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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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Travel: Content & Calm Tray Kit

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Holiday | Posted on 28-05-2013

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Are you planning a trip away this summer with the children? May be a long car journey is involved or maybe you’ll be jetting off somewhere in a plane. How are you going to keep your children entertained? Whenever I go out in the car with Little Man alone he sits happily in the back, looking out the window, dancing in his seat to the radio and chattering away to himself. Put anyone in the front passenger seat and he seems to automatically start demanding their attention. Especially if its Daddy. There is nothing I find more distracting when I’m driving, especially if I’m going a long way, than the person in the seat next to me spinning around every few minutes and things being passed back and forth in an attempt to keep Little Man amused.

We recently went on holiday to Pembrokeshire with my parents. I live in West Sussex, so Pembrokeshire is a VERY long drive. We had an overnight stay in Cardiff, but with stops on the way we were going to be looking at four hours to Cardiff, and three hours from there to where we were staying. I was not looking forward to seven hours of a toddler complaining in the back and Daddy endlessly passing him things to do, so I went in search of a solution. I wanted Little Man to have a selection of things to hand, from books to crayons, some small toys and a few snacks. I didn’t want half the contents of his bedroom balanced around him, but I wanted a manageable amount of items within reach that he could play with easily and without causing too much havoc. Luckily for me, I discovered this.

This handy little “suitcase” is actually a Content & Calm TrayKit. As you can see it has a handle which Little Man could use to carry it around – not that he ever carries anything of his own around apart from Teddy and food – and it also comes with straps so it can be worn like a rucksack. Sadly Little Man won’t do this either, having only ever worn one rucksack for longer than three minutes. To be honest these are the least exciting features, as when you open the “suitcase” you have a great travel companion for your little ones.

Now of course they come empty, but this is what we did to ours. In the big pocket at the back we put a colouring book and a copy of Zoe & Beans: How many pets? for Little Man to look at on the journey. He really enjoys pointing at all the animals in this book, and he especially likes the fact that it features a tortoise as we recently got one as a pet too. In one flap pocket we put a few crayons to use with the colouring book – and hoped he wouldn’t colour the Zoe & Beans book instead. In the other flap pocket we put a couple of packets of fruit snacks. We also popped two of his Hawkins Bazaar Wooden Robots to play with. These are ideal toys for in the car as they can’t break and there’ll be no bits bouncing around the back seat mid journey. Whilst we had a back up stash of things for him to play with when he got bored of this – he’s two and has an attention span of about ten minutes unless its Toy Story or Finding Nemo – these were the items we were happiest for him to play with unsupervised.

The bag is designed to fasten to the back of a car seat, and when its opened it creates a play tray for your little one to use like a desk. Because Little Man’s car seat is quite large, and he’s also a giant, we couldn’t attach the TrayKit as its designed as Little Man’s legs were in the way. Instead we used the rucksack straps to fasten it to the headrest and it was pretty secure. The tray balanced neatly on his knee and he could reach everything he wanted unaided. It would probably work correctly for Little Man on a plane where his seat would be lower. He loved rummaging in each pocket to see what we’d put in there, and within ten minutes everything was out but confined to the tray, and he was eating his way through his snack pile. One of his favourite features was the small mirror you can see just above the wooden robots in the photo above. That was at the perfect height and angle for him to pull faces at himself and it kept him amused for ages.

The TrayKit is brilliant. No, it didn’t keep his amusement for the entire journey, but I wasn’t expecting it to. I love how it holds a good quantity of items and I think it will get a lot of use for many years to come. It did precisely what I wanted it to, and in turn saved Daddy from spending his whole journey turning awkwardly in his chair. Next time we go out and use it I’ll make sure to put different things in there so its always a new experience for Little Man. There are plenty more long car journeys planned for this year, not least a trip to Cumbria in September, where this will get used a lot.

The TrayKit is available in a range of colours and you can also get additional accessories to match. I think I’ll be getting Little Man a couple of Travel Bugs before our next trip.

Christmas Stocking Fillers: For Children…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 14-11-2012

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Its Christmas!!

Well at the very least its approaching fast, and no doubt most of you have begun your shopping already. If any of you have finished your shopping… I hate you. Joke.

If you’re looking for inspiration for a few stocking filler for your little ones, or topping up a main present, all of the gifts below are available now for less the £15.

1. Justin’s Funny Faces Sticker Activity Book
The phenomenal Justin Fletcher – star of Something Special, GiggleBiz, Justin’s House – brings you this brilliant sticker book. Full of faces and reusable stickers your children will have hours of fun creating and recreating lots of funny faces. This has an RRP of £3.99 and is available now from Amazon.

2. Wow Toys: George’s Dragon Tale
Join Sir George and Smokey as they go on a quest in this excellent set from Wow. Complete with a chariot and boulder which can be fired at any foe they might meet, this is a great little set for the boys. This retails for £7.99 and is available from all good Wow Toy stockists.

3. Colour Me Fun Crayons: Gingerbread Men
This festive edition of the popular Colour Me Fun Crayon sets comes with eight gingerbread men in a range of colours. Non toxic, high quality and super cute these are a great buy for any budding artist. Other festive sets are available or you can get their names. Prices start from £2.49. See the complete range here.

4. Deadly 60 and The Simpsons Games
Fans of either show will love these boxes trivia games. The games are simple to play and quick fire so nobody will get bored. Each comes with 400 multiple choice questions on either show. The Ruckus Deadly 60 card game is a fast paced card collecting game where anything could change up till the last moment. All games are suitable from 8 years plus and prices start from £5. You’ll find all the games in your nearest toy store, or online here.

5. Festive Books: Everything’s Rosie, Thomas The Tank Engine, and Mr Men
Books make great gifts for children, and these Christmas themed titles are even better. Featuring characters from their favourite TV shows children will enjoy reading these again and again, and probably not just during the festive period. Priced at £3.99 each you can find these titles in your local bookstore.

6. The Hungry Frogs ‘Magic Sound’ Board Game
An ideal first board game for pre-schoolers this is a simple game of turn taking, counting and moving around the board. You are on a mission to collect flies, and the first to make it home with 5 flies wins. Every time its your go you also get to press the ‘Magic Sound Button’ which makes a loud croaking sound – without a doubt Little Man’s favourite feature. You can find stockist details here.

7. Wow Toys: Arctic Archie
Archie the Snow Mobile is a lovely toy for Christmas, particularly if you are looking forward to snow this year. Joined by Scott and Penelope the Penguin Archie is a great push along toy, and whats more its quiet too. A nice peaceful gift perhaps? Retailing at £8.99 you can find a list of stockists here.

8. Pirate Rag Doll
Whilst Rag Dolls are traditionally for girls, Little Lucy Willow has created this very trendy Pirate for all the little boys out there. Beautifully made of 100% cotton you can even undress the Pirate if you want to. A great toy for any fans of Jake & The Neverland Pirates!! This Pirate retails for £15 and it available from Little Lucy Willow now.

9. Wow Toys: Pocket Friends
If you’ve already got your little one a new Wow Toys set this Christmas, or perhaps they have them all already, the Pocket Friends are a great idea. Each packet comes with one new friend and an activity sheet and you can choose either a boy or a girl. These toys are only available at existing Wow Toys stores and Road Chefs and are not available online. They are £1.99 each.

10. Artzooka Rock Painting Kit
A great little craft set which I was amazed to find included the rocks, this set gives you everything you need to create 5 rock animals. You get the rocks, paint, stickers, brush and fixings needed, as well as the instructions. Another great way to keep the children quiet for a while so you can relax after all that turkey eating! This retails at £5.99 and is available now from Amazon.

11. The Hive: Rubee
Disney Junior’s “The Hive” is very popular in our house and they have a new range of plush toys out this Christmas featuring your favourite characters. This 6.5inch plush of Rubee is great for any little girls who watch the show. Its a good size too for cuddling, which is essential. She retails at £9.99 and can be found in all good toy retailers.

Stocking Filler ideas for Mum and Dad will be online soon!

 

 

Product Review: Ryman Stationery

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 31-08-2012

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Everyone needs stationery. Whether you’re heading to school, college or university and you need a veritable supply of pens, pencils and rulers, or you run your own business and you need accounts books and ledgers, or perhaps you have a penpal in a distant country and you need lots of writing paper and envelopes, or maybe you’re just an enthusiastic toddler who just can’t get enough crayons, stationery plays a part in most people’s lives. If you’re looking to top up your stationery collection, your first stop should always be Ryman.

Available on most high streets and with an extensive online store, Ryman is the most popular destination for office and stationery supplies. Whatever you could possibly need for your home office, or your enthusiastic toddler, can be found in your local store.

Little Man has been an avid user of crayons since he first picked one up and inadvertently drew a line on a piece of paper. He has since progressed to swirls and zigzags, and also drifted from paper to walls and carpets, but thankfully not too often! Whilst he doesn’t need much in the way of “Back To School” – not yet 2 so a few years off for us – he is always keen to receive shiny new crayons. All the ones he’s had so far have come free with a magazine – Something Special more often than not… – so it seemed time for him to get some brand new ones.

Navigating the Ryman website is so simple, and within a few minutes I’d filled my basket with quite an alarming array of crayons, colouring pencils, coloured pens and a brand new pencil case to keep them in. I know he’s too young for school, but its never too early to encourage him to be vaguely tidy, as futile as that sometimes is. So here’s my Little Man’s latest additions to his colouring fun:

I also found a great product for all you parents out there who are in the final stages of sorting out their children’s uniforms, kits and bags for school. Putting names into everything they take with them is essential but I know that I for one couldn’t face hand sewing labels into everything, and as tempted as I’d be to get my Mum to do it, I think this is a much kinder option to everyone concerned! The Sharpie Laundry Marker Pen is water proof and quick drying to avoid smudging and is permanent on most surfaces. This pen is ideal for school items, as well as labeling camping or sailing equipment.

Check out your local Ryman store this weekend for your last minute Back To School essentials or, for a much calmer experience, get online and take a look at their vast website.