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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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Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Travel | Posted on 06-11-2014

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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 – a former farmhouse and barns all of which have been converted – which has, so I’m told, the reputation of being the best hotel in Yorkshire. After receiving the invitation to head north and review for them I checked out the website, looked at photos and even spent a little time reading up on it on travel review websites. As I’m sure you’ll agree, it looked stunning and sounded amazing – but could it really live up to its reputation? Would it be worth the 600 mile round trip? Here’s what we thought.

Ox-Pasture-Exterior-SussexMummy
Things certainly looked optimistic when we arrived. Hard to believe this photo was taken on the first weekend of November isn’t it? Admittedly it wasn’t hot by any means, but unseasonably warm certainly. A short walk up this path led us from the spacious car park to the hotel reception where we checked in. Now the hotel was expecting me to arrive with my husband so we’d actually been booked into the Honeymoon Suite. We’d arranged to have Afternoon Tea upon arrival so it was agreed that we’d eat that in there – we could of course have eaten in the hotel lounge, the bar or on the terrace, but we wanted to give Little Dude the chance to roll around after his journey – whilst they set us up with a twin suite. We were escorted to the suite and enjoyed a comfortable sit down whilst we waited a short time for our freshly made Afternoon Tea to arrive.

Ox-Pasture-Afternoon-Tea-SussexMummyOkay so its a bit of a shame that the table in the Honeymoon Suite was in front of a radiator, but I’m sure you can appreciate how impressive this Afternoon Tea looked. Two large fruit scones, four small jars of jam, some clotted cream, finger sandwiches – egg mayonnaise, roast beef and horseradish, and cream cheese and cucumber – which were crust free, a selection of miniature cakes – profiteroles, bite sized lemon meringue pies, tiny cheesecakes, chocolate brownie squares and a mint chocolate slice, as well we a large pot of tea. Now we’d seen photos of these Afternoon Teas before we’d set off so we’d eaten nothing since breakfast, and it was most definitely worth the wait. It goes without saying that the cakes were without doubt the highlight – though we were certainly ready for a cup of tea or two after our journey – but the sandwiches were delicious too. At £15 per person I think this is very well priced for the quality and quantity of food that you receive. We’d arrived a little later in the day than we had hoped – I blame the M1 for most of our trouble – so we were a little concerned that if we ate it all we’d be full for the day. This didn’t stop us from tucking in with gusto however and we thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful.

After eating our Afternoon Tea, changing Little Dude’s nappy and getting him some milk – though I’m pretty sure he wanted a cake – we were helped to our actual room for the evening. A spacious beautiful suite overlooking a pretty courtyard with a rather nice view of the gardens and Yorkshire countryside beyond.

Ox-Pasture-Gardens-SussexMummy

 

The suite was made up of three well sized rooms. A living area with two large chest of drawers, a large wardrobe, comfortable sofa, coffee table, TV set, and drinks facilities. There was a bedroom which had been set up with two single beds, a desk, a chest of drawers, another TV and a travel cot they’d set up for Little Dude’s use. Finally there was a bathroom which boasted a huge bath, two basins – all three coming with waterfall taps, a walk-in shower and a toilet. Now whilst the bedroom and living area were well equipped and comfortable, the bathroom was, for me, the highlight.
Ox-Pasture-Bathroom-SussexMummy

The entire room was tiled floor and walls, with the suite itself a bright white with silver taps. Complimentary toiletries were supplied along with cotton buds, cotton wool and tissues. I thought this was a nice touch and something more than you may expect from hotel bathrooms. There were plenty of towels on offer and room for you to unpack your own bits and pieces. Sadly I didn’t have a bath – I’d probably never have gotten out if I had – but Nana did use the shower. Whilst she loved the large shower head the walk-in nature of it did result in a bit of a death trap. The “cubicle” had two walls and a glass partition, the fourth side was open to the rest of the bathroom. Whilst the floor in there did of course slope towards the plug Nana did manage to distribute water throughout most of the room. Either a steeper slope or a less enthusiastic shower head needed here I think.

Our original plan was to take dinner in the Courtyard Restaurant. Now as all parents know plans tend to need a bit of adjustment when small children are involved, and after spending the best part of the day in the car getting little sleep, Little Dude wasn’t in the best of moods. He wanted to roll around, have cuddles with Mummy and generally chill out – and who can blame in. We decided it would be best for him and the sanity of the other guests for us to eat in our room so we called reception and they brought over some menus. There was a great selection of meals on offer and it took a fair bit of deliberation before we settled on our dinner for the night. I started with Duck Liver Parfait with Melba Toast and Cranberry Compote, followed by the Beef dish which consisted of a Mini Beef Fillet, a Tender Brisket, Creamy Mash Potato, Mushroom Duxelle, Baby Turnips and Carrots. For dessert I chose the Lemon dish which included Cheesecake, Yogurt, Mousse and Ice Cream.

Ox-Pasture-Meal1-SussexMummyIt just looks incredible doesn’t it? Everything was so beautifully presented, so perfectly cooked, and SO delicious. Despite having eaten a substantial Afternoon Tea just a few hours before every last morsel from my dinner was eaten and thoroughly enjoyed. There was just enough and once I’d eaten I felt comfortably full. I hate getting a mountain of food in restaurants which is heavy and overly filling so you end up leaving so much of it and its such a waste. Not the case here. Don’t get me wrong, the servings were not small, it was just a well balanced meal and everything complimented everything else.

Nana went for three different courses. She began with Marinated Herring fillet, served with Pickled Cucumber and Tartar Dressing. To follow she enjoyed a Pork dish which was made up of Slow Cooked Belly, Tender Loin Stuffed with Apricot and Sage, Savoy Cabbage, Sautéed Potato, Homemade Black Pudding and Red Onion Marmalade. She finished with a Caribbean cocktail dessert which included Coconut Panacotta, Mango Rice Pudding, Passion Fruit Sorbet, and Pina Colada.

Ox-Pasture-Meal2-SussexMummy

Am I making you hungry yet?

Our meal was delivered efficiently and courteously to our room, the waiter tiptoeing in every time in case Little Dude was sleeping and for fear of waking him. We also had a bottle of wine brought over in an ice bucket, which was also lovely. You got the impression that nothing was too much trouble yet that they were acting as they would with any guest, not just us because they knew we were there to review. A truly professional service.

An excellent nights sleep followed – yes, even with a six month old who slept through till 6.30 – and after feeding him his milk and getting dressed we ventured over to the dining room for our breakfast. A high chair had been set up by our table ready for Little Dude who settled in quickly and tucked into his porridge whilst we waited for our cooked breakfast to arrive. There was the option of a Continental Breakfast with pastries, yogurts and fruit, but we chose to set ourselves up for the day. Large pots of tea were also supplied along with a rack of toast with a selection of jams. We went for the full Yorkshire breakfast, and as you can imagine we weren’t disappointed.
Ox-Pasture-Breakfast-SussexMummyPerfectly cooked bacon, delicious local sausages, mushrooms, black pudding, cooked tomato and the nicest scrambled egg I’ve ever eaten. In fact my breakfast looked so tasty that Little Dude decided it was rude of me not to share. Despite having eaten a bowl of porridge and half a fruit pouch, he also packed away half my scrambled egg. Hopefully I’ll manage to replicate it at home for him too.

I don’t have cooked breakfasts very often so this was something of a treat. I thoroughly enjoyed it all, and the beautiful setting of the restaurant overlooking another gloriously designed courtyard made for the perfect start to our morning.

Now sadly for us it was soon time for us to make our way home. Another epic journey down the M1 awaited, but not before a brief walk through the gorgeous gardens of the hotel. They were truly breathtaking and we commented time and time again how perfect they would be for wedding photos, with so many lovely spots. This was one of my personal favourites, the ideal place for the happy couple to take a breather during a hectic day. This cute pagoda is located in a quiet corner of the front garden. It would also be a lovely spot for a relaxing drink.

Ox-Pasture-Pagoda-SussexMummy

The car soon beckoned and we reluctantly set off. We’d not spent very long at the hotel at all, but it had certainly made an impression. The staff were friendly and intent on ensuring everything was perfect for everyone, without being overbearing or in your face. The setting is breathtaking, and its hard to believe you are just a few minutes from the sea. The suite was perfect, ideal for couples enjoying a romantic break, but also just right for families with small children. The hotel was incredible, nothing was too much trouble, and whilst it is without doubt a luxury hotel you feel nothing but welcomed.

Without question I would heartily recommend this hotel to anyone. Was it worth the 600 mile round trip and the chaos of the M1? Without a doubt. You can find full details of the hotel, including rates and events on their website.

 

 

 

 

Christmas 2013: Last Minute Gifts & Treats from Asda

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide | Posted on 18-12-2013

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Can you believe its just a week until Christmas? Where did December go? Whilst physically I’m feeling a lot better with my pregnancy I seem to be tired most of the time and some days I’m just exhausted and don’t achieve anything helpful. One thing I did manage to organise though was my food shopping delivery for the end of this week. We’re off to my parents for Christmas Day and we’ll be spending the New Year at my in laws so I don’t need to panic buy lots of food as nobody will be here to eat it. I am going to need a few bits and pieces and by getting my delivery from Asda, it gives me a chance to make sure I have a few treats in and finish up any last minute stocking fillers too. If you’ve got a delivery to finalise before Christmas why not pop a few of these bits and pieces in your virtual basket.

Christmas is a great time to treat the children – big and small. Gingerbread is very popular with Little Man and his Daddy so I’m sure a box or two of these Gingerbread Santa’s & Snowmen will find their way onto my food order this week. At just £1 a box they are super cheap and adorable designs are bound to make Little Man smile.

Beauty gift sets are always popular at Christmas, and are great for buying for friends. I usually shop on the high street for this type of product but Asda have a great range available and at a fraction of the cost. This Simple Travel Gift Set is just £5 and is part of the 2 for £8 offer making it great value. Wipes, Facial Wash, Facial Toner and Moisturiser are included in this neat set which would be an ideal purchase for anyone jetting off over the festive season as they are all hand luggage compliant.

Mugs are another classic gift, and especially ones that come with a sweet treat inside. Love Hearts are a classic retro sweet. This bright and colourful mug comes with some fruity fizzy sweets to enjoy, and is a useful gift when all the sweets are gone. At £5 its a great little stocking filler.

And of course Asda has a full complement of Christmas foods and drinks on offer too. Having been lucky enough to attend their Christmas In July event earlier in the year and sample some rather delicious meats, snacks, sweets and party food there’s no danger of anyone going hungry. Whilst I can no longer eat some of the bits I tried earlier in the year I will certainly be hunting out their jars of sweets and their dessert range which were all delicious. I’m just going to have to wait till next year for the Extra Special Prosecco and stick to the soft drinks for the time being!

Get online fast to book a delivery slot before Christmas, or better still head down to your local store and pick up some delicious treats and some last minute gifts before the big day.

Feeding The Family Whilst Camping

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Camping, Holiday, Product Reviews | Posted on 18-11-2013

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You’ll no doubt remember that we went camping a few months ago in Cumbria, staying at the fantastic The Quiet Site near Ullswater. We were well prepared for the trip with air beds and sleeping bags and a well packed itinerary for our five day trip. The main worry I had though was eating. Little Man would happily sleep anywhere and no doubt he’d be that tired after our jam packed days there was no need to worry about him sleeping, and as long as he slept, we’d sleep. Spending five days together in one room would be fine – we’d be spending very little time there outside of bed time to be honest. But I did worry about eating. Little Man rarely stops eating, or so it seems, and Daddy gets a little “tetchy” if he doesn’t eat regularly. We had plans to eat out, but there were going to be a few evening meals on site and I did worry about how we’d cater those and what on earth we’d eat, and how. Three indispensable products meant that my worries were soon unfounded.

Coleman Family Cook Set
Individual mess tins weren’t going to cut it for our family camping trip. I wanted to make sure what I was cooking was Little Man friendly, so I wanted to be able to cook things that we’d usually have at home, albeit on a smaller and simpler scale. I needed good sized saucepans, and I needed them to be space saving. The Family Cook Set  we were sent to review from Coleman was ideal. A 5.7l saucepan, a 2.4l saucepan and a 10cm diameter frying pan was more than sufficient for our needs. They were sturdy, hard wearing, and took up very little room. They each nested into one another as there is just one handle which transferred with ease from pan to pan. The capacities were great – the large pan was perfect for cooking pasta, and the smaller one warmed sauces meaning we had a meal within about 15 minutes. One regret I do have is not getting some eggs and bacon in for a cooked breakfast – the frying pan would neatly fit enough for Daddy and I to have bacon and eggs whilst Little Man stole bits no doubt. Next time definitely.

Camping Az Camping Chef Vario
So our cooking equipment was sorted – with the addition of a few utensils from home – but what were we going to cook ON? A gas stove was essential, and more importantly we needed one with two burners. I didn’t like our chances of cooking meals in just one pot, especially if I was doing pasta with sauce for example, and juggling pots on one small burner would no doubt lead to chaos and potential accidents. Thankfully for us Camping Az came to our rescue with their Camping Chef Vario – a neat compact twin burner gas stove with added bonus of a grill. Three independent gas controls and a single ignition switch, wind protection sides and removable legs make this stove a key part of our camping kit. We set this up quickly and easily on our Pod decking, and it was in use straight away. We cooked a few meals on this, and it was used every morning to heat the kettle for Mummy’s cup of tea. It was simple to use, it was reliable and it was safe. What made it even better was that it folded up neatly into a briefcase style case which made it simple to transport and to carry around the site. An essential cooking stove for any family camping trip, and one I’ll look forward to using again and again.

Look What We Found Ready Meals
So we had our pots and pans and we had our stove. Now what were we going to eat? I wanted quick and easy meals, I didn’t want to be doing much once we got back to our Pod after a busy day in Cumbria. There is however only so much pasta and sauce you can eat. I started looking around for other options. Good quality food that was nutritious and would also be eaten by an intermittently fussy 2 year old. It was a tough ask to be fair, and I didn’t want something dull like beans on toast either, though Little Man would have gobbled it up no question. I wasn’t overly confident when I began my search on the internet, but very soon I came across what looked to be the answer. Look What We Found sell ready meals, meals you can heat up at home on your cooker, or that you can take camping as they don’t need to be stored in the fridge. We were lucky to be sent an amazing selection of meals to try out, some we ate before we went, some we gave to Nana and Pops to try, and some we took with us on our trip. Each pouch contains a meal that serves one person. On the first night we cooked these meals we had the Cumbrian Lamb Hot Pot – well we were in Cumbria after all – and the Yorkshire Pork Sausage Casserole. The meals all contain regionally sourced ingredients, so the lamb genuinely was from Cumbria. Now I’m not going to lie. When I emptied each pouch into a pan I was a little nervous. It didn’t look wholly appetising, and I started to mentally work out how we’d get to the nearest McDonalds if Little Man refused to eat it. A few minutes gentle heating on the stove however and things rapidly improved. We split the two meals between the three of us and with the addition of a nice loaf of bread and butter it was a delicious meal. So simple, so tasty, and so easy to transport. Another night we had Tees Valley Beef Meatballs served with some pasta we got in the site shop. Again, it was delicious. Nana and Pops tried out the a couple of curries for us and a soup and they thoroughly enjoyed them all. We’ll definitely look to them again next time we go camping, or just as meals to have in the house. The full range is available online, and you can also find them in Waitrose, Booths and Ocado.

I can safely say that nobody went hungry on our trip to Cumbria and the meals that we cooked far surpassed my ideas of what we’d be having when we set about organising our holiday. It is possible to eat nutritious foods as a family when camping, even with a toddler in tow. I look forward to more family camping trips – though they may be on hold for a little while yet – knowing we have some great products to use again and again.

Make Family Life A Little Easier

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 26-07-2013

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Anyone who has a busy family life will know that there’s no secret formula for keeping everything running smoothly and keeping everyone happy. Mostly it just takes hard work, determination and a lot of compromise.

However, there are some things that you can organise to make life a little easier and any unexpected events simpler to cope with. So for anyone looking to get their home life in order, here are the top four issues to address first.

Finances

Many a sleepless night and family argument has been caused by troublesome finances, and there’s nothing worse than not knowing where you stand when it comes to money.

If you’re struggling to get your financial matters straightened out, consider hiring an adviser to guide you through the more complex areas.

It’s also important to organise your finances in case of emergency. Drawing up a will, allocating the person you want to deal with probate registry and making your relatives aware of your final wishes will all make you feel more in control.

Insurance

Getting your money sorted may be one thing, but if your house gets flooded, your pet needs medical treatment or a tree falls on your car, money can pour out of your account quicker than you can put it back in.

This is where insurance comes in. The more comprehensive insurance you can get, the better. Talk to your bank or building society as well, as many will offer great deals on various types of insurance.

Education

Parents have been known to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure a good education for their children, and getting this sorted at an early stage can really take the pressure off further down the line.

If you can, enrol your child into a primary school that feeds directly into a good secondary school. Where this is not possible, look for alternatives, like scholarships to fee-paying schools, or free schools that are due to open in the future.

Food

Getting your family’s diet in order and on the right track will help to make you all feel healthier and happier and will set a great precedent for your children.

Try and get into good habits, eating lots of fresh foods and cooking from scratch whenever you can.

Though these steps may not solve all of your problems, they will make a big difference in your family’s life, so get out your to-do list, get planning and get everything in order and ship shape. 

Recipe: Total Greek Tzatziki

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie | Posted on 01-07-2013

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You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I went to London to celebrate Total Greek’s birthday and enjoy a masterclass with Eric Lanlard. In the press pack that I left with was a recipe for Tzatziki and the ingredients to create this simple dish at home. I’m not a fan of mint myself – for me the only thing which should taste link mint are mints, not savoury food – but I thought I’d give it a go. This morning I made my third batch since the event. Needless to say its a big hit. Cool, refreshing and exceedingly moreish – perfect for summer. I’ve served it with pitta chips and also salted cracker crisps.

Ingredients:
170g TOTAL 0% Greek Yogurt
1/2 cucumber
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 sprigs of mint, shredded
Sea salt to taste

Method:
Grate the cucumber into a towel and squeeze over the sink to remove juice.
Put cucumber in a bowl with the garlic and mint and mix together.
Fold in the TOTAL Greek Yogurt and season to taste.

I make mine in a plastic tub with an airtight lid. As soon as its made I seal it and pop it in the fridge until its needed so it stays nice and cold. Make sure your tub IS airtight though – the garlic will permeate everything in your fridge otherwise. Assuming you don’t devour it all in one sitting the Tzatziki keeps in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.

 

Happy Birthday Total Greek!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Blogger Event, Foodie | Posted on 14-06-2013

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I was very lucky last night to be invited to the Total Greek Birthday Bash, celebrating 30 years of Total Greek Yogurt in the UK. At a venue in Central London a small group of food bloggers gathered for a special masterclass from Master Pâtissier Eric Lanlard. After arrival drinks we watched as Eric took two sponge cakes and sliced them into horizontally before layering them with a mix of Total Greek Yogurt and cream and fresh fruit. Each sponge layer was brushed with a naughty sugar syrup mix laced with ouzo, before the whole cake was surrounded by white chocolate cigarellos and topped with fresh fruit and a special gold leaf caramel. As you can imagine it looked amazing. And he then told us that WE had to replicate it. Mild panic set in amongst the bloggers at this point!

As you can see our stations were well equipped with all the ingredients, a selection of fresh fruit, and plenty bowls, knives, spatulas and piping bags. Having never used a piping bag before I was rather worried, but thankfully the piped cream mix was inside the cake so you can’t really see it. I must confess that it was A LOT of fun. Intimidating yes having Eric wandering around whilst you worked but he was really lovely and offered motivational advice when needed. It was all a bit “Generation Game”-esque with about 10 people frantically making their own cakes but working so close together meant we could all help each other out when needed.

Clearly Eric’s cake looked stunning. His is the one on the left here, and mine is the one on the right.

Now I must admit that I’m rather proud of my cake. Neat cake decorating is not something I do. I tend to bake with a toddler “helping” so it all becomes a bit carnage like. This is the poshest cake I’ve ever decorated in my life. My caramel shards do look a tad menacing compared to Eric’s more delicate ones, but you can probably blame Tea, Cake and Make for that, with whom I shared caramel making and breaking duties! I’ll be tucking in to this cake this evening – its currently being hidden from Little Man!

After the cake decorating extravaganza the room was transformed into a Greek haven, with music, cocktails and delicious canapes courtesy of Tonia Buxton. A lovely evening of food, drink and excellent company followed. A fantastic party and a brilliant way to celebrate Total Greek.

Foodie: The Perfect Cocktail

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie, Information | Posted on 17-04-2013

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I am assured that winter is now over and we’ve got summer on the horizon. For me summer is the perfect time to get out in the garden with family and friends and enjoy the warm sunny weather. Picnics and barbecues aplenty, and lots of relaxing in the long evenings with a glass of something nice. There’s something about summer that makes me want the occasional cocktail, and the most affordable way to enjoy one is to make your own. The team at Spa Breaks have created this little video on how to make the perfect cocktail.

From measuring your spirits, to decorating your glassware, to the excitement of setting your cocktail on fire (sort of..), the video has lots of tips and hints for creating your perfect summer drink. None of the equipment used is particularly hard to come by – most kitchen stores sell cocktail shaker sets, measurers and juicers – and with a bit of creativity you can even try making your own. Blindfolded taste testing is entirely optional, of course.

So come on hot summer weather – I quite fancy sipping a homemade Mojito in my garden this year. What about you?

Review: New From Munchkin

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 18-03-2013

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Munchkin is a brand I’ve featured a few times on my website. They produce consistently quality products, and these two additions to their range are no exception.

Tug Along Boat
I seem to review a lot of bath toys, but its a great fun time of day, and in our house its Daddy’s job and a lovely opportunity for father son bonding. Daddy has been saying for a while that Little Man needed a boat for the bath, something I’m surprised in hindsight that we’ve got this far without. When Munchkin offered us this Tug Along Boat to review I couldn’t say no.
This brightly coloured boat comes with a red raft which attaches to the back or can be used independently. The boat itself has holes in the top to collect water which can then be poured out through the wheel at the front. The green handle is a great size for both children and adults alike so everyone can get involved with the water play. Beneath the handle you can see through to where the water collects and its made to look like a glass bottomed boat, giving a great view of some fish. The boat comes with two water squirting crew members – a penguin and a seal – who man the craft and also add an extra fun dimension. Little Man loves playing with this boat at bath time. He steers it around the bath with the handle and pours lots of water out past the wheel. Water squirters are always popular so these are much loved too – just remember to take cover if you’re in the bathroom with him!!

Click Lock Bento Mealtime Set
This mini version of a Bento Box is incredibly cute and functional. We like to go on picnics when the weather allows or if we’re out at a zoo or theme park, and Little Man will be heading off to preschool in September (Eeek!) so some kind of lunch box was going to be needed. This is perfect.
The box comes with three compartments – a main area for sandwiches or something savoury, and then two smaller compartments for fruit, vegetables or even yogurt. Each compartment has its own lid, and the two smallest ones have removable inserts for easy cleaning. Fitted into the main lid are a toddler sized fork and spoon, and there is a space on the base to write your child’s name. This Bento box is part of the popular Click Lock range, so once you hear the click upon securing the lid, you know its fastened and nothing will be escaping. I am a big fan of this and can see it getting lots of use for years to come – I just wish they did one in my size!!

You can find these, and the rest of the Munchkin range online.

 

Guest Post: Bringing Home Bunny – 9 Things You Need to Do to Make a Happy Rabbit

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 21-02-2013

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Bringing home bunny is exciting because it’s the beginning of a long-lasting relationship. A well-cared-for bunny can live over a decade, and this special bond begins the day he comes home. There are several things bunnies need to be happy, healthy and well-behaved. It’s best to have all these things ready when he arrives, so your first precious moments together aren’t spent frantically setting up.

1. Choose the Cage

Image via Flickr by ewen and donabel

It’s hard to picture your tiny bundle a year from now when he weighs 7 pounds, so it’s easy to buy a cage he’ll outgrow too soon. Look for one with plenty of space with an opening large enough to get him in and out. Choose a cage with a secure lock and enough room for him to get some exercise.

2. Line the Cage With Safe Bedding

Image via Flickr by jpockele

Walking around the cage floor can give bunny sores on his feet. Cover the bottom of the cage with bunny-safe bedding and offer him a bed or blanket to sleep on. Cedar and pine chips are inappropriate for bunnies. Make sure the bedding you get is approved for use with rabbits.

3. Stock Up on Healthy Food

Image via Flickr by bunnygoth

The basis for his diet should be a well-balanced rabbit food. Supplement this with alfalfa while bunny is young and substitute for hay as he gets older. Bunnies also enjoy fresh vegetables, but you’ll need to discuss how much and how often with your vet.

4. Set Up a Litter Box

Image via Flickr by CassiaA

One of the wonderful things about bunnies is how easy it is to train them to a litter box. Select a box easy enough for him to climb into and large enough for him to go comfortably. Fill it with litter. Wait until bunny goes, then place the litter box in that spot. This potty trains most bunnies instantly.

5. Get a Variety of Toys

Image via Flickr by moonrat42

Bunny needs a good selection of toys, including toys for cage time and toys for playtime with you. Special toys that hang from the cage are excellent for occupying him while you’re at school or work.

6. Protect Your Bunny by Houseproofing

Image via Flickr by annieb

Like a baby, bunnies find mischief. Invest in plastic covers for wires and cords if you can’t put them out of bunny’s reach. Pet gates are excellent for keeping him out of areas where he isn’t safe, such as stairwells.

7. Reward Your Bunny With Treats

Image via Flickr by Carly & Art

A healthy diet leaves room for special treats, which are excellent bonding tools. Make sure the treats are safe for rabbits, and never give so many treats he doesn’t have room for healthy meals.

8. Keep Bunny Groomed

Image via Flickr by distar97

A clean bunny is a happy bunny, and most owners enjoy special bonding time while brushing and grooming their bunnies. A brush keeps his fur shiny and nail clippers do away with sharp claws that scratch you and get in his way. You can get these pet supplies online.

9. Give Bunny Dental Health

Image via Flickr by David~O

A salt wheel grooms bunny’s teeth and provides him with sodium, a necessary nutrient. Without this, his teeth grow too long and make it hard for him to eat. Bunnies love to nibble, but with a block or chip of wood, he won’t be tempted to gnaw furniture or shoes. These are inexpensive, and keep him occupied while grooming his teeth.

With these items on hand, you’re ready to embark on a rewarding relationship with your new bunny.

Review: Asda Slow Cooker

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie, Product Reviews | Posted on 10-01-2013

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Slow cookers are nothing new. From the looks of my Twitter feed I’d say about 75% of you have one and use it regularly. I was intrigued by the idea of owning one, mostly due to discovering that you weren’t all eating stew every night of the week. The range of foods and meals that were being created was brilliant, and I could see how useful one might be in our house. Days when we visit Grandma and are generally getting home with barely any time to cook dinner. Days when I’m at meetings or events and Daddy is looking after Little Man and there are only so many times you can eat fish fingers and chips again. Days when I just fancy trying something different.

I was reasonably confident one would get used but I must admit to being a little put off by the price. Most of the branded ones I found for £30 to £40. For a kitchen gadget which I might dislike or might get used once and then put away in a cupboard, that was a lot of money to spend. I went searching for a cheaper option but from a brand I could trust. Once again I found what I was looking for at Asda. I don’t know why I ever look anywhere else first.

Asda do a wide range of own brand electrical items, including several kitchen appliances. Their Slow Cooker has a 3 litre capacity so is perfectly sized for our little family, and is similarly sized to its higher priced competitors. It has a brushed steel exterior and a removable ceramic dish inside which makes it really easy to clean after use. Its compact size means it doesn’t take up too much room on the kitchen bench, and I’ve even managed to find a home for it on some open shelves when not in use. It has two settings – High or Low – depending on just how slow you want your food cooked, and the handles on the side and lid are cool touch so there’ll be no danger of burning yourself. My favourite thing about this Slow Cooker though is the price. It retails for just £14.96 – at least half the price of other cookers with the same capacity. The only down side was there were no recipes included, but the internet and book shops are flooded with recipes and cook books so you wont have to look far to get started. I picked myself up a book in Lakeland recently which has lots of great sounding recipes in for all the family.

We’ve used this cooker a few times and every meal has been a success. We made bolognese sauce to start with – something simple – and it was delicious. It even made enough to freeze some for two more meals. We’ve also tried out a packet mix for Slow Cookers which I found in store recently. This makes slow cooking even easier because everything is there for you, you just need to add a few fresh ingredients.

I can see this Slow Cooker being used time and time again this year and it fast becoming an important part of our kitchen. If you’re considering a Slow Cooker but have also been put off by price, or perhaps you’re just not sure how often you’re going to use one, test out the Asda one. Its a great price and a quality piece of equipment. You can find them in store or you can order them online for home delivery or free collection at your local store.