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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: Postman Pat Village at Longleat

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Information | Posted on 28-08-2013

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There’s a little over a week to go before the summer holidays end and the kids all troupe back to school. Plenty of time therefore for one last big day out, and where better than Longleat Safari Park. We took a trip there earlier in the holidays to check out the newly refurbished Postman Pat Village which is a great interactive adventure for fans of all ages.The entrance to the village is, rather aptly, a giant postbox. Don’t worry – there’s a more adult friendly entrance too! Upon entering there is a beautifully set out and decorated village scene. Stone buildings with brightly coloured doors and windows straight out of Greendale. Around each corner and round every bend you’ll find characters you know and homes you recognise from the show, including Ajay, Ted Reverend Timms, Pumpkin the Horse and Amy. Of course you’ll find Pat and Jess there too. Dotted around the village there are buttons to press to make the figures move and games to play to keep the little ones entertained. Little Man had great fun pressing all the buttons, lifting the flaps and taking a rest on the bench with Pat whilst he studied his map and decided where in the park to go next.

Longleat Safari Park is a brilliant day out for all the family. We loved the Postman Pat Village, the Jungle Express, Penguin Island and of course the amazing Safari. Little Man had fun in Animal Adventure too where he got to stroke both a rabbit and a snake. Very brave boy! There are plenty of places to eat and drink at Longleat whether you are after snacks or a big meal. We brought our own picnic which we eat in the car as the heavens opened suddenly! Thankfully we were enjoying the comfort of the Volvo V70 at that point so there was plenty room.

Book your tickets for Longleat online now at save 15% on entrance to the park.

Review: New From Munchkin

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 18-03-2013

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Munchkin is a brand I’ve featured a few times on my website. They produce consistently quality products, and these two additions to their range are no exception.

Tug Along Boat
I seem to review a lot of bath toys, but its a great fun time of day, and in our house its Daddy’s job and a lovely opportunity for father son bonding. Daddy has been saying for a while that Little Man needed a boat for the bath, something I’m surprised in hindsight that we’ve got this far without. When Munchkin offered us this Tug Along Boat to review I couldn’t say no.
This brightly coloured boat comes with a red raft which attaches to the back or can be used independently. The boat itself has holes in the top to collect water which can then be poured out through the wheel at the front. The green handle is a great size for both children and adults alike so everyone can get involved with the water play. Beneath the handle you can see through to where the water collects and its made to look like a glass bottomed boat, giving a great view of some fish. The boat comes with two water squirting crew members – a penguin and a seal – who man the craft and also add an extra fun dimension. Little Man loves playing with this boat at bath time. He steers it around the bath with the handle and pours lots of water out past the wheel. Water squirters are always popular so these are much loved too – just remember to take cover if you’re in the bathroom with him!!

Click Lock Bento Mealtime Set
This mini version of a Bento Box is incredibly cute and functional. We like to go on picnics when the weather allows or if we’re out at a zoo or theme park, and Little Man will be heading off to preschool in September (Eeek!) so some kind of lunch box was going to be needed. This is perfect.
The box comes with three compartments – a main area for sandwiches or something savoury, and then two smaller compartments for fruit, vegetables or even yogurt. Each compartment has its own lid, and the two smallest ones have removable inserts for easy cleaning. Fitted into the main lid are a toddler sized fork and spoon, and there is a space on the base to write your child’s name. This Bento box is part of the popular Click Lock range, so once you hear the click upon securing the lid, you know its fastened and nothing will be escaping. I am a big fan of this and can see it getting lots of use for years to come – I just wish they did one in my size!!

You can find these, and the rest of the Munchkin range online.

 

Get Karting this Christmas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Days Out, Sponsored Posts, Summer Holiday Essentials | Posted on 07-12-2012

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As parents we’re always looking for things to keep our children entertained that doesn’t involve a TV, computer or games console. Getting them outside in the fresh air can be a mission, especially the older they get. Little Man is 2 and is fascinated by going outside for walks, or “Looking for cats” as we call it, and finds parks and woods a real treat. As he gets older though, I’m sure this will change and he’ll prefer to be attached to the latest games console. (Though I must admit that he does play a little too much Angry Birds now…)

If you are on the look out for a great gift this Christmas to get your children back outside and want something a little different to the usual bike, take a look at this Kids All Terrain Kart.

I only wish my Little Man was old enough to ride one!

The All Terrain Kart is designed for children aged 7-12 and is great for whizzing down hills on, using the rope to steer and hold on to – this rope is also very handy for dragging the kart back up the hill!!

Your children can also push themselves along on the level using their feet on either side of the kart. It comes with a handbrake and the back rest is adjustable depending on the size of your child and the position they want to ride in.

The kart arrives ready to be assembled, but this is a quick process using the tools and fixings provided. I imagine any child would love to help build this before taking it out for a spin. The kart comes with 12″ pneumatic wheels, just like you’d find on a mountain bike, so it really is suitable to use on all surfaces, including tarmac, grass and mud.

British made, the Kart’s low size means it will fit easily into most car boots so you can take it with you on days out or family holidays. You can also purchase a storage hook from the online store for hanging in a shed or garage when not in use. The store also sells a range of spare parts and stickers for the ultimate in customisation.

As you can see this is by no means a boys only item. It was tested out recently by the children you can see in the photos here, and the girl was a massive fan. The wearing of safety gear is of course essential when using the kart, but once your child is padded up its a great kart which will be used all year round. And whilst it does say that its aimed at children aged 7-12 no doubt you’ll have to pry Daddy off it too!

You can discover more on the All Terrain Kart at their website, where you’ll also find their well stocked online store.

 

Half Term Fun At Beaulieu Motor Museum

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 17-10-2012

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With half term almost upon us you’ll no doubt be looking for ways to keep the children entertained. How about a day out at Beaulieu Motor Museum? And before you panic, its not just for petrol heads!

Situated in the middle of the beautiful New Forest, Beaulieu Motor Museum is a fantastic day out for all the family. For the petrol heads amongst you there is the museum itself. This houses over 250 cars and motorbikes from old classics to some familiar stars of TV and movies. There are F1 cars, the record breaking Bluebird as well as a giant orange on wheels – quite a comical sight I can tell you. Plus if you visit before January 6th 2013 you can admire the largest collection of James Bond vehicles in the world. To mark Bond’s 50th Anniversary 50 famous vehicles from the hugely successful movie series are on show, from an Aston Martin DB5 to Speedboats, as well as three vehicles from the brand new movie “Skyfall”.

We took Little Man to Beaulieu last month and he was fascinated by the vehicles on show.

If looking at cars isn’t quite your thing and you’d rather leave the more enthusiastic members of your group to it, take a stroll past the museum – or take the Monorail or Veteran Bus – and head towards the Palace House, Abbey and gardens. Now when we visited we didn’t make it to the House or Abbey – I have two very keen petrol heads in my family – but we took a ride on the Monorail and saw the gardens from above. They look incredible, and I will definitely take a ground level look next time we go!

On your way to the House and Abbey you may well walk past the children’s play area. This was an immediate hit with Little Man. Cars to ride about it as well as bigger ones to sit in, a huge tractor and the very popular bus were all a great success. Little Man went from one to the other and round again several times. A great little area to let the kids let off a bit of steam after all that walking about the museum. There are all handy picnic benches nearby for lunch.

This October Half Term you can enjoy spooky stories in the Abbey and a Halloween Trail within the museum. There’ll also be a Witches’ Cauldron Lucky Dip and Gruesome Face Painting. Plus if you visit on the 27th from 3pm you can enjoy fun fairground rides, candy floss and hot food, before an evening of spectacular fireworks. Live music will be provided by Wave 105, and there will even be prizes for the best fancy dress so do get into the spirit of things!

To find out more about Beaulieu including opening times and admission charges, as well as more details about the facilities on offer, head over to the website now.

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.

Family Fun At Drusillas Park, East Sussex

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 16-04-2012

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If you’re looking to take your little ones on a fun day out you can’t go wrong with a trip to Drusillas Park. Located just of the A27 approximately 12 miles East of Brighton the park provides fantastic family entertainment for children of all ages.

Your trip to Drusilla’s will begin inside – one of the few indoor areas for the animals – with tanks of snakes and tortoises. As you round the final corner small monkey enclosures will appear with the animals scurrying above your head in clear tubes, which makes seeing them so much more interesting. Soon you are outside and meeting farm animals – pigs, cows, goats, and ponies are all here. You are welcome to touch any of the animals you wish and there are plenty of alcohol gel hand-washing areas dotted around for afterwards. As your journey continues you can meet meerkats – my personal highlight – before more huge enclosures featuring macaws, mongooses and porcupines. Every enclosure is perfectly sized to allow great viewing opportunities, as well as plenty of space for the animals to move around in.

Penguins (which have regular feeding shows), flamingos and some very chatty otters were very popular with my Little Man before we went into ‘Lemur Land’. Here you can walk through an enclosure with lemurs walking and playing freely around you. You can’t touch or pet them – apparently they tend to bite you, despite their cute appearance – but its amazing being this close to what I think were Little Man’s favourite animals from the day.

The ‘Amazon Adventure’ is a huge indoor play area for children of all ages – they have a smaller soft play area for the little ones – that includes slides, aerial walkways,  a cannon canyon, and a huge snake slide. Outside you’ll find ‘Go Wild’ which has a vast array of climbing and sliding activities for children aged 7 to 12, and the smaller ‘Go Bananas’ for those 6 and under.

When you get hungry food is easy to come by. There are a selection of indoor and outdoor dining options ranging from meals to snacks. There is an abundance of picnic seating as well if you’ve brought your own food, with plenty high chairs available both inside and out. I can highly recommend the freshly made doughnuts which are available from the ‘Station Buffet’. Shops are also dotted about selling a great range of souvenirs with very reasonable prices.

Once you’re little ones have seen all the animals, had something to eat, and run around the play areas they are bound to want to take a little rest on the train. Thomas, Annie and Clarabel run services 362 days a year from Tidmouth Hault and run a gently paced route around the park. Along the way you’ll see several more familiar characters from Thomas The Tank Engine as well as getting a closer look as you travel through the Llama Paddock. On your way towards the exit you’ll also find time for a trip through the ‘Eden’s Eye’ maze and (during seasonal opening) a splash about in the ‘Explorers Lagoon’.

We took Little Man to Drusilla’s for his 1st birthday back in October, and were lucky enough to go again a couple of weeks ago. Both times were brilliant fun and Little Man was suitably exhausted at the end to ensure a nice long snooze on the journey home. Unfortunately during our last outing there Little Man was a little bit poorly – the beginning of our gastro-infection adventure – but the staff were fantastic when called upon and made the experience much nicer than it could have been!!

I HUGELY recommend Drusilla’s Park for an amazing, educational and fun day out. It really does appeal to children of all ages.

Ticket details, Opening Times and more can be found on the Drusilla’s website.

Product Review: Ella’s Kitchen Munchy Biccies

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 20-03-2012

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Since my Little Man has become more mobile and begun walking he is desperate to go outside every day. This is brilliant I know, but it does mean I have to keep finding new places to take him! I’d let him rampage around in the garden but its currently a work-in-progress whilst Grandad and Daddy sort out some new grass. So we find ourselves going out every day, and more often than not twice a day!

Going out and about with an enthusiastic toddler brings a whole range of challenges, but the one that is probably most important to Little Man is snacks. Mummy has to have a good supply of snacks with her at all times to ensure whatever he fancies at a moments notice is available. Whilst I generally carry around his bodyweight in blueberries, grapes and satsumas – seriously this child would live on fruit if I let him – I do also like to have a few biscuits with me too. Whilst his usual biscuit of choice is the humble digestive, we were recently introduced to a toddler friendly alternative.

Munchy Biccies from Ella’s Kitchen come in three flavours – Cheese & Apple, Cinnamon & Orange, and Banana – and as with all Ella’s Kitchen products are 100% organic. They are healthy wholegrain biscuits which don’t contain any concentrates or refined sugars. So whilst my Little Man thinks he’s getting a yummy treat, I know he’s only getting the best. My Little Man is renowned for eating pretty much anything without complaint and these biscuits are another hit. They are perfectly sized for little hands – I admit they do look a little unappetising – and come is handy packs which you can pop straight into you bag or pocket.

So if you’re ever in Sussex and see me and Little Man on one of our MANY outings, you’re more than likely going to find us with a packet of Munchy Biccies close at hand.

Munchy Biccies are available now from all good supermarkets.

Kiddie Coupons Visit: Fishers Farm Park

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Kiddie Coupons, Product Reviews | Posted on 04-03-2012

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On Friday I went to Fishers Farm Park near Wisborough Green with Little Man and two of his friends and their Mums. It was our first visit there so we were very excited to go, plus it was our first trip out using our Kiddie Coupons Booklet. The Kiddie Coupon Booklet is a family orientated guidebook for Sussex which contains a wealth of vouchers for free or discounted entries or free meals at top local attractions. Priced at just £15 the book aims to save you over £200 during 2012. All the vouchers must be used this year, but that just gives you a good excuse to go on more days out with your children – perfect for this years “stay-cation”.

Fishers Farm Park is packed with activities for children, both indoors and out. There’s a huge array of farm and small animals to be seen and petted, as well as multiple soft play areas and outdoor play areas for children of all ages. Tractor rides, zip wires and rock climbing are also available, and there is a spacious restaurant and well stocked gift shop.

Entry into Fishers Farm Park is reasonably priced at the moment as its not peak season, so with the £2 off per person (up to 4 people) it was a bargain. Under 2’s get in for free as well, which was perfect. We all enjoyed looking at the animals in the barns and outside, riding on the tractors, playing in the toddler racing cars, and in the outdoor play zones. Little Man was a big fan of the tractor in the play area.

Unfortunately being out of season a lot of the rides were only running at limited times and some sections of the park weren’t operating at all. A return visit during the peak season would be a great idea, but perhaps not until Little Man is slightly older and can appreciate it all more. The one thing I would advise all visitors to do – apart from take your Kiddie Coupon voucher with you of course – is to take a picnic. There are plenty of picnic tables dotted around the park which would be lovely on a warm sunny day. The restaurant is large and has plenty of high chairs, but unfortunately it is very expensive for the amount of food you get.  Next time I’ll certainly bring my own food.

Kiddie Coupon Booklets are available now from their website. You can also find them on Twitter (@KiddieCouponsUK) and Facebook.