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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 + Competition: Stamptastic

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition | Posted on 10-05-2013

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One of my clearest memories from childhood are those white labels with my name on in blue text which my Mum would spend ages sewing in to all my school clothes, shoes and bags. From the age of about 4 they seemed to be a permanent fixture in my clothes through school. Whilst she was good at sewing it must have been a tedious chore to label everything like that, and its not something I look forward to doing for Little Man when he starts primary school in a couple of years.

Whilst Little Man isn’t at school yet he does start pre-school this September, and for the past few weeks we’ve been going to taster sessions once a week. Just for an hour every Friday afternoon we go along so he can meet his new classmates and get used to the teachers and the environment. Its a big step, and the start of his education, and whilst I’m sure I’ll be sobbing at the gate come September, one I’m looking forward to for him. He’ll only be going for a morning at a time so won’t be needing a packed lunch, but no doubt there’ll be a list of things he will need to take. A bag is an obvious one, but there’ll be coats, hats and scarves during the winter months, and sun hats during summer. There’s no official uniform, but you can get tshirts and jumpers for them to wear as well, plus he’ll probably have one of his drinks bottles with him too. All these things will need to be labelled with his name. And so it begins…

I can’t sew. My Mum sews, and my Mother In Law is VERY clever and can make all kinds of things with a needle, thread and a pile of fabric – and believe me, she has immense amounts of fabric. Me however? Not too good with a needle and thread. In fact I’m more likely to stab myself with a needle a few times then pass the job on to someone else. Imagine my relief therefore when I discovered Stamptastic. My prayers had been answered.

Stamptastic create personalised stamping kits. A clear block with your name on one end – clear so you can position it more accurately – and an ink pad. The stamp works on fabric, metal, plastic and wood and survives wash after wash after wash. I was sent a stamp with Little Man’s name on to review and I am thrilled with the results. I’ve gone a little stamping crazy – its weirdly addictive – and stamped his name on his drinks bottle, his sun hat, his Trunki and his coat amongst other things. I even stamped his name on the bottom of a tin I found just to try it out on metal! I’m thinking I’ll probably also do his wellington boots, his trainers and his sandals, and in future his pencil case and things within that.

The ink dries pretty much instantly – take care on metal as it takes a few seconds and can smudge if you are impatient like me – and lasts really well. The font is easy to read and not too big so it doesn’t look out of place on the item you’re stamping. Its ideal for school use, but also for sports kits and holidays. I stamped Little Man’s Trunki just to test it out, but if you’ve ever gone through an airport every child seems to have a Trunki. Putting a stamp on yours will make sure you don’t take the wrong one on holiday!

Fancy testing a Stamptastic Kit out yourself? I have one to give away. All you need to do is follow me on Twitter (@SussexMummy) and tweet the following:

“I want to get organised and go stamping crazy with @StamptasticLtd & @SussexMummy and WIN: http://ht.ly/kMxCG”

The competition will end at midnight on Friday May 17th and the winner will be notified on Monday May 20th, when I get back from my holiday! Good luck!

Guest Post: Helping With Homework

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 01-10-2012

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I know what you’re thinking – children’s homework is easy, particularly if the child is still primary school age.  A few simple sums and a bit of reading – piece of cake.  However, times have moved on and helping your child with their homework could turn into a stressful and confusing situation for both the child and parent without a bit of forward planning.

Here are three of my top tips for avoiding any last minute homework panics and to make sure you can be top of the class:

  1. Shouting the words ‘well, that’s how I was taught’ won’t help.  If the grid method and number line sound like world war two codes, then arrange for some after school tuition to learn how it is done now.
  2. Have the right equipment ready so there can be no excuses.  This could include plenty of plain paper, pens and pencils (sharpened) a PC or laptop and wireless printer.
  3. Reward good homework.  It’s easy to leave reward and recognition to the class teacher, but your child will be so proud if you praise them for a job well done.  This should also encourage them to try even harder next time.
This article was written by Kathryn Thompson, a freelance writer and mum to three daughters aged 12, 10 and 5.  Kathryn once bought a leather Filofax for her eldest daughter in a last minute shopping panic, as she convinced her they needed to record all their homework in it.  Her daughter was in year one at the time.

Back To School…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review, Product Reviews | Posted on 28-08-2012

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Well that time is upon us all once again, where the mad dash to find essential supplies for our children before we send them back to school next week – unless you’re in Scotland of course where they are already out from under your feet! Now Little Man isn’t 2 yet so I have a few more years to psych myself up for this eternally stressful time, but I do have a few products here that might just appeal to you, and your young scholars!

Smencils
A new school year means a brand new pencil case loaded up with new pens, pencils, rulers and erasers. If you fancy treating your child to something a little more unusual this year – something special if its their first ever day at school – then I highly recommend a set of Smencils. Smencils are just what they sound like – smelly pencils. Made from recycled paper and scented for added fun, these pencils are a great idea. I really like the Fruit Shoot scented range, which is great for young children just starting school. I don’t think there are many children out there who don’t love Fruit Shoots, so a matching set of pencils will be a perfect addition to their very first pencil case.

Click here for a Facebook Competition to win a set. Closes Friday September 7th 2012.

Back To School Books
If your child is a bit nervous about venturing to school for the first time then there a couple of great books here that might just ease their worries. “Foxy” by Emma Dodd is about a little girl called Emily who is starting school the next day and is worried that she doesn’t have everything she needs. Her magical friend Foxy comes to her rescue with some very amusing results, and a brilliantly reassuring message for all children. “Come To School Too, Blue Kangaroo” by Emma Chichester Clark is the latest in the Blue Kangaroo series. Lily takes Blue Kangaroo to school with her and wants to help him through his first day, but his day goes on longer than planned when he is left behind. A great fun story for all Blue Kangaroo fans worried about starting at school.

Forget Me Not
If your child has something of a hectic schedule – school, clubs, sports teams, music lessons, etc – or the mad rush each morning means they often forget something important for school, investing in a Forget Me Not from Tidy Books might just save you a lot of stress. It comes with a large magnetic whiteboard for jotting down reminders or fastening letters from school or timetables on. Beneath that is a small shelf with a lip to put small items that need to be taken, such as lunch money or letters that can be posted on the walk to school. Finally you get a row of hooks which can hold school bags packed ready for the next day or sports kits for PE lessons. The Forget Me Not has a compact slimline design, but has plenty room to store all your school day essentials.

Looking For A New Career? Try Jobs Go Public

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 20-06-2012

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For now I’m lucky enough to be a Stay At Home Mum – though I do have a part-time job one Saturday morning a month – and my husband and I are very keen for it to stay that way. However when Little Man goes to school in a few years time then I might decide I want to see what’s out there. Jobs Go Public is an ideal site for me to do this on as the other leading recruitment sites have never appealed. I want to know that I’m applying to my employer for a job, not to some agency worker just looking to fill quotas. I also think its important to be given the chance to apply for a job – using your experiences and life skills as well as your qualifications – and not just upload a CV in the hope it meets select criteria.
Whether you’re looking for a part time job now your children have started school, or you have chosen to go back to work after maternity leave, you too may be in search of a new career. Looking for a new job can be a challenging and daunting task, and quite often turns into a job of its own. It doesn’t need to be this way. Why not take a look on Jobs Go Public yourself?
As I’ve said, Jobs Go Public is totally different from other recruitment websites, as it doesn’t ask you to upload your CV into its database. Instead it relies on online application forms for its advertised jobs, and it has a tracking system that helps employers manage their selection process easily. Jobs Go Public is out to ensure the whole recruitment process is as easy as possible, and that they always find the right person for each role. They also don’t use recruitment agencies, so the job you see is the job you’re going for. There are no third parties involved.
So whatever sector you’re looking for a fulfilling future career in Jobs Go Public should be your first stop. The search process is so simple, with a Keyword and Location option on the home page, or more specific Advanced Search form available too. You can request adverts direct to your email inbox and online applications can be saved and returned to if necessary – you also get reminders if the deadline approaches and you have an incomplete form. Jobs Go Public are really doing everything they can to help you find employment, whatever you’re looking for.

Product Review: ‘My World’ Puzzles from Gibsons

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 06-03-2012

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I am a firm believer that learning should be fun, especially for young children. You don’t want to do anything to make them think learning is boring or tiresome as it could put them off for years to come. At almost 18 months my Little Man is learning all the time, every day. I’m helping and encouraging this learning with a new range of puzzles from Gibsons.

 

 

 

The ‘My World’ range of puzzles from Gibsons has been designed in association with child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer. The puzzles are linked to the UK National Curriculum to help give your child that early insight into education and school. More importantly the puzzles are brightly coloured, tactile and perfect for little hands. The chunky pieces in the puzzles are made from recycled board and are nice and sturdy – they have been chewed by Little Man but have come to no harm.

We love the ‘My Farm Animals’ set. There are eight puzzles in the box with either 2 or 3 pieces so perfect first jigsaws. The 2 piece puzzles comprise an animals head and bottom, and the 3 piece include a speech bubble with an appropriate noise. What I particularly like is that the pieces are all interchangeable and fit to each other so you could have say a cows head and a dogs bottom saying “Baa!”. This is a lovely feature which allows your child to make up their own funny characters, and its all helping their motor skills when it comes to putting the pieces together. I also like the design of the box. On the lid is a perforated slit which you can easily push out. This allows your child to post the pieces back into the box when they’ve finished playing with them. Little Man found this feature almost more exciting than the jigsaws themselves! This set is aimed at 18months and upwards, so is getting a lot of use in our house at the moment.

Gibsons Range of puzzles for children can be found at all good toy outlets, and online at Amazon and John Lewis.

You can view their entire range online at that website, where you will also be able to find details of your nearest stockist.