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Educational Play with Schleich I'm a big fan of learning through play. Unforced educational play. I'm not a teacher and I don't want to be. I want my children to naturally learn whilst they are having fun. When I was contacted recently...

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Say Eh-Oh to the new Teletubbies toys! There back!! Teletubbies made a joyous return to CBeebies last year, and this year marks the launch of the new range of toys. As you know I was sent a box just before Christmas, and today I can finally...

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Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough Last weekend Nana and I took a rather lengthy journey north for a night away at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough, with Little Dude in tow. The Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is a luxurious country hotel...

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A Place To Enjoy My Garden I love my garden. I love the fact that I have a garden, especially with the recent gorgeous weather we've been having. Whilst I have a pretty compact garden, there's a lot going on out there. Plants, fruit...

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Cuddles With Ben Cohen Some days I have a really difficult job. Days like this for example. *Ahem* That rather nice young man is former rugby player Ben Cohen. Ben is a bit of an expert when it comes to cuddles. He has...

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Guest Post: Introducing A New Partner To Your Family

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 03-10-2014

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Finding the right partner is tricky enough in this day and age but when you are committed to your faith it can be difficult to find someone who shares your beliefs. When you are lucky enough to find someone, whether that is through a shared interest, volunteering or a Christian singles dating site, choosing the right moment to introduce that special someone to your family can sometimes be stressful. Read on for help on deciding when to take the plunge.

Leader of the pack

You might want to introduce your partner to your family as soon as possible. Within many family units there is very often one person who has the ultimate say on everything and everyone.

If this sounds familiar, pick a time when you can introduce your partner to this one specific person on an individual basis. Take them out to lunch and make them feel special by actively letting them be the first family member that you introduce your partner to. If your partner only needs to pass this one person’s test to be accepted into the family make sure that you give them the best opportunity to do so.

Family celebrations

Birthdays and Christmas get-togethers can be a great time to introduce your partner to a large number of your family all in one go. Spirits will be high and a large gathering can be a relaxed way to meet those who are important to you. The chance to mingle without the spotlight being on your partner limits the opportunities for a never-ending supply of quick fire personal questions which can obviously make someone feel uncomfortable. Your partner will get a good sense of your family life in such a social situation.

Shared values

Dating someone who shares your faith means that they will already have something in common with your family. Introducing your partner to your relatives at an occasion based around your faith is a great way to make them feel at ease. A family wedding, a christening or church event for example, can offer a great opportunity to start things off on a level playing field.

Guest Post: Keeping The Children Entertained

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 18-09-2014

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Entertaining the kids is a tough task at the best of times but during the school holidays it becomes even more difficult, week after week of having the children with you can be a rewarding experience, but can also leave you tearing your hair out at times in frustration! With that in mind below are a few ideas on how to keep them engaged and happy without having to re-mortgage the house to do it, all ready for half term:

Rainy days

We should know better than to expect days of endless sunshine throughout the summer months & with September well and truly underway it’s good to have a few back-up ideas for when the outdoors is a no-go. Pop down to your local stores or online to check out new dvd releases to keep them entertained chances are you’re more likely to keep them engaged if it’s something they haven’t seen before. Alternatively dust of some old board games if you want to keep them away from the television, they are a great way to get the whole family together.

Let your imagination run free

Create a tent with bedsheets, close the curtains and have your own personal indoor disco, create a treasure hunt around the house or simply sit down for some quality time play time. These are just a few ideas you can use to pass the time. Getting involved creatively through Lego, play-dough or finger-paints is the best way to unleash their (and your own!) inner artiste.

Head to the Park or local playgroup

On the days where the British weather permits, getting out into the fresh air is a great way to let them expand some energy and blow off steam. Swimming classes are a good option for those wanting to get a head start with toddlers or sports teams for slightly older children will offer you some free time for yourself and also enhance their physical and mental wellbeing.

Whatever you chose during the next school break, with a little forward planning and a pinch of patience, the holidays will soon become your most valued time of the month – What are you favourite activities? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Image used under creative comms licence: Credit Don Graham

https://www.flickr.com/photos/23155134@N06/14848635310

Guest Post: 5 Things Every Mummy Should Own, But Are a Tad Expensive

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Preparing For Baby | Posted on 11-04-2014

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Once a mother, life changes completely. You now have a new, helpless, little soul dependent on you for just about everything. Time for yourself is a luxury. As your child grows you begin to wonder if life gets easier as it goes along. Truth is, things will get better, but just as you ease out of one phase of childhood, you will enter another one.

With every growing phase of your child, you will find yourself buying things that you feel is just right for them. This may be purchases for their wardrobe, their play, their physical and mental growth and much more. But have you ever stopped to think, that you are entitled to a few nice purchases yourself? As a mother, you tend to lose track of yourself and your needs. Here is a list of some things that you must own, even if they are a little out of your budget.

1. A fashionable wardrobe: Nobody steps out for a day of shopping and comes back with a whole new wardrobe in a single day. Working out those few fashion staples that may be mixed and matched to create the perfect look will take some time and searching. Rather than go with regular denim, invest in a pair of dark, stretchable jeans that flatters your body and your looks.

2. Quality skincare: Invest in a quality make-up brand to create a fresh look when you step out for that PTA meeting. It will do a world of good for your personality and your self-esteem. Buy a high-end bag one day, and invest in a chic pair of shoes. Work slowly on your wardrobe, and you will find yourself stepping out with more confidence.

3. A membership at a spa: So you have your hectic life going full steam ahead– children, work, home, husband and all the demands that go with it, so you never catch a break. Invest in a membership at a spa and make sure to never let anything come in the way of that appointment. Opt for the works each time– from a full body massage to manicures and pedicures, body wraps and scrubs and a hair spa. Such treatments serve as great pick-me-ups, giving you the energy and motivation you need to carry on with your lifestyle without a break for a longer period to come.

4. Regular trips out with the girls: Every mother has her trustworthy circle of friends whom she turns to when she needs them. Save enough each year to go on a short break with the girls, where you have nothing else to worry about other than choosing a hotel and travel package. Such rejuvenation is always welcome.

5. Diamonds: No matter how much we deny it, a diamond can always get our spirits up. Invest in a solitaire – be it a ring or a pendant or both. This is something that you may use to instantly spruce up a drab outfit. It is also a piece of jewellery that immediately boosts your self-esteem and the way you look. On those really tough days, diamonds can really help soothe those nerves. Of course, a diamond is not something you can just buy on a whim. You’re either going to have to save up for a few months, possibly even longer, or get some financing, in which case you may be interested in what cbonline has to offer.

Being a mother is not easy, and it is important that we learn to take time out for ourselves as well.

Guest Post: Hair & Scalp Advise from Sussex Trichology

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 01-04-2014

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Shuna Hammocks is a working Mum of 2 kids, as a Consultant Trichologist who qualified with The Institute of trichologists and gained 14 years’ experience working in the world renowned Philip Kingsley clinic in London. She opened Sussex Trichology in 2011 and following recent expansion would like to spread the word “Trichology”.

The subject of women’s hair and scalp concerns is an emotive one, but my profession of Trichology is my absolute passion! I will discuss in detail various conditions that I diagnose and treat at Sussex Trichology (http://www.sussextrichology.co.uk/ ) with the aid of my assistant; we successfully treat most hair loss, scalp problems and out of condition hair.

I find the most upsetting part of losing one’s hair is fear of the unknown and of feeling “out of control” with the changes that can seem to deteriorate overnight.

Having worked for a large company and wanting to follow an ambition of owning my own practice nearer to home- Sussex Trichology opened its doors in 2011. I wanted to ensure the very high standard of ethical practise I provided in London was available to the people of Sussex (without the commute)!

sussex trichology sussex mummy

Case history example-

“Hi, I’ve been experiencing hair thinning on and off for the past 12 years and recently the problem has become much worse, therefore i would like to book a consultation appointment. look forward to hearing to from you.”

This is a typical enquiry, it’s a specific thinning condition as the photograph below shows- this patient is unlikely to shed hair but notice a gradual reduction in the density of the hair in one area called Androgen Dependant Alopecia ( female pattern thinning). In women the hairs are not lost permanently, but become finer hairs therefore I am able to both arrest this genetically inherited condition and improve the density. My honesty and holistic approach are applied to each case, so every individual leaves with a clear understanding of their condition and how to treat.

My Facebook page may be of interest also https://www.facebook.com/SussexTrichology

While the majority of my patients are women who attend for themselves (often with a friend for moral support), I see many Mothers and Daughters attending together, in fact my assistant is the daughter of a patient of mine who was so impressed with my plight to “put back into the community” that she applied for the position of Trichotherapist. It is lovely to see families who support each other with conditions which can totally demoralise you and impact massively on the quality of your life and self-esteem!

I regularly see women with post-partum hair loss, hormonal issues following breast feeding and deficiencies which can cause the hair to shed- as a mother myself, I know it is difficult to juggle the many balls of life we need to, but your health and well-being are as important as your child’s.

Thank you for reading, please email me to find out more info@sussextrichology.co.uk or call 01444 448 082.

Shuna

 

 

Guest Post: Romantic Crafts For Valentines Day

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 30-01-2014

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Valentine’s Day is a couple of weeks off so here are some ideas for romantic crafts you can do yourself for your loved one. A home-made gift can make a greater impression that a shop-bought one, so why not get creative and show your special someone how much you care?

Cards

Okay, so this may seem very obvious and a bit dull, but you would be surprised at the effect a personalised card can make on your loved one. Homecrafts.co.uk has lots of choice when it comes to materials and can also give you some inspiration if you’re stumped for ideas. A hand-written poem inside a card adds a personal touch and you can even pick something witty or funny if sappy sentiments aren’t your thing. If you’re feeling really ambitious you can make your own card from scratch and add a photo, child’s drawing or even mementoes of your first date, such as movie stubs or pressed flowers.

Photo frames/albums

Giving someone a photograph as a present is special enough, but if you really want to go for gold, you can try making a personalised photo frame or album to match. Using your loved one’s favourite colours, shapes or decor styles, you can create a wonderful gift that shows that you put both thought and effort into their present. If you can, try to match the frame to the picture to really bring home the personalised touch. If it is a snap of you and your beau on a sunny beach, why not decorate your frame with seashells, sand and blue glass beads?

Mementoes

Most of us have specific memories when it comes to our loved ones, whether it is a first date, anniversary, favourite song or a funny story, and you can use this knowledge to make them a really special gift. Gather your treasured mementoes and place them in a frame to create a stunning collage that charts your relationship, or decorate a keepsake box for your loved one to keep their special memories inside. This is a gift that truly embodies the saying ‘it’s the thought that counts’ so make yours count with a memorable gift.

Food and drink

Food and drink are not only essential parts of our daily lives, they are also sumptuous, decedent, stimulating and relaxing. Cooking together and eating together is a pleasure many couples share so get in on the fun! Create a personalised picnic hamper containing all of your loved one’s favourite treats – it doesn’t matter where you choose to enjoy them as long as you do it together. And if they also enjoy cooking food as much as they do eating it, why not try cooking something new and exotic together instead of ordering your usual takeaway?

Office romance

While your special someone is away all day at their office while you work at yours, treat them to a gift that they can look at all day long when they are missing you most. An office desk gift is sweet and simple and is a lovely, subtle way to say ‘I love you’. A small picture frame, a hand-made pencil pot or a personalised photo calendar are all practical and romantic gifts that should make your loved one’s desk a better place to be stuck at all day.

This article was written by freelance writer and mother of three, Kathryn Thompson.  Follow her on Twitter: @katht35

Guest Post: Introducing Elegance To Your Bathroom

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 23-01-2014

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There are a myriad of different bathroom interior design ideas that are popular right now but one of the most coveted, is the elegant bathroom. Bringing elegance into a room can be as simple as adding a few choice accessories, or as complex as fitting an entire new bathroom suite; whether you choose to renovate entirely or simply use your style nous and throw in some candles and chic lighting, let bella bathrooms guide you through the process and help you create an elegant, timeless bathroom that all the family will enjoy.

The foundation of the room is crucial to the rest of the look. Whether opting for tiling, wallpaper or paint on the walls and whether choosing stone or vinyl for the floor, it is important to get the foundation of the room just right before attempting to fill it with elegant furniture. Natural stone tiles look fantastic and exude an aura of elegance that other wall and floor coverings often cannot achieve, though porcelain tiles and some wallpaper can also create a beautifully timeless look. The key is not to be too garish or too overtly modern; glossy paints can be banished and vinyl, whilst a great option for budget bathrooms, does not tend to convey elegance too well.

Elegance can be achieved simply through a well-planned colour scheme. Soft neutrals spread through the bathroom can create an atmosphere of supreme glamour and laid-back elegance; bold colours tend to disturb the tranquillity of an elegant bathroom, so pastels and neutral shades of beige are necessary to creating the right backdrop for the rest of the room.

If you are renovating the entire room to make it more elegant than it already is, there are a myriad of classic bathroom suites on the market that will transform the room entirely. From free-standing bath tubs with the traditional claw-footed supports, to basin and toilet sets that combine gentle curves with functionality and conventional design, elegance is easily achievable in the bathroom. Bathroom furniture is also important. Opt for a traditional washstand or a vanity unit and watch as the elegance levels begin to rise in the room.

For those who have no plans to entirely renovate their bathroom, elegance can be added with just a few choice accessories. Opt for an ornate bathroom mirror rather than a modern one with hard edges. Introduce elegant paintings or canvas artwork to the walls and choose a lighting fixture that is both functional and stylish; a chandelier, for instance. Add candles and other decorative pieces such as reed diffusers to surfaces like windowsills and counters (this will also have the advantage of making the room smell wonderful – choose jasmine and ylang-ylang for a truly relaxing scent) and if you really want to go the whole way, decant your shampoo, conditioner and other toiletry liquids into vintage bathroom bottles for a wholly elegant look that everyone will admire. Attention to detail is important for this look; ensure there is no chipped paint, no tatty bath mats and no mildew or water streaks on the shower enclosure. The whole look should be put together, immaculate and easy on the eye.

This article was written by freelance writer and mother of three, Kathryn Thompson.  Follow her on Twitter: @katht35

Guest Post: Learning The Risks Of Driving

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 16-01-2014

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When embarking on learning to drive you need to learn to be confident, while being aware of the dangers. This time of year it is even more important as the harsh weather sets in. A recent interview conducted by Gary Lineker for ingenie shows just how devastating a car accident can be.

Gary interviewed Sophie Morgan who was paralysed at 18 years old, having only passed her test just six months before. She now campaigns to raise awareness in young people as they begin their journey in to becoming a fully-fledged driver. Watch her tell her detailed and harrowing account of how this accident changed her life forever…

Once you get behind the wheel, you put lives in your hands. Driving is dangerous. Fact! Be aware of yourself, your surroundings, including those around you, and those around other road users, and most of all, stay safe.

Guest Post: The New Importance of Child Led Learning in Primary Schools

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Back To School, Guest Post | Posted on 19-08-2013

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Children are being encouraged to develop skills that go further than the ability to read and write. Schools are now focusing on the idea of helping children learn to become independent, assertive, confident and to develop an idea of importance. Although this is an area of focus for children of an older age, that has since changed and children as young as 5 will be encouraged to become independent and take as much control as possible for their own learning.

Studies of home-schooled children have been taken and comparisons made between those in mainstream education and those that are taught at home. Home schooled children were found to be far more independent and willing to learn, they had the opportunity to choose the areas they learnt about on each day and this not only made them far more interested and focused but they performed well during tests and exams.

Teachers are keen to work closely with parents in a home-school agreement to ensure that the need to learn educationally and with regards to child’s environment is continued outside of school. Parent mail is one of the best ways to ensure the constant communication between school and parents and this will ensure that the child is not only the main priority but that any issues are ironed out, both parties are constantly aware of anything relating to the child and the education which is taking place. PrimarySite developed the concept of parent mail for this exact purpose with this new self-directed learning concept in mind.

Within school environments, the concepts of traditional schooling and home-based schooling will be united to, hopefully, develop the perfect learning environment. The environment will be substantially more relaxed to allow children to learn, as they want to and to reduce the immense pressure that is currently put on children to perform well and to learn specific areas regardless of interest levels and abilities.

Although the curriculum will remain specific, children will now be responsible for their own learning. The rate at which they learn, the involvement they wish to have and the enthusiasm in tasks will hopefully increase dramatically with the new system and children will not simply learn just to pass tests but will take a genuine interest in their education and the things they are being taught. Not only does this concept encourage self-motivation, it also encourages children to feel relaxed at school and even enjoy themselves whilst they learn.

“Children learn the most and do their best when allowed the freedom to take control, lead the way and explore as their confidence grows.”

The classroom environment will not become a free for all, with children dominating the room, running wild and taking self expression to the extreme. Instead it will be a room that is filled with participating children that have a desire to learn and will be proactive about their education. The main purpose of the change to the traditional teaching methods is to increase student engagement, provide a good education that children are keen to have which will eventually shape and mould the rest of their lives.

Guest Post: Ideas To Keep The Family Busy Over Easter

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Guest Post, Holiday | Posted on 28-02-2013

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When the children are off school, it is a good opportunity to spend some quality time with the family and get out and about together. But where can you find an entertaining day out that will not only please everyone, from little ones to teenagers, but also won’t break the bank? Here is a simple guide to keeping your family busy and happy over Easter this year.

Organise your own egg hunt

Before you begin stocking up on eggs and baskets, make sure you know how many little hunters will be joining you on your egg hunt. You don’t want anyone getting left out! You can buy chocolate eggs from most shops across the county and some simple paper chain decorations will give your event a colourful theme. If the weather is favourable, then plan your egg hunt outside and give the children plenty of room to run about. If not, you can still have fun indoors, just remember to hide the eggs in easy to reach, safe places.

Visit English Heritage

All across the UK, there are amazing sites of cultural and historical significance maintained by English Heritage. For an annual fee, you and your family can visit any English Heritage site for free and experience a fantastic day out that will keep everyone happy. From ancient castles and historic buildings, to places of natural beauty and landscaped gardens, there is something for everyone to enjoy; young and old alike.

Go camping

All you need for this activity is a tent and a guide book and away you go! There are so many fantastic places to visit all across the UK, from Land’s End to John O’Groats and the great thing about camping is that you can come and go as you please. Pick a campsite that caters to your particular needs, whether you want a beach nearby, children’s entertainments or a pet-friendly place, you can find something to suit everyone’s particular tastes this Easter.

Plan a free day out

You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a great family day out. There are many free attractions that you can try that will keep all members of your family entertained. London has a number of free museums to visit, including the British Museum, the National History Museum and The Saatchi Gallery. Browse online and you can find a free attraction near you that will be perfect for a family day out this Easter.

Visit the theatre

Perfect for the whole family, a trip to the theatre offers fantastic entertainment and a wonderful experience for everyone. Wherever you live in the country, you can find great local theatre hosting lively shows, intriguing dramas and brilliant comedy that will keep the whole family entertained. Find out what’s on at the theatre online or visit your local theatre venue to browse through the fantastic shows coming to your town in the coming weeks.

This article was written by Kathryn Thompson, a freelance writer and mum to three daughters aged 12, 10 and 5.  Kathryn once bought a leather Filofax for her eldest daughter in a last minute shopping panic, as she convinced her they needed to record all their homework in it.  Her daughter was in year one at the time.

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.