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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: Donna from Hotter

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion | Posted on 07-06-2016

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There’s a reasonable chance that I’m becoming obsessed with Hotter shoes.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to a party at my local Hotter store. Not my first, and hopefully not my last, but an event I can never turn down. Hotter throw the best parties – the team are always incredibly lovely, they always bring prosecco, and then there’s shoes. What more could a girl want?

Hotter-Donna-SussexMummy

You’ll remember that at my last event I left with the fabulous – yet very practical – Ribble Boot, which I wore relentlessly throughout the autumn and winter, and which I adore. This time around I decided to go for something altogether less practical, but just as gorgeous. These sparkly silver heels are the Donna Shoe, and I love them.

I’d gone with other shoes in mind, had planned on getting the Antoinette Heels that I’d managed to resist last time. But I spied the Donna sparkly on the shelves and it was pretty much game over. Incredibly comfortable as you’d expect from Hotter, totally impractical – hardly school run appropriate, but just gorgeous.

Now sadly I haven’t had occasion to wear them yet – apart from sat in front of the TV…! – but I’m thinking I’m hugely well prepared for the work Christmas party this year. They look great with jeans so I might risk wearing them next time I go out to the pub, but I suspect that the festive season will be the best time to debut these.

Grab your own Donna Heels now in this soft silver, or one of the many other shades available.

#Review: Hotter Ribble Boots

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 27-01-2016

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You’ll remember that I went to a blogger event at the new Brighton branch of Hotter a few weeks ago where I was lucky enough to leave with a pair of Ribble boots. They are officially my favourite shoes ever.

Hotter-Ribble-SussexMummy

They are superb for the school run where I walk on pavements and paths which have been covered in puddles, mud and more recently ice.  My feet are warm and cosy, but because the shoes are breathable they aren’t uncomfortable. The Gortex feature is amazing – they’ve got wet, splattered in mud, and hit with hailstones. They still look brand new. I could walk for miles in these boots, and no doubt I probably have.

But I don’t just wear them on the school run. I’ve worn them to go out in the evening – they are smart enough for dinner with friends and drinks at the pub. They get worn when I go food shopping, they get worn when I go into town. I wore them at Toy Fair this weekend, where comfortable shoes is vital for the miles you walk around the Olympia. I’ve worn them every day since I got them, in fact the only time I don’t wear them is when I’m at work, though you’ll still find me in Hotter shoes.

Hotter-SussexMummy-Collage

I remember thinking Hotter was very much an old persons shoe, and to be fair to them I think several years ago their styles were certainly ones I was more likely to see my mum in than me – no offence mum! Nowadays their styles are a lot more fun, their colours vibrant, their designs altogether more trendy. If you head on over to the Hotter website today you’ll find there is a huge sale still on, and lots of great bargains to be had. I’m off their now to lust after the Antoinette’s I tried on in Brighton. Maybe its time to treat myself…

 

 

My #HotterMoment

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Blogger Event | Posted on 01-12-2015

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I love shoes. I always have. I couldn’t even begin to hazard a guess as to how many pairs I’ve owned in my lifetime. As a Mum who spends her life chasing around after her children I’m all about comfortable shoes. Flats all the way for me, with the few pairs of heels I own rarely getting a look in. The Hotter brand isn’t new to me, nor is it new to this website, but whilst I’ve had the pleasure and the privilege of owning and reviewing several pairs before, I think I’ve finally had my Hotter Moment.

On Monday night I went to a blogger event at the newly opening Brighton store. I’m lucky where I live that there are so many stores close by, including my local town centre and a nearby garden centre. But Brighton store is all shiny and new, and when we were told we could try on as many pairs as we liked, I was there in a flash.

Hotter shoes are still thought of as old peoples. The first time I worked with them I thought I’d be hard pressed to find a pair that I wouldn’t expect to see on the feet of my own mum, or even my grandparents. This is so not the case, and especially nowadays. Certainly only the funkiest grans would be seen out and about in these beauties.

Hotter-Antoinette-SussexMummy

These are the gorgeous Antoinette shoes. They are so pretty. And they are insanely comfortable, which for a heeled shoe is amazing. I was not born to walk in heels, but I was definitely born to walk in Hotter heels. I spent a long time walking around the store in these, and then carrying them round, before reluctantly handing them back. Maybe for Christmas…

Practicality is a must for me with shoes, which sounds really dull I know, but doesn’t have to mean boring. I went into the store on a mission – I wanted to find a pair for the school run. Now Little Man goes to school in a village about 5 miles away, so there’s some driving involved. The local pub which is a few minutes walk from the school lets parents use their car park at drop off and pick up which is great, and helps to ease the congestion at the school gate. This daily walk involves stomping through gravel, down pavements, over paving stones, and along paths, all of which are currently covering in leaves and puddles and mud. I currently wear Gortex Running Shoes for this, which whilst clearly very practical, isn’t particularly pretty. I decided it was time for a change.

Now I’d had a sneaky look at the Hotter website before I went so had a good idea which shoe I wanted to try on, so when I arrived in store and spotted my desired shoe on display I knew I was on the right track. Gortex was clearly a sensible starting point, but I wanted to avoid more walking boots, so I was immediately drawn to the Ribble Boot.

Hotter-Ribble-SussexMummy

They’re so pretty. And they are so comfortably. And they are so pretty. And they look great with my jeans. And they are so pretty. And my feet are so warm and cosy. And did I mention how pretty they are?

Now the Ribble comes in two colours – black which is leather, and these espresso ones which are suede. Yes, suede. I tried on both pairs, and fell in love with the suede ones. There was a definitive Hotter Moment, and I knew I’d found the perfect shoes. The amazing team in store popped a pair in a box and handed them over. “Let us know how you get on.” Yes I am that lucky. I am now the proud owner of a gorgeous pair of Ribble boots which I will be testing to my utmost ability this week on the rather wet and windy school run, and a full review will be popping up on the blog soon.

If you find yourself in Brighton do head over to the new store – you’ll find it on Western Road just opposite Regent Hill – where you’ll discover a great range of stylish and colourful shoes and boots for every occasion.

Review: Due Patent Diving Blue Fitflops

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Fashion, Product Reviews | Posted on 24-10-2013

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When I think about Fitflops I automatically think of those chunky flip flops that were all the rage several years ago. Not my idea of nice footwear – I don’t do flip flops unless I’m honeymooning in Hawaii. When I was contacted by the team at Fitflop to take a look at their website and choose a pair to review I wasn’t particularly hopeful. How wrong was I. After a bit of surfing I’d found several pairs that looked amazing – like “real” shoes, not just flip flops. After much deliberation I settled on a pair of Due Patent in Diving Blue.
Fitflop Due Patent Diving Blue Shoes

How pretty are they!

Here’s what the website says about them:
“Built on a super-cushioned, height-enhancing midsole – our ultra-versatile DUÉ looks like a ballerina and feels like a sneaker. Scoop cut with a rounded toe cap, it’s flirty, feminine, can go formal or fun, works equally well with skinny jeans or a skirt, and feels amazing underfoot. Ladies, it’s that shoe you’ve been looking for your whole life.” 

The idea of Fitflops is simple enough. Ultra comfortable shoes that make you look and feel amazing. I was very keen to try them so put them on immediately. The curved sole does make them a little “bouncy” and going back to “normal” flat soled shoes afterwards was a bit odd. The Fitflops were really very comfortable and this style is both practical and fun. Flat shoes are all I wear so this pair is perfect for me, and I’ll no doubt end up wearing them with my jeans, but also with skirts and dresses, and in the summer months may be even with a pair of shorts. They can genuinely be worn with anything. And if the colour is a bit much for you, you can also get them in nude.

Now I own a lot of shoes – just ask my husband – and a lot of them are this style of ballerina flat. Finding shoes in this style to fit can be a bit of a mission though. Whilst I have fairly average size 5 feet my toes are quite long – yes, I have freaky feet – so I often struggle with standard size 5’s. With the Fitflops I was thrilled to find they did half sizes, so ordered these shoes in a 5.5. Perfect fit. It not only means I can wear them despite my weird toes, but also means I can wear them over socks if needs be or over thick tights in the winter, making them a truly versatile and year round shoe.

Overall I am really pleased with my new shoes. Yes, they take a bit of getting used to with their bouncy soles, but they are comfortable and stylish, and to be honest that’s all I’m really looking for in a pair of shoes. The pair I nearly chose was “The Cuddler” – and I think I’ll be popping a pair on my Christmas Wish List!!

Shoes For Sunnier Weather

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 21-10-2013

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A friend of mine has just emigrated to Australia. Lucky thing. Thankfully she’s not near Sydney where the awful bush fires are breaking out everywhere, but its still a bit of a worry. They are about the experience the hottest summer for decades, and no doubt my friend and her little family will be feeling it much more than the natives. I’m not a big fan of the heat – clearly Australia isn’t for me – but I do prefer warmer weather to the recent spell of wind and rain we’re having. As photos appear on Facebook of her settling in with bright blue skies and sunshine it does make me think of next summer. As much as I love winter clothes and boots and coats, there’s nothing like being able to wander around in comfortable sandals and skirts and tshirts. I was having a look on the Lotus website earlier and found some rather nice looking wedge sandals. Maybe something to think about for next year, or maybe I should point my friend in that direction. Here are my favourites.
I’ve never been particularly good with heels. My feet just aren’t designed to wear them unless they are fairly low so the blue pair on the left would probably be the safest option for me, but I do like the beaded peep toe ones more. They’d probably make very good wedding shoes actually, or I see them teamed with a fifties style dress for a special night out. Maybe I’ll just have to convince my feet to co-operate…

Get In Shape With FitFlop

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Information | Posted on 30-08-2013

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Quite a few people on my Twitter feed seem to be doing the #30DayShred at the moment. There are lots of photos doing the rounds of tired looking people decked out in fitness gear at the end of their daily workout, and I am seeing some impressive differences in photos from the first day and the current one. You’re all doing SO well. Exercise isn’t something I’ve ever been particularly keen on. I run around after Little Man and for me that’ll do. My bodyshape has obviously changed since having him and toning up would probably be a good idea, but I lack the motivation to be honest! Something that has always appealed to me though are FitFlops. Shoes which are not only designed for comfort, but also to give your legs and bottom a work out too, leaving them lovely and toned. What didn’t really appeal about them though was their flip flop origins. Never really been a keen wearer of flip flops apart from on my honeymoon in Hawaii where they were pretty much an essential. Needless to say I was thrilled therefore to discover that fashion and footwear store MoZiMo had a great range of new style FitFlops in stock. Ballet pumps, sneakers and even slippers with the same toning technology but with a bit more of my style. What do you think?
Fit Flops MoZiMoI certainly think I could face a day chasing Little Man around in the ballet pumps before an evening with my toes snuggled into those slippers. Not quite the 30 Day Shred I know, but maybe a start!

Starting Preschool With Marks & Spencer

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Back To School, Product Reviews | Posted on 29-08-2013

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One week to go until Little Man’s first day at preschool. I’m sure he’s going to be fine. I hope he is at least. He’s often a bit nervous in new places, but we’ve been to several drop in sessions at whenever we drive or walk past he points preschool out and wants to go in. Whenever we’re there he’s perfectly happy, playing with the toys and running around the garden. I know it’ll be different being there without Mummy there too, but I’m sure he’ll settle in soon enough. The preschool he’s going to is just a small one in the village. There’s no official uniform but there was the option to buy t-shirts with the name and logo on, and jumpers too. Little Man has always been a fan of routine and consistency, doing things to same way and doing the same things with the same person. This is why we decided to get him a couple of t-shirts and a jumper. So he’d have a consistent outfit to wear. So he’d know that it was his day to go to preschool. We were told he could wear anything he wanted on his bottom half – shorts, trousers, whatever. Preschool did request no open toe sandals but otherwise any sensible footwear. When Marks & Spencer got in touch after reading a previous post on here and asked me if I wanted to look at their Back To School Range I wondered whether he should have a specific set of clothes to wear. I wondered whether a uniform of sorts, albeit not official and not compulsory would help with the settling in process. I had a look around on their website and picked out a few items which looked ideal for Little Man’s first day.

Marks&Spencers Back To SchoolFirst up I wanted a pair of trousers. I wanted something that would be hard wearing and long lasting. We’re advised by the school to not put them in anything new when they start as they do a lot of playing in the garden as well as painting and water play. There’s also lots of Playdoh going around. They are bound to get messy/wet/dirty so wearing something new would be a waste. The trousers I chose from M&S have Stormwear+. They repel both water and stains to keep them looking newer for longer. They also have Supercrease. This means the crease down the front stays there, even after washing. No extra ironing for Daddy. The trousers also have adjustable waists. Perfect for my skinny Little Man. The best thing though is that there are no fastenings on them on sizes below 5-6 years. They just pull up. As you know we have just potty trained Little Man – with incredible success, both during the day AND the night – and he is very keen to be independent. He wants to pull his own trousers down and up when he goes to the toilet at home, and I wanted to make sure he could do it at preschool too when I’m not there to help.

Back To School Shoes

Footwear was next on my list. Something smart yet comfortable. Something again which would be hard wearing and which he could take off himself if needs be. Did we mention him being rather independent? Anyway, I found what I hope will be the ideal pair. Black, leather, proper quality soles and scuff resistant. Even better is that they come with Marks & Spencer’s patented Fresh Feet technology so hopefully, even after a day running around like a mad thing, his shoes at least will still be fresh and clean. I’m sure these shoes will become a fast favourite and no doubt he’ll end up wearing them all the time. Another reason I chose them – they don’t look specifically like school shoes.

And finally whilst I was wandering – virtually of course – around the Back To School pages of the M&S website I found socks. All of Little Man’s socks are brightly coloured, socks you’d expect an almost three year old to be wearing. Some have Angrys Birds on and others feature the cast of Toy Story. Hardly the most appropriate for preschool, especially when you’re so smartly dressed otherwise! So I thought a few pairs of plain black socks would do the trick nicely. And what better way than to plump for some Fresh Feet ones. Little Man should hopefully be spending his time at preschool in comfort.

I think we can safely say that clothes and footwear wise Little Man is ready to start his preschool adventure. I hope he loves it. It’ll be very strange not having him here one morning a week, but I can’t wait to see what he gets up to.

Camping Kit: Footwear

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Camping | Posted on 13-08-2013

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Its only a few weeks till we head up to Cumbria to visit The Quiet Site for four nights. I’m remaining eternally optimistic that the weather will hold out, or at the very least remain reasonably warm. As well as making sure we have all the necessary kit for our camping adventure, I also need to make sure we have all the right clothing. Lots of lightweight clothing, waterproofs in case of sudden downpours, and comfortable footwear. Whilst Daddy and I have trainers, hiking boots and wellies, Little Man only really has wellies which are suitable for all terrains. Whilst we’re clearly not about to start hiking the hills of Cumbria, we may well go on a few walks and some lightweight footwear that is suitable for wet or dry conditions would be a bonus. Off to an internet search engine I go, and I found these cute little sandals on the Jelly Egg website.
JellyEgg Keen Kids SandalsThese infant shoes from Keen look ideal for stomping around the countryside and for any trips to the coast we manage whilst we’re up there. The Quiet Site is very close to Ullswater so no doubt there’ll be some splashing around done there by the Little Man. The soles look pretty sturdy so should cope well with the kind of terrain we’re likely to take him on, but should also work fine on trips into towns and villages.

Now I come to think about it Daddy has been muttering that the shoes he currently walks to work in are getting a but tatty and in need of replacement. He’s awful when it comes to buying shoes so maybe it’d be quicker for him and more painless for me if I just get him a pair of these whilst I’m buying Little Man’s?
These boots are waterproof, breathable, and designed for comfort and stability. Whilst Daddy doesn’t tend to fall over much – there was ONE time he did and it was hysterical – he does walk about three miles a day in all weathers so these look perfect for him. Maybe I’ll just forward him the details and let him spend the money eh?

Back To College

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion | Posted on 07-08-2013

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If your teens are heading to college this September the uniform list tends to be a bit smaller than it has been for the last few years. In fact most colleges don’t have a uniform list and its the first time children have been able to really express themselves with their clothes apart from at weekends. Clearly the college will want your child looking smart and won’t approve of them wearing anything too wild, but I remember most students getting a pretty free reign when I went many years ago. In fact I the only policy that my college really enforced was on footwear. High heels were definitely not allowed which seemed sensible enough.

As a keen buyer of shoes – though nowadays they tend to be for Little Man – I spend a lot of time browsing them online. I’ve found some really cute plimsolls on sale at New Look which would make great footwear for the new term. Simple in design and available in a range of colours – or an uber cute dog pattern – they are going to go with whatever your teen wears to college. I think they’d team up well with dresses, shorts, jeans and leggings, giving that casual sporty look to any outfit. Now whilst I don’t have a teen , nor am I remotely teen in age, I would certainly wear them myself! In fact with prices starting at just £9.99 for a pair, I may well treat myself to a couple.

black and white sausage dog print plimsolls from new look

I’m pretty sure these are my favourite though. What do you think? Like I said, whilst I am in no way the target market for these shoes, I think they’d make great summer footwear – what’s left of it anyway – and would be perfect to pull on and chase after Little Man wearing. And anyway, can a girl EVER have too many pairs of shoes? According to my husband, yes they can. Or more specifically, yes I do. Such a spoil sport.

New Shoes For Christmas From Hotter

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Product Reviews | Posted on 22-11-2012

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If you’re looking for something stylish and comfortable to wear on Christmas Day this year, or want to spoil your other half with a good long lasting pair of shoes then here are a couple of Hotter’s newest additions, perfect for the festive period.

For the man in your life the new “Thor” shoe is a very versatile style. A great sporty appearance which is also smart enough for a trip to the pub or date night these shoes are superb. They also benefit from being Gortex so you don’t need to worry about puddles or heavy rain, plus you could use them if you’re taking the children for a walk in the park or woods and find yourself a but muddy!! My husband has a pair of these and he uses them on “Casual Fridays” to go to work. He has to walk to our local train station which is about a mile then about three miles to his office when he gets off the train. Whilst he has said that the soles are a little harder then he is used to – typically he wears trainers to walk to work – he was impressed that they withstood all weathers and as a daily commuter this was very important. “Thor” shoes are available in Mahogany (shown here) or Mushroom and are priced at £95.
For the girls, if you’re looking for a nice comfortable heel to wear on Christmas Day whilst you’re dashing about after the children and cooking up a feast in the kitchen then the “Amethyst” might just be your perfect shoe. A stylish court shoe with a quirky off-set strap this comes in Brown (shown here), Ocean or Taupe. Its ideal for wearing with skirts or dresses for something formal, but would also work fine with a pair of jeans for a day out with the girls or a trip to the shops. This shoes features a new sole with additional padding around the heel and ball of your foot making it even more comfortable to wear for a long time. The shoe also fastens with a simple velcro patch which makes them quick to get on and off whilst also looking smart. I am a huge fan of Hotter shoes as you’ll know from previous posts, but these are without doubt my favourite pair. They are so comfortable, and for someone who lives in flats this is quite a feat. I will definitely be wearing these on Christmas Day and no doubt for a long time to come.

You can find these latest styles from Hotter and many more in store or online now.