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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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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!


Easter Treats from Asda

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 25-03-2013

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With Easter approaching fast – its this weekend if you haven’t noticed – no doubt you’ll be hitting the supermarket this week to stock up on yummy treats to get your through the Bank Holiday. Take a trip down to Asda this week and take a look at their impressive Easter aisles, and pick up a few things to make your Easter special.

What better way to start Easter off than with boiled egg and soldiers for breakfast? Why not make it even better with this cute Chick Egg Cup and matching Chick Shaped Plate.  I love this little plate and I can see if getting lots of use in our house over Easter and beyond. Its an ideal size for Little Man to put toast or snacks on throughout the day. Each of these is just £2.

Easter Eggs galore are available from Asda this year in all sizes. Why not try decorating your own with this great kit, complete with chocolate egg, icing pen and sweets for decoration, for just £3. If you’re planning an egg hunt in your garden, or indoors, this Egg Hunt Kit is just what you need. A handy basket, selection of hollow eggs, and signs to help your hunters on their way. This set is a bargain at just £4.

Maybe you don’t want eggs this Easter and instead plan on doing some baking. Cookie cutters are always very popular and these Easter themed ones are just what you need in the kitchen this weekend. Great value at just £2. If you’re having an Easter party for the children then how about some traditional hot cross buns? These mini ones are great for little ones and a pack of 9 is just £1.

I love these handy jars of sweets which Asda stock for different occasions throughout the year. Their Easter jars contain either traditional fried egg sweets or a mix of marshmallow chicks and jelly eggs. These jars are £2 each and once eater have a multitude of uses. We’re using ours for craft storage.

You’ll find all these great offers and SO much more at your local Asda and online this Easter week.

Christmas Crackers from Hotel Chocolat

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Foodie, Product Reviews | Posted on 06-12-2012

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If you are looking for something a bit special for your table this Christmas, take a look at this cracker from Hotel Chocolat.

This would make a fantastic centrepiece for any party or celebration this Christmas.

This beautiful cracker is a massive 640mm long – they’re not kidding when they call it their “Rather Large Cracker” – and contains 40 wrapped chocolates, 12 silver party hats, and some jokes. The included chocolates are a selection of Hotel Chocolat’s finest, with a mixture of pralines, truffles, dark and milk chocolates, white chocolates, as well as ones containing alcohol and those which are more child friendly. Needless to say this was a big hit with my husband and I who thoroughly enjoyed testing out all the chocolates. I don’t think we found one that we didn’t enjoy!

At £38 this is not a cheap item, but to end a festive get together with family and friends, or even if you just fancy treating yourself to something rather special this Christmas, its an amazing item. It would also be a well received gift I’m sure!

The “Rather Large Cracker” can be found at the Hotel Chocolat online store along with the rest of their Christmas range.

Have A Foodie Christmas…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Foodie, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 28-11-2012

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Food is a huge part of Christmas. After the presents have been unwrapped the main focus for us on Christmas Day is the food that we’ll be tucking into later. Here are a few suggestions of great gifts for Foodies this Christmas, or things you might want to be eating over the festive period.

Taylors Eye Witness Knife Set
Any good cook needs a good set of knives. They are indispensable in any kitchen, and these from Taylor Eye Witness are not only functional but they are also decorative. This set includes 5 knives – Chef, Carving, Bread, Utility and Paring Knife – and each knife features a colourful flower pattern that is very 60’s. The blades are super sharp stainless steel and are also non-stick so you can cut through pretty much anything without problems. They are without doubt the sharpest knives I’ve ever used in my kitchen, and also the funkiest. The knife handles are soft grip acrylic and coloured to match the blades. When they are all in the block it adds great colour to the kitchen.  Taylors Eye Witness Knives are available in a variety of colours and patterns, but I think these are my favourite design, and whats more they are British made too – perfect for Christmas.


Montezuma’s Christmas Chocolates
Who doesn’t love chocolate at Christmas? Sussex based Montezuma’s has got a delicious range of chocolates for this Christmas and I was very happy to test them out. First up there were two boxes of “Snowball”, one Chilli & Lime flavour and one Orange & Geranium. I was very keen to try the Chilli & Lime and was not disappointed – nice zesty flavour with a sudden hit of chilli. I will definitely be buying more of these. I approached the Orange & Geranium with some trepidation, but they too were delicious. Both have a milk chocolate truffle centre with the relevant flavourings but are wrapped in white chocolate, hence the snowball. Next  up was a bag of Chocolate, Orange and Geranium Truffles. These are basically the centres of the “Snowballs” but without the white chocolate coating. They come in a lovely little sellophane bag and would make a great stocking filler. We also got a takeaway cup containing “Christmas Nuts” – Brazils, Cashews and Walnuts covered in chocolate. Perfect for any nut fans in your family, and a great way of presenting it. Finally there was a box of “8 Chunky Chocolate Snowmen”. Yummy individual dark chocolate Snowmen these would work as a box slipped into a stocking, or you could separate them and place them inside an Advent Calender. These are also available in White or Milk chocolate versions. All these items can be found in your local Montezuma or their online store and cost just £4.99 each.

Savora Kitchen Gadgets
Anyone who loves baking or cooking loves gadgets. My kitchen is bursting at the seams with them! For me gadgets should be attractive as well as functional and fit in to the colour scheme or aesthetics of a kitchen, especially if they are going to be on show. After receiving a Boysenberry Kitchen Aid for my 30th Birthday this year any new kitchen items have tended to be as close a shade of purple as I can find. The Raven coloured gadgets from Savora are a VERY impressive match, and are also brilliant.  In the set we received was Peeler (probably the most attractive peeler I’ve ever seen), a Rotary Grater (much quicker and easier than a manual grater, and also usable by both left and right handed people), a Garlic Press (which is SO easy to clean unlike any other press I’ve owned and then stopped using because of the effort to clean) and an Oil Mister (perfect for reducing fat content in cooking and also for greasing baking trays. My favourite was without doubt the Garlic Press. The part you push the garlic through actually separates from the rest of the press so you can quickly and easily remove every last bit of garlic which may be left behind in the holes. A brilliant yet simple feature. Prices for Savora gadgets range from £10 – £25 so they’re not the cheapest out there, but they are so well made they are bound to last for many years to come. You can find them online or in your local John Lewis.

I’m sure EVERYONE has something from Pyrex in their kitchen, whether it be measuring jugs, mixing bowls or casserole dishes. Its a classic brand that has been used in kitchens for almost a hundred years. I DO own the jug, the mixing bowls AND the casserole dish, but this year Pyrex launched a new range which they are calling Kitchen Lab. With echoes to science and providing me with flashbacks to chemistry lessons at school, I love the style of these new products. First up is a Measuring Glass. Straight sided with a small pouring lip the Measuring Glass has precision measurements and is made from Borosilicate Glass which makes it “thermal shock resistant.” Its also microwave and dishwasher safe. This is ideal for measuring flour, sugar, rice or liquids quickly without digging out your scales. They also launched a Shaker which looks exactly like something a chemical potion should be mixed in. Instead this version is for mixing your salad dressings and then storing them in your fridge thanks to its leak proof silicone lid. Two fun and quirky items that would look great in your kitchen, especially for any science minded chefs you might know. Prices start from £5.

Festive Baking With Clover

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Foodie, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 26-11-2012

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We’ve all started counting down to Christmas and its a great idea to get ahead with your baking and any food preparation and make use of your freezer. This gives you so much more time on the day with your family, and also stops any potential melt downs! This weekend I did some festive baking using the new blocks of butter from Clover. We’ve all no doubt tried their spreadable tubs of butter but you can now get Clover in 250g blocks which are ideal for baking and soft enough to use straight out of the fridge – a definite bonus!

First up I made mince pies. I’m not a huge fan of traditional mince pies, so I thought I’d give Nigella Lawson’s Cranberry Studded Mincemeat a go as well. Here’s the recipe for the mincemeat first:

60ml Ruby Port – or Cranberry Juice
75g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
300g Cranberries
1tsp Ground Ginger
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
75g Currants
75g Raisins
30g Dried Cranberries
Zest & Juice of 1 Clementine/Satsuma
25ml Brandy
1/8tsp Almond Extract
1/2tsp Vanilla Extract
2tbs Honey

In a large saucepan over a gentle heat dissolve the sugar into the port/juice. Add the fresh cranberries and cover them in the liquid. Add the dried fruits, spices and zest and juice of the clementine/satsuma. Simmer for about 15/20 minutes until everything looks well combined and most of the liquid has been absorbed. You can squash any whole cranberries that remain with a spoon. Take off the heat and cool a little before stirring in the brandy, extracts and honey. Give it a big stir until you’ve got a berry like paste.

This can then be put into waiting mince pie cases, sterilized jars and stored in the fridge, or put into the freezer and used within three months.

(From Nigella’s Christmas)

Now obviously this recipe didn’t use any of the Clover so I made my own pastry which was so simple. This didn’t need the softness of the Clover straight from the fridge, but the end result did taste delicious.

240g Plain Flour
60g Vegetable Shortening
60g Cold Butter – I used my Clover Butter Block
Juice of 1 Orange
Pinch of Salt
About 350g Mincemeat

Put the flour and fat into a shallow bowl. Make sure the butter and shortening is in small cubes/dollops. Put this in the freezer for about half an hour. Mix the orange juice and salt in a small bowl and place covered in the fridge. After half an hour remove the flour mix from the freezer and whizz in your food processor until you get porridge like crumbs. Pour in the salty orange juice as you whizz it and stop as the mix begins to form a dough – you might not need all the juice. Use your hands to form a dough and create two or three discs (depending on how many cupcake trays/tart tins you have) and wrap in clingfilm and pop into the fridge for another 20 minutes. Once chilled roll each disc out one at a time and use cutters to create pastry circles to line your trays/tins. The amount of mincemeat you put in obviously depends on the size of mince pie you are making. I made mine in mini muffin tins and used about 3/4 of a teaspoon in each. Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes – again depends on the size of the mince pie – at 220 degrees/Gas 7.

You can now store them in an air tight tin for about a week – if they last that long – or make them ahead and freeze for up to 3 months. Just reheat them from room temperature or frozen for 4 or 5 minutes before serving.

(From Nigella’s Christmas)

Here’s a few of the ones I made, and the amazing book I got the recipe from. Seriously – go out and buy this book. Its AMAZING.

Whilst making these mince pies – I ended up with 24 this size and the same amount of mincemeat again in the freezer – I was also making another festive favourite. I love Panattone and usually end up buying several small ones from the supermarket because nobody else in my house likes them. This year I decided I’d splash out and make my own. I’m not a fan of the traditional plain panattone – the one I buy has chocolate chips in instead of fruit – so I went on a hunt for a recipe that was similar. I found this great recipe on the Good Food website. I don’t like Candid Peel so I bulked up the cranberries and chocolate – okay mainly the chocolate – and I didn’t put flaked almonds on the top either. Here’s my version:

500g Plain Flour
14g (two sachets) Dried Yeast
100g Golden Caster Sugar
200ml Milk
3 Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Extract
200g Softened Butter – I used Clover Butter Block straight from the fridge
185g Dried Cranberries
200g White Chocolate Chips

Okay I got a little carried away with the chocolate chips but they came in two 100g bags so I just emptied them both in!!

Put the flour, yeast and 1tsp salt in a mixer – I used my Kitchen Aid. Give it a quick mix – have the dough hook in when you do this to save changing it around. Add the sugar and give it another mix. Beat your eggs in a bowl and warm the milk to hand hot temperature. Add the milk and eggs to the flour and combine to a dough then knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes. Leave uncovered in the mixer for about an hour or until its doubled in size. Cut your butter into small cubes and add to the risen dough. Mix it in thoroughly and then leave for another hour to rise again. Add your cranberries and chocolate chips and mix. Line your tins – I made four individual ones in empty 400g tins and one large in my Ikea Cutlery Tin (thanks to whoever suggested that!!) – with double thickness of greaseproof and a collar above the top of the tin of a few inches. Divide the dough between your tins or put all in one tin and let it rise for a further 30 mins. Brush the top(s) with a beaten egg and bake for 45-50 mins at 160degrees/Gas 4.

This is a long recipe because of all the rising that goes on, so its a good idea to make something else whilst you’re waiting. I had the Panattone dough rising in the corner of my kitchen whilst I made the mincemeat and then the mince pies.

Here’s my finished large Panattone.

To me it looks like a panattone – though the top could be a little smoother – and it tastes divine. The cranberries and white chocolate are a great combination, and the dough is the sort of texture I was expecting. I would show you the individual ones but there was an incident with the tins… namely me forgetting to line to bottoms and losing about an inch off the bottom of each. Not too stressful though, as they really grew and could barely support themselves. Less dough per tin next time I think!

Hopefully you’re feeling inspired to get baking for Christmas, and next time you’re in the supermarket do grab a few packs of Clover Butter Blocks. The fact you can use it straight from the fridge makes baking much faster and the results are delicious.

Product Review: Sweet Treats Cake Pop Maker

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 14-09-2012

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When I was offered a Cake Pop Maker to review I was a little sceptical. The whole Cake Pop phenomenon has somewhat passed me by. The idea of a ball of cake on a stick seemed totally bizarre to me, and I really didn’t get the appeal at all. When my Sweet Treats Cake Pop Maker arrived I was pleasantly surprised, to the point I can see me becoming something of an addict!

The only Cake Pop recipe I’d seen was to get pre-baked cake, crumble it, stick it back together, and cover it in melted chocolate. The first thing I liked about the Cake Pop Maker was that I’d be making them fresh and there wouldn’t be strange bits of cake making up my Pop, but a whole mouthful of fresh cake. Following the simple recipe which came with the machine – of which there are 5 to choose from – I set about making a batch. Now each recipe makes 30 – ideal for a party or gathering, but somewhat excessive for a trial run – so I halved it and ended up making 14. The recipe I used was a traditional sponge recipe so I knew what it should look like before baking. I was a little nervous about portioning it into the Maker – which makes 6 at a time – because I didn’t want to overfill them and end up with cake batter everywhere!

Within 4 minutes of closing the lid I had 6 round balls of cake. Now if you’re going to make these for a party or guests generally decoration is key. They are not the most attractive of things naked. Just warm out of the Maker they are delightful and alarmingly addictive. Little Man and I polished off the first batch very quickly. What surprised me was that whilst I was waiting for the second batch to bake my mind started ticking over of ways I could decorate them and events I could use them for. I already have plans to serve them at Little Man’s 2nd birthday next month, and there are ideas forming for Christmas designs as I type. Sticks are part of the Cake Pop process – mainly because they make decorating them so much easier – but I can imagine a pile of them on a plate, Ferrero Rocher style!

If balls of cake still don’t appeal to you – and I implore you to try them out – there is also a recipe for mini doughnuts. Yes, doughnuts. The batter mix is slightly different and whilst warm you roll them in sugar, but the idea of being able to create a batch of mini doughnuts within about 10 minutes is something to be investigated endlessly.

So whilst there is nothing more satisfying then a leisurely afternoon baking a delicious cake for my family, I must confess that I am now somewhat addicted to Cake Pops – I have a pile of sticks ready and am considering a Cake Pop Cookbook. For quick and simple treats for your children, or for a gorgeous centre piece at a party instead of a large cake, Cake Pops may well be the future.

The Sweet Treats Cake Pop Maker is available now from Lakeland.

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.

Product Review: Hotel Chocolat – Rocky Road To Caramel Extra Thick Egg

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 01-04-2012

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I know my last post was focusing on things you could get your little ones for Easter apart from chocolate eggs, but I’m not here to suggest this egg for any of your children. I think this is an ideal egg for hard working parents to enjoy this Easter!

When Hotel Chocolat refer to this egg as “Extra Thick” they aren’t kidding. The two egg shells are in places half an inch thick which is immense when compared to traditional eggs. The “Rocky Road” egg shell is studded with crispy puffed rice, cookies and chocolate chunks, whilst the “Caramel” egg shell is a layer of caramel chocolate over a base of milk chocolate. If the two egg shells aren’t enough for you inside you’ll find a dozen individual chocolates. These are some of the “Best Of” from Hotel Chocolat and include praline with cookies and silky smooth milk chocolate ganache along with solid bunnies and chicks cast in milk and caramel chocolate to stay in the Easter spirit.

I must confess that the 12 individual chocolates have not made it to Easter and are all delicious – I was a particular fan of the slightly salted chocolates. I can only begin to imagine how long it is going to take me to work my way through the epic egg shells, but I am rather looking forward to finding out!

The Hotel Chocolat Extra Thick Egg range is available now in store and online.


Mothers Day Gift Guide

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 02-03-2012

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Mothers Day is just over a fortnight away – March 18th if you’re curious – so if you’re looking for something a bit different for you own Mum or your Mother In Law, or you want some inspiration for what to drop hints about for yourself, take a look at this lovely lot. You’re bound to find something to suit!

Hotel Chocolate
You can’t go wrong with a nice box of chocolates, and The Jewellery Box from Hotel Chocolat is a guaranteed hit. The box contains 10 individually wrapped chocolates – which were delicious by the way – and when they’re all gone it leaves a stylish box with mirrored lid that is perfect for storing your own treasures in. You can buy this gorgeous box from the Hotel Chocolat website.

So…? Perfume
For a slightly longer lasting gift how about a bottle of the classic So…? Perfume or a Body Spray? So…? has been around for years and its range gets larger every season. The Original So…? fragrance combines tangerine and orange blossom with vanilla, sandalwood and patchouli and has been a favourite in my house for a long time.  It is available in a 75ml body spray, a 100ml eau de toilette, or a choice of two gift sets from the So…? website.

Pinky Knits
If you’re after something a bit different for a Mum who enjoys crafts why not try a Pinky Knits Kit? Launched this year at Top Drawer the Pinky Knits Kit allows you to knit without using needles. In fact all you need are your fingers! Casting on is simple following the instructions on the side and then you work the wool to create a knitted “noodle”. This “noodle” can then be transformed into anything your imagination can come up with! There are instructions for making a snood or a coil twist scarf, but the “noodle” can easily be turned into a hat, a cushion cover, or even a bag! Pinky Knits Kits come in a range of colours and can be found online at their website.

Mama Baby Bliss
The Little Bag Of Mama Bliss is the ideal gift for Mums celebrating their first Mothers Day. The bag contains some “Ooh” Relaxing Bath Soak which as well as providing some much needed chilling out for Mum also aids post-natal healing with its calendula, aloe vera and  geranium. There is also a tube of “Aah” Soothing Mummy Baby balm which is perfect for soothing sore nipples or chapped skin. I use this on my eczema and its amazing, and my Mum is also using it on some flaky skin caused by an operation she had last year and its working a treat for both of us. Finally there is an “Uplifting Bliss Stick” which gives Mums a little boost when applied to pulse points. The Little Bag Of Mama Bliss can be found at the Mama Baby Bliss website a long with hints and tips for creating a blissful mama this Mothers Day.


Keep Calm For Mums
Parenthood can be difficult and at the end of a long day Mums can often be left feeling fraught and reaching for the nearest bottle. If you need a helping hand to get your through those days get yourself a copy of “Keep Calm For Mums” from Summersdale Publishing. This lovely pink book is packed with witty and uplifting quotes which are sure to bring a smile to your face and get your through even the most nightmarish day. “Keep Calm For Mums” is available from all good bookshops, or direct from Summersdale.

Stockwell Ceramics
Stockwell Ceramics is based in Cornwall and they produce a range of buttons, pendants, brooches and earrings made from beautifully coloured ceramic. You might have spotted their items in the V&A in London, or The Natural History Museum. As well as their standard range they often create bespoke commissions, but I think my favourite of their items is this lovely bird brooch. You can view their range now at their website.

Period Features
If you’re looking for a gift with a slightly more classical look to it you’d be best going to Period Features. Period Features primarily sources products for period homes, such as wallpaper, furnishings and heritage paints. However they also do a range of classic items like napkins and feather dusters. I particularly like the French Soaps and the traditionally packaged bath salts. The soaps are traditionally hand made and look beautiful as a decoration as well as in use. The bath salts look exactly as you would expect in their period paper packets. Period Features can be found in Leek, Staffordshire or online.

TeaJay Tea
Every Mum I know loves a good cup of tea. I know I certainly do. Whilst I am typically more like to reach for my usual brand of tea, I do occasionally fancy something a bit different. Why not send your Mum some TeaJay Tea to try? Their teas are inspired by music so are all named after songs. They have a wide range of herbal, fruit and Rooibos to choose from which make ideal teas all year round – they can all be made into delicious ice teas during the summer months. I rather enjoyed the Corazon De Melon which is delicious mix of honey, melon and guava with a hint of strawberry. TeaJays tea can be bought in varying quantities at their website.

Honey Tree
Honey Tree are bespoke stationers who create personalised stationary, invitations, labels and sell unique artwork from their online store. For Mothers Day they have a lovely range of labels for those Mums who enjoy making jams and preserves, or their own drinks. Labels can have just an image on or text too are designed by you so you are getting exactly what you want. The quality is great and ordering couldn’t be simpler.

Limited Edition Prints are also available, and these make a lovely gift. There is a wide range available and they come either mounted or framed and mounted and are signed too. You will find prints that are kitchen and garden themed that any Mum would be proud to hang. I am a big fan of the Fork & Spoon print which I think would look great in the kitchen, or the range of Heart prints would be a great way to show your Mum just how much you care. You can view the full range of prints, and the array of labels at the Honey Tree website.

Wood And Willow
Wood And Willow is a small family run business and #SBS winner who sells items to “Make Your House A Home”.  They sell a beautiful range of gifts for both the house and garden, and also feature a lovely selection of UK Handmade items. You will be spoilt for choice on the Wood And Willow website when it comes to buying something for your Mum, or at other times of the year, but my favourites include the Heart Shaped Frame Trio and the Red Gingham Apron Set. The frame trio is off-white in colour and would be ideal for photos of Mum, Dad and Baby. The Apron Set comprises an apron, oven glove and quilted pot stand. It comes direct from France to add a little French chic to your kitchen. The Wood And Willow website can be found here.

If your Mum is in need of a little pampering and you’re thinking a nice gift set is the way to go then you can’t go wrong in Boots where there is a great range from Champney’s on offer.  My picks are the “Indulgence Oriental Opulence Travel Collection” and the “Best Of Spa” sets which both contain handy sized products including bath soaks, shower gels and hand creams. If you’re after a gift for a Soon-To-Be-Mum how about the “Extracts Fairtrade Mini Body Butter Collection” which will be perfect for keeping bump nice and soft, and includes a Cocoa Butter which is good for helping prevent stretch marks. A full range of Boots Gift Sets can be found in store, or online.

How about a gift that’s both for Mum and for their little one? Jewellery wearing is generally a nightmare when you have a small child so most Mums forgo their collection until their children are older. With Gumigem you don’t need to! The stylish necklaces feature what look like solid stone pendants so are fashionable, but the “stone” is actually made from the same material as most traditional teethers. This means you can look stylish whilst your baby can safely chew on your necklace during times of teething, and if they do pull hard on it the safety catch at the back releases meaning no more strangling Mum! The necklaces come in four shapes and a range of beautiful colours, and are even worn by celebrity Mums like Denise Van Outen and Michelle Heaton. The full range can be viewed here but if you want to buy a Gumigem this Mothers Day I sell them with prices starting at £10, so get in touch for details!

If you’re after clothing for that slightly curvier figure take a trip to the Curvety website. They stock a range of glamorous and fashionable clothing to dress your beautiful curves in style. From dresses, trousers and skirts to an amazing Bridal range as well as the all important shoes Curvety covers everything you could possibly want. In addition to their vast clothing range they also sell accessories including the gorgeous necklace you see below, which would look great on any woman, regardless of size. The full Curvety range can be found online.

The Old Bag Company
Perhaps a new bag is in order for Mum this year, but you want to get her something a little different. What about the “Sophie Canvas Bag” from the Old Bag Company? The bag comes with an array of pockets to store all Mum’s bits and pieces and has a waterproof liner in case of any spills. It’s machine washable and inside every bag is a message from the Old Bag Company children (who all the bags are named after) so you know you’re getting the genuine article. Available in six colour choices this bag is perfect as a handbag, shopper, beach bag, hand luggage or funky work bag. This bag, and the rest of the spotty and stripey range, can be found at the Old Bag Company website.

Swanky Maison
If you want to get your Mum something totally different whilst supporting new and up-and-coming UK designers head over to Swanky Maison. Swanky Maison is an online boutique that sells gifts and items for the home that have been designed and made here in the UK. The range of items on there is mind-blowing – I was on there for hours pouring over the gorgeous things – and I defy anyone to not find something they love. One of my favourite designers on there is ‘Red Brick Glass’. Based in Dorset, Wendy the founder of ‘Red Brick Glass’ creates a stunning array of glass items using a her kiln, finishing them all by hand and packaging them beautifully. I adore these glass lanterns, available in a set of three, with their delicate butterfly print on them which are fired in the kiln to ensure they won’t scratch off. I think these would look pretty in the garden, as centre pieces at a spring wedding, or just around the bath when Mum has that much deserved relaxing soak. ‘Red Brick Glass’ and a host of other talented designers can be found on the Swanky Maison e-boutique website.

Tesco Nail Varnish
If your children are just reaching an age where they understand the significance of Mothers Day and perhaps want to spend “their” money on a present for Mummy then Tesco might just have the answer. Their “All About Nails” range is perfectly priced at just 99p per bottle and they have large number of colours available from the brights to the on-trend pastels, and whilst the price is cheap the quality is fabulous. So come on Dads, why not nip out to the supermarket with your children this weekend and grab Mum a present they can buy themselves? ‘All About Nails’ is available now from your local Tesco store.

Yankee Candle
A Housewarmer candle from Yankee Candle is a gift that Mum, and the rest of the family, can enjoy for up to 150 hours. Presented in a large glass jar with glass lid this is an epic candle that will also make a lovely decorative feature in any room of the house. When it comes to scented candles I prefer something subtle to provide a nice background smell as opposed to something overpowering, so for me the ideal Yankee Candle would be the Vanilla Satin – a gentle classic fragrance. This fragrance, and others, is available in several sized candles from small tea-lights to the mighty large glass jars from the Yankee Candle website.

Afternoon Tea
She’s probably spent years slaving over your tea, and now she can have a fantastic time unwinding with a different type of tea, scones, and a selection of scrumptious cakes on her tea for two experience. Whether you opt for afternoon tea at Harrods or you whisk her away to any of 20 elegant rural locations across the UK, she’ll simply love this traditional treat. Tea For Two days out are available from the Buy-A-Gift website.

Product Launch: Philadelphia… with chocolate!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Launch, Product Reviews | Posted on 02-02-2012

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Yes you did read that right – chocolate.

On Monday this week Kraft announced their new flavour of Philadelphia at an event in Central London and invited some bloggers along to try it out. I think I can confidently say we were all a little surprised when we found out it was chocolate – general consensus beforehand was another savoury option – so it was with some trepidation we stepped forward to try it out.

Delicious!! Seriously!! I mean who is going to dislike anything with Cadbury chocolate in it? Certainly not me! It maintained the light cool consistency of Original Philadelphia but tasted decadently of Cadbury. A win, win situation in my book! I find other leading chocolate spreads quite thick to eat, but this was much nicer. And if you want to feel even better about the idea of Cadbury flavoured Philadelphia: it is a mere 86 calories per serving and has less than half the fat and less sugar than other leading chocolate spreads.

As well as tasting delicious and being (almost) good for you, Philadelphia with Cadbury is hugely versatile. Spread it on toast, a bage, a croissant or a biscuit. Smoother your pancakes in it this Shrove Tuesday. Make Chocolate Cheesecakes out of it. Use it to ice cupcakes or as a filling in sponge cakes. Dip fruit in it. Eat it straight from the tub with a spoon… just me? Oh.

Philadelphia with Cadbury is available now from most good supermarkets. It is being launched this week so will hopefully make it to a store near you soon. It is available in standard 160g tub size as well as 4x30g mini-tubs.