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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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Preparing For Baby: Bedtime

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Preparing For Baby | Posted on 04-03-2014

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Since finding out at our 20 week scan back in early January that we’re having another boy we’ve been full throttle buying bits and pieces that we need and transforming what was our office/dumping ground into a nursery. Little Dude will be spending his first six months in a bedside crib in our room, but we’ve got his bed sorted in his own room too, as well as a chair for those night feeds and drawers and shelves full of things.

We were big fans of swaddling with Little Man. He slept really well wrapped up securely in giant muslin cloths and cellular blankets, and its one thing that we said we’d definitely repeat with Little Dude. This time around however we are going to be testing out Gro-Swaddles from The Gro Company. Gro-Swaddles make the act of swaddling even easier. The swaddles are shaped cotton jersey wraps. There are no buttons, ties or velcro patches involved, they are simply just wrapped comfortably and securely around your baby, obviously without being too tight or restrictive. The swaddles are suitable for use up to the age of 3 months (or around 14lb/6.5kg) and can be used to recreate the feeling of being in the womb which your baby will be used to when they are born. The Gro Company sent us three swaddles to test out and I bought a couple more at the recent Baby Show at Excel as I am already in love with them. They look and feed so comfortable and cosy and I’m sure Little Dude will be happy to snuggle into them when he sleeps.

Gro Egg Gro Swaddles Egg Shells Sussex Mummy Gro CompanyAnother product we are testing out for The Gro Company is their famous Gro-Egg Room Thermometer. The Gro-Egg works as a room thermometer so you can keep and eye on the temperature and ensure your baby is appropriately dressed at nighttime. Monitoring the room temperature is very important for newborns especially, but you always want to ensure that your baby doesn’t overheat or get too cold. What I love about the Gro-Egg is that it glows a different colour depending on the temperature. For example, if the room is too cold it glows blue. If its too hot it glows red. This means that with a simple glance you can establish whether you need to act, and it means that you can eliminate the need to think – something I don’t do well at 3am! The gentle glow also acts as a subtle nightlight. During a recent shopping trip we have bought an Egg Shell for our Gro-Egg – a super cute cover which sits on the top of the egg and makes it look like a monkey. Little Man was very keen to help choose this and preferred this design to the others two on offer – an owl and a penguin.

As well as these review products we also have Gro-Bags that we used with Little Man washed and ready for when Little Dude outgrows his swaddles. We are big fans of The Gro Company and have always been thrilled with any products we’ve bought or received to review for them in the past, and I’m sure the Gro-Swaddles and Gro-Eggs will be no exception.

How To Create A Child Friendly Bathroom

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 20-07-2013

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Once upon a time, your perfect bathroom may have consisted of a gleaming white freestanding bath, elegant monochrome décor and a minimalist design. Having kids changes everything, and interior design is no exception – but you can still create a stylish bathroom that is simultaneously a child’s watery playroom and a serene haven to escape from the stresses of daily life.

 

 

homebase roll top bath

Add a splash of colour

If you choose to stick with white for the bathroom fixtures, such as the tub and the sink, this creates a great neutral backdrop for colourful accessories. Children love bright colours that instil a sense of fun so brighten up a neutral bathroom with colourful towels, shower curtains, bath mats and accessories such as soap dishes.

A splash of colour will also add interest to the overall design, keeping it looking fresh and on-trend. If you want to inject some colour into the fixtures themselves you could opt for wood end bath panels rather than white to warm up the room and give it a more welcoming vibe.

Infuse a sense of fun

They might moan about the prospect of having a bath initially, but bath time can actually be one of the more fun everyday rituals for kids. From ample splashing to foamy bubbles, this is the one room in the house where it’s okay to make a mess!

While busy mums and dads may not appreciate this aspect of bath time (which can be combated by investing in a bath screen), it’s always a joy to see your child having a good time. Reflect this sense of fun with bath crayons and plenty of toys to keep them occupied and distract them from the ‘boring’ cleansing part.

Baths: safety first

Fun is hugely important when it comes to decorating any room that will be used by children, but safety should always be at the forefront of your mind. From double baths to whirlpool models, there is plenty of choice so weigh up all your options.

Once you’ve made your selection, you should garnish it with safety features including baths mats and grips. However, functional doesn’t have to mean drab – slip resistant bath mats come in all shapes, colours and sizes so you can find one your child likes. 

Travel: 5 Reliable Cars For The Family

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 19-04-2013

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When you’re in the market for a new—or used—car, reliability is probably near the top of your priority list. You want to make sure that you and your family are safe when on the road, even in harsh conditions. There are some auto makers with a decades-long reputation for dependability, and each year major consumer testing organizations conduct on-road tests to rate the latest models for reliability. The length of the warranty isn’t always the best sign of a car’s reliability, however. Here are a few of the most reliable cars on the market today.

Toyota Yaris: Reliable Sub-Compact Auto

Image via Wikimedia Commons

The Toyota Yaris leads the pack in terms of sub-compact cars for reliability. This dependable ride comes standard with vehicle-stability control and traction control. While this model has been around since 2007, it has had numerous safety updates over the years. Both the Scion xD and the Honda Fit are also highly rated for reliability among sub-compact models.

Toyota Prius: 5 Stars from J.D. Power and Associates

Image via Wikimedia Commons

The Toyota Prius earns a perfect five-star rating in three of the four rating criteria used in J.D. Power and Associates’ latest reliability testing. It’s also a top pick from U.S. News and World Report, earning good scores for side impacts and rear crashes, as well as frontal offset and roof strength. This car is a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Nissan 370Z: Reliable Sports Car

Image via Wikimedia Commons

If you prefer sports cars, you don’t have to sacrifice reliability. The Nissan 370Z is rated best among compact premium sporty cars by J.D. Power and Associates. This car gets positive consumer feedback for each of its model years for mechanical quality and body quality, as well as powertrain mechanical quality. It also has both side and front-impact airbags, an anti-lock brake system and anti-whiplash restraints.

Toyota RAV4: Most Reliable Among Compact Crossover SUVs

Image via Flickr by robad04

Clearly, you won’t find many complaints about Toyotas, as the auto maker leads the pack in yet another category with the RAV4. Considered one of the most reliable compact crossover SUVs on the market, the Toyota RAV4 has a four-wheel anti-lock brake system, side head and rear head air bags, side air bags, brake assist, traction control and plenty of other features that make it one of the safest cars on the road today. The Scion tC is another option earning good reviews for reliability in this category.

Ford Fusion: Top-Rated Among Midsize Cars

Image via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking for a reliable, midsize auto, you can’t go wrong with the Ford Fusion. This car comes with a three-year, 36,000-mile new-car warranty and a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty—which also covers the safety restraint system. Corrosion perforation is also covered with no mileage limitations for five full years. The Ford Fusion earns a Predicted Reliability Score of 4.5 in J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study.

When it comes to reliability, Toyota models are almost always a safe bet as these models earn positive reliability ratings from most major testing organizations. Check out Big Motoring World complaints and other dealership reviews and testimonials in your area before making your purchase.

Guest Post: Protecting Your Children From Accidents In The Home

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 16-11-2012

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Our children are the most important things in the world; and hence why we want to protect them from any harm that they may face in their life. Unfortunately we can’t watch them every second; therefore we have to find other ways to protect them from potential harm. Babies and toddlers have a habit of experimenting in the home, and by touching and feeling things they are learning about their surroundings.

This is why as parents we have to use simple tools to ensure our children are as protected as possible:

My first piece of advice is to secure all of your windows in your home. By installing window guards your children are protected from the dangers that open windows can cause. These don’t have to be particularly expensive as they can be window bars or simply window covers.

My second piece of advice goes hand in hand with protecting children from open windows. Secure all blind cords, and ensure if there is a wire connected to your blind, either cut the cord or tie it up where your children have no access to it. Alternatively you can purchase plastic cords from Vertical blinds direct which can be another suitable way to protect your kids. Strangulation is an all too common occurrence of child death; however by taking these simple measures you can eliminate any cause of potential injury.


My final piece of advice is to ensure all corners of furniture are protected with plastic guards, when children are crawling on the floor it is easy for them to hit their faces on the side and edges of furniture. By purchasing plastic guards you are giving your children a greater protection from accidents in the home.

Guest Post: Keeping Your Children Safe Around Heaters

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 13-11-2012

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As the cold weather draws in and the nights get longer, many families will be investing in new heaters for their home. This is an excellent way to ensure that your children remain happy and warm over the winter season, but comes with its own risks which must be understood and dealt with.

Educate about dangers

If you have installed a new kind of heating into your home, it is vital that you educate your children about the dangers it might pose. The best way of doing this is to educate positively. Make sure your children are fully aware of how the heater works, including how it can be switched on and off, and which elements might be dangerous. Often, parents will simply issue a blanket ban on approaching an electric heater. As anyone with small children will eventually realise, this actually acts as an invitation to some curious young people! Children naturally explore what they do not understand, particularly if it has been entirely forbidden. A much more sensible approach is to educate them fully on the heater and why it can be dangerous if not treated with appropriate respect.

Warn about other dangerous objects nearby

The education provided to children should not only include the obvious guidance that the new heater will be dangerous to touch when it is switched on. You should also explain the other dangers which can ensue from an activated heater such as the effect the heat can have on other objects placed nearby. Many children (particularly older ones), will easily understand that heat is dangerous for them. Touching the heater and burning themselves is unlikely to be the major issue. Instead, they may not properly understand that objects left on or around the heater can become very hot in a short amount of time, and may melt or catch fire. As a parent, you will need to explain that it is not only contact with the heater that can cause problems, but also the potential for secondary fires which may ensue if care is not taken at all times.

Consider safety when making your purchase

Of course, education is not always enough. Even the most conscientious child will make mistakes, and it is for this reason that you should always ensure that your heaters have the latest safety features. Many radiators now come packaged with the option of a radiator guard which makes it much more difficult for children to burn themselves or get close enough to the heater to cause any other issues. The designs of such guards are now also frequently decorative so you won’t be stuck with an ugly wire meshing surrounding your living room. If you have purchased a moveable electric heater rather than a fixed radiator, you should also check to see whether the model you have bought has all the necessary safety features integrated within it. The most important is the presence of a shut-off switch which activates when the heater is knocked over and immediately cuts the power to the heating element. This feature alone can prevent many accidents, particularly those caused by clumsy or overly enthusiastic young children.

As long as you educate your children, and ensure that you have invested in appropriate safety features, you should be well positioned to have a safe warm house with a safe heater.

BIO: This is a guest post on behalf of Economy Radiators who offer a range of heating products including storage heaters, central heating radiators, electric heaters, storage heaters and more!

Safe Outdoor Play

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 10-10-2012

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Product Review: Happy Hands

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 12-09-2012

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Little fingers find their ways into lots of things they shouldn’t, but one of the biggest dangers for me is getting them trapped in doors. Once your child becomes mobile they are away before you can blink, and if your little one is anything like mine, they are fascinated with doors. Doors open. Doors close. Doors are AMAZING if you are a small child. One way to help protect little fingers is to invest in some Happy Hands.

Happy Hands are an ingenious, and rather cute, invention which fastens to the top of the door. Once adjusted it prevents the door from closing on little fingers, resulting in happy hands!

As you can see the cute hand is fitted with a sticky pad to the top of the door. Once pivoted 90 degrees it prevent the door from shutting my wedging its own fingers in the way, and not your little ones.

We have this on Little Man’s bedroom door. He merrily runs in and out of there whenever we’re upstairs, and once we remove the sides from his cot bed and he’s free to roam, I expect it will be well used, so for us its important to have the Happy Hand there.

Happy Hands can be bought online at the Fingershield website.

Product Review: Little Helper Fun Pod

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 07-09-2012

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My love of baking and cooking is hardly news, especially with the number of cook books I’ve been featuring recently. Its also not news that I really want to get my Little Man involved and the best product to help me do that is the Fun Pod from Little Helper.

The Fun Pod is designed to stand beside your kitchen bench or sink and allow your child t0 stand safely in it and “help” with the cooking, baking or washing up. As you can see above it has five adjustable height levels so that as your child grows they are still safe. When not in use it fits neatly underneath your bench. It has a handle on either side for carrying it around – empty of course! – and also for moving it into position. Every time I go into the kitchen with Little Man nowadays he goes straight to the Fun Pod and tries to get it out, so its clearly a winner with him.

As you can see from the photos we’ve had a lot of fun using it. Little Man “helped” me bake a Lemon Drizzle cake and greased the tin for me – a job he took very seriously. We do also have the occasional “Flour Incident” when he gets just a little carried away with his mixing. Sadly I can’t seem to tempt him into wearing an apron! Once we’re done baking he is always keen to help wash up which is fantastic for me, though I tend to just let him loose with a few spoons and plastic plates. I promise you he is not about to eat that foam, despite how that photo looks!!

The Fun Pod is the ultimate kitchen accessory if you want to get your children baking with you. Compact, light weight and so easy to build, it is a much safer alternative to standing them on a chair with you. Getting them involved with baking also keeps them entertained and allows you time to get on with what you’re trying to do.

We were sent the brand new Walnut Fun Pod for the purposes of this review. With modern kitchens becoming much darker in decor the team at Little Helper wanted to make sure the Fun Pod complimented the kitchen it was in instead of clashing or being something of an eyesore.

Competition!

I have a brand new Walnut Fun Pod to give away to one lucky reader, and entering is simple.

1. Head over to the Little Helper Facebook page and click “Like” then write on their wall telling them that Sussex Mummy sent you.
2. Follow Little Helper on Twitter and send them a Tweet including my Twitter handle @SussexMummy.
3. Either of these will gain you ONE entry into the draw. Once you’ve done one or both of these things come back to this page and write a comment below telling me how you’ve entered.

The competition closes at 8pm on Friday 5th October 2012 and winners will be notified via Facebook or Twitter once the draw has taken place.

 

Do We Do Too Much?

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 06-09-2012

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We’re all busy aren’t we? Whether you’re a Stay At Home Parent or a Working Mum or Dad, you are busy. You have a child, and that is the most time consuming and demanding job in the world, and if you’re juggling full or part time work alongside that, you probably don’t sleep! Modern lifestyles are so much busier than every before, and research from Lindam has found that our children’s safety might be suffering as a result of that.

In a recent poll of 2000 parents a staggering 70% said they regularly left their child playing unsupervised whilst they carried out domestic chores, and 40% of parents admitted that their child had been injured as a result of this. The Top 10 most common accidents for a child to suffer whilst in their home are:

  1. Tripping in garden
  2. Falling from sofa
  3. Falling from bed
  4. Slipping on the floor
  5. Banging head on a sharp corner
  6. Shutting fingers in a door
  7. Being hurt fighting with a sibling
  8. Falling down the stairs
  9. Hurting themselves on broken glass
  10. Suffering a burn from the cooker
The research discovered that the most common time for these injuries to be sustained is whilst the parent is in the kitchen cooking the evening meal. The lounge, garden and bedroom were the most likely places for injuries to happen during this time. Parents have a lot on their plate whilst looking after their child and running the home. There is so much other stuff that needs doing that often distracts attention away from a child. The most common distractions for Mum’s in the home are:
  1. Cooking
  2. Being on the phone
  3. Another child requiring their attention
  4. Working from home
  5. Cleaning the house
  6. Doing the hoovering
  7. Doing the ironing
  8. Being in the shower
  9. Hanging out the washing
  10. Getting dressed
Parents are often looking for ways to distract their child whilst they get on with these tasks, and 80% of parents admitted to using the TV for this purpose regularly.
Claire Rayner, a spokeswoman for Lindam, says “Many accidents experienced by young children in the home come about because mum is understandably not able to keep a constant watch. She can’t be in several places at once and the results show that, it only take a minute for an accident to happen. It’s therefore about using safety products to make the home as accident-proof as possible and allow Mums at least some peace of mind. It’s so easy and quick to put in place some very simple safety equipment such as stair gates, corner cushions and cupboard locks to ensure that parents can rest a little easier knowing that their children are protected.

We have launched our first Safety Day as we are committed to reducing childhood accidents in the home and we feel it’s these small but important steps that can go a long way to reducing the amount of childhood accidents in the home.”

To learn more about Lindam’s Safety Day, and find ways to ensure your home is as safe as possible for you child visit the Lindam website.

 

Product Review: Lindam Safety

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 05-09-2012

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Keeping our children safe is the ultimate priority for any parent. When they reach the toddler years keeping them safe can prove a little tricky to say the least, especially when they start exploring the world around them. Our house is equipped with gates at the top and bottom of our stairs as well as one in the kitchen doorway to stop Little Man wandering in, but there are other hazards around the house and when we’re out in the car. Lindam sent us a selection of safety products to make our home and car that little bit safer to help celebrate the Lindam Safety Day on September 6th.

Firstly, and most importantly for me, was the Multi-Purpose Latch which I fitted to the cupboard in the kitchen where we keep our cleaning products. We are giving Little Man slightly more freedom as he gets older and the gate on the kitchen door isn’t permanently closed as it used to be. Plus he follows us in when we’re in their cooking or doing other jobs. He is drawn to this cupboard like all children seem to seek out the most dangerous places. This latch means that the door won’t open unless you undo it, and Little Man can’t do that. This is a brilliant product which has made my kitchen infinitely safer.

When we’re out in the car keeping the sun off Little Man is very important. I don’t want him overheating, especially when he’s asleep in his seat. Lindam sent us their new White Hot Safety Sunblock Shade to try. It fastens to the window with two suckers and then the blind itself rollers down. A simple release button retracts the blind when its not needed. What makes this blind special is the White Hot sensor on the base of the blind which turns white when the temperature in the car is too hot. My only fault with this blind is that it could do to be slightly wider, but that might just be because my back windows are fairly large.

The danger of plug sockets seems something that’s still up for debate. Due to the design of UK sockets it would take a very creative child to push something into all three pin holes at the same time sufficiently to electrocute themselves, but who wants to take that risk? I use Plug Socket Covers to prevent anything untoward being pushed in them – crayons, food, paper, etc – as well as ensuring there is absolutely no chance of my Little Man getting seriously hurt. These covers from Lindam are neat and easy to fit, but tricky to remove which is ideal when there are little fingers poking them all the time.

Finally I made use of the Door Stopper. Doors closing on little fingers isn’t fun, neither is a door swinging closed leaving your little one trapped in a room that perhaps they shouldn’t be in anyway! This stopper fits quickly and easily to any door. We currently have it on the kitchen door, but I can see it moving to the main bathroom door upstairs once Little Man is in his big boy bed and can wander around more freely. I’d rather not be woken at 2am by a toddler stuck in the bathroom!!

Lindam’s Safety Day in September 6th 2012. You can read Lindam’s advice for keeping your children safe here.