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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: Trolley Bags

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 18-01-2016

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I’ve been having my food shopping delivered for years, even before we had children. I tried shopping with my eldest when he was young but he got bored in the trolley really quickly so it became a nightmare. When my youngest was born I thought I’d have another go, with his older brother off at school it seemed like a good idea. He LOVES it. Happily sitting in the seat, “helping” put things in the trolley, and grinning and waving at anyone and everyone. A sneaky snack also helps.

I own about a million bags for life. Okay maybe not a million, but probably more than my fair share. So I’d set off with a bundle of these bags and go and do my shopping, keen to avoid the 5p bag charge where possible. The system worked well, as long as I remembered my bags, but I seemed to always struggle to fit all the full bags back in the trolley whilst packing and keeping Little Dude amused. You need about seven pairs of hands by the time you get to the checkout! Help is at hand.

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I spotted an advert for Trolley Bags on Facebook and was intrigued. They looked incredibly clever, yet the design seemed simple. Could it really work? A row of four bags for life attached by velcro that sit in your trolley? Even with an enthusiastic 20 month old? I got in touch with Trolley Bags to see if I could test out the theory, and was really excited to receive a set in the post to review.

I received the Original Set in Vibe – four brightly coloured bags designed to sit in a standard shopping trolley. You can also get an Express version which is for shallower trolleys. The bags arrived ready to take to the shops – stuck together and rolled up. They’re easy to carry with the handle – my youngest actually likes to carry them to the car for me – and whilst the bars that help the bags sit in the trolley are sometimes a nuisance, you can easily pop them in the boot and go.

Here’s what Trolley Bags says.

“Trolley Bags Original are a system of four reusable shopping bags that are used to pack your shopping at the supermarket checkout, sized to fit larger deep trolleys. In one simple action the Trolley Bags system spreads out and rests on the deeper supermarket trolleys, giving you a series of open and upright bags into which you can pack and sort your shopping with both hands. Each durable bag holds up to 15kg and are designed to make your shopping trip easier and more convenient. The simple system can halve the time at the checkout as packing is quicker and easier without the hassle of holding bags open.”

My verdict? They’re genius. Once I’ve emptied my shopping onto the checkout belt I have my bags open and ready within seconds. I then park my trolley at the end of the checkout and drop my shopping in with speed and ease whilst Little Dude watches and/or helps. No having three or four part filled bags cluttering the checkout with me frantically putting things in each. No having to buy dozens of carrier bags because I’ve forgotten my own. And no bored toddler kicking up a fuss whilst I get more and more stressed. Shopping is almost a joy.

TrolleyBags-SussexMummy

Now I shop at a supermarket that doesn’t offer Scan & Shop – mostly because they employ me! These bags would be excellent at our rival supermarket where you could set them up open in your trolley and pack as you go round. I love Scan & Shop, and used to use it weekly before I went back to work and switched allegiance. Clearly I need to get in touch with our company director and encourage him to bring it in to our stores too…

Trolley Bags are £17.99 for the set of four, so they work out at just under £4.50 a bag. Your average good quality reusable bag tends to set you back £3 or £4 for to get a set of four at this price isn’t particularly expensive. They are great quality, very sturdy and will undoubtedly last far longer than the plastic bags for life or even the fancier hessian ones.

Buy MORE Clothes…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion, Guest Post | Posted on 02-08-2013

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There’s nothing we like more than a good bargain. It used to be that there were only a couple of sale periods each year – straight after Christmas and in the summer. Now, sales, bargains and offers are available all year round, which means you can get more for your money without really trying.

Most of us work to some sort of clothing budget. Some budgets are more generous than others, but no matter how much you have to spend, it’s always worth trying to make the very most of it. The easiest way to do this is to look for clothing that you know works for you, but is available at a lower cost or as part of a deal. Men’s polo shirts are often used in this multibuy deal way in order to make you spend more money. The mistake that many people make is to buy anything, regardless of whether you really want it, because the price is low. In fact, with a little thought and planning, you can do much better than that.

colour choices for polo shirts on cotton traders website poppy bright blue pink cress dark purpleHow can you save money on your dresses, jeans, tops, jackets, knitwear and more? Easy. Know what clothing works for you, which brands you like, the colours that suit you and keep a constant eye out for bargains on your favourite websites such as Cotton Traders website for womens trousers. You can keep your costs down in a number of ways.

First, watch out for sales. Stores will slash up to 70% on normal prices and keeping updated with the progress of the sale, or having your eye on something from the main range and waiting for it to go into the sale is a great way to get exactly what you want for less. Second, look for offers. These are the “buy one, get one free” deals, or “three for the price of two” bargains. This gives you the opportunity to increase the amount of clothing you buy, whilst spending less. Third, use discount codes and cards if they are available. You don’t have to sign up to long-term buying; just use the discount available to get more for your money.

Retailers want you to buy their clothes and they are constantly coming up with new, innovative ways to help you make your money go further. Take advantage of this, as well as thinking creatively about the clothes you already have and searching out stores that always offer great value at low prices, and you’re well on the way to growing your wardrobe without losing too much from your wallet.

Tips On Buying The Perfect Christmas Gift…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 30-10-2012

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From a new sweater to edible underpants, a bottle of vintage Rioja to a state-of-the-art iPod, when it comes to buying Christmas presents knowing what to buy our loved ones can be a mind-boggling predicament. Will they like it? Have they already got it? Is this the right size? All these questions occupy our thoughts as we battle through the Christmas shopping crowds desperately trying to find the one we love the perfect gift.

The good news is that buying Christmas presents needn’t be such a struggle and help is at hand with these following tips.

Shop online

To avoid the crowds, queues and general Christmas run-up consumer madness, why not shop online? You can browse through all the leading retailers at your leisure, with your feet up and shopping for Christmas gifts in such a relaxed and stress-free manner, means that you will be less rushed and therefore less likely to make a Christmas gift blunder.

Most retailers now offer online shopping to consumers, for example you can buy many great Christmas gifts from Waitrose on the Internet without even having to leave your armchair.

Ask your partner what they would like for Christmas

Avoid having to battle through the even more densely populated shopping malls, supermarkets and retail parks in the post-Christmas sales because that dress you bought your wife was too small, or your boyfriend doesn’t like that particular aftershave or granddad’s slippers don’t fit, by simply asking your loved ones what they would like for Christmas.

In times of such economic hardship why should we waste our precious pennies on Christmas gifts that get discarded to one side as soon as they are opened? Avoid this incredibly common dilemma by simply asking loved ones what they would like for Christmas.

Food can be a firm Christmas gift favourite

When we buy clothes for somebody for Christmas, the chances are that they won’t fit properly. When we buy somebody a new CD, a fashionable gadget, or a kitchen appliance or something else for the home, the chances are they have already got one or simply don’t like what you’ve bought them. If you know someone well enough, the chances you will know what they like eat. Food can therefore make a great Christmas gift as filling your loved ones stomach with their favourite nibble or topple is bound to go down well on Christmas Day.

Product Review: Sit & Go

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Product Reviews | Posted on 20-08-2012

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With festival season well under way and the summer weather back for another go, long days out are becoming increasingly likely. So if you’re heading down to the beach for the day, going to a festival, heading to the Paralympics, or even taking up residence in the local park for an all day picnic, you’re going to need something to carry your food in. Picnics are brilliant as you always know what you are getting and wont have to battle the queues – or the inflated prices – by buying food when you arrive. You want something strong and sturdy, ideally that will keep your picnic nice and cool, and that’s easily transportable. What you need, is a Sit & Go.

Now I realise it looks a little bit like one of those shopping trolleys that you see elderly people dragging down the high street and around the supermarkets, but I assure you it is much cooler than that. Literally.

The bag itself is insulated meaning your food will stay nice and cool – or warm – in there as you pull it around the Olympic Park, or park it up on the beach or at your next music festival. Its very easy to move about and it stands up by itself. But this is no ordinary bag. Oh no. This bag is much cleverer than your average shopping bag. The Sit & Go comes with a fold down chair built in, and the Union Jack model comes with a parasol/umbrella too. You might not fancy sitting down on the floor, or you might have an elderly relative with you who just can’t sit down on the floor, so this chair is ready and available. You can sit in comfort whilst helping yourself to the food stored in the bag behind you.

This bag would also be great for an elderly person to do their weekly shop in. They could pull it up to the shops, store their food safely in it as they head home, and if they need a rest they have a chair with them so they can sit down for a while.

Perhaps you’re a frequent visitor of food fairs and shows which are often large and crowded with limited seating. You can buy all your tasty goodies without worrying about the carrying them or returning to the stands as you leave, and you’ll be able to take a seat for a well deserved cup of tea in comfort and style.

The Sit & Go would also be great at Wimbledon or at the cricket for some patriotic support, and I can see us using it this summer in the garden to keep drinks cold in during picnics or barbecues.

The Sit & Go is available now in four designs from the Direct To Your Door online store.

Product Review: Kiddicare

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 24-06-2012

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Kiddicare is branded as the “UK’s Favourite Baby Website” and its one I’ve visited frequently since the arrival of my Little Man. Its a great place to see a huge range of different items, and is especially good if you want to compare brands and styles of a product before buying. We used it when we were looking at prams and travel systems, and to look at car seats too. I took a look around it more recently when I was researching Potty Training!

Little Man is very confident on his feet nowadays and that’s bringing a new range of problems for us. More often than not he’ll grip tightly onto one of our fingers when we’re out and about, especially if its somewhere new for him to be walking. I’m sure if he’s worried we’re going to run off and leave him, or if he just thinks he’s going to fall over, but I’m certainly going to enjoy it whilst it lasts. If its somewhere he’s walked before however, he is sometimes a little more reluctant to hold our hands, and feels certain he doesn’t need our help. Quite often this is okay if its somewhere safe, but when walking by the side of a road its too dangerous for him to be let loose, which is why my most recent visit to the Kiddicare website was to look for reins. A search for reins on the Kiddicare website led me to a list of choices, from the basic to the slightly more decorative, and that in turn led me to the purchase of these cute reins from Littlelife:

I chose these – apart from the great design – because it allows Little Man to feel like a “big boy” whilst carrying around his own very special rucksack, and because the adult strap is detachable. It doesn’t need to be attached all the time, so sometimes the bag can be used purely as a rucksack, and when needed the adult strap clips neatly to a D-ring on the top and you’re back in control for a while.

As well as wandering around and exploring my Little Man’s other favourite activity is bath time – something I’m sure all children enjoy. The reluctance to get out the bath every evening is very loud proof of this! When he’s in the bath we like to keep him distracted so he’s not aware that he’s actually being washed, especially when doing his hair, so we keep a large supply of bath toys in there. Whilst browsing the Kiddicare website I came across this Octopus and was unable to resist:

Needless to say this has become a new favourite in our bathroom. Water can be poured into the octopus’ head and its sprays out holes within its tentacles, and your little one can also practise their aim by tossing the three rings and trying to get the octopus to catch them. This isn’t something Little Man has quite mastered yet, but he does enjoy using them as teethers too!

So next time you’re looking to buy something for your little one, whether it be something as big as a pram or as small as a new bath toy, get over to Kiddicare where you’re bound to find what you’re after, and much much more!

Shop At Zulily – Daily Deals For Mums, Babies, and Kids

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Launch | Posted on 09-05-2012

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Zulily launched in the UK last month after a press event in Central London. Zulily provides heavily discounted branded items – up to 90% off retail prices – for short periods of time. Each sale event lasts 72 hours and then they are gone, making way for a new brand and new deals. A group of bloggers and national press were invited to morning tea and to preview some of the clothes, shoes, books and accessories which would be on sale via Zulily in the coming weeks and months.

 

Every day at 6am a new selection of goods are added, and over the past week there has been clothing, changing bags, maternity bras, books and furniture on offer at great prices.

We bought this last week for Little Man to give him somewhere to sit whilst colouring or playing with his Lego or puzzles:
This desk for Pkolino currently retails for £79.99 from Amazon. I got it through Zulily for just £45, and it was delivered this morning 10 days after ordering. A sturdy flat packed desk which is suitable from age 2 up to around 6 – so a great investment too.

Ordering from Zulily is simple and you pay just one postage charge per day, so if you order something in the morning then have another browse later on you will get free delivery on anything else ordered before midnight.

Joining Zulily is free, so why not head over there now and take a look at what’s on offer today by clicking here.

Product Review: Istylista Website

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 26-03-2012

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Trinny and Susanna and more recently Gok Wan have always been favourites with people keen to improve their style. Watching these experts transform the lives of women by giving them a new “look” inspires viewers to hit the high street themselves in search of the perfect outfit. But what if you don’t know where to start? What if you don’t really know what suits you and what doesn’t? We can’t all afford the services of Gok or a Personal Shopper so we’re out there alone relying on fashion magazines which generally show gorgeous clothes on glamorous tiny models. What about the rest of us? What about “Real” women?

In an attempt to help, IStylista was born – an online personal stylist which takes in account your colouring, your measurements, your lifestyle and most importantly your budget. Whilst I’m sure the latest Gucci would look amazing, you’re more likely to find me on the high street! It was launched in 2009 by expert Chantelle Znideric – professional personal stylist to the rich and famous.  I was given access to an IStylista Style Goddess Style Guide in an attempt to find out what would look good on me, and what I should avoid.

Filling in the initial questionnaire is easy – height, dress size, hair colour, eye colour, bra cup size, etc. You decide how much you can afford to spend per month – I went for £0-£100 though I think a smaller window would be more realistic – what your body and face shape is, and tell them your age. Within moments you receive a downloadable pdf which is YOUR personal style guide.

I received a 26 page pdf which laid out all the information and advice which I need to make sure I always look good. I was provided with information about my body shape and how to style it; what clothing shapes, fabrics and patterns would work best for me; what colour clothes I should look for; what my capsule wardrobe should include based on my lifestyle; and tips for accessorising.

As well as this I was able to access “My Virtual Changing Room” where I could window shop for the perfect outfit based on clothes that are available in stores and online shops now. This is updated daily to ensure the latest looks and trends, and the make sure you can actually buy the items you find. The changing room is broken down into tabs – Dresses, Tops, Skirts, Jeans, Coats, Shoes, etc – so if you’re looking for a specific item you can go directly to it, or if you are revamping your entire wardrobe you can work your way through piece by piece.

I’m on the look out for a new pair of jeans after a small hole turned into a huge tear and ruined my favourite pair. So I just click “Jeans” in the tabs that run across the top of the page and a huge list of jeans that are ideal for my shape and style appear before me. You can then list them with the newest first, or the cheapest. You can highlight the most suitable for your shape, or from stores giving the best discount. With a few simple clicks I can find my perfect pair of jeans based on the budget I’ve set for myself. Clicking on my chosen pair takes me through to the relevant online store and I can buy them straight away. Genius. You can also find clothes for specific occasions. Using the option panel on the left I can, for example, source a feminine dress that’s suitable for casual wear. Or a classic skirt to wear for work.

So if you want to take the stress out of clothes shopping, or you want to use the services of a personal shopper, then IStylista is for you. I have 10 Personalised Style Goddess Style Guides to give away to Sussex Mummy readers. All you need to do is email me your name and email address and I’ll draw 10 names out of the hat on Friday at 8pm.

Email your details to: info@sussexmummy.co.uk

To take  a look at what IStylista has to offer take a peek at the website now.

 

Product Review: Leap Frog Count & Scan Shopper

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 11-02-2012

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I first came across the Leap Frog brand at last summers Cybermummy Conference. At that time my Little Man was about 8 months old so wasn’t really “playing” with toys, more chewing on/poking them. Now he’s nearly 16 months old and has recently begun interacting with toys like he understands them a bit more, so I thought it was time for some Leap Frog in his life.

Introducing the Leap Frog Count & Scan Shopper!!

The Count & Scan Shopper is a new addition to the Leap Frog range. It consists of a handheld scanner, a shopping list and nine food items which are all featured on the list. Everything packs away neatly in a cute green bag-for-life too. The scanner unit has three settings on it – Count, Colour and Music – and each item produces a different sound or phrase when scanned. You can also scan any other item in your home for one of short cycle of additional phrases. The Count & Scan Shopper teaches your child colours, counting individual items, matching items to a list, and the all important ability to shop!

I love this item and was very keen on getting one when I found it on the Leap Frog website. I like the clever way the scanner recognises the list and all the items on it. I like how each item is numbered appropriately for how many of each thing there are in that item (6 eggs, 2 peppers, 3 cartons of juice). Some of the phrases get a little monotonous but you’ll be pleased to hear that there is a volume level option on the scanner. The fact that everything packs away neatly in the bag-for-life is also a bonus.

The Count & Scan Shopper is designed for children aged 18months to 5 years, so my Little Man is perhaps a bit young for it just yet. Whilst he doesn’t understand what the scanner is telling him he has learnt to scan the items and he can pack them all away, and unpack them again, with ease. In fact just putting them in and out of the bag can keep him amused for ages!! He also carries the bag around with him – nice to get him in training for shopping!!

The Count & Scan Shopper is available now from the Leap Frog Store at the great price of £14.99

 

 

Top up your shopping with Milk&More

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 19-12-2011

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In a time where we’re all busy, generally doing and thinking about half a dozen things at once we can all forget something or another. When you busy mums (or dads!) are at the supermarket doing your weekly shop how often do you get home and realise you’ve forgotten to buy milk? Eggs? Bread? Cereal? When I do this I generally can’t face traipsing back to my nearest supermarket to pick up the missing item, and this is for two reasons. Firstly I hate supermarkets, especially with a child in tow. My Little Man doesn’t have the patience for sitting in a trolley for ages as it is, and the overcrowded chaos generally sends us both potty. Secondly I know I won’t just pick up the missing milk/eggs/bread/cereal. I know for a fact that I’ll end up spending another £30 on bits and pieces that I don’t really need. What I needed was a solution – what I found was milk&more.
milk&more is run by Dairy Crest and products are delivered by your friendly local milkman, just now you can order things online, and it doesn’t just stop at milk and other dairy products. Bread, breakfast cereal, seasonal fruit and vegetables, drinks, soup, pet food, biscuits, tea, coffee and chocolate. The list is endless. In fact they now supply over 250 essential items direct to your front door. The products on offer are big brand names too, not unknown and potentially poor quality. Kelloggs, Tropicana and Cathedral City are all on offer, so you know you’re going to get good quality products in your delivery.
milk&more to provide an online food shopping experience that fills in those gaps between your big supermarkets shops, and is ideal for when you forget items. Deliveries are made early in the morning and are free with no minimum order value (though pay as you go/single payment customers are subject to a £2.50 minimum charge). You can order items up to 9pm the night before your next scheduled delivery and you can do all your ordering, paying and managing of your account online from the comfort of your sofa.
milk&more provide a wide ranging fruit and vegetable delivery. From individual items like a bag of apples or some carrots, you can also get fresh fruit and vegetable boxes delivered to your door. These are of course seasonal and depend upon what is available.
For me the best thing about milk&more is the convenience and the knowledge that you will be getting the same friendly milkman delivering to you each time. When you set up your account online with milk&more you are told which day’s deliveries are available to you and the name of your milkman, and that milkman doesn’t change. You will get the same person every single time you get a delivery. A totally friendly service.

Christmas Shopping with P&O Ferries

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 05-12-2011

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On Sunday I was lucky enough to get a free trip on board the Spirit Of Britain, P&O Ferries’ newest and biggest ferry travelling to France. I had been invited to take a look at their on board shopping experience, to coincide with their new stocking filler game on Facebook. Here you get the chance to win over £600 worth of goodies from their on-board shops – take a look here:

Our child-free day out began bright and early on Sunday morning with a 6am alarm and a two hour journey down to Dover. Upon arrival checking in was a breeze – hi-tech car registration recognition meant I was greeted by name immediately before being given our passes. We were very pleased to discover we’d been given priority boarding and complimentary access to the Club Lounge. Being the first car onto the ferry was a little daunting but it would ensure a speedy getaway upon arrival in Calais.

The ferry itself was incredibly impressive. The Spirit Of Britain is the biggest cross-channel ferry carrying 1000 cars on three parking levels and 2000 foot passengers. There is a large shop – more on that later – on board Costa Coffees, a restaurant, a gaming zone and plenty of seating all around. Our passes allowed us into the Club Lounge, and may I say “Wow.” I rather enjoyed being offered complimentary champagne as I walked in! Tea, coffee and a range of soft drinks were free so we settled down on some rather comfy seats to check out the menu. Being only 9.30am we were rather hungry and we weren’t disappointed by what arrived. I ordered a continental breakfast – thought I’d best get into the French mindset – and my husband went, rather predictably, for the waffles.

It was delicious, and despite being in the Club Lounge it was very reasonably priced. When this was all polished off and I’d made the most of my complimentary tea we decided we’d best go and investigate the on board shop – any excuse really! Now we’ve already done the bulk of our Christmas shopping – though I don’t seem to have bought my lovely husband anything as yet… – but I think we’d have managed to tick off most people if we’d been looking. A huge range of fragrances and beauty products were available, as were designer handbags and accessories – I stroked several Radley handbag before my husband suggested I backed away slowly – a range of electrical goods, confectionery in all shapes and sizes, toys for the children, and your traditional offerings of alcohol galore. There was even a selection of products from high-street store Accessorize. We picked up a few bottles for Christmas, some chocolate, some headphones for my husband and a gorgeous Radley umbrella for me! Little Man was even treated, getting a very festive rubber duck for his bath. Prices in the shop were incredibly reasonable as you’d expect and the choice and range of products was amazing.

The 90 minute sailing time flew by and we soon found ourselves being called down to the car deck to retrieve our vehicles. Whilst I was one of the first cars off the boat I did let a few vehicles go in front of me as I’d been inwardly panicking about driving on the “wrong” side of the road for most of the journey. I can confirm that whilst I did master roundabouts quickly it was at a T-junction that I scared some poor resident of Calais as I turned onto the wrong side of the road. Oops. We spent the few hours we had driving around a sadly closed Calais and then taking a trip up and down the Northern coast towards Dunkirk.

On our return journey we were on board the Pride Of Kent – a much smaller ferry but still brilliant. Once again we found ourselves in the Club Lounge, and I must say I thought this lounge was much better than on Spirit Of Britain. It was a lot larger and the floor to ceiling windows gave a great view of the busy Channel. The sofas were also much larger and more comfortable. The service was equally good on both though.

Now we did order lunch but photographing it was forgotten when it arrived – apparently we were rather hungry. Lots more tea followed and we relaxed our way back to England. My husband spent most of the return journey watching the other traffic in the Channel and getting rather excited – I went for another trip around the shop!

We had an amazing time, and would like to thank P&O for their incredible service and generous hospitality. I would highly recommend a day trip over to France with them, and I think the Club Lounge is something everyone should experience if only once.

Take a look at the P&O website now to book yourselves a getaway.

If you can’t make the trip before Christmas why not enter their stocking filler game now for a chance to win goodies from the on board shop!