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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: Online Safety

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 25-10-2013

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As technology evolves so do privacy settings and controls meaning parents have a responsibility to ensure they are aware of the changes and the ways in which they can keep their children safe whilst surfing the Internet.

There is a great deal of pressure on parents to restrict the access children have to sites that may contain inappropriate content. With the importance of technology constantly growing, the younger generation are feeling the impact and they too express interest in using devices such as a smartphone or tablet computer.

With so many different forms of technology now being present in the household, there is a greater need to understand each item and the controls that are present which will prevent children from accessing adult material or being targeted by other Internet users in a negative way. 1 in 25 children have experienced online sexual solicitation, where another Internet user has contacted them inappropriately.

A recent survey determined that only 3 of the 15 top web-filtering services blocked 100% of pornographic sites meaning children are still able to see inappropriate content. There is now a greater need to establish as many of the privacy controls as possible.

The Steps to Take

Most Internet providers will offer privacy controls that can be put in place by parents keen to protect their children whilst allowing them to use modern technology.

Content Filters

Filters provide parents the opportunity to block and restrict certain sites they do not want their children to see. It reduces the chances of adult material being seen or pop ups from emerging while on certain sites. Filters can be set dependant on the age of the minor, with younger children needing stronger restrictions whilst older children can be trusted to have more freedom online.

Timed Access, Monitors and Locks

Children would happily spend a majority of their free time surfing the Internet and using devices. There is a setting that will turn off access for users during certain times such as homework or bedtime. Parents can also monitor a child’s online usage, including the sites they look at and any online movements. Locking inappropriate sites will prevent children from accessing adult material from any site so they only use and visit relevant and appropriate websites.

Be Responsible

Before taking steps to secure the Internet, parents must have a discussion with their children. An explanation of the dangers and why the controls are to be put in place will highlight the need to stay safe online and make children aware of the sites they should be looking at and the ones they should stay away from.

Set Ground Rules

Parents need to be strict when it comes to home technology. Children need to know there are boundaries and restrictions on when they can use devices and how long for. For instance, no phones at bedtime or the use of a tablet only after homework has been completed.

The safety of children is the main priority for parents and online safety should not be ignored. There is a need to prevent children from being exposed to adult content, harassment and from receiving unwanted attention. Parents must understand technology and the controls they come with, gaining peace of mind about the content that can be seen, before allowing children to use them.

Small Bathroom Solutions

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 27-07-2013

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In the age of city living and decreasing house sizes living with a small bathroom is something that many of us face. But, there is still a multitude of ways to create the illusion of space, lighten up the room and accessorize it with style.

#1. Bathroom Cabinets

In a smaller bathroom you’re likely to only be able to fit in one cabinet above and below your sink. Therefore, picking the right cabinet is crucial to opening up your bathrooms floor space but still provide for all your storage needs.

Try opting for a sink cabinet that doesn’t extend all the way to the floor and take up vital floor space. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes and the assistance it provides in being able to lean over your sink with ease.

For above the sink cabinets, again to allow you to lean over with ease, make sure the top cabinet is around half the width of your sink.

#2. Shelving

Any bathroom cabinet needs as many shelves as possible to store all your daily essentials that will prevent you from cluttering up any available windowsills with bottles and toiletries. Try using open metal shelving as an alternative to cabinets, which put all your items into an easy to reach space. These add a nice touch of style and couldn’t be easier to fit as they slot neatly around the sink’s plumbing.

A shower caddy is a great shelving solution for any small bathroom. It not only tidies up all your shower gels, shampoos and scrubs, it gathers them in one easy to reach place (instead of fumbling around your window sill).

#3. Shower Curtains

By simply changing your shower curtain you can dramatically alter your small bathroom space. If you have fairly neutral walls, try opting for a brighter colour or patterned design that adds a dash of personality and light. Where possible, opt for brighter colours or pale creams and blues that reflect the light well and enhance light levels.

#4. Accessorize

A mirror is an essential item for any bathroom. Use your mirrors to maximize the space and light of the room where ever possible. Rectangular mirrors that expand the whole length of an available wall are a great way to achieve this, especially when placed opposite a window that floods the room with light. Aside from this, bathroom mirror cabinets are a fantastic use of the surfaces available to you.

A touch of personality and quirky style can be added with other bathroom accessories. There are little touches, such as, a toilet seat, toilet roll holders, hangers that can come together to create a cohesive theme. For example, for a modern yet homely feel opt for softer light wooden accessories over polished metal.

#5. The Shower

Lastly, but probably where you should start, is the shower. Both mira showers and triton showers have a range of styles and fittings that can easily slot into your existing shower. Upgrading your shower could transform how you view your bathroom with the option of a refreshing power shower; massage modes and luxurious rainfall heads.

If you’re looking for a complete refit again be mindful of the floor space its footprint demands. If possible opt for showers that will slot neatly into bathroom corners with a curbed sliding door that gives you the room to shower in comfort but takes up no more floor space than necessary.

Guest Post: The Finishing Touches

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 11-07-2013

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There is nothing nicer than coming home after a long day to a warm and welcoming environment where you can relax and forget all about your stresses and strains. For most of us busy mums, this means creating a little sanctuary of our own, either in a bedroom or snug, where we can add special luxurious touches away from inquisitive little fingers!

Clever interior design can completely doesn’t have to cost the earth, and it’s amazing how small changes can completely alter the look and feel of a home. Beautiful accessories are the best way to create ambiance and style within a room and, and often it’s the simplest items that pack the biggest punch.


Natural lighting will always be the best kind of light for a room, and there are several ways to maximise the natural light in your home, which includes choosing light and bright paint colours and using mirrors.

Electric lighting should be used to create an atmospheric background – soft lighting feels cosy, and bright lighting can be dramatic. It’s a good idea to layer the lighting around a room using table lamps, uplighters and ceiling lights.


Available in all shapes, sizes, colours and prices. Cushions are one of the most popular accessories as they fit perfectly within any room, add an injection of colour and are used for comfort.

Big and fluffy, small and decorative or large floor cushions, these accessible accessories look set to increase in popularity over time as they’re the ultimate in quick, easy and affordable interior design.

Rugs and Mats

Wood and tiled flooring are one of the most common choices in homes across the country. Although they are incredibly stylish, they can easily leave a room, and its users, feeling cold.

brown shaggy rug beneath coffee table

Rugs and mats are the ideal solution to this problem. Shaggy rugs in particular are ideal to create a warmer environment whilst remaining stylish and in keeping with the design of the space.


Not only are they the ideal accessory for practical purposes, but they also finish off the intended feel of a room. A Victorian desk can tie in with a shabby chic or vintage theme, whilst glass coffee tables can reaffirm a modern minimalist look. They are universal and available in every style, shape, size and colour.

Guest Post: Keep Your Family Home Safe

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 03-06-2013

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Everyone wants to make sure they feel safe and secure within their own homes. So to help you with doing so, we’ve come up with five simple ways you can improve the safety of your home, your belongings and your family all at the same time:

Fire Escape Plan

If a fire was to start in your home, what would you do? Stay calm and evacuate? Or panic? Every home should have a plan of action in case of such an emergency, to make sure that they are prepared and ready. Below are the different stages that need to be considered and steps that need to be taken to prepare:

  1. Drawing a floor plan so that everyone knows where the exits are, and the best escape routes,
  2. Choosing a meeting place outside of the home away from the fire,
  3. Identifying if anyone will need help or assistance out of an emergency, i.e. a small child,
  4. Calling the fire department- always wait until outside of the fire to call,
  5. And lastly practice! Hold a fire drill once or twice a year so that everyone knows what to do.

Locking & Securing Doors and Windows

It may sound like such a simple thing, but for many people it is something they simply forget! For example by locking doors and windows to keep your family in, and anyone else out. It is important however that keys are used for widows, as children may be able to open widows with no locks or with turning latches. If you are to keep windows open, try to discourage your children from playing near windows and patio doors as they could fall through.

Child Proofing your Garden

People always talk about child proofing your home, for example kitchens, hallways, stairs, etc. but don’t usually talk about proofing your garden – which is especially important as the warmer summer time approaches. Simple things can be done to make your home a safer place to be, for example: By clearing away gardening tools and game equipment after they have been used, keeping sidewalks in good condition, turning off outdoor electrical items such as lawn mowers, ensuring clotheslines are above head level, and ensuring that the garden has a high-level fence, with a self-closing self-latching gate.


In order to keep yourself and your family safe, burglar & fire alarms should be fitted. Burglar alarms will alert you and your family of any break-ins or possible thieves in your home – this is a must for families as without it, you are putting yourself at risk. Fire alarms are also important and should be in all homes. It is also advised that they are fitted on each floor in the home, and sometimes in specific rooms, i.e. the kitchen where the risk of fire is increased. Many alarms will also notify emergency services of the incident automatically, so ensure yours does do!

Install A Safe

We all have those valuable and sentimental items that we want to keep safe from the risk of getting damaged or from prying eyes should an unwanted guest enter your home. And one of the best ways to do this is to install a safe within your home. As well as giving you peace of mind knowing that your valuable are safe, home safes may also help to show your insurer that you are doing the upmost to protect your home – which in turn, could reduce your home insurance premiums!

Kathryn Thompson, an experienced freelance writer, wrote this article. Kathryn specialises in providing useful advice on how families can protect their homes with safety products such as those available from www.totalsafes.co.uk.

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: Saving Money This Christmas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 11-12-2012

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Christmas is a time of year that nearly everyone looks forward to, with the chance to meet up with friends and family and spend some quality time together. Throw in the added bonuses of traditional features such as the Christmas dinner, presents and drunken Grandparents and you’ve got all the makings of a great few days. However, it’s also a time of year that reveals just how much some people struggle financially.

Here are just three ideas to get you on your way to a very happy Christmas:

Set a Presents Budget

You might encourage your kids to give you a Christmas list – the presents that they really want Santa to deliver this year – and you might even ask the same of your partner! Many people will make this list three or four items long, while others might make it two pages and be hugely disappointed on Christmas morning. By setting a limit on the number of presents they’re allowed to ask for, or by setting a financial limit on the what they can have, such as “you’re allowed up to £100 worth of presents this year”, you can keep costs down. This allows you to budget for the period, setting money aside for presents for family and friends, the dinner and any other expenses, so you can work out if you can afford it or if you need bank or payday loans to cover the costs.

Recycle Decorations

Each year we tend to buy new decorations for the tree or the home in general just because something catches our eye in the stores. However, this is an avoidable expense – not to say don’t go out looking at the decorations, it’s a part of the Christmas spirit – because quite often what we already have is perfectly good enough. Sure, some bits will need replacing such as tatty tinsel or broken lights, but old, traditional decorations can be used in different ways and look brand new!

Shop Around

Just because you’ve found that very toy your child has asked for doesn’t mean you should race to the till and hand over the cash. Quite often you can find it cheaper elsewhere – and this usually happens straight after you pay for it – whether it’s on the high street or on the Internet. Shopping around for the specific item could save you a packet and might even offer you free delivery, a percentage off the price or maybe even buy-one-get-one-free deals; it really is worth looking around.

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: Who Needs Men To Move House?

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 05-11-2012

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Ah, the home-move. In most households, it’s usually a time where the leading family male jumps at the chance of taking over the almighty task of moving the whole family, from one humble abode to the next. Why? Because they feel it’s their manly duty to of course.

But, I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that sometimes us women are better off just doing it on our own. After all, packing up the family home involves meticulous planning, strategic wrapping and careful sorting, right? And sometimes your husband’s inner Neanderthal ways just don’t seem to understand this.

So, reason one to why you don’t need your man to help you move house? Well, just cast yourself back to when he’s left in charge of the supermarket shop; freezer foods in the tinned foods bag, and fridge foods in the same bag as the cat food.  And, this is exactly what happens when they’re left in charge of packing the house up; little Jack’s room in the same box as teen Sarah’s room  – it just makes for more work once you’re on the other side. And, this is all before they’ve even considered wrapping up that expensive china tea set you received from your great aunt as a wedding present…

However, if you’re finding that moving that heavy wardrobe without your man’s help is proving more difficult than originally thought, get a little professional help without your other half knowing, Hiring a removals company such as UShip, will help to make sure your items are moved from one house to another with absolute precision.

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: 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.