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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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Foodie: The Perfect Cocktail

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie, Information | Posted on 17-04-2013

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I am assured that winter is now over and we’ve got summer on the horizon. For me summer is the perfect time to get out in the garden with family and friends and enjoy the warm sunny weather. Picnics and barbecues aplenty, and lots of relaxing in the long evenings with a glass of something nice. There’s something about summer that makes me want the occasional cocktail, and the most affordable way to enjoy one is to make your own. The team at Spa Breaks have created this little video on how to make the perfect cocktail.

From measuring your spirits, to decorating your glassware, to the excitement of setting your cocktail on fire (sort of..), the video has lots of tips and hints for creating your perfect summer drink. None of the equipment used is particularly hard to come by – most kitchen stores sell cocktail shaker sets, measurers and juicers – and with a bit of creativity you can even try making your own. Blindfolded taste testing is entirely optional, of course.

So come on hot summer weather – I quite fancy sipping a homemade Mojito in my garden this year. What about you?

Making Christmas Easier With Asda

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Foodie, Information | Posted on 17-12-2012

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We all want to create a magical Christmas this year for our families, and especially our children. Hopefully you have all got your presents bought – and no doubt some of your efficient enough to have them wrapped as well – and houses are probably decorated too. The thing I find that needs the most organisation after the complications of what to buy people, is food.

We have a traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, lots of vegetables, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes and stuffing. There’s usually some bread sauce and cranberry sauce too. Dessert is never a problem as Grandma always ensures we have trifle – the best EVER – and meringues to go with and cake, mince pies and pudding that there may be too. As you can see, food is a big part of Christmas.

Little Man is also a big part of Christmas, and this year as he’s so much more aware of whats going on, and beginning to recognise Santa and understanding what presents are, I don’t want to be spending all Christmas Day in the kitchen. I want to be spending it with my family, and my most important member, my son. So this year I’m going for a nice easy Christmas, without scrimping on quality. I want to be able to pop things in the oven as necessary, but not spend hours preparing and watching over the oven or the hobs as things cook.

This Christmas I am relying entirely on Asda, and I know I wont be disappointed.

Firstly my turkey is coming from there. A nice sized turkey, enough to feed four adults and a toddler on Christmas Day and then give us some leftovers for the next few days. My fresh turkey from Asda’s Butchers Selection is costing £18 which I think is pretty reasonable for the size of it, and for the fact its fresh, not frozen. The turkey will be pimped up a little with some butter which I’ll be placing between the skin and the meat to make it nice and moist, and I’ll probably stick a couple of clementines inside to add to the flavour. Nothing too fancy. This should take about 2 and a half hours to cook, depending on weight of course, and hopefully I’ll be able to cook this then leave it to rest for an hour or so whilst I get the accompaniments cooked.

Next up is a mountain of vegetables. I want to make sure there’s a good variety of vegetables – mostly due to the epic quantities of cake and chocolate which will be coming later – but I don’t want to be wasting precious time peeling, chopping, slicing, and prepping. You could be uber efficient and prepare your vegetables in advance and pop them in the freezer to bring out the night before – and I do know a few of you have done that already and I salute you. Me? I’m going for the lazy approach and using Asda’s Extra Special Prepared Vegetables this year. There is a great range to choose from and I’ve ordered four packets – 2 packs for £4 is the offer on at the moment – which should keep us all happy. On my table this year you’ll find Baby Parsnips with Parmesan Crumb, Baby Sprouts & Bacon with Sage Butter, Slowly Braised Red Cabbage with Apple & Cranberry, and Clementine Roasting Vegetables. The vegetables take between 30 and 50 minutes in the oven to cook, you literally just pop them in there. The Sprouts are even more efficient and take just 5 minutes in the microwave or a quick fry on the hob. More than likely I’ll peel and boil a few carrots for Little Man who is a bit carrot obsessed, but that should be the height of my effort this year.

I am cooking my Roast Potatoes myself, despite the temptation to buy those ready to roast too. This year though we are using Asda’s Extra Special Rudolph Potatoes. These have a distinctive red skin – hence the name – and are perfect for roasting. I’ll be parboiling them, some with skins on and some without, and then roasting in goose fat for about an hour. I’m still debating mash too, and also debating whether it’ll be made by me, or Asda. Rudolph Potatoes come in 1.5kg bags for £1.75 and you can get two 220g jars of Extra Special Goose Fat for £4.

When it comes to drinks those too are coming straight from Asda. I recently attended a wine tasting event organised by Asda. This was great fun, but also the perfect opportunity to discover new wines, and decide precisely what would be on my table this year. I’m a big fan of white wine, and despite many attempts I’m not keen on red, so there will be plenty of white in my house this year. Being drunk in my house this Christmas will be Asda’s Extra Special Prosecco – perfect for the party season and a bargain at just £6.48 a bottle – the French Etoile De Nuit Sauvignon Blanc, and a tasty Spanish bottle of Alba Rino. No doubt these will be getting drunk with Christmas dinner, but also enjoyed later that evening with a few tasty snacks. I advise you all to go and buy a few boxes of All Butter Gruyere & Poppy Seed Twists to nibble on. My newest addiction.

So Christmas this year for my family is definitely an Asda one, but its going to be affordable, easy and above all else tasty. For me, there is nothing better than a great family Christmas, and because of Asda, I’ll be able to enjoy one. Happy Christmas.

Product Review: Munchkin Click Lock Straw Cup

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 05-10-2012

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Parenting is hard. Just as you get yourself into a state of calm and understanding, another milestone is hit or your little one decides to alter their routine and you’re back at square one. There is always something new to worry about and new decisions to make. As a parent I like to have something I can rely on, something that I know works, something to make my life easier. My Little Man will be two in 10 days and I am very lucky. More often than not he is a star – his routine works perfectly, he (mostly) does what he’s told, and we don’t really have too many problems. Yes, we still have problems, but as he approaches his 2nd birthday I feel a bit more and more like we know what we’re doing!

Recent research from Munchkin has found that for most new mothers it can take two years to get the hang of motherhood – not that I imagine its ever easy! Mums that spoke to Munchkin all seemed to have a list of criteria they needed to fill before they felt their lives as parents had clicked into place. These criteria included having a good routine, getting baby to sleep through the night, having a good supply of drinks/snacks/entertainment with them when they went out, and being able to go out on time. Parents have a lot to worry about so Munchkin set about to give Mums one less worry with their new “Click Lock” cups.

The “Click Lock” cups have a definite audible ‘click’ sound when the lids are correctly fitted. When the ‘click’ occurs you know that the lid is secure and there’ll be no leaking in your bag or spillages if the cup is knocked over. Munchkin sent Little Man a “Click Lock Straw Cup” to test out and we’ve been using it for most of the summer now. Its a good capacity – Little Man’s fluid intake varies from one to three cups per day! – and easy for him to hold and drink from. Most importantly for me is its ability to not leak, and that has been a great success. As well as the audible ‘click’ when I fasten the lid it just feels secure once its properly in places, and I’ve been able to carry it in my bag without any worries, something which can’t be said for all cups! It is frequently knocked over or dropped onto the floor and we still haven’t had any leakages. A great cup, and one less thing to worry about for us.

The Click Lock Cup range is available from leading supermarkets and stores nationwide.