Featured Posts

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

#KidsGrowWild Gardening Challenge

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 19-06-2013

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

5

“This post is an entry for BritMums’ #KidsGrowWild Challenge”

One of the best things about our house is that we have a garden. Having spent years living in flats with Hubby we thought it was important to get a house with a garden once we had Little Man. Plenty of space for him to run about in, as well as somewhere to put the all important outdoor toys! What I also love about having a garden is that I have space to grow things. I’ve got lots of flowers and plants growing at the moment, as well as a selection of fruit and vegetables. Our garden even has a special miniature garden for Oscar our tortoise in it!

Little Man isn’t a particularly keen gardener. He’d much rather dig in his sand pit than in the ground, but I wanted to give him his own little patch to grow a few flowers in and encourage him into gardening, as well as teaching him about seeds and growing things. The #KidsGrowWild Challenge from Brit Mums in association with Money Supermarket seemed the ideal opportunity. We were sent a very cute gardening set which included a small bag, a watering can, gloves, tools and all important seeds.

I’ve got him a tub all of his own and in it we are going to plant some of the seeds he was sent and he can be in charge of watering that tub and watching it grow. Watering is one activity I can get him interested in, so I’m thinking this is the best way to get him started. He is also a fan of picking the fruit when its ready, so perhaps I need to make him Chief Fruit Picker. Fingers crossed the raspberries and strawberries will be ready soon. Now if the weather can just stay nice for a while we might have a better chance of getting out there and gardening together!

Review: Argos Outdoor Toys

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 03-05-2013

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

1

Hurrah!! Sunny weather!! At last!! I’ve been waiting to write this review until the weather was decent enough. Promoting outdoor toys during snow, rain and ice seemed slightly foolish! So here we go.

Little Man has been spending far too much time indoors recently, what with it being so cold and wet all the time. I’m afraid I’m not one of those parents that puts waterproofs and wellies on and goes out in all conditions. I’d much rather wait for dry weather, and ideally warmth too. I want to make sure he spends as much of the summer outside in the garden, either at home or when he visits his grandparents, so I was thrilled when Argos got in touch asking if I’d like to review some of their outdoor items. We chose 2 – one for at home, and one for at his grandparents, where the garden is considerably bigger.

First up was the Plum Products Sand & Picnic Table. Little Man loves to play in sand and we wanted to get him a sandpit this summer. This one from Plum seemed ideal, as it has a removable top. It can be used as a sandpit, but with the top on its a normal picnic table for eating at, or doing colouring or playing outside. I liked the fact that Little Man can sit at it to play, though he does tend to stand next to it anyway. It was pretty easy to build, and Little Man enjoyed helping Daddy. Do excuse the hats and coats in these photos – it wasn’t quite as warm as it is now when I made Daddy build this!
Now Grandma and Grandad have an altogether bigger garden. Its a big like a field really. Little Man already has a wooden playhouse down there along with a sand and water table and a picnic table – we’re down there at least once a week so its not totally insane for them to have all this! With so much space available it seemed logical to add on more large outdoor toy into the mix.

Also from Plum Products this is an 8 foot trampoline with enclosure. The ladder you can see was part of an extra accessories kit which Grandad bought that included a cover for when Little Man isn’t visiting. Now the trampoline was a little trickier to build, but I suspect the cold weather didn’t help. The instructions were easy for Daddy and Grandad to follow but as you can imagine fitting the surface of the trampoline became easier as they got the knack. The enclosure was very important for me as theoretically Little Man is too small for this trampoline at the moment at just 2 and a half. However he has been using it under close adult supervision for over a month now and he’s absolutely fine in there. He bounces a little bit, but more often then not he just runs laps and then throws himself down. We’ve put a few plastic balls in there with him for more fun. If we are outdoors at his grandparents house we can pretty much just pop him in there, zip up the entrance and leave him to it. Hours of fun, and a bit of rare peace for his parents.

These two items and many more great outdoor toys are available now from Argos, including a brilliant range of bouncy castles, playhouses, and sports toys. Plus if you shop at Argos at the moment you get a £10 voucher if you spend £100 and a £5 voucher if you spend £50. A great time to get down there today and get some outdoor toys for the lovely Bank Holiday weekend ahead.

Gardening: A Pond For Your Children

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 03-04-2013

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

0

The Easter holidays are upon us and its FINALLY looking a bit more Spring like outside. This break is a perfect opportunity to get the children outside and give them a project, or at least something to help you with. As a child I was lucky enough to have a pond in my back garden. We had two at one house – a large one for fish and a smaller nature pond which we had frogs in. I spent hours out there in the garden watching the frogs and you could often find me sat there with one in my hand. They were fascinating creatures and it was great fun to have them in my own garden. The larger pond was brilliant too – it house several large fish and lots of plants. During the summer I was hardly ever indoors, instead choosing to spend my time running about the garden spotting fish and frogs in our ponds.

Building your own pond might seem a daunting task, but there are some great supplies out there to help make it easier. Its also a great garden task to get the children involved with. If you’re making a nature pond you just need a large hole, a liner and some plants and weeds. If you’re planning a pond for fish you’ll need more equipment, the most expensive of which is probably going to be the pump. The pump will make the water flow, often with a fountain or water fall, and that keeps it clear. Whilst it is the priciest part of your pond, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you know where to shop. One of the best places to get your pump would be Swallow Aquatics, who stock a range of high quality and good value pumps for your garden pond. Swallow Aquatics are leading pond and aquatic specialists in the UK with stores in Essex, Norfolk and Kent, as well as a easy to navigate online store. They sell everything you need to create your own garden pond, from liners, pumps and plants, to lighting, fish food, and books.

Visiting your local Swallow Aquatics is a great fun family day out. They have a huge selection of fish and underwater creatures on display so your children can choose which ones they want in their pond. There’s also supplies for the family cats, dogs and other small animals, as well as a well stocked reptile centre for any snakes, lizards or chelonian you might have. I only wish I’d known about Swallow Aquatics when I was getting my tortoise recently! Some stores also share their sites with garden centres and coffee shops – check for your local store here – where you can look around the plants and grab a cup of tea and a cake before you head home to get to work on your new garden feature.

Building your own pond not only brings a great focal point to your garden and provides your children with something to do this Easter holidays, but it also provides long term educational opportunities as the year and the seasons progress. Its a great chance for your children to spend time outdoors learning about all the creatures that inhabit the pond, from fish and frogs to all the little mini beasts and insects. I’m sure Little Man would get lots of enjoyment from a pond. Maybe next year.

 

Product Review: Outdoor Toys From Chad Valley

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 13-09-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

1

The summer holidays might be over, but the weather at the moment is far from Autumnal… well here anyway! If you’re looking for some toys for the garden to keep your toddlers entertained, perhaps now their older siblings have returned to school, look no further than the Chad Valley range.

Chad Valley Golf & Cricket Set
For those sporty little ones this is a great toy. Suitable from age 3 this adorable set comes with two sporting kits. The Golf set comprises of 3 clubs, 3 balls, 2 “holes”, 2 flags and a bag to carry them in. The Cricket set has stumps and bails, a cricket bat and two balls. This is ideal if you’re little ones are fans of watching either sport on TV or perhaps if Daddy plays already and they want to mimic. Made of sturdy plastic this set is ideal for playing in the back garden or even at the park with friends.

Chad Valley Play Tunnel
Hours of entertainment can be had with this simple toy. The play tunnel is 1m in length and can be used indoors or out. It “pops-up” and can be folded down flat for easy storage. This is great for crawling through, rolling around inside, or playing the ever popular “peek-a-boo” with. Multiple tunnels can be purchased and then fastened together, and you can also get a larger tent which these tunnels can feed into. It would also make the perfect addition to an obstacle course!

Chad Valley toys are available from Argos.

 

Do We Do Too Much?

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 06-09-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

We’re all busy aren’t we? Whether you’re a Stay At Home Parent or a Working Mum or Dad, you are busy. You have a child, and that is the most time consuming and demanding job in the world, and if you’re juggling full or part time work alongside that, you probably don’t sleep! Modern lifestyles are so much busier than every before, and research from Lindam has found that our children’s safety might be suffering as a result of that.

In a recent poll of 2000 parents a staggering 70% said they regularly left their child playing unsupervised whilst they carried out domestic chores, and 40% of parents admitted that their child had been injured as a result of this. The Top 10 most common accidents for a child to suffer whilst in their home are:

  1. Tripping in garden
  2. Falling from sofa
  3. Falling from bed
  4. Slipping on the floor
  5. Banging head on a sharp corner
  6. Shutting fingers in a door
  7. Being hurt fighting with a sibling
  8. Falling down the stairs
  9. Hurting themselves on broken glass
  10. Suffering a burn from the cooker
The research discovered that the most common time for these injuries to be sustained is whilst the parent is in the kitchen cooking the evening meal. The lounge, garden and bedroom were the most likely places for injuries to happen during this time. Parents have a lot on their plate whilst looking after their child and running the home. There is so much other stuff that needs doing that often distracts attention away from a child. The most common distractions for Mum’s in the home are:
  1. Cooking
  2. Being on the phone
  3. Another child requiring their attention
  4. Working from home
  5. Cleaning the house
  6. Doing the hoovering
  7. Doing the ironing
  8. Being in the shower
  9. Hanging out the washing
  10. Getting dressed
Parents are often looking for ways to distract their child whilst they get on with these tasks, and 80% of parents admitted to using the TV for this purpose regularly.
Claire Rayner, a spokeswoman for Lindam, says “Many accidents experienced by young children in the home come about because mum is understandably not able to keep a constant watch. She can’t be in several places at once and the results show that, it only take a minute for an accident to happen. It’s therefore about using safety products to make the home as accident-proof as possible and allow Mums at least some peace of mind. It’s so easy and quick to put in place some very simple safety equipment such as stair gates, corner cushions and cupboard locks to ensure that parents can rest a little easier knowing that their children are protected.

We have launched our first Safety Day as we are committed to reducing childhood accidents in the home and we feel it’s these small but important steps that can go a long way to reducing the amount of childhood accidents in the home.”

To learn more about Lindam’s Safety Day, and find ways to ensure your home is as safe as possible for you child visit the Lindam website.

 

Product Review: Sit & Go

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Product Reviews | Posted on 20-08-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

With festival season well under way and the summer weather back for another go, long days out are becoming increasingly likely. So if you’re heading down to the beach for the day, going to a festival, heading to the Paralympics, or even taking up residence in the local park for an all day picnic, you’re going to need something to carry your food in. Picnics are brilliant as you always know what you are getting and wont have to battle the queues – or the inflated prices – by buying food when you arrive. You want something strong and sturdy, ideally that will keep your picnic nice and cool, and that’s easily transportable. What you need, is a Sit & Go.

Now I realise it looks a little bit like one of those shopping trolleys that you see elderly people dragging down the high street and around the supermarkets, but I assure you it is much cooler than that. Literally.

The bag itself is insulated meaning your food will stay nice and cool – or warm – in there as you pull it around the Olympic Park, or park it up on the beach or at your next music festival. Its very easy to move about and it stands up by itself. But this is no ordinary bag. Oh no. This bag is much cleverer than your average shopping bag. The Sit & Go comes with a fold down chair built in, and the Union Jack model comes with a parasol/umbrella too. You might not fancy sitting down on the floor, or you might have an elderly relative with you who just can’t sit down on the floor, so this chair is ready and available. You can sit in comfort whilst helping yourself to the food stored in the bag behind you.

This bag would also be great for an elderly person to do their weekly shop in. They could pull it up to the shops, store their food safely in it as they head home, and if they need a rest they have a chair with them so they can sit down for a while.

Perhaps you’re a frequent visitor of food fairs and shows which are often large and crowded with limited seating. You can buy all your tasty goodies without worrying about the carrying them or returning to the stands as you leave, and you’ll be able to take a seat for a well deserved cup of tea in comfort and style.

The Sit & Go would also be great at Wimbledon or at the cricket for some patriotic support, and I can see us using it this summer in the garden to keep drinks cold in during picnics or barbecues.

The Sit & Go is available now in four designs from the Direct To Your Door online store.

Product Review: Alpaca Travel Shawl from Samantha Holmes

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Product Reviews | Posted on 23-07-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1

Hurrah!! Summer has FINALLY put in an appearance, and fingers crossed its going to stick around for a while yet. If you’re planning on relaxing in the garden or on the beach, or if you’re having evening barbecues or garden parties, or you might be boarding a long haul flight to somewhere where you can guarantee the good weather, an Alpaca Travel Shawl might well become your new best friend.


A silky soft mix of Alpaca and Bamboo makes this shawl super light and hypo-allergenic. It is perfect for wrapping around your shoulders as the evening gets cooler, or to use as a blanket whilst on board a flight. The shawl comes in a gorgeous matching cover which turns it into a cute bolster cushion, which is great for resting your head on in the garden or on the beach when you’re sunbathing, or as a small pillow if you’re travelling.

The shawl is a great size at 90x190cm and for me its ideal as it makes the shawl very versatile. I love that its made from Alpaca which is great against sensitive or delicate skin, meaning you could even use it as a blanket to lie your little one’s on, or to cover them if they are asleep in the car. Being Alpaca also makes it incredibly strong and long lasting, so you’ll be investing in a piece that will last you for years to come. The shawl comes in eight colours so you’re bound to find one to suit, whether it be for day to day use or for a special occasion like a wedding or christening.

Alpaca Travel Shawls are available now direct from the Samantha Holmes website where you’ll also find a range of beautifully made fashion and home accessories.

Product Review: Flexibath from Whitestep

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Product Reviews | Posted on 25-04-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7

Baby baths are notorious for being bulky and difficult to store out of the way, especially if space is limited. We bought one before Little Man was born and finding somewhere to keep it when not in use was a bit of a nightmare, especially in a small flat. But when your baby is small its not really a good idea to put them in a big bath of water, with baby baths being a much safer option.

If you’re short on space, or if you’re looking for a portable bath you can take on holidays or when staying at family or friends, a Flexibath might just be what you need.

The Flexibath is the size of a traditional baby bath – perhaps even a little bigger – and provides a good sized and easy to use bath for newborns and babies. (It holds 39 litres of water when full.) The beauty of it is then when you’re finished you simply drain it using the plug in the base – a plug designed to be difficult for children to pull out – and fold it flat.
Just like that! There’s even a handy clip on the top to hold it flat so it can be slid conveniently under a bed or chest of drawers, or propped up in the corner of a bathroom until next time. It also fits easily into a suitcase for holidays and takes up minimal room in the car for overnight stays.

I was sent a Flexibath to test out with my 18 month old Little Man, as the bath is sold as suitable for use from birth to 4 years. If your child is happy to just sit in the bath then yes, I am sure you’ll fit a child of 2 years or more in there without a problem. Unfortunately my Little Man is more of a “walk around and wriggle about” kind of bather, so keeping him happy in this was a little tricky… and wet!

But do not fear! If you buy a Flexibath for your newborn – and I only wish I had when Little Man was born – it doesn’t become obsolete as soon as your child gets too big or starts moving around. The Flexibath makes a great toy box, or could be used for laundry. We even used ours to store books in until our Tidybooks Bookcase turned up, and it holds 100 plastic ball pit balls with ease. Away from using it for your children I think it would make an attractive colourful planter for your garden, and the transparent one with turquoise trim which we were sent to review could even be fashioned into a mini greenhouse to protect your seedlings during Britain’s dubious weather. A multitude of uses for a brilliant and ingenious product!

Flexibaths are available now from Whitestep but I have one to give away to a lucky SussexMummy reader. All you need to do is click here and fill in your details to be entered into the draw.  The competition closes on Friday May 4th at 8pm so get clicking!!

More Alternative Easter Gifts For Under 5’s…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 03-04-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

Twinkle Tog
Sleeping bags are brilliant for babies, especially those that wriggle around in their sleep – bags mean that you’re not up half a dozen times a night because your little one has kicked their covers off. When your little one becomes a toddler though and they are more mobile, a sleeping bag can be restrictive. When I go in to his room in the morning my Little Man tends to stand up and give me a wave as I come through the door. In a traditional sleeping bag this is usual followed by him falling over. With a Twinkle Tog the problem could be solved.
The Twinkle Tog is a duvet body suit, with defined legs which mean your little one can wander around in it if needed. It keeps them nice and warm throughout the night, and can even be used easily in a car seat if you’re travelling at bed time. I think this cute sheep design makes a great Easter gift too! Twinkle Tog’s are available from all good retailers, including Amazon and Mothercare.

Munchkin
Bath time is  always popular in our house and we like to make sure we have a good supply of toys in there to keep Little Man entertained. Munchkin do some of the best bath toys we’ve found, and we particularly enjoyed playing with this – the Dolphin Divers.
Water is scooped up using the whale and then poured through, making the dolphins spin around. Lots of splashing fun! Plus the whale sits neatly on the top when not being used. The unit fixes securely to the wall using suckers too! You can see the full Munchkin bath toy range online.

Mam
Another item now ideal for babies first Easter – an Oral Care Rabbit.

Babies oral hygiene is important from day one – not just when teeth start to appear. This cute rabbit is designed to keep tiny mouths clean and free from bacteria, as well as provided relief from the itchy gums caused by teething. It can also be used to clean those tiny first teeth. Your newborn is bound to enjoy chewing and sucking on it, and whilst you’re keeping their mouths clean they’re getting used to the idea of  brushing teeth. I think this is very cute, and a great Easter gift. Mam Oral Care Rabbits are available from baby sections of most high street stores and online. You can learn more at the Mam website.

Clintons Cards
Whilst you’re buying your Easter cards from Clintons this year – for me you can never go wrong with a Boofle card – why not take a look around on the shelves for your gifts too? As well as a lovely set of Lindt Bunnies – technically not eggs – they also have some craft activities to keep your children quiet during the holidays.
This set makes 3 foam chicks, using push out pieces in a variety of shapes. A great craft activity, and the three finished chicks can be used to decorate Easter cards, the dinner table, or just around the room for Easter weekend. These are designed for children aged 3 plus, so would be a good introduction to the world of craft. Cards, gift wrap, Lindt bunnies and Easter Craft Sets are available now at your local Clintons Cards.

Galt
If you want to get your children interested in gardening you might not automatically think of going to Galt first, but they have a great product which would be a cool Easter gift to teach them about how things grow –  Grow-A-Head Bugs!
Available in four styles – Ladybird, Bee, Butterfly, or Grasshopper – the grass grows after just a few days. Once its long enough you can start trimming or styling to your hearts content.  The Grow-A-Head is a simple yet effective first step towards gardening, allowing children to grow their own unique wild-haired creature. Grow-A-Head’s are available now from the Galt website.

Just Jaks
Baking with children is a fun, and messy, activity. The team at Just Jaks have found a way to hopefully reduce the mess and make delicious fruit flapjacks at the same time.

In your postbox sized parcel you’ll receive a bag of flapjack mix and a bag of mixed fruit, depending on which flavour you go for. To that all you will need to add is about a glass full of apple juice, and in the case of one mix a grated apple. After a good stir you pop it into the oven and 20 minutes later you have a delicious flapjack all ready. Whilst you don’t get the chewy consistency you get from sugar and syrup based flapjacks, you do get a yummy fruity flapjack which is altogether healthier – I know which I’d rather give to my Little Man!! Head over to the Just Jaks website now to check out their range.

Product Review: Brabantia Wall Fix Washing Line with Protective Storage Box

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 22-03-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

5

Washing. I swear it breeds when I’m not looking. With an active toddler, a husband out at work, and me, there is an inordinate amount of dirty washing in our house. Just the other day Little Man went through three pairs of trousers in one day. THREE! So now the glorious weather is upon us – unless I’ve just jinxed it of course – being able to hang the washing outside is essential. Having recently moved from a flat to a house a washing line was something we’d never owned. Browsing them was hardly thrilling so we never got around to buying one in preparation for spring. Luckily for us, Brabantia came to our aid.

Now I’m a little embarrassed by this next sentence, but please stick with me: I LOVE my new washing line. There, I said it. I’m THAT weird. Take a look for yourselves at the Wall Fix Washing Line from Brabantia.


Isn’t it amazing? No? Just me? *ahem*

In a compact garden like ours, or one with a toddler running around it (also like ours…) a washing line pinned into the grass would take up valuable space. Plus I’m too lazy and too busy to be putting it away when its not in use, so my Little Man would just run into all the time. He’s good like that. This marvellous washing line from Brabantia fixes to the wall, as you can see above. Yes, that is my (slightly dirty) back wall. As you can see the washing line lives in a rather neat storage box which protects it from the elements when not in use, but also looks much tidier than having it hanging there without. You can probably just make out the blue button on the front about halfway down. Pressing this causes the box to open and the sides to automatically fold back – handy one-handed opening there, especially if you’re carrying your laundry basket or child. You then pull out the washing line until it clicks into place. The outer lines are an impressive 4 foot long meaning you can easily fit double bed sheets on there, and there is sufficient capacity for a couple of loads of washing easily. Here’s my washing line in use:


When up it takes up hardly any room and doesn’t impede on the garden at all. As you can just about see its height means I can still have plants growing beneath it. Installation was easy – thanks Grandad – as there is a template included to show you where to drill the holes. Simplicity itself.

Luckily for my husband I’m still a little excited about having this in our garden so I’m quite keen to do the washing. I’m sure it won’t last.

The Brabantia Wall Fix Washing Line with Protective Storage Box can be bought from their online store.