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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: Breville Blend Active

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Foodie, New Year New You, Product Reviews | Posted on 04-12-2013

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Christmas is a time for indulgence. I’m sure we’re all guilty of overdoing things a little during the festive period with too much food or drink. Huge Christmas lunches, boxes of chocolates and biscuits, and just one more slice of cake. January dawns and everyone starts panicking about how much weight they’ve put on, as well as how much they’ve spent. If you or a loved one is planning on embarking on a new diet and fitness regime come 2014 then a Blend Active by Breville may well be the best present you get this Christmas.
“Not another blender/smoothie maker!!” I hear you cry. Well this one is a little bit different. This compact blender comes with two 600ml drinks bottles which you use to mix your drink in, and then take out with you to the gym or on the school run or for a healthy drink later in the day thanks to the none spill lids. The one-touch blending system is super easy to use, and the blades and bottles are all dishwasher friendly. The Eastman Tritan Copolyester bottles are also durable, shatterproof, and odour, taste and stain resistant.
Now I don’t do exercise – apart from running around after a three year old all day – and my school run is particularly lame as I take the car because my stamina is pathetic due to me being pregnant, so I gave this nifty little blender to my Dad to review – also known as Pops. He works four days a week for a taxi company in Chichester and generally tends to leave for work at 4am – don’t ask me how he does it, I have no idea! Leaving that early means his meals are generally at random times and he tends to grab things on the go. Not the healthiest way to live. He’s a fan of smoothies but has never had the facilities to take them with him. He is the PERFECT guinea pig for this little review then.
I must confess I expected the novelty of this to wear off pretty quickly, but I can report that Pops has been using this machine daily – even when he’s at home –  since I took it over several weeks ago. He’s having a huge range of fruit smoothies with yogurt in and fruit juice, and the machine is so easy to use.
He is a huge fan. The convenience of the pieces being dishwasher proof is a huge plus point as he can make his smoothie at 4am before he leaves and pop the blades in the dishwasher. Having two bottles is brilliant as there is always one in use and one getting washed.
Its the ideal healthy drink for someone who spends the day in a car driving, and its much more cost effective than stopping and buying food and drinks when you’re out on the road.  You can currently get this Blend Active for just £20.00 on Amazon which is great value for this nifty bit of equipment.

I was sent a Breville Blend Active to review by Amazon.

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: Winter Fashions from Fat Face

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Fashion, Product Reviews | Posted on 13-11-2013

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I LOVE Fat Face. It is without a doubt my favourite high street store when it comes to buying clothes for myself. Whilst it may not be the cheapest place to buy clothes, you know you are always going to end up with a high quality item which will last for ages. Truly worth the investment. I actually went into the Chichester branch yesterday to take advantage of their new sale. Finding clothes to fit when pregnant is never particularly easy, and despite being only 13 weeks I already have a not-so-subtle bump to work around. The determined part of me however managed to pick up a couple of bargains which show off my lovely little bump brilliantly, and I’m content in the knowledge that I’ll be able to wear them again afterwards.

A while ago the lovely team at Fat Face sent me an early Christmas present from their new Autumn Winter range. They’d been in touch a few days before to ask about my clothes size so I was very excited when a parcel landed on my doorstep. I wasn’t worried about being sent a mysterious item of clothing as I’d happily wear anything from the store, but I was particularly thrilled with the contents. They sent me the Amy Gilet in Navy to test out.

I tried it on the instant it was out of the packaging – I do love a good coat. At that stage I could still fasten it up – sadly my 13 week bump is now a little too big for me to fasten it comfortably – and pulled the hood over my head. I felt SO snuggly and warm. In fact to say I was only wearing a gilet I felt the cosier than I did in most coats! I headed over to Fat Face website to read more about my lovely Christmas present.

“In a shower resistant outer with super warm duck down and feather filling, plus a cosy deep pile fleece lining; this gorgeous gilet is perfect for beating the chill this season.”

That’ll explain the warmth then!

I adore this gilet. The length is brilliant – a previous gilet I’ve owned was irritatingly too short – and makes sure no drafts are getting in. It can be worn over layers or thick jumpers – if you’re not pregnant… – and whilst I wouldn’t wear it in a downpour it copes admirably in brief showers. I love the fleece lining which feels nice and soft and whilst I ordinarily wouldn’t choose a fur trimmed hood it does add to that feeling of cosiness.

The Amy Gilet is available in a choice of six colours – the Cobalt Blue is an online exclusive – and retails at £65. If I went into store and tried this on I don’t think there’d be any doubt in me buying it. I think this is a very reasonable price for a gilet of this quality which looks and feels great on. A lovely item to add to your Christmas Wish List or to drop subtle hints to family about wanting. If anyone asks me what I want this Christmas, I think I’ll just point them at the Fat Face Gift Guide! What would you choose from Fat Face this Christmas?


Review: Tonka Town Fire Station

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Product Reviews | Posted on 30-10-2013

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Little Man is a pretty typical boy. He loves cars and space ships and dinosaurs and Doctor Who and anything that’s loud basically. When we were contacted by the team at Tonka Town and asked if we’d like to test out one of their new play sets we couldn’t resist, especially after spotting a rather cool looking Fire Station.
The Fire Station comes with two characters – Jose and Bruno – and a fire car. The station itself includes ladders, a fireman’s pole, a spinning satellite dish, and a pop up fire for your crew to put out. The garage section also extends out and doors open to allow access for your car. Behind the computer on the top of the station is a button to press to sound the alarm.
As soon as this arrived and I opened the box Little Man was straight over and wanted to play immediately. He was straight at the button that made the alarm ring – obviously – and that won him over. He can sit for ages driving Jose and Bruno around in the car, walking them up and down the steps, tackling the pop up fire, or pressing the alarm button. Endlessly. Thankfully the alarm isn’t too loud so even when it feels like its going constantly its not that annoying. He also enjoys opening and closing the garage doors and twisting the satellite dish round and round.
I really like the Fire Station as its fairly compact and because the alarm is reasonably quiet. Its all plastic and not perhaps the sturdiest of plastic toys but its coping well under the pressure of an excitable three year old. My only real criticism of it is the fireman’s pole. Attaching one of your characters to it is not particularly easy. Little Man can’t do it, and to be honest I struggle at times. This in no way affects his enjoyment of the toy though.
You can buy a Fire Engine separately to go with your Station – something I’ll be pointing Aunties and Uncles at this Christmas – as well as a Jail Play Set which will match this one nicely. Tonka Town is available from a wide range of stockists, both on the high street and online. Suitable from age 3 plus I think they’d make a great set for children this Christmas.


Halloween Candles From Scented Candle Shop

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Information | Posted on 11-10-2013

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With Halloween just a few weeks away no doubt you’re getting organised with costumes for the children and things for any trick or treaters that come to your door. Maybe you’re even having a spooky Halloween party and you’ve been looking for decorations and finishing touches to make it a truly memorable event. We don’t really do Halloween in our house – Little Man will be 3 and whilst he appreciates sweets he doesn’t really get the point of the event yet. We’ll probably do something small, maybe a spooky cake or I’ll get him an outfit he can wear on the day without looking too crazy. His preschool are holding a Pumpkin Party the week before so hopefully we’ll go along to that and he can get dressed up.

If you are having a party, or perhaps you’re just looking to decorate your house a bit for the children, how about some Halloween candles? If you head over to the Scented Candle Shop you’ll find a great range available whatever your needs. Here are my favourites.
Yankee Candles Scented Candles HalloweenYankee Candles have some great Halloween pieces this year. Two great Housewarmer Jars are available – one Candy Corn scented and one smelling of Witches Brew. I love Housewarmer Jars and these two would look great on a shelf or mantelpiece on Halloween night. My favourite item though is the Black Cat Tea Light Holder. A spooky looking cat which holds a single tea light in the arch of its back. Jet black apart from two bright yellow eyes, this would make a really good party decoration or would look nice and spooky in a window by the front door. If you’re after something a little more subtle the Scented Candle Shop also do a range of purple, black, orange and red candles and holders to add a coloured theme to your gathering.

And once Halloween is over and November dawns it’ll no doubt be time to really start thinking about Christmas which is approaching at an alarming speed as it does most years. You’ll be pleased to hear that there are plenty Christmas candles to choose from too.

Money, Money, Money

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 25-09-2013

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Did you know its under 100 days to Christmas? In fact as of today its just 90 days away. Scary thought isn’t it? Just a few months to go before the big day, and before parents up and down the country reach breaking point as they try to figure out how to pay for presents and food and new clothes and everything else that comes with that most wonderful time of the year. We’re all well aware of the ideas of starting early, spreading the costs, being more organised, but to be fair I suspect most of us are just far too busy to begin thinking about Christmas before November. Every year around the start of December I start thinking “Gosh I’ll be better organised next year…” or “I’ll start buying presents / cards / wrapping paper in the January sales…” or “I’ll make an effort to discover a savings account option which will help me afford Christmas…” but I never do. Instead I will no doubt find Christmas creeping up on me at the start of December and realise I’ve achieved nothing.

Its just all so expensive isn’t it? I know, its not about the money its the family togetherness and all that good stuff, but even gathering your family around for Christmas lunch can be pricey. Turkey and all the trimmings, a few bottles of wines and perhaps something fizzy, the endless eating that goes on after the big day with nibbles and chocolates and selection boxes. And then there’s the presents. Little Man is usually a pretty cheap person to buy for because I do forward plan his gifts a little and there might be sales purchases, or competition prizes, or review items he’s used for a week or so and put down again that I’ve proceeded to hide until December. Being 3 has its advantages in that respect. But there’s still parents and grandparents and Daddy’s numerous siblings to think about. Plus if we want to visit the in laws during the festive break there’s the petrol costs of driving to and from Birmingham and things to do whilst we’re there. It all adds up.

I really think next year I’m going to be organised. No really. I’m going to get cards and gift wrap in the January sales and keep my eyes open for bargains in the sales. What I should really look into though is learning about the benefits of an ISA. Get myself a quality tax free savings account that I pop a little bit into every month and use that to pay for food and last minutes gifts next December. I also think lists will definitely be my saving grace. Lists of people to buy for, lists of things to make and bake, lists of where we are when and with who. Now I just need to find time to do it all. Wish me luck!


Time For Some Cosy Sleepwear

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Fashion | Posted on 19-09-2013

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Good grief its got cold suddenly hasn’t it? Autumn is firmly here with Winter well on its way and I am freezing. I just put the heating on during the day and the post lady came to the door in shorts. SHORTS! Its got really chilly at night too and my usual attire of a large tshirt isn’t going to cut it anymore I don’t think. Time for some new pyjamas I think. I do own a onesie – much to the despair of my family – and that does a pretty good job but its not really snuggly as its just a plain cotton one. I’m thinking something fleecy and hooded like this gorgeous set I found on the Camille website.

Just looking at it is making me feel warmer already, and what a gorgeous colour too – perfect for Christmas. I suspect if I put this on I’d never take it off. Look at the gorgeous fleecy hood! I’d probably end up going in to hibernation and living in it for the rest of the Winter! There’s also a lovely looking giraffe print one which I think my giraffe obsessed sister-in-law may well receive for Christmas, as well as a plain green one to make you look like an elf, or a blue one to turn you into a smurf. The choice is actually rather impressive!

Bed socks are another great way to keep warm in the winter. I have really bad circulation and more often than not my feet resemble blocks of ice as soon as I take my shoes and socks off. Whilst warming them on my husbands legs – who tends to be like a hot water bottle – is tempting, he’s apparently not a fan. Can’t think why. He did buy me some bed socks last Christmas – clearly a hint – but I have spotted a few funky patterns out there that should keep even my icy toes warm. Time to draw up my Christmas wish list I think…


Review: This Is Nessie Thank You Cards

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, New Year, Product Reviews | Posted on 28-12-2012

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Well Christmas is over and hopefully Santa came and delivered everything your little ones wanted. Should they – or you – wish to send letters of Thanks to any friends or relatives who might have added to Santa’s gifts, then you might want to take a look at This Is Nessie.

This Is Nessie offers a delightful range of handmade stationery for all ages, but its Christmas Thank You cards are just beautiful. You have a choice of designs to feature on your cards, and you also have the option of having them personalised if you wish. We were sent a set for review and they were even more exquisite than I expected. The design features a Santa holding two gifts aloft and beneath that is our personalised message. The cards are high quality A6 size and come with, in our case, bright red envelopes. There is plenty room on the front and back for a little note thanking someone for their gift and a brief message. I am really looking forward to sending these out in the New Year and receiving no doubt hugely positive feedback. Packs of 10 cards cost just £7.50 which is a great price for such a high quality product.

The ordering process is so simple. With just a few clicks you can get precisely the design you want. In the Christmas Thank You card section there is a choice of several classic images, from reindeer to stockings to Christmas trees, and then your simply type in any personalisation you want. It couldn’t be simpler, and you end up with perfect thank you cards.

As well as thank you cards they also do other stationery, including greetings cards, change of address, birth announcements, and even your own personal writing paper. Delivery is quick and efficient, and items arrive gorgeously wrapped ensuring your items arrive in the best possible condition.

You can find the full range from This Is Nessie at their website.

Review: Photo Cufflinks From Ring Jewellery, Brighton

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 27-12-2012

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Little Man was very sneaky this Christmas, and managed to get Daddy a rather special gift. Okay so he had a little help from Mummy, but Daddy was very impressed with what he got to unwrap on Christmas morning. The wonderful Ring Jewellery in Brighton sent Daddy some new cufflinks to wear to work. But they weren’t any cufflinks. They were very special and very personal cufflinks.

This is one of Daddy’s favourite pictures of Little Man, which was taken on a recent holiday to the New Forest we all took in September.

It was a totally impromptu shot, but I think Little Man looks great and when Ring Jewellery contacted us, it became the ideal photo for them to use to make a very special gift for Daddy this Christmas. Here’s the finished cufflinks.

You simply provide Ring Jewellery with your image and decide whether you want the cufflinks to be round or square, or silver or gold. We went for a round silver style and I think you’ll agree they look brilliant.

Now Daddy isn’t the only person with his own set of personal cufflinks. Celebrity clients include Mark Ronson, Theo Walcott and Graham Norton, so he’s in pretty good company.

If you live in the Brighton area head into their shop to find out more about their bespoke pieces, or check out their website. You can also find them on Twitter @RingJewellers.