic of McDonalds Happy Meals, but I like to make sure the bulk of his meals and snacks are nutritious. Unfortunately children don’t always eat what they are given, and getting those vital nutrients into them becomes a battle.

The Department of Health recommends that children aged between 6 months and 5 years take supplemental vitamins A, C and D. Multivitamins are not an alternative to a healthy diet, but they can certainly help to ensure your child is getting the right nutrients. Seven Seas has a range of multivitamins specifically designed for children. Their Haliborange range starts with a liquid multivitamin for babies and toddlers which is orange flavoured and sugar free. It helps maintain healthy immune defences, mental performance, skin, energy release, blood formation, bones and teeth. From age 3 they have two flavours of Fruit Softies, which to children look and taste delicious whilst providing them with the essentials they need for growth and development.

We are pretty lucky with Little Man. He loves eating pasta, prefers brown toast to white, and would live on fruit if we let him. I’m confident that his good foods far outnumber his bad, but I think Seven Seas Haliborange range is something which I’ll consider. Like all parents I want my Little Man to grow up healthy, and the right vitamins and nutrients will ensure he does.

You can find the full Seven Seas Haliborange range on their website. You can also find them on Facebook.