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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: John Lewis Bath Sheet

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Product Reviews | Posted on 12-07-2013

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white bathroom with blueberry coloured john lewis towels

There are few things I enjoy more in life than a nice long relaxing soak in the bath. The water nice and hot, a glass of wine to hand, and probably my e-reader too. Queue a bit of chilled out “Me Time” and a well deserved break. Baths don’t happen all that often though, as time tends to not allow. Showers are more likely – much quicker and easier, but certainly not as relaxing. When I get out of the bath I like a nice soft towel to wrap around myself, but a lot of the ones we own are inadequate. Bath towels are just not big enough more often than not, and despite my best efforts they don’t tend to have a lasting softness either. Until now.

John Lewis recently sent me a pair of their Egyptian Cotton Bath Sheets to review in a gorgeous Blueberry colour, as can be seen here. Measuring 165cm by 90cm these bath sheets are generously sized, and the height of luxury in any bathroom. They are super soft and snuggly, and this softness lasts. I’ve used the bath sheets on a number of occasions and washed them a few times too. They are still cosy and soft when I wrap them around myself after a rare relaxing bath, or a more common speedy shower.

These towels are of course available in a huge range of colours, and you can get towels of other sizes too if you want to get a complete set. I adore this Blueberry colour – its such a glorious shade – but I do also like the Slate, the Claret and the Chocolate. Our bathroom doesn’t really have a defined colour scheme. The walls are cream and there are white tiles and a white bathroom suite. Its basically a blank canvas. I think maybe I could get a few matching hand towels in three or four different colours just to add a hit of brightness to the room, which I can change whenever I wish.

You can find the full John Lewis Egyptian Cotton Towel range online and in store, with prices starting from just £3.

Christmas Decorations at John Lewis

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Home & Lifestyle, Information | Posted on 12-11-2012

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With a little over 6 weeks to go until the big day a lot of you are probably thinking about how you’re going to decorate your home and your table this festive period. I love putting up the tree and decorating my house. We have a huge box of decorations that my husband and I have acquired during our relationship and I’m really bad at getting rid of them. I’m generally allowed to buy one new decoration each year – either something for the tree, or an ornament of some kind – but we both know that its never just one. We’ve had two Christmas’ now since Little Man arrived and I can see this years being the best yet. He is so much more aware – and much more likely to pull down the tree – so I’m really excited to get the lights up and see his face when the house is done.

I recently took a trip down to John Lewis At Home in Chichester where I met with the Visual Merchandising team. They showed me the decorations for the home and the table they have on offer this year, and gave me a few tips about making my house look extra special this Christmas.

I was a huge fan of the table centre pictured above with the candles. At the base – and running the length of the table – is in fact a Red Berry Wooden Garland which you’d traditionally hang on the mantelpiece if you have one. This looks great along the centre of the table and has proved hugely popular in store – this was the last one left in the building! Above that you find two red platforms – these are actually Red Holiday Cake Stands. I’ve never even considered using a cake stand for anything other than a cake, but I think this is a fabulous idea. It adds height to your table decoration without taking up much width. If you chose not to have the garland on the table – and to be honest I don’t think its a great idea if you have small children with grabbing hands – you could still fit serving dishes around the base and tuck them under the stands. The stands are decorated with small crackers, baubles, and candles all available now at John Lewis. You could quite easily swap the candles for a Hurricane Lamp filled with baubles or simply battery operated fairy lights which would sparkle perfectly.

When it comes to place settings we usually just put our usual table mats down or if we use a tablecloth just put plates straight onto that. One of my favourite things in the Christmas range at John Lewis is the Reversible Placemat in the bottom right photo. Red and white striped on one side the reverse is plain red apart from a pocket in the bottom corner. This is red and white striped too and is designed to fit your cutlery in. A really cute and simple way to lay the table. I am rather tempted to these and they might well be my “new decoration” for this year.

For decorating the rest of your home the major tip was to make it all along the same theme and colour scheme as your table decoration. The tree decorations on the left come from the Lapland range. This range is aimed at children and is fantastic. The decorations you normally find for children tend to be dodgy plastic breakable numbers or fragile wooden items which whilst beautiful won’t last 5 minutes in the hands of a toddler. The Lapland tree decorations are largely made from felt. Unbreakable, bright and colourful felt. The tree which was instore and completely decked out in gorgeous felt decorations looked stunning and also perfect for a home filled with children. According to the Visual Merchandising team it was also the most fun to decorate!

In our vast box of decorations we also have a few ornaments that only come out at Christmas. They are usually just dotted around the house, on sideboards and windowsills – generally anywhere the Little Man can’t reach. This year I think I’ll be investing in a few cake stands, as once again they have been used brilliantly by the team at John Lewis At Home in Chichester as focal points for decoration. A simple White Ceramic Santa Ornament, a candle and a tealight holder set on the red cake stand from earlier makes a great feature. Candles and lights are a gorgeous way to decorate your home and housing them safely on a cake stand is a great idea. Must buy more cake stands – just nobody tell Hubby!!

This year will be the first year we introduce and Advent Calendar to Little Man. We have a beautiful handmade one which my Mother-In-Law made for Hubby and myself which we will no be using for Little Man. If you aren’t as lucky as us you might want to check out the range in John Lewis this month. Gorgeous wooden houses with doors and windows which open, nativity scenes with drawers beneath, or one to hang on the wall featuring Rudolph and lots of pockets. There is a huge range of advent options available to suit all tastes and budgets.

Christmas is well and truly on its way and visible in stores all over the high street. I hope that this has given you some inspiration for making your home look magical and festive this year. Do visit your local John Lewis At Home store or Home Department of your nearest John Lewis for more inspiration. You can locate your nearest store here. And if you live in the Chichester area pop into the John Lewis At Home store on the Portfield Retail Park and see what Pennie, Laura and the team have been up to.

 

Brit Mums Live: Using The Kurio

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Brit Mums Live | Posted on 04-07-2012

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At the end of June 500 mummy bloggers descended on London – along with a handful of brave daddy bloggers – to attend Brit Mums Live, and I was so lucky to be one of them. Held at The Brewery – the same venue for last years CyberMummy – this two day event was the “must attend” event for all mummy bloggers. The range of break out sessions and talks was incredible (if only I’d been able to be in four places at once) and the brands on show in The Hub was perfect for the Mummy in us all, as well as the Blogger. My attendance of Brit Mums Live was only made possible thanks to Inspiration Works, my superb sponsors, who not only got me there, but also provided me with a brand new pre-release Kurio to use and promote.

Using the Kurio at the conference was a dream. With it being a full android tablet I was able to download Evernote before I went so I could make notes during the sessions. I was worried that doing a lot of typing on something which has a 7 inch screen was going to be difficult, but the touch screen keyboard keys were perfectly sized and I could tap away merrily. The only irritation was that every time I touched a key it made a noise, a feature which I must figure out how to turn off!!

The Kurio comes with WIFI so I was able to hook up to The Brewery internet connection with a few simple clicks – the WIFI settings button is in the bottom left of the screen at all times – so I could check my Twitter feed using TweetCaster and send a few tweets myself. I could also do surf the internet which was useful during sessions when a cool website or brand was mentioned which I wanted to look up immediately.

Promoting the Kurio was part of my sponsorship package, and I really enjoyed demoing it to a few people and letting them have a go, though I did think a few people were going to run off with it!

The Kurio is branded as a “family tablet”, though it is predominantly aimed at children aged 4 to 15. Adults using the tablet can use the profile interfaces as shown above, or via the parental controls they can make it look like any other tablet and much less child like. As an adult using this I was thrilled with its speed, performance and usability. Since Brit Mums I have largely used it to read ebooks on the inclusive application and do any quick internet surfing when I don’t have the time or inclination to fire up my ailing laptop. I also tuck it into my handbag when I go to any blogging events or press days, including yesterdays Christmas In July.

This tablet is going to be on every child’s Christmas list, and a fair few parent’s as well I bet. You’d best get your orders in now!

The Kurio will be available from Toys’R’Us, John Lewis, and all good toy retailers.

Coming Soon: Kurio Review from my Little Man!!

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!!

Product Review: ‘My World’ Puzzles from Gibsons

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 06-03-2012

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I am a firm believer that learning should be fun, especially for young children. You don’t want to do anything to make them think learning is boring or tiresome as it could put them off for years to come. At almost 18 months my Little Man is learning all the time, every day. I’m helping and encouraging this learning with a new range of puzzles from Gibsons.

 

 

 

The ‘My World’ range of puzzles from Gibsons has been designed in association with child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer. The puzzles are linked to the UK National Curriculum to help give your child that early insight into education and school. More importantly the puzzles are brightly coloured, tactile and perfect for little hands. The chunky pieces in the puzzles are made from recycled board and are nice and sturdy – they have been chewed by Little Man but have come to no harm.

We love the ‘My Farm Animals’ set. There are eight puzzles in the box with either 2 or 3 pieces so perfect first jigsaws. The 2 piece puzzles comprise an animals head and bottom, and the 3 piece include a speech bubble with an appropriate noise. What I particularly like is that the pieces are all interchangeable and fit to each other so you could have say a cows head and a dogs bottom saying “Baa!”. This is a lovely feature which allows your child to make up their own funny characters, and its all helping their motor skills when it comes to putting the pieces together. I also like the design of the box. On the lid is a perforated slit which you can easily push out. This allows your child to post the pieces back into the box when they’ve finished playing with them. Little Man found this feature almost more exciting than the jigsaws themselves! This set is aimed at 18months and upwards, so is getting a lot of use in our house at the moment.

Gibsons Range of puzzles for children can be found at all good toy outlets, and online at Amazon and John Lewis.

You can view their entire range online at that website, where you will also be able to find details of your nearest stockist.