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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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Product Review: Packard Bell Easy Note TV Laptop

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews, Tech Review | Posted on 02-10-2012

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As a busy blogger my laptop is probably the most important piece of kit I use. Yes I use my phone to take photos and send and receive emails, but when it comes to sitting down to do the major parts of my work – writing the blog posts, researching products, making first contact with PR’s, scheduling tweets – that is all done from my laptop. So you can imagine my distress when my laptop slowed to a practical stop a few weeks ago. Thankfully my in-laws had a spare laptop they weren’t using – don’t ask my why – so I’m currently using that until we sort out a new one for me. In the mean time I was contacted by the team at Packard Bell asking if I’d like to review one of their new models. This seemed an ideal opportunity to try-before-you-buy, or at least take a look at what is out there.

I was sent a black Easy Note TV laptop to test out. When it comes to choosing the best laptop for me it needs to be comfortable and easy to type on. The keyboard is nicely spaced out – no danger of hitting the wrong keys when typing at speed – and the palm rest area is a good size. The touchpad is 20% bigger than on other laptops of this size and is “multi-gesture” which gives you complete control.

The screen is 15.6″ HD display which makes it bright and clear which is essential when you’re staring at text on a screen for hours on end. Its not the greatest screen for videos or gaming, but websites and text documents are beautifully clear. The sound isn’t the best I’ve heard, but if you want a bit of music playing whilst you work, its absolutely fine.

As a blogger I am a keen and frequent user of social media, so I must admit that the feature which excited me the most was the “Social Networking Key.” Just one tap of this button and you are instantly connected to your social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Youtube. Social media is an essential tool for bloggers so this is a great function.

If you are after an all-singing and all-dancing high-tech piece of equipment which you can do multiple things on at once and play the latest games on, this might not be the right choice for you. If you are a blogger like myself who needs fast internet access, a good clear screen for reading text and writing, a comfortable keyboard, and super fast access to your social media, then this definitely is the laptop for you. It was a joy to use and work on and is one I may well consider getting myself when we take a proper look at whats out there in the new year.

The Packard Bell Easy Note TV has a RRP of £399 and can be found at all good laptop retailers.

Product Review: Joolz Day Pram

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Holiday, Product Reviews | Posted on 12-07-2012

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Having the right pram for your child is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a parent. You need them to be totally safe, secure and comfortable, but you also want the best pram for you – one that is easy to manoeuvre, perhaps one that fits into a compact car, maybe you need one that can go off-road. You know what you need and you can bet there is a pram out there that is perfect for you. One you might not have heard of, but should definitely consider, is the Joolz Day.

The Joolz Day is the ultimate pram. Above you can see it as we mostly used it – as a forward facing pushchair. Little Man loved riding about in this pram – he was that little bit higher up than with other prams so had a better view of his surroundings, his feet sat neatly on the adjustable footrest, and he held on tightly to the safety bar. The large back wheels had great suspension on them so he was never bounced and shaken around, he was always gliding about in total comfort – even when we took the pram onto the beach during our holiday in Devon, though we did have to balance the pram just on the back wheels!

The Joolz Day also gives you the option of turning this seat around so your child can be facing you. On the occasions where we pushed him around like this it made handing him snacks and drinks much easier. Having the seat in this position would be ideal for younger babies who had recently progressed out of the carry cot. Little Man wasn’t overly keen as he’d much rather look at where he’s going then whoever is pushing him around!

The Joolz Day comes with a carry cot which has a hypo-allergenic breathable mattress inside. I only wish Little Man had been small enough to fit in this as it feels so soft and cosy. It is a good size and can be carried around by transferring the safety bar across from the pushchair. The carry cot would make an ideal bed for your newborn when at home, as well as if you’re visiting friends or relations – one less thing to pack in the car!

Moving from carry cot to pushchair is simple – whether forward or rear facing. Each component simply clicks in and out of position with ease, and when not in use they take up very little room.

One of my favourite features on the Joolz Day was the handlebar which is adjustable. By simply pulling on two small latches you can raise or lower the handlebar to suit whoever is pushing it. This was a great feature which came in very handy on holiday as both myself, my husband and Little Man’s grandparents were on pushing duty at some point, and it allowed each user to push in comfort. A handlebar at the wrong height makes pushing a pram very uncomfortable so this feature is a godsend.

I also loved the ease with which we could manoeuvre the Joolz Day. Its turning circle is tiny, and with it being lightweight (just 12kg) and having swivelling wheels on the front and the giant back wheels, the pram literally glides on its journey. You could push it around easily with just one hand if needs be, making it a good choice for anyone with an older child who perhaps doesn’t need a pram any more, but still needs to be kept an eye on! I could safely push Little Man around in this with one hand with a takeaway coffee in the other, safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t put him (or any passers-by) at risk.

When it comes to collapsing the Joolz Day to put it in the boot of your car or take it on board public transport it is a bit of a hassle unfortunately. To go in the boot its fine – you need to take off whichever seat you are using and then fold the chassis up. Now it does fold fairly flat and if you’re putting it into the boot your child will have already been placed into a car seat. If you’re taking them onto a bus or train however and you’re alone it could be a bit of a nightmare. You are going to struggle getting this pram onto public transport in one piece, so if that is your only means of travel, this pram might not be the one for you. Whilst on holiday in Devon we went on a cliff railway. Luckily there were four adults so one of us carried Little Man, one of us carried the seat, and another carried the chassis. That journey of only a couple of minutes would have been impossible on my own.

At £649 this is a pricey pram, but if it meets your needs it is a sturdy piece of equipment which is certain to last you for as long as your child needs a pram, and maybe even for any future additions. A list of your nearest retailers can be found online here.

Brit Mums Live: Using The Kurio

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Brit Mums Live | Posted on 04-07-2012

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At the end of June 500 mummy bloggers descended on London – along with a handful of brave daddy bloggers – to attend Brit Mums Live, and I was so lucky to be one of them. Held at The Brewery – the same venue for last years CyberMummy – this two day event was the “must attend” event for all mummy bloggers. The range of break out sessions and talks was incredible (if only I’d been able to be in four places at once) and the brands on show in The Hub was perfect for the Mummy in us all, as well as the Blogger. My attendance of Brit Mums Live was only made possible thanks to Inspiration Works, my superb sponsors, who not only got me there, but also provided me with a brand new pre-release Kurio to use and promote.

Using the Kurio at the conference was a dream. With it being a full android tablet I was able to download Evernote before I went so I could make notes during the sessions. I was worried that doing a lot of typing on something which has a 7 inch screen was going to be difficult, but the touch screen keyboard keys were perfectly sized and I could tap away merrily. The only irritation was that every time I touched a key it made a noise, a feature which I must figure out how to turn off!!

The Kurio comes with WIFI so I was able to hook up to The Brewery internet connection with a few simple clicks – the WIFI settings button is in the bottom left of the screen at all times – so I could check my Twitter feed using TweetCaster and send a few tweets myself. I could also do surf the internet which was useful during sessions when a cool website or brand was mentioned which I wanted to look up immediately.

Promoting the Kurio was part of my sponsorship package, and I really enjoyed demoing it to a few people and letting them have a go, though I did think a few people were going to run off with it!

The Kurio is branded as a “family tablet”, though it is predominantly aimed at children aged 4 to 15. Adults using the tablet can use the profile interfaces as shown above, or via the parental controls they can make it look like any other tablet and much less child like. As an adult using this I was thrilled with its speed, performance and usability. Since Brit Mums I have largely used it to read ebooks on the inclusive application and do any quick internet surfing when I don’t have the time or inclination to fire up my ailing laptop. I also tuck it into my handbag when I go to any blogging events or press days, including yesterdays Christmas In July.

This tablet is going to be on every child’s Christmas list, and a fair few parent’s as well I bet. You’d best get your orders in now!

The Kurio will be available from Toys’R’Us, John Lewis, and all good toy retailers.

Coming Soon: Kurio Review from my Little Man!!