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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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Christmas 2013: Last Minute Gifts & Treats from Asda

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide | Posted on 18-12-2013

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Can you believe its just a week until Christmas? Where did December go? Whilst physically I’m feeling a lot better with my pregnancy I seem to be tired most of the time and some days I’m just exhausted and don’t achieve anything helpful. One thing I did manage to organise though was my food shopping delivery for the end of this week. We’re off to my parents for Christmas Day and we’ll be spending the New Year at my in laws so I don’t need to panic buy lots of food as nobody will be here to eat it. I am going to need a few bits and pieces and by getting my delivery from Asda, it gives me a chance to make sure I have a few treats in and finish up any last minute stocking fillers too. If you’ve got a delivery to finalise before Christmas why not pop a few of these bits and pieces in your virtual basket.

Christmas is a great time to treat the children – big and small. Gingerbread is very popular with Little Man and his Daddy so I’m sure a box or two of these Gingerbread Santa’s & Snowmen will find their way onto my food order this week. At just £1 a box they are super cheap and adorable designs are bound to make Little Man smile.

Beauty gift sets are always popular at Christmas, and are great for buying for friends. I usually shop on the high street for this type of product but Asda have a great range available and at a fraction of the cost. This Simple Travel Gift Set is just £5 and is part of the 2 for £8 offer making it great value. Wipes, Facial Wash, Facial Toner and Moisturiser are included in this neat set which would be an ideal purchase for anyone jetting off over the festive season as they are all hand luggage compliant.

Mugs are another classic gift, and especially ones that come with a sweet treat inside. Love Hearts are a classic retro sweet. This bright and colourful mug comes with some fruity fizzy sweets to enjoy, and is a useful gift when all the sweets are gone. At £5 its a great little stocking filler.

And of course Asda has a full complement of Christmas foods and drinks on offer too. Having been lucky enough to attend their Christmas In July event earlier in the year and sample some rather delicious meats, snacks, sweets and party food there’s no danger of anyone going hungry. Whilst I can no longer eat some of the bits I tried earlier in the year I will certainly be hunting out their jars of sweets and their dessert range which were all delicious. I’m just going to have to wait till next year for the Extra Special Prosecco and stick to the soft drinks for the time being!

Get online fast to book a delivery slot before Christmas, or better still head down to your local store and pick up some delicious treats and some last minute gifts before the big day.

Christmas 2013: Hendon Kitchen

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Product Reviews | Posted on 27-11-2013

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Whenever we went to baby and toddler groups or toy shops there was always one toy that Little Man would make a beeline for. The kitchens. Generally always the ones that were that big that they’d fill my house and would look fancier than my own kitchen, but cooking and pressing buttons was always something that enticed him. I bought him a compact table top cooker from a charity shop in our village about eighteen months ago and its had lots of use. It came with a good stash of play food, and when combined with some new pots and pans he was set and would often bring us random meal combinations. Whilst I was at Christmas In July this year I spent a lot of time at the Plum Products stand where they were displaying their new indoor toys, to compliment their extensive outdoor range – some of which is occupying our garden, as well as Nana and Pops’. The stand out product for me was the Hendon Kitchen, and Plum were kind enough to send us one over to review.
The main thing that stood out for me about this kitchen was the colour – its not pink. SO many play kitchens – especially the quality wooden ones – are pink. Now believe me this has not stopped my Little Man from playing with them, but wouldn’t it be nice for someone to create one without the pink stereotype, assuming only girls want to cook? What I also love about this is its size. Despite incorporating a cooker top, a sink with taps, an oven and two shelves its surprisingly compact and takes up very little room in our already jam packed lounge. It is in fact the ideal height for my Little Man who plays with it loads, and randomly gets himself a drink of air from the taps during the day, or washes his hands, or even, on the really odd occasion, gives Teddy a bath in the sink.
I like the details too. On the end of the cooker there are three hooks to hang the included utensils on, and there’s a picture of a tea towel hung up too. There is a hot and cold water tap – they don’t move but Little Man is happy to press them and make the noise of water coming out. There’s two dials on the front which turn round and make clicking noises to control your oven, and there’s even a (fake) digital clock. The two spacious shelves are well sized and we’ve managed to cram plates and Little Man’s tea set on there so all his “cooking” items are together. I must get him some new cutlery for Christmas though, as currently we get to eat our meals with either a ladle or a teaspoon!
Could it be better? Yes. Whilst its a great little kitchen I’d make a few small changes. I would add a shelf to the oven itself – currently its just one huge space and more like a cupboard than a realistic oven. I’d also make the taps turn and click in the same way the oven dials do. I would probably also make the overhead shelf run the full length of the kitchen and perhaps add a second, for items like condiments and tins of food.
On the whole this is a brilliant little kitchen, and it was really easy to put together, even with the help of Little Man. At £70 it is also really well priced, with other wooden kitchens on the market for a lot more. Whether its for a little boy or a little girl I think this compact kitchen would look great in any lounge, bedroom or playroom this Christmas morning.

Christmas 2013: Aeromax Nasa Jr Astronaut Suit

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Product Reviews | Posted on 20-11-2013

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Little Man is a typical boy. He’s into cars and trains, science fiction and Peppa Pig, and above all else, Buzz Lightyear. Toy Story has been very popular in this house since he was old enough to focus on a TV screen, and Buzz Lightyear has always proved his favourite character. We bought him his own Buzz Lightyear action figure for his third birthday last month and he barely puts it down. As well as a love for Buzz he also likes rockets, stars and the moon. Space is a topic which I think will prove very interesting for him as he gets older. It seemed very apt therefore that Maps Toys sent us an Aeromax Nasa Space Suit to review.
An impeccably well designed and detailed dressing up costume that is ideal for future astronauts, this is a full body which comes with a replica Nasa cap. Bright orange in colour it features a Nasa badge, as well as an American flag,  a space shuttle badge and a “Commander” patch. There are zip pockets, stitching detail and adjustable velcro straps to the ankles.
I was immediately impressed with this costume when I saw photos of it, and the reality was even better than expected. It has great detail and the quality is incredible. It will last for many years to come and will withstand lots of wear, even from the most boisterous of children. Its very lightweight so there’s no danger of your little space traveller overheating whilst they are on their missions, even with their usual clothes on underneath. And most importantly for us parents, its machine washable!
Now whilst it might not look like look like Buzz Lightyear, it does bare a tremendous resemblance to a suit worn by his second favourite TV character – David Tennent’s Doctor Who – in a couple of episodes, so Little Man is a big fan. I would LOVE to show you photos of him wearing it, but unfortunately this costume is a bit too big for him at the moment – the one we received was age 4-6 – but I am sure he’ll never take it off when we do get him into it.
This costume is available in sizes 2-3, 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 and 12-14 and retails at £38. Its not the cheapest costume you’ll ever buy your children, but I guarantee it’ll be the longest lasting.

Christmas 2013: Chill Factor Squeeze Cup Slushy Maker

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Product Reviews | Posted on 06-11-2013

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I’m sorry, but there’s no escaping it any longer. Christmas IS coming and so begins my weekly series on the top gifts for your children this year. Please don’t hate me.

A while ago we were sent a Chill Factor Squeeze Cup Slushy Maker to review after seeing it at Christmas In July. The concept of it is fairly simple – you place the cup in the freezer and once its frozen pour in a drink of your choice. Squeeze and release the soft sides of the cup repeatedly until its frozen into a slushy type consistency, and enjoy. Overall its a very clever cup which can transform pretty much ANY drink into a slushy. Now we tested this out with Little Man so obviously we used something child friendly like orange squash. He was fascinated by the giant yellow cup and once I poured the drink inside he was happy enough to start squishing the cup. After a few minutes the drink had started to solidify and a slushy was made. I handed Little Man the included straw with spoon on the end and he duly sat there and ate the slushy, occasionally offering me a spoonful. The drink we used was a strong mix and we found that worked much better than a weak mix which lost most of its flavour during the slushy making process.

Now whilst this product is aimed at children – suitable from age 3 upwards – there is no reason why adults can’t get in on the action too. This Christmas and New Year how about a nice frozen cocktail? I can see this method working very nicely with a Pina Colada or Margarita to make delicious frozen cocktails. Obviously I recommend cleaning it out thoroughly afterwards especially if your children are going to be using it again! Like I said we used orange squash for Little Man, but pure fruit juices, milk or even fizzy drinks would work well. My main tip is not to overfill the cup, and to squeeze calmly and gently. Frantic enthusiastic squeezing from Little Man did result in a slight overflow issue!

Priced at £12.99 for one, or £39.99 for a family pack of four, I think the Chill Factor is a great little item for all the family to enjoy.