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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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Festive Bingo!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Sponsored Posts | Posted on 06-12-2016

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The Christmas countdown has began! Crackers, check. Turkey, check. Sprouts….. maybe not this year.

Christmas and New Year are full of traditions. Some are historic like leaving the carrot for the reindeer on Christmas Eve or counting down the minutes to midnight on New Years eve. Others are more recent such as singing hit songs or watching a fight unfold on Eastenders.

I have these fabulous online bingo cards with some known and lesser known traditions on. See how many you can tick off and how traditionally British your holidays is!

paddypowerbingo

Thanks to Paddy Power for these great festive bingo cards – I hope you have fun playing along!

Christmas 2013: Breville Blend Active

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Foodie, New Year New You, Product Reviews | Posted on 04-12-2013

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Christmas is a time for indulgence. I’m sure we’re all guilty of overdoing things a little during the festive period with too much food or drink. Huge Christmas lunches, boxes of chocolates and biscuits, and just one more slice of cake. January dawns and everyone starts panicking about how much weight they’ve put on, as well as how much they’ve spent. If you or a loved one is planning on embarking on a new diet and fitness regime come 2014 then a Blend Active by Breville may well be the best present you get this Christmas.
“Not another blender/smoothie maker!!” I hear you cry. Well this one is a little bit different. This compact blender comes with two 600ml drinks bottles which you use to mix your drink in, and then take out with you to the gym or on the school run or for a healthy drink later in the day thanks to the none spill lids. The one-touch blending system is super easy to use, and the blades and bottles are all dishwasher friendly. The Eastman Tritan Copolyester bottles are also durable, shatterproof, and odour, taste and stain resistant.
Now I don’t do exercise – apart from running around after a three year old all day – and my school run is particularly lame as I take the car because my stamina is pathetic due to me being pregnant, so I gave this nifty little blender to my Dad to review – also known as Pops. He works four days a week for a taxi company in Chichester and generally tends to leave for work at 4am – don’t ask me how he does it, I have no idea! Leaving that early means his meals are generally at random times and he tends to grab things on the go. Not the healthiest way to live. He’s a fan of smoothies but has never had the facilities to take them with him. He is the PERFECT guinea pig for this little review then.
I must confess I expected the novelty of this to wear off pretty quickly, but I can report that Pops has been using this machine daily – even when he’s at home –  since I took it over several weeks ago. He’s having a huge range of fruit smoothies with yogurt in and fruit juice, and the machine is so easy to use.
He is a huge fan. The convenience of the pieces being dishwasher proof is a huge plus point as he can make his smoothie at 4am before he leaves and pop the blades in the dishwasher. Having two bottles is brilliant as there is always one in use and one getting washed.
Its the ideal healthy drink for someone who spends the day in a car driving, and its much more cost effective than stopping and buying food and drinks when you’re out on the road.  You can currently get this Blend Active for just £20.00 on Amazon which is great value for this nifty bit of equipment.

I was sent a Breville Blend Active to review by Amazon.

New Year, New You: Job Seeking Advice

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, New Year New You | Posted on 09-01-2013

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Looking for a new job, especially after an absence from the workplace, can be a challenging task. The feeling of ‘going it alone’ can make finding employment stressful, with job searches, CVs and interview preparation to consider. As anyone who has been job seeking for a substantial amount of time is aware, all these areas demand time and dedication to master. However, there are numerous resources you can take advantage of in order to make your job search easier.

Parents who have been working hard looking after their children, but who have reached a point where they are able to carry out paid work again, can also find the jobs market a bewildering place to be, mainly because it is likely to have changed substantially since they last worked. But as with all job seekers, resources and assistance is available.

Local job centres often have special schemes set up specifically to help parents back into work, sometimes run in conjunction with other organisations. These groups cover important aspects of job seeking such as finding vacancies, filling in forms and writing CVs. Job centre schemes such as these will also provide advice and information on educational courses that can be taken, some of which may be provided free of charge. If there has been a long absence from the workplace, then new skills may be required. The way businesses operate changes all the time, so it is natural that job seekers may need to brush up on certain skills. Doing so can make a jobseeker much more attractive to a potential employer.

New types of job

If a job seeker has spent a lot of time way from the jobs market, they may not be aware of new job types that have developed. Many of these will have occurred within the Information Technology sector. And overall, there are a great many vacancies related to IT. But while these jobs are often placed under the umbrella of ‘IT’, they are often very diverse, ranging from administration roles, to computer programming and website maintenance positions. Some of these might require specialist courses to be taken, while others may offer on-the-job training, so long as certain computer skills already exist.

Fortunately, there are many specialist employment agencies that can assist in finding these kinds of jobs – right across the UK. Whether you are looking for IT recruitment in Sussex or in Southampton, you will find these dedicated agencies in all parts of the country. By signing up to one of them, you may have a better chance of finding out about new IT jobs than someone who searches using only newspapers and the Internet. This is because of the relationships such recruitment firms have built up with employers, which gives them fore-knowledge about new roles. In addition, they will be well placed to give advice on how to approach targeted CV writing, and interviews – if one is offered. And finally, they can take the pressure off job seekers, since they find jobs for a living.

New Year, New You: Picking The Perfect Eyewear

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information, New Year New You | Posted on 01-01-2013

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Glasses can make a huge impact on your image.

It’s no coincidence that when costume designers want to add intelligent gravitas to a character in movies they always equip them with a thick set of frames. Similarly, the amount of specs-wearing action heroes found in Hollywood blockbusters can be counted on the fingers of one fist.

With the amount of time we spend staring at a screen every day increasing rapidly for many of us the need for corrective eyewear is growing alongside it. Picking the perfect pair of glasses for you, or even deciding not to become bespectacled, is a big choice that will quite literally stay with you for months, or even years, to come.

So before you head to the opticians use the tips in this post to get an idea of the perfect frames for you.

Fashion

Buying frames because they’re fashionable is a risky business; by definition fashion is a fickle thing and you can quickly find yourself falling from the top to the bottom of the style spectrum. Think of all those big, brightly-coloured glasses frames which were incredibly popular in the 1980s and yet today wouldn’t be seen outside of a circus.

The current trend is for thicker frames, resembling the old NHS prescription style, to the point where some ‘hipsters’ wear them even without lenses in. However, this could all change in the blink of an eye, so it’s much better to pick eyewear that you’re comfortable with and which you think suits you personally.

Similarly, it is good to pick a frame colour that works with several outfits; classic black or chrome frames will match with nearly every look. If you want to go for a bolder colour be particularly mindful of how it works with your hair tone, as this is something that will likely remain constant.

Face Shape

Your face shape is an important consideration when picking a style of glasses to suit you. What looks great on one person may have a completely different effect on another. Opticians split people into four basic face shape groups:

Square

An angular hard jaw and high square forehead can be offset with rounded frames that soften the angular shape of the face.

Rectangle

Longer faces with high cheekbones and foreheads can use a thicker, wider frame to round out their face shape. A solid upper part to the frame is particularly effective.

Oval

If you have an oval face you can consider yourself particularly fortunate when it comes to eyewear – as nearly every glasses style will suit you. Why not take the opportunity to be a bit experimental until you find a pair that you really love?

Round

Shorter than an oval face, rounded face shapes benefit from angular frames which draw attention to your eyes and give your face height.

Ask the Experts

Whatever style you’re looking for you nobody will be able to help you more than a qualified optician. You can even get advice online with glasses guides to help you pick the perfect frames.

Remember that in the end the only person who has to like your glasses is you, as you’ll be spending a lot of time with them. So be sure before you buy.

Picture by Evil Erin

 

Review: This Is Nessie Thank You Cards

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, New Year, Product Reviews | Posted on 28-12-2012

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Well Christmas is over and hopefully Santa came and delivered everything your little ones wanted. Should they – or you – wish to send letters of Thanks to any friends or relatives who might have added to Santa’s gifts, then you might want to take a look at This Is Nessie.

This Is Nessie offers a delightful range of handmade stationery for all ages, but its Christmas Thank You cards are just beautiful. You have a choice of designs to feature on your cards, and you also have the option of having them personalised if you wish. We were sent a set for review and they were even more exquisite than I expected. The design features a Santa holding two gifts aloft and beneath that is our personalised message. The cards are high quality A6 size and come with, in our case, bright red envelopes. There is plenty room on the front and back for a little note thanking someone for their gift and a brief message. I am really looking forward to sending these out in the New Year and receiving no doubt hugely positive feedback. Packs of 10 cards cost just £7.50 which is a great price for such a high quality product.

The ordering process is so simple. With just a few clicks you can get precisely the design you want. In the Christmas Thank You card section there is a choice of several classic images, from reindeer to stockings to Christmas trees, and then your simply type in any personalisation you want. It couldn’t be simpler, and you end up with perfect thank you cards.

As well as thank you cards they also do other stationery, including greetings cards, change of address, birth announcements, and even your own personal writing paper. Delivery is quick and efficient, and items arrive gorgeously wrapped ensuring your items arrive in the best possible condition.

You can find the full range from This Is Nessie at their website.

Health: Good Food & Drinks For Christmas & New Year

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Foodie | Posted on 18-12-2012

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Overindulging is one of the best parts of Christmas – I certainly do it, and I’m sure everyone reading this will be guilty of it this year too. As the New Year dawns we’ll all start thinking about resolutions and no doubt healthy eating and a new fitness regime will be part of that for some of us. I’m pretty sure we all start each new year with the best of intentions, but no doubt by the end of the first week all hope is lost!

Here are a few recipes for drinks, meals and snacks which might just help you have a healthy Christmas and New Year. By using Philadelphia Light, Total Greek Yogurt or making “Mocktails” with Welchs Purple Grape Juice, you can eat well, and eat healthier.

Turkey & Cranberry Bites
This is a great way to use up Christmas Day leftovers and create some tasty nibbles for Boxing Day and beyond. Take a 375g pack of ready rolled puff pastry and cut it into 24 little squares. Top each square with a dollop of Philadelphia Light, some Cranberry Sauce and a few pieces of cooked turkey. Cook for 10-15 minutes at 220degrees/Gas 7 until the pastry is golden. Allow to cool a little before serving.

Mini Cheesecake Bites
These are also a great party food, or you could make a large one anytime. Take a packet of mini chocolate chip cookies, shortbread rounds, or oat biscuits and top generously with spoonfuls of Chocolate Philadelphia. Top with fresh fruit of your choice, such as strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.

Creamy Lincolnshire Sausage Hot Pot
For a great family friendly meal try this delicious hot pot.

Prep time: 45mins
Cooking time: 1hr
Serves: 4

454g Lincolnshire pork sausage (8 sausages)
2 Eating apples (preferably red to add colour to the dish)
1 Leek
2 Large carrots
1 Medium onion
1 Clove of garlic (crushed)
½ pint Chicken stock
300g TOTAL Greek Yoghurt Classic
4 Medium potatoes
50g Butter
Olive oil for cooking

Method:
Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark 6/400F or 200C.
Peel and par boil the potatoes in a saucepan of salted water, drain and allow to cool.
Cut each apple into four wedges and remove the core. Gently sauté in a frying pan with a little olive oil for around 3-4 minutes then remove from the pan and place to one side.
Roughly cut the carrot, leek and the onion into 1 inch pieces.
Gently sweat with the garlic for approximately 5 minutes until they start to soften, then add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
When stock has boiled, remove from the heat and add the yoghurt.
In a frying pan, quickly fry off the sausages in a little olive oil whilst cooking the par boiled potatoes into ¼ inch thick slices.
Place the sausages and apples into a large casserole dish. Then pour over the carrot, onion, leek and yoghurt mixture.
Next, lay the sliced half cooked potatoes over the top in an even layer. Generously brush with melted butter and bake in the middle of oven for approx 1 hr until crisp and golden on the top.

This is delicious, and a great recipe for hiding vegetables from little ones too!

Black Forest Gateau In A Glass
This is a lovely healthy twist on the classic dessert, and served in individual glasses looks great too.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
500g TOTAL Greek Yoghurt (0%, 2% or Authentic)
1 tin Pitted black cherries
½ pkt Luxury chocolate cookies
100g Nutella
1 Cadbury’s flake

Method:
Drain the cherries, but keep the juice.
Crush the cookies and chop the flake into small pieces

To Serve:
Take four sundae glasses – or any quirky glassware you have – and layer the ingredients. Start with the cookies and drizzle with the juice from the cherries. Next add a layer of cherries, a layer of chocolate spread and a layer of yoghurt.  Keep adding the layers until glass is nearly full. Finish with a sprinkling of crumbled flake!

These look amazing, and taste delicious!

Mock Mulled Wine
Try this festive juice this year instead of the traditional alcoholic version. Put 300ml of Welchs Purple Grape juice, 2 cloves, 1cm stick of cinnamon, 1 star anise and a 2inch piece of orange peel into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a hot drinks glass – removing and pieces first of course – and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Tasty and much better for you.