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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: FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie, Product Reviews | Posted on 30-09-2013

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Wherever possible I try and buy food in bulk so that I can batch cook it and store it in the freezer for when I have no time to cook. This works great with things like mince which I can make into pasta sauce or cottage pie, or for making large quantities of stews or hot pots with steak, or for soups. I quite often bulk buy things like sausages when they are on offer and portion those up and pop them in the freezer. I had been using rather flimsy freezer bags that you fasten with a knot but they tend to split and leak which makes a bit of a mess. I also sometimes find bags with meat in at the back of the freezer and wonder how long its been in there. Bit like a black hole at times.

When I was offered a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer to review I thought it could well be the answer to my problems. The FoodSaver vacuum packs you food for you – whether dry or wet – and keeps it airtight. It is designed to keep you food fresher for longer – up to 3 years in some cases – so less need for worrying about how long something’s been lurking in your freezer. Its a self contained unit which reduces the likelihood of you losing bits, and despite being fairly large and weighty it fits neatly in my kitchen cupboard so its not out on display all the time.
FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer From Lakeland Website

Now as you can see here the machine looks pretty easy to use. You place your food into a bag, place the opened end inside the sealer, press the sides down, and it sucks the air out, sealing the open end in the process. You get a small supply of bags with the machine, but my favourite feature is the roll you are also sent. Stored in the back of the machine is a 3 metre roll of bags, but it is currently just one long bag. Using the included cutting facility, you can make bags the size you want, simply by sealing one end before popping your food in the other. That way you aren’t wasting a huge bag for something small, and if you want to store something large you can.

It genuinely is very easy to use and we’ve vacuum sealed lots of meat which is now stashed away – labelled – in my freezer. Obviously I can’t really comment on the idea of it staying fresh for 3 years, but anything we’ve eaten that has been frozen in one of these bags has tasted fine. You do end up with some slightly odd shaped parcels in your freezer but they are usually fairly easy to squash in so it isn’t taking up additional space. The replacements bags and rolls are a little pricey – a comment I’ve seen on other reviews I’ve read – but the quality of them is very high and there is no danger of leaks or splits.

Here’s a pack of sausages which we vacuum sealed using the FoodSaver. Like I said, a slightly odd shaped packet, but taking up much less room then in their original packaging and portioned ready for me to just take them out when I want them.

You can also use the FoodSaver to store items in your fridge and even your cupboards. Fresh fruit stored in FoodSaver bags will last up to twice as long as if it was just put straight into the fridge, and cheese can last for up to eight months as opposed to a couple of weeks. If you are a keen baker who makes huge batches of biscuits you can put those in FoodSaver bags too and they will last for up to six weeks!

I’ve only used my FoodSaver for freezing items so far, but I think I’ll be testing out the fruit storage. We get lots of snacking fruit for Little Man – strawberries, blueberries, grapes, that style of thing – and whilst he eats them pretty efficiently things like the strawberries do tend to deteriorate really quickly and we do end up wasting them. I think it would be a good idea to use the FoodSaver on those particularly, to help them last that bit longer.

FoodSavers and their accessories are available to buy from Lakeland, Amazon and Argos, though models do vary from store to store. We were sent the Food Saver V1040-IUK (RRP £59.99) for review.



Luxury Work Tops From Margrasil

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 27-02-2013

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We don’t play the lottery very often, mostly because we forget to buy a ticket, but once in a while we get one online. Like a lot of people we eagerly await that email on a Sunday morning to tell us we’ve won. It rarely comes, and when it does, it tends to be for £10. On the odd Friday night when I’m buying my online ticket I like to look at local estate agent websites and Rightmove to decide which house I’m going to buy with my winnings. My husband thinks I’m nuts, but I just see it as being prepared. Whilst looking at potential houses – most of which would fit my own house in the lobby – the first room I like to see is the kitchen. Its the most important room for me, mostly because I have so much kitchen equipment to fit in there, but because its the room I spend so much time in. I see the kitchen as the heart of any home and I dream of owning a large spacious kitchen. Ideally I’d love a kitchen with an island in the middle for preparation as well as benches all around, a large range cooker, and a large traditional pine table for family and friends to gather around. You see why I need a bigger house for this? Fingers crossed those numbers will come up soon.

One of the first things I see when I look at kitchens is the work tops. I spend a lot of time preparing foods, baking and working in my kitchen, so my work tops are something I spend a lot of time looking at. In my dream kitchen they’d be black granite, probably with a fleck of another colour in there. A colour that would match any cupboard design and kitchen appliance, but something that would look classy and luxurious. A nice clean shiny surface that is easy to care for and clean that will give me many years of service. When it comes to purchasing my luxury kitchen work top I’ll be looking no further than local company Margrasil.

Situated in Partridge Green, West Sussex, Margrasil use skilled stonemasons from across Sussex and Surrey to provide the height of luxury for your kitchen or bathroom. They provide quality natural stone which you can use for kitchen work tops or for units in your bathroom to all areas of the UK. Items are available in granite, marble or quartz, and come in a huge range of colours and designs so you are certain to find something that will match perfectly with other decor in your room. For my dream kitchen I’d choose Star Galaxy from their range of quality stone granite work tops. As well as providing you with a quality and luxurious work top, Margrasil also provide you with advice on how to clean and care for your work tops. They want to ensure your work tops lasts, so they provide tips on using it, protecting it, and cleaning it.

The team at Margrasil are passionate about what they do so are keen for customers to visit them at their workshop so you can see for yourself the quality and range of stone available, and so you can make the right choice for you  home. You can contact them today on 0845 504 2841 to arrange a visit and make your dream kitchen a reality.

Kids Clothing At Tesco

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 16-08-2012

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Is it just me, or does your child have infinitely more clothing than you do? My Little Man is nearly 2 and he has so much clothing. And that’s if you just include things that actually fit him! We are drowning in clothes that he’s grown out of, and we also have a drawer of clothes in the next size up, ready for that sneaky growth spurt.

I would say that 80% of his clothes come from the same shop, and that shop is Tesco. When I buy clothes for my son – and to be honest its something I probably do too often – I am looking for bright colourful pieces that mix and match easily and wash well. I am also looking for affordable clothes. We live on one full time income and I work one Saturday morning a month, so money isn’t exactly something we have in great supply. Even if we were rolling in it – and I do keep trying to win that Lottery – I wouldn’t spend a fortune on his clothes at this age. I am relieved that he’s nearly 2 and the manic growth of the first two years has slowed to a more manageable state. I’m sure we all have clothes we bought for our little babies that they never even wore because they grew so fast, or things they wore once or twice. Nowadays we get much more wear out of his clothes but affordability is still key.

Clothing At Tesco offers brilliant prices on some gorgeous clothing, and the quality is great too. Little Man loves to clamber about the lounge, rush about the garden, and seems to think his clothes are mere extensions of his bib at meal times. His clothes get a real beating and the average t-shirt must be washed dozens of times in its life. I love the fact that clothes I buy him from Tesco’s remain in one piece and looking as bright and colourful as the day I bought it by the time it is resigned to life in the “Outgrown” pile.

Whilst I do get my food delivered – I can’t imagine taking Little Man food shopping without one of both of us ending up in tears – I often pop in to my local store to pick up bits I have inevitably forgotten, or to top up on milk and fruit during the week. Its so easy to just pop a couple of cheap tshirts or pair of jeans on the basket as well, and you hardly notice when you get to the checkout. There is more often than not a sale of some variety on, and by keeping an eye out for bargains in sizes to come I spread the cost of clothing my Little Man too.

Clothing At Tesco also has a fantastic website which I also browse for bits. At the moment they have some great deals on ‘Back To School’ wear and it won’t be long before the Autumn/Winter range appears. With the Summer Clubcard Exchange that’s currently going on you can get some superb deals on kids clothing AND get them ready for September. I can definitely see a lot more Tesco clothing in my son’s future, and once in a while Mummy even gets something too!