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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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Making Christmas Easier With Asda

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Foodie, Information | Posted on 17-12-2012

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We all want to create a magical Christmas this year for our families, and especially our children. Hopefully you have all got your presents bought – and no doubt some of your efficient enough to have them wrapped as well – and houses are probably decorated too. The thing I find that needs the most organisation after the complications of what to buy people, is food.

We have a traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, lots of vegetables, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes and stuffing. There’s usually some bread sauce and cranberry sauce too. Dessert is never a problem as Grandma always ensures we have trifle – the best EVER – and meringues to go with and cake, mince pies and pudding that there may be too. As you can see, food is a big part of Christmas.

Little Man is also a big part of Christmas, and this year as he’s so much more aware of whats going on, and beginning to recognise Santa and understanding what presents are, I don’t want to be spending all Christmas Day in the kitchen. I want to be spending it with my family, and my most important member, my son. So this year I’m going for a nice easy Christmas, without scrimping on quality. I want to be able to pop things in the oven as necessary, but not spend hours preparing and watching over the oven or the hobs as things cook.

This Christmas I am relying entirely on Asda, and I know I wont be disappointed.

Firstly my turkey is coming from there. A nice sized turkey, enough to feed four adults and a toddler on Christmas Day and then give us some leftovers for the next few days. My fresh turkey from Asda’s Butchers Selection is costing £18 which I think is pretty reasonable for the size of it, and for the fact its fresh, not frozen. The turkey will be pimped up a little with some butter which I’ll be placing between the skin and the meat to make it nice and moist, and I’ll probably stick a couple of clementines inside to add to the flavour. Nothing too fancy. This should take about 2 and a half hours to cook, depending on weight of course, and hopefully I’ll be able to cook this then leave it to rest for an hour or so whilst I get the accompaniments cooked.

Next up is a mountain of vegetables. I want to make sure there’s a good variety of vegetables – mostly due to the epic quantities of cake and chocolate which will be coming later – but I don’t want to be wasting precious time peeling, chopping, slicing, and prepping. You could be uber efficient and prepare your vegetables in advance and pop them in the freezer to bring out the night before – and I do know a few of you have done that already and I salute you. Me? I’m going for the lazy approach and using Asda’s Extra Special Prepared Vegetables this year. There is a great range to choose from and I’ve ordered four packets – 2 packs for £4 is the offer on at the moment – which should keep us all happy. On my table this year you’ll find Baby Parsnips with Parmesan Crumb, Baby Sprouts & Bacon with Sage Butter, Slowly Braised Red Cabbage with Apple & Cranberry, and Clementine Roasting Vegetables. The vegetables take between 30 and 50 minutes in the oven to cook, you literally just pop them in there. The Sprouts are even more efficient and take just 5 minutes in the microwave or a quick fry on the hob. More than likely I’ll peel and boil a few carrots for Little Man who is a bit carrot obsessed, but that should be the height of my effort this year.

I am cooking my Roast Potatoes myself, despite the temptation to buy those ready to roast too. This year though we are using Asda’s Extra Special Rudolph Potatoes. These have a distinctive red skin – hence the name – and are perfect for roasting. I’ll be parboiling them, some with skins on and some without, and then roasting in goose fat for about an hour. I’m still debating mash too, and also debating whether it’ll be made by me, or Asda. Rudolph Potatoes come in 1.5kg bags for £1.75 and you can get two 220g jars of Extra Special Goose Fat for £4.

When it comes to drinks those too are coming straight from Asda. I recently attended a wine tasting event organised by Asda. This was great fun, but also the perfect opportunity to discover new wines, and decide precisely what would be on my table this year. I’m a big fan of white wine, and despite many attempts I’m not keen on red, so there will be plenty of white in my house this year. Being drunk in my house this Christmas will be Asda’s Extra Special Prosecco – perfect for the party season and a bargain at just £6.48 a bottle – the French Etoile De Nuit Sauvignon Blanc, and a tasty Spanish bottle of Alba Rino. No doubt these will be getting drunk with Christmas dinner, but also enjoyed later that evening with a few tasty snacks. I advise you all to go and buy a few boxes of All Butter Gruyere & Poppy Seed Twists to nibble on. My newest addiction.

So Christmas this year for my family is definitely an Asda one, but its going to be affordable, easy and above all else tasty. For me, there is nothing better than a great family Christmas, and because of Asda, I’ll be able to enjoy one. Happy Christmas.

Decorating A Child’s Bedroom – Jungle Theme

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Product Reviews | Posted on 07-05-2012

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The majority of Little Man’s toys and books have a jungle animal involved. Giraffes, monkeys and lions are very popular in our house, so when we moved from our flat and Little Man was given a bedroom with plain white walls we had no doubts over what theme to decorate it in. Over the past few weeks we’ve been gathering lots of amazing jungle themed items to use to make Little Man’s room a proper boys bedroom, and we are thrilled with the results.

Duracoat Tough Matt Paint from Homebase in ‘Yellow Submarine’.
This paint contains extra acrylic making it super durable and ideal for high traffic areas. Its also washable which is going to come in very handy when Little Man decides to decorate himself with crayons!
I love this colour and it brightened up the room immediately. It also works incredibly well with the rest of the decorations.

Jungle Wall Stickers by Roommates from Jomoval.
Twenty six stickers of varying sizes featuring an array of creatures found in the jungle, as well as a couple of palm trees, birds and a bright sun. These stickers can be placed on any painted or papered wall, furniture 0r mirrors without causing damage. What’s more you can move and reposition as you want, reusing them if you move or fancy a change of scene, and they are waterproof and wipe clean.
I always wanted to use some type of wall sticker to add pictures to Little Man’s room, and I must have looked at dozens of designs and styles. These were perfect – particularly being re-positionable – and make a dramatic impact as soon as you place them. Little Man saw his wall yellow for a few weeks before we put these up, and as soon as he came back into his room he immediately ran over pointing at them all and poking the ones he could reach. Most mornings he waves at the creatures from his cot! These stickers are just fantastic.

Monkey & Giraffe Decorative Light Switch Cover from Homeplates.
This is a simple cover which is fitted easily over your existing light switch making them a popular home decoration accessory. They are so easy to fit – even I managed it!
I’d never really imagined having a light switch that was any colour other than white, but after discovering the Homeplates website and their vast selection I can see more of these popping up around the house. Inexpensive and so simple the inclusion of this switch cover in Little Man’s room is subtle but so cute.

Jungle Animals Personalised Height Chart from Stuck On You.
Made from high quality canvas and supplied with matching stickers to mark your little ones height on special dates – birthdays, Christmas, etc – these height charts are easily personalised on the website and come in a huge range of designs.
This height chart has featured on my blog before here, but it is still a brilliant part of Little Man’s bedroom and one brightens up a blank wall.

Bespoke Bunting from Just Bunting.
Just Bunting was set up by Karen Davey from Cornwall and she makes a huge range of bunting for all occasions, and she was kind enough to make this colourful personalised bunting for Little Man. The quality is fantastic and it was precisely what I’d imagined – you can see why she’s a member of the #SBS Winners, as chosen by Theo Paphitis of Dragons Den fame.

Green Elephant Organics For Kids Blanket from NaturalMat
This blanket is reversible – the other side has stripes on – and is so soft and snugly. It would be brilliant for wrapping your newborn nice and cosily, or as an extra blanket for use in the cot or in the car, and what’s more its 100% organic cotton and machine washable.

Personalised Safari Wall Art from Alphabet Gallery.
A 15cm square deep wooden box containing the first letter of your child’s name, along with their full name and the origin of it, and their date of birth. This makes a great addition to any nursery and would be a perfect christening gift too.
This item is so beautiful.  The Safari theme provides a great background and the detail that goes into it is exquisite. I am so pleased to have one of these on Little Man’s wall, and I’m sure it’s something we are going to always treasure.

Doodle Zoo Travel Grobag from The Gro Company.
This sleeping bag can be used both at home and on the move as it can be fitted into a car seat or buggy and is five point harness compatible. At 0.5 tog it is ideal for hot summer nights and holiday travel.
This grobag is full of lovely jungle creatures. We have used it in the car seat too whilst travelling past Little Man’s bedtime. The full length front zip makes it easy to transport your little one if their asleep as it gives simple access to your harness. The 0.5 tog means it will get plenty use this summer – should it ever get hot!

Jolly Day Out Portable Storage Caddy from The Gro Company.
Keeping nappies, wipes and creams tidy is easy with this caddy, and the included changing mat and comfy handle means you can carry it around the house with ease.
This was chosen because of its bright orange colour. There may not be a jungle creature on here, but greens, yellows and oranges are jungle colours so its a great match. We keep this filled with nappies and wipes – super cute jungle creature decorated ones from Tesco’s in fact – as well as the essential hand gel and nappy rash cream.  Its great for using around the house, and makes a instant nappy changing station in any room.

Roaring Raa Raa Toy from Toys R Us.
This interactive roaring Raa Raa provides endless fun with a simple push down of his head. The more you press his head the longer and louder the realistic roar, and he even does a little wiggle too!
Raa Raa has been watched by Little Man for quite a while now, so you can imagine his excitement upon receiving his very own Raa Raa – I couldn’t get it out the box fast enough! Little Man loves to press his head down, and often mimicks the wiggling motion when the roar begins. I love this toy because the voice is the same as on the show and its a brilliant copy of a very popular character.

Tigga Shoes from Inch Blue.
Inch Blue are the place to get handmade soft leather shoes, and these bright orange with black stripes make a great jungle addition.

Blue Original 6 month + Soother Two Pack from Mam.
A cute pack of soothers, one of which features a very appropriate elephant! Soothers are only used in our house at nap time and at night, but we seem to lose them all the time, so a good stock is essential.

Jungle Animals Kids Party Boxes from Favours From Us.
These boxes are designed to be used at parties, and would make great goody bags for children to take home filled with sweets. In Little Man’s bedroom they make cute decorations which he could put little bits and pieces in.

Panda Zoobie from Jaz Kids.
This cuddly panda is a great soft toy for your child, but it also holds a secret. It is also a super-soft blanket and comfortable pillow, making it ideal for car trips and cuddling up at home.
This panda has become an instant hit in our house. Little Man loves it, and can often be found carrying it around with him and giving it big cuddles. He doesn’t really use it as a blanket and pillow as yet,  but as a toy its one of his best friends.

Monkey Bibs from Close Parent Ltd.
These bibs come in two sizes – 0 month + and 6 months + – and are soft and absorbent. The 6 month + bib has additional poppers which allow you to fold bottom of the long bib up to form a pouch – great for catching any spillages!

Little Man is rather pleased too – he does enjoy a nice chat with his new animal friends…

Like what you see?

Here are all the website links and Twitter accounts of everyone who contributed towards making my Little Man’s bedroom amazing!!

Homebase can be found @Homebase_UK
Jomoval can be found @Jomoval
Homeplates
Stuck On You can be found @StuckOnYouTweet
Just Bunting can be found @JustBunting
Natural Mat can be for @NaturalMat
Alphabet Gallery
The Gro Company can be found @TheGroCompany
Toys R Us can be found @ToysRUs
Inch Blue can be found @InchBlue
Mam
Favours From Us
Jaz Kids can be found @JazKidsClothing
Close Parent Ltd can be @CloseParent