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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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Did I #SleepWellAtIbis ?

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Blogger Event, Product Reviews | Posted on 30-10-2012

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Last Monday I joined a small group of bloggers at an event to learn more about sleep. We were based at the brand new Ibis hotel in Shepherds Bush which had opened just a week earlier. We were joined for the day by Sleep Expert Sammy Margo who gave us all indispensable tips and advice for getting good quality sleep, and I must admit that I’m sleeping better since the event – I put it down to bed socks and a glass of milk before bed!

The reason for basing the event at the new Ibis hotel was to give us all the opportunity to test out the brand new ‘Sweet Bed by Ibis’. I’m sure you’ve all seem the advert on the TV at the moment where there’s a man sleeping in a bed when a team of people tiptoe in, lift him up and swap his bed. The new ‘Sweet Bed by Ibis’ has begun rolling out across the chain already and by the end of October 66,000 beds will have been replaced worldwide. The entire network will have been completed by the end of 2013.

When it came to changing the beds the research and design team focused on the three key components of the bed – the frame, the mattress, and the topper. The new frames feature hygienic multi-slat technology which can sustain 500kg of weight without becoming deformed. The new mattress is made from recycled mattress foam so its a very sustainable product, but also provides support without sagging. The topper is 7cm deep which is very generous, and is present across the whole Ibis chain, not just the high-end upscale hotels.

Here’s the bed in the room I was given for the night, where you can clearly see the three defined layers:

Honestly? Most comfortable bed I have EVER slept in. As soon as you sat on the bed you felt instantly comfortable as the topper makes you relax. Its so cosy and comfy and believe me, getting out the next morning was something of a challenge! I think all the bloggers wanted to take their bed home with them the next day.

I’d never stayed in an Ibis before, it was not a hotel I’d ever really considered, but after this stay I will be looking at them more closely in future when I’m hotel hunting. The rest of the room was great too. There was a large flat screen TV on the wall at the foot of the bed, generous hanging space and shelves to unpack into, tea and coffee making facilities, and a good sized bathroom with a nice large shower. The room also had facilities for you to control the temperature. I particularly liked the system for opening the room door – by tapping your key card on a sensor, in the same way you use an Oyster card. I always seem to battle with the usual scanning machines! Another feature of the rooms I liked was the Free Wifi. A lot of hotels claim to provide Free Wifi, but its often just in reception or the bar. This is throughout the hotel so if you need to work – or Tweet – there is free accessible Wifi in the comfort of your own room.

So the next time you’re looking for a hotel do take a look at the Ibis. This branch only has Double or Twin rooms – they can put cots in some of the bedrooms for small children and have rooms with adjoining doors for larger families – but there are a lot of other branches within London and the surrounding area, as well as throughout the country and across the globe. To find out more about the Ibis chain and to book your next break visit their website now.

And if you or your children are having trouble sleeping I suggest you check out Sammy Margo’s books: “The Good Sleep Guide” and “The Good Sleep Guide For Kids“.

Product Review: Joolz Day Pram

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Holiday, Product Reviews | Posted on 12-07-2012

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Having the right pram for your child is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a parent. You need them to be totally safe, secure and comfortable, but you also want the best pram for you – one that is easy to manoeuvre, perhaps one that fits into a compact car, maybe you need one that can go off-road. You know what you need and you can bet there is a pram out there that is perfect for you. One you might not have heard of, but should definitely consider, is the Joolz Day.

The Joolz Day is the ultimate pram. Above you can see it as we mostly used it – as a forward facing pushchair. Little Man loved riding about in this pram – he was that little bit higher up than with other prams so had a better view of his surroundings, his feet sat neatly on the adjustable footrest, and he held on tightly to the safety bar. The large back wheels had great suspension on them so he was never bounced and shaken around, he was always gliding about in total comfort – even when we took the pram onto the beach during our holiday in Devon, though we did have to balance the pram just on the back wheels!

The Joolz Day also gives you the option of turning this seat around so your child can be facing you. On the occasions where we pushed him around like this it made handing him snacks and drinks much easier. Having the seat in this position would be ideal for younger babies who had recently progressed out of the carry cot. Little Man wasn’t overly keen as he’d much rather look at where he’s going then whoever is pushing him around!

The Joolz Day comes with a carry cot which has a hypo-allergenic breathable mattress inside. I only wish Little Man had been small enough to fit in this as it feels so soft and cosy. It is a good size and can be carried around by transferring the safety bar across from the pushchair. The carry cot would make an ideal bed for your newborn when at home, as well as if you’re visiting friends or relations – one less thing to pack in the car!

Moving from carry cot to pushchair is simple – whether forward or rear facing. Each component simply clicks in and out of position with ease, and when not in use they take up very little room.

One of my favourite features on the Joolz Day was the handlebar which is adjustable. By simply pulling on two small latches you can raise or lower the handlebar to suit whoever is pushing it. This was a great feature which came in very handy on holiday as both myself, my husband and Little Man’s grandparents were on pushing duty at some point, and it allowed each user to push in comfort. A handlebar at the wrong height makes pushing a pram very uncomfortable so this feature is a godsend.

I also loved the ease with which we could manoeuvre the Joolz Day. Its turning circle is tiny, and with it being lightweight (just 12kg) and having swivelling wheels on the front and the giant back wheels, the pram literally glides on its journey. You could push it around easily with just one hand if needs be, making it a good choice for anyone with an older child who perhaps doesn’t need a pram any more, but still needs to be kept an eye on! I could safely push Little Man around in this with one hand with a takeaway coffee in the other, safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t put him (or any passers-by) at risk.

When it comes to collapsing the Joolz Day to put it in the boot of your car or take it on board public transport it is a bit of a hassle unfortunately. To go in the boot its fine – you need to take off whichever seat you are using and then fold the chassis up. Now it does fold fairly flat and if you’re putting it into the boot your child will have already been placed into a car seat. If you’re taking them onto a bus or train however and you’re alone it could be a bit of a nightmare. You are going to struggle getting this pram onto public transport in one piece, so if that is your only means of travel, this pram might not be the one for you. Whilst on holiday in Devon we went on a cliff railway. Luckily there were four adults so one of us carried Little Man, one of us carried the seat, and another carried the chassis. That journey of only a couple of minutes would have been impossible on my own.

At £649 this is a pricey pram, but if it meets your needs it is a sturdy piece of equipment which is certain to last you for as long as your child needs a pram, and maybe even for any future additions. A list of your nearest retailers can be found online here.

Maximising Space In A Child’s Bedroom

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 25-06-2012

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I’m sure I’m not the only mum to be taken aback by just how many toys my child has amassed over the years, and just how much space these headless action figures and broken bits of Lego take up in my home. Yes, the irony here is that despite having no income of his own, my five year old son seems to own more personal possessions than I do, and so now we face a problem whereby his small bedroom can no longer house all of his belongings. The solution is of course to either win the lottery and buy that million-pound multi-room mansion, or – perhaps more realistically – to think about how to make the most of the space available in my child’s small bedroom.
Clearing clutter away and finding a home for each and every item is a good way to create a sense of space in any bedroom. Having practical storage solutions such as toy boxes and shelves around your child’s room is a good way to help control the chaos of books and toys being scattered everywhere. Creating a consistent routine with your child where they know where to return each item after they have finished with it is a good way to keep on top of maintaining a sense of space and order in their bedroom. They will also getting into the good habit of picking up after themselves, and praising this tidy behaviour will help them to develop a sense of pride about the space around them, encouraging them to want to keep it clean.
A bed can typically take up more room in a bedroom than any other item, and so one practical way of creating space is by doubling the bed up as both a place of sleep and relaxation for your wee one, and as a storage unit for their toys and trinkets. Practical divan beds are a good bet for doing this, and specialist bed and mattress provider Silentnight offers a wide range of different models to match the size of storage required, including specialised beds for children and toddlers.
Clothes can often be the biggest cause of clutter, and so finding a way to organise these with perhaps a closet system or shelving unit is a good way to avoid the unsightly image of socks and underpants strewn all over the furniture. Even something as practical as hanging a pocket shoe organiser on the closet door can be useful in making that extra bit of space. Again, try to use positive reinforcement to encourage your child to be responsible for putting away their own clothes, and for learning that every item in their room has a home, whether it’s their favourite Action Man or just a lonely old sock.