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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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Make Family Life A Little Easier

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 26-07-2013

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Anyone who has a busy family life will know that there’s no secret formula for keeping everything running smoothly and keeping everyone happy. Mostly it just takes hard work, determination and a lot of compromise.

However, there are some things that you can organise to make life a little easier and any unexpected events simpler to cope with. So for anyone looking to get their home life in order, here are the top four issues to address first.

Finances

Many a sleepless night and family argument has been caused by troublesome finances, and there’s nothing worse than not knowing where you stand when it comes to money.

If you’re struggling to get your financial matters straightened out, consider hiring an adviser to guide you through the more complex areas.

It’s also important to organise your finances in case of emergency. Drawing up a will, allocating the person you want to deal with probate registry and making your relatives aware of your final wishes will all make you feel more in control.

Insurance

Getting your money sorted may be one thing, but if your house gets flooded, your pet needs medical treatment or a tree falls on your car, money can pour out of your account quicker than you can put it back in.

This is where insurance comes in. The more comprehensive insurance you can get, the better. Talk to your bank or building society as well, as many will offer great deals on various types of insurance.

Education

Parents have been known to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure a good education for their children, and getting this sorted at an early stage can really take the pressure off further down the line.

If you can, enrol your child into a primary school that feeds directly into a good secondary school. Where this is not possible, look for alternatives, like scholarships to fee-paying schools, or free schools that are due to open in the future.

Food

Getting your family’s diet in order and on the right track will help to make you all feel healthier and happier and will set a great precedent for your children.

Try and get into good habits, eating lots of fresh foods and cooking from scratch whenever you can.

Though these steps may not solve all of your problems, they will make a big difference in your family’s life, so get out your to-do list, get planning and get everything in order and ship shape. 

Creating Space and Style with Clever Home Storage

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 02-11-2012

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The other day I visited a friend who’d recently bought a new home. The flat was lovely – bright with clean white walls making it feel much bigger than a one bedroom apartment had any right to be. When I paid my compliments, my friend raised her eyebrows. “No storage though,” she said, “and I can’t face another trip to IKEA.” This is the war cry I’ve heard time and again (about storage, people’s opinions are mixed about IKEA) – our homes are just not big enough. Whether it’s a one bedroom flat or six bedroom house, how we tackle our storage requirements can really impact our enjoyment of the spaces we live in.

There are ways we can maximise our storage, however:

1. Disguise storage spaces

Obviously we could buy large boxes – crates even – to dump our belongings into, but then the problem of space would be the boxes or crates themselves – we don’t want our storage to be unsightly or become a feature of a room. Good storage should be practically invisible. Looking for unused spaces above and below eye line can help – most extra space will be “out of sight” e.g. full-length hanging storage on the backs of doors, or gaps under sofas or beds. Consider storage you can sit on: such as chests with cushions on top. Beds with built-in drawers are great too, as are kids play tables with storage bins underneath. In wardrobes and storage furniture, look for height with sliding doors to maximise space, and floor to ceiling bookshelves where possible.

2. Look for unused opportunities

There are many areas in your home that might be useful for storing things such as garage’s, attics and under the stairs. Consider the risks, however. For example, most of us have unused attic space but if its difficult to get into, it won’t be much help for heavier items. Basements are also another area, but consider damp and pests that could ruin possessions, especially organic items like books or clothes. The best places for storage are temperature regulated areas, free of rats, mice and insects – on ground level.

(Tip: alcoves and bay windows can be transformed to increase storage spaces too).

3. Maximise space

Much of the space in the upper part of each kitchen unit is completely wasted. Buy dividers, stacking boxes and mini shelves to help use this space better. Clothes rails, hanging shelves, and shoe racks can help in the bedroom too. In your bathroom, consider a mobile unit with pull-out baskets to sit under your sink.

4. Self storage

People often think that a rented storage space has to be room-sized, but options are much more flexible. Smaller wardrobe sized lockers are now available which are great to store smaller amount of items, such as overspill from a room or two. Use off site storage to keep your home uncluttered once you’ve maxed out all logical storage space to increase spaciousness and style.

Drew Davies writes for Big Yellow Self Storage. To help declutter a room, Big Yellow has a range or storage rooms and lockers (wardrobe sized from 9 sq ft). For more information see their website or blog

 

Product Review: Pack Mate Ottoman

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 31-10-2012

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If your lounge is anything like mine its probably hidden somewhere beneath a mountain of children’s toys and their associated “stuff”. Clutter and chaos is normal part of everyday life in our house, but at the end of the day or when people visit, I don’t like my house looking like the local toy shop. The next problem is that I hate house work. I don’t want to spend hours at the end of the day packing toys up, and if people visit at a moments notice I sometimes just don’t have the time. Some storage for children’s toys doesn’t work well in a lounge, especially if you’re trying to keep it somewhere for adults too, but the new Ottomans from Pack Mate are brilliant.

Supplied flat packed but with very simple construction the Faux Leather or Faux Suede Ottoman’s come in three sizes. The smallest is designed to fit at the end of a single bed, but also looks great in the lounge. It holds a lot of toys and books, and also makes a great spare seat. Little Man likes to sit on it whilst he’s watching TV!

You can also get the Ottoman in two bigger sizes, designed to fit at the end of double or king sized beds. If you do want to use the Ottoman somewhere else, I also found it great to use in the corner of my bedroom to store some of my shoes in.

Ottomans are the new addition to the already essential Pack Mate range. Their Vacuum Storage Bags are indispensable when it comes to packing duvets and pillows not in use away somewhere compact and clean. They are also great for packing away outgrown baby and maternity clothes, just in case! Travel Roll Bags are perfect for holidays – you don’t need a vacuum either, you simply fill it up, zip it closed, roll out any air and pop it in your suitcase. Ideal if you tend to try and cram a little too much in your case!

For more details on the Pack Mate range, including stockists, head over to their website. You can also find them on Twitter @Pack_Mate.