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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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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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Review: Grand Hotel Eastbourne Spa Day

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Guest Reviewer, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 14-12-2012

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If you are looking for a last minute gift idea for someone in your family, or perhaps you’re thinking of spoiling yourself with a trip to the spa in the New Year to help recover from the Christmas madness, take a look at what the Grand Hotel Eastbourne has to offer. I was lucky enough to spend a day there recently with one of my Guest Reviewers, and this is how we got on.

The Grand Hotel Eastbourne is the only 5 Star seafront hotel in the country and its quality is shown from the moment you arrive – I only wish we’d been staying the night too! We were directed down to the Spa which is in the basement of the hotel and were pleased to find that the “grand”-ness of the hotel continued downstairs.

When arranging the Spa Day we’d already pre-booked which treatments we were having. The first would be just after our arrival, and the second later that afternoon once we’d had time to relax. My first treatment was a Back Massage whilst my Guest Reviewer Katherine was having a Facial, and after changing into our swimming costumes, robes and slippers – which would be our outfit for the day – we were taken off for our first pampering session. Here’s how Katherine got on:

“After being shown around the spa areas by a member of staff, I started the day with a relaxing facial. The therapist (Jillian) introduced herself and then, after completing a short health questionnaire,  left me to get changed. When she returned, the lights were dimmed and she asked if I had any issues with my skin. A deep cleansing facial was decided on, using luxurious skincare products. Jillian started with a brief arm and hand massage, before cleansing my face with a lavender gel.  Next was an exfoliation, both were removed with hot towels wrapped around my face. Then followed the choice of a ‘mask’ or facial massage – I chose the massage, which was delightful. After another hot towel, Jillian applied an eye cream, lip balm and a moisturising cream. My face felt wonderful, almost as if it wasn’t mine, and glowed in a way that it hasn’t done for a very long time.”

Meanwhile I was enjoying a Back Massage with my therapist Emma. Having never had a massage before I was rather looking forward to the experience. Emma left the room whilst I settled face down on the table and when she returned relaxing music was turned on and scented oils were used on my back as I lay there enjoying the peace. Emma did a full back massage including my shoulders, neck and head and after a deliciously relaxing massage on my back I turned over to she could do the front of my shoulders and upper arms. Whilst lying on my back I had a Lavender Pillow placed over my eyes, and this combined with the music and relaxing massage was amazing. If I’d been there a little longer I may have fallen asleep!! The perfect start to my day of rest.

Following our first treatments we had a few hours to fill before our next ones. Upon return to the main spa area and taking up camp in chairs beside the pool we were handed menus from which to choose our lunch. There was a great range on offer from sandwiches and light bites, to slightly larger meals and hot food. We both settled on the Grand Club Sandwich and a glass of fruit juice and were told it would be served in the lounge area in about 20 minutes. The service was swift and we were soon seated eating our lunch. The food was amazing and the portions were ideal. It was lovely and unusual for both of us to eat a meal without having a child hanging off us, so it made for a very pleasant time!

The afternoon was spent lounging by the pool, taking a dip in the Jacuzzi and generally not doing anything too strenuous. Relaxation was the name of the game, and we were certainly going to make the most of the opportunity. The area around the pool was nice and warm and there was a water cooler providing plenty fresh water whilst you relaxed. Before long it was time for our next treatments. This time I was having a Maintenance Manicure, and once again Emma arrived to do my treatment. There was a large number of colours to choose from, or for an extra £5 you could have a French Manicure. After some deliberation I decided on a deep plum colour. My fingernails were filed and buffed and my cuticles treated before base coats, colour and top coat were applied. Throughout it was nice to chat with Emma and watch her in action. I was really happy with my nails once she finished and was all to happy to go and sit somewhere for about 15 minutes until they’d dried fully as she advised! Whilst I was having a manicure Katherine was enjoying a very different treatment.

“My second treatment was  a Turkish salt scrub, and Jillian was my therapist again. Again, she left me to get ready and the lights were softly dimmed (not so much this time). I laid on my front to begin with and Jillian worked on my arms, applying the scrub (with a lovely soft eucalyptus scent), ‘melting’ it with warm water, and then removing the scrub with a warm mitt. Each arm & leg was done individually & then my back. Jillian then asked me to roll over and the fronts of my arms and legs were treated in the same way. Jillian then gave me the choice of whether or not I wanted my stomach and chest area done – I took her up on the offer. After completing the body scrub, Jillian applied a soothing camomile body lotion. It was a wonderful treat, I left the room very relaxed, and ready to face the world again  – it definitely made me feel like a “Yummy Mummy!”

I think its fair to say that we both thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Grand Hotel Eastbourne Spa and would go back again in a heartbeat. It was lovely to get a day to relax, but the facilities and the treatments made the day even more special. An amazing day out.

So for a last minute treat for yourself or for the New Year, or perhaps to buy a gift voucher for a loved one this Christmas, head over to the Grand Hotel Eastbourne website and make sure you pay a visit soon. You will also find them on Twitter @GrandEastbourne.

Christmas Stocking Fillers: For Mum…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Christmas Gift Guide, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 27-11-2012

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More stocking fillers now, but this time for Mums…

NSPA Products
Available exclusively from Asda this range of beauty products is deliciously fruity. Body butters and lip balms which smell divine whilst also leaving your body and lips super soft and smooth. These butters are not edible despite how delightful they smell, but are exceptionally good value for money. Each of these featured sets costs just £5 and if you go in-store on online you can find a huge range of products for women and men.

Beurer Mini Massager
Perfect for getting rid of those niggling aches and pains at the end of the day this mini massager fits neatly into your hand. Its great used on the shoulders or legs to ease tired muscles after a hectic run up to Christmas. I used this myself after long days at work on my tired calves and it relieved any tension or aches with ease. It has three individually vibrating heads and its compact size also makes it great to carry in your handbag or briefcase in case you need a little relaxation at your desk or on your commute. Every Mum deserves one of these in her stocking this Christmas. Available in a choice of colours, this model costs £11.99 and more details can be found on the Beurer website.

Rosie’s Pantry Measuring Cups
Part of Boots’ famous 3 for 2 gift sets this dinky collection of measuring cups would look great in any kitchen. Recently coveted by GBBO very own Cat, the set comes with four cups – 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 tbs and 1 dsp – each with a pastel colouring in the shape of miniature tea cups. Available now from Boots for just £10.

Betty & Walter Commendably Practical Cosmetic Purse
Again available from Boots this is new range for the store. The cosmetic purse comes with a Rose Lip Balm in a tin, a tub of Elderflower & Lemon Hydrating Hand cream, a Patterned Nail File and a Compact Mirror all inside a Printed Cosmetic Purse. Its a brilliant set and the hand cream included is a great product. It absorbs quickly into the skin and leaves hands feeling soft and cared for. The purse itself will slip neatly into any handbag for taking cosmetics on the go, or for keeping on your dressing table with your favourite odds and ends in. Buy it now from Boots for £14.

Touchscreen Gloves
Most of us own something with a touchscreen, whether it be a phone, an e-reader or a tablet. Touchscreen devices are excellent but when its winter and your hands and fingers need covering in gloves, using a touchscreen device is impossible, and taking your gloves on and off can be tiresome. These Fair Isle patterned gloves from Asda are a great solution and are available at a bargain price of just £5.

 

Mothers Day Gift Guide

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 02-03-2012

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Mothers Day is just over a fortnight away – March 18th if you’re curious – so if you’re looking for something a bit different for you own Mum or your Mother In Law, or you want some inspiration for what to drop hints about for yourself, take a look at this lovely lot. You’re bound to find something to suit!

Hotel Chocolate
You can’t go wrong with a nice box of chocolates, and The Jewellery Box from Hotel Chocolat is a guaranteed hit. The box contains 10 individually wrapped chocolates – which were delicious by the way – and when they’re all gone it leaves a stylish box with mirrored lid that is perfect for storing your own treasures in. You can buy this gorgeous box from the Hotel Chocolat website.

So…? Perfume
For a slightly longer lasting gift how about a bottle of the classic So…? Perfume or a Body Spray? So…? has been around for years and its range gets larger every season. The Original So…? fragrance combines tangerine and orange blossom with vanilla, sandalwood and patchouli and has been a favourite in my house for a long time.  It is available in a 75ml body spray, a 100ml eau de toilette, or a choice of two gift sets from the So…? website.

Pinky Knits
If you’re after something a bit different for a Mum who enjoys crafts why not try a Pinky Knits Kit? Launched this year at Top Drawer the Pinky Knits Kit allows you to knit without using needles. In fact all you need are your fingers! Casting on is simple following the instructions on the side and then you work the wool to create a knitted “noodle”. This “noodle” can then be transformed into anything your imagination can come up with! There are instructions for making a snood or a coil twist scarf, but the “noodle” can easily be turned into a hat, a cushion cover, or even a bag! Pinky Knits Kits come in a range of colours and can be found online at their website.

Mama Baby Bliss
The Little Bag Of Mama Bliss is the ideal gift for Mums celebrating their first Mothers Day. The bag contains some “Ooh” Relaxing Bath Soak which as well as providing some much needed chilling out for Mum also aids post-natal healing with its calendula, aloe vera and  geranium. There is also a tube of “Aah” Soothing Mummy Baby balm which is perfect for soothing sore nipples or chapped skin. I use this on my eczema and its amazing, and my Mum is also using it on some flaky skin caused by an operation she had last year and its working a treat for both of us. Finally there is an “Uplifting Bliss Stick” which gives Mums a little boost when applied to pulse points. The Little Bag Of Mama Bliss can be found at the Mama Baby Bliss website a long with hints and tips for creating a blissful mama this Mothers Day.

 

Keep Calm For Mums
Parenthood can be difficult and at the end of a long day Mums can often be left feeling fraught and reaching for the nearest bottle. If you need a helping hand to get your through those days get yourself a copy of “Keep Calm For Mums” from Summersdale Publishing. This lovely pink book is packed with witty and uplifting quotes which are sure to bring a smile to your face and get your through even the most nightmarish day. “Keep Calm For Mums” is available from all good bookshops, or direct from Summersdale.

Stockwell Ceramics
Stockwell Ceramics is based in Cornwall and they produce a range of buttons, pendants, brooches and earrings made from beautifully coloured ceramic. You might have spotted their items in the V&A in London, or The Natural History Museum. As well as their standard range they often create bespoke commissions, but I think my favourite of their items is this lovely bird brooch. You can view their range now at their website.

Period Features
If you’re looking for a gift with a slightly more classical look to it you’d be best going to Period Features. Period Features primarily sources products for period homes, such as wallpaper, furnishings and heritage paints. However they also do a range of classic items like napkins and feather dusters. I particularly like the French Soaps and the traditionally packaged bath salts. The soaps are traditionally hand made and look beautiful as a decoration as well as in use. The bath salts look exactly as you would expect in their period paper packets. Period Features can be found in Leek, Staffordshire or online.

TeaJay Tea
Every Mum I know loves a good cup of tea. I know I certainly do. Whilst I am typically more like to reach for my usual brand of tea, I do occasionally fancy something a bit different. Why not send your Mum some TeaJay Tea to try? Their teas are inspired by music so are all named after songs. They have a wide range of herbal, fruit and Rooibos to choose from which make ideal teas all year round – they can all be made into delicious ice teas during the summer months. I rather enjoyed the Corazon De Melon which is delicious mix of honey, melon and guava with a hint of strawberry. TeaJays tea can be bought in varying quantities at their website.

Honey Tree
Honey Tree are bespoke stationers who create personalised stationary, invitations, labels and sell unique artwork from their online store. For Mothers Day they have a lovely range of labels for those Mums who enjoy making jams and preserves, or their own drinks. Labels can have just an image on or text too are designed by you so you are getting exactly what you want. The quality is great and ordering couldn’t be simpler.

Limited Edition Prints are also available, and these make a lovely gift. There is a wide range available and they come either mounted or framed and mounted and are signed too. You will find prints that are kitchen and garden themed that any Mum would be proud to hang. I am a big fan of the Fork & Spoon print which I think would look great in the kitchen, or the range of Heart prints would be a great way to show your Mum just how much you care. You can view the full range of prints, and the array of labels at the Honey Tree website.

Wood And Willow
Wood And Willow is a small family run business and #SBS winner who sells items to “Make Your House A Home”.  They sell a beautiful range of gifts for both the house and garden, and also feature a lovely selection of UK Handmade items. You will be spoilt for choice on the Wood And Willow website when it comes to buying something for your Mum, or at other times of the year, but my favourites include the Heart Shaped Frame Trio and the Red Gingham Apron Set. The frame trio is off-white in colour and would be ideal for photos of Mum, Dad and Baby. The Apron Set comprises an apron, oven glove and quilted pot stand. It comes direct from France to add a little French chic to your kitchen. The Wood And Willow website can be found here.

Boots
If your Mum is in need of a little pampering and you’re thinking a nice gift set is the way to go then you can’t go wrong in Boots where there is a great range from Champney’s on offer.  My picks are the “Indulgence Oriental Opulence Travel Collection” and the “Best Of Spa” sets which both contain handy sized products including bath soaks, shower gels and hand creams. If you’re after a gift for a Soon-To-Be-Mum how about the “Extracts Fairtrade Mini Body Butter Collection” which will be perfect for keeping bump nice and soft, and includes a Cocoa Butter which is good for helping prevent stretch marks. A full range of Boots Gift Sets can be found in store, or online.

Gumigem
How about a gift that’s both for Mum and for their little one? Jewellery wearing is generally a nightmare when you have a small child so most Mums forgo their collection until their children are older. With Gumigem you don’t need to! The stylish necklaces feature what look like solid stone pendants so are fashionable, but the “stone” is actually made from the same material as most traditional teethers. This means you can look stylish whilst your baby can safely chew on your necklace during times of teething, and if they do pull hard on it the safety catch at the back releases meaning no more strangling Mum! The necklaces come in four shapes and a range of beautiful colours, and are even worn by celebrity Mums like Denise Van Outen and Michelle Heaton. The full range can be viewed here but if you want to buy a Gumigem this Mothers Day I sell them with prices starting at £10, so get in touch for details!

Curvety
If you’re after clothing for that slightly curvier figure take a trip to the Curvety website. They stock a range of glamorous and fashionable clothing to dress your beautiful curves in style. From dresses, trousers and skirts to an amazing Bridal range as well as the all important shoes Curvety covers everything you could possibly want. In addition to their vast clothing range they also sell accessories including the gorgeous necklace you see below, which would look great on any woman, regardless of size. The full Curvety range can be found online.

The Old Bag Company
Perhaps a new bag is in order for Mum this year, but you want to get her something a little different. What about the “Sophie Canvas Bag” from the Old Bag Company? The bag comes with an array of pockets to store all Mum’s bits and pieces and has a waterproof liner in case of any spills. It’s machine washable and inside every bag is a message from the Old Bag Company children (who all the bags are named after) so you know you’re getting the genuine article. Available in six colour choices this bag is perfect as a handbag, shopper, beach bag, hand luggage or funky work bag. This bag, and the rest of the spotty and stripey range, can be found at the Old Bag Company website.

Swanky Maison
If you want to get your Mum something totally different whilst supporting new and up-and-coming UK designers head over to Swanky Maison. Swanky Maison is an online boutique that sells gifts and items for the home that have been designed and made here in the UK. The range of items on there is mind-blowing – I was on there for hours pouring over the gorgeous things – and I defy anyone to not find something they love. One of my favourite designers on there is ‘Red Brick Glass’. Based in Dorset, Wendy the founder of ‘Red Brick Glass’ creates a stunning array of glass items using a her kiln, finishing them all by hand and packaging them beautifully. I adore these glass lanterns, available in a set of three, with their delicate butterfly print on them which are fired in the kiln to ensure they won’t scratch off. I think these would look pretty in the garden, as centre pieces at a spring wedding, or just around the bath when Mum has that much deserved relaxing soak. ‘Red Brick Glass’ and a host of other talented designers can be found on the Swanky Maison e-boutique website.

Tesco Nail Varnish
If your children are just reaching an age where they understand the significance of Mothers Day and perhaps want to spend “their” money on a present for Mummy then Tesco might just have the answer. Their “All About Nails” range is perfectly priced at just 99p per bottle and they have large number of colours available from the brights to the on-trend pastels, and whilst the price is cheap the quality is fabulous. So come on Dads, why not nip out to the supermarket with your children this weekend and grab Mum a present they can buy themselves? ‘All About Nails’ is available now from your local Tesco store.

Yankee Candle
A Housewarmer candle from Yankee Candle is a gift that Mum, and the rest of the family, can enjoy for up to 150 hours. Presented in a large glass jar with glass lid this is an epic candle that will also make a lovely decorative feature in any room of the house. When it comes to scented candles I prefer something subtle to provide a nice background smell as opposed to something overpowering, so for me the ideal Yankee Candle would be the Vanilla Satin – a gentle classic fragrance. This fragrance, and others, is available in several sized candles from small tea-lights to the mighty large glass jars from the Yankee Candle website.

Afternoon Tea
She’s probably spent years slaving over your tea, and now she can have a fantastic time unwinding with a different type of tea, scones, and a selection of scrumptious cakes on her tea for two experience. Whether you opt for afternoon tea at Harrods or you whisk her away to any of 20 elegant rural locations across the UK, she’ll simply love this traditional treat. Tea For Two days out are available from the Buy-A-Gift website.