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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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Product Review: Sweet Treats Cake Pop Maker

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 14-09-2012

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When I was offered a Cake Pop Maker to review I was a little sceptical. The whole Cake Pop phenomenon has somewhat passed me by. The idea of a ball of cake on a stick seemed totally bizarre to me, and I really didn’t get the appeal at all. When my Sweet Treats Cake Pop Maker arrived I was pleasantly surprised, to the point I can see me becoming something of an addict!

The only Cake Pop recipe I’d seen was to get pre-baked cake, crumble it, stick it back together, and cover it in melted chocolate. The first thing I liked about the Cake Pop Maker was that I’d be making them fresh and there wouldn’t be strange bits of cake making up my Pop, but a whole mouthful of fresh cake. Following the simple recipe which came with the machine – of which there are 5 to choose from – I set about making a batch. Now each recipe makes 30 – ideal for a party or gathering, but somewhat excessive for a trial run – so I halved it and ended up making 14. The recipe I used was a traditional sponge recipe so I knew what it should look like before baking. I was a little nervous about portioning it into the Maker – which makes 6 at a time – because I didn’t want to overfill them and end up with cake batter everywhere!

Within 4 minutes of closing the lid I had 6 round balls of cake. Now if you’re going to make these for a party or guests generally decoration is key. They are not the most attractive of things naked. Just warm out of the Maker they are delightful and alarmingly addictive. Little Man and I polished off the first batch very quickly. What surprised me was that whilst I was waiting for the second batch to bake my mind started ticking over of ways I could decorate them and events I could use them for. I already have plans to serve them at Little Man’s 2nd birthday next month, and there are ideas forming for Christmas designs as I type. Sticks are part of the Cake Pop process – mainly because they make decorating them so much easier – but I can imagine a pile of them on a plate, Ferrero Rocher style!

If balls of cake still don’t appeal to you – and I implore you to try them out – there is also a recipe for mini doughnuts. Yes, doughnuts. The batter mix is slightly different and whilst warm you roll them in sugar, but the idea of being able to create a batch of mini doughnuts within about 10 minutes is something to be investigated endlessly.

So whilst there is nothing more satisfying then a leisurely afternoon baking a delicious cake for my family, I must confess that I am now somewhat addicted to Cake Pops – I have a pile of sticks ready and am considering a Cake Pop Cookbook. For quick and simple treats for your children, or for a gorgeous centre piece at a party instead of a large cake, Cake Pops may well be the future.

The Sweet Treats Cake Pop Maker is available now from Lakeland.

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.