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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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Health: Good Food & Drinks For Christmas & New Year

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Foodie | Posted on 18-12-2012

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Overindulging is one of the best parts of Christmas – I certainly do it, and I’m sure everyone reading this will be guilty of it this year too. As the New Year dawns we’ll all start thinking about resolutions and no doubt healthy eating and a new fitness regime will be part of that for some of us. I’m pretty sure we all start each new year with the best of intentions, but no doubt by the end of the first week all hope is lost!

Here are a few recipes for drinks, meals and snacks which might just help you have a healthy Christmas and New Year. By using Philadelphia Light, Total Greek Yogurt or making “Mocktails” with Welchs Purple Grape Juice, you can eat well, and eat healthier.

Turkey & Cranberry Bites
This is a great way to use up Christmas Day leftovers and create some tasty nibbles for Boxing Day and beyond. Take a 375g pack of ready rolled puff pastry and cut it into 24 little squares. Top each square with a dollop of Philadelphia Light, some Cranberry Sauce and a few pieces of cooked turkey. Cook for 10-15 minutes at 220degrees/Gas 7 until the pastry is golden. Allow to cool a little before serving.

Mini Cheesecake Bites
These are also a great party food, or you could make a large one anytime. Take a packet of mini chocolate chip cookies, shortbread rounds, or oat biscuits and top generously with spoonfuls of Chocolate Philadelphia. Top with fresh fruit of your choice, such as strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.

Creamy Lincolnshire Sausage Hot Pot
For a great family friendly meal try this delicious hot pot.

Prep time: 45mins
Cooking time: 1hr
Serves: 4

454g Lincolnshire pork sausage (8 sausages)
2 Eating apples (preferably red to add colour to the dish)
1 Leek
2 Large carrots
1 Medium onion
1 Clove of garlic (crushed)
½ pint Chicken stock
300g TOTAL Greek Yoghurt Classic
4 Medium potatoes
50g Butter
Olive oil for cooking

Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark 6/400F or 200C.
Peel and par boil the potatoes in a saucepan of salted water, drain and allow to cool.
Cut each apple into four wedges and remove the core. Gently sauté in a frying pan with a little olive oil for around 3-4 minutes then remove from the pan and place to one side.
Roughly cut the carrot, leek and the onion into 1 inch pieces.
Gently sweat with the garlic for approximately 5 minutes until they start to soften, then add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
When stock has boiled, remove from the heat and add the yoghurt.
In a frying pan, quickly fry off the sausages in a little olive oil whilst cooking the par boiled potatoes into ¼ inch thick slices.
Place the sausages and apples into a large casserole dish. Then pour over the carrot, onion, leek and yoghurt mixture.
Next, lay the sliced half cooked potatoes over the top in an even layer. Generously brush with melted butter and bake in the middle of oven for approx 1 hr until crisp and golden on the top.

This is delicious, and a great recipe for hiding vegetables from little ones too!

Black Forest Gateau In A Glass
This is a lovely healthy twist on the classic dessert, and served in individual glasses looks great too.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

500g TOTAL Greek Yoghurt (0%, 2% or Authentic)
1 tin Pitted black cherries
½ pkt Luxury chocolate cookies
100g Nutella
1 Cadbury’s flake

Drain the cherries, but keep the juice.
Crush the cookies and chop the flake into small pieces

To Serve:
Take four sundae glasses – or any quirky glassware you have – and layer the ingredients. Start with the cookies and drizzle with the juice from the cherries. Next add a layer of cherries, a layer of chocolate spread and a layer of yoghurt.  Keep adding the layers until glass is nearly full. Finish with a sprinkling of crumbled flake!

These look amazing, and taste delicious!

Mock Mulled Wine
Try this festive juice this year instead of the traditional alcoholic version. Put 300ml of Welchs Purple Grape juice, 2 cloves, 1cm stick of cinnamon, 1 star anise and a 2inch piece of orange peel into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a hot drinks glass – removing and pieces first of course – and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Tasty and much better for you.


7 Child Friendly Pubs in Brighton

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Information | Posted on 02-07-2012

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Pubs are wonderful places to catch up with old friends and swop gossip and news; conversations in cafes just never seem as interesting or candid!
However, if you’ve got young children in tow it can be tricky to find a pub which welcomes you. This is why it’s always best to plan pub get-togethers well in advance if some of your drinking companions are young children.
In the interests of research I spent much of last weekend touring the pubs of Brighton to find the most child-friendly hostelries. It was thirsty work but here are the results!
The Setting Sun
You have to travel up a steep street to get to The Setting Sun in Hanover but the journey really is worth it. The view over Brighton that you get from the Sun’s garden is worthy of a painting and it’s good to know that kids are welcome until 7pm (9pm if you’re eating food).
The Hanover
The Hanover is located at an even higher altitude than the Setting Sun; you can find it up in the clouds at the top of Queen’s Park Road.  The pub’s proximity to Queen’s Park makes it the ideal watering hole for families who have spent an afternoon playing in the park; the pub generally welcomes children until 7:30 pm.
The Good Companions
Located in the heart of Seven Dials this pub used to be a real spit-and-sawdust affair. The Good Companions has always had potential but just seemed to lack the right owners. I always remember being amazed that for many years the beautiful pub windows were covered with the kind of shuttered blinds you would find in a 1980s office!
Thankfully times (and owners) have changed and the Companions is now the trendy, tastefully-decorated pub it deserves to be. The pub is reassuring child-friendly and adult-friendly too – the bar staff are always chatty. Like all the other pubs in this list, the Companions provides a child-friendly food menu.
The Tin Drums in Seven Dials and Hove
Is The Tin Drum really a pub or a restaurant? I’m not really sure but it is plain to see that these pubs are pleased to see families with children come through their doors: they were one of the first licenced premises in Brighton to provide colouring books and crayons for their younger customers. My only (very small) complaint about The Tin Drum in Seven Dials is that it can get quite noisy in there. However, this is not the fault of the kids; I think it’s something to do with the acoustics involved with its open-plan design!
Chimney House
Not all Brightonians are aware of the Chimney House’s existence. The pub is tucked away in Hamilton Street in the backstreets of Seven Dials, not far away from The Prestonville Pub. The Chimney House used to be a pub called The Marquis of Exeter but when it changed name it went upmarket (becoming more ‘foodie’ and child-friendly in the process). The price of a roast dinner in the Chimney House might be a little costlier than your average pub meal but children will be fascinated to see the chefs at work in the open kitchen.
The George Pub
What do you do if you are a vegetarian with a dog and want to have a pub meal with your children? The answer is invariably to head to The George Pub at the foot of Trafalgar Street. Children are welcome until 7pm in the pub (I’m not sure what time dogs are welcome too) which should give you plenty of time to sample the George’s delicious food. I had Halloumi in batter with thick-cut chips there last week and it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had!
The Hartington Pub
The Hartington Pub is the type of foodie pub which serves meals on wooden cheese-boards; a real sign of class! The left-hand corner of the pub always contains a charming jumble of kiddies’ books and toys in the place where a busy dart board used to be located.
How times have changed; Brighton is certainly becoming more child-friendly!
James Christie writes for Thomson Local Business Directory. Use Thomson to find child-friendly pubs and pub restaurants in your area.