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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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Product Review: Packard Bell Easy Note TV Laptop

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews, Tech Review | Posted on 02-10-2012

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As a busy blogger my laptop is probably the most important piece of kit I use. Yes I use my phone to take photos and send and receive emails, but when it comes to sitting down to do the major parts of my work – writing the blog posts, researching products, making first contact with PR’s, scheduling tweets – that is all done from my laptop. So you can imagine my distress when my laptop slowed to a practical stop a few weeks ago. Thankfully my in-laws had a spare laptop they weren’t using – don’t ask my why – so I’m currently using that until we sort out a new one for me. In the mean time I was contacted by the team at Packard Bell asking if I’d like to review one of their new models. This seemed an ideal opportunity to try-before-you-buy, or at least take a look at what is out there.

I was sent a black Easy Note TV laptop to test out. When it comes to choosing the best laptop for me it needs to be comfortable and easy to type on. The keyboard is nicely spaced out – no danger of hitting the wrong keys when typing at speed – and the palm rest area is a good size. The touchpad is 20% bigger than on other laptops of this size and is “multi-gesture” which gives you complete control.

The screen is 15.6″ HD display which makes it bright and clear which is essential when you’re staring at text on a screen for hours on end. Its not the greatest screen for videos or gaming, but websites and text documents are beautifully clear. The sound isn’t the best I’ve heard, but if you want a bit of music playing whilst you work, its absolutely fine.

As a blogger I am a keen and frequent user of social media, so I must admit that the feature which excited me the most was the “Social Networking Key.” Just one tap of this button and you are instantly connected to your social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Youtube. Social media is an essential tool for bloggers so this is a great function.

If you are after an all-singing and all-dancing high-tech piece of equipment which you can do multiple things on at once and play the latest games on, this might not be the right choice for you. If you are a blogger like myself who needs fast internet access, a good clear screen for reading text and writing, a comfortable keyboard, and super fast access to your social media, then this definitely is the laptop for you. It was a joy to use and work on and is one I may well consider getting myself when we take a proper look at whats out there in the new year.

The Packard Bell Easy Note TV has a RRP of £399 and can be found at all good laptop retailers.

Product Review: Mama’s & Papa’s Trek Lightweight Buggy

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Product Reviews | Posted on 23-04-2012

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So Little Man has been walking – alarmingly confidently at that – for a couple of months now, and with summer coming – hopefully – we’ve been considering a second pushchair. Something lighter which he can easily get in to and out of, and something that takes up a little less boot space. We’re going to Devon in a few weeks on holiday so we’re going to need all the boot space we can get for toys and clothes, so we don’t want three quarters of it taken up by a pram he’s becoming increasingly reluctant to stay in.

The range of lightweight buggies seems about as large and daunting as the range of prams was when we bought ours almost two years ago. The prices are often equally scary too – I’m not a cheapskate, especially when it comes to my Little Man, but I’m not paying more for a lightweight buggy than we did for an entire travel system! I wanted something that cost less than £100 and starting thinking I was asking for too much, but we had our “Eureka!” moment in Mama’s & Papa’s – the Trek in Marine Dots.
This lightweight buggy features a five point harness, large shopping baskets, and optional weather pack which contains a rain cover and hood. The backrest is easy to adjust and there are three height options for the harness. It is suitable from 6months to a maximum weight of 15kg, so should easily see us through the toddler years. The buggy costs £45 and the weather pack is £20, making this a very affordable buggy system. The Trek is also available in a pink “Candy Dots” option for the girls. My only criticism is the rain cover – it attaches beautifully using poppers down the side, but it basically only covers from the brim of the hood down the front, meaning that the hood of the buggy itself is still getting wet, as is anything in the shopping basket. Little Man stays nice and dry though!

This is still a brilliant buggy though, and one that is ideal for holidays and days out. Here’s is Little Man modelling just how comfortable it is during a recent trip to Paulton’s Park when it was a little more summer like:

All together now “Awwwww!”

The Trek Lightweight Buggy is available now from your local Mama’s & Papa’s Store, and online.

Product Review: Cot 2 Tot Wrap

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 19-03-2012

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Baby wearing isn’t a new concept. Its a great chance for bonding with your child and getting some of that all important “skin to skin” contact. It’s also a handy way to carry your child and still have your hands free – just ask Amanda Holden! But what about when you’re child gets a bit bigger? My Little Man is nearly 18 months old and carrying him around is getting a little harder on my back. He enjoys being carried around and being that little bit higher up than he is in his pram, but I can only do it for so long before my back and arms start protesting!

The Cot 2 Tot Wrap does precisely what the name suggests. Its a versatile wrap which can be used to carry your child from birth up to approximately 2 years old. You fasten it around yourself in the ‘Basic Knot’ and it can then be adjusted in a variety of ways depending on how you want to carry your child. “The Cuddle” leaves baby facing into your chest, whilst “Facing Out” allows them to keep an eye on the world around them. “The Cradle” is super comfy for them and lets them snuggle up close for a nap, or even for breastfeeding. “The Hip Carry” balances them neatly on your hip and holds them there in the way you would naturally – and this is the position I use to carry my Little Man around.

I was a little nervous when I first tried on the Cot 2 Tot Wrap myself. I’d received a brilliant demo and some helping hands from Becky, one of the Cot 2 Tot team, but by the time I’d got home it had all become a bit of a blur. Where was I meant to put his feet? Where does this piece go? Thankfully each Cot 2 Tot comes with a handy set of picture instructions and I soon had it figured out. I must admit to getting my Little Man stuck the first time, and subsequently used a teddy until I was confident in what I was doing!

The original plan was to test the wrap out on our recent day out to Fishers Farm Park a few weeks ago (Read about that here) but Little Man was adamant that he was going to walk around there holding my hand so I spent the morning wearing the wrap without him in it. This is one thing I love about the Cot 2 Tot Wrap – I wore it without a child in and didn’t feel that it was in the way at all. I just walked around with it fastened in the ‘Basic Knot’ position, ready for Little Man if he needed to be carried for a long time or started to look like he needed a nap.

With the first attempt to use it a bit of a failure due to my overly keen Little Man I instead took him for a walk in the village. I fastened the ‘Basic Knot’, slipped him easily into place, and secured him into the “Hip Carry” position. I love how this position allows him to cuddle you and for your arms to naturally fall into position cradling him as though you are carrying him. We set off to meet Daddy from the train station. I live at the opposite side of the village to the train station and we estimated that the journey there and back is a little over a mile. Can you imagine carrying a 17 month old for a mile where there are a few hills involved? I set off thinking that worse case scenario Daddy could carry him back. No danger of that! My arms and back didn’t feel a thing! I was supremely comfortable, and more importantly so was he. The way the wrap is fastened around you means that the weight is distributed evenly across both shoulders so there’s no risk of doing yourself any damaged. Little Man LOVED being up high and was chuckling and giggling the entire time. He was waving at cars and pedestrians and pointing at birds and animals as we went. He was having the time of his life, and I didn’t feel like I was doing much at all!

See just how easy it is to wear – though I do recommend practising before going out with your precious cargo – with this brilliant demonstration video, filmed at The Baby Show:

Cot 2 Tot Wraps are available in two colours – Harbour Grey and Midnight Blue – and are priced at £39.99

You can find Cot 2 Tot on their website at http://www.cot2tot.co.uk. Give them a follow on Twitter too @Cot2Tot50