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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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#Review: Donna from Hotter

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion | Posted on 07-06-2016

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There’s a reasonable chance that I’m becoming obsessed with Hotter shoes.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to a party at my local Hotter store. Not my first, and hopefully not my last, but an event I can never turn down. Hotter throw the best parties – the team are always incredibly lovely, they always bring prosecco, and then there’s shoes. What more could a girl want?

Hotter-Donna-SussexMummy

You’ll remember that at my last event I left with the fabulous – yet very practical – Ribble Boot, which I wore relentlessly throughout the autumn and winter, and which I adore. This time around I decided to go for something altogether less practical, but just as gorgeous. These sparkly silver heels are the Donna Shoe, and I love them.

I’d gone with other shoes in mind, had planned on getting the Antoinette Heels that I’d managed to resist last time. But I spied the Donna sparkly on the shelves and it was pretty much game over. Incredibly comfortable as you’d expect from Hotter, totally impractical – hardly school run appropriate, but just gorgeous.

Now sadly I haven’t had occasion to wear them yet – apart from sat in front of the TV…! – but I’m thinking I’m hugely well prepared for the work Christmas party this year. They look great with jeans so I might risk wearing them next time I go out to the pub, but I suspect that the festive season will be the best time to debut these.

Grab your own Donna Heels now in this soft silver, or one of the many other shades available.

#Review: Hotter Ribble Boots

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 27-01-2016

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You’ll remember that I went to a blogger event at the new Brighton branch of Hotter a few weeks ago where I was lucky enough to leave with a pair of Ribble boots. They are officially my favourite shoes ever.

Hotter-Ribble-SussexMummy

They are superb for the school run where I walk on pavements and paths which have been covered in puddles, mud and more recently ice.  My feet are warm and cosy, but because the shoes are breathable they aren’t uncomfortable. The Gortex feature is amazing – they’ve got wet, splattered in mud, and hit with hailstones. They still look brand new. I could walk for miles in these boots, and no doubt I probably have.

But I don’t just wear them on the school run. I’ve worn them to go out in the evening – they are smart enough for dinner with friends and drinks at the pub. They get worn when I go food shopping, they get worn when I go into town. I wore them at Toy Fair this weekend, where comfortable shoes is vital for the miles you walk around the Olympia. I’ve worn them every day since I got them, in fact the only time I don’t wear them is when I’m at work, though you’ll still find me in Hotter shoes.

Hotter-SussexMummy-Collage

I remember thinking Hotter was very much an old persons shoe, and to be fair to them I think several years ago their styles were certainly ones I was more likely to see my mum in than me – no offence mum! Nowadays their styles are a lot more fun, their colours vibrant, their designs altogether more trendy. If you head on over to the Hotter website today you’ll find there is a huge sale still on, and lots of great bargains to be had. I’m off their now to lust after the Antoinette’s I tried on in Brighton. Maybe its time to treat myself…

 

 

Review: Box Upon A Time

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 07-10-2014

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Time for another subscription box review, and this time it features one of my favourite products: baby clothes. I am dreadful when it comes to buying baby clothes – any trip to the supermarket isn’t complete with a cute top or outfit sneaking its way into the trolley. I also love to scour the rails at local nearly new sales and always manage to track down a bargain.

Box Upon A Time is a baby clothes subscription box that sends out new designer clothes to you either monthly, quarterly or as a one off which you can even send as a gift. You get a choice of three boxes – silver, gold or platinum – and each contains clothes up to the value of between £40 and £170!  Brands featured in the boxes include ones you’re probably familiar with like Olive & Moss and Little Green Radicals, and ones you might not be quite so well up on like I Talk Too Much and Rock Your Baby.

Little Dude was sent a Silver box to review, which included three items of clothes whose value totaled between £40 and £60. The box itself retails at £29, so the saving was up to 60%. Inside we found two sleepsuits and a pair of cotton dungarees. Now for me the value of this box was terrifying based on its contents. Around £50 for THREE items, two of which were sleepsuits. Whilst they were both very cute, and they both felt clearly to be better quality than I would usually buy from the local supermarket, the price tag was a bit scary for items that will be grown out of within two or three months. The third item – the dungarees – were not to my taste at all, but as a review sample I had no input as to its contents. (Customers get to provide details of the sort of clothes they like and are able to return boxes if they don’t like whats included.)

I love the idea of a baby clothes subscription box, and especially one that introduces you to brands you might not be familiar with, but for children as young as Little Dude, I think the price is a little steep for my budget. When they get older, absolutely. For a child of Little Man’s age – four in a couple of weeks – I could probably get on board with the idea, but with the speed Little Dude is growing, and the frequency of milk coming back out of him, I don’t think this is entirely worthwhile. A one off gift for a baby, or perhaps a quarterly treat is fair enough. But I think stumping up £30 to £70 every month for three or four items of clothing is crazy. I’ve never been that type of parent that dresses their child in pricey designer wear. In fact its only once clothes start lasting a year that I’m willing to spend more than supermarket prices on anything. For now I’ll be sticking to the supermarkets and nearly new sales to keep my two looking their best.

Preparing For Baby: Mummy Style

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Preparing For Baby, Product Reviews | Posted on 13-03-2014

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I am 30 weeks pregnant today – can someone explain where the time has gone? Little Dude could be here in as little as seven weeks if I end up getting an early induction – which is still up for debate! – so we’ve spent this week making sure we have everything we need for the hospital bag, or at least have everything we still need written down. Its all about lists at the moment, especially now my brain has turned into some form of mush.

This week I finally had to dig out my maternity jeans – I’m sorry! – but I’ve been wearing maternity tops for a while now. I’m so pleased the weather is improving and I can stop wearing big baggy jumpers and can now wear t-shirts and more spring like tops. A while ago I was lucky enough to get sent some of Mothercare’s brand new Spring/Summer range to review, and I’m so excited that I can finally get it out and start wearing it without freezing. I was especially lucky to be given a pretty free reign to choose five tops to review, so I went for four that I could breastfeed in after Little Dude arrives if all goes to plan, and one top that isn’t feeding friendly. All the tops I chose will be fine to wear both before and after Little Dude’s arrival so I hopefully have my wardrobe sorted for the next few months at least!

mothercare spring summer sussex mummy review

First up is a Navy Wrap Top. It has 3/4 length sleeves and a hidden discreet layer that allows for “access” for feeding. I love this top – which you’ll notice I also have in red – as its smart and can be used for dates or events. It can easily be dressed up or down depending on whether I’m wearing it to go shopping, or to go out with Daddy or friends. I also really like the easy access panel which means I can feed Little Dude whilst wearing it without any trouble. The Red Wrap Top is basically the same, but I would mention that its more an orange colour than being red. Think more tomato soup red than post box red.

I also got a two pack of Grey and Black Nursing Tops. These are both incredibly comfy and ideal for everyday wear and for casual wear. I have been practically living in these two tops since the weather improved. Both again have 3/4 length sleeves and the hidden layer for feeding access, so they are both practical as well as comfortable. A must when you’re pregnant. The simple design makes them really versatile too, and they can be worn with jeans or skirts, and hopefully with shorts if it gets much warmer!

Another great smart top I received was the Green Bow Print Nursing Top. Again this is ideal for events, and would make a great back to work top. The length of it means I can’t wear it whilst I’m pregnant as my cute bowling ball bump does still out a little, but the short sleeves mean that I can wear it comfortably this summer whilst feeding my new baby boy. Again it has a discreet hidden layer for feeding, but as with all the other tops that have this feature I don’t think they are obviously maternity wear and could be worn even if you aren’t breastfeeding.

The final top I chose was a simple Blue & Cream Stripe Jumper. Its only a thin jumper and with the 3/4 length sleeves its perfect in the current weather. In fact I’ve worn this a few times without a coat on, though I’m not sure if that’s the weather or my own body temperature! This is the perfect partner for a pair of jeans and some comfy shoes for a relaxing walk round the park with Little Man or a trip to the shops with Nana.

I love all the items that Mothercare sent me. They are all really comfortable and show off my growing bump well. Its nice to be wearing clothes that flatter my shape instead of clothes that swamp it. All these tops are available in store and online now, and the jumper is in fact currently reduced in the Mothercare sale. The ideal time to buy!

Mothercare also sent me some of their “Its Your Body” toiletries to test out. Some of those bits are now packed and ready in my hospital bag and I’ll be reviewing them all once Little Dude makes his grand entrance in May.

Review: Joules Tweed Jacket

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Product Reviews | Posted on 11-03-2014

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A tweed jacket isn’t something I’d ever consider buying for Little Man, but the offer to review one was all too tempting. I’ve seen children of Little Man’s age wearing them in the local supermarket and it looks a bit odd to be honest, but then again at 3 they are hardly likely to go striding through the fields with a shot gun over their shoulder and a pack of dogs. Bit too stereotypical? Apologies.

We were sent a Joules’ boys Tweed Jacket and whilst their clothing is renowned for its quality and I knew that it would be a decent jacket, it far exceeded even my expectations. The detailing on it is exquisite and you can tell its going to be a long lasting jacket. It feels nice and warm, and I am thankful that I ordered it in a size up so he’ll be able to wear it in the Autumn and next Winter.

The design of the jacket is a very classic style for a tweed, complete with elbow patches and cord detailing on the shoulders. It has four front pockets – two with popper fastenings and two with none – and it has a full length zip and poppers to fasten it. I love the tiny details – the word “Joules” on each metal button, the Joules rabbit embroidered on one of the pockets, and the checkered lining. I also adore the name “Mr Toad Jnr Fieldcoat” – very Wind In The Willows! It has a light wadding to it which makes it cosy without being a bulking thick coat, and its sure to keep Little Man warm on chilly Autumn days and even those cooler Spring ones we’re experiencing at the moment.

Joules Tweed Sussex Mummy

At £79.95 it is far more than I would ever spend on a jacket for Little Man, but it truly feels worth the price tag. Its a classic piece of clothing and one that will never go out of style, so hoping Little Dude will get chance to wear it too when he’s old enough. A gloriously British jacket and certainly one that could be defined as an investment.

 

Review: Tiffany Rose Colour Block Maternity Dress

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Fashion, Pregnancy, Product Reviews | Posted on 09-12-2013

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Finding clothes to wear when pregnant can be something of a nightmare. At the moment I can still fit in my regular jeans as my bump is high up. I did have to wear maternity jeans for a week but seemingly overnight my bump rose and now if I wear maternity jeans I spend the day pulling them up. Lots of long knitted jumpers are being worn too and comfort is becoming a thing of the past. Finding clothes to wear day to day is proving very tricky, but finding something to wear for a special occasion is almost impossible. On Friday night I went out for dinner with my lovely friend Lucinda (@ljbarton). We were having a Christmas meal out without the children and looked forward to being able to talk to each other without interruption. I wanted to wear something a bit fancier than jeans so I was VERY excited when the team at Tiffany Rose got in touch and asked me if I’d like to review one of their dresses.
Tiffany Rose Dress Sussex MummyTiffany Rose sell a huge range of beautiful maternity dresses. Whether you’re looking for something to wear day to day, to a special occasion, or even if you’re planning on getting married you’re bound to find something to suit your style. I spent AGES trawling the website to find a dress. I found so many that I liked but I wanted to be realistic and review something which I would actually get repeated use out of. I finally chose their Colour Block Maternity Dress in Purple, which has been worn by Myleene Klass. Whilst I’m certain she looks much better in it than I do, I was really pleased with how it fit and showed off my baby bump. Little Man couldn’t help getting in on the photo action though he doesn’t seem to enjoy looking at the camera anymore!
The Colour Block Dress comes to just above my knee and has three-quarter length sleeves. The bright purple band above my bump is a separate piece which you can tie to fit you so the dress really will grow with you. The dress is made from a stretchy jersey material which makes it super comfortable and fit nicely over growing curves and bumps. By accessorising it in different ways you could easily wear this glammed up for a fancy night out, or for a simple meal out with the girls. I don’t think it would look entirely out of place at the office either! This dress is a great fit and because of the stretchy fabric I know it will continue to fit right the way through my pregnancy. Its such a great style too that I’m hoping to wear it even after I’m pregnant.
The Colour Block Dress is available in other colours too but I chose this as they are colours I’d ordinarily wear and uncommonly for me I already had a pair of shoes that would match! This dress retails at £99 which I think is very reasonable for a dress of this quality. Its similar to what you’d probably end up paying for a non-maternity party dress this Christmas, and it will no doubt last much longer too. Tiffany Rose is definitely the place to head if you’re pregnant this festive season.

Review: Due Patent Diving Blue Fitflops

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Fashion, Product Reviews | Posted on 24-10-2013

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When I think about Fitflops I automatically think of those chunky flip flops that were all the rage several years ago. Not my idea of nice footwear – I don’t do flip flops unless I’m honeymooning in Hawaii. When I was contacted by the team at Fitflop to take a look at their website and choose a pair to review I wasn’t particularly hopeful. How wrong was I. After a bit of surfing I’d found several pairs that looked amazing – like “real” shoes, not just flip flops. After much deliberation I settled on a pair of Due Patent in Diving Blue.
Fitflop Due Patent Diving Blue Shoes

How pretty are they!

Here’s what the website says about them:
“Built on a super-cushioned, height-enhancing midsole – our ultra-versatile DUÉ looks like a ballerina and feels like a sneaker. Scoop cut with a rounded toe cap, it’s flirty, feminine, can go formal or fun, works equally well with skinny jeans or a skirt, and feels amazing underfoot. Ladies, it’s that shoe you’ve been looking for your whole life.” 

The idea of Fitflops is simple enough. Ultra comfortable shoes that make you look and feel amazing. I was very keen to try them so put them on immediately. The curved sole does make them a little “bouncy” and going back to “normal” flat soled shoes afterwards was a bit odd. The Fitflops were really very comfortable and this style is both practical and fun. Flat shoes are all I wear so this pair is perfect for me, and I’ll no doubt end up wearing them with my jeans, but also with skirts and dresses, and in the summer months may be even with a pair of shorts. They can genuinely be worn with anything. And if the colour is a bit much for you, you can also get them in nude.

Now I own a lot of shoes – just ask my husband – and a lot of them are this style of ballerina flat. Finding shoes in this style to fit can be a bit of a mission though. Whilst I have fairly average size 5 feet my toes are quite long – yes, I have freaky feet – so I often struggle with standard size 5’s. With the Fitflops I was thrilled to find they did half sizes, so ordered these shoes in a 5.5. Perfect fit. It not only means I can wear them despite my weird toes, but also means I can wear them over socks if needs be or over thick tights in the winter, making them a truly versatile and year round shoe.

Overall I am really pleased with my new shoes. Yes, they take a bit of getting used to with their bouncy soles, but they are comfortable and stylish, and to be honest that’s all I’m really looking for in a pair of shoes. The pair I nearly chose was “The Cuddler” – and I think I’ll be popping a pair on my Christmas Wish List!!

Get In Shape With FitFlop

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Information | Posted on 30-08-2013

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Quite a few people on my Twitter feed seem to be doing the #30DayShred at the moment. There are lots of photos doing the rounds of tired looking people decked out in fitness gear at the end of their daily workout, and I am seeing some impressive differences in photos from the first day and the current one. You’re all doing SO well. Exercise isn’t something I’ve ever been particularly keen on. I run around after Little Man and for me that’ll do. My bodyshape has obviously changed since having him and toning up would probably be a good idea, but I lack the motivation to be honest! Something that has always appealed to me though are FitFlops. Shoes which are not only designed for comfort, but also to give your legs and bottom a work out too, leaving them lovely and toned. What didn’t really appeal about them though was their flip flop origins. Never really been a keen wearer of flip flops apart from on my honeymoon in Hawaii where they were pretty much an essential. Needless to say I was thrilled therefore to discover that fashion and footwear store MoZiMo had a great range of new style FitFlops in stock. Ballet pumps, sneakers and even slippers with the same toning technology but with a bit more of my style. What do you think?
Fit Flops MoZiMoI certainly think I could face a day chasing Little Man around in the ballet pumps before an evening with my toes snuggled into those slippers. Not quite the 30 Day Shred I know, but maybe a start!

Back To College

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion | Posted on 07-08-2013

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If your teens are heading to college this September the uniform list tends to be a bit smaller than it has been for the last few years. In fact most colleges don’t have a uniform list and its the first time children have been able to really express themselves with their clothes apart from at weekends. Clearly the college will want your child looking smart and won’t approve of them wearing anything too wild, but I remember most students getting a pretty free reign when I went many years ago. In fact I the only policy that my college really enforced was on footwear. High heels were definitely not allowed which seemed sensible enough.

As a keen buyer of shoes – though nowadays they tend to be for Little Man – I spend a lot of time browsing them online. I’ve found some really cute plimsolls on sale at New Look which would make great footwear for the new term. Simple in design and available in a range of colours – or an uber cute dog pattern – they are going to go with whatever your teen wears to college. I think they’d team up well with dresses, shorts, jeans and leggings, giving that casual sporty look to any outfit. Now whilst I don’t have a teen , nor am I remotely teen in age, I would certainly wear them myself! In fact with prices starting at just £9.99 for a pair, I may well treat myself to a couple.

black and white sausage dog print plimsolls from new look

I’m pretty sure these are my favourite though. What do you think? Like I said, whilst I am in no way the target market for these shoes, I think they’d make great summer footwear – what’s left of it anyway – and would be perfect to pull on and chase after Little Man wearing. And anyway, can a girl EVER have too many pairs of shoes? According to my husband, yes they can. Or more specifically, yes I do. Such a spoil sport.

Buy MORE Clothes…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Guest Post | Posted on 02-08-2013

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There’s nothing we like more than a good bargain. It used to be that there were only a couple of sale periods each year – straight after Christmas and in the summer. Now, sales, bargains and offers are available all year round, which means you can get more for your money without really trying.

Most of us work to some sort of clothing budget. Some budgets are more generous than others, but no matter how much you have to spend, it’s always worth trying to make the very most of it. The easiest way to do this is to look for clothing that you know works for you, but is available at a lower cost or as part of a deal. Men’s polo shirts are often used in this multibuy deal way in order to make you spend more money. The mistake that many people make is to buy anything, regardless of whether you really want it, because the price is low. In fact, with a little thought and planning, you can do much better than that.

colour choices for polo shirts on cotton traders website poppy bright blue pink cress dark purpleHow can you save money on your dresses, jeans, tops, jackets, knitwear and more? Easy. Know what clothing works for you, which brands you like, the colours that suit you and keep a constant eye out for bargains on your favourite websites such as Cotton Traders website for womens trousers. You can keep your costs down in a number of ways.

First, watch out for sales. Stores will slash up to 70% on normal prices and keeping updated with the progress of the sale, or having your eye on something from the main range and waiting for it to go into the sale is a great way to get exactly what you want for less. Second, look for offers. These are the “buy one, get one free” deals, or “three for the price of two” bargains. This gives you the opportunity to increase the amount of clothing you buy, whilst spending less. Third, use discount codes and cards if they are available. You don’t have to sign up to long-term buying; just use the discount available to get more for your money.

Retailers want you to buy their clothes and they are constantly coming up with new, innovative ways to help you make your money go further. Take advantage of this, as well as thinking creatively about the clothes you already have and searching out stores that always offer great value at low prices, and you’re well on the way to growing your wardrobe without losing too much from your wallet.