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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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Back To School…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review, Product Reviews | Posted on 28-08-2012

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Well that time is upon us all once again, where the mad dash to find essential supplies for our children before we send them back to school next week – unless you’re in Scotland of course where they are already out from under your feet! Now Little Man isn’t 2 yet so I have a few more years to psych myself up for this eternally stressful time, but I do have a few products here that might just appeal to you, and your young scholars!

Smencils
A new school year means a brand new pencil case loaded up with new pens, pencils, rulers and erasers. If you fancy treating your child to something a little more unusual this year – something special if its their first ever day at school – then I highly recommend a set of Smencils. Smencils are just what they sound like – smelly pencils. Made from recycled paper and scented for added fun, these pencils are a great idea. I really like the Fruit Shoot scented range, which is great for young children just starting school. I don’t think there are many children out there who don’t love Fruit Shoots, so a matching set of pencils will be a perfect addition to their very first pencil case.

Click here for a Facebook Competition to win a set. Closes Friday September 7th 2012.

Back To School Books
If your child is a bit nervous about venturing to school for the first time then there a couple of great books here that might just ease their worries. “Foxy” by Emma Dodd is about a little girl called Emily who is starting school the next day and is worried that she doesn’t have everything she needs. Her magical friend Foxy comes to her rescue with some very amusing results, and a brilliantly reassuring message for all children. “Come To School Too, Blue Kangaroo” by Emma Chichester Clark is the latest in the Blue Kangaroo series. Lily takes Blue Kangaroo to school with her and wants to help him through his first day, but his day goes on longer than planned when he is left behind. A great fun story for all Blue Kangaroo fans worried about starting at school.

Forget Me Not
If your child has something of a hectic schedule – school, clubs, sports teams, music lessons, etc – or the mad rush each morning means they often forget something important for school, investing in a Forget Me Not from Tidy Books might just save you a lot of stress. It comes with a large magnetic whiteboard for jotting down reminders or fastening letters from school or timetables on. Beneath that is a small shelf with a lip to put small items that need to be taken, such as lunch money or letters that can be posted on the walk to school. Finally you get a row of hooks which can hold school bags packed ready for the next day or sports kits for PE lessons. The Forget Me Not has a compact slimline design, but has plenty room to store all your school day essentials.

Product Review: Ministry Of Letters

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 16-04-2012

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You’ll know by now how books are a big part of our lives in my house, and you’ll have some idea of the small libraries’ worth that my Little Man has, despite being just 18 months old. We hope that by having books in his life from an early age that he’ll continue to enjoy them throughout his life, and that he won’t be put off by the idea of words and reading. For a lot of children though reading, letters and the alphabet can be a hugely confusing and intimidating thing. “The Ministry Of Letters” has come up with a fun and interesting way for children to get to grips with this sometimes scary world with the help of a brilliantly entertaining book and website.

“Operation Alphabet” is the tale of Charlie Foxtrot, a little boy who starts school and finds letters and the alphabet totally confusing – he has a bad case of the ‘alphabetaheebeegeebees’. The SAS is called in – “Special Alphabet Services” – and with the help of some rhymes, songs and a whole heap of adventure Charlie finds that letters are so much fun.

This book is a brilliant tool for any young children who are about to start school, or have perhaps started and found themselves in a similar situation to Charlie. You also get a special poster of the alphabet to stick on your bedroom wall to remind your children of how the letters look and the order they come in. I think Little Man will adore this book and the Charlie Foxtrot story when he’s a bit older, and the poster will be a brilliant tool in helping him learn the shapes that make up the alphabet.

A brand new phonic app is landing on the website soon – The Orchestra Game – but for now why not take a look at the letters in action:

You can learn all about the Ministry Of Letters at their website, where you can order your copy of Operation Alphabet too!

 

 

Brit Mums Live: Introducing My Sponsor…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Blogger Event, Brit Mums Live, Information, Product Launch | Posted on 15-03-2012

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It is with great excitement and much enthusiasm that I can officially announce my Brit Mums Live 2012 sponsor is… InspirationWorks!!!

How many people just said “Who?”

Whilst you might not have heard of InspirationWorks specifically, if you have children there is a reasonably high chance that you own a product which they have played a major part in.  Launched in 2005 InspirationWorks develop and distribute licensed electronic learning products in the UK. They have a huge range of laptops and phonics learning toys aimed at children from 12 months and upwards. Their licensed products feature popular characters including Peppa Pig, Bob The Builder, Waybuloo, Ben & Holly and the newest star of CBeebies Mike The Knight.

2012 will see InspirationWorks become more known as a brand as they release the Kurio – an Android tablet for children and families. The Kurio is a multimedia and entertainment device for children which has the benefit of full parental control and internet content filtering making the Kurio is THE safest tablet around to let your children use. You can even set timers for how long they play on it. What they are really going to love is the ability to personalise their own interface with their favourite licensed character. What you will love is that you don’t have to have Peppa Pig on your interface! Profiles are available so that it can be used by the children for fun and games, but can also be used by parents as a work device. Skins and cases will also be available for both children and adults for even more personalisation. Being Android it also means you can download any App you want from the same Android Market you’d find on your SmartPhone or other tablet.

The Kurio will be available to buy in July 2012 and comes in three sizes:

  • 7 Inch 800 x 480 capacitive multi-touch screen priced at £149.99 – Available from July
  • 9.7 Inch 1024 x 600 capacitive multi-touch screen priced at £199.99 – Available from Autumn
I’m sure you’ll agree that for something of this quality those are not-to-be-missed prices.
If you want a sneaky preview of the Kurio you’d better come and find me at Brit Mums because I will have a pre-release 7 Inch Kurio with me! The Kurio has advanced multimedia capabilities with a USB key and a SD card portal – it also comes with HDMI connection so can be used as a mobile HD video player.  A dedicated car mount system will be available to purchase to mount this in cars as a mobile DVD player – perfect for the children on car journeys. The Kurio has 4GB integrated memory, extendable up to 36GB using the micro SD card slot. The Kurio 7 Inch comes with a front and rear side camera so you little one can take photos of the world around them, or portraits of themselves!
I will be using it throughout the event for taking notes during the breakout sessions and tweeting, but I will also be demonstrating it to anyone who wants a look. The Kurio is guaranteed to be on your child’s Wish-List this summer so this is the ideal chance to get a first hand look at exactly what it can do. Bearing in mind that the Gadget Show Live named Kurio “Best of Show Gadget” at Toy Fair 2012 there is no doubting that this tablet is going to be huge.
I am so excited to be going to Brit Mums Live and so proud to be representing such a great company, and such a fantastic product. If you have any questions about InspirationWorks or the Kurio specifically don’t hesitate to tweet or email me and I’ll do my best to help!

Product Review: ‘My World’ Puzzles from Gibsons

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 06-03-2012

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I am a firm believer that learning should be fun, especially for young children. You don’t want to do anything to make them think learning is boring or tiresome as it could put them off for years to come. At almost 18 months my Little Man is learning all the time, every day. I’m helping and encouraging this learning with a new range of puzzles from Gibsons.

 

 

 

The ‘My World’ range of puzzles from Gibsons has been designed in association with child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer. The puzzles are linked to the UK National Curriculum to help give your child that early insight into education and school. More importantly the puzzles are brightly coloured, tactile and perfect for little hands. The chunky pieces in the puzzles are made from recycled board and are nice and sturdy – they have been chewed by Little Man but have come to no harm.

We love the ‘My Farm Animals’ set. There are eight puzzles in the box with either 2 or 3 pieces so perfect first jigsaws. The 2 piece puzzles comprise an animals head and bottom, and the 3 piece include a speech bubble with an appropriate noise. What I particularly like is that the pieces are all interchangeable and fit to each other so you could have say a cows head and a dogs bottom saying “Baa!”. This is a lovely feature which allows your child to make up their own funny characters, and its all helping their motor skills when it comes to putting the pieces together. I also like the design of the box. On the lid is a perforated slit which you can easily push out. This allows your child to post the pieces back into the box when they’ve finished playing with them. Little Man found this feature almost more exciting than the jigsaws themselves! This set is aimed at 18months and upwards, so is getting a lot of use in our house at the moment.

Gibsons Range of puzzles for children can be found at all good toy outlets, and online at Amazon and John Lewis.

You can view their entire range online at that website, where you will also be able to find details of your nearest stockist.

Celebrate World Book Day With Autumn Publishing’s New Range

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review, Competition, Product Reviews | Posted on 01-03-2012

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For an almost 17 month old Little Boy my son owns an alarming number of books. We are keen for books to pay a big part in his life, as well as the inevitable geeky toys and gadgetry. I’m always on the look out for good quality board books for him, or books for the future which I store in a box in the office. This World Book Day I would like to point you all in the direction of Autumn Publishing, and their new range of books where you’ll find something for children from 12months to 8years.

12 months +
Ideal first books are buggy books – board books which come with an elasticated strap and loop which can be fixed to a pram, a car seat or even the side of a cot. In association with Fisher Price, Autumn Publishing have two great buggy books which are beautifully sized for little hands. “My 123 Buggy Book” explores the world of animals with each of the pages showing a different number of animals. “My Animal Friends Book” contains more brightly coloured animal pictures from the usual birds and elephants to the less commonly used iguana. I love these buggy books because it means we can continue my Little Man’s love of books on the go!

If you’re looking for something a bit bigger for your little one to read whilst at home there is also a range of bigger Fisher Price books available, all containing the same characters from the board books. Four titles are available in this mini-series. “Roar” – which explores the noises animals make, “Where Do You Live?” – which as the title suggests looks at animals natural habitats, “4 Fluffy Ducks” – which looks at counting again, and “My First Colours” – which encourages counting and colour recognition. Unlike normal books this series has a shaped top which I think makes them more appealing and holdable to young children. As soon as this range left the box my Little Man was sat on the floor flipping through the pages – a bookworm in the making!

3 years +
For slightly older children Fisher Price returns once more with an amazing series of educational books that look great fun. The idea is to make learning fun, and I personally can’t wait until my Little Man is old enough to use these. A series of six titles are available and each contains progress charts, stickers and fun brightly coloured activities to encourage your child to learn, but also to enjoy themselves at the same time. Each book contains the same 5 characters – Maggie, Eddie, Sarah-Lynn, Sonya-Lee and Michael as they join your child in the world of learning. Titles include “Colours & Shapes”, “Numbers”, “Letters”, “Phonics”,  “Writing” and “Tell The Time”. These titles would make a great gift to set your little one on the road to learning.

For fun activities the “Fluffy Friends” range provides colouring in, puzzles and each book comes with over 100 stickers. Each book in the series follows the same pattern and design centred around a different animal – Kittens, Bunnies, Puppies and Ponies.

I have a complete set of these books to give away to one lucky reader!! For a chance to win all you need to do is tweet the following:

“I Want To #WinFluffyFriends With @AutPublishing and @SussexMummy”

The competition will close at 8pm on Friday March 9th and the lucky winner will be notified as soon as possible after that.

6 years +
These two books are perfect for your little one who has just started school.

“My First Atlas” helps them explore the countries of the world by telling them fascinating facts and providing brightly coloured detailed pictures. You learn about animals, industry, history, geography, weather and population in a fun and easy to read form. Each page also has a small globe at the top to show you where in world that country is!

“My First Encyclopaedia” introduces them to the the world around them. There are sections on history, the human body, space, the weather and so much more. The information is laid out in a clean and interesting manner to ensure your child’s attention is kept, and it will give them a great head start on topics they’ll cover in much greater detail later on.

Both titles include a special eight page section on the UK so they can learn more about the country in which they live, its history, its residents and its geography.

All the books featured above are available direct from the Autumn Publishing website and range in price from £2.99 to £6.99

Have a great World Book Day!!