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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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Luxury Work Tops From Margrasil

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 27-02-2013

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We don’t play the lottery very often, mostly because we forget to buy a ticket, but once in a while we get one online. Like a lot of people we eagerly await that email on a Sunday morning to tell us we’ve won. It rarely comes, and when it does, it tends to be for £10. On the odd Friday night when I’m buying my online ticket I like to look at local estate agent websites and Rightmove to decide which house I’m going to buy with my winnings. My husband thinks I’m nuts, but I just see it as being prepared. Whilst looking at potential houses – most of which would fit my own house in the lobby – the first room I like to see is the kitchen. Its the most important room for me, mostly because I have so much kitchen equipment to fit in there, but because its the room I spend so much time in. I see the kitchen as the heart of any home and I dream of owning a large spacious kitchen. Ideally I’d love a kitchen with an island in the middle for preparation as well as benches all around, a large range cooker, and a large traditional pine table for family and friends to gather around. You see why I need a bigger house for this? Fingers crossed those numbers will come up soon.

One of the first things I see when I look at kitchens is the work tops. I spend a lot of time preparing foods, baking and working in my kitchen, so my work tops are something I spend a lot of time looking at. In my dream kitchen they’d be black granite, probably with a fleck of another colour in there. A colour that would match any cupboard design and kitchen appliance, but something that would look classy and luxurious. A nice clean shiny surface that is easy to care for and clean that will give me many years of service. When it comes to purchasing my luxury kitchen work top I’ll be looking no further than local company Margrasil.

Situated in Partridge Green, West Sussex, Margrasil use skilled stonemasons from across Sussex and Surrey to provide the height of luxury for your kitchen or bathroom. They provide quality natural stone which you can use for kitchen work tops or for units in your bathroom to all areas of the UK. Items are available in granite, marble or quartz, and come in a huge range of colours and designs so you are certain to find something that will match perfectly with other decor in your room. For my dream kitchen I’d choose Star Galaxy from their range of quality stone granite work tops. As well as providing you with a quality and luxurious work top, Margrasil also provide you with advice on how to clean and care for your work tops. They want to ensure your work tops lasts, so they provide tips on using it, protecting it, and cleaning it.

The team at Margrasil are passionate about what they do so are keen for customers to visit them at their workshop so you can see for yourself the quality and range of stone available, and so you can make the right choice for you  home. You can contact them today on 0845 504 2841 to arrange a visit and make your dream kitchen a reality.



Need Storage? You Need Easistore…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 08-02-2013

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Take a look around your house. No doubts you have a lot of belongings. If you are lucky enough to have a loft, I expect that’s pretty full too – especially if its like ours. Your garage and shed will probably be full of things as well. You may suddenly find yourself short of space – you may be moving house and have to go into smaller rented accommodation for a period, or you may have a new baby on the way and your office is going to become a nursery. Perhaps you are a student who is moving out of home and you need somewhere to put your belongings whilst you are in university halls. Maybe you’re storing things for your grown up children and you are now downsizing and can’t fit it in anymore. Perhaps you’re a small local business who needs somewhere to store their stock, without spending a fortune on large premises. The reasons for needing extra storage are endless. The solution is Easistore.

Easistore have a self-storage facility in Crawley, just beside the M23 at Maidenbower. This convenient locations makes it easily accessible from all over Sussex and parts of Surrey. Here they provide high quality and secure storage facilities for your convenience. Access to your storage facility is available from 7am till 7pm Monday to Friday, 8am till 5pm on Saturdays and from 10am to 3pm on Sundays. There is a wide range of sizes of storage available, from units to rooms to small lockers. To make life even easier for you the Crawley Easistore also has a packing supplies shop, lifts for transporting goods, and accessible loading bays.

At the moment Easistore have two great offers on. They are offering free van hire, worth £60, to help you move your goods in. This also includes removal blankets and a handy trolley. As well as this you could also qualify for up to 4 weeks free storage when you reserve a storage space.

Instant quotes for all your storage needs are available now from the handy Quote Expert Tool where you can input all your requirements and find out exactly how much your storage will cost you. It is so easy to use. You just select whether you’re a person, a company or a student and then how much storage you need. You tell them this by either the number of boxes you have or, for loose items, how many car or van loads you have. If you are packing up your home, just tell them how many bedrooms you have. With this information Easistore works out precisely how much storage space you need. I got a quote for storing a car load of goods for 6 months, purely to test out the functionality of the Quote Expert Tool. I had an affordable price within minutes, and because I was storing for 6 months I saved 25%. If I’d gone ahead and reserved my storage space I would also have received a £20 voucher to spend on packing supplies in the on site shop. The shop sells everything you could need, from boxes and bags to tape and labels. My quote was emailed to me immediately for future reference, handy if you don’t sign up immediately.

If you want to chat with any of the team at Crawley directly you can do by phoning them on 01293 734263 or send them an email at crawleyteam@easistore.co.uk. More details on the Crawley store can also be found on the Easistore website.

Product Review: My Secret Kitchen

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie, Product Reviews | Posted on 20-09-2012

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If you are searching for a flexible job that fits around your family life, and you are passionate about food and cooking, you might just be the kind of person that My Secret Kitchen is looking for. Working for My Secret Kitchen allows you to host Tastings in your own home. Invite family and friends round to indulge in good food and good company, and watch as the range of My Secret Kitchen foods practically sell themselves. The range is only available via My Secret Kitchen consultants and from the website, so you know the products are more exclusive than those you find in your local supermarket.

The team at My Secret Kitchen sent me a selection of their products to test out, and I am hugely impressed.

Oak Smoked Rapeseed Oil
The Rape for this oil is grown, harvested and cold pressed on the same farm in Sussex, so this is a very exciting local product. Rapeseed oil is one of the most healthy oils for your heart so is a great addition to any kitchen. Recommended by My Secret Kitchen to use in sauces, dressings and as a simple bread dipper its also really versatile. I used this oil last weekend by brushing it over the skin of a chicken I was roasting. I usually use butter or olive oil but this gave a great smoky taste to the chicken and the smell was mouthwatering.

Secret Firecracker Chilli Spices
This product is not for the fainthearted! 1/4 of a teaspoon of this will give you the same heat as one small red chilli, but at the same time it will give you the added flavour of cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic and Mexican oregano. This is going to be a great addition to homemade chilli con carne. The spice contains the “holy trinity” of Mexican chillies – ancho, pasilla and guajillo – giving it an unmistakably hot and fruity chilli flavour. Recipe suggestions for this include Chilli Lemon Chicken, Spicy Salsa, and Spicy Buffalo Sauce.

Maple Caramel Sauce
Just the name of this product should have you licking your lips. Liquid caramel mixed with a hint of warm maple syrup this sauce is divine. It tastes amazing on pancakes especially with bananas, and  makes plain vanilla ice cream heavenly just by being drizzled over it. It would also make a great topping to a sundae. In fact I think this sauce would be delicious on most desserts. Or you could just dig in and eat it by the spoonful, straight from the jar.

Secret Vanilla Pudding Spices
This spice combines vanilla with cinnamon, ground coriander seed and ginger making it a delightful sweet and spicy addition to cupboard. The secret ingredient is roasted cassia. This spice is delicious dusted on top of hot chocolates, but I think it would also be tasty on french toast or freshly made doughnuts. Mixed in to warm sponge puddings, added in to apple pies, or sprinkled over popcorn this spice will add a warming sweet flavour to a host of desserts, cakes and sweet treats. This spice should be a store cupboard staple for any keen baker.

If that’s got your taste buds twitching get over to the My Secret Kitchen website now. Not only can you buy these items – and a great range of other products – direct, you can sign up to host your own tasting session and become a consultant for them. With a range of perks and bonuses available to you and your customers, its a great opportunity for those foodies out there.

 

 

Book Review: “Biscuit” by Miranda Gore Browne

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review, Information, Product Launch | Posted on 20-04-2012

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Sussex based Miranda Gore Browne will be instantly recognisable after making her way into the last three of the first series of “The Great British Bake Off.” Coming a fantastic third overall Miranda was mostly remembered for her exquisitely hand decorated biscuits that looked far too beautiful to eat, and for keeping Mel and Sue well fed as they repeatedly stole her ingredients before she’d even used them! Miranda has been busy doing baking demonstrations and working with Squires Kitchen, The National Trust, and West Dean College. Now she is back with her first book, the aptly entitled “Biscuit”.

 

“Biscuit” contains over 100 recipes for biscuits – who knew there were so many? – and has handy hints and tips for decorating them and presenting them as gifts. Classics make an appearance such as the Bourbon and Jammy Dodger, and there are also exciting new recipes straight from Miranda’s own kitchen. My personal favourites include “Fruity Little Teds” which are destined to be a big hit with Little Man, “Jam Roly Poly Biscuits” which look just like slices of the sponge based dessert we all know and love, and “Pesto & Pine Nut Pieces” which are mouthwatering and delicious – and this comes from someone who hates pesto!

On Wednesday of this week I attended a demonstration which Miranda was doing in the epic Waterstones on Piccadilly.  Watching her in action as she whipped up with ease a large batch of “Double Chocolate Chunk Biscuits” and a batch of “Pesto & Pine Nut Pieces” was hugely inspiring and needless to say had the entire room salivating as the smells wafted from the oven. As plates were passed around I nervously tried the pesto based biscuit and was instantly won over – it was delicious. I have since been out to the shops this morning to buy some ingredients and hopefully I’ll get a batch baked this weekend. I will also be doing the “Fruity Little Teds” for Little Man. Top tips were also dished out and I think everyone went away planning a trip out to buy a small ice cream scoop for creating perfectly identical biscuits, and I imagine they all have at least one log of biscuit dough stashed in their freezer already. I know I will do soon!

For me “Biscuit” is a must have book for all parents and all biscuit fans. There are recipes for all occasions and some even claim to be vaguely healthy! You can buy “Biscuit” now from all good booksellers – and I highly recommend that you do! You can also find Miranda on Twitter @MirandaBakes.

John Lewis Opens First Store In Sussex

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Product Launch | Posted on 04-04-2012

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Retail giant John Lewis is opening its first ever store in Sussex on Thursday with a “John Lewis At Home” store on the Portfield Way Retail Park, just outside Chichester. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview on Tuesday and take a tour around the new store with branch manager Claire.


Boasting 40,000 square feet of selling space over two floors this new store has a wide range of products you’d commonly find within their bigger shops. There is a large selection of home décor and furnishing, as well as an extensive kitchen and lighting section.

Downstairs you will find the Click & Collect Service which makes shopping even easier – you just order the item and collect it from store the next day, and the only selection of Olympic Merchandising outside of a London branch. Perfect if you want to grab yourself a piece of memorabilia for this summers event without having to fight your way into the capital.

Jubilee fever has also struck with a number of Union Jack emblazoned products throughout the store from cushions to deck chairs and food gifts – I can highly recommend the Emma Bridgewater Biscuit Barrel!

Upstairs you will find a comprehensive electrical and gadgetry department which includes the brand new iPad and a number of TV’s – ideal distraction for the men! You will also find a small but well stocked baby section to pick up a few nursery essentials for your little ones, including cots, toys and a bedding.

The familiar John Lewis cafe is also upstairs where they’ll be selling a range of drinks, snacks and light lunches, as well as children’s lunch boxes. A supply of high chairs is ready and waiting! Customer toilets can also be found nearby along with spacious baby changing facilities, and a feeding room – something which is rare even on the high street!

One of my favourite “trends” on offer in John Lewis At Home is the ‘Playnation’ range. Here is the foyer of the new store, decked out in the range.


Can you believe that colourful book display is actually wallpaper? I love it and definitely want some for our home office!!

The ‘Playnation’ range is beautifully bright and encompasses a huge selection of products from table ware to garden items, home decor to office organisation. The mix of wood and colour looks brilliant and I can imagine several pieces finding a place in my home soon. Here are a few of my personal favourites:

This Tiffin Box would be great on family picnics this summer with four handy compartments for your lunch time favourites.

Office storage needn’t be dull with this brightly coloured unit featuring six large deep drawers.

Every cook and baker needs a good set of measuring spoons and I love this set of four – colourful additions to any kitchen.


Summer trips to the beach or just sitting in the garden will be stylish and comfortable for your little ones in this traditional deck chair.

John Lewis At Home opens on Thursday April 5th and with the extended Easter weekend it’s sure to be a busy one – I suggest you start queuing now!!

Kiddie Coupons Visit: Fishers Farm Park

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Kiddie Coupons, Product Reviews | Posted on 04-03-2012

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On Friday I went to Fishers Farm Park near Wisborough Green with Little Man and two of his friends and their Mums. It was our first visit there so we were very excited to go, plus it was our first trip out using our Kiddie Coupons Booklet. The Kiddie Coupon Booklet is a family orientated guidebook for Sussex which contains a wealth of vouchers for free or discounted entries or free meals at top local attractions. Priced at just £15 the book aims to save you over £200 during 2012. All the vouchers must be used this year, but that just gives you a good excuse to go on more days out with your children – perfect for this years “stay-cation”.

Fishers Farm Park is packed with activities for children, both indoors and out. There’s a huge array of farm and small animals to be seen and petted, as well as multiple soft play areas and outdoor play areas for children of all ages. Tractor rides, zip wires and rock climbing are also available, and there is a spacious restaurant and well stocked gift shop.

Entry into Fishers Farm Park is reasonably priced at the moment as its not peak season, so with the £2 off per person (up to 4 people) it was a bargain. Under 2’s get in for free as well, which was perfect. We all enjoyed looking at the animals in the barns and outside, riding on the tractors, playing in the toddler racing cars, and in the outdoor play zones. Little Man was a big fan of the tractor in the play area.

Unfortunately being out of season a lot of the rides were only running at limited times and some sections of the park weren’t operating at all. A return visit during the peak season would be a great idea, but perhaps not until Little Man is slightly older and can appreciate it all more. The one thing I would advise all visitors to do – apart from take your Kiddie Coupon voucher with you of course – is to take a picnic. There are plenty of picnic tables dotted around the park which would be lovely on a warm sunny day. The restaurant is large and has plenty of high chairs, but unfortunately it is very expensive for the amount of food you get.  Next time I’ll certainly bring my own food.

Kiddie Coupon Booklets are available now from their website. You can also find them on Twitter (@KiddieCouponsUK) and Facebook.