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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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Camping Kit: Yankee Candle Travel Tins

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Camping, Holiday, Product Reviews | Posted on 10-07-2013

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If you are off camping this summer, whether it be in a traditional tent or caravan, or if you are trying out “Glamping” with a few more home comforts there are certain bits of kit you need to take with you. Over the next few weeks I’ll be doing running through items in MY essential camping kit list, in preparation for my visit and review of the award winning The Quiet Site in Cumbria this September. I am so looking forward to trying out one of their Camping Pods, which for me will be a nice step up from sleeping under canvas, but still be more like camping then we experienced in our Yurt Trip earlier in the year.

Yankee Candle Travel Tin Clean Cotton

One of the things that puts me off camping is that after a few days of living and sleeping in a confined space is that inevitably, its going to start smelling. Potentially wet and muddy clothing, the presence of a toddler, and the fact that there are multiple humans cooped up in a very small space makes this all too likely. Not the most pleasant thing to deal with when you are already lacking the modern comforts of home. Now you are hardly going to start spraying air freshener inside a confined tent, and we all know the dangers of naked flames so a traditional candle is out, but what about a Yankee Candle Travel Tin?

Compact and easy to use these tins are the perfect camping companion. They are designed to neutralise odours and freshen up any small space, so are great for camping trips, as well as use in the car or bathroom. You simply slide them open to release the fragrance, and if you don’t close them up again they last for an amazing four weeks! Yankee Candle sent me a couple of these to test out, and whilst one has been safely stored away to take to The Quiet Site later in the year, the other has been being used in the car. I don’t like constant overwhelming fragrance anywhere, but sometimes the car needs a bit of a refresh. The scent is light and airy and I literally have the tin open for a few minutes before closing it again. Its great being able to quickly and easily rid the car of any unwelcome smells.

Travel Tins are available direct from the Yankee Candle website and most Yankee Candle retailers.

Review: simplehuman Slim Touch-Bar Bin

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 11-01-2013

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I’ve never understood why kitchen bins are round. Its a completely unhelpful shape. You can’t push it neatly against a wall, or fit it comfortably between two appliances. It is a space wasting shape, and in our kitchen our round bin tends to just float about the place and get shoved into a gap its not really designed to fit.

If you have a small kitchen or, like me, have a good sized kitchen but with a lot of “stuff” in it, finding the ideal bin is difficult. I have a bench running all round my kitchen, with cupboards, the cooker, the washing machine and a small freezer underneath. There is also a set of open shelves – formally Little Mans changing table (trust me, it works) – and his Little Helper all jostling for space. Once you’ve arranged all that there is very little room for a bin. The round bin we currently own is squashed in a gap that’s not really big enough, or the right shape, and the bin spends its life being pushed out the way.

I went on a mission to find a bin that would actually fit in my kitchen and not be constantly in the way. I wanted something fairly slim fitting as the gap available was worryingly small, but it needed a big capacity for all the rubbish we seem to accumulate day by day. I spent a long time scouring the internet for the right width bin, and was alarmed to find a very limited selection. So limited in fact that I could only find one bin that would fit. Clearly my ideal bin. I found this, from simplehuman.

Measuring a slender 26cm in width this was the only bin that would fit in the gap left beneath our bench. Being 43cm deep and 71cm high the bin comes with an impressive 40litre capacity which is ideal for us. It has several other features which I think are rather stylish too.

Firstly to open the bin you just press the bar on the front and the lid flips open. Crucially it doesn’t close again without you pushing it shut, which is great if you have your hands full or if you have multiple trips to the bin. The entire bin is a classic brushed steel colour, and it stays that way thanks to the fingerprint-proof finish. No more metal bins covered in prints for you to clean. This bin remains smudge and stain free. Beneath the bin are nylon discs which make it slide gently and effortlessly on your floor without scratching or damaging it. The bin lid doesn’t open fully under our bench – though it does open enough for general use – so being able to slide it out is key. The whole lid section lifts off easily for the removal and change of the bags. What I really like about this bin is that the bag can’t be seen. There is no unsightly black liner hanging around the rim, its all neatly self contained. The bag sits within a durable plastic bucket which can be removed for easy cleaning.

This genuinely is the perfect bin for my busy and full kitchen. Its compact, hygienic, and clean looking which is key with a small child rampaging around. It allows you to do things with your hands full as the bin can be opened with the touch of a finger, or the nudge of a hip, or if you’re lucky the help of your child!

You can find out more about the simplehuman bin range, and their other products, at their website and find them on Twitter @simplehuman.

Product Review: Flexibath from Whitestep

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Product Reviews | Posted on 25-04-2012

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Baby baths are notorious for being bulky and difficult to store out of the way, especially if space is limited. We bought one before Little Man was born and finding somewhere to keep it when not in use was a bit of a nightmare, especially in a small flat. But when your baby is small its not really a good idea to put them in a big bath of water, with baby baths being a much safer option.

If you’re short on space, or if you’re looking for a portable bath you can take on holidays or when staying at family or friends, a Flexibath might just be what you need.

The Flexibath is the size of a traditional baby bath – perhaps even a little bigger – and provides a good sized and easy to use bath for newborns and babies. (It holds 39 litres of water when full.) The beauty of it is then when you’re finished you simply drain it using the plug in the base – a plug designed to be difficult for children to pull out – and fold it flat.
Just like that! There’s even a handy clip on the top to hold it flat so it can be slid conveniently under a bed or chest of drawers, or propped up in the corner of a bathroom until next time. It also fits easily into a suitcase for holidays and takes up minimal room in the car for overnight stays.

I was sent a Flexibath to test out with my 18 month old Little Man, as the bath is sold as suitable for use from birth to 4 years. If your child is happy to just sit in the bath then yes, I am sure you’ll fit a child of 2 years or more in there without a problem. Unfortunately my Little Man is more of a “walk around and wriggle about” kind of bather, so keeping him happy in this was a little tricky… and wet!

But do not fear! If you buy a Flexibath for your newborn – and I only wish I had when Little Man was born – it doesn’t become obsolete as soon as your child gets too big or starts moving around. The Flexibath makes a great toy box, or could be used for laundry. We even used ours to store books in until our Tidybooks Bookcase turned up, and it holds 100 plastic ball pit balls with ease. Away from using it for your children I think it would make an attractive colourful planter for your garden, and the transparent one with turquoise trim which we were sent to review could even be fashioned into a mini greenhouse to protect your seedlings during Britain’s dubious weather. A multitude of uses for a brilliant and ingenious product!

Flexibaths are available now from Whitestep but I have one to give away to a lucky SussexMummy reader. All you need to do is click here and fill in your details to be entered into the draw.  The competition closes on Friday May 4th at 8pm so get clicking!!

Product Review: Brabantia Wall Fix Washing Line with Protective Storage Box

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 22-03-2012

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Washing. I swear it breeds when I’m not looking. With an active toddler, a husband out at work, and me, there is an inordinate amount of dirty washing in our house. Just the other day Little Man went through three pairs of trousers in one day. THREE! So now the glorious weather is upon us – unless I’ve just jinxed it of course – being able to hang the washing outside is essential. Having recently moved from a flat to a house a washing line was something we’d never owned. Browsing them was hardly thrilling so we never got around to buying one in preparation for spring. Luckily for us, Brabantia came to our aid.

Now I’m a little embarrassed by this next sentence, but please stick with me: I LOVE my new washing line. There, I said it. I’m THAT weird. Take a look for yourselves at the Wall Fix Washing Line from Brabantia.

Isn’t it amazing? No? Just me? *ahem*

In a compact garden like ours, or one with a toddler running around it (also like ours…) a washing line pinned into the grass would take up valuable space. Plus I’m too lazy and too busy to be putting it away when its not in use, so my Little Man would just run into all the time. He’s good like that. This marvellous washing line from Brabantia fixes to the wall, as you can see above. Yes, that is my (slightly dirty) back wall. As you can see the washing line lives in a rather neat storage box which protects it from the elements when not in use, but also looks much tidier than having it hanging there without. You can probably just make out the blue button on the front about halfway down. Pressing this causes the box to open and the sides to automatically fold back – handy one-handed opening there, especially if you’re carrying your laundry basket or child. You then pull out the washing line until it clicks into place. The outer lines are an impressive 4 foot long meaning you can easily fit double bed sheets on there, and there is sufficient capacity for a couple of loads of washing easily. Here’s my washing line in use:

When up it takes up hardly any room and doesn’t impede on the garden at all. As you can just about see its height means I can still have plants growing beneath it. Installation was easy – thanks Grandad – as there is a template included to show you where to drill the holes. Simplicity itself.

Luckily for my husband I’m still a little excited about having this in our garden so I’m quite keen to do the washing. I’m sure it won’t last.

The Brabantia Wall Fix Washing Line with Protective Storage Box can be bought from their online store.