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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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Review: Grand Hotel Eastbourne Spa Day If you are looking for a last minute gift idea for someone in your family, or perhaps you're thinking of spoiling yourself with a trip to the spa in the New Year to help recover from the Christmas madness,...

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Making Christmas Easier With Asda 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...

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Weaning: Getting Prepared

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews, Weaning | Posted on 13-09-2014

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It seems crazy that I’m already thinking about weaning. Little Dude is just 17 weeks old and whilst technically we are “allowed” to wean from now, its recommended that we wait till six months. Clearly nobody told Little Dude this. He wasn’t a particularly big baby when he was born – just 7lb 3 – but he’s been a big eater since day one. His feeding has always been regular as clockwork and the feed size has increased steadily, albeit faster than the guidelines on the formula box. According to that he’s consuming what a six month old should be having, and has been for about a month. This week I bought “Hungry Baby Formula” which is meant to help delay weaning. We’re using this for his last bottle before bed – part of our tactic to help him sleep through the night – but I’ll probably be using it for feeds during the day too soon. He’s been happily going three hours between feeds for a while now, but in the last week or so he’s begun to get a bit antsy after a couple of hours and sometimes even sooner than that. We’re going away on holiday in just over a week so I’d like to put him off weaning until we get back if I can, but I guess we have to work to what he wants and needs.

We weaned Little Man at 16 weeks. He was on purely “Hungry Baby Formula” for a few weeks before we took the plunge and started weaning. As first time parents we ummed and ahhed about it – and most of our decisions – before we did it, but even then we were unprepared when we did. This time around I’m feeling a lot more confident about the idea, and so I wanted to be totally prepared so that we could literally start as soon as he needs us to. So I’ve organised myself two weaning kits – one for at home and one for when we’re out. I don’t have the luxury of being about to camp out at home till he has the hang of it – I think Little Man would get rather bored – so I wanted to ensure I had the right bits and pieces to hand wherever we are. The two kits below are made up of things that I’ve been sent to review and things I’ve bought, most of which came from the Asda Baby & Toddler event.

Weaning At Home: At home will be by far the easiest place to wean, so it has a much larger kit:

  • Tommee Tippee Food Blender – I picked this up in the baby event for just £10. With Little Man I spent one day each weekend steaming and pureeing fruit and vegetables and then freezing them in ice cube trays. I really don’t have the time to do that this time around, but I’d still like to be able to offer up bits of what I’m already cooking from time to time. This blender makes baby sized portions of pureed food as well as slightly lumpier offerings for later on. I also picked up some cheap ice cube trays for those first tastes, and some Tommee Tippee food pots and lids for when his appetite grows. When it comes to serving up his meals I bought a Cool & Mash Bowl from the Tesco Baby Event yesterday. The bowl has a separate area for cooling spoonfuls of food before feeding it, and for squashing any lumps that need it.
  • Munchkin Bowls & Spoons – As a Munchkin Ambassador I’ve been lucky enough to receive a great array of their products which will be indispensable when we start weaning. Their Food Bowls are handy for a good size for serving up small portions and the snap top lids mean that we could potentially take food out with us in them if necessary. We have a good selection of their spoons too, including these White Hot Safety Spoons. Their coloured tips turn white if foods are too hot for Little Dude to eat, and being soft they are gentle on his little mouth.
  • Ella’s Kitchen First Tastes – Whilst I of course want to feed Little Dude as much fresh food as I can, I am realistic. For me there is no better ready made food than Ella’s Kitchen. We used it with Little Man, and I’m looking forward to using it again with Little Dude. The team sent us a lovely box of food pouches to test out for them, with delicious sounding meals as well as those first tastes of pure vegetable goodness. Needless to say I’ll have a couple full of these pouches to hand when the fun begins.
Weaning Out & About: With a five day holiday coming up as well as a weekend away with Nana and an almost four year old who likes to go out in Mummy’s car, there’s going to be a good amount of weaning away from the comfort of our house. Thankfully, we’re all ready for it:
  • Munchkin – Our weaning on the road adventures will generally be made much easier – I hope! – thanks to Munchkin. A good supply of spoons again, as well as one of their nifty roll-up bibs. The bib has a crumb catcher pocket on it which also doubles up as a pouch to put dirty spoons in once Little Dude is finished eating, and it then all tucks up inside itself and velcros shut making it much cleaner to transport. We’ve also got a couple of Food Pouch Spoon Tips which screw straight onto a food pouch. You simple squeeze spoonfuls straight from the pouch and there’s no need for a separate spoon or even two hands. The handy click-lock lids means you can transport them without worrying about leaks. Finally we have a super cute insulated bag to carry all our bits and pieces in. With a large capacity and a mesh pocket for storage, as well as a clip fastening meaning I can attach it securely to my pushchair, this is probably the most important part of this weaning kit.
  • Ella’s Kitchen – Homemade food may well come out with us in our food pots or bowls with lids, but I suspect we’ll be much more likely to use pouches when we go out. Like I said before, I love Ella’s Kitchen. You genuinely get what it says on the front – there are no hidden extra ingredients – and being organic I know they are the best for Little Dude.
So I’m pretty sure we’ve got weaning covered. My kitchen is practically buried in fact with all the bits and pieces I’ve gathered up. Have we missed anything? What’s in YOUR weaning kit?

Product Review: Ella’s Kitchen Munchy Biccies

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 20-03-2012

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Since my Little Man has become more mobile and begun walking he is desperate to go outside every day. This is brilliant I know, but it does mean I have to keep finding new places to take him! I’d let him rampage around in the garden but its currently a work-in-progress whilst Grandad and Daddy sort out some new grass. So we find ourselves going out every day, and more often than not twice a day!

Going out and about with an enthusiastic toddler brings a whole range of challenges, but the one that is probably most important to Little Man is snacks. Mummy has to have a good supply of snacks with her at all times to ensure whatever he fancies at a moments notice is available. Whilst I generally carry around his bodyweight in blueberries, grapes and satsumas – seriously this child would live on fruit if I let him – I do also like to have a few biscuits with me too. Whilst his usual biscuit of choice is the humble digestive, we were recently introduced to a toddler friendly alternative.

Munchy Biccies from Ella’s Kitchen come in three flavours – Cheese & Apple, Cinnamon & Orange, and Banana – and as with all Ella’s Kitchen products are 100% organic. They are healthy wholegrain biscuits which don’t contain any concentrates or refined sugars. So whilst my Little Man thinks he’s getting a yummy treat, I know he’s only getting the best. My Little Man is renowned for eating pretty much anything without complaint and these biscuits are another hit. They are perfectly sized for little hands – I admit they do look a little unappetising – and come is handy packs which you can pop straight into you bag or pocket.

So if you’re ever in Sussex and see me and Little Man on one of our MANY outings, you’re more than likely going to find us with a packet of Munchy Biccies close at hand.

Munchy Biccies are available now from all good supermarkets.

Product Review: Ella’s Kitchen Nibbly Fingers

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 17-01-2012

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Now my Little Man is 15 months old he rarely eats shop bought baby food any more. I do sometimes have an emergency one in the cupboard for lazy days, but more often than not he sits down at the table with us and eats what we’re having for his meals. To me he seems very grown up now that he’s not tucking into his favourite Ella’s Kitchen meal and I don’t need to buy them any more. I was going to miss Ella’s Kitchen and their brilliant foods, but now I have an answer. Now Ella is still a part of my Little Man’s life… in the form of her Nibbly Fingers!

Available in three flavours – Banana & Raisin, Mango & Carrot, and Strawberry & Apple – these bars are designed for toddlers aged 12 months plus and are perfectly sized for their little hands. They don’t contain any added salt or sugars, any E numbers or GM, or any additives. They are just 100% organic bars for little hands and little tums. They do contain gluten and some naturally occurring fruit sugars, but they make a healthy handy snack for any time and any where.

Little Man was sent a box of each to test out and he loved them. He snacks on them at home and we never leave the house without one of these in a pocket or a bag, so there’s always one available when hunger strikes. Because they are made with organic oats and fruits they are filling and satisfying, so you don’t find Little Man asking for “More” after he’s had one, unlike with other sugary snacks.

Nibbly Fingers are available in boxes of 5 from supermarkets now.

Product Review: Ella’s Kitchen – First Tastes

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 13-07-2011

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 A second review now from one of my favourite – and little man’s too – baby food brands. As you all know from a previous post Ella’s Kitchen is much used and much enjoyed in our house. There organic food pouches provide a brilliant range of flavours and tastes for your little one, right from the start of weaning up until Stage 3 and even beyond with their lovely range of snacks. I was delighted to again be giving the opportunity to sample and review their products when I was contacted about their new “First Tastes” range.

First Tastes is a range of super smooth pure fruit pouches. They have just one single flavour so are perfect for those first tentative steps into weaning when you don’t want to overwhelm your little ones sensitive pallet. As always with Ella’s products they contain only organic ingredients and none of those nasty additives or E numbers that we want to avoid giving our little ones.

Now my little man is almost nine months old – he will be on Friday in fact – so is long since past the days of weaning. He began his big adventure into solids at 16 weeks so is a little old to appreciate First Tastes as just that. What I’ve found though is that mixed with yoghurt for his breakfast or frozen into cubes and put into his Nuby Nibbler as an ice lolly or teething relief he adores them. We’ve only tried the apple version so far but I’m ready with a batch of fruit cubes in my freezer for when the heat wave starts again, or when the teething reappears. When he’s a little older and has a few more teeth I will also add it to cereal for him to munch through, or he could have it as a simple snack or dessert. The possibilities are fairly endless.

First Tastes are available in four delicious flavours: Apple, Pear, Mango and Banana. If you head over to their website now you can win the chance to sample these new flavours for free.

Find out more over at the Ella’s Kitchen website, or follow them on Twitter and ‘Like’ them over on Facebook.

Website: http://www.ellaskitchen.co.uk
Twitter: @EllasKitchen
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ellaskitchen

Product Review: Ella’s Kitchen

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 20-05-2011

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Weaning is often a difficult and confusing time for any new parent, and more often than not their baby! Whilst there is often pressure to cook fresh meals for your baby it is sometimes just not an option. The shelves of supermarkets and high street chemists are practically groaning under the weight of so many varieties and brands of ready-made baby food, but I must confess that my personal favourite comes from Ella’s Kitchen. What I love about Ella’s Kitchen food is that it tastes like its meant to – whatever it claims to be on the packet is exactly how it will taste inside – and the wide range of flavours is almost too tempting for me. I do worry that one day my little boy won’t get any because I’ll have eaten it all!!

Ella’s Kitchen was set up by Ella’s father Paul who decided that he wanted children to get a wide range of healthy, tasty foods. All their products are made using organic ingredients – and nothing else. The range takes you through all stages of eating for your baby and as well as instant meals they also provide snacks, smoothie fruit, cooking sauces, pasta and rice. The meals, smoothie fruits, and cooking sauces come in handy pouches that make them perfect for when you’re out and about, as well as for use at home. They can be simply be slipped into a changing bag or pocket and fed straight to baby using a spoon, or when they’re old enough slurped direct from the pouch. Any uneaten food can be stored in the fridge and used within 24 hours, or frozen for future use.

Stage 1 Baby Food – from 4 months:


Stage 2 Baby Food – from 7 months:

Stage 3 Toddler Food – from 10 months:



Baby Brekkie:

Baby Cookies:


Pasta, Rice & Cooking Sauces:



Smoothie Fruit:


Ella’s Kitchen is also working in association with Terracycle. Once your little one has devoured the contents of the yummy pouches you can “up-cycle” via the Terracycle website where they’ll take your old pouches and turn them into funky products like this:
 
 
     
These products are not currently available for sale, but I’m sure once the Terracycle revolution sweeps the nation you’ll be able to snap them up in no time!

Recently Ella’s Kitchen set up “Ella’s Explorers Feed Our Senses” in association with nurseries throughout the UK who provide care for babies aged between 4 and 18 months. Ella’s Kitchen’s programme “complements the Early Years Foundation Stage by encouraging little ones to explore new tastes, textures and eating occasions.” Further details can be found on Ella’s website.
 

The key question is what does my little boy think of Ella’s Kitchen? I think this photo tells you. Eating Blueberry Baby Brekkie… or should that be wearing?
 
Go to Ella’s website today and become a friend to receive a weaning guide, vouchers and the chance to win one of their fun Terracycle cool bags, as well as finding further details of their complete range, their Feed Our Senses Programme, and the importance of Terracycle.

The Baby Show 2011, London Excel

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 21-02-2011

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A fun filled day was spent at the Excel yesterday and the exceedingly popular Baby Show. Having never visited a baby show before, but being a veteran of other exhibitions aswell as a new mummy, I was massively excited and thankfully not disappointed.
Driving to the show was the best idea we had, and not just because of the amount of parcels we ended up with! A previous trip to the Excel had been done on train and tube and had become a mission of epic proportions. Driving was surprisingly easy and parking simple and reasonable (we paid £10 for 5 hours).
I was a little surprised to see a queue of eager shoppers, expectant mothers and buggies waiting at the door but once we were let in it all became clear. A vast array of stalls and stores faced me selling anything and everything a child from conception to age three, and mummy, might need. Familiar brands and high street stores were interspersed with the lesser known but equally good quality makes.
My highlights include the lovely people at Ellas Kitchen and Plum who were offering feeding advice, free samples and great deals on their organic food ranges. The outstanding baby changing facilities offered by Pampers with free nappies and wipes. The giant baby bouncer and ring stacker displayed by Fisher Price – though I didn’t have a go! And the priceless Shopping Drop Off point provided by Emmas Diary – something we certainly used!
Unfortunately there were lowlights too. The Mothercare stand was one of the largest and had a phenomenal number of people staffing it. That being said whilst I was there looking into Group 1 car seats for almost ten minutes nobody came over to provide information or a sales pitch. They all seemed more intent on chatting amongst themselves, standing around making the area cluttered and impossible to navigate, and drinking coffee. My other lowlight came at the Britax stand. They weren’t selling their products, meerly providing information and advice which was sufficient for me. On the car seat mission once again I chatted with one of the team about features and most importantly for me, price. I was looking for a good quality car seat as cheap as possible – as I’m sure most people are. “I can’t understand why people want cheap stuff.” He said as he showed me a £300 seat. Maybe because we don’t all have £300? Not the way to tempt me to buy your product!
Despite these two faults I found the show a brilliant day out. Grandma and I left heavily laden with bargains for my little boy who’d had a fun day at home with Daddy. I don’t think a repeat visit would be necessary, but its a one off must for all mummies.
Oh and by the way, whilst driving home we stopped at a retail park for lunch and spotted a Boots Clearance store. If there is one near you get in there. I bought a brand new unboxed ex display Maxi Cosi Axiss car seat for £100 – £120 less than the rrp. I was almost tempted to go back to the show and beat the Britax man around the head with it…

Posted via LjBeetle