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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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Review: Wipe Easy Oil Cloth

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 16-08-2013

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Oilcloth is one of those materials that has a hundred and one uses. We were recently sent a huge roll of it by Wipe Easy who primarily sell it as tablecloths. This is a perfect use for it if you have children as it cleans up really fast and protects your table from messy eaters. What I was asked to do was show other uses for it. We came up with one or two fairly traditional uses for it as you can see here.

uses for oil cloth collage / high chair / potty / desk


Under high chairs to protect the carpet, beneath Little Man’s desk where he tends to draw, crayon and snack, and beneath his potty. We’ve been potty training for the last few weeks and sometimes Little Man’s wee’s go sideways instead of down!

My super talented friend Katherine – of Katherine’s Cosy Creations – make this gorgeous shoulder bag for me using oilcloth and a really pretty lining. She even made it that the bag was reversible so I can have the oilcloth on the inside which is great if I’m carrying Little Man’s drink or snacks around. Please do let Katherine know what you think of this bag – she’s more than willing to make more of them!

Finally I set up a Pinterest board for Oilcloth Ideas. I’ve put a few of my favourites on there but I’m sure you can all suggest many more ways to use oilcloth. I particularly like the Picnic Place Mats with Cutlery Pockets on them – a great idea when you’re out and about and so easy to roll and store. I’m sure if I ask Katherine nicely she can whip a few up for me!

Wipe Easy sell their oilcloth in a wide range of patterns and in a variety of sizes. You’re bound to find something which fits in with your home decor or that you could make into something for yourself or your children. I’d love to know what you get up to!

Potty Training: The iPotty

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 12-08-2013

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If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that we’ve started potty training Little Man four weeks ago. Readers of my website will know that I’ve been dreading potty training for a long time because of my cream coloured carpets in every room. We’d been umming and ahhing about starting for a while now and four weeks ago we just went for it. Little Man was put into big boy pants and we were off. During week one I was putting him on the potty every 40 minutes or so, or a bit sooner after meals or large drinks. Little Man was fine with this, putting up no arguments and happily wearing pants instead of nappies. We’d intentionally bought him pants with characters on he’d recognise so he’s been wearing Toy Story and Jake & The Neverland Pirates pants. During week one we had a few accidents as you’d expect, but after day one which was chaotic, it got much better. During week two I was still reminding him to go and making sure he went before we went out and before naps and bedtime. However he’d started telling me he wanted to go. Sometimes it was before he went, and sometimes it was a case of a little leak in his pants which he then stopped and then going on the potty. For week three I stopped asking and reminding and relied solely on him. We’ve had no accidents for two and a half weeks, and I am SO proud of him. He’s wearing pull ups at nap time – and they are always dry when he wakes up – and at night. We’ve probably had seven or ten totally dry nights since we started. All in all its gone much better than I expected.

What we do have though are a multitude of potties. There’s one in the lounge and one in the main bathroom upstairs which he predominantly uses, but we have a few other spares just in case. Last week we got a new potty to review from Amazon. One which caused a bit of a stir when it came out in the UK which I was keen to test out. We are now owners of an iPotty.
ipottySo the iPotty is pretty much what the name suggests. It is a potty – with a lid and also a removable bowl for easy emptying – which has had a stand attached to it to hold your iPad whilst your child goes to the toilet. The sleeve in which you put your iPad – or other tablet – is waterproof which is kind of key on a toilet and can be fixed in landscape or portrait mode. The lid which comes with the iPotty allows it to be used as almost a mini desk so your child can play on your tablet at any time, and when Little Man sat on it he looked pretty comfortable. Now as you can imagine getting an “in use” shot of your son sat on a potty isn’t very easy or very dignified, but this is what we came up with. In the sleeve you can see his Acer tablet.
little man sat on ipotty with acer tabletAs you can see he looks comfortable and is using it as its designed. We found that the Acer worked better out of the green protective case we have it in normally, but otherwise the tablet could be used fully. He was playing Angry Birds and Temple Run in no time and, more importantly, he was doing a wee.

Now I like the idea of iPotty for providing entertainment for children sitting on the potty so they stay there longer, and this perhaps encourages them to finish what they are doing. Little Man hasn’t needed this kind of help, but I’m sure a lot do. If he needs to do a poo he knows and stays there till he’s done. This being said I like the idea behind the iPotty and think it works well. My main flaw with it though is the design. I spent much of the first week of potty training explaining to Little Man that he didn’t have to completely remove his pants and trousers, that they could just sit round his ankles whilst he went to the potty. To sit on the iPotty he HAD to remove all his bottom half and get on the potty by walking over the top of it and sitting down. Hardly the best method if its an urgent visit. Clearly Little Man didn’t like this fact either and only used this potty twice before going back to his usual one, and that’s despite his tablet being in there.

I think the iPotty is basically a great gimmick, but not really a well designed potty. Whilst I’m sure all your children would choose it as their potty if they had the chance, I wouldn’t choose it for Little Man. The design needs changing to make sitting on it much easier and quicker, and whilst the sleeve is waterproof its fastenings are hardly the best in the world. If you have an iPad – or any other tablet – and you think your little one would benefit from using it whilst trying to go to the toilet, go for it. Its much cheaper than I expected it to be and its pretty simple to put together. In its favour its one of the few potties that Little Man can actually sit at comfortably, most are too small for his rather long legs.

I will keep the iPotty in the room but I suspect it won’t get much use. Back to the drawing board I think guys. Good effort though.

A Family Trip To The Cinema

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Product Reviews | Posted on 30-07-2013

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Last weekend we went to the cinema with Little Man for the first time. He’s watched movies at home before with Tangled, Monsters Inc, any Toy Story movie and currently Despicable Me being amongst his favourites. What he tend to do though when watching films at home is wander about, play with toys, and more often than not fast forward the dull bits and watch his favourite sections. In Toy Story for example he tends to focus on any bits with Buzz or Zurg in. Going to the cinema was going to be an entirely different proposition for him. Not only would he not being to skip bits, but he’d have to sit still and stay fairly quiet. We were also at the end of week 2 of potty training. It was going to be an experience, that’s for sure.

We arrived at the cinema in good time so that Little Man would have chance to get used to the place. We’d told him that we were going to see “Monsters University” which had the same characters in as “Monsters Inc”. We took his Mike and Sulley toys with us, as well as his new Munchkin Monsters Click Lock cup. We told him we’d be seeing a movie on a really big TV which he thought was very exciting indeed. After collecting our tickets and buying some all important snacks for the movie we went inside and settled into seats on the front row. We wanted to make sure we could have a speedy getaway in case of toilet trips or if it all became too much for him. You could collect a booster seat from the lobby for little ones to sit on but we’d taken our new BoostaPak from Trunki. This seemed an ideal opportunity to test out its uses outside of the car. It fit perfectly in the seat and stopped it from closing on Little Man as he merrily climbed aboard and settled into his special chair. Needless to say the sight of the “really big TV” got him even more excited, even though nothing was showing. Try as we might to take his photo in the seat it was impossible, but I did get this shot of his little friends.

mike wazowski james p sullivan munchkin cup monsters university trunki boostapak

He didn’t seem at all concerned when the lights dimmed and the TV came on, despite the volume and he happily watched the trailers and adverts whilst munching on his popcorn and drinking his Monster juice. When the film eventually started – I think 30 minutes of adverts before a children’s movie is insane – he instantly recognised Mike. “Monsters University” is a prequel to “Monsters Inc” and shows the early lives of Mike and Sulley and how they meet and come to work together. Its full of great comedy moments, and whilst the plot is hardly the work of genius this is a children’s film after all. I loved it. Little Man and Daddy did enjoy what bits they saw. Like I said, Little Man is currently potty training – and doing VERY well – so about 30 minutes after the actual movie had started let us know he needed to go. Daddy took him and they came back about ten minutes later. Apparently after weeing Little Man had spent five minutes running up and down the lobby. You wont be surprised to hear that ten minutes later he claimed to need to go again, and spent ten minutes running up and down the lobby. Upon his third trip to the toilet Daddy decided it’d be easier to just stay outside! “Monsters University” is a great family movie, but perhaps not one to watch if you’re potty training!

I am a huge fan of the Munchkin Monsters range too. We have the click lock cup which is perfect for dark cinemas as it doesn’t leak, as well as the toddler feeding set which comprises a bowl, sectioned plate and fork and spoon. We use the sectioned plate daily. Its great at lunch time to put Little Man’s sandwiches in one section, a pile of fruit in the other, and usually a small pile of toddler crisps or rice cakes in the third. We also use it at breakfast with brioche rolls, blueberries and grapes. The rubber rim on the base of both the plate and the bowl is ideal for toddlers as it stops it from sliding about – very important for enthusiastic eaters!

“Monsters University” is showing at cinemas nationwide now and you can find the Munchkin Monsters range in store now.

I was provided with a voucher for cinema tickets and the Munchkin Monsters range for the purposes of this review.

Potty Training with Bambino Mio

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 15-08-2012

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At the beginning of July Bambino Mio sent me a “Potty Training Pack”. They were looking for bloggers who were going to be potty training that month to use, test and review their range. Now Bambino Mio wouldn’t be the first place I would look for potty training equipment, and when I was researching my last potty training post, I didn’t. Bambino Mio are well known for their range of washable nappies, but they also supply a selection of potty training essentials. This is the pack they sent me:

A strong yet compact potty with a rubber base to prevent slipping on bathroom floors. A step stool for easy access to the big toilet and also for reaching the basin to wash their hands. And a toilet training seat which I particularly liked because it fits between the rim and the seat on your toilet so there’s less chance of your little one pulling it off.

My favourite part of the pack however were the washable pull up pants. Now I have a couple of packets of disposable pull up pants, but I must say I do like the idea of washable ones. They feel much more like “Big Boy/Girl” pants and not like a normal disposable nappy so it should help eliminate the confusion of not wetting those and make Little Man much more aware that he’s wearing something different.

Now when I was sent the pack I was definitely planning on potty training. Little Man had been signing “Change My Nappy” quite a lot so was becoming aware that he was going and I took this as a good sign that we’d have potty training success. Unfortunately when the pack arrived the signing seemed to slow too and I became less convinced that he was truly ready. So now we find ourselves in August and my Little Man is still wearing nappies and has only sat on the potty a couple of times fully dressed.

I’m not sure when we’re going to start potty training, but he’s not quite 2 yet so we have plenty of time. I think I need to wait until he can understand a little more what the potty is and about “Big Boy” pants. He doesn’t seem overly keen on the potties which I have around the house at the moment, so I do wonder if he’s going to prefer sitting on the big toilet and using the training seats. At least with the pack from Bambino Mio we are fully prepared for when that happens.

For now I’ll keep pointing his potty out when I go to the toilet and he wanders after me, and I might try sitting him on the training seat occasionally to see what happens. I don’t want potty training to become a big deal or a nightmare and cause of stress for us, so I think the “Slow & Steady” tactic might be the way to go. Little Man won’t be 2 until mid October so we’re in no rush, but I think a few more pairs of washable pull up pants might be a good idea for when we do brave a no nappy day. If you have any hints or tips for potty training do post them below – I need all the advice I can get, and I’m sure other parents do too!!

You can find out more about the Bambino Mio Potty Training range here.

Potty Training Kit

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 04-06-2012

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When Little Man turned 18 months old the mailing list emails I was getting from baby clubs and baby companies suddenly all started talking about potty training. The idea of potty training is one that has filled me with dread from day one (and quite possibly before that!) so I was surprised to see that it was something that I needed to start thinking about now. I could definitely see the positives of doing it in the summer – lots of running about the garden nappy free in the sun – but the idea of doing it at all scared the life out of me, mostly due to my pale cream carpets. So I started doing some research into ideas and methods, and then looked at the bits and pieces that were out there to make the job easier. We’d already picked up a couple of potties at Nearly New Sales but I liked the idea of have one in all  main rooms, so I was after more. I got pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing, then realised it was probably one of those daunting events for all parents. So I decided to create a “Potty Training Kit” of items which I think you should have at home ready for the day your little one decides its time to stop using nappies, because it could just happen overnight. For those interested, it hasn’t happened here yet. I’m still hoping it wont!

Potties: An obvious one to start with! I have three potties in the house. One in the lounge, one in the main bathroom upstairs, and one in the downstairs bathroom. I’m thinking I might get a fourth for Little Man’s bedroom. I picked up a couple of Ikea potties at a Nearly New Sale – plain basic designs – but you an get a perfectly viable new potty from Asda for just 98p. If you’re after something a little fancier I do like the Smart Potty from Baby Bjorn. It has a splash guard at the front – essential for little boys – and the bowl itself lifts out for quick, easy and hygienic cleaning. Its compact size is also a plus as it fits neatly next to the toilet in the bathroom without being a trip hazard. Whilst Little Man hasn’t “used” it yet, he has managed to sit on it and get off again with ease – fully clothed admittedly!

Potty Seat: You might not want potties dotted about the place or your little one might decide, probably after you’ve bought a selection of potties, that they want to use the big toilet. Obviously you can’t just sit your toddler on the toilet due to the size of the seat, so you’ll need to get some Potty Seats which sit neatly on top of the toilet making it a more appropriate size. There are a wide range available, including ones that come with built in ladders to help your child on their way, but I like this simple design from Munchkin. It has rubber edges to keep it secure on the seat so there’s no slipping when your little one climbs on, it has the necessary deflector at the front, a gentle backrest for optimum comfort, and two handles for security.

Just For Boys: This rather amusing looking piece of kit was discovered when I searched to see if there was gender specific potty training equipment. Obviously with little boys and little girls having different “plumbing” and different methods of going to the toilet I was sure there’d be something, and here it is – the Tippitoes Boys Toilet Trainer. Once your little boy has mastered the art of sitting down to wee, he then needs to figure out that standing up to do it is what the big boys do. This task is being left up to Daddy in our house – I wouldn’t know where to begin with this one – and this product looks like a good idea… assuming their aim is reasonable! The Toilet Trainer fits on all standard toilet seats using the adjustable clip and can be emptied easily afterwards. Its designed to hold a full toddlers bladder – oh how I look forward to testing THAT out – and sits at the ideal height for little boys.

Step: I think a little step in the bathroom is essential, whether you’re using potties or a seat. Reaching the toilet itself will be impossible without the step – unless you get the seat with built-in ladder of course – but also you need to start making sure hands are washed after they’ve been. A step like this will make this possible, and will also help with reaching the sink to brush their teeth. If you have a tiled or lino floor – I have the same ridiculous cream carpet everywhere, including the bathrooms!! – then you want to make sure the step comes with non-slip feet. This Safe Step from Baby Bjorn has just that – non-slip feet for the floor, and a non-slip top so your little one will be safe, even with wet feet. Its also well sized so that your child can carry it around with them. Little Man likes to move it about the bathroom, sitting on it when he brushes his teeth, and standing on it when his bath is being run so he gets a better view. It also matches the Smart Potty nicely.

Wipes: With trips to the potty or toilet comes the need for bottom wiping. With your little one being used to the comfort of moist baby wipes since birth its a good idea to stock up on Toilet Training Wipes. These ensure bottoms are cleaned properly, but are also suitable for hands too. Available With or Without Fragrance they are gentle against delicate skin, and are available from all leading retailers. I like these cute designs from Asda though.

Pull Up Pants: Nappies are officially a thing of the past once potty training begins and its important that you stick to that. Obviously you need some form of protection against accidents so pull up pants are a must have. Similar to nappies in that they have a level of absorption, they go on like underwear with your little one stepping into them as opposed to being wrestled to the ground for nappy change – just me? Huggies lead the way in Pull Up Pants, but I’ll be sticking to the value and success we’ve had from Asda. They sell “First Pants” which have tear away sides for removal and provide protection against any leaks. I’ll certainly be making sure I’m well stocked with these before we take the step to toilet training.

Out & About: At some point during your potty training you’re going to have to leave the privacy of your own home. Whether it be going out in the pram or for a trip in the car your little one is probably going to have an accident. Keeping a potty in the car will help with that – travel potties such as the My Carry Potty are a popular choice – but if you want that added bit of protection I recommend one of these: A Potty Training Mat For Car Seat or Buggy sold at JoJo Maman Bebe. This attaches into the car seat or buggy and protects it from any accidents. The vinyl backing ensures that the seat remains dry so they don’t have to travel around in a puddle. I think this is a great idea for potty training on the move but also for day to day usage to protect seats from spills from drinks cups or leaking nappies before potty training begins.