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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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Travelling Made Easier Thanks To Fox

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Travel | Posted on 21-08-2015

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We’re a little over halfway through the summer holidays and I’m sure long journeys have been undertaken with the children to get away for a week or so. We’ve just got back from a weeks staycation at my in-laws, but I’m sure lots of you have been off to sunnier climes and no doubt some of you have found yourselves trailing the kids through the airport and onto long flights to get there.

We’ve not put either of our boys on to a plane yet, but its something we’ll inevitably do at some point in the future. Whilst the idea of lengthy flights with bored confined children is bad enough, the hour or two or more you have to hang around an airport before you can even depart strikes me as torturous. Thanks to a new initiative by Fox though, departing from Gatwick might not be too bad.

As of last week (August 10th) they launched a new service where holidaymakers can download movies onto their portable devices – phones, tablets, laptops, etc – from their “Movies On The Move” selection before they travel whilst at the airport. Films include Night At The Museum, Penguins Of Madagascar, and Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. So many short haul flights or package holidays don’t have in-flights movies so keeping the children entertained is vital.

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For me this service would also be indispensable whilst waiting at the airport itself, and clearly cheaper then taking the kids around the duty free shops! And what’s even better is that films will be available to download via a free, high speed, wireless, broadband connection in the children’s soft play area, located in the upper South Terminal departure lounge. And you can also download a special “Movie Of The Day” app which will give you special flash sale prices on selected movies meaning you can set your child up with with lots of quality entertainment for less. Result.

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I think this sounds brilliant. Little Man is addicted to his tablet so would no doubt love being able to watch movies whilst we wait at the airport and on-board. I can see us taking the boys on a short haul flight in the years to come so we would all benefit hugely from this service. Long haul with these two will have to wait!

Guest Post: Keeping The Children Entertained

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 18-09-2014

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Entertaining the kids is a tough task at the best of times but during the school holidays it becomes even more difficult, week after week of having the children with you can be a rewarding experience, but can also leave you tearing your hair out at times in frustration! With that in mind below are a few ideas on how to keep them engaged and happy without having to re-mortgage the house to do it, all ready for half term:

Rainy days

We should know better than to expect days of endless sunshine throughout the summer months & with September well and truly underway it’s good to have a few back-up ideas for when the outdoors is a no-go. Pop down to your local stores or online to check out new dvd releases to keep them entertained chances are you’re more likely to keep them engaged if it’s something they haven’t seen before. Alternatively dust of some old board games if you want to keep them away from the television, they are a great way to get the whole family together.

Let your imagination run free

Create a tent with bedsheets, close the curtains and have your own personal indoor disco, create a treasure hunt around the house or simply sit down for some quality time play time. These are just a few ideas you can use to pass the time. Getting involved creatively through Lego, play-dough or finger-paints is the best way to unleash their (and your own!) inner artiste.

Head to the Park or local playgroup

On the days where the British weather permits, getting out into the fresh air is a great way to let them expand some energy and blow off steam. Swimming classes are a good option for those wanting to get a head start with toddlers or sports teams for slightly older children will offer you some free time for yourself and also enhance their physical and mental wellbeing.

Whatever you chose during the next school break, with a little forward planning and a pinch of patience, the holidays will soon become your most valued time of the month – What are you favourite activities? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Image used under creative comms licence: Credit Don Graham

https://www.flickr.com/photos/23155134@N06/14848635310

Travel: Content & Calm Tray Kit

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Holiday | Posted on 28-05-2013

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Are you planning a trip away this summer with the children? May be a long car journey is involved or maybe you’ll be jetting off somewhere in a plane. How are you going to keep your children entertained? Whenever I go out in the car with Little Man alone he sits happily in the back, looking out the window, dancing in his seat to the radio and chattering away to himself. Put anyone in the front passenger seat and he seems to automatically start demanding their attention. Especially if its Daddy. There is nothing I find more distracting when I’m driving, especially if I’m going a long way, than the person in the seat next to me spinning around every few minutes and things being passed back and forth in an attempt to keep Little Man amused.

We recently went on holiday to Pembrokeshire with my parents. I live in West Sussex, so Pembrokeshire is a VERY long drive. We had an overnight stay in Cardiff, but with stops on the way we were going to be looking at four hours to Cardiff, and three hours from there to where we were staying. I was not looking forward to seven hours of a toddler complaining in the back and Daddy endlessly passing him things to do, so I went in search of a solution. I wanted Little Man to have a selection of things to hand, from books to crayons, some small toys and a few snacks. I didn’t want half the contents of his bedroom balanced around him, but I wanted a manageable amount of items within reach that he could play with easily and without causing too much havoc. Luckily for me, I discovered this.

This handy little “suitcase” is actually a Content & Calm TrayKit. As you can see it has a handle which Little Man could use to carry it around – not that he ever carries anything of his own around apart from Teddy and food – and it also comes with straps so it can be worn like a rucksack. Sadly Little Man won’t do this either, having only ever worn one rucksack for longer than three minutes. To be honest these are the least exciting features, as when you open the “suitcase” you have a great travel companion for your little ones.

Now of course they come empty, but this is what we did to ours. In the big pocket at the back we put a colouring book and a copy of Zoe & Beans: How many pets? for Little Man to look at on the journey. He really enjoys pointing at all the animals in this book, and he especially likes the fact that it features a tortoise as we recently got one as a pet too. In one flap pocket we put a few crayons to use with the colouring book – and hoped he wouldn’t colour the Zoe & Beans book instead. In the other flap pocket we put a couple of packets of fruit snacks. We also popped two of his Hawkins Bazaar Wooden Robots to play with. These are ideal toys for in the car as they can’t break and there’ll be no bits bouncing around the back seat mid journey. Whilst we had a back up stash of things for him to play with when he got bored of this – he’s two and has an attention span of about ten minutes unless its Toy Story or Finding Nemo – these were the items we were happiest for him to play with unsupervised.

The bag is designed to fasten to the back of a car seat, and when its opened it creates a play tray for your little one to use like a desk. Because Little Man’s car seat is quite large, and he’s also a giant, we couldn’t attach the TrayKit as its designed as Little Man’s legs were in the way. Instead we used the rucksack straps to fasten it to the headrest and it was pretty secure. The tray balanced neatly on his knee and he could reach everything he wanted unaided. It would probably work correctly for Little Man on a plane where his seat would be lower. He loved rummaging in each pocket to see what we’d put in there, and within ten minutes everything was out but confined to the tray, and he was eating his way through his snack pile. One of his favourite features was the small mirror you can see just above the wooden robots in the photo above. That was at the perfect height and angle for him to pull faces at himself and it kept him amused for ages.

The TrayKit is brilliant. No, it didn’t keep his amusement for the entire journey, but I wasn’t expecting it to. I love how it holds a good quantity of items and I think it will get a lot of use for many years to come. It did precisely what I wanted it to, and in turn saved Daddy from spending his whole journey turning awkwardly in his chair. Next time we go out and use it I’ll make sure to put different things in there so its always a new experience for Little Man. There are plenty more long car journeys planned for this year, not least a trip to Cumbria in September, where this will get used a lot.

The TrayKit is available in a range of colours and you can also get additional accessories to match. I think I’ll be getting Little Man a couple of Travel Bugs before our next trip.

Foxy Bingo

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 26-09-2012

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As the rain batters down outside pretty much constantly at the moment the idea of going out in the evening might not really appeal. If its not the weather putting you off the issue of child care might be a problem. If you’re looking for a fun social activity that you can do in the warmth and comfort of your own home, check out Foxy Bingo.

Launched in 2005 Foxy Bingo is one of the biggest online bingo communities in the UK, and its also one of the friendliest. With regular promotions and busy online chat rooms not only are you getting a great social activity, but you might just end up winning a tidy some of money too.

When you Join and deposit £10 into your account Foxy Bingo will give you £20 absolutely free to use to buy tickets and join in the games. There are free games and weekly specials, and at the moment you can get a ticket to win £100K free. There are chat rooms to make friends and have a good natter with the other players, regular competitions to win prizes, and even an online magazine featuring celebrity interviews and winners stories.

Foxy Bingo is totally secure so your bank details are never in danger, and they also provide support if you ever think your gambling has got out of control. Whilst Foxy Bingo is meant to be fun there are also dangers when it comes to gambling, but the support and guidance is there if things ever get out of hand.

I’m not a regular gambler – largely because I never remember to buy a Lottery ticket – but I have played a little online bingo in my time. It is great fun. Not just the prospect of winning money – and we can all hope that it’ll be us – but also the excitement of the games and friendly chat at the same time. Its also great because you can play any time. So if the idea of heading out tonight doesn’t appeal, log on to Foxy Bingo – and if you do win, remember who sent you yeah?