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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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Potty Training: The iPotty

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 12-08-2013

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If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that we’ve started potty training Little Man four weeks ago. Readers of my website will know that I’ve been dreading potty training for a long time because of my cream coloured carpets in every room. We’d been umming and ahhing about starting for a while now and four weeks ago we just went for it. Little Man was put into big boy pants and we were off. During week one I was putting him on the potty every 40 minutes or so, or a bit sooner after meals or large drinks. Little Man was fine with this, putting up no arguments and happily wearing pants instead of nappies. We’d intentionally bought him pants with characters on he’d recognise so he’s been wearing Toy Story and Jake & The Neverland Pirates pants. During week one we had a few accidents as you’d expect, but after day one which was chaotic, it got much better. During week two I was still reminding him to go and making sure he went before we went out and before naps and bedtime. However he’d started telling me he wanted to go. Sometimes it was before he went, and sometimes it was a case of a little leak in his pants which he then stopped and then going on the potty. For week three I stopped asking and reminding and relied solely on him. We’ve had no accidents for two and a half weeks, and I am SO proud of him. He’s wearing pull ups at nap time – and they are always dry when he wakes up – and at night. We’ve probably had seven or ten totally dry nights since we started. All in all its gone much better than I expected.

What we do have though are a multitude of potties. There’s one in the lounge and one in the main bathroom upstairs which he predominantly uses, but we have a few other spares just in case. Last week we got a new potty to review from Amazon. One which caused a bit of a stir when it came out in the UK which I was keen to test out. We are now owners of an iPotty.
ipottySo the iPotty is pretty much what the name suggests. It is a potty – with a lid and also a removable bowl for easy emptying – which has had a stand attached to it to hold your iPad whilst your child goes to the toilet. The sleeve in which you put your iPad – or other tablet – is waterproof which is kind of key on a toilet and can be fixed in landscape or portrait mode. The lid which comes with the iPotty allows it to be used as almost a mini desk so your child can play on your tablet at any time, and when Little Man sat on it he looked pretty comfortable. Now as you can imagine getting an “in use” shot of your son sat on a potty isn’t very easy or very dignified, but this is what we came up with. In the sleeve you can see his Acer tablet.
little man sat on ipotty with acer tabletAs you can see he looks comfortable and is using it as its designed. We found that the Acer worked better out of the green protective case we have it in normally, but otherwise the tablet could be used fully. He was playing Angry Birds and Temple Run in no time and, more importantly, he was doing a wee.

Now I like the idea of iPotty for providing entertainment for children sitting on the potty so they stay there longer, and this perhaps encourages them to finish what they are doing. Little Man hasn’t needed this kind of help, but I’m sure a lot do. If he needs to do a poo he knows and stays there till he’s done. This being said I like the idea behind the iPotty and think it works well. My main flaw with it though is the design. I spent much of the first week of potty training explaining to Little Man that he didn’t have to completely remove his pants and trousers, that they could just sit round his ankles whilst he went to the potty. To sit on the iPotty he HAD to remove all his bottom half and get on the potty by walking over the top of it and sitting down. Hardly the best method if its an urgent visit. Clearly Little Man didn’t like this fact either and only used this potty twice before going back to his usual one, and that’s despite his tablet being in there.

I think the iPotty is basically a great gimmick, but not really a well designed potty. Whilst I’m sure all your children would choose it as their potty if they had the chance, I wouldn’t choose it for Little Man. The design needs changing to make sitting on it much easier and quicker, and whilst the sleeve is waterproof its fastenings are hardly the best in the world. If you have an iPad – or any other tablet – and you think your little one would benefit from using it whilst trying to go to the toilet, go for it. Its much cheaper than I expected it to be and its pretty simple to put together. In its favour its one of the few potties that Little Man can actually sit at comfortably, most are too small for his rather long legs.

I will keep the iPotty in the room but I suspect it won’t get much use. Back to the drawing board I think guys. Good effort though.

Guest Post: Five Things Your Child Doesn’t Need For School…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 19-08-2012

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For any parent with school age children, you will undoubtedly have experienced that black day I have labelled ‘Operation Uniform’

It isn’t a fun day, but one filled with queuing, changing rooms, tears (mine) and more queuing.  Over the years my children have discovered that towards the end of the day I am so desperate to get out of the shops, I say yes to pretty much anything they wave in front of my face, as long as they tell me they need it for school.

For any parent likely to be in this situation over the next couple of weeks, I thought I would give you the benefit of my experience and the heads up on what they really DON’T need:

  1. Suitcase on wheels.  Their friends do not take their PE kits in these.
  2. Tinkerbell costume.  Not even for school trips.
  3. iPad.  Homework doesn’t need to be in a slide show format…yet.
  4. Basketball net.  Schools generally have their own.
  5. Cool box. A lunch box is fine.

My advice would be to do as much uniform shopping online as possible.  Check out the great deals and offers at Promo Codes first.

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.

John Lewis Opens First Store In Sussex

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Product Launch | Posted on 04-04-2012

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Retail giant John Lewis is opening its first ever store in Sussex on Thursday with a “John Lewis At Home” store on the Portfield Way Retail Park, just outside Chichester. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview on Tuesday and take a tour around the new store with branch manager Claire.

Boasting 40,000 square feet of selling space over two floors this new store has a wide range of products you’d commonly find within their bigger shops. There is a large selection of home décor and furnishing, as well as an extensive kitchen and lighting section.

Downstairs you will find the Click & Collect Service which makes shopping even easier – you just order the item and collect it from store the next day, and the only selection of Olympic Merchandising outside of a London branch. Perfect if you want to grab yourself a piece of memorabilia for this summers event without having to fight your way into the capital.

Jubilee fever has also struck with a number of Union Jack emblazoned products throughout the store from cushions to deck chairs and food gifts – I can highly recommend the Emma Bridgewater Biscuit Barrel!

Upstairs you will find a comprehensive electrical and gadgetry department which includes the brand new iPad and a number of TV’s – ideal distraction for the men! You will also find a small but well stocked baby section to pick up a few nursery essentials for your little ones, including cots, toys and a bedding.

The familiar John Lewis cafe is also upstairs where they’ll be selling a range of drinks, snacks and light lunches, as well as children’s lunch boxes. A supply of high chairs is ready and waiting! Customer toilets can also be found nearby along with spacious baby changing facilities, and a feeding room – something which is rare even on the high street!

One of my favourite “trends” on offer in John Lewis At Home is the ‘Playnation’ range. Here is the foyer of the new store, decked out in the range.

Can you believe that colourful book display is actually wallpaper? I love it and definitely want some for our home office!!

The ‘Playnation’ range is beautifully bright and encompasses a huge selection of products from table ware to garden items, home decor to office organisation. The mix of wood and colour looks brilliant and I can imagine several pieces finding a place in my home soon. Here are a few of my personal favourites:

This Tiffin Box would be great on family picnics this summer with four handy compartments for your lunch time favourites.

Office storage needn’t be dull with this brightly coloured unit featuring six large deep drawers.

Every cook and baker needs a good set of measuring spoons and I love this set of four – colourful additions to any kitchen.

Summer trips to the beach or just sitting in the garden will be stylish and comfortable for your little ones in this traditional deck chair.

John Lewis At Home opens on Thursday April 5th and with the extended Easter weekend it’s sure to be a busy one – I suggest you start queuing now!!