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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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Guest Post: Top Tips For Storing Away Your Kiddie Clutter

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 22-09-2013

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Kids can be great to have around – they often bring out your more youthful and fun side. However, they’re also quite messy. Whether it’s toys, clothes, books or shoes, there’s always clutter in a family home.

I know the feeling. I can’t make it from the kitchen to the living room without tripping over a jigsaw puzzle.

If you’re fed up of your adult space looking more like a day care centre, you need to get clever with your storage. There are some fairly simple ways to ensure your kids have everything they need, without it being strewn all over the floor.

Modular shelving

Instead of the usual bookshelf, why not create a modular unit that’s specifically designed for your little one’s bedroom? Whether it’s to hold toys, books or other bits and bobs – it will ensure that everything has a place.

Window seat

Clever storage solutions use the space you already have. I’ve got a gorgeous bay sash window in my living room, so as well as being the perfect place to relax, it also stores anyway anything I don’t want to see. Just lift up the padding for a secret junk hideaway.

School lockers

Upcycling is the next big interior design craze, so why not give their bedroom an edge with some repurposed school lockers. They’ll look really cool, add to the design and mean that they’ve got somewhere to stash their textbooks at the weekend.

Colour-coded bins

While those rectangular plastic boxes are good for storing things away, they’re not particularly attractive. Instead of the usual clear ones, why not find some coloured bins – like the rubber ones for the garden. You’ll be able to use the colours as a way to organise what goes where too.

Living in a house full of messy kids can sometimes be an absolute nightmare, but you wouldn’t have it any other way. To ensure that you don’t lose your marbles the next time you stand on a toy in bare feet – provide your kids with plenty of storage.

Remember, storage doesn’t have to be unattractive. Use your imagination and get creative!





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.

Creating Space and Style with Clever Home Storage

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 02-11-2012

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The other day I visited a friend who’d recently bought a new home. The flat was lovely – bright with clean white walls making it feel much bigger than a one bedroom apartment had any right to be. When I paid my compliments, my friend raised her eyebrows. “No storage though,” she said, “and I can’t face another trip to IKEA.” This is the war cry I’ve heard time and again (about storage, people’s opinions are mixed about IKEA) – our homes are just not big enough. Whether it’s a one bedroom flat or six bedroom house, how we tackle our storage requirements can really impact our enjoyment of the spaces we live in.

There are ways we can maximise our storage, however:

1. Disguise storage spaces

Obviously we could buy large boxes – crates even – to dump our belongings into, but then the problem of space would be the boxes or crates themselves – we don’t want our storage to be unsightly or become a feature of a room. Good storage should be practically invisible. Looking for unused spaces above and below eye line can help – most extra space will be “out of sight” e.g. full-length hanging storage on the backs of doors, or gaps under sofas or beds. Consider storage you can sit on: such as chests with cushions on top. Beds with built-in drawers are great too, as are kids play tables with storage bins underneath. In wardrobes and storage furniture, look for height with sliding doors to maximise space, and floor to ceiling bookshelves where possible.

2. Look for unused opportunities

There are many areas in your home that might be useful for storing things such as garage’s, attics and under the stairs. Consider the risks, however. For example, most of us have unused attic space but if its difficult to get into, it won’t be much help for heavier items. Basements are also another area, but consider damp and pests that could ruin possessions, especially organic items like books or clothes. The best places for storage are temperature regulated areas, free of rats, mice and insects – on ground level.

(Tip: alcoves and bay windows can be transformed to increase storage spaces too).

3. Maximise space

Much of the space in the upper part of each kitchen unit is completely wasted. Buy dividers, stacking boxes and mini shelves to help use this space better. Clothes rails, hanging shelves, and shoe racks can help in the bedroom too. In your bathroom, consider a mobile unit with pull-out baskets to sit under your sink.

4. Self storage

People often think that a rented storage space has to be room-sized, but options are much more flexible. Smaller wardrobe sized lockers are now available which are great to store smaller amount of items, such as overspill from a room or two. Use off site storage to keep your home uncluttered once you’ve maxed out all logical storage space to increase spaciousness and style.

Drew Davies writes for Big Yellow Self Storage. To help declutter a room, Big Yellow has a range or storage rooms and lockers (wardrobe sized from 9 sq ft). For more information see their website or blog


Product Review: Pack Mate Ottoman

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 31-10-2012

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If your lounge is anything like mine its probably hidden somewhere beneath a mountain of children’s toys and their associated “stuff”. Clutter and chaos is normal part of everyday life in our house, but at the end of the day or when people visit, I don’t like my house looking like the local toy shop. The next problem is that I hate house work. I don’t want to spend hours at the end of the day packing toys up, and if people visit at a moments notice I sometimes just don’t have the time. Some storage for children’s toys doesn’t work well in a lounge, especially if you’re trying to keep it somewhere for adults too, but the new Ottomans from Pack Mate are brilliant.

Supplied flat packed but with very simple construction the Faux Leather or Faux Suede Ottoman’s come in three sizes. The smallest is designed to fit at the end of a single bed, but also looks great in the lounge. It holds a lot of toys and books, and also makes a great spare seat. Little Man likes to sit on it whilst he’s watching TV!

You can also get the Ottoman in two bigger sizes, designed to fit at the end of double or king sized beds. If you do want to use the Ottoman somewhere else, I also found it great to use in the corner of my bedroom to store some of my shoes in.

Ottomans are the new addition to the already essential Pack Mate range. Their Vacuum Storage Bags are indispensable when it comes to packing duvets and pillows not in use away somewhere compact and clean. They are also great for packing away outgrown baby and maternity clothes, just in case! Travel Roll Bags are perfect for holidays – you don’t need a vacuum either, you simply fill it up, zip it closed, roll out any air and pop it in your suitcase. Ideal if you tend to try and cram a little too much in your case!

For more details on the Pack Mate range, including stockists, head over to their website. You can also find them on Twitter @Pack_Mate.