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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: Chalkee Stylus

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Information, Product Reviews, Tech Review | Posted on 04-09-2013

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If your children are anything like Little Man they are no doubt infinitely more tech savvy than you were at their age. In a world of mobile phones, tablets and laptops children are becoming more tech capable at an early age. Little Man isn’t quite 3 yet but has been happily working his parents and his grandparents mobile phones for a long time, and can operate both his Acer tablet with incredible ease. He can also use my husbands Apple computer AND his laptop which runs on Linux. You can imagine my husbands pride at having a child who can use any operating system you throw at him. You can no doubt also imagine my despair!

The problem with Little Man using his tablet – or anyone else’s for that matter – is the sticky fingers. I am cleaning my mobile phone daily with antibacterial wipes to get rid of random food stains and marks. His tablet is just as bad, with finger prints and what I think is probably chocolate and/or squished fruit dried onto the screen. Its not ideal. I can’t imagine its doing the screen any good and its probably hideously unhygienic. At the recent Amazon Christmas Event I spotted something which I thought would be an ideal solution to this problem, and the team sent me one over to test out.

The Chalkee Stylus is designed to look like a crayon, instantly making it appeal to children and encourage them to use that instead of their fingers. Its bigger and chunkier than the average crayon, but its a good size for toddlers and older children to hold. It claims to help improve control when using apps and is marketed for use with Amazons range of Kindle tablets.

I love the idea of it, and I expect if you gave your child one before they used the tablet for the first time you’d be on to an instant winner. Sadly my son has been using his tablet for a long time, and wasn’t interested in using a stylus after happily using his finger for so long. The soft nib works great with our tablets – none of which are Kindles – and its really comfortable to hold, even as an adult. My only concern with it is the design. Yes, its aimed at children therefore a crayon is a logical choice. I do wonder however how many parents will find their children using REAL crayons on their tablet screens?

The Chalkee Stylus is available now from Amazon in Pink or Blue.

 

Potty Training: The iPotty

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 12-08-2013

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If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that we’ve started potty training Little Man four weeks ago. Readers of my website will know that I’ve been dreading potty training for a long time because of my cream coloured carpets in every room. We’d been umming and ahhing about starting for a while now and four weeks ago we just went for it. Little Man was put into big boy pants and we were off. During week one I was putting him on the potty every 40 minutes or so, or a bit sooner after meals or large drinks. Little Man was fine with this, putting up no arguments and happily wearing pants instead of nappies. We’d intentionally bought him pants with characters on he’d recognise so he’s been wearing Toy Story and Jake & The Neverland Pirates pants. During week one we had a few accidents as you’d expect, but after day one which was chaotic, it got much better. During week two I was still reminding him to go and making sure he went before we went out and before naps and bedtime. However he’d started telling me he wanted to go. Sometimes it was before he went, and sometimes it was a case of a little leak in his pants which he then stopped and then going on the potty. For week three I stopped asking and reminding and relied solely on him. We’ve had no accidents for two and a half weeks, and I am SO proud of him. He’s wearing pull ups at nap time – and they are always dry when he wakes up – and at night. We’ve probably had seven or ten totally dry nights since we started. All in all its gone much better than I expected.

What we do have though are a multitude of potties. There’s one in the lounge and one in the main bathroom upstairs which he predominantly uses, but we have a few other spares just in case. Last week we got a new potty to review from Amazon. One which caused a bit of a stir when it came out in the UK which I was keen to test out. We are now owners of an iPotty.
ipottySo the iPotty is pretty much what the name suggests. It is a potty – with a lid and also a removable bowl for easy emptying – which has had a stand attached to it to hold your iPad whilst your child goes to the toilet. The sleeve in which you put your iPad – or other tablet – is waterproof which is kind of key on a toilet and can be fixed in landscape or portrait mode. The lid which comes with the iPotty allows it to be used as almost a mini desk so your child can play on your tablet at any time, and when Little Man sat on it he looked pretty comfortable. Now as you can imagine getting an “in use” shot of your son sat on a potty isn’t very easy or very dignified, but this is what we came up with. In the sleeve you can see his Acer tablet.
little man sat on ipotty with acer tabletAs you can see he looks comfortable and is using it as its designed. We found that the Acer worked better out of the green protective case we have it in normally, but otherwise the tablet could be used fully. He was playing Angry Birds and Temple Run in no time and, more importantly, he was doing a wee.

Now I like the idea of iPotty for providing entertainment for children sitting on the potty so they stay there longer, and this perhaps encourages them to finish what they are doing. Little Man hasn’t needed this kind of help, but I’m sure a lot do. If he needs to do a poo he knows and stays there till he’s done. This being said I like the idea behind the iPotty and think it works well. My main flaw with it though is the design. I spent much of the first week of potty training explaining to Little Man that he didn’t have to completely remove his pants and trousers, that they could just sit round his ankles whilst he went to the potty. To sit on the iPotty he HAD to remove all his bottom half and get on the potty by walking over the top of it and sitting down. Hardly the best method if its an urgent visit. Clearly Little Man didn’t like this fact either and only used this potty twice before going back to his usual one, and that’s despite his tablet being in there.

I think the iPotty is basically a great gimmick, but not really a well designed potty. Whilst I’m sure all your children would choose it as their potty if they had the chance, I wouldn’t choose it for Little Man. The design needs changing to make sitting on it much easier and quicker, and whilst the sleeve is waterproof its fastenings are hardly the best in the world. If you have an iPad – or any other tablet – and you think your little one would benefit from using it whilst trying to go to the toilet, go for it. Its much cheaper than I expected it to be and its pretty simple to put together. In its favour its one of the few potties that Little Man can actually sit at comfortably, most are too small for his rather long legs.

I will keep the iPotty in the room but I suspect it won’t get much use. Back to the drawing board I think guys. Good effort though.

Brit Mums Live: Using The Kurio

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Brit Mums Live | Posted on 04-07-2012

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At the end of June 500 mummy bloggers descended on London – along with a handful of brave daddy bloggers – to attend Brit Mums Live, and I was so lucky to be one of them. Held at The Brewery – the same venue for last years CyberMummy – this two day event was the “must attend” event for all mummy bloggers. The range of break out sessions and talks was incredible (if only I’d been able to be in four places at once) and the brands on show in The Hub was perfect for the Mummy in us all, as well as the Blogger. My attendance of Brit Mums Live was only made possible thanks to Inspiration Works, my superb sponsors, who not only got me there, but also provided me with a brand new pre-release Kurio to use and promote.

Using the Kurio at the conference was a dream. With it being a full android tablet I was able to download Evernote before I went so I could make notes during the sessions. I was worried that doing a lot of typing on something which has a 7 inch screen was going to be difficult, but the touch screen keyboard keys were perfectly sized and I could tap away merrily. The only irritation was that every time I touched a key it made a noise, a feature which I must figure out how to turn off!!

The Kurio comes with WIFI so I was able to hook up to The Brewery internet connection with a few simple clicks – the WIFI settings button is in the bottom left of the screen at all times – so I could check my Twitter feed using TweetCaster and send a few tweets myself. I could also do surf the internet which was useful during sessions when a cool website or brand was mentioned which I wanted to look up immediately.

Promoting the Kurio was part of my sponsorship package, and I really enjoyed demoing it to a few people and letting them have a go, though I did think a few people were going to run off with it!

The Kurio is branded as a “family tablet”, though it is predominantly aimed at children aged 4 to 15. Adults using the tablet can use the profile interfaces as shown above, or via the parental controls they can make it look like any other tablet and much less child like. As an adult using this I was thrilled with its speed, performance and usability. Since Brit Mums I have largely used it to read ebooks on the inclusive application and do any quick internet surfing when I don’t have the time or inclination to fire up my ailing laptop. I also tuck it into my handbag when I go to any blogging events or press days, including yesterdays Christmas In July.

This tablet is going to be on every child’s Christmas list, and a fair few parent’s as well I bet. You’d best get your orders in now!

The Kurio will be available from Toys’R’Us, John Lewis, and all good toy retailers.

Coming Soon: Kurio Review from my Little Man!!

Brit Mums Live: Introducing My Sponsor…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Blogger Event, Brit Mums Live, Information, Product Launch | Posted on 15-03-2012

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It is with great excitement and much enthusiasm that I can officially announce my Brit Mums Live 2012 sponsor is… InspirationWorks!!!

How many people just said “Who?”

Whilst you might not have heard of InspirationWorks specifically, if you have children there is a reasonably high chance that you own a product which they have played a major part in.  Launched in 2005 InspirationWorks develop and distribute licensed electronic learning products in the UK. They have a huge range of laptops and phonics learning toys aimed at children from 12 months and upwards. Their licensed products feature popular characters including Peppa Pig, Bob The Builder, Waybuloo, Ben & Holly and the newest star of CBeebies Mike The Knight.

2012 will see InspirationWorks become more known as a brand as they release the Kurio – an Android tablet for children and families. The Kurio is a multimedia and entertainment device for children which has the benefit of full parental control and internet content filtering making the Kurio is THE safest tablet around to let your children use. You can even set timers for how long they play on it. What they are really going to love is the ability to personalise their own interface with their favourite licensed character. What you will love is that you don’t have to have Peppa Pig on your interface! Profiles are available so that it can be used by the children for fun and games, but can also be used by parents as a work device. Skins and cases will also be available for both children and adults for even more personalisation. Being Android it also means you can download any App you want from the same Android Market you’d find on your SmartPhone or other tablet.

The Kurio will be available to buy in July 2012 and comes in three sizes:

  • 7 Inch 800 x 480 capacitive multi-touch screen priced at £149.99 – Available from July
  • 9.7 Inch 1024 x 600 capacitive multi-touch screen priced at £199.99 – Available from Autumn
I’m sure you’ll agree that for something of this quality those are not-to-be-missed prices.
If you want a sneaky preview of the Kurio you’d better come and find me at Brit Mums because I will have a pre-release 7 Inch Kurio with me! The Kurio has advanced multimedia capabilities with a USB key and a SD card portal – it also comes with HDMI connection so can be used as a mobile HD video player.  A dedicated car mount system will be available to purchase to mount this in cars as a mobile DVD player – perfect for the children on car journeys. The Kurio has 4GB integrated memory, extendable up to 36GB using the micro SD card slot. The Kurio 7 Inch comes with a front and rear side camera so you little one can take photos of the world around them, or portraits of themselves!
I will be using it throughout the event for taking notes during the breakout sessions and tweeting, but I will also be demonstrating it to anyone who wants a look. The Kurio is guaranteed to be on your child’s Wish-List this summer so this is the ideal chance to get a first hand look at exactly what it can do. Bearing in mind that the Gadget Show Live named Kurio “Best of Show Gadget” at Toy Fair 2012 there is no doubting that this tablet is going to be huge.
I am so excited to be going to Brit Mums Live and so proud to be representing such a great company, and such a fantastic product. If you have any questions about InspirationWorks or the Kurio specifically don’t hesitate to tweet or email me and I’ll do my best to help!