Featured Posts

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

#Review: A Day Out At Drusillas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out | Posted on 27-04-2016

Tags: , , , , , , ,

0

We are no strangers to Drusillas. We’ve been many times before, as featured on this blog in fact, but it’s been a couple of years since we went and decided it was high time Little Dude got his first visit under his belt. Needless to say we were thrilled at Drusillas impeccable timing at inviting us down to their East Sussex location to take a look around and see what was new.

The last time we went was a little over two years – when I was pregnant with Little Dude in fact – so we were well overdue a visit. It is a great place for a day out with the children. There’s plenty animals to see, lots of viewing areas which accommodate visitors of all ages and sizes, and the fun doesn’t stop when you’ve seen all them all. To be honest the animal areas haven’t changed at all. There’s a huge array of them and both children were fascinated. The monkeys remain amongst the favourites, and Little Man loved seeing the penguins after a term at school where he’d been learning all about Antarctica. Little Dude is cat obsessed, and any animal that isn’t a cat is apparently a “COW!” which he yells rather enthusiastically. There are apparently a lot of cows at Drusillas…

Drusillas-Penguins-SussexMummy

The play areas are brilliant. Both children went off into soft play with Daddy and were lost in there for ages. A bit of peace for me, but there was one very tired Daddy at the end. The outdoor area was briefly climbed over, but it was rather cold out despite the bright blue skies. There is a new ‘Get Wet Splash Pad’ area that is open now where there’s jets of water squirting around and your children can run around in their swimming stuff. Not keen on the idea of this when we visited, but I imagine in summer it will be fabulous. The Thomas The Tank Engine Train ride is a must do – both children were glad for the sit down, and Little Dude spent his entire journey waving from his seat, whether it be at animals, people or the occasional tree. I kid you not.

Last time we visited the Hello Kitty Secret Garden was under construction but now it’s been open for ages, so it was good to get a look in there. It consists of three rides – the Hopper Ride where you get propelled into the air and bounced back down, the Car Ride where you get to “drive” a cute cat car around along a railed track, and the Tea Cup Ride where you spin around to your hearts content in pink or blue cup. All three rides were a massive hit with my children. Despite his dramatic screams I can assure you that Little Man did enjoy all three turns on the Hopper, and it goes without saying that my cat obsessed Little Dude spent most of the time in a car going round and round the track.

DrusillasCollageSussexMummy

There are multiple quality merchandise stores selling an array of relevant, and not so relevant things to remember your visit. Little Dude came home with a Hello Kitty toy which he randomly yells “CAT!” at, and Little Man was most insistent that we got him a penguin. There may also have been plastic dinosaurs and swords bought, but they were less about the visit and more about my children’s current obsessions!

Drusillas is brilliant. We’ve been many times, and we will go many times again. There is so much to do whilst you’re there, lots to see, and the facilities are always up to standard. God bless the person that put Starbucks Coffee into the restaurant by Hello Kitty! Do make the trip – it is well worth it.

Say “Eh-Oh” to the new Teletubbies toys!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Launch | Posted on 11-01-2016

Tags: , , ,

0

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 tell you all about it and what’s inside.

SussexMummy-Teletubies-Box

First out the box was Tinky-Winky – without doubt Little Dude’s favourite. He gets very animated when Tinky-Winky appears on the screen with lots of enthusiastic pointing and shouting. We were lucky enough to receive a super cute 8 inch replica which features a variety of sounds and phrases when pressed. Whilst this is in no way Little Dude’s favourite toy he does get carried around every so often and there was a definite sense of recognition and excitement when we handed him over for the first time. I love the soft touch faces on these – makes them a great companion.

SussexMummy-TinkyWinky

Next came a slightly smaller 6 inch Laa-Laa. Super soft and cuddly these are suitable from birth and would make an ideal first toy for any young baby. Again this is another great replica and ideal for bed time, as there’s no danger of it making noises and waking baby up! Little Dude isn’t a massive fan of soft toys unless its a character he recognises so he again does play with this but much preferred the other items in the box.

SussexMummy-LaaLaa

We received Dipsy wearing the trademark black and white hat, Po riding his orange scooter, and Noo-Noo as small figures. The two Teletubbies stand at around 3 inches in height whilst Noo-Noo is probably only a couple of inches high. Suitable from 18 months they are perfectly sized for little hands. Little Man has always been a fan of plastic and wooden figures above soft toys. Something he can grab onto. These are ideal. His imagination is clearly just developing, and he’s often found playing with these figures and others like it. He mixes them in with his Happyland figures, he adds them to his Tonka Fire Station, he uses them with the Peter Rabbit figures, There’s recognition and the beginnings of small world play being acted out with them and its great to watch.

SussexMummy-Figures

There’s a huge range of other Teletubbies toys out there too, from a Jumping Po and Lullaby Laa-Laa, to a Superdome Playset and remote control Drive & Steer Noo-Noo. You can take a look at them here at Character Online.

#Review: Bobux Shoes

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion | Posted on 25-09-2015

Tags: , , , ,

0

Little Dude is walking… mostly. Yes he still has that great drunk wobble to him, and if he wants to get anywhere quickly he’ll revert to the far speedier tactic of crawling, but he can walk and I’m it won’t be long till he’s running. And with walking, comes the inevitable need for shoes.

With Little Man we took him off to the high street and got his feet measured. He wore crawling shoes, cruising shoes and then walking shoes. It was hugely expensive and looking back, massively unnecessary. Being born in May meant that Little Dude hasn’t really needed shoes this summer and has been crawling and cruising in socks or more often than not bare feet. We did want to get him some shoes though, and I was keen to avoid the typically bulky shoes found on the high street.

I was really lucky to discover Bobux, a New Zealand based company who have a gorgeous range of footwear. We were even luckier to be sent a pair of Freestyle Xplorer shoes to review, and I couldn’t be happier.

Designed from the ground up to meet the needs of children learning to walk the Xplorer is a shoe like no other. A micro-armour toe cap provides incredible abrasion resistance and an elastic closure makes them easy to get on squirming feet. The innovative EVA sole is strong yet flexible enough to encourage healthy foot development. The Xplorer is a triumph of form and function.

The shoes are brilliant. They protect his tiny feet when he’s outside, and yet they aren’t bulky so they don’t slow him down when he’s crawling. They are super easy to open with a velcro strap and an elasticated opening, and they fit really well. They’ve been worn to wander around the house, stomp around the garden, and rampage through the sandpit at the local farm.

Bobux-Freestyle-SussexMummy

Price wise they are cheaper than any first walker shoes I’ve spotted in our usual shoe shop, and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy more shoes from Bobux in future as his feet grow. Even Daddy is impressed, so they must be good!

#Review: Apple & Ginger

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 14-09-2015

Tags: , , , , ,

0

I’ve shared a few images of Little Dude’s bedroom on here before, but for those of you that don’t know there is a farm theme running through it. We did this in the simplest way possible with some of those reusable wall stickers which we have running along with top of his bed, and we’ve recently bought him some proper bedding, and gone for one set with animals and tractors on.

One of his favourite toys is a farm set which we keep in a box in the playroom, but we’re always looking for other farm related items which we can add to his bedroom. I was recently approached by Rachael from Apple & Ginger and asked if I’d like to review on of her new wall pictures and when I came across a tractor print, I couldn’t say no!

Apple&Ginger-Tractor-SussexMummy

I just love this picture. It’s so bright and vibrant, and I adore how it can be personalised with your child’s name – the rhyme quote is also optional.

This is now hung on Little Dude’s wall, complete with his name and the quote. We received it beautifully framed and with a safe acrylic as opposed to glass covering making it less likely to break. I bursts out from the wall and Little Dude rather enjoys pointing at it and shouting out his favourite word, “DAT!”

Now of course there are other prints to choose from to suit any bedroom or playroom theme, from fire engines to balloons to even an ice cream van. You can buy just the print or a framed version in either A4 or A3 sizes, and there is even optional gift wrapping available too.

You can find Apple & Ginger on both Facebook and Instagram.

First Day at School

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Back To School | Posted on 07-09-2015

Tags: , , , , , ,

0

Well this morning Little Man marched off to primary school for the first time. He was up and dressed and ready to go a full hour before we even had to leave the house. Needless to say he was rather excited. I was so proud as he waved goodbye and walked into class, clutching his book bag and PE kit, looking so grown up in his uniform.

school-uniform-sussexmummy

Hot lunches are provided at school so there was no need for lunch boxes. He’s been having hot lunches for the last year at preschool but it still seemed strange to me not to be packing him sandwiches and fruit and snacks. It is something I always associated with going to school, and something I always assumed I’d be doing, so it was strange not to go out this summer and buy him a lunch box. Even though he isn’t off today with a lunch box we still have lots of boxes and containers he could have used at home, ones we use instead for picnics, days out and even for when I go to work.

With Little Man off at school now Little Dude and I will be enjoying lots of time together. There’ll be trips to the local National Trust properties and we’ve just become members of the nearby Fishers Farm Park so we’ll be heading there once a week I expect. Snacks are a must when out and about with children, and especially with Little Dude who has a great appetite. Grapes, rice cakes and fish crackers are his snacks of choice, so I’ll be making sure his little bag is well stocked before we go out. And our containers of choice? The Nude Food Movers.

Packaging is everywhere and on food it tends to be in excess more often than not. With packaging you get waste and with waste there’s litter, especially when you’re eating out and about. Litter is something I hate, and I teach my children to always put there rubbish in the bin and not on the floor. Eliminating packaging from our picnic baskets and bags means there’ll be no litter, and that’s where the Nude Food Movers come in.

The Nude Food Movers come in a massive range of shapes and sizes, and there really is one for every need. Lunch boxes, snack pots, water bottles, stackable tubes, cutlery carriers, and even meal boxes. I bought some of the stackable tubes when Little Man was small for carrying his bits around in. People always commented on how clever they were. During the summer the team at Smash got in touch to see if we wanted some other bits to try out and we were very keen to get involved.

A lovely box of bits arrived and we’ve been really impressed with everything they offered. Bright Stackable Tubes were our favourite, but the Yogurt Mover was really clever as it has a chillable section so your food stays cold. The Rubbish Free Lunchbox is perfect for me when I go to work and need to carry a meal with me. Two removable pods keep snacks separate and because they are leak proof I can even take portions of yogurt with me. Everything fits neatly together but is kept separate and secure, and despite their compact design you can get a lot of food in them.

minilunch-sussexmummy-nude-food

Nude Food Movers are brilliant, whether you’re heading back to school, going out for picnic at the farm, or off to work. Food is well stored and you are litter free – perfect.

#Review: Oxo Tot Feeding Range

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 17-07-2015

Tags: , , , , , , ,

0

Followers of my blog and my Twitter will know that Little Dude is something of a keen independent self feeder. Purees were pretty much rejected from day one of the weaning process, and generally the only foods he will accept via a spoon are rice puddings and Weetabix. Every other meal and snack has to be self fed using his hands, which as I’m sure you can imagine causes something of a mess.

Lunches tend to be pretty standard meals involving a selection from cheese, crackers, sandwiches, cocktail sausages, cooked chicken, toddler crisps, grapes, and things like that. Evening meals are generally things he can pick up himself, so pasta is quite frequently served, but there is also fish fingers, pizza, sausages, and so on. When we eat foods that need cutlery like cottage pie for example we are usually successful in spoon feeding, but sometimes there’s a lot of arm waving and batting away of the spoon to contend with.

At 14 months old he is hugely keen to copy his older brother in all things. At meal times he sits opposite Little Man and watches him intently, and we are hoping that this will encourage him to realise the benefits of using cutlery as opposed to just his fingers. To aid with this as well, we were sent a feeding set from Oxo Tot so he has his own set of cutlery to get to grips with.

The set consists of a fork and spoon set which features large easy to grip handles and are ideally sized to scoop food onto and fit in little mouths. There is a plate with high sides – part of which can be removed once children get to grips with it – and curved edges that make picking up the food easier. There is also a bowl with a lid that is nice and deep to avoid spillages.

My favourite feature of the plate and bowl is the weight of them. They aren’t heavy by any means but they are much heavier than other toddler plates we have which do tend to get dropped frequently. These set from Oxo Tot sit comfortably and firmly on the table and so far haven’t been moved. The bowl is used daily for snack time and Little Dude is able to sit on the floor and hold the bowl whilst he helps himself to whatever is inside. Because of the weighted base there’s no tipping it over and he seems really comfortable holding it.

OxoTot-Self-Feeding-SussexMummyThe cutlery is being held, and he is excellent and spoon feeding himself air. Actual food? Not so much but the ideal is there so I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of time before he gets to grips with them. For now I’m eternally relieved that we have a large mat underneath his highchair.

Oxo Tot also sent us a matching divided plate. I don’t know what it is with young children but separated food seems to be very important to them. In a similar fashion to the feeding set the plate has high sides, again with a removable top section. The plate itself is divided into four sections – a large one which is suggested for vegetables, two smaller sections for proteins and carbs, and then a small pot in the middle for dip. The underside of the plate features images of what they recommend you place in each section to ensure a balanced meal but by no means should you feel this is anything more than suggestion.

6113700UK_1_(1)This divided plate is our go to plate for lunch each day. Yesterday for example it contained cheese spread sandwiches, fish crackers, chopped cooked sausages, and a few halved grapes. Little Dude loves sitting in his highchair with this plate in front of him, picking out what he wants to eat. He’s very independent and this plate allows him ultimate control over what he’s eating.

I really like the items from Oxo Tot and at the minute they are the only things we use with Little Dude. I’m sure he’ll get the hang of the cutlery soon, but for now he’s content holding it with one hand at meal times whilst merrily feeding himself with the other. The bowl is instantly recognised as his snack bowl nowadays, and I can see this being used out and about this summer thanks to the handy lid. All the items we received are great quality and do precisely what they are designed to do. Meal times aren’t essentially less messy at the moment – he thinks dropping things on the floor is the best game EVER – but he’s certainly on his way to somewhat cleaner meal times!

Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Travel | Posted on 06-11-2014

Tags: , , , ,

1

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 – a former farmhouse and barns all of which have been converted – which has, so I’m told, the reputation of being the best hotel in Yorkshire. After receiving the invitation to head north and review for them I checked out the website, looked at photos and even spent a little time reading up on it on travel review websites. As I’m sure you’ll agree, it looked stunning and sounded amazing – but could it really live up to its reputation? Would it be worth the 600 mile round trip? Here’s what we thought.

Ox-Pasture-Exterior-SussexMummy
Things certainly looked optimistic when we arrived. Hard to believe this photo was taken on the first weekend of November isn’t it? Admittedly it wasn’t hot by any means, but unseasonably warm certainly. A short walk up this path led us from the spacious car park to the hotel reception where we checked in. Now the hotel was expecting me to arrive with my husband so we’d actually been booked into the Honeymoon Suite. We’d arranged to have Afternoon Tea upon arrival so it was agreed that we’d eat that in there – we could of course have eaten in the hotel lounge, the bar or on the terrace, but we wanted to give Little Dude the chance to roll around after his journey – whilst they set us up with a twin suite. We were escorted to the suite and enjoyed a comfortable sit down whilst we waited a short time for our freshly made Afternoon Tea to arrive.

Ox-Pasture-Afternoon-Tea-SussexMummyOkay so its a bit of a shame that the table in the Honeymoon Suite was in front of a radiator, but I’m sure you can appreciate how impressive this Afternoon Tea looked. Two large fruit scones, four small jars of jam, some clotted cream, finger sandwiches – egg mayonnaise, roast beef and horseradish, and cream cheese and cucumber – which were crust free, a selection of miniature cakes – profiteroles, bite sized lemon meringue pies, tiny cheesecakes, chocolate brownie squares and a mint chocolate slice, as well we a large pot of tea. Now we’d seen photos of these Afternoon Teas before we’d set off so we’d eaten nothing since breakfast, and it was most definitely worth the wait. It goes without saying that the cakes were without doubt the highlight – though we were certainly ready for a cup of tea or two after our journey – but the sandwiches were delicious too. At £15 per person I think this is very well priced for the quality and quantity of food that you receive. We’d arrived a little later in the day than we had hoped – I blame the M1 for most of our trouble – so we were a little concerned that if we ate it all we’d be full for the day. This didn’t stop us from tucking in with gusto however and we thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful.

After eating our Afternoon Tea, changing Little Dude’s nappy and getting him some milk – though I’m pretty sure he wanted a cake – we were helped to our actual room for the evening. A spacious beautiful suite overlooking a pretty courtyard with a rather nice view of the gardens and Yorkshire countryside beyond.

Ox-Pasture-Gardens-SussexMummy

 

The suite was made up of three well sized rooms. A living area with two large chest of drawers, a large wardrobe, comfortable sofa, coffee table, TV set, and drinks facilities. There was a bedroom which had been set up with two single beds, a desk, a chest of drawers, another TV and a travel cot they’d set up for Little Dude’s use. Finally there was a bathroom which boasted a huge bath, two basins – all three coming with waterfall taps, a walk-in shower and a toilet. Now whilst the bedroom and living area were well equipped and comfortable, the bathroom was, for me, the highlight.
Ox-Pasture-Bathroom-SussexMummy

The entire room was tiled floor and walls, with the suite itself a bright white with silver taps. Complimentary toiletries were supplied along with cotton buds, cotton wool and tissues. I thought this was a nice touch and something more than you may expect from hotel bathrooms. There were plenty of towels on offer and room for you to unpack your own bits and pieces. Sadly I didn’t have a bath – I’d probably never have gotten out if I had – but Nana did use the shower. Whilst she loved the large shower head the walk-in nature of it did result in a bit of a death trap. The “cubicle” had two walls and a glass partition, the fourth side was open to the rest of the bathroom. Whilst the floor in there did of course slope towards the plug Nana did manage to distribute water throughout most of the room. Either a steeper slope or a less enthusiastic shower head needed here I think.

Our original plan was to take dinner in the Courtyard Restaurant. Now as all parents know plans tend to need a bit of adjustment when small children are involved, and after spending the best part of the day in the car getting little sleep, Little Dude wasn’t in the best of moods. He wanted to roll around, have cuddles with Mummy and generally chill out – and who can blame in. We decided it would be best for him and the sanity of the other guests for us to eat in our room so we called reception and they brought over some menus. There was a great selection of meals on offer and it took a fair bit of deliberation before we settled on our dinner for the night. I started with Duck Liver Parfait with Melba Toast and Cranberry Compote, followed by the Beef dish which consisted of a Mini Beef Fillet, a Tender Brisket, Creamy Mash Potato, Mushroom Duxelle, Baby Turnips and Carrots. For dessert I chose the Lemon dish which included Cheesecake, Yogurt, Mousse and Ice Cream.

Ox-Pasture-Meal1-SussexMummyIt just looks incredible doesn’t it? Everything was so beautifully presented, so perfectly cooked, and SO delicious. Despite having eaten a substantial Afternoon Tea just a few hours before every last morsel from my dinner was eaten and thoroughly enjoyed. There was just enough and once I’d eaten I felt comfortably full. I hate getting a mountain of food in restaurants which is heavy and overly filling so you end up leaving so much of it and its such a waste. Not the case here. Don’t get me wrong, the servings were not small, it was just a well balanced meal and everything complimented everything else.

Nana went for three different courses. She began with Marinated Herring fillet, served with Pickled Cucumber and Tartar Dressing. To follow she enjoyed a Pork dish which was made up of Slow Cooked Belly, Tender Loin Stuffed with Apricot and Sage, Savoy Cabbage, Sautéed Potato, Homemade Black Pudding and Red Onion Marmalade. She finished with a Caribbean cocktail dessert which included Coconut Panacotta, Mango Rice Pudding, Passion Fruit Sorbet, and Pina Colada.

Ox-Pasture-Meal2-SussexMummy

Am I making you hungry yet?

Our meal was delivered efficiently and courteously to our room, the waiter tiptoeing in every time in case Little Dude was sleeping and for fear of waking him. We also had a bottle of wine brought over in an ice bucket, which was also lovely. You got the impression that nothing was too much trouble yet that they were acting as they would with any guest, not just us because they knew we were there to review. A truly professional service.

An excellent nights sleep followed – yes, even with a six month old who slept through till 6.30 – and after feeding him his milk and getting dressed we ventured over to the dining room for our breakfast. A high chair had been set up by our table ready for Little Dude who settled in quickly and tucked into his porridge whilst we waited for our cooked breakfast to arrive. There was the option of a Continental Breakfast with pastries, yogurts and fruit, but we chose to set ourselves up for the day. Large pots of tea were also supplied along with a rack of toast with a selection of jams. We went for the full Yorkshire breakfast, and as you can imagine we weren’t disappointed.
Ox-Pasture-Breakfast-SussexMummyPerfectly cooked bacon, delicious local sausages, mushrooms, black pudding, cooked tomato and the nicest scrambled egg I’ve ever eaten. In fact my breakfast looked so tasty that Little Dude decided it was rude of me not to share. Despite having eaten a bowl of porridge and half a fruit pouch, he also packed away half my scrambled egg. Hopefully I’ll manage to replicate it at home for him too.

I don’t have cooked breakfasts very often so this was something of a treat. I thoroughly enjoyed it all, and the beautiful setting of the restaurant overlooking another gloriously designed courtyard made for the perfect start to our morning.

Now sadly for us it was soon time for us to make our way home. Another epic journey down the M1 awaited, but not before a brief walk through the gorgeous gardens of the hotel. They were truly breathtaking and we commented time and time again how perfect they would be for wedding photos, with so many lovely spots. This was one of my personal favourites, the ideal place for the happy couple to take a breather during a hectic day. This cute pagoda is located in a quiet corner of the front garden. It would also be a lovely spot for a relaxing drink.

Ox-Pasture-Pagoda-SussexMummy

The car soon beckoned and we reluctantly set off. We’d not spent very long at the hotel at all, but it had certainly made an impression. The staff were friendly and intent on ensuring everything was perfect for everyone, without being overbearing or in your face. The setting is breathtaking, and its hard to believe you are just a few minutes from the sea. The suite was perfect, ideal for couples enjoying a romantic break, but also just right for families with small children. The hotel was incredible, nothing was too much trouble, and whilst it is without doubt a luxury hotel you feel nothing but welcomed.

Without question I would heartily recommend this hotel to anyone. Was it worth the 600 mile round trip and the chaos of the M1? Without a doubt. You can find full details of the hotel, including rates and events on their website.

 

 

 

 

Looking Forward To Halloween

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Sponsored Posts | Posted on 26-09-2014

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

0

October? Can you believe its almost October already? Now the children have all gone back to school its pretty much full pace through until the dreaded C-word, but with October on the horizon there are two other events to look forward to in our house next month. One is Little Man’s fourth birthday, but a couple of weeks after that is Halloween. Now whilst I wasn’t much of a Halloween fan myself as a child – I think it was the idea of wandering around outside in the cold and inevitable rain that put me off – , and whilst I’m still not keen on my two going trick or treating, I am thinking a bit of a Halloween party might be in order for us this year. I’ve got a box of decorations and party wear in the loft I think that I acquired in the sales last November – its pays to forward plan here! – so I just need to sort out some costumes for the boys. Little Man will be at preschool that morning so hopefully there’ll be some kind of dressing up going on there, and I’m sure Little Dude will be happy to get into the “spirit” of things as well.

I’m thinking perhaps something subtle like this t-shirt from Asda might work for Little Man during the day. It doesn’t “scream” Halloween so it could be worn more than once, and its looks pretty stylish too. At just £3 its a bargain too! Little Dude will be joining in as well, probably wearing the My First Halloween sleepsuit. I definitely think something a bit cute is required for your first Halloween, and this fits the bill perfectly. No Halloween is complete without somewhere to stash your treats. Whilst Little Man won’t be heading out around the streets just yet, I’m sure I can supply a few ghoulish sweets for him all the same. A Frankenstein bucket will be just the job. This year we have our new playroom to decorate as well, so purple fairy lights seem appropriate don’t you agree? I think I can have some fun setting up some Halloween activities and decorations whilst Little Man is being spooky at preschool. I’ll have to get up into the loft to see what other bits and pieces I have. I’m sure the stores will be filling up with snacks, treat and sweets soon enough. Maybe its time to brave some more baking with my boys, and perhaps create some Halloween cupcakes. Believe me, there’s nothing “scarier” than our kitchen after a baking attempt with Little Man!

How do you celebrate Halloween in your house?

#PlayPatrol : Mission Three : Pirate Multi Layer Puzzle and Jungle Mobile

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Bigjigs Play Patrol | Posted on 23-09-2014

Tags: , , , ,

0

Little Man returned to preschool a couple of weeks ago. He’s doing three sessions a week and having his lunch there so he’s there for about four hours each time. We made the decision to change his preschool at the end of last term and we’re really pleased with where he’s going now, and he seems a lot happier. He’s also a lot tireder. I’m getting told what he’s doing each day and it sounds like there’s a lot of running around in the garden with his friends, as well as lots of fun and games and activities indoors. He goes on a Wednesday, Thursday and a Friday so by the time we get to the weekend he’s still pretty tired. I’m sure this will sort itself once he’s used to his new routine, but for now I like to keep Saturday activities fairly relaxed. He takes a trip to the local library with Daddy in the mornings, but we tend to try and do something a bit more chilled out in the house in the afternoon. Our latest Play Patrol mission looked like it would be a great activity for our lazy weekends.

He was sent the Pirate Multi Layer Puzzle. This is basically what it sounds like – three jigsaws layered on top of one another. Each one gets progressively bigger as you work your way up, and the finished puzzles fit together neatly in a tray.
We’re big fans of the pirate theme to this puzzle – Swashbuckle is one of Little Man’s favourite TV shows – and the three pictures are really good. Nice and bright, and with lots of detail so there’s plenty to talk about in them. I also think the addition of the small cutaway on one piece per jigsaw makes them much easy to remove from the tray layer by layer. I also think the puzzle is great value at just £8.99.

Unfortunately I have a few issues with the toy too.  The pieces aren’t traditional jigsaw pieces – they’re all random irregular shapes. I think traditional pieces would have been better, albeit larger than usual. I think the set would be more child friendly if the jigsaws were square – the curved top section pieces don’t fit quite as neatly and as flush as I’d really like. Finally the set is aimed at children aged 2 and over. 2?! I don’t think many 2 year old children would be able to complete these puzzles without a lot of help. Little Man is almost 4 and he found them tricky and got increasingly frustrated.

This is, for us, quite a disappointing toy from Bigjigs. The quality is what you’d expect from their range, but I think some adjustments are needed to make it as good as other items.

Little Dude had another lovely delivery however. He was the very excited recipient of a Jungle Mobile. Now he already has a mobile in his bedroom – a farm themed one which Nana bought for him – so we hung this mobile up in the new playroom. Its currently balanced a bit precariously by the french windows but I’m hoping to arrange a more permanent fixing soon.

The mobile features four jungle creatures – a lion, a giraffe,an elephant and a zebra as well as trees and plants and coloured balls. They’re all suspended from wooden bars and they spin and move nicely in the breeze. Again its another brightly coloured wooden toy – thought I am slightly confused by the bright purple elephant – and there’s a lovely amount of detailing on all the pieces. Its a beautiful mobile and one that Little Dude merrily stares at whenever he’s sat or led in the playroom.

Lots of positives from Mission Three, though a few negatives too sadly. Lets see what Mission Four brings.

Weaning: Getting Prepared

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews, Weaning | Posted on 13-09-2014

Tags: , , , , ,

0

It seems crazy that I’m already thinking about weaning. Little Dude is just 17 weeks old and whilst technically we are “allowed” to wean from now, its recommended that we wait till six months. Clearly nobody told Little Dude this. He wasn’t a particularly big baby when he was born – just 7lb 3 – but he’s been a big eater since day one. His feeding has always been regular as clockwork and the feed size has increased steadily, albeit faster than the guidelines on the formula box. According to that he’s consuming what a six month old should be having, and has been for about a month. This week I bought “Hungry Baby Formula” which is meant to help delay weaning. We’re using this for his last bottle before bed – part of our tactic to help him sleep through the night – but I’ll probably be using it for feeds during the day too soon. He’s been happily going three hours between feeds for a while now, but in the last week or so he’s begun to get a bit antsy after a couple of hours and sometimes even sooner than that. We’re going away on holiday in just over a week so I’d like to put him off weaning until we get back if I can, but I guess we have to work to what he wants and needs.

We weaned Little Man at 16 weeks. He was on purely “Hungry Baby Formula” for a few weeks before we took the plunge and started weaning. As first time parents we ummed and ahhed about it – and most of our decisions – before we did it, but even then we were unprepared when we did. This time around I’m feeling a lot more confident about the idea, and so I wanted to be totally prepared so that we could literally start as soon as he needs us to. So I’ve organised myself two weaning kits – one for at home and one for when we’re out. I don’t have the luxury of being about to camp out at home till he has the hang of it – I think Little Man would get rather bored – so I wanted to ensure I had the right bits and pieces to hand wherever we are. The two kits below are made up of things that I’ve been sent to review and things I’ve bought, most of which came from the Asda Baby & Toddler event.

Weaning At Home: At home will be by far the easiest place to wean, so it has a much larger kit:

  • Tommee Tippee Food Blender – I picked this up in the baby event for just £10. With Little Man I spent one day each weekend steaming and pureeing fruit and vegetables and then freezing them in ice cube trays. I really don’t have the time to do that this time around, but I’d still like to be able to offer up bits of what I’m already cooking from time to time. This blender makes baby sized portions of pureed food as well as slightly lumpier offerings for later on. I also picked up some cheap ice cube trays for those first tastes, and some Tommee Tippee food pots and lids for when his appetite grows. When it comes to serving up his meals I bought a Cool & Mash Bowl from the Tesco Baby Event yesterday. The bowl has a separate area for cooling spoonfuls of food before feeding it, and for squashing any lumps that need it.
  • Munchkin Bowls & Spoons – As a Munchkin Ambassador I’ve been lucky enough to receive a great array of their products which will be indispensable when we start weaning. Their Food Bowls are handy for a good size for serving up small portions and the snap top lids mean that we could potentially take food out with us in them if necessary. We have a good selection of their spoons too, including these White Hot Safety Spoons. Their coloured tips turn white if foods are too hot for Little Dude to eat, and being soft they are gentle on his little mouth.
  • Ella’s Kitchen First Tastes – Whilst I of course want to feed Little Dude as much fresh food as I can, I am realistic. For me there is no better ready made food than Ella’s Kitchen. We used it with Little Man, and I’m looking forward to using it again with Little Dude. The team sent us a lovely box of food pouches to test out for them, with delicious sounding meals as well as those first tastes of pure vegetable goodness. Needless to say I’ll have a couple full of these pouches to hand when the fun begins.
Weaning Out & About: With a five day holiday coming up as well as a weekend away with Nana and an almost four year old who likes to go out in Mummy’s car, there’s going to be a good amount of weaning away from the comfort of our house. Thankfully, we’re all ready for it:
  • Munchkin – Our weaning on the road adventures will generally be made much easier – I hope! – thanks to Munchkin. A good supply of spoons again, as well as one of their nifty roll-up bibs. The bib has a crumb catcher pocket on it which also doubles up as a pouch to put dirty spoons in once Little Dude is finished eating, and it then all tucks up inside itself and velcros shut making it much cleaner to transport. We’ve also got a couple of Food Pouch Spoon Tips which screw straight onto a food pouch. You simple squeeze spoonfuls straight from the pouch and there’s no need for a separate spoon or even two hands. The handy click-lock lids means you can transport them without worrying about leaks. Finally we have a super cute insulated bag to carry all our bits and pieces in. With a large capacity and a mesh pocket for storage, as well as a clip fastening meaning I can attach it securely to my pushchair, this is probably the most important part of this weaning kit.
  • Ella’s Kitchen – Homemade food may well come out with us in our food pots or bowls with lids, but I suspect we’ll be much more likely to use pouches when we go out. Like I said before, I love Ella’s Kitchen. You genuinely get what it says on the front – there are no hidden extra ingredients – and being organic I know they are the best for Little Dude.
So I’m pretty sure we’ve got weaning covered. My kitchen is practically buried in fact with all the bits and pieces I’ve gathered up. Have we missed anything? What’s in YOUR weaning kit?