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

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

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

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

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

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#Review: Braun ThermoScan 7

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 18-12-2014

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“Did you know the definition of fever changes with age?”

As a parent who has to Google my child’s temperature every time she takes it because I can never remember what is classed as “normal” you won’t be shocked to find my answer to this question is no. I don’t even know what the definition of fever is for any age, hence my need to have my smart phone handy whenever I am called upon to take either of my son’s temperature. I have the memory of a sieve when it comes to this information, but thanks to the latest release from Braun, I no longer have to fail to to remember it. We were sent a Braun ThermoScan 7 to test out a few weeks ago now, and it is without doubt one product I am eternally thankful for.

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”

And its also the cold and flu season. With a vengeance. Daddy has been flailing around with man flu for weeks now, and Little Man has been sniffling a bit for a while too. The perils of preschool strikes again. But in the last week Little Man, and shortly after Little Dude both turned into snot dripping coughing monsters. Apologies for that rather graphic image, but its been far from pleasant over here I can tell you. Whilst I am a firm believer in fully testing out a product before reviewing it and not just throwing information onto a blog post the moment the product arrives, I’ve had far too much need to use this thermometer in the last couple of days as a result. Both boys, but mainly Little Man, have gone from feeling comfortable to being hot at the drop of a hat. Typically this would result in me taking his temperature, and then hitting Google to establish just how worried I should be. Thanks to the ThermoScan 7 I don’t need to.

Firstly you select the age of the person who’s temperature you are taking. Either 0-3 months, 3-36 months, or 36 months plus. Now I was aware that newborns struggle to regulate their temperatures so you have to be massively alert to them being to hot or too cold but other than that I didn’t realise levels were any different for older babies and children. Once you’ve selected the age of the child you pop a disposable lens filter over the pre-warmed tip and pop it into the persons ear. You get a little beep when you are in the right position and with the touch of a button their temperature has been taken. Now for the clever part.

Thermoscan7-SussexMummy

As well as displaying the temperature the screen glows a certain colour depending on the reading. Its rather like the popular Gro Egg from the Gro Company. Green means the temperature is normal, yellow means its raised, and red means its feverish. So you don’t need to know the actual temperatures as you know precisely what is going on with a simple glance at the screen. Ideal for me. Also if you’re child is poorly for a length of time and you are taking regular readings it stores the last nine temperatures for reference, telling you which age it was for as well. With a four year old and a seven month old in the house, both displaying symptoms that called for regular temperature checks this was a life saver. Everything I needed to know was stored within this handy device meaning I could focus on dispensing Calpol and cuddles, and not worry about writing things down or looking things up.

The ThermoScan 7 is the ultimate in thermometer and is reminiscent of the one used by the doctors and nursing staff on me after I gave birth to Little Dude in the summer. They had to take my temperature very regularly for a number of days – lets just say I was a little poorly – and I spent my time having a thermometer jabbed into my ear as if they were trying to poke my brain. Thankfully my bedside manner is a little friendlier when it comes to my children. They both willingly allow me to take their temperatures this way, despite Little Man being use to a forehead thermometer usually, and the positioning system means I know just where to put it so I don’t cause any unnecessary additional suffering. The lens filters also keep it hygienic whilst is very important with young children.

Whilst I of course hope none of you have need for one of these this festive season, if you are on the lookout for a new family thermometer, I doubt you’ll find one better.

Review: The Anti Snoring Ring

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 22-11-2013

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My Dad has always snored. Not particularly delicate snores either – sorry Dad – more of the walls shaking type. I grew used to the noise even down the hall when I lived at home, though I often wondered how my Mum got any sleep. Now when we visit and my Dad goes to bed early because he has to be up usually at 3am to go to work you can hear him snoring through the ceiling. I’m not sure he’s ever tried anything to stop it, and my Mum has clearly managed to tune it out in the 44 years they’ve been married as I’m assuming she has had any sleep in that time. When I was contacted by Good Night Snoring and asked if I was interested in trying out one of their Anti Snoring Rings I could think of no better guinea pig than my Dad. The ring works on the basis of acupressure and is worn on the little finger of the snorer.
There are two lumps on the inside of the ring itself which, when worn in the correct position, apply gentle pressure to the finger and stop the wearer from snoring. Now we did try this out on my Husband for a while but he didn’t get on with the ring and kept complaining that his finger was getting pins and needles. We handed it over to my Dad and awaited his feedback. Its suggested that you wear the ring every night for up to a week before you may notice any difference.
On his first night of wearing it my Mum actually went to check on him as she was concerned that he’d died. He was SILENT. For the first time in 44 years my Dad did not snore AT ALL. And ever since – when he remembers to wear it – he doesn’t snore. I was sceptical myself but having stayed over a few nights myself, and gone on holiday with them for a week I can confirm that I didn’t hear a sound. Well I did. I heard my Mum snoring, which apparently is generally drowned out by my Dad… Not very popular when I pointed THAT out.
The Anti Snore Ring is available online or from Boots and retails at £30. Its not the cheapest snoring remedy on the market, but it does come with a FULL money back guarantee if it doesn’t work for you. I am thoroughly impressed with this – as I’m sure my Mum is – and I know its worked really well for a lot of people. I also know of a few who it didn’t work for – my husband included – but with the money back guarantee offer its well worth testing one out.

Review: Higher Nature Vitamins

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 04-11-2013

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There’s no escaping the fact that Autumn is well and truly upon us, and Winter is waiting just around the corner. With the change of the clocks came a definite change in the weather, with much cooler winds and the need for the heating to go on. With the children all heading back to nursery, preschool and school after the half term no doubt it wont be long before they are heading home with coughs and sneezes and never ending colds. We’re always told that prevention is better than cure, and a healthy lifestyle and diet can only help ward off this Winters bugs.

We try and get as much fresh fruit and vegetables into Little Man as we can. He’s a bit of a fruit eating monster – apples, pears, oranges, grapes, strawberries, blueberries… – he eats them all. Vegetables are a little trickier, unless I hide them really well in his food, but I’m sure that’s the same with most children. I have used vitamin supplements with him before – shaped like his favourite animated pig – and he would eat them willingly. To him, he was getting a sweet, and to us he was getting something that was good for him. We were contacted a while ago by the team at Higher Nature who wondered if we’d be interested in testing out their range of children’s vitamins. Suitable from age 3 upwards they come in an impressively large range of formats, and we’ve had some success with them.

Kids Fruit & Shake: Powdered fruit and vegetables doesn’t sound overly appealing me, but they were a surprise hit with Little Man. Daddy asked him what he wanted for dessert one evening after dinner and he announced that he wanted ice cream. “Would you like special dinosaur ice cream?” Daddy asked. (That pig has a lot to answer for I can tell you…) Much excitement from Little Man, and mild confusion from me. I wasn’t aware of any dinosaur shaped/flavoured/formed ice cream in the house, but I left him to it. He came back with a bowl of vanilla ice cream with Fruit & Shake sprinkled on top. Little Man was convinced enough to empty the dish, with a few dinosaur roars thrown in for good measure. The powder tastes fruity and contains – amongst other things – apples, blueberries, broccoli and sprouts. It can be sprinkled on pretty much anything – yogurt, cereal, desserts, cakes and biscuits – and apparently makes really good dinosaur ice cream. Who knew?

Kids Relax & Unwind: Ah relaxing and unwinding children – that would be nice wouldn’t it? Well if the end of the day is a bit of a battle for you then this might be the answer. A warm fruity drink that’s ideal for bedtime it contains theanine – a natural amino acid – which aims calm and relaxation, as well as calcium and magnesium for strong healthy bone growth and development. Perfect for our growing little ones. We’ve long since dropped milk before bedtime mainly due to a lack of interest for it from Little Man, so I’m wondering whether one of these once in a while would be a good idea. Little Man doesn’t drink anything warm so it may take a bit of getting used to, but if it helps him sleep – something which to be fair he’s brilliant at – and also helps his bones and growth then it sounds good to me.

Kids Smart Focus: Our children are learning every day. Whether its walking, talking or the alphabet, something new is learnt every single day. We know the benefits of fish oils for brain function, but getting Little Man to eat fish in any form other than finger is a mission. Oily fish just isn’t something he likes, and to be honest neither do his parents. Oily fish supplements therefore are a great idea, as long as they don’t taste of fish. These Smart Focus supplements are just the thing as they have a great fruity flavour, and being jellies, Little Man thinks he’s getting a treat. He happily eats these, usually with his morning bowl of fruit or sometimes we even use them as a reward for being good. A win/win situation all round.

Kids Vitamin D3 Spray: Vitamin D deficiency in children is well publicised. In fact in recent years cases of rickets have been occurringas our children get less and less sun exposure. Children preferring play indoors all day, or parents being over cautious with sun cream is stopping our children getting the vitamin D they need for growth and development. When news broke of the deficiency I looked at Little Man’s diet and sun exposure and realised that he was probably not getting enough himself, which is why I started him on the pig shaped supplements in the first place. Higher Nature have come up with this neat spray which you spray directly into your mouth once a day. It has a fresh mint flavour to it and each tube contains around 240 doses. Now I must admit that Little Man was not entirely keen on having this sprayed into his mouth – lots of overly dramatic coughing like he’d been poisoned – but I think with time he could get used to it. Daddy and I use it sometimes too and we try and do it in front of Little Man to show him that its fun, but he’s yet to be convinced.

I was really impressed with the Higher Nature range, and surprised as to how many different forms vitamin supplements came in. The Kids Fruit & Shake is without doubt the most popular with Little Man, but as the colder weather strikes I think we’ll be able to convince him into drinking the Kids Relax & Unwind before bed.

You can find the full range of Higher Nature products for all the family on their website.

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. 

Mummy Worries: Asbestos In Schools

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 16-01-2013

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In recent years, the dangers of asbestos exposure have come to the attention of the public. In particular, the presence of asbestos in UK public schools may leave you feeling worried about your children and the serious conditions they may be exposed to everyday in their classrooms. Read this article to learn more about asbestos in schools—and whether or not your child is at risk.

Asbestos: What It Is and Where It’s Found

The reason why asbestos exposure is such a major concern in the UK is that it was heavily used as a building material in UK properties from the 1950s through the 1990s. Asbestos was highly favoured in construction projects because it is a good insulator and not easily flammable. The material can be found in many forms in buildings constructed prior to the year 2000—loose asbestos is present in wall and floor cavities, asbestos reinforced composite materials can be found in toilet cisterns, and asbestos coatings may be found in roofing, shingles, siding, ceilings, and door gaskets.

Presence in Public Schools

The Department of Education (DfE) estimates that asbestos-related materials may be present in up to 75 per cent of UK schools. This issue has been highlighted by various news stories in recent years, in which students and faculty have been evacuated from UK public schools as the result of potentially dangerous asbestos exposure levels. Last year alone, evacuations at Cwmcarn High School in South East Wales and Catherine Junior School in Leicester made headlines in the media, causing many to wonder just what the government is doing to help protect the nation’s children from this serious health threat.

Should You Be Worried?

The asbestos epidemic has caused a great deal of alarm to the public over the past few years. The potentially fatal consequences of being exposed to asbestos materials over a long period of time include diseases like lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. There has consequently been a rise in people looking to make a mesothelioma claim, especially amongst construction workers who spent their lifetimes working with the material, as well as those who have been exposed to its deadly fibres. It has also been discovered that children are particularly vulnerable to asbestos exposure, as symptoms can take decades to develop and manifest themselves in the human body.

The good news is that as long as asbestos remains undisturbed, it is generally considered safe to leave it in its current place. Circumstances that may disturb asbestos materials include construction work and fires, so if you have concerns about asbestos in your child’s public school, ask to see a report on what measures the local school district is taking to monitor it. As long as the asbestos is being monitored closely, you can sleep soundly knowing that your little one is not at risk.

Multivitamins For Children

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Sponsored Posts | Posted on 15-01-2013

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From the moment they are born we aim to do the best for our children, and from that first moment nutrition is top of most parents lists. Once you’ve moved on from milk, solid food becomes a massive part of their lives. It seems like Little Man is ALWAYS eating, but as his Mum I want to make sure what he’s eating is good for him. Yes he gets treats, he’s rather partial to Lindt Chocolate Bears – he has extravagant taste – and cake, and he has discovered the magic of McDonalds Happy Meals, but I like to make sure the bulk of his meals and snacks are nutritious. Unfortunately children don’t always eat what they are given, and getting those vital nutrients into them becomes a battle.

The Department of Health recommends that children aged between 6 months and 5 years take supplemental vitamins A, C and D. Multivitamins are not an alternative to a healthy diet, but they can certainly help to ensure your child is getting the right nutrients. Seven Seas has a range of multivitamins specifically designed for children. Their Haliborange range starts with a liquid multivitamin for babies and toddlers which is orange flavoured and sugar free. It helps maintain healthy immune defences, mental performance, skin, energy release, blood formation, bones and teeth. From age 3 they have two flavours of Fruit Softies, which to children look and taste delicious whilst providing them with the essentials they need for growth and development.

We are pretty lucky with Little Man. He loves eating pasta, prefers brown toast to white, and would live on fruit if we let him. I’m confident that his good foods far outnumber his bad, but I think Seven Seas Haliborange range is something which I’ll consider. Like all parents I want my Little Man to grow up healthy, and the right vitamins and nutrients will ensure he does.

You can find the full Seven Seas Haliborange range on their website. You can also find them on Facebook.

Start The New Year With Nuffield Health

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 28-12-2011

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Christmas is over and we’ve all overindulged.  I know I have, and I hope you have too. But if you’re feeling the effects of the excesses of Christmas and all that food and drink and more food, why not start the New Year off with a trip to Nuffield Health at Chichester Gate. Now I imagine you’re all groaning about gyms and membership fees and lacking the motivation to really achieve anything, but I can assure you that Nuffield Health is different. Honestly.

To begin with Nuffield Health is the UK’s leading health charity and they invest their profits back into their facilities, ensuring a high level of service to all their users. They get no government funding and have no shareholders so they are purely focused on you.  Along with their own hospitals they now have Fitness and Wellbeing Centres across the UK, and with over 50 years experience looking after people, who better to entrust your health in?

A Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Centre is situated on Chichester Gate, just south of the city centre. The facilities there are second to none and the range of fitness options available to you is mind boggling.

The facilities include:

Spacious Changing Room – The changing rooms are spacious and have places to change your little one before and after swimming classes and then a play pen to pop them in whilst you get changed yourself – no more rushing or precariously balancing your child! Hair driers are also available.

20m Heated Swimming Pool – The pool is open for general swimming as well as classes. Swimming lessons are provided by Gary Ball Swim School and there are also Aqua Aerobics lessons on offer.

Sauna & Steam Room – A place to relax aching muscles after a busy work out session.

Large Fitness Area – Every item of gym equipment you can imagine is on offer here in the spacious fitness area. TVs adorn the walls so you can keep your eye on things whilst you’re working out.

Free Weights Area – If lifting weights is your thing this is the place for you.

Relaxation Zone – There is a Relaxation Spa within the gym which offers some pampering if you need to unwind rather than work out. This includes facials, massages, manicures and pedicures, waxing and eyelash tinting.

Personal Trainers – If you need that extra push of someone by your side whilst you work out a Personal Trainer service is available to you.

Health MOT Service – A complimentary Health MOT is available to all new members. This helps to discover precisely what areas need the most work. During your MOT they take a look at blood pressure, cholesterol, fitness and activity levels, energy levels and even your sleep quality. Once your MOT is done a trained advisor will work with you to devise an action plan.

Physiotherapy & Sports Massage
 – If an injury does occur or is preventing you from getting the most from your Gym experience trained Physiotherapists are available at the centre to help you get back on your feet.

Cafe Lounge
 – Once your work out is over a Cafe area is available for a nutritious snack, with a range of light lunches, drinks and smoothies available.

Free Parking
 – To make your life and your access to the gym easier a large free car park is available, right outside the front door.

There are also a range of classes available to you including Body Combat, Fit Ball, Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and Dance.

Want to see for yourself – take a look inside Chichester’s Nuffield Health.

So you like the sound of the gym, and it looks really nice and you join. But after a month or so you just lose the motivation and can’t be bothered anymore. Sound about right? Don’t worry – this happens to a lot of people, especially when they join a gym in January. Nuffield Health want to help get you healthy and keep you healthy, so they have the Get Healthy, Get Fit, Get Rewarded Scheme. Once you’ve been a member for 3 months you’ll get another MOT. If you have improved or maintained your health they’ll reward you for your hard work and dedication. Rewards packs are worth at least £100 and include a months free membership, a free personal trainer session, and free guest passes for family and friends. If you don’t feel fitter and healthier you are free to leave with no obligation and no fuss – the remainder of your contract is cancelled, no questions asked. How many gyms can offer that? Nuffield Health are so confident of their ability to help you they have this hanging outside their centres:

Exclusive Blog Offer!
I can exclusively offer you the chance to test out the facilities at Nuffield Health at Chichester Gate. Readers of this blog can get themselves a 3 Day Pass for themselves and then the option to trial the Family Swim Times at the club as well. To claim this amazing offer just give them a call on 01243 788678 and pre-book your 3 Days and the Family Swim and quote “Sussex Mummy” when you do!!

More details on Nuffield Health and their Fitness & Wellbeing Centres can be found online.