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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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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…

Keep Safe In The Sun This Bank Holiday

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 23-08-2013

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Unusually this Bank Holiday weekend is shaping up to be quite nice. The sun looks set to shine for the duration, so no doubt we’ll all be heading outdoors. Whether its down to the beach, out to the park or off to a theme park I’m sure everyone’s first priority will be making sure the children are protected from the sun. I always make sure Little Man has suncream on if we’re out somewhere and he’s in direct sunlight and that we have cream with us to top up when needed. I also attempt to make him wear a hat, but to be honest the only hats he’s interested in wearing are cowboy or pirate ones. Me? Well I – like an alarming 40% of all parents – tend to forget to protect myself. I’m too busy making sure he’s safe that I often forget to put suncream on me. Like everyone I’m fully aware of the dangers of sun exposure but rarely remember those dangers apply to me, not just Little Man.

Cancer Research UK recently teamed up with Nivea Sun – the team behind the aforementioned statistic – to make sure that EVERYONE remembers to keep safe in the sun this summer, and as a sunny weekend approaches, now’s the best time to take note.

· Spend time in the shade if your shadow is shorter than you. If your shadow is shorter than you are, then the sun is strong.  During the UK summer, the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm

· Wear a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses when the sun’s strong. Wide brimmed hats or foreign legion style caps are best

· Cancer Research UK recommends you use at least factor 15 sunscreen with a high star rating. Sunscreen rubs off easily if you sweat, swim or change clothes. So whether you’re in the UK or abroad, when the sun is strong remember to apply generously and reapply regularly

Make sure you stay safe and sun smart this weekend whilst you’re out enjoying yourself. More handy tips and information can be found online.

 

Recipe: Total Greek Tzatziki

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie | Posted on 01-07-2013

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You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I went to London to celebrate Total Greek’s birthday and enjoy a masterclass with Eric Lanlard. In the press pack that I left with was a recipe for Tzatziki and the ingredients to create this simple dish at home. I’m not a fan of mint myself – for me the only thing which should taste link mint are mints, not savoury food – but I thought I’d give it a go. This morning I made my third batch since the event. Needless to say its a big hit. Cool, refreshing and exceedingly moreish – perfect for summer. I’ve served it with pitta chips and also salted cracker crisps.

Ingredients:
170g TOTAL 0% Greek Yogurt
1/2 cucumber
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 sprigs of mint, shredded
Sea salt to taste

Method:
Grate the cucumber into a towel and squeeze over the sink to remove juice.
Put cucumber in a bowl with the garlic and mint and mix together.
Fold in the TOTAL Greek Yogurt and season to taste.

I make mine in a plastic tub with an airtight lid. As soon as its made I seal it and pop it in the fridge until its needed so it stays nice and cold. Make sure your tub IS airtight though – the garlic will permeate everything in your fridge otherwise. Assuming you don’t devour it all in one sitting the Tzatziki keeps in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.

 

Let The Sun Shine

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Information | Posted on 04-06-2013

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How beautiful is the weather at the moment? We’ve had blue skies and glorious sunshine for days now, and according to the forecast – should you choose to believe it – its going to last for several more days yet. Its wonderful being able to let Little Man run around in the garden for most of the day, occasionally stopping to build sandcastles in his sandpit or to “paint” his playhouse with a bucket of water and a silicone brush. Garden toys are out in force as are wheelbarrows, frisbees and watering cans. Summer is finally here, and it certainly makes a difference to our days.

Whilst I’m so happy to see the sun out, the longer much brighter evenings can cause a bit of a problem at bed time. Whilst the sun rises at the front of our house it sets at the back, and generally pours through Little Man’s window. Needless to say small children are not that keen on going to bed when they think its still day time, so a decent black out blind is essential. Now we’ve been using a transportable black out blind for a long time but I think the time has come to sort out a more perfect fixture in his room. I’m keen to put a blind up, something that sets into the recess of the window, but I am of course keen to avoid the hazards of cords and the dangers they face. I also want to make sure Little Man has a nice blind. As well as being functional I want it to look nice and be something that he’ll like. Whilst a plain coloured blind would make sense in the long term, I think given the choice Little Man would pick this as his perfect blind.

He is a little Buzz Lightyear obsessed at the moment. This blind is from Web-Blinds who supply a wide range of high quality blinds. All blinds are made to measure and come with the option of black out linings. The children’s blinds also come with a child safety device fitted as standard, so you don’t have to worry about dangling cords.  I think Little Man would be thrilled to find this hanging in his window next time he went to bed. I’m pretty sure he’d never leave his room.

Bring On The Summer

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Fashion | Posted on 13-05-2013

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I’m currently on holiday in Pembrokeshire – clearly not TOTALLY on holiday or I wouldn’t have packed my laptop – and despite a rather dubious forecast, today has been pretty gorgeous weather wise. Yes it did go from bright sunshine to epic downpour within minutes, but minutes later the sun was back out again. Its a little breezy yes – gale force at times – but its sunny, so what more can I ask for?

We’re spending as much time as we can outside, making the most of the weather and the sunshine whilst it lasts. Having checked the forecast before we packed and left home I threw a lot of jumpers in at the last minute, and brought only trousers. Not a summer dress in sight, and I’m beginning to regret that. I think a little shopping trip might be called for before the clouds roll out again and turn the week into a wet squib.

I’m thinking a nice sleeveless dress. I’m not a fan of plain dresses. I like a pattern – generally something cute like birds, which won’t come as a surprise to anyone that’s met me. I have lots of tops, skirts and dresses with a bird print on. A friend of mine suggested I looked at the range of dresses at New Look. They are cheap and cheerful, and luckily for me, plenty come with cute prints on. These are my three favourites from their website, each with a different print – flowers, birds and bees. I think a trip into town is called for to see which I like. Knowing me, I’ll end up buying all three. Then again, it is my birthday on Friday, so perhaps I can persuade Hubby to get them for me. A girl can dream!

Which is your favourite? I’m leaning towards the bee print myself. I like the zip pocket detailing. This dress is an online exclusive… now where did I put Hubby’s credit card…!

Foodie: The Perfect Cocktail

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie, Information | Posted on 17-04-2013

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I am assured that winter is now over and we’ve got summer on the horizon. For me summer is the perfect time to get out in the garden with family and friends and enjoy the warm sunny weather. Picnics and barbecues aplenty, and lots of relaxing in the long evenings with a glass of something nice. There’s something about summer that makes me want the occasional cocktail, and the most affordable way to enjoy one is to make your own. The team at Spa Breaks have created this little video on how to make the perfect cocktail.

From measuring your spirits, to decorating your glassware, to the excitement of setting your cocktail on fire (sort of..), the video has lots of tips and hints for creating your perfect summer drink. None of the equipment used is particularly hard to come by – most kitchen stores sell cocktail shaker sets, measurers and juicers – and with a bit of creativity you can even try making your own. Blindfolded taste testing is entirely optional, of course.

So come on hot summer weather – I quite fancy sipping a homemade Mojito in my garden this year. What about you?

Travel: Cuties And Pals Luggage

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Holiday, Information, Product Reviews, Summer Holiday Essentials | Posted on 15-04-2013

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After a lovely burst of sun and warm weather this weekend summer is definitely on our minds, and we’re looking forward to a week away in May with my parents. We’re off to West Wales and we’re starting to think about what to take and how we’re going to fit it all in the car. The first thing we’ve been thinking about is luggage. We’re going to try not to take too much with us, but Little Man invariably needs all the clothes that fit him just in case. This year he’ll be using this luggage set from Cuties and Pals.

This is Peko The Penguin. Peko is one of the original members of the Cuties and Pals suitcase range. On the left you have a two wheel suitcase with an extendable handle so you, or your little one, can easily wheel it along after yourself. The suitcase has a 26.5 litre capacity making it plenty big enough for all your little ones things, and inside you’ll find one side has elasticated straps to hold things down, whilst the other has a large zip up section. This will be perfect for keeping clean and dirty items separate for the journey home again. The case is made from an ABS / Polycarbonated mix which gives them a hard glossy shell to protect your things but also to look pretty stylish too. On the right you have a small rucksack.  This is made from the same hard shell, but has a soft back so its comfortable for your little one to wear. It also has a grab handle for quick picking up, or for gentle steering from parents! Inside there are a selection of pockets and pouches to keep bits and pieces in.

Little Man was fascinated by Peko when this set came to our door. I’d barely got them out of the box when he was waving and saying “Hi” to them both, and proceeded to give them each a cuddle. We’ve tried to get him to wear numerous rucksacks before but he’s always resisted or taken it off within moments. He actually requested that Peko be put on his back and spent ages wandering about the house wearing it, as if he were giving it a guided tour.

I love the bags. They are compact in size yet have a great capacity, and the hard shell means there’s no danger of anything inside getting damaged. The suitcase is easy to wheel around, so easy in fact that Little Man has taken that too on several laps of the house. Mostly I love the design. There are a range of Cuties and Pals available – Dogs, Chicks, Ladybirds, Dinosaurs to name but a few –  but I think Peko is one of the cutest. The bags are just the right shape for a penguin, and despite the design being fairly simple its obvious what it is. I like how bold it looks too.

Of course if you can’t choose which little friend to get for your child you could always pre-order a London Sticker Bus. Due out later this year the bus has four wheels and is a more traditional square shaped case. It comes with stickers of all the characters making this a case which can be completely customised. The case also has an optional shoulder strap if you want to carry it, and it is hand luggage sized so is just the thing for a plane journey.

Make your way over to the Cuties and Pals website to find your little ones new friend and follow them on Twitter @CutiesAndPals for all the latest information.

Product Review: Acrylic Photo Block from Bags Of Love

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 06-08-2012

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If you’re anything like me your mobile phone is probably full of photos of your children. I don’t think a day has gone by when I haven’t taken a photo of Little Man – more often than not in a comedy sleep pose – since he was born. Most of them are for my own amusement and not good enough to be shown around, but once in a while you get a really great shot that you want the world to see. If you’re looking to display a photo that brings back great memories, or maybe a shot of you children gettting into the Olympic spirit this summer, you’d do well to check out the beautiful gifts from Bags Of Love. Here’s what they did for me.

I took this photo on my mobile phone a couple of weeks ago. We were at the garden centre enjoying tea and cake in the cafe. Little Man was – as usual – sat on Daddy’s knee, so I took a photo. This photo:

Now I love this photo. Little Man is both looking at the camera AND smiling which is rare, and most importantly so is Daddy. I wanted to put a copy of this on display, but I was looking for something a little different than a simple photo in a frame. Bags Of Love transformed it into an Acrylic Photo Block in less than 24 hours, and it now looks like this:

Their photo blocks come in three sizes – A5, A6 and A7 – and are self standing and more importantly unbreakable. If I put a photo in a frame on display on a shelf in our house Little Man would be over there straight away picking it up, carrying it around and inevitably dropping it. This is much sturdier and safe for him to pick up and hold. The photo was printed on the back on the acrylic block and the depth of the block makes the image brighter and clearer, and now has pride of place on my kitchen window sill. Little Man loves it, and gives it a little wave whenever he wanders into the kitchen.

Acrylic Photo Blocks are just one of the great range of photo gifts available from Bags Of Love. Head over there now to check out their great selection, perfect for gifts or just to preserve that special photo.

Summer Holiday Essentials: Milk & Cereal Tshirt

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews, Summer Holiday Essentials | Posted on 31-05-2012

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If you after some fun and funky clothes for your children to take on their holidays this summer head over to Milk & Cereal and check out their range of bright and bold tshirts. Each design is hand printed on organic cotton so is gentle against your little ones skin and was designed by a team of graffiti artists in association with a Mum who was seeking something a “fresh and fun” for her children. Here’s some of my favourite designs:

I am a big fan of bright coloured clothes for my Little Man and he is a big fan of this tshirt. There’s always a smile on his face when I take it out of the drawer and he likes to give the cow a little wave before putting it on. The quality is excellent and it washes really well. I can see this being a part of Little Man’s wardrobe all summer long.

Check out the full Milk & Cereal range online.

 

Supporting British Industry : Radley Handbags

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 30-05-2012

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By now you’ll be under the impression I have some kind of bag fetish… and you’d be right. The three large boxes of handbags under my bed is proof of that, along with the large number of changing bags I own. When I’m not in Mummy Mode and I have a rare day off, or I’m at a Blogging or Press Event I like the fact that I can dust off an old favoured handbag and use something that doesn’t come with insulated bottle holders or a changing mat.

Though I don’t own many of them – two I believe – the iconic Radley brand is by far my favourite when it comes to handbags. I’m sure several of you remember me for my Radley handbag at Cybermummy last year if not for anything else – it had cupcakes on. 2012 is a very British year, and what better way to support British industry than buying a Radley handbag? Yes, I know – any excuse!!

Radley has a lovely range of bags out this summer and I am a big fan of the “Great British Summer” collection – the perfect addition to any outfit and event this very British summer. So if you’re heading out to a Jubilee Street Party, or making your way to the Olympic Park, or perhaps hiding on the beach from all the excitement, you’re bound to find one that’s just what you need. Here are a few of my favourites to whet your appetite.

“Large Tote Bag” £99
Wherever you find yourself this summer, this is the bag for every occasion.  This tote is big enough to carry all your party or beach essentials – or just your bits and pieces when you’re out shopping – and looks amazing. Featuring the iconic Radley dog tag in a very patriotic red and some super-cute Union Jack bunting, this bag is going to take you from event to event all summer long.

“Large Tote Bag” £9
These bags are great for heading down to the shops to top up on party food for your summer celebrations. Using these instead of plastic bags not only saves the planet, but also looks cool. The Radley  dog gets a very British makeover here in a bright Union Jack pattern which is sure to stand out from the crowds.  And at just £9 you can ‘Rule Britannia’ without breaking the bank.

“Medium Zip Wallet” £45
With the perfect British handbag comes need for a British purse, so look no further than this bright red design. This wallet holds 10 credit cards, has a section for notes and a zipped section for coins. This will last as a permanent reminder of the summer and will go beautifully with any handbag, especially a Radley!

So come on ladies – lets celebrate this very British Summer with a great British brand!