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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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Bring On The Summer

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion | Posted on 13-05-2013

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I’m currently on holiday in Pembrokeshire – clearly not TOTALLY on holiday or I wouldn’t have packed my laptop – and despite a rather dubious forecast, today has been pretty gorgeous weather wise. Yes it did go from bright sunshine to epic downpour within minutes, but minutes later the sun was back out again. Its a little breezy yes – gale force at times – but its sunny, so what more can I ask for?

We’re spending as much time as we can outside, making the most of the weather and the sunshine whilst it lasts. Having checked the forecast before we packed and left home I threw a lot of jumpers in at the last minute, and brought only trousers. Not a summer dress in sight, and I’m beginning to regret that. I think a little shopping trip might be called for before the clouds roll out again and turn the week into a wet squib.

I’m thinking a nice sleeveless dress. I’m not a fan of plain dresses. I like a pattern – generally something cute like birds, which won’t come as a surprise to anyone that’s met me. I have lots of tops, skirts and dresses with a bird print on. A friend of mine suggested I looked at the range of dresses at New Look. They are cheap and cheerful, and luckily for me, plenty come with cute prints on. These are my three favourites from their website, each with a different print – flowers, birds and bees. I think a trip into town is called for to see which I like. Knowing me, I’ll end up buying all three. Then again, it is my birthday on Friday, so perhaps I can persuade Hubby to get them for me. A girl can dream!

Which is your favourite? I’m leaning towards the bee print myself. I like the zip pocket detailing. This dress is an online exclusive… now where did I put Hubby’s credit card…!

Spring Clean: Music Magpie

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 22-04-2013

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I’ve seen a lot of talk on Twitter in the last couple of weeks about people decluttering their homes and selling their things. Lots of people commenting on how much unnecessary stuff they seem to have in their homes that they’re trying to get rid of, from books and CDs to clothes and tech. We had a big clear out of CDs and DVDs last summer. We spent an evening packing them up to send them to Music Magpie. Music Magpie is a great website where you can sell your unwanted items and make a bit of money for them. It must have taken us a good few hours to scan each CD and DVD we no longer wanted into the computer before packing them into boxes and getting them collected by the Music Magpie courier. We didn’t make a fortune of course, but it seemed easier and more profitable then trying to sell them on online auction sites or via a car boot.

Music Magpie have recently expanded what they are willing to buy from you to clothing. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a wardrobe groaning under the pressure of clothes that I no longer wear and more often don’t even remember buying. Now is the ideal time to sort through your wardrobes and drawers and do a bit of clothes recycling. They take all kinds of clothes from all sorts of brands, and its not just womens clothes either. They take men’s and children’s too. I think I’ll be going through Little Man’s drawers and getting rid of some bits that he’s grown out of. He seems to have bags and bags of clothes all over the place that don’t fit him anymore. A lot of it we’re keeping “just in case” we have any more children, but I don’t think we’ll need half of what we’ve kept. Clothes obviously need to be in good condition, so you can’t sell things that are torn or stained, but what you do sell you get a little bit of money for which you can always put towards some new clothes for your summer holiday, or save for a rainy day. I think we can be guaranteed a few more of those yet.

Review: Vanish Stain Removers

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 27-03-2013

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Children are messy. Whatever they are doing, and no matter how clean and tidy you think they’ll remain, they always seem to end up in a mess. Eating is probably one of the worse – the endless stains on Little Man’s clothes are remarkable – but I think a nice walk is a close muddy second. And its not just their clothes. More often than not the carpet is the next thing to bear the brunt, usually melting chocolate or muddy footprints. And to be fair if its not them its us – spilling coffee or tea on the floor and causing epic stains. At least that was the case before Vanish got in touch.

Stains on clothes and carpets are an everyday occurrence in any house with a child, but thankfully the team at Vanish have come up with some great handy stain removal tips. They have great advice for getting a wealth of stains out of clothes and carpets using their tried and tested products. They cover a range of stains, from ketchup and chocolate, to mud and grass, and even blood and motor oil. Whether its been rubbing into your little ones clothes or is currently causing a pathway through your carpets, Vanish will help you get it out.

The team at Vanish sent me a selection of products to test out. Their Vanish Oxi Action Powder was the first and most frequent product to be tried. An innocent trip to the park generally means mud covered jeans and a treat of a chocolate biscuit always causing a brown melting stain to appear somewhere! Following the dosage instructions – 1 scoop for tough stains, 1/2 scoop for normal stains – I popped Little Man’s now brown jeans in the wash with a load of his other clothes. I washed them at 40 as I always do and hoped. Without Vanish in my wash mud stains can prove tricky. They always look like they’ve come out, but closer inspection usually highlights the remains of a stain which never seems to go. A scoop of Vanish in with my usual detergent left me with perfectly clean jeans and no trace of the mud. One food based stain we have most problems with is strawberry. Little Man loves them and would live on them if I let him. Unfortunately they are particularly juicy at the moment which generally leaves a lovely dribble of red down Little Man’s chin which tends to land on his top. Today that top was sadly white. What possessed me to buy my son a white tshirt I will never know, but there we are. Luckily for me Vanish had also sent me a tub of Oxy Action Crystal White Powder. Previous white tops or even coloured tops have been thrown out after a run in with some strawberries so I feared this tshirt would go the same way. Half a scoop in my wash with a few other white items and a standard wash later and I was thrilled to remove a clean white tshirt from my machine. There was no trace of any red left – it was like new.

My main fault with the house we live in is that when we bought it it came with cream carpets. In EVERY room. Replacing them is expensive and not a priority at the moment, so we have to live with slightly off-cream carpets now. Our lounge has patio doors on leading out into the garden and despite our best efforts with a door mat inside the garden does tend to find its way inside. And even though we have a huge mat at the front door the hall carpet has definitely seen better days. For spot cleaning on my carpet stains I’ve found nothing works as well as Vanish’s Oxi Action Carpet and Upholstery Spray. Its great on small stains, such as food or drink spills, and even grass stains. For larger areas like the hall which experience high levels of traffic then its best to use Vanish Powerfoam. Sprayed onto the hall carpet, worked in gently and then left for 2 hours before vacuuming, it came up cleaner than its been since we moved in and with a pleasant and fresh smell.

Stains are inevitable, especially with children, but thanks to Vanish they no longer need to be permanent.

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!!”

We Love Squirrels…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Reviewer, Product Reviews | Posted on 29-10-2012

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“We Love Squirrels” is a great online boutique to check out if you’re looking for something a little bit different for your little one to wear. Featuring Scandinavian inspired wear and animal patterns – largely squirrels obviously – the clothes are bright and colourful designs, perfect for grey winter days.

The team at “We Love Squirrels” sent my newest guest reviewer a dress and legging set to review from the Little Green Radicals range. The ‘Woodland Smock‘ features a gorgeous embroidered scene around the bottom which includes lots of squirrels, and the matching ‘Teaberry Button Leggings‘ are a versatile pink colour with button details on the cuffs. Both items are made from 100% organic cotton so its super soft to touch – essential on Little Daisy Doo’s skin.

Do you think Little Daisy Doo likes her new outfit?

I think the grin says it all doesn’t it?

If you’re looking for something for the little boy in your life then I highly recommend this great nautical shoes from Poco Nido. They are suede soles so are ideal for those first tentative steps, and I LOVE the design.

“We Love Squirrels” features some great unique brands. As well as the ones mentioned above you can also find fantastic items from Red Urchin, Toby Tiger and Beau LOves. They also offer FREE UK delivery which is excellent news for all you shopaholics out there!

“We Love Squirrels” can also be found on Twitter so get following @WeLoveSquirrels for all the latest news.

Product Review: Joe Browns

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Product Reviews | Posted on 17-09-2012

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Joe Browns was set up to provide something that little bit different from other clothing catalogues, and when you flick through their book or browse their online store that difference is clear. Their clothes are a lifestyle choice. You won’t find anything in the Joe Brown catalogue that you might find similar somewhere else. Joe Browns clothes are distinctive and add something a bit special and unique to your wardrobe.

This Easy Livin’ Dress is one of my favourites from the new Autumn/Winter range. A knitted pointelle top with two handy front pockets and a floral hem which gives the appearance of layers, this top is perfect for the cold season. On chillier days paired with dark jeans and boots, or on those rare warmer Autumn days worn with brown or black leggings. This top is ideal for casual day wear, or can be dressed up and accessorised for a night out at the local pub with friends.

The Joe Browns summer sale is currently on where you can snap up a few last minute bargains whilst the late summer just about lasts. I found these great Floral Espadrille Pumps.

They are SO comfortable and extremely versatile. Pottering around the house, hitting the high street shopping, lazy evenings in the pub or out for a date – these shoes will get you through most events and gathering, and you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them.

The NEW Autumn/Winter range is available now from the Joe Browns website, and there are still a few bargains to be had in the sale!

Disclaimer: I received the items mentioned above to review from Joe Browns, but all opinions are my own and were not affected by the company.

Summer Holiday Essentials: Milk & Cereal Tshirt

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews, Summer Holiday Essentials | Posted on 31-05-2012

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If you after some fun and funky clothes for your children to take on their holidays this summer head over to Milk & Cereal and check out their range of bright and bold tshirts. Each design is hand printed on organic cotton so is gentle against your little ones skin and was designed by a team of graffiti artists in association with a Mum who was seeking something a “fresh and fun” for her children. Here’s some of my favourite designs:

I am a big fan of bright coloured clothes for my Little Man and he is a big fan of this tshirt. There’s always a smile on his face when I take it out of the drawer and he likes to give the cow a little wave before putting it on. The quality is excellent and it washes really well. I can see this being a part of Little Man’s wardrobe all summer long.

Check out the full Milk & Cereal range online.

 

Guest Post: Bonnie Baby Sample Sale in Hove on 19th May!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Guest Post, Information | Posted on 04-05-2012

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Local designer baby/childrens clothing company Bonnie baby are teaming up with another local brand Bob and Blossom on the 19th May 2012 to hold a great clearance sale.
Products from both brands are sold in stores such as Selfridges, Harrods, Liberty and Harvey Nichols, but prices at this exclusive sale will start from as little as £3.00 and will include clothing for both baby and child; Bonnie baby recently launched Bonnie Kids and many of their items are now available in sizes up to 5 years. You will find great summer dresses, babygrows/playsuits, lovely knitted cardigans and sweaters, baby blankets plus much, much more.
The sale is taking place in Holy Cross Church Hall, Tamworth Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 5FQ, 10am – 4pm. Holy Cross church hall is easily accessible from the centre and outskirts of Brighton. If travelling from the centre of Brighton, jump on one of the following buses; #2, #46, #49 and jump off at the Westbourne gardens bus stop, Tamworth Road is on the right hand side just past a Sainsburys Local. If travelling by train the nearest station is Aldrington with the church hall just a 2min walk away. Parking is available on the road side however this is on a pay and display basis.
This is definitely a date for the diary and I suggest that you pop along early in order to get your pick of the best bargains. Once you have visited the sale there is a park directly opposite which is always very popular with the children and also has a lovely cafe for the mums.
Have you been to a Bonnie baby clearance sale before? Did you find some great pieces? Leave your comments below and let us know what you found!!

Product Review: Ellos Clothing

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Product Reviews | Posted on 12-04-2012

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I love clothes shopping. It’s something I have always enjoyed since the days of going into to town with my Mum on a Saturday when I was younger. Before I had the responsibilities of mortgages and bills to pay the majority of my wage would go on new clothes, and I was terrible for finding things hanging in my wardrobe months after buying it with the label still attached. It was like buying it all over again as more often than not I didn’t recognise it either! With the arrival of Little Man 18 months ago – how is he THAT old already! – my clothes buying went firmly out the window. Any clothes that I buy nowadays are considerably smaller than they used to be and often feature cute pictures on the front or easy nappy access. When Ellos offered me some of their new range to review therefore, I jumped at the chance to add some new items to my much less full wardrobe.

Nowadays my clothes need to be easy to wash and comfortable – style never really comes into it. I don’t want to look totally dull, but I’d rather wear something that I can just throw in the washing machine when its covered in snot/sick/mashed banana/blueberries then have to worry about hand washing or low temperatures. Given the task “Pick a couple of things from the website…” I was given a fairly free range – within a budget of course – so decided on two items. Firstly I went for this lovely casual double layer effect top:

Made from a nice comfortable stretchy material this long sleeved top is perfect for spring. The sleeves are very long – which I personally love – and come down to my knuckles, but can be easily pushed back (like in the photo above) if you want your hands free and clear. I think the pink colour is great – nice and spring like – and the gathering at the front and the seam along the bust adds a simple detail. This top is going to be well used during the spring and summer, and will definitely be finding its way into my suitcase when I go on holiday. The top is also available in black and white.

The second piece I chose was for my slightly more professional look. As a blogger I get invited to lots of events and try my best to look smart for them. These events are often my “Me Time” and its nice to wear something other  than jeans and a t-shirt, even if its only for a few hours. I’ve been on the look out for some summery “work wear” for a while and was pleased to stumble upon this blouse whilst browsing the Ellos website:

This blouse is nice and fitted but still comfortable. Its a little see through in places – thankfully nowhere rude! – but I might be inclined to wear a cami-top underneath it. The three quarter length sleeves are elasticated at the cuffs so fit neatly around your arm, and have a lace and ruffle detail. I love the ruffles around the neckline and down the front of the blouse and the detailing on the buttons make them stand out, and stop this being just another plain off-white blouse. This blouse looks great teamed with tailored trousers and I think it would also go well with a pencil skirt. If you’re a fellow blogger you’ll probably spot me wearing this blouse at an event very soon! The blouse is also available in light pink.

Ellos has a lovely range of clothes for women, men and children. Take a look now at their website.

 

 

 

Product Review: Istylista Website

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 26-03-2012

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Trinny and Susanna and more recently Gok Wan have always been favourites with people keen to improve their style. Watching these experts transform the lives of women by giving them a new “look” inspires viewers to hit the high street themselves in search of the perfect outfit. But what if you don’t know where to start? What if you don’t really know what suits you and what doesn’t? We can’t all afford the services of Gok or a Personal Shopper so we’re out there alone relying on fashion magazines which generally show gorgeous clothes on glamorous tiny models. What about the rest of us? What about “Real” women?

In an attempt to help, IStylista was born – an online personal stylist which takes in account your colouring, your measurements, your lifestyle and most importantly your budget. Whilst I’m sure the latest Gucci would look amazing, you’re more likely to find me on the high street! It was launched in 2009 by expert Chantelle Znideric – professional personal stylist to the rich and famous.  I was given access to an IStylista Style Goddess Style Guide in an attempt to find out what would look good on me, and what I should avoid.

Filling in the initial questionnaire is easy – height, dress size, hair colour, eye colour, bra cup size, etc. You decide how much you can afford to spend per month – I went for £0-£100 though I think a smaller window would be more realistic – what your body and face shape is, and tell them your age. Within moments you receive a downloadable pdf which is YOUR personal style guide.

I received a 26 page pdf which laid out all the information and advice which I need to make sure I always look good. I was provided with information about my body shape and how to style it; what clothing shapes, fabrics and patterns would work best for me; what colour clothes I should look for; what my capsule wardrobe should include based on my lifestyle; and tips for accessorising.

As well as this I was able to access “My Virtual Changing Room” where I could window shop for the perfect outfit based on clothes that are available in stores and online shops now. This is updated daily to ensure the latest looks and trends, and the make sure you can actually buy the items you find. The changing room is broken down into tabs – Dresses, Tops, Skirts, Jeans, Coats, Shoes, etc – so if you’re looking for a specific item you can go directly to it, or if you are revamping your entire wardrobe you can work your way through piece by piece.

I’m on the look out for a new pair of jeans after a small hole turned into a huge tear and ruined my favourite pair. So I just click “Jeans” in the tabs that run across the top of the page and a huge list of jeans that are ideal for my shape and style appear before me. You can then list them with the newest first, or the cheapest. You can highlight the most suitable for your shape, or from stores giving the best discount. With a few simple clicks I can find my perfect pair of jeans based on the budget I’ve set for myself. Clicking on my chosen pair takes me through to the relevant online store and I can buy them straight away. Genius. You can also find clothes for specific occasions. Using the option panel on the left I can, for example, source a feminine dress that’s suitable for casual wear. Or a classic skirt to wear for work.

So if you want to take the stress out of clothes shopping, or you want to use the services of a personal shopper, then IStylista is for you. I have 10 Personalised Style Goddess Style Guides to give away to Sussex Mummy readers. All you need to do is email me your name and email address and I’ll draw 10 names out of the hat on Friday at 8pm.

Email your details to: info@sussexmummy.co.uk

To take  a look at what IStylista has to offer take a peek at the website now.