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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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#TigerGrowAlong Round-Up

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Gardening | Posted on 19-08-2015

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Followers of my Instagram account will no doubt have spotted a few gardening related images popping up recently alongside the saturation of photos of my gorgeous boys. Well I was asked to take part in the #TigerGrowAlong with Tiger Sheds. A group of bloggers were sent a small gardening kit – a pair of glover, a trowel, some compost, some seeds and a gorgeous wooden box to plant them in.

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We were tasked with growing the seeds – Baby Leaf Lettuce – alongside each other and along with Tiger Sheds themselves, and to take weekly photos of our progress. So weeks ones photo was the kit itself, whilst week two was slightly less excitingly a photo of compost.

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To be honest this photo was taken about 24 hours after I’d planted the seeds so I wasn’t expecting great things. Week three however did show some progress.

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By the time week four came around there was very little difference so I must confess to waiting till about week six to take the final photograph – largely because it rained for most of week five and  I wasn’t keen on drowning.

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Looks delicious doesn’t it? And yes, the sun had finally returned to Sussex. I had great fun growing along with Tiger Sheds. The boys were less keen to join in unfortunately, with Little Dude rather more interested in the gravel you can see behind the box in the final photo. And lettuce isn’t particularly high on their list of things to eat either. Once the lettuce has all been picked and eaten though I will be reusing the box and seeing if I can’t encourage a bit of child friendly grow-your-own beyond the strawberries we already do.

Any suggestions?

#Review: Elho Garden Products

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 15-07-2015

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The weather is certainly hotting up outside so now is the ideal time to spend some time outdoors, whether it be in the park, at the beach or simply in your own back garden. Little Man has never really been much of an outdoors boy. Sure he likes going to the park, or walking through the woods at the back of our house, but he’s never really been one to initiate these trips and would rather be in the house. He would play Minecraft twenty four seven if we let him. Little Dude is the complete opposite. He’s all about the playroom certainly, but he often goes in there and points at the door or the windows into the garden. Given his chance he’d spend all day crawling around the garden, playing with gravel and attempting to eat snails. Such a pleasant child.

This summer I’m keen to spend lots of time outdoors with my two boys as Little Man will be heading off to school in September. I don’t want it to be a summer of endless TV and Minecraft. I have several activities up my sleeve, but enticing the biggest boy out into the garden is one of them. Now there’s not a huge amount of room in our garden now we have the conservatory so its all about making the most of the space we have. The first logical step in getting him out into the garden for me was to get him gardening. I didn’t want to just give him a square of a flower bed to grow what he wanted in, so I decided to utilise what plants we already had which he was interested in.

Little Man has always been a big fruit eater, and one of his summer highlights and guaranteed ways to coax him into the outdoors in the fruit we have growing outside. About a third of one bed is overrun with raspberries which are not movable, but we had a couple of terracotta troughs with strawberry plants in which seemed perfect for him to be in charge of. The team over at Elho sent us a couple of great items to help brighten up the darker corners of our garden and to encourage the children out there, and one of them was absolutely perfect for Little Man to grow his strawberries in.

The Green Basics Grow Table XXL is designed to be used by people who can’t bend down to garden, or for on balconies, or, as in our case, for children. When I first saw this I thought it would make an excellent water table for the garden, or could even be used as a sandpit if I hadn’t recently made one for the boys, but at the base of the legs there are drainage holes. Logical enough for gardening, but it would have been nice if these had been optional and there had been those push through thin bits of plastic you get on some pots and baskets.

This is a great height for Little Man, as he can happily peer in the top through the clear lid – available separately – and also help tend his plants. And he can also easily do his most important task, which is pick the fruit when its ready. Much excitement today when we went out there and he saw bright red strawberries which he was able to pick and of course eat before he’d even got back inside.

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The grow table was the ideal size for our four existing strawberry plants. These were pretty big and well established but they fit nicely in the table with space for growth and lots of room for fruit to form. The clear lid is brilliant and something I would highly recommend. It protects the contents from the suns ray and frost during winter, provides the chance for us to look at how things are doing without too much disturbance, and has adjustable vents in the top.

This would make a great planter for all kinds of things, but I think its best use would be lots of grow-your-own foods. I see it full of salad plants, or lots of herb plants. You could even use it as somewhere to start off larger plants and then use it without the lid once they are established. A great functional piece, and I love the bright colours that are available.

Elho also sent us an Easy Hanger Basket. I was immediately drawn to this style of hanging basket as hanging it is so simple. It has two large hooks on the back which allow it to be easily hung on a fence, some railings, or on a balcony. During the insane weather and storms of Winter 2014 we lost six of the eight fence panels in our back garden. Thank god the bottom of the garden has a brick wall! Once these panels were finally replaced my Dad fitted two lengths of decking horizontally along the panels on one side where the wind tends to blow into just to help reinforce it. Its done a brilliant job, but I wanted to make use of the planks with some form of hanging basket. The basket from Elho works perfectly on this, so well in fact that I’ll be getting a couple more baskets soon for further along!

WP_20150624_003The left hand side of our garden is pretty dark. Due to the fences, our neighbours ridiculous trees – don’t get me started… – and other houses the estate it never gets any sun. It’s the perfect spot for the boys sand table as they are safe from the sun there, and its where we’ve placed our companion seat. At the bottom corner my Mum created a stumpery for me which is full of lovely ferns and hostas and other shade appreciating things. Its all very overcast with flashes of green, so I wanted to pop a basket above it to grow something with a bit of colour.

That level just about catches a few rays during the day so the bright pink basket stands out perfectly. I popped down to the local garden centre and bought some white trailing fuchsia’s. I think the simple white stands out nicely against the pink basket, and the whole thing adds a great spot of colour to an otherwise dark area.

Both products have done their job perfectly. Adding a splash of colour to the garden and coaxing my indoors boy to head outside, even if it is in the hunt for more food. I love the Elho range and hope to add more pieces to my garden over the summer. It’s all so bright and fun, sturdy and child proof, and the fact its made from recycled material means its eco friendly too. Fantastic brand and fantastic products. Check them out now!