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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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Review: Zaini Hats & Headbands

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Product Reviews | Posted on 11-01-2013

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Rumour has it that we’re about to have two weeks of arctic weather conditions. Now I generally don’t tend to believe weather forecasts like this, its normally hilariously wrong, but in case you think stocking up on warm weather gear is a good idea, take a look at Zaini.

Zaini Hats and Headbands are hand crocheted by creator Miranda Harper who wanted bright, warm and stylish headgear to wear whilst skiing in Switzerland, and wearing in cold winters in Scotland. She made her own, and now the brand has exploded. Celebrity fans now include JLS and One Direction, and I even got my Dad one for Christmas. What greater endorsement do you need?

The hats and headbands are made from 100% super soft acrylic yarn which means they don’t itch and irritate, they feel cashmere soft, and they are also able to withstand winter weather. I love the super bright colours and fun designs. Here’s the one I got my Dad for Christmas, as well as the headband I got myself for those cold mornings to come:

As well as a range for adults, Zaini has now got an online store for the kids too. With sizes ranging to suit children between the ages of 1-11, available in a range of colours there really is a Zaini hat for every child no matter what size or style! Here’s my favourite:

To view the full Zaini ranges for adults and children, head over to their online stores now. You can also find them on Twitter @ZainiHats and @ZainiKids.
 

 

 

 

Guest Post: What Does Mum REALLY Want For Christmas?

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 13-12-2012

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What does Mum really want for Christmas?

With the festive season being one of the busiest times of the year for parents, what does Mum really want for Christmas? Expensive jewellery? Perfume? A new car? Most mothers probably just want the big day to go without a hitch! Happy children, delicious food and the joy of everyone enjoying their presents as the family relaxes would probably be enough to satisfy mothers up and down the UK as Christmas looms juts around the corner.

Christmas is a special time for children. Jumping on the bed at 5am asking if Santa has been yet, the sheer thrill and shriek of delight as they open their presents, singing and munching on yummy food are all part of the excitement. But it takes a lot of work in the build up to Christmas.

After all the planning, putting up the Christmas decorations, budgeting and saving for presents, Christmas shopping, wrapping presents and either cooking or assisting with the cooking – it is no wonder that Mum is exhausted before even sitting down to Christmas lunch! Then once the meal is over, keeping the kids amused until they go back to school in January while trying to work can be a significant challenge.

While Christmas is a very special time for everyone, if Mum is doing a lot of the work behind the scenes to make everything perfect, maybe some great ideas are needed to make Christmas easier and less stressful, why not find out more here.

Perhaps all Mum really wants for Christmas is to be happy, to have a happy family and for a chance to relax and recuperate herself after a busy year? This is something that all the family can help with and if Mum has been the one doing a lot of the work to make the season magical, why not help to make things a little easier? Thanking her for all of her efforts is not a great deal to ask for is it?

Christmas is always more fun if everyone joins in so everyone should play their part in the festivities – help with the shopping, offer to help with food preparation, come up with gift ideas, write out some Christmas cards, put some of the decorations up and put them away carefully after Christmas – anything that helps to make the season go more smoothly!

Your Mum may have spent most of the year preparing for Christmas, so try making her Christmas just as perfect by thanking her for everything she has done!

Get Karting this Christmas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Days Out, Sponsored Posts, Summer Holiday Essentials | Posted on 07-12-2012

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As parents we’re always looking for things to keep our children entertained that doesn’t involve a TV, computer or games console. Getting them outside in the fresh air can be a mission, especially the older they get. Little Man is 2 and is fascinated by going outside for walks, or “Looking for cats” as we call it, and finds parks and woods a real treat. As he gets older though, I’m sure this will change and he’ll prefer to be attached to the latest games console. (Though I must admit that he does play a little too much Angry Birds now…)

If you are on the look out for a great gift this Christmas to get your children back outside and want something a little different to the usual bike, take a look at this Kids All Terrain Kart.

I only wish my Little Man was old enough to ride one!

The All Terrain Kart is designed for children aged 7-12 and is great for whizzing down hills on, using the rope to steer and hold on to – this rope is also very handy for dragging the kart back up the hill!!

Your children can also push themselves along on the level using their feet on either side of the kart. It comes with a handbrake and the back rest is adjustable depending on the size of your child and the position they want to ride in.

The kart arrives ready to be assembled, but this is a quick process using the tools and fixings provided. I imagine any child would love to help build this before taking it out for a spin. The kart comes with 12″ pneumatic wheels, just like you’d find on a mountain bike, so it really is suitable to use on all surfaces, including tarmac, grass and mud.

British made, the Kart’s low size means it will fit easily into most car boots so you can take it with you on days out or family holidays. You can also purchase a storage hook from the online store for hanging in a shed or garage when not in use. The store also sells a range of spare parts and stickers for the ultimate in customisation.

As you can see this is by no means a boys only item. It was tested out recently by the children you can see in the photos here, and the girl was a massive fan. The wearing of safety gear is of course essential when using the kart, but once your child is padded up its a great kart which will be used all year round. And whilst it does say that its aimed at children aged 7-12 no doubt you’ll have to pry Daddy off it too!

You can discover more on the All Terrain Kart at their website, where you’ll also find their well stocked online store.

 

Guest Post: Children & Disabilities

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 19-11-2012

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Dealing with a disability is never easy; this is arguably even more difficult when dealing with children unfortunate enough to be in such a situation. As a parent, this can often be a difficult time.

To this end, here is some information and advice that might help you. Dealing with a disabled child can often make family life difficult, but with a bit of preparation, planning and the right knowledge, it might just be a little easier.

Part of the Family

The most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t treat your child differently. Besides the physical mobility differences, it’s important to include a disabled child in all possible aspects of family life. This draws attention away from the disability, allowing the child to live a normal life along with any brothers and sisters.

Additionally, it allows you as a parent to get on with life and enjoy your family. If you constantly focus on the disability, you will find yourself constantly being distracted instead of enjoying your child for who they are.

Adapting the Home

That being said, there are obvious physical and mobility needs that need to be addressed. The home, for instance, is where your child will spend a lot of time, and they therefore need to be happy and comfortable moving around. They should also be able to do this unassisted. Not only are mobility and freedom important in gaining a sense of independence, you as a parent can’t always focus on their needs, especially in larger families.

As such, the most obvious addition would be a stairlift. Most disabilities make using the stairs difficult, as walking up or down is a surprisingly complex action, Not only do you need hands to grip and support the rail, the constant bending and strain on the legs and knees makes even minor disabilities a problem when the stairs involved.

A staircase, of course, circumvents most of this. By using a moving chair, it’s easier to sit in relative comfort and move up and down. In terms of practicality, this is an easy addition to the home, as the process of assembling a stairlift doesn’t disturb the house or require any alterations. This, in turn, also makes it easier and cheaper to install and keep, allowing you an easy and effective solution to the stairs.

Outdoor Life

Once the home is sorted, it’s also crucial to for your child to be confident outside. When they’re younger, you might not want to let them do this unassisted, but the time will come when they will want to move around outside by themselves; this is true of any child and is an important part of growing up. Parents can’t be there forever, so it’s crucial you take your children outside so they can grow confidence when outside in public.

This is true regardless, but it can often be tempting to keep a disabled child inside, which is only a deterrent in the long run.

Guest Post: Protecting Your Children From Accidents In The Home

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 16-11-2012

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Our children are the most important things in the world; and hence why we want to protect them from any harm that they may face in their life. Unfortunately we can’t watch them every second; therefore we have to find other ways to protect them from potential harm. Babies and toddlers have a habit of experimenting in the home, and by touching and feeling things they are learning about their surroundings.

This is why as parents we have to use simple tools to ensure our children are as protected as possible:

My first piece of advice is to secure all of your windows in your home. By installing window guards your children are protected from the dangers that open windows can cause. These don’t have to be particularly expensive as they can be window bars or simply window covers.

My second piece of advice goes hand in hand with protecting children from open windows. Secure all blind cords, and ensure if there is a wire connected to your blind, either cut the cord or tie it up where your children have no access to it. Alternatively you can purchase plastic cords from Vertical blinds direct which can be another suitable way to protect your kids. Strangulation is an all too common occurrence of child death; however by taking these simple measures you can eliminate any cause of potential injury.


My final piece of advice is to ensure all corners of furniture are protected with plastic guards, when children are crawling on the floor it is easy for them to hit their faces on the side and edges of furniture. By purchasing plastic guards you are giving your children a greater protection from accidents in the home.

Guest Post: Keeping Your Children Safe Around Heaters

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 13-11-2012

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As the cold weather draws in and the nights get longer, many families will be investing in new heaters for their home. This is an excellent way to ensure that your children remain happy and warm over the winter season, but comes with its own risks which must be understood and dealt with.

Educate about dangers

If you have installed a new kind of heating into your home, it is vital that you educate your children about the dangers it might pose. The best way of doing this is to educate positively. Make sure your children are fully aware of how the heater works, including how it can be switched on and off, and which elements might be dangerous. Often, parents will simply issue a blanket ban on approaching an electric heater. As anyone with small children will eventually realise, this actually acts as an invitation to some curious young people! Children naturally explore what they do not understand, particularly if it has been entirely forbidden. A much more sensible approach is to educate them fully on the heater and why it can be dangerous if not treated with appropriate respect.

Warn about other dangerous objects nearby

The education provided to children should not only include the obvious guidance that the new heater will be dangerous to touch when it is switched on. You should also explain the other dangers which can ensue from an activated heater such as the effect the heat can have on other objects placed nearby. Many children (particularly older ones), will easily understand that heat is dangerous for them. Touching the heater and burning themselves is unlikely to be the major issue. Instead, they may not properly understand that objects left on or around the heater can become very hot in a short amount of time, and may melt or catch fire. As a parent, you will need to explain that it is not only contact with the heater that can cause problems, but also the potential for secondary fires which may ensue if care is not taken at all times.

Consider safety when making your purchase

Of course, education is not always enough. Even the most conscientious child will make mistakes, and it is for this reason that you should always ensure that your heaters have the latest safety features. Many radiators now come packaged with the option of a radiator guard which makes it much more difficult for children to burn themselves or get close enough to the heater to cause any other issues. The designs of such guards are now also frequently decorative so you won’t be stuck with an ugly wire meshing surrounding your living room. If you have purchased a moveable electric heater rather than a fixed radiator, you should also check to see whether the model you have bought has all the necessary safety features integrated within it. The most important is the presence of a shut-off switch which activates when the heater is knocked over and immediately cuts the power to the heating element. This feature alone can prevent many accidents, particularly those caused by clumsy or overly enthusiastic young children.

As long as you educate your children, and ensure that you have invested in appropriate safety features, you should be well positioned to have a safe warm house with a safe heater.

BIO: This is a guest post on behalf of Economy Radiators who offer a range of heating products including storage heaters, central heating radiators, electric heaters, storage heaters and more!

Book Review: New Books For Children

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review | Posted on 10-09-2012

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From Smellessence…

I’ve previously featured a title from Smellessence on here before – “Chocolate Chipped” – which though a brilliant book was written for children who suffer a bereavement. This Autumn sees the release of two more Smellessence titles which are more of an everyday read for your little ones. First we have “Theo“. Theo is a dog who has lost his sense of smell, and sets out on an adventure to find it. Theo visits some of his most favourite smelly places, and we get to go along too. The smells in this book are hugely realistic and I love the idea of having them included to add an extra dimension to the stories. Little Man loves this book because there is a dog on the front cover, but I’m sure once he understands the smelly factor he’ll love it for that too.
Next is “The Story Of The Famous Farter“. This book is not for the faint hearted! This book regales the story of artist Joseph Pujol who was a famous entertainer at the Moulin Rouge in the late 1890s. Pujol was famous for being a ‘Professional Farter’ – imagine writing that next to occupation! – who had the ability to fart on demand. The story is delightful and the drawings inside are so good and, along with the aroma, bring the story to life. This book is definitely educational, whilst being somewhat witty too. It is bound to appeal to all children who no doubt think farting is hilarious fun.

From Macmillan…

This year marks the 30th Birthday of the excellent “Dear Zoo” book. To commemorate a new title has been released – “Dear Zoo: Touch & Feel“. This is ideal for little children as each animal has a touchable part to it. There’s the lions mane, the frogs sticky feet, the snakes basket, and many more. Little Man has thoroughly enjoyed looking through this book. Whilst he sometimes lacks the patience to listen to you reading a story to him, he likes to be able to interact with his books when he’s looking at them by himself. Books with flaps, pop-ups, or touchable parts are big favourites, and this one is no different. I love this book too. I am a big fan of the original Rod Campbell classic and I do enjoy reading that to Little Man when he lets me, but this allows him to enjoy the story himself, even if he’s doesn’t know entirely what’s going on. A must for all “Dear Zoo” fans.

Do We Do Too Much?

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 06-09-2012

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We’re all busy aren’t we? Whether you’re a Stay At Home Parent or a Working Mum or Dad, you are busy. You have a child, and that is the most time consuming and demanding job in the world, and if you’re juggling full or part time work alongside that, you probably don’t sleep! Modern lifestyles are so much busier than every before, and research from Lindam has found that our children’s safety might be suffering as a result of that.

In a recent poll of 2000 parents a staggering 70% said they regularly left their child playing unsupervised whilst they carried out domestic chores, and 40% of parents admitted that their child had been injured as a result of this. The Top 10 most common accidents for a child to suffer whilst in their home are:

  1. Tripping in garden
  2. Falling from sofa
  3. Falling from bed
  4. Slipping on the floor
  5. Banging head on a sharp corner
  6. Shutting fingers in a door
  7. Being hurt fighting with a sibling
  8. Falling down the stairs
  9. Hurting themselves on broken glass
  10. Suffering a burn from the cooker
The research discovered that the most common time for these injuries to be sustained is whilst the parent is in the kitchen cooking the evening meal. The lounge, garden and bedroom were the most likely places for injuries to happen during this time. Parents have a lot on their plate whilst looking after their child and running the home. There is so much other stuff that needs doing that often distracts attention away from a child. The most common distractions for Mum’s in the home are:
  1. Cooking
  2. Being on the phone
  3. Another child requiring their attention
  4. Working from home
  5. Cleaning the house
  6. Doing the hoovering
  7. Doing the ironing
  8. Being in the shower
  9. Hanging out the washing
  10. Getting dressed
Parents are often looking for ways to distract their child whilst they get on with these tasks, and 80% of parents admitted to using the TV for this purpose regularly.
Claire Rayner, a spokeswoman for Lindam, says “Many accidents experienced by young children in the home come about because mum is understandably not able to keep a constant watch. She can’t be in several places at once and the results show that, it only take a minute for an accident to happen. It’s therefore about using safety products to make the home as accident-proof as possible and allow Mums at least some peace of mind. It’s so easy and quick to put in place some very simple safety equipment such as stair gates, corner cushions and cupboard locks to ensure that parents can rest a little easier knowing that their children are protected.

We have launched our first Safety Day as we are committed to reducing childhood accidents in the home and we feel it’s these small but important steps that can go a long way to reducing the amount of childhood accidents in the home.”

To learn more about Lindam’s Safety Day, and find ways to ensure your home is as safe as possible for you child visit the Lindam website.

 

Majorca – The Fun Filled Destination For You And Your Children

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Holiday, Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 26-07-2012

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This goes out to all parents who have young children. Knowing that parenting is probably the most difficult task, and with that taken into consideration, you will find that many of the Villas in Majorca have been designed as a special get away for you and your kids. Bring along your children and enjoy the numerous fun filled activities in any one of the villas available for rentals. Kids are very specific about the environment and what they want; good thing is that there are many villas that have taken it upon themselves to provide the right environment for you and your child. You will easily get them to sleep and when awake, you will have a bucket list of activities to engage in.
There are various amenities such as swimming pools and other children games or outdoor activities your child will fall in love with. Changing environments is very much ideal for any child upbringing and your child will surely appreciate this fact. Most villas have relaxing areas, playground for children and of course something for you too. Get your child out there to make new friends, fall down, cry, play in the water and learn the adventure of life in Majorca home rentals.
Remember that you are not only limited to the beaches. Fun for you and your child can proceed as far as where you want to go and what you want to do. There are leisure centers, natural caves, manor homes, and tours. You can even request for tailor made tour just for you and your child. Since a lot of villas in Majorca have been designed keeping children in mind, there are also various security measures that have been put in place. For instance, where staircase and balconies, safety gates are have been installed to prevent access to children who may wander without your notice. Most of the home fixtures such as television units have been installed properly and despite their low position, they cannot trip or fall on your young child. Your child safeties have not been compromised and so, enjoy your holiday with 100% peace of mind.

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.