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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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New Baby Gifts: Sew Lomax Muslins

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Preparing For Baby, Product Reviews | Posted on 28-07-2014

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When Little Man was born almost four years ago there was this huge influx of gifts from family and friends. Money, clothes, toys, blankets and items to cherish forever. With Little Dude’s arrival there was – thankfully – considerably less. Clothes get grown out before you can blink, toys aren’t something we are short of thanks to four years of buying for Little Man, and blankets haven’t been necessary with this immense heatwave we’re living through. Money is gratefully received and put into savings for him, and we’ve had the odd item which will adorn his bedroom for years to come. What the baby gift market seems to be lacking in for me is functional gifts which are also beautiful. Something you can use that also looks great. Something like the new muslins from SewLomax.

Muslin cloths are a serious must have for all parents. With Little Man we opted for piles of plain white ones, whilst with Little Dude we have stacks of them in every colour of the rainbow. They have so many uses and you’ll find them scattered throughout the house. The most popular use for them in our house is when we’re feeding Little Dude. As a baby with colic and a bit of reflux feeding time can be rather messy. More often then not his epic burps are followed by small deposits of milk, and if you’re really unlucky a burp is followed by large amounts of the bottle you’ve just fed him. Needless to say muslins are always to hand at feeding time.

SewLomax muslins come in two sizes. The traditional small squares and the larger size which are a fabulous 100cm square. The team at SewLomax sent Little Dude a pack of their large blue muslins to test out recently and we’ve loved finding uses for them. First of all though I must tell you how gorgeous they are. They are made from 100% cotton and each pack features 3 patterned muslins in either blue, green or pink. One features an all over dummy print, another features an all over safety pin print, and the third is plain except for a large safety pin print in one corner. I love the patterns which make them stand out from the plain muslins, but also look classy enough for them to be a great new baby gift.

sewlomax muslin cloths sussexmummy

Being so large makes these muslins super versatile. They have been ideal for swaddling Little Dude in this heatwave. He loves to be cuddled and wrapped up but we are keen to avoid him overheating. Being wrapped in one of these makes him feel secure without getting him too hot. Similarly they have made a great lightweight blanket during the hot weather, and have been ideal for use in the car. Of course they have also been used for the inevitable messy feeding times, as well as wiping up seemingly endless dribbles from his mouth. A – thankfully – brief cold meant lots of nose wiping so the muslin became a giant soft tissue for him as well. The bright contrasting colours make them lovely for Little Dude to look at and he can sometimes be found with one held tight in his little hands when he’s napping. Peekaboo is a fun game to play behind one of them too, and sometimes I lie him down on one on top of his play mat in case of dribbles or phantom milk deposits. It also occurs to me that these larger muslins would make a great discreet breastfeeding cover up – sadly no breastfeeding for us – and could also be used on a cold changing mat to make it a little more comfortable for baby.

At £26 for a pack of three these cloths are of course more expensive than your usual plain muslins. The quality is great however and I adore the cute patterns. They wash really well which is essential with muslins – my washing line is permanently adorned with bright coloured cloths – and have a seemingly endless list of uses. The muslins come in a stylish branded box and for me they would make a brilliant new baby or baby shower gift. The range of colours – blue, green or pink – means you can easily find one depending on whether you know what gender you are buying for or not. Smaller muslins are also available – £12.50 for 3 at 50cm square – as well as other items with similar patterns on. I think a gift set of SewLomax baby items would make a gorgeous present for any new parent.

You can find the complete SewLomax Baby Range here, and you’ll find them on Twitter @SewLomax.

Preparing For Baby: Mummy Style

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Preparing For Baby, Product Reviews | Posted on 13-03-2014

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I am 30 weeks pregnant today – can someone explain where the time has gone? Little Dude could be here in as little as seven weeks if I end up getting an early induction – which is still up for debate! – so we’ve spent this week making sure we have everything we need for the hospital bag, or at least have everything we still need written down. Its all about lists at the moment, especially now my brain has turned into some form of mush.

This week I finally had to dig out my maternity jeans – I’m sorry! – but I’ve been wearing maternity tops for a while now. I’m so pleased the weather is improving and I can stop wearing big baggy jumpers and can now wear t-shirts and more spring like tops. A while ago I was lucky enough to get sent some of Mothercare’s brand new Spring/Summer range to review, and I’m so excited that I can finally get it out and start wearing it without freezing. I was especially lucky to be given a pretty free reign to choose five tops to review, so I went for four that I could breastfeed in after Little Dude arrives if all goes to plan, and one top that isn’t feeding friendly. All the tops I chose will be fine to wear both before and after Little Dude’s arrival so I hopefully have my wardrobe sorted for the next few months at least!

mothercare spring summer sussex mummy review

First up is a Navy Wrap Top. It has 3/4 length sleeves and a hidden discreet layer that allows for “access” for feeding. I love this top – which you’ll notice I also have in red – as its smart and can be used for dates or events. It can easily be dressed up or down depending on whether I’m wearing it to go shopping, or to go out with Daddy or friends. I also really like the easy access panel which means I can feed Little Dude whilst wearing it without any trouble. The Red Wrap Top is basically the same, but I would mention that its more an orange colour than being red. Think more tomato soup red than post box red.

I also got a two pack of Grey and Black Nursing Tops. These are both incredibly comfy and ideal for everyday wear and for casual wear. I have been practically living in these two tops since the weather improved. Both again have 3/4 length sleeves and the hidden layer for feeding access, so they are both practical as well as comfortable. A must when you’re pregnant. The simple design makes them really versatile too, and they can be worn with jeans or skirts, and hopefully with shorts if it gets much warmer!

Another great smart top I received was the Green Bow Print Nursing Top. Again this is ideal for events, and would make a great back to work top. The length of it means I can’t wear it whilst I’m pregnant as my cute bowling ball bump does still out a little, but the short sleeves mean that I can wear it comfortably this summer whilst feeding my new baby boy. Again it has a discreet hidden layer for feeding, but as with all the other tops that have this feature I don’t think they are obviously maternity wear and could be worn even if you aren’t breastfeeding.

The final top I chose was a simple Blue & Cream Stripe Jumper. Its only a thin jumper and with the 3/4 length sleeves its perfect in the current weather. In fact I’ve worn this a few times without a coat on, though I’m not sure if that’s the weather or my own body temperature! This is the perfect partner for a pair of jeans and some comfy shoes for a relaxing walk round the park with Little Man or a trip to the shops with Nana.

I love all the items that Mothercare sent me. They are all really comfortable and show off my growing bump well. Its nice to be wearing clothes that flatter my shape instead of clothes that swamp it. All these tops are available in store and online now, and the jumper is in fact currently reduced in the Mothercare sale. The ideal time to buy!

Mothercare also sent me some of their “Its Your Body” toiletries to test out. Some of those bits are now packed and ready in my hospital bag and I’ll be reviewing them all once Little Dude makes his grand entrance in May.

Review: Original Toe Stretchers

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in New Year New You, Pregnancy, Product Reviews | Posted on 14-01-2014

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I know lots of you have started 2014 with a resolution to get fit. There’s been lots of people jogging on my Twitter feed, going to fitness classes and generally working out. Working out is not something I do. Ever. And now I’m pregnant again, it’s not the time to start. But with all the exercising that you’re doing, how many of you are exercising your toes? No, I’m not crazy. Did you know that exercising your feet can help improve posture, restore that natural spring in your step, and also correct and help a host of problems like sciatica, varicose veins and bunions? I hurt my back several years ago and it got that little bit worse when I was pregnant with Little Man. Back pain happened much sooner in this pregnancy so I’ve been on the hunt for something to help ease it as medication is pretty much a no no. Bump bands are helping support my growing tummy and easing the pressure on my back but when I was recently offered a set of “Toe Stretchers” with the promise it would help I thought I’d give them a go.

Toe Stretchers Sussex Mummy
I tweeted a photo of these when they arrived and received several “What on EARTH are those…?” replies. Once you see them in use though they make a lot more sense. The easiest way to put them on is in the bath. Getting them wet makes them stretch over your toes, and after the initial – and perfectly normal – feeling of stretching, they sit in place. As you can see I tested them out in the bath and was surprised how pleasantly comfortable they felt.

Toe Stretchers In Bath Pedi Sussex Mummy

There was no discomfort at all, and the initial stretch was a brief sensation but in no way painful. Now of course you can wear them out of the bath, when you’re sat in front of the TV in the evenings or when you’re at your desk at work. For me though they are a great addition to my relaxing in the bath, and I have noticed an improvement in my back pain.

These Toe Stretchers come in one size which fit from a size 4 right up to a large size 12. They are currently available from JD Harris for £14.95 a pair and come with a lifetime money back guarantee which is pretty awesome.

Pregnancy: The First Trimester

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Product Reviews | Posted on 28-11-2013

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As of today I am 15 weeks pregnant, and according to the app on my phone my baby is the size of an apple. I can confirm that my bump is definitely bigger than an apple, in fact its more the size of a bag of apples. I’ve had an obvious bump since about week 8 which meant there was a lot of baggy jumpers being worn before we announced at 12 weeks. Now these baggy jumpers are all a bit tighter than they were. I was aware that people showed a lot sooner in a second pregnancy, but I wasn’t quite expecting it to be this obvious this soon.
I’ve been fairly lucky so far. All day nausea, yes. Actual sickness, thankfully not. Insomnia, yep. Discomfort, oh yes. Appetite, vague and intermittent, and rather limited. For the first few weeks I barely ate anything. Everything made me feel sick. I lived on Doritos. Nowadays I’m eating Pringles by the tube and drinking gallons of milk. Yes, I am enjoying these at the same time much to the alarm of friends. I’ve regained my taste for cups of tea which went for a long time. I can manage fruit again. But I can’t eat potatoes in any form, chicken when its still hot or pasta. I’m hoping these oddities will end soon and I’ll be ready to eat anything and everything come Christmas or my plate is going to look a little forlorn.
As you’d expect there have been a few products that have helped me get through the first dubious trimester, though sadly none of them are food based!
Bump Support Bands: Despite my bump making an appearance so soon maternity jeans were out of the question. I wore them for about a week when it got to the point that my regular jeans were digging in and by 6pm each night it was easier and comfier to sit there with them undone – not handy if you have to get the front door in a hurry! A week later and my bump seemed to rise up overnight and now my regular jeans fit again. Unfortunately my bump was missing out on the support from the stretchy band on my maternity jeans and my back was beginning to ache so I looked into support bands. The first one I found and tested out was from JoJo Maman Bebe and was their Multi-Use Bump Bandeau. The idea of this is to wear is either wear it over your regular jeans as a support for your bump in the early months, or use the clever buttons to fasten it to your regular jeans in later months so you don’t need to by maternity jeans. When fastened in to your jeans it makes them comfortable and you still get the support you need, without buying what are often expensive maternity jeans. Now I haven’t been able to test the button feature out – I’m not quite that big yet – but I did use it as a regular bump support. Despite getting a small I did find that this was still a little too large for me and wasn’t really providing support. It did keep my bump warm though! After this I tested out the Bump Band. This is simply a bump support which can also be worn beneath tops which may usually be too short to be worn when pregnant, providing you with a bit of modesty. I found the Bump Band was a much better fit at my current bump size, and with its claims to have 120% stretch it should last a long time yet. I think I’ll be using the Bump Band for now, but hopefully I can grow into the Bump Bandeau and try out its button fastens soon.
Bravado Bras: When I was pregnant with Little Man my breasts didn’t get any bigger. My first clue in hindsight that breast feeding wasn’t going to be particularly successful. We managed two difficult weeks of insufficient supply combined with formula top ups before he went on to just formula after my appendix decided to burst. When I found out I was pregnant again I decided that I’d certainly give breast feeding another go, but won’t worry if it all goes wrong and formula is a perfectly acceptable alternative, despite what the breast feeding mafia will have you believe. My breasts became tender and uncomfortable very quickly and by 10 weeks I was getting them measured, finding to my shock that they’d gone up 3 cup sizes already. I bought a couple of new bras and was told I’d probably need them measuring again in January. Two weeks later I’d outgrown the new bras. This was going to become expensive if I carried on at this rate! Bravado came to my rescue when they sent me a Bra and a Support Tank to review. My breasts have NEVER been so comfortable. The bra and tank I was sent can be used when pregnant or for feeding as they both feature drop away cups for access and skin to skin contact. They are both lightweight, seamless and insanely comfortable. I can’t tell I’m wearing them which is a vast improvement, even on the ones I bought in the correct size after being measured. Luckily for me, and my bank balance, the insane growth seems to have calmed down a little and I’ve been wearing the Bravado bras for three weeks now. Fingers crossed they last me a while longer – otherwise I’ll have to get online and order a few replacements.
Simple Skincare: I’ve always used Simple products on my sensitive skin. Their face wipes are brilliant and are my must have item, but I’ve used their exfoliater and their moisturiser creams too. I think we’ll all agree that in those first months of pregnancy we don’t exactly look our best. White faced and a little queasy is not a great combination, especially if you’re struggling to sleep and running around after a 3 year old all day. Simple sent me over some of their new Kind To Skin + range to test out and luckily for me it came just as I was looking a little worse for wear. Firstly I was sent some Moisture Boost Hydro Mist. This is a handy spray which you can use on your face when it needs a little boost and a refresh. It can be used over make up and is great for combating dehydration and tired looking skin. I loved this product. Handy to keep in your bag when you’re out and about and a great way to wake up in the morning. Very refreshing and it left my skin feeling instantly moisturised. They also sent me some Perfecting BB Cream. I’ve seen a lot about BB Creams in the media but never spotted one I’d risk using. Simple’s is perfect for sensitive skin so seemed the obvious choice. The cream is very light and blends in quickly. I love that it has SPF 15 protection and after applying it my skin looked much brighter and healthier. I don’t wear make up every day, in fact I rarely wear it at all, as I don’t like the feeling of foundation on my skin. This product gave me healthy glow without the heavy feeling of  make up. A pack of their Radiance Brightening Cleansing Wipes were also included. Like I said I love their wipes and typically use the “original” ones or occasionally the exfoliating ones. I’d never tried these before, but they cleaned my skin well and combined with the other products I managed to look healthy during my first trimester, as opposed to as dubious as I felt!
Astral Cream: Its not just the skin on your face that takes some battering when you’re pregnant. I was lucky enough to escape the stretch marks with Little Man but I’m not taking any chances so I want to keep my bump nice and moisturised too. I’ve been using a nice moisturising shower gel but I’ve also been using Astral Cream. This is a great little all over moisturiser that works really well on dry elbows and knees as well as hard working feet. It has been great to rub into my bump each night and has kept it sort and supple, well moisturised and protected. Astral Cream comes in three sizes – a 50ml handbag sized pot for when you’re on the go, a 200ml pot for travel and at home, and a mega 500ml pot for those addicts out there. I received the mega pot to review and its brilliant. I’ve been using on my bump but also on other dry skin areas, and I’ve even spotted my husband using it too. A great value product that really works.
What products couldn’t you live without in those early weeks of pregnancy?

Shop At Zulily – Daily Deals For Mums, Babies, and Kids

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Launch | Posted on 09-05-2012

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Zulily launched in the UK last month after a press event in Central London. Zulily provides heavily discounted branded items – up to 90% off retail prices – for short periods of time. Each sale event lasts 72 hours and then they are gone, making way for a new brand and new deals. A group of bloggers and national press were invited to morning tea and to preview some of the clothes, shoes, books and accessories which would be on sale via Zulily in the coming weeks and months.

 

Every day at 6am a new selection of goods are added, and over the past week there has been clothing, changing bags, maternity bras, books and furniture on offer at great prices.

We bought this last week for Little Man to give him somewhere to sit whilst colouring or playing with his Lego or puzzles:
This desk for Pkolino currently retails for £79.99 from Amazon. I got it through Zulily for just £45, and it was delivered this morning 10 days after ordering. A sturdy flat packed desk which is suitable from age 2 up to around 6 – so a great investment too.

Ordering from Zulily is simple and you pay just one postage charge per day, so if you order something in the morning then have another browse later on you will get free delivery on anything else ordered before midnight.

Joining Zulily is free, so why not head over there now and take a look at what’s on offer today by clicking here.