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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: Introducing Elegance To Your Bathroom

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 23-01-2014

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There are a myriad of different bathroom interior design ideas that are popular right now but one of the most coveted, is the elegant bathroom. Bringing elegance into a room can be as simple as adding a few choice accessories, or as complex as fitting an entire new bathroom suite; whether you choose to renovate entirely or simply use your style nous and throw in some candles and chic lighting, let bella bathrooms guide you through the process and help you create an elegant, timeless bathroom that all the family will enjoy.

The foundation of the room is crucial to the rest of the look. Whether opting for tiling, wallpaper or paint on the walls and whether choosing stone or vinyl for the floor, it is important to get the foundation of the room just right before attempting to fill it with elegant furniture. Natural stone tiles look fantastic and exude an aura of elegance that other wall and floor coverings often cannot achieve, though porcelain tiles and some wallpaper can also create a beautifully timeless look. The key is not to be too garish or too overtly modern; glossy paints can be banished and vinyl, whilst a great option for budget bathrooms, does not tend to convey elegance too well.

Elegance can be achieved simply through a well-planned colour scheme. Soft neutrals spread through the bathroom can create an atmosphere of supreme glamour and laid-back elegance; bold colours tend to disturb the tranquillity of an elegant bathroom, so pastels and neutral shades of beige are necessary to creating the right backdrop for the rest of the room.

If you are renovating the entire room to make it more elegant than it already is, there are a myriad of classic bathroom suites on the market that will transform the room entirely. From free-standing bath tubs with the traditional claw-footed supports, to basin and toilet sets that combine gentle curves with functionality and conventional design, elegance is easily achievable in the bathroom. Bathroom furniture is also important. Opt for a traditional washstand or a vanity unit and watch as the elegance levels begin to rise in the room.

For those who have no plans to entirely renovate their bathroom, elegance can be added with just a few choice accessories. Opt for an ornate bathroom mirror rather than a modern one with hard edges. Introduce elegant paintings or canvas artwork to the walls and choose a lighting fixture that is both functional and stylish; a chandelier, for instance. Add candles and other decorative pieces such as reed diffusers to surfaces like windowsills and counters (this will also have the advantage of making the room smell wonderful – choose jasmine and ylang-ylang for a truly relaxing scent) and if you really want to go the whole way, decant your shampoo, conditioner and other toiletry liquids into vintage bathroom bottles for a wholly elegant look that everyone will admire. Attention to detail is important for this look; ensure there is no chipped paint, no tatty bath mats and no mildew or water streaks on the shower enclosure. The whole look should be put together, immaculate and easy on the eye.

This article was written by freelance writer and mother of three, Kathryn Thompson.  Follow her on Twitter: @katht35

Small Bathroom Solutions

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 27-07-2013

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In the age of city living and decreasing house sizes living with a small bathroom is something that many of us face. But, there is still a multitude of ways to create the illusion of space, lighten up the room and accessorize it with style.

#1. Bathroom Cabinets

In a smaller bathroom you’re likely to only be able to fit in one cabinet above and below your sink. Therefore, picking the right cabinet is crucial to opening up your bathrooms floor space but still provide for all your storage needs.

Try opting for a sink cabinet that doesn’t extend all the way to the floor and take up vital floor space. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes and the assistance it provides in being able to lean over your sink with ease.

For above the sink cabinets, again to allow you to lean over with ease, make sure the top cabinet is around half the width of your sink.

#2. Shelving

Any bathroom cabinet needs as many shelves as possible to store all your daily essentials that will prevent you from cluttering up any available windowsills with bottles and toiletries. Try using open metal shelving as an alternative to cabinets, which put all your items into an easy to reach space. These add a nice touch of style and couldn’t be easier to fit as they slot neatly around the sink’s plumbing.

A shower caddy is a great shelving solution for any small bathroom. It not only tidies up all your shower gels, shampoos and scrubs, it gathers them in one easy to reach place (instead of fumbling around your window sill).

#3. Shower Curtains

By simply changing your shower curtain you can dramatically alter your small bathroom space. If you have fairly neutral walls, try opting for a brighter colour or patterned design that adds a dash of personality and light. Where possible, opt for brighter colours or pale creams and blues that reflect the light well and enhance light levels.

#4. Accessorize

A mirror is an essential item for any bathroom. Use your mirrors to maximize the space and light of the room where ever possible. Rectangular mirrors that expand the whole length of an available wall are a great way to achieve this, especially when placed opposite a window that floods the room with light. Aside from this, bathroom mirror cabinets are a fantastic use of the surfaces available to you.

A touch of personality and quirky style can be added with other bathroom accessories. There are little touches, such as, a toilet seat, toilet roll holders, hangers that can come together to create a cohesive theme. For example, for a modern yet homely feel opt for softer light wooden accessories over polished metal.

#5. The Shower

Lastly, but probably where you should start, is the shower. Both mira showers and triton showers have a range of styles and fittings that can easily slot into your existing shower. Upgrading your shower could transform how you view your bathroom with the option of a refreshing power shower; massage modes and luxurious rainfall heads.

If you’re looking for a complete refit again be mindful of the floor space its footprint demands. If possible opt for showers that will slot neatly into bathroom corners with a curbed sliding door that gives you the room to shower in comfort but takes up no more floor space than necessary.

How To Create A Child Friendly Bathroom

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 20-07-2013

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Once upon a time, your perfect bathroom may have consisted of a gleaming white freestanding bath, elegant monochrome décor and a minimalist design. Having kids changes everything, and interior design is no exception – but you can still create a stylish bathroom that is simultaneously a child’s watery playroom and a serene haven to escape from the stresses of daily life.



homebase roll top bath

Add a splash of colour

If you choose to stick with white for the bathroom fixtures, such as the tub and the sink, this creates a great neutral backdrop for colourful accessories. Children love bright colours that instil a sense of fun so brighten up a neutral bathroom with colourful towels, shower curtains, bath mats and accessories such as soap dishes.

A splash of colour will also add interest to the overall design, keeping it looking fresh and on-trend. If you want to inject some colour into the fixtures themselves you could opt for wood end bath panels rather than white to warm up the room and give it a more welcoming vibe.

Infuse a sense of fun

They might moan about the prospect of having a bath initially, but bath time can actually be one of the more fun everyday rituals for kids. From ample splashing to foamy bubbles, this is the one room in the house where it’s okay to make a mess!

While busy mums and dads may not appreciate this aspect of bath time (which can be combated by investing in a bath screen), it’s always a joy to see your child having a good time. Reflect this sense of fun with bath crayons and plenty of toys to keep them occupied and distract them from the ‘boring’ cleansing part.

Baths: safety first

Fun is hugely important when it comes to decorating any room that will be used by children, but safety should always be at the forefront of your mind. From double baths to whirlpool models, there is plenty of choice so weigh up all your options.

Once you’ve made your selection, you should garnish it with safety features including baths mats and grips. However, functional doesn’t have to mean drab – slip resistant bath mats come in all shapes, colours and sizes so you can find one your child likes. 

Creatively Different Blinds

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Information | Posted on 17-07-2013

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How gorgeous is this weather? How sunny is it? How little are our children sleeping at the moment?! Seriously, with all this gloriously sunny weather getting the children to bed at night – or for a nap during the day – is getting something of a handful. Keeping the sun out of Little Man’s room is becoming a bit of a mission and I’m starting to wonder whether we need a better black out blind. One that covers the whole window and sits in the recess. To be fair he’s pretty good, even at nap time, but the random brown curtains he has up at his window aren’t that fun, so I’ve been looking at what’s available online.

How cute is this?

creatively different roller blinds with jungle cartoon theme

I’m sure you all remember the Jungle Themed Makeover we did on Little Man’s room shortly after we moved house. Well this would work amazingly with the decor. I found it on the Creatively Different Blinds website. They do blinds using any image from their online gallery, but what really caught my attention was that you can also upload your own image to be put on a blind. This would be great for photos of your children or a beautiful scene.

If blinds aren’t what you are after you can even have your own image put on splashbacks for the kitchen or bathroom, or even your own bespoke wallpaper design. I love the idea of a personalised splashback for the kitchen sink – how much more pleasurable would washing up be if your kids were looking up at you whilst you did it? The gallery of images available is very extensive and has around 6000 pictures to choose from. There are some gorgeous shots there, but I think using my own would be brilliant. I think a shot of Little Man looking up at me with his gorgeous cheeky grin would be beautiful.

What photo would you choose?

Summer Holiday Essentials: Hammamas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Holiday, Home & Lifestyle, Product Reviews | Posted on 18-08-2012

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I love products that when you get them and use them you end up finding a million and one uses for them and you wonder how you ever survived without one. A Hammamas is such a product. What looks like a simple large cotton towel transforms into a multitude of uses, and all you need is a bit of imagination.

Hammamas are based on the traditional Turkish bath towel, and are available in a huge range of colours and patterns. Their generous size adds to their variety of uses.

First and foremost they make great towels. Absorbing water as fast as a traditional towel they dry super fast making them the perfect partner for bath time, visits to the swimming pool, or a dip in the sea. They are ideal for children as you can wrap them up in no time at all, making sure they don’t get too cold when they get out the water.

They are perfect for travelling. If you’re off on holiday take a Hammamas. They are compact enough to fit in your luggage, in the car, stored in a caravan, packed into the limited space of a boat or barge, they would even fit neatly into a tent. You could even use them if you’re off on your gap year and all you have is your rucksack.

A Hammamas makes  a great blanket. Whether you’re on the beach and want something to lie on, or your in the park or your own back garden having a picnic, a Hammamas is big enough to relax on. Perhaps you’re heading to a festival and want something to wrap around you in the cool evenings, or you might be planning a romantic evening on the beach watching the sunset. Get a Hammamas!

The perfect beachwear accessory. If you’re heading to warmer climes this summer – and to be fair who could blame you – travel light by using your Hammamas as beachwear. It makes an ideal sarong, and with a bit of creativity it can also be worn as a dress over your bikini – great when heading away from the beach for lunch.

Home decoration with a Hammamas. Whether you’re dining inside or out this summer you might want to put a tablecloth down. Use your Hammamas. Thrown over a table – especially a wooden table in the garden – the Hammamas looks amazing, and it protects your table and adds some colour to the occasion. And you don’t to worry about spillages as they can be thrown in the washing machine at 40 degrees and will be dry in no time.

You can view the extensive range online at the Hammamas store.


Maximising Space In A Child’s Bedroom

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 25-06-2012

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I’m sure I’m not the only mum to be taken aback by just how many toys my child has amassed over the years, and just how much space these headless action figures and broken bits of Lego take up in my home. Yes, the irony here is that despite having no income of his own, my five year old son seems to own more personal possessions than I do, and so now we face a problem whereby his small bedroom can no longer house all of his belongings. The solution is of course to either win the lottery and buy that million-pound multi-room mansion, or – perhaps more realistically – to think about how to make the most of the space available in my child’s small bedroom.
Clearing clutter away and finding a home for each and every item is a good way to create a sense of space in any bedroom. Having practical storage solutions such as toy boxes and shelves around your child’s room is a good way to help control the chaos of books and toys being scattered everywhere. Creating a consistent routine with your child where they know where to return each item after they have finished with it is a good way to keep on top of maintaining a sense of space and order in their bedroom. They will also getting into the good habit of picking up after themselves, and praising this tidy behaviour will help them to develop a sense of pride about the space around them, encouraging them to want to keep it clean.
A bed can typically take up more room in a bedroom than any other item, and so one practical way of creating space is by doubling the bed up as both a place of sleep and relaxation for your wee one, and as a storage unit for their toys and trinkets. Practical divan beds are a good bet for doing this, and specialist bed and mattress provider Silentnight offers a wide range of different models to match the size of storage required, including specialised beds for children and toddlers.
Clothes can often be the biggest cause of clutter, and so finding a way to organise these with perhaps a closet system or shelving unit is a good way to avoid the unsightly image of socks and underpants strewn all over the furniture. Even something as practical as hanging a pocket shoe organiser on the closet door can be useful in making that extra bit of space. Again, try to use positive reinforcement to encourage your child to be responsible for putting away their own clothes, and for learning that every item in their room has a home, whether it’s their favourite Action Man or just a lonely old sock.

John Lewis Opens First Store In Sussex

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Product Launch | Posted on 04-04-2012

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Retail giant John Lewis is opening its first ever store in Sussex on Thursday with a “John Lewis At Home” store on the Portfield Way Retail Park, just outside Chichester. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview on Tuesday and take a tour around the new store with branch manager Claire.

Boasting 40,000 square feet of selling space over two floors this new store has a wide range of products you’d commonly find within their bigger shops. There is a large selection of home décor and furnishing, as well as an extensive kitchen and lighting section.

Downstairs you will find the Click & Collect Service which makes shopping even easier – you just order the item and collect it from store the next day, and the only selection of Olympic Merchandising outside of a London branch. Perfect if you want to grab yourself a piece of memorabilia for this summers event without having to fight your way into the capital.

Jubilee fever has also struck with a number of Union Jack emblazoned products throughout the store from cushions to deck chairs and food gifts – I can highly recommend the Emma Bridgewater Biscuit Barrel!

Upstairs you will find a comprehensive electrical and gadgetry department which includes the brand new iPad and a number of TV’s – ideal distraction for the men! You will also find a small but well stocked baby section to pick up a few nursery essentials for your little ones, including cots, toys and a bedding.

The familiar John Lewis cafe is also upstairs where they’ll be selling a range of drinks, snacks and light lunches, as well as children’s lunch boxes. A supply of high chairs is ready and waiting! Customer toilets can also be found nearby along with spacious baby changing facilities, and a feeding room – something which is rare even on the high street!

One of my favourite “trends” on offer in John Lewis At Home is the ‘Playnation’ range. Here is the foyer of the new store, decked out in the range.

Can you believe that colourful book display is actually wallpaper? I love it and definitely want some for our home office!!

The ‘Playnation’ range is beautifully bright and encompasses a huge selection of products from table ware to garden items, home decor to office organisation. The mix of wood and colour looks brilliant and I can imagine several pieces finding a place in my home soon. Here are a few of my personal favourites:

This Tiffin Box would be great on family picnics this summer with four handy compartments for your lunch time favourites.

Office storage needn’t be dull with this brightly coloured unit featuring six large deep drawers.

Every cook and baker needs a good set of measuring spoons and I love this set of four – colourful additions to any kitchen.

Summer trips to the beach or just sitting in the garden will be stylish and comfortable for your little ones in this traditional deck chair.

John Lewis At Home opens on Thursday April 5th and with the extended Easter weekend it’s sure to be a busy one – I suggest you start queuing now!!