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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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Travelling Made Easier Thanks To Fox

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Travel | Posted on 21-08-2015

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We’re a little over halfway through the summer holidays and I’m sure long journeys have been undertaken with the children to get away for a week or so. We’ve just got back from a weeks staycation at my in-laws, but I’m sure lots of you have been off to sunnier climes and no doubt some of you have found yourselves trailing the kids through the airport and onto long flights to get there.

We’ve not put either of our boys on to a plane yet, but its something we’ll inevitably do at some point in the future. Whilst the idea of lengthy flights with bored confined children is bad enough, the hour or two or more you have to hang around an airport before you can even depart strikes me as torturous. Thanks to a new initiative by Fox though, departing from Gatwick might not be too bad.

As of last week (August 10th) they launched a new service where holidaymakers can download movies onto their portable devices – phones, tablets, laptops, etc – from their “Movies On The Move” selection before they travel whilst at the airport. Films include Night At The Museum, Penguins Of Madagascar, and Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. So many short haul flights or package holidays don’t have in-flights movies so keeping the children entertained is vital.

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For me this service would also be indispensable whilst waiting at the airport itself, and clearly cheaper then taking the kids around the duty free shops! And what’s even better is that films will be available to download via a free, high speed, wireless, broadband connection in the children’s soft play area, located in the upper South Terminal departure lounge. And you can also download a special “Movie Of The Day” app which will give you special flash sale prices on selected movies meaning you can set your child up with with lots of quality entertainment for less. Result.

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I think this sounds brilliant. Little Man is addicted to his tablet so would no doubt love being able to watch movies whilst we wait at the airport and on-board. I can see us taking the boys on a short haul flight in the years to come so we would all benefit hugely from this service. Long haul with these two will have to wait!

Hive Active Heating

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 27-01-2014

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Most of us have our central heating on some kind of timer control, generally coming on in the mornings and evenings to keep the house nice and comfortable whilst we’re getting up and when we’re getting in from work or school. I’m sure we’ll also all agree that sometimes plans don’t quite work out. What if you’re out late one evening and your heating has long since gone off by the time you get home and you are welcomed by a chilly house? What if you’re on holiday and you don’t know exactly what time you’ll be home and your house is cold after a week or two empty? Or, more relevant perhaps to me in a few months, what if you’re in hospital and you want to come home to a warm house with your new baby and the heating has been off for hours? Putting it on when you get in is all well and good but there’s nothing quite like stepping in to a cosy house as opposed to waiting around for it to reach a warm temperature. With a new app you won’t have this problem again.

Hive Active Heating is a genius piece of technology that allows you to instantly control your heating or hot water from your smartphone, tablet or computer. Your state of the art kit begins with a thermostat which allows you to adjust the temperature and set timers whilst you’re at home, much the same as your current thermostat. You also get a hub which connects to your broadband router and also connects wirelessly to your thermostat, allowing remote control. Next you get a receiver which is discreetly fitted by your boiler, allowing it to communicate with your thermostat, once again totally wirelessly. Finally there’s the app, which is available on both Android and Apple devices. This lets you monitor the temperature of your home wherever you are, meaning you can adjust the timer, pop the heating on or off, and even make sure you have a full tank of hot water when you get home.

Countless times we’ve come home to a cold house, mainly when we’re away on holiday. Our house is generally pretty comfortable during the day, especially when we’re at home, and with it being a terrace – or town house if you’re fancy – we do benefit from the added insulation of having a house on either side. We don’t put our heating on a timer as we have such busy lives. I pop it on when Little Man and I come downstairs in the morning, and again if it gets cold during the day, but with schedules always being so mixed there’s no consistent times to have it coming on or off. With a new baby on the way we do need to ensure our house is a good temperature all the time. Hopefully with our new Little Dude due in May we shouldn’t have much trouble, unless the British weather goes haywire of course.

I am really impressed with the sound of Hive and for £199 with full professional installation it seems pretty affordable too, and by saving you money by not wasting heating on an empty house its bound to pay for itself quickly too. Definitely one to consider.

Camping Kit: Toddler Airbed

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Camping | Posted on 27-08-2013

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Its just under two weeks until we head north to Cumbria for our stay at The Quiet Site. You’ll remember that comfort is important to me and how impressed I was with the double airbed that I’d got for Daddy and me. Well Little Man now has his very own airbed thanks to the team at The Shrunks, who sent us their amazing Toddler Travel Bed to test out.
The Shrunks’ Inflatable Travel Bed is just brilliant. Designed for children aged between 2 and 4 – though at nearly 3 Little Man fills it nicely – it is the ideal airbed for camping or for staying overnight at family or friends. The airbed has two inflation points – one for the central mattress (marked “Inflate 1”) and one for the surround (marked “Inflate 2”). The bed comes with a standard bellow foot pump but you can also get an electric pump separately – handy for at home use, but less so in a tent unless you have an electric point on your site. Luckily for us our Camping Pod comes with a power socket! With the use of the electric pump I had the bed inflated in minutes.

Now for the clever bits. This beds surround has an inflatable guard to prevent children rolling out in their sleep. Whilst its not an especially high airbed you don’t want to be woken at 3am by the sound of your little one on the floor, especially in a tent. My favourite bit though is the gap between the mattress section and the surround. Its not huge, its not unsafe, your child won’t fall in to it. What’s its there for is to make the bed just like your little ones’ at home. Standard sized crib sheets fit over the flocked mattress and sheets and duvets can be tucked in the gap so they’re not only cosy, but they’re content in a familiar feeling bed. Little Man has never really done the traditional sleeping bag thing so its good knowing I can use his duvet and blankets on this bed. Though as you can see he’s pretty happy with it as it is.
Now this is going to be ideal for our trip to Cumbria and we’re also going to use it when Little Man and I gatecrash Nana and Pops’ holiday to Scotland later next month. But if my giant Little Man gets any taller he’s going to have outgrown it. Thankfully for us The Shrunks have a bigger airbed for children aged 4 and up. The design of the Twin Bed is just the same, its just that bit bigger. This is the one we’ll be using next year, should Little Man decide he loves camping! Its also going to be great for visits to relatives, or for use when we stay in overnight in hotels which only have high single beds. And should we ever brave having one of his little friends to stay, it’ll be perfect for them too.

You can find The Shrunks range on Amazon.

 

Travel: Cuties And Pals Luggage

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Holiday, Information, Product Reviews, Summer Holiday Essentials | Posted on 15-04-2013

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After a lovely burst of sun and warm weather this weekend summer is definitely on our minds, and we’re looking forward to a week away in May with my parents. We’re off to West Wales and we’re starting to think about what to take and how we’re going to fit it all in the car. The first thing we’ve been thinking about is luggage. We’re going to try not to take too much with us, but Little Man invariably needs all the clothes that fit him just in case. This year he’ll be using this luggage set from Cuties and Pals.

This is Peko The Penguin. Peko is one of the original members of the Cuties and Pals suitcase range. On the left you have a two wheel suitcase with an extendable handle so you, or your little one, can easily wheel it along after yourself. The suitcase has a 26.5 litre capacity making it plenty big enough for all your little ones things, and inside you’ll find one side has elasticated straps to hold things down, whilst the other has a large zip up section. This will be perfect for keeping clean and dirty items separate for the journey home again. The case is made from an ABS / Polycarbonated mix which gives them a hard glossy shell to protect your things but also to look pretty stylish too. On the right you have a small rucksack.  This is made from the same hard shell, but has a soft back so its comfortable for your little one to wear. It also has a grab handle for quick picking up, or for gentle steering from parents! Inside there are a selection of pockets and pouches to keep bits and pieces in.

Little Man was fascinated by Peko when this set came to our door. I’d barely got them out of the box when he was waving and saying “Hi” to them both, and proceeded to give them each a cuddle. We’ve tried to get him to wear numerous rucksacks before but he’s always resisted or taken it off within moments. He actually requested that Peko be put on his back and spent ages wandering about the house wearing it, as if he were giving it a guided tour.

I love the bags. They are compact in size yet have a great capacity, and the hard shell means there’s no danger of anything inside getting damaged. The suitcase is easy to wheel around, so easy in fact that Little Man has taken that too on several laps of the house. Mostly I love the design. There are a range of Cuties and Pals available – Dogs, Chicks, Ladybirds, Dinosaurs to name but a few –  but I think Peko is one of the cutest. The bags are just the right shape for a penguin, and despite the design being fairly simple its obvious what it is. I like how bold it looks too.

Of course if you can’t choose which little friend to get for your child you could always pre-order a London Sticker Bus. Due out later this year the bus has four wheels and is a more traditional square shaped case. It comes with stickers of all the characters making this a case which can be completely customised. The case also has an optional shoulder strap if you want to carry it, and it is hand luggage sized so is just the thing for a plane journey.

Make your way over to the Cuties and Pals website to find your little ones new friend and follow them on Twitter @CutiesAndPals for all the latest information.

A Luxury Weekend Away

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Holiday, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 20-03-2013

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This Mothers Day as well as a lovely gift and card from Little Man, I also received a beautiful gift from L’Occitane. A set of three luxurious hand creams from their range – a Rose scented one, a Cherry scented one, and a Shea Butter scented one. These were sent out from Millennium Hotels, who think its important to congratulate and thank Mums for all our hard work.

Travelling with children is rarely easy. Finding the right place to stay with just what you need in a safe location for little ones can often be a bit of a mission. We’re on holiday this week ourselves, staying at Meon Springs Yurtery – definitely Mummy friendly camping. When we go on holiday we generally stay in self catering accommodation, most commonly in cottages with plenty of space and sites which are safe for our little explorer to rampage around. Its also important for us to choose somewhere family friendly, where children are expected and welcomed, as opposed to frowned upon.

Before Little Man came along we’d still usually stay in cottages for our main holiday, but if we were travelling to visit friends around the country, enjoying a short weekend break away, or going into London for a night out or a show, we’d stay in a hotel. Our requirements were a lot different to what they are now. We wanted somewhere a bit fancy if possible, especially in London, and we wanted quality accommodation, good central locations, and good food and drink on site. If we ever get the opportunity for a romantic break away without Little Man again – sweet talking of Grandparents needed for that one – we’ll certainly be considering the Millennium Hotel in Knightsbridge.

Luxury accommodation in a perfect location is what you can expect from this hotel. Situated in the heart of the exclusive and fashionable Knightsbridge area of London you are ideally placed for shopping on Sloane Street, home of exquisite brands like Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. You are also close to Harrods and the Victoria & Albert Museum, as well as having the Royal Albert Hall within easy reach. Within the rooms you’ll find L’Occitane products to use. This brand is the perfect fit for this hotel, with both oozing decadence, opulence and luxury. I’ve never used L’Occitane before, but I was very impressed with the hand creams I was sent. Now I just need to convince my husband that a trip to Knightsbridge is in order to try some more!

You can find out all about the Millennium Hotel Knightsbridge and book yourself a getaway here.

Get Karting this Christmas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Days Out, Sponsored Posts, Summer Holiday Essentials | Posted on 07-12-2012

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As parents we’re always looking for things to keep our children entertained that doesn’t involve a TV, computer or games console. Getting them outside in the fresh air can be a mission, especially the older they get. Little Man is 2 and is fascinated by going outside for walks, or “Looking for cats” as we call it, and finds parks and woods a real treat. As he gets older though, I’m sure this will change and he’ll prefer to be attached to the latest games console. (Though I must admit that he does play a little too much Angry Birds now…)

If you are on the look out for a great gift this Christmas to get your children back outside and want something a little different to the usual bike, take a look at this Kids All Terrain Kart.

I only wish my Little Man was old enough to ride one!

The All Terrain Kart is designed for children aged 7-12 and is great for whizzing down hills on, using the rope to steer and hold on to – this rope is also very handy for dragging the kart back up the hill!!

Your children can also push themselves along on the level using their feet on either side of the kart. It comes with a handbrake and the back rest is adjustable depending on the size of your child and the position they want to ride in.

The kart arrives ready to be assembled, but this is a quick process using the tools and fixings provided. I imagine any child would love to help build this before taking it out for a spin. The kart comes with 12″ pneumatic wheels, just like you’d find on a mountain bike, so it really is suitable to use on all surfaces, including tarmac, grass and mud.

British made, the Kart’s low size means it will fit easily into most car boots so you can take it with you on days out or family holidays. You can also purchase a storage hook from the online store for hanging in a shed or garage when not in use. The store also sells a range of spare parts and stickers for the ultimate in customisation.

As you can see this is by no means a boys only item. It was tested out recently by the children you can see in the photos here, and the girl was a massive fan. The wearing of safety gear is of course essential when using the kart, but once your child is padded up its a great kart which will be used all year round. And whilst it does say that its aimed at children aged 7-12 no doubt you’ll have to pry Daddy off it too!

You can discover more on the All Terrain Kart at their website, where you’ll also find their well stocked online store.

 

Summer Holiday Essentials: Trunki Accessories

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Holiday, Product Reviews, Summer Holiday Essentials | Posted on 05-07-2012

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Every parent knows that Trunki’s are the ultimate suitcase for children when they go on holiday. Available in a range of colour, designs and characters the Trunki is the only choice when buying luggage for your children, but before you head off on holiday this summer check out their range of accessories too.

The Extras Pack is the perfect addition to any Trunki. It comes with:

A Tote Bag – this fits neatly inside your Trunki to keep toys or books separate. It comes with a carry handle and a shoulder strap, and there are two clips on the back which allow it to be attached to the pocket on the back of car seats or plane seats. We used this Tote Bag a lot on holiday as it was permanently fixed on the car seat in front of Little Man and loaded up with his favourite books. This made them easily accessible by us as we travelled to Devon, and when he’s a little bigger he’ll be able to reach them himself too.

A Purse – this cute purse is ideal for pocket money or spending money when on holiday. It can also be clipped onto belts, Trunki’s or other bags and rucksacks.

A Saddlebag – this bag fits over your Trunki allowing for a more comfortable ride for your little one, and has a handy squeaker inside so they can alert any passing pedestrians to their presence. It also makes a great bag for your little one to carry around, with lots of little pockets to stash their bits and pieces in.

Stickers – all children love stickers – Little Man certainly does – and the included stickers here allow you to decorate your Trunki if yours is a bit bare, and will no doubt find their way all over the place soon enough!

The Extra’s Pack is available in Pink or Blue and can be found at the Trunki online store.

Product Review: Mama’s & Papa’s Trek Lightweight Buggy

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Product Reviews | Posted on 23-04-2012

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So Little Man has been walking – alarmingly confidently at that – for a couple of months now, and with summer coming – hopefully – we’ve been considering a second pushchair. Something lighter which he can easily get in to and out of, and something that takes up a little less boot space. We’re going to Devon in a few weeks on holiday so we’re going to need all the boot space we can get for toys and clothes, so we don’t want three quarters of it taken up by a pram he’s becoming increasingly reluctant to stay in.

The range of lightweight buggies seems about as large and daunting as the range of prams was when we bought ours almost two years ago. The prices are often equally scary too – I’m not a cheapskate, especially when it comes to my Little Man, but I’m not paying more for a lightweight buggy than we did for an entire travel system! I wanted something that cost less than £100 and starting thinking I was asking for too much, but we had our “Eureka!” moment in Mama’s & Papa’s – the Trek in Marine Dots.
This lightweight buggy features a five point harness, large shopping baskets, and optional weather pack which contains a rain cover and hood. The backrest is easy to adjust and there are three height options for the harness. It is suitable from 6months to a maximum weight of 15kg, so should easily see us through the toddler years. The buggy costs £45 and the weather pack is £20, making this a very affordable buggy system. The Trek is also available in a pink “Candy Dots” option for the girls. My only criticism is the rain cover – it attaches beautifully using poppers down the side, but it basically only covers from the brim of the hood down the front, meaning that the hood of the buggy itself is still getting wet, as is anything in the shopping basket. Little Man stays nice and dry though!

This is still a brilliant buggy though, and one that is ideal for holidays and days out. Here’s is Little Man modelling just how comfortable it is during a recent trip to Paulton’s Park when it was a little more summer like:

All together now “Awwwww!”

The Trek Lightweight Buggy is available now from your local Mama’s & Papa’s Store, and online.

Product Review: Lights Out Blinds

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 09-01-2012

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As many of you know I  moved house at the end of October last year. Relocating from a small two bedroom second floor flat to a three bedroom semi was brilliant and it means a lot more room for our growing Little Man. When you move house you get a list of which fixtures and fittings are being taken by the previous owner and what they’re leaving behind. We fully expected curtains to be taken – we were taking ours from the flat – but we were a little surprised that they were taking the curtain rails! Now on moving day I didn’t have time to measure windows, go and buy rails and curtains, and get them fitted. This wasn’t a problem in the main bedroom as the blinds in there were being left behind, but in Little Man’s room curtains and rails were going – how many 1 year olds do you know that can sleep in daylight? Not many! I need a solution, and I needed one fast.

Lights Out Blinds to the rescue!!

Blackout blinds come in a variety of styles and I’ve looked at several of them since the arrival of Little Man in October 2010. Some stick to a window and need peeling off between uses, others have complicated fixings, some are just baffling. Lights Out Blinds are genius.

Coming in a pack of two the blinds arrive folded up for easy storage and transportation, making them perfect for holidays or stays at grandparents. Once unfolded they fix to your windows simply and quickly. A sucker attached to a length of cord sticks to your window – no spit required you’ll be pleased to hear – and then the blind is secured into place using a simple fastener. It takes mere moments to put up and is totally secure afterwards. You get two in a pack to allow for different sized windows – we use both on Little Man’s window as you can see here:

The room is pitch black when the blinds are in place which is ideal. I leave the blinds up all the time now – I still haven’t got a curtain rail! – and when its nap time we go into his darkened room and he knows its time to go to sleep. He goes – more often than not – straight into his cot without complaint and sleeps soundly, even during the daytime when its bright outside.

Lights Out Blinds are fantastic – we certainly wouldn’t have survived the move, or nowadays, without ours.

Lights Out Blinds can be bought direct from their website and you can also find them on Twitter @LightsOutBlinds