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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 Review: Sanamama Carrier

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Reviewer | Posted on 03-01-2013

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The New Year brings another new guest reviewer on Sussex Mummy. Local mummy Louise carries her daughter Evelyn around all the time and is somewhat of an expert when it comes to carriers, slings and all things “Baby Wearing”. She was therefore an ideal candidate to test out the Sanamama carrier. This is how she got on.

“Being an attachment minded parent for me (and my husband) meant that leaving my daughter to cry wasn’t an option and I enjoyed nothing better than holding and nurturing her – good job really as she hated to lie on her back so as you can imagine car seats and prams weren’t designed with her in mind.

My daughter is now 20 months old and still loves to be carried, as do many toddlers I’m sure, and using a sling or carrier enables you to do this without the back breaking side effects of trying to multi-task when pushing a pram, allowing you to have your hands free for the pushchair you bought out anyway and the dog you are supposed to be walking.

The Sanamama is so easy to use and is ideal for this age group as they can be standing up and clipped into the fabric seat section and ready to go in seconds. The fabric is soft and the clips are strong enabling you to safely manoeuvre them on to your back with little experience of baby wearing and back carrying. There is one large clip that does up around your stomach and thick padded straps that can be adjusted on your shoulders. The carrier has wide fabric on each side that you can cover your little ones legs with before fastening or the fabric can go under their legs, either way, supporting babies back and bottom with no pressure  through their the spine, hips or crotch area.

The durable fabric enables baby to have their arms tucked inside and snuggled against mummy or out ensuring they can still read a little book or enjoy their favourite snack.  The back of the sling comes up nice and high so it supports the neck of your child enabling them to relax, or in Evelyn’s case, sleep.  Evelyn slept for two and a half hours on my back while I successfully completed my Christmas shopping hands free.

The sling comes in neutral colours making it ideal for daddy to wear.  Also, the seat pouch section they sit in means it is easy to swap from mummy’s back to daddy’s back and vice versa, easily adjusting the straps to suit when she is in situ. I must also mention the zip pocket for those all important snacks to nibble on along the way was rather handy.

The Sanamama is machine washable which is ideal and is so lightweight it can be worn as a rucksack until they are ready to be carried. It is also compatible with my Peekaroo fleece that fits over both of us and also works great with a standard poncho with enough room for both of us with none of the bulkiness of huge winter jackets under the sling.

I would definitely recommend the Sanamama and would have liked to have had this as an option among my many carriers when my daughter was smaller too. I think it is the easiest of my slings to have used around the house while hoovering or while she was taking a nap as I like the internal seat harness for its quickness and support while getting her on and off my back awake or asleep.”

You can find out more about the Sanamama carriers at their website and you will also find them on Twitter @MySanamama.

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: Lights Out Blinds

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 09-01-2012

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As many of you know I  moved house at the end of October last year. Relocating from a small two bedroom second floor flat to a three bedroom semi was brilliant and it means a lot more room for our growing Little Man. When you move house you get a list of which fixtures and fittings are being taken by the previous owner and what they’re leaving behind. We fully expected curtains to be taken – we were taking ours from the flat – but we were a little surprised that they were taking the curtain rails! Now on moving day I didn’t have time to measure windows, go and buy rails and curtains, and get them fitted. This wasn’t a problem in the main bedroom as the blinds in there were being left behind, but in Little Man’s room curtains and rails were going – how many 1 year olds do you know that can sleep in daylight? Not many! I need a solution, and I needed one fast.

Lights Out Blinds to the rescue!!

Blackout blinds come in a variety of styles and I’ve looked at several of them since the arrival of Little Man in October 2010. Some stick to a window and need peeling off between uses, others have complicated fixings, some are just baffling. Lights Out Blinds are genius.

Coming in a pack of two the blinds arrive folded up for easy storage and transportation, making them perfect for holidays or stays at grandparents. Once unfolded they fix to your windows simply and quickly. A sucker attached to a length of cord sticks to your window – no spit required you’ll be pleased to hear – and then the blind is secured into place using a simple fastener. It takes mere moments to put up and is totally secure afterwards. You get two in a pack to allow for different sized windows – we use both on Little Man’s window as you can see here:

The room is pitch black when the blinds are in place which is ideal. I leave the blinds up all the time now – I still haven’t got a curtain rail! – and when its nap time we go into his darkened room and he knows its time to go to sleep. He goes – more often than not – straight into his cot without complaint and sleeps soundly, even during the daytime when its bright outside.

Lights Out Blinds are fantastic – we certainly wouldn’t have survived the move, or nowadays, without ours.

Lights Out Blinds can be bought direct from their website and you can also find them on Twitter @LightsOutBlinds