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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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#Christmas: Babies First Christmas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Information | Posted on 03-12-2014

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Christmas is a pretty special time of year when you have a new baby in the house. Its one of many lovely ‘Firsts’ to look forward to, and look back on. Its safe to say most babies won’t remember their first Christmas but as parents I think we’ll all remember those special moments. Picking gifts for a First Christmas are, for me, harder than subsequent ones. You want something they can treasure, something to mark the occasion perhaps, but generally something they’ll just enjoy.

This Christmas will be Little Dude’s very first Christmas, and he’s going to be seven months old. That makes him a bit easier to buy for because he actually DOES something, unlike brand new babies who, and lets be honest here, aren’t that interested in anything apart from milk and sleep. Here are my picks of some of the best First Christmas gifts out there, for babies of all ages up to one year. What would you add?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (TM) Play Time Toy

A classic book and probably one of the first we bought for Little Man, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is known and loved worldwide. There’s lots of related products you can buy – books, jigsaws, cup and plate sets – but for a First Christmas I think this sensory toy fits the bill nicely. Suitable from birth its a bright and appealing caterpillar which includes some of the highlights from the book. There’s a sun on one section of his body and an apple on another which, when pressed, plays “You Are My Sunshine”. Each section of the caterpillar is a different texture, makes a different sound, has a different interactive part. There are soft knotted legs along its length, and the tail features two chew rings for those babies that are teething. His head is bright and round, an exact copy of the images from the book. His antenna are sparkly and bright, and there is a bell hidden inside which rattles nicely. This would be great for tummy time, or even in the pram.


Its a great sensory toy in its own right, but it would make a lovely gift for your baby this Christmas, perhaps along with a copy of the book for you to read to them.

Sophie The Giraffe Gift Bag

Sophie-The-Giraffe-SussexMummySophie is a much recognised classic too. Probably the most famous teething toy ever, you rarely see a baby without one of these. The Gift Bag features one of the iconic Sophie’s – a squeaky sensory toy designed to alleviate all areas of teething, an easy grip flower shaped rattle featuring a spinning clear ball centre housing a mini Sophie, and a mini teether which is also Sophie shaped but has a delicious vanilla scent to it. This all comes in a handy clear fronted fabric bag. This gift is a multi-sensory experience, with the visually stimulating spots on Sophie, the noise from the squeaker and the rattle, and the scent from the mini teether.

I think it would make a great first stocking for any baby, and it is, as you’d expect, suitable from birth. If you head down the page, you can win one of these for your own baby this Christmas!

Lamaze Flutterby Photo Album

This is one of my favourites – its one of those really clever products which would also make a lovely gift. Lamaze have created a butterfly that is suitable from 6 months. Your baby can hold it or it can stand up, and each of the four wing sections can be lifted up with ease. Beneath them your baby will find a photo of your choosing and, what is even more exciting for your little one, they will also hear a message which you can record. This is brilliant fun, and really easy to do. Photos and greetings from parents, siblings, grandparents, favourite characters, whatever you think your baby will love. I can also see this being indispensible to mothers that need to return to work, or that have babies with separation anxiety. Okay its not as good as the real thing, but to see your face and hear your voice is bound to bring a little happiness.

I love that it stands up by itself so you can have it one display in the nursery or playroom, and I love the simple yet brightly coloured design, The frame of the butterfly wings are textured too so your baby will love gripping on. A great Christmas gift.

Ella’s Kitchen Christmas Dinner

Ellas-Kitchen-SussexMummyIf you have a slightly older baby enjoying their first Christmas as I do you may well be weaning them. Another fun little stocking filler for them then would be their very own special Christmas dinner, which as well as being organic and delicious, is also raising money for a fantastic cause. Ella’s Kitchen’s Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner contains everything you could possibly wish for in a Christmas dinner – turkey, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, cabbage, cranberries and even sprouts. Suitable from ages 7 months plus it the perfect first Christmas dinner. And whats more 30p from the sale of each and every pouch will go to Kids Company – a charity helping vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families across the UK. By buying one of these pouches you are helping a child get their very own Christmas dinner this year.

The pouches are available from Tesco’s and there are also some available direct from the Ella’s Kitchen website.

Discoveroo Peg Smackeroo

Yes okay so I chose this for the funny name. Peg and hammer sets are nothing new, and whilst this one claims to be appropriate from 18 months plus I see no reason why it can’t be bought for a babies first Christmas. The bright colours make it visually attractive so it could be placed on display in a nursery, to be played with when parents see fit. I probably wouldn’t give this to Little Dude just yet – he’s firmly in that everything I pick up must be eaten and or dropped phase – but I’d happily let him play with it with supervision in the next few months. Eight coloured pegs fit in a sturdy wooden bench, to be bashed in with the included hammer. Its a classic toy with a fun name. A great buy.

My First Christmas Cheeky Face Tree Bauble

A first Christmas generally calls for some kind of commemorative keepsake, and I am a big fan of this personalised bauble from Born Gifted. A cheeky faced baby surrounded by pink or blue snowflakes shines out from this ceramic bauble beneath the words “My First Christmas”. You can include their name and the year on the front as well, and then on the reverse you can include four lines of text which is enough for a short message as to who the bauble is from. Whilst this is clearly not a gift specifically for your baby its a great item which you can bring out year after year and hang with pride on the tree and remember that very first year. When your child is old enough you can explain to them what it is and what it represents.

I love the cheeky cartoon style of the face on this bauble, because if there’s one thing we all have its a cheeky baby.

Baby Scrapbook

We finish with another item which isn’t really for baby but can again be shown to them in later years. This bespoke Baby Scrapbook by the incredibly talented Scrapbookerry is the perfect way to record all your babies firsts, so would be ideal for a very new baby this Christmas. It can be custom made to your needs, and can include ways to mark first moments, first baths, first smile, first steps, right through to their first birthday. The detailing on this book is breathtaking and it would certainly make a much loved and long treasured addition to any celebrations this festive period. If you want one of these though do get ordering it as soon as possible to ensure delivery before the big day!

So are you feeling a bit spoilt for choice now? Well I have a Sophie The Giraffe Gift Bag to give away to one lucky reader, just by following the really simple steps on the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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…

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