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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: Shark Rocket HV320

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 09-06-2016

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I hate housework. I’m sure I’m not alone in that statement either. I can generally find a million and one things I’d rather be doing than cleaning the house, and invariably can be found doing one of them instead.

Having two young boys in the house the floor is generally chaotic. Biscuit crumbs, bread crumbs, a few dozen dinosaurs, several books and cars are scattered far and wide, therefore vacuuming is something of an assault course. I was approached recently by the team at Shark asking if I’d like to test out one of their vacuums. It was a brand I had never heard of before, so I did a little research before replying. A swift Google search and I stumbled upon several comments about how they were infinitely better than Dyson which had me intrigued. I use a Dyson myself and have always been highly impressed by it – so easy to move around and seemingly efficient. But was there something better?

Shark-RocketHV320-SussexMummy

Shark sent me a Rocket HV320 to test out. “The only Shark® stick vacuum designed to integrate the performance and cleanability of an upright and with pets in mind.” I have never used a stick vacuum before. I have long lusted after the Dyson cordless, but I have only ever used an upright so I was again intrigued as to how this would differ. The vacuum can be used with a multitude of included attachments, allowing it to be used as a stick vacuum and a handheld. It has a mini motorised brush for pet hair, a Dustaway attachment for hard floors, multiple LED lights for seeing under furniture, and can be stored either hanging on the wall or free standing.

The first test I did with the Shark was crumbs. Little Dude creates more crumbs than the rest of us put together, and not least of all with his favoured treat of a croissant. It is probably my own fault for allowing him to enjoy this treat stood at the coffee table whilst watching Bing or Twirlywoos, but the mess is insane as you can see from the before shot below. The after shot was taken following a quick vacuum with the Shark. The results, I feel, speak for themselves.

Shark-Croissant-SussexMummy

This doesn’t demonstrate the amount of crumbs that were over the table but I’m sure you can imagine. As you can see the rug looks like new, in fact I’m fairly sure it has never looked cleaner.

Next up was biscuit crumbs. Our sofas have wide arms which make them a frequent dumping ground for all manner of things, least of all drinks and snacks. Little Man arrives home from school each afternoon ravenous so snacks are dispensed almost the moment we walk back through the front door. He settles himself on the sofa with a bowl of fruit and biscuits and a drink and inevitably scatters the crumbs along the arms. Another before and after shot here, and this time I used the motorised head with the vacuum in its handheld form.

Shark-Biscuit-SussexMummy

For our final test – for now – I decided it was long time I cleaned out my car. The interior is basically an extension of the house, scattered with crumbs and stones and leaves and toys and books and all manner of chaos. Again it was time for the handheld vacuum to be used, along with the mini motorised head and the small crevice tool.

Shark-CarInterior-SussexMummy

My well battered car mats haven’t looked this clean for a very long time.

I think the photos here tell the story of the quality of the cleaning – entirely faultless. But how was using it? Well as I mentioned previously I have never used a stick vacuum before. It was a very different experience to an upright and it did take a bit of getting used to. It manouveres well however, and the heads fit neatly beneath the coffee table and the sofas. The lights, which I originally thought were a crazy feature, provided a great scope of vision beneath the furniture, allowing me to see precisely how untidy my house is!

I have a few more tests for the Shark which will be featured on the blog soon. I need to test it on the hard floors of the kitchen and bathrooms, I need to test its ability to vacuum the carpet in my bedroom which tends to be covered in my hair, and I need to use it on the stairs. But so far, I am vastly impressed with the vacuum and can well see me forgoing my Dyson entirely.

Are YOU bathroom proud?

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 11-06-2015

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There are some truly random surveys out there aren’t there? I wonder who on earth comes up with the questions sometimes. For example I just read an article about how people in Sussex and Kent are the most bathroom proud in Britain according to a survey done by UK Bathrooms. People are spending around £25 every month on cleaning products because they feel judged by visitors on the state of their loos.

What. On. Earth.

Toilet-SussexMummyYeah okay if people are visiting I do blitz the rooms they are most likely to stumble into – the kitchen, the lounge, and the downstairs bathroom – and I hide all the surplus junk and carnage in the rooms upstairs. So this will probably involve running around with the hoover, relocating the dust, and squirting some toilet duck down the loo. But do I spend £25 a month on cleaning products?

I have three bathrooms in my house – you wouldn’t think a 3 bed house would need so many would you – and my cleaning product arsenal for these rooms consists of toilet ducks, cleaning wipes, some kind of spray cleaner, and a loo block of some format. Under the sink in my kitchen I store the cleaning products for the rest of the house – again more cleaning wipes, another multi-purpose spray cleaner, something to clean the carpet, and a can of furniture polish which I suspect has more dust on it than the items its meant to be cleaning. So if I was to replace every cleaning product I have I might spend £25… but every month? I highly doubt it. But then again… I’m not much of a cleaner. Just ask my husband.

So yes DO make an effort to tidy up before people visit, and if that includes spending hours sterilising your bathroom so be it. But seriously, if your visitors are judging you on the state of your toilets, maybe you need to get yourselves some better visitors.

 

 

Feeding Time

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 03-06-2015

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I’d never really appreciated the comment “No two children are the same” quite so clearly as I have since Little Dude was born. He turned one a couple of weeks ago – mind blowing – and he is so different to his older brother in so many ways. He took eleven and a half months to start sleeping through the night consistently – his brother did it in four. He will only sleep on a mattress on the floor – his brother loved his cot. He is into EVERYTHING – we barely baby proofed with his brother. And he insists on feeding himself – Little Man was blissfully and cleanly spoon fed.

Meal times are just chaos. He has an incredible appetite and he will try and eat pretty much everything. Everything needs to be cut into bite-size pieces and put on a mat on the table so he can help himself. An awful lot goes in, and rather a lot goes on the floor. At the end of an average meal the area around his highchair and this mat are like a battleground. Tonight we’ve had pasta bolognese and needless to say everywhere – including his gorgeous face – is a rather amusing shade of orange.

Clean up is a mission, and its essential for me to clean his mat and anywhere on his highchair that he might drop food and then pick it up again to eat with something safe. After every meal I wipe down his chair and his mat with a cleaning wipe – these things are brilliant and perfect for quick yet efficient cleaning. Once a week – or sooner if things get a bit apocalyptic – I get out the big guns and grab a heavy duty trigger spray and blitz the area. Like I said though, I want to use something powerful and something safe, so my weapon of choice is the Power & Pure range from Dettol.

Dettol is a brand name all parents know and trust. We’ve used their wipes in our kitchen and bathrooms for years. The Power & Pure range is ideal for the eating area though as it provides impressive cleaning ability without leaving behind any chemical nastiness that you wouldn’t want your little one digesting.

I also use their No Touch Hand Wash system at my kitchen sink. The kitchen is, obviously, where I prepare all the family meals and the endless supply of snacks for my two permanently hungry boys. For the protection of my children I need to make sure my hands are squeaky clean and free from any nasty bacteria so washing my hands before preparing food with this nifty device is essential. The sensor ensures it dispenses just the right amount to thoroughly wash your hands and I love the fact it doesn’t drip like manual dispensers tend to.

Dettol-SussexMummy

How do you deal with meal time messes? Most days I generally consider letting him eat outside…

Spring Cleaning

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Product Reviews | Posted on 13-02-2013

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I know its still a little chilly out there – and I know for a fact some of you still have snow! – but spring is just around the corner I promise, and for many of us its the time we embark on a decluttering the house and giving it a good clean. Spring Cleaning is something of a chore – unless you’re someone who enjoys it of course… – but it is possible to make it as easy as possible, and also protect the environment and your family.

I don’t know about you but I generally don’t like using harsh chemical cleaning products in places where my son is going to go or around food. Now being 2 years old he goes in most places at the moment so I’ve made the switch to eco-friendly – and Little Man Friendly – products. As well as using eco-friendly cleaning products I am also using recycled tools to do the work for me.

Ecover
Ecover provide the ultimate in environmentally friendly cleaning products. Their range contains plant based ingredients as opposed to harsh chemicals so they are safe to put down the drain, but are also gentle on your skin and the surfaces they touch. Cleaning with an Ecover product means your child or pet can come into contact with whatever you’ve cleaning immediately, without risk. Whilst the products are gentle on you they are tough on stains. I thought something that was plant based would never deal with the 101 stains and spillages caused by your average toddler. I was wrong.

I used the All Purpose Cleaner on my kitchen floor. The kitchen is where a lot of the action happens, and where most of the spills occur. The floor can go from squeaky clean to fairly hideous in the blink of an eye, so its important to have something to hand that will do the job without worrying about Little Man “helping” in the process. It cleaned the floor beautifully, and I was so impressed I filled my kitchen sink with hot water and a cap full of cleaner and did my whole kitchen. Every bench, the cooker top, and the sink all came up beautifully, and the delicate lemon scent makes everything smell fresh and clean.

Cleaning wipes are something I’ve often used. They are great for highchairs especially, but I used the Ecover Multi-Action Wipes to clean out my fridge. I don’t want chemicals inside my fridge – especially my vegetable drawer where items tend to be loose and unwrapped – so these pomegranate and lime scented wipes sounded ideal. They have an ecological antibacterial formula in them which kills 99% of bacteria – perfect for a fridge – and they too leave behind a delicate scent. One large wipe made swift work of the shelves in my fridge and a small one – each large wipe has a perforation across the centre – cleaned in and around the vegetable drawer. Upon completion I was confident about putting loose vegetables straight back inside without risk of contamination.

Washing up is a daily chore in every house. Again I want something safe on my cutlery and crockery – especially Little Man’s – so I tried the Lemon & Aloe Vera Washing Up Liquid. I continued to be thrilled with the results from the Ecover range as bowls, plates and cutlery came out clean. Cups and glasses even sparkled, and Little Man’s surprisingly large range of plates, bowls, cutlery, cups and snack pots all ended up fresh and clean, without a chemical in sight.

I am officially converted to Ecover, and doubt I’ll go back to the harsh chemical products I used to use. You can find their range in most supermarkets, or you can buy from Ecover Direct. You can also get some of the range from Abel & Cole with your vegetable box!

EcoForce & Dishmatic
Whilst you’re using eco-friendly cleaners why not use recycled and eco-friendly tools? EcoForce have a range of scourers, sponges, brushes, cloths and dusters which are all made from recycled materials, and that still get the job done. Would you believe that the sponges are made from the foam that other manufacturers send to landfill? And they are still effective when it comes to cleaning tough stains. The cloths are strong and super absorbent so perfect for quickly and cleanly mopping up spills and puddles, and the super soft dusters are perfect for use on glass and mirrors. We used one to clean the interior of our car windscreen and it came up brilliantly. You can also get recycled plastic clothes pegs and bag grips which are strong and long lasting.

Dishmatic has a wonderful invention which was one of my favourite things to test out. They have a washing up brush with a sponge cleaner on the end – the sponge can be replaced when its worn out, and there are different heads available depending on the task. When I love about this is that you fill the handle with washing up liquid and it dispenses as you clean. It makes the washing up quicker and easier and I found we used less washing up liquid this way. Its always filled and ready for action. A great idea!

Ecorforce and Dishmatic products can be found in supermarkets, DIY stores, Oxfam and online here.

Guest Review: Bionaire Steam Cleaner

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Reviewer | Posted on 07-01-2013

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One more new Guest Reviewer, and this time its my Mother In Law! I was sent a Steam Cleaner to review and handed it over for her to test it out.
“Well winter is on us once more and the challenges of winter cleaning loom again. The wet weather and mud, especially when you have to contend with a dog who loves splashing through puddles and running through long grass they then leave marks all around the house. Even when we have rubbed them down with a towel you still get that wet dog odour, not to mention the ‘nice’ line around your furniture where they will insist on rubbing themselves’ dry. So when I was offered the chance to trial the new Bionaire Steam Cleaner I was eager to see if this could resolve some of these problems.
Layla’s dog basket is a particular problem, it is washable but by the time you have put it through the washing machine, it then takes an age to dry.  By this time she has made herself another bed, usually the most comfy chair in the house. She was reluctant to let me get at the basket but I persisted and after brushing the loose bits off I set too, to see if I could freshen and clean it up. She was very content with it after it had been cleaned and curled up in it straight away.  I wasn’t even allowed to put it back into the correct place in the lounge.
The steam cleaner came with simple instructions on how to assemble and included some accessories for different functions.  I found that it was quite light to handle even when it was filled with water, and it quickly heated up.  Layla’s bed was made from a fake suede material, on the exterior which looked quite shabby and a fleecy lining.  I passed the steam cleaner over the external surface and it immediately restored it to the original look.  The interior lining took a little longer to look clean but what was instantly apparent it no longer had that doggy odour.  The whole process only took a few minutes and as you can see she soon snuggled back down in it.
My next project was the furniture. Now I have a black Labrador and even after drying her with a towel after her walk she will rub herself along the furniture, which unfortunately is a light gold colour so I have a ‘lovely’ black line.  So after attaching the brush head to the steam cleaner I lightly steamed the area and the brush head picked up all the black hairs.  Again what was immediately apparent was that the doggy odour had gone.
Well after you have cleaned the house with the Bionaire Steam Cleaner you can also use this handy gadget on your clothes as well.  I have a lovely new top, just in time for the seasonal parties.  This top has a loose draped front and after washing it I tried to iron it.  Unfortunately this stretched the garment.  So I washed it again but this time I used the steamer to steam the creases out and hey presto those gentle folds came back and it fitted perfectly.  There is also a tool for pressing trousers for that sharp crisp look.
So now I have cleaned the house and resolved some ironing issues I am now ready to enjoy the Seasonal Holiday and party party party!!”

Review: Cleaning Gift Vouchers

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 12-12-2012

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You’ll recall last week that I introduced you to Cleaning Gift Vouchers. I was working with them to promote their service and as part of that they were coming to professionally clean my oven. Here’s what happened.

I’d attempted to clean my oven a couple of  times before, but generally never got anywhere fast, so I was thrilled to have someone coming to do it for me. A team of three people arrived at my house – who knew it would take so many – and they dutifully set about work in the kitchen. The speed with which the door of the oven had been removed and the shelves and wall brackets removed was lightning fast and before long the scent of cleaning products was wafting through my house. Now it wasn’t the most pleasant of smells, but all their cleaning products are safe to use and I would be able to use my oven again as soon as they’d finished.

Whilst the work was going on I must admit to sitting down on the sofa with a cup of tea. Little Man had been dispatched to Grandma’s for the night so I was thoroughly going to enjoy the peace and quiet. Well, the lack of toddler anyway!

The cleaning took about an hour before I was invited back into the kitchen to take a look. There was only one word to describe the work they’d done: Stunning. You’d swear a new oven had been fitted whilst I was chilled on the sofa. The back, sides, tops and bottom were all sparkling clean – including the grill element – and the door was clear enough to see through again. Upon turning the oven on the grill didn’t smoke immediately as it had previously, and after a small amount of residue had burnt off – literally a few seconds gentle smoke – the oven was working perfectly.

Would I recommend the service? Most definitely. My oven is now squeaky clean and ready for the endless cooking that will be the festive period. I’m fairly convinced that the cleaning has improved the efficiency of my oven too.

So if you want to treat yourself or a loved one to some help around the home, get on to Cleaning Gift Vouchers today.

Introducing Cleaning Gift Vouchers

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Home & Lifestyle, Information | Posted on 03-12-2012

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I was recently asked to take part in a campaign with CleaningGiftVouchers.co.uk who provide, what they call, the “Gift Of Time”. As parents we’re all busy people. As well as the 24/7 job of looking after our children, we are perhaps also holding down jobs, running the home, and occasionally even finding five minutes to ourselves. Time is something we don’t have a lot of, so to be able to find a company to lend a hand is pretty exciting.

With Christmas fast approaching, chances are you’re going to have a steady stream of friends and relations in your home so you’ll no doubt want it looking at its best. Finding the time to clean your house can be tricky at the best of times, but with the added pressure of shopping for Christmas too, it can be almost impossible. Or perhaps your house is tidy but you’re oven could do with a little TLC before the big day and the mass cooking begins.

CleaningGiftVouchers.co.uk are here to help. They have  a range of cleaning packages available to buy for yourself, or to treat someone, to suit any problem area. I was instantly attracted to the “Sparkling Single Oven Cleaning” package. My oven door seems to collect remnants of past meals, and because my grill is inside the oven it gathers any fat splashes from roasts and then proceeds to smoke any time we use it. We’ve had a go at cleaning it ourselves but it is such a time consuming ordeal that didn’t seem to work at all.

Using the payment code I’d been given I went online to book my oven cleaning. Purchasing a voucher was simple enough, and with a little help from the online chat support I managed to select the best package for me. Arranging the appointment was also easy and I had the details confirmed by phone and email within 24 hours. I was really pleased to have booked the cleaning so easily and so efficiently. The website makes is really helpful and the online chat support provide valuable extra details and great customer service.

I am really looking forward to having my oven cleaned in time for Christmas.