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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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Guest Post: Are You A Mercedes Mummy?

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 28-10-2013

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Busy mothers know better than anyone just how helpful modern technology can be.

When you’ve got a million and one things to do, with one child bawling in your arms, another one tugging at your skirt and the third engaged in smearing mud up the walls, anything that can take something off your to-do list or merely reduce the amount of stress you are suffering from is very much appreciated. Quite simply, the little gizmos and gadgets that scientists and other innovative people are able to create can make a huge difference to your life. The same is true of cars.

Mercedes showcase the very best in automotive innovation. From producing the first ever motor car in 1886 right through to pioneering the development of both seatbelts and airbags inventiveness is the hallmark of Mercedes; as synonymous with the brand as salt is with vinegar. This still applies in 2013. Mercedes are fully committed to pushing the boundaries, to testing the limits of technology, making your car better and your life easier. Even though it might seem hard to improve on anything, every little tweak could make a big difference – even if it saves just five minutes of your day or takes one troublesome thought out of your head.

Any mother knows just how vitally important family cars are in their day to day lives. In ferrying your children to sports practice, doing the school run, doing the weekly shop and all manner of other chores, you are more often than not to be found at the wheel. So mums tend to spend a lot of time in the car – more than they might like to admit, perhaps – and that means it becomes a home from home.

When you spend a lot of time in a particular place, you personalise it. You add your own touch, make it your own. If you had to work abroad temporarily and spend four months in a hotel room, you’d take photographs of your family with you, scatter your things about, make it feel like home. Why should your car be any different?

The Volvo V70 and A Trip To Cowes Week

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Blogger Event, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 14-08-2013

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I’ve got to do some pretty cool things since starting this website. Most recently I was given the chance to borrow a Volvo V70 AND go along with the Volvo team to Cowes Week. I’ll admit that beforehand I was most excited about the chance to use the car for a few days, but I have to confess, Cowes was amazing. Here’s how I got on.

Firstly, the car. Volvo sent me a rather fancy V70 to review. It barely fit on my drive. It was a massive car and I was really intimidated. I am a confident driver, but compared to our own car the Volvo looked huge. I was also confused when I got in the car to find it had no ignition and no handbrake. A read of the handbook, some trial and error, a call to my Dad, and about forty minutes later I got the car to start. A few pointers from the person who dropped it off would have been much appreciated. Doing this in 30+ degree heat with a bored toddler in the back seat was not the best way to get used to a new car! Once we were started there were no other problems. The car was a dream to drive. It was so quiet you could barely hear the engine, the boot was HUGE and housed so much stuff, and the built in sat nav was actually a joy to use. We were given special permission to take the car on our day out to Longleat Safari Park – as long as we didn’t go into the monkey enclosure of course – and it was excellent. The drive was comfortable and cool thanks to the great air conditioning and the electrically adjusted seats, and the journey simple with the sat nav which displays routes on the main screen AND on the dials behind the steering wheel. We managed to pack cool boxes, pushchairs, coats, potties, and an overnight bag into the boot and there was still space for more. My favourite feature? The boot. Push button opening AND closing. We played with this for hours!

Now I could go on about the technical specifications, the colour choices and all that important stuff, but you can find out the finer details of the V70 on the Volvo website. I think the V70 is a great family car – ideal for ferrying your little ones about with all the equipment that comes with them too!

Volvo were one of the main sponsors of Cowes week, with several vehicles at Cowes for visitors to look at as well as sponsoring races and several of the sailors themselves. A group of us were bounced over to Cowes on a RIB to enjoy the sights for the day, but I was rather lucky to be selected to spend my first couple of hours in the company of Oman Air on their rather fancy trimaran. At 75 feet this boat was massive, and apparently the fastest at Cowes. I can tell you that sitting on the trampoline section whilst it whizzed up and down at 33 knots certainly felt fast, especially when you were hanging on as tightly as I was. It was an incredible experience – one that several people I have spoken to since are very jealous about – and one that I am extremely grateful to Volvo and Oman Air for setting up.

The early afternoon was spent on an Elan 450 which was supposed to sail gently about in the Solent and give each of us chance to sail a little. Sadly within 5 minutes of leaving Cowes the heavens opened and it absolutely belted it down. Despite wearing a wide selection of waterproofs I was much happier to sit below deck with a nice cup of tea and a piece of cake. Some members of the group did remain on deck and did resemble drowned rats by the end of the trip!

The final event of the day – and the main one for Volvo and us – was the Volvo Sailing Speed Challenge. This saw four men racing against each other on very different vehicles. A kite surfer, a wind surfer, a man on a moth and a round the world yachtsman battled it out in the Solent. The early favourite was the kite surfer. Here’s how they got on.

An epic battle which we had the privilege of watching from on board our RIB just off Cowes. I was pretty sure Nick Dempsey was going to take the win before Alex Thomson soared to the winning line.

Cowes Week was a truly unforgettable experience. Hopefully I’ll make it over there again next year!

Travel: 5 Reliable Cars For The Family

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 19-04-2013

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When you’re in the market for a new—or used—car, reliability is probably near the top of your priority list. You want to make sure that you and your family are safe when on the road, even in harsh conditions. There are some auto makers with a decades-long reputation for dependability, and each year major consumer testing organizations conduct on-road tests to rate the latest models for reliability. The length of the warranty isn’t always the best sign of a car’s reliability, however. Here are a few of the most reliable cars on the market today.

Toyota Yaris: Reliable Sub-Compact Auto

Image via Wikimedia Commons

The Toyota Yaris leads the pack in terms of sub-compact cars for reliability. This dependable ride comes standard with vehicle-stability control and traction control. While this model has been around since 2007, it has had numerous safety updates over the years. Both the Scion xD and the Honda Fit are also highly rated for reliability among sub-compact models.

Toyota Prius: 5 Stars from J.D. Power and Associates

Image via Wikimedia Commons

The Toyota Prius earns a perfect five-star rating in three of the four rating criteria used in J.D. Power and Associates’ latest reliability testing. It’s also a top pick from U.S. News and World Report, earning good scores for side impacts and rear crashes, as well as frontal offset and roof strength. This car is a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Nissan 370Z: Reliable Sports Car

Image via Wikimedia Commons

If you prefer sports cars, you don’t have to sacrifice reliability. The Nissan 370Z is rated best among compact premium sporty cars by J.D. Power and Associates. This car gets positive consumer feedback for each of its model years for mechanical quality and body quality, as well as powertrain mechanical quality. It also has both side and front-impact airbags, an anti-lock brake system and anti-whiplash restraints.

Toyota RAV4: Most Reliable Among Compact Crossover SUVs

Image via Flickr by robad04

Clearly, you won’t find many complaints about Toyotas, as the auto maker leads the pack in yet another category with the RAV4. Considered one of the most reliable compact crossover SUVs on the market, the Toyota RAV4 has a four-wheel anti-lock brake system, side head and rear head air bags, side air bags, brake assist, traction control and plenty of other features that make it one of the safest cars on the road today. The Scion tC is another option earning good reviews for reliability in this category.

Ford Fusion: Top-Rated Among Midsize Cars

Image via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking for a reliable, midsize auto, you can’t go wrong with the Ford Fusion. This car comes with a three-year, 36,000-mile new-car warranty and a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty—which also covers the safety restraint system. Corrosion perforation is also covered with no mileage limitations for five full years. The Ford Fusion earns a Predicted Reliability Score of 4.5 in J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study.

When it comes to reliability, Toyota models are almost always a safe bet as these models earn positive reliability ratings from most major testing organizations. Check out Big Motoring World complaints and other dealership reviews and testimonials in your area before making your purchase.