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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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More Alternative Easter Gifts For Under 5’s…

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

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Twinkle Tog
Sleeping bags are brilliant for babies, especially those that wriggle around in their sleep – bags mean that you’re not up half a dozen times a night because your little one has kicked their covers off. When your little one becomes a toddler though and they are more mobile, a sleeping bag can be restrictive. When I go in to his room in the morning my Little Man tends to stand up and give me a wave as I come through the door. In a traditional sleeping bag this is usual followed by him falling over. With a Twinkle Tog the problem could be solved.
The Twinkle Tog is a duvet body suit, with defined legs which mean your little one can wander around in it if needed. It keeps them nice and warm throughout the night, and can even be used easily in a car seat if you’re travelling at bed time. I think this cute sheep design makes a great Easter gift too! Twinkle Tog’s are available from all good retailers, including Amazon and Mothercare.

Munchkin
Bath time is  always popular in our house and we like to make sure we have a good supply of toys in there to keep Little Man entertained. Munchkin do some of the best bath toys we’ve found, and we particularly enjoyed playing with this – the Dolphin Divers.
Water is scooped up using the whale and then poured through, making the dolphins spin around. Lots of splashing fun! Plus the whale sits neatly on the top when not being used. The unit fixes securely to the wall using suckers too! You can see the full Munchkin bath toy range online.

Mam
Another item now ideal for babies first Easter – an Oral Care Rabbit.

Babies oral hygiene is important from day one – not just when teeth start to appear. This cute rabbit is designed to keep tiny mouths clean and free from bacteria, as well as provided relief from the itchy gums caused by teething. It can also be used to clean those tiny first teeth. Your newborn is bound to enjoy chewing and sucking on it, and whilst you’re keeping their mouths clean they’re getting used to the idea of  brushing teeth. I think this is very cute, and a great Easter gift. Mam Oral Care Rabbits are available from baby sections of most high street stores and online. You can learn more at the Mam website.

Clintons Cards
Whilst you’re buying your Easter cards from Clintons this year – for me you can never go wrong with a Boofle card – why not take a look around on the shelves for your gifts too? As well as a lovely set of Lindt Bunnies – technically not eggs – they also have some craft activities to keep your children quiet during the holidays.
This set makes 3 foam chicks, using push out pieces in a variety of shapes. A great craft activity, and the three finished chicks can be used to decorate Easter cards, the dinner table, or just around the room for Easter weekend. These are designed for children aged 3 plus, so would be a good introduction to the world of craft. Cards, gift wrap, Lindt bunnies and Easter Craft Sets are available now at your local Clintons Cards.

Galt
If you want to get your children interested in gardening you might not automatically think of going to Galt first, but they have a great product which would be a cool Easter gift to teach them about how things grow –  Grow-A-Head Bugs!
Available in four styles – Ladybird, Bee, Butterfly, or Grasshopper – the grass grows after just a few days. Once its long enough you can start trimming or styling to your hearts content.  The Grow-A-Head is a simple yet effective first step towards gardening, allowing children to grow their own unique wild-haired creature. Grow-A-Head’s are available now from the Galt website.

Just Jaks
Baking with children is a fun, and messy, activity. The team at Just Jaks have found a way to hopefully reduce the mess and make delicious fruit flapjacks at the same time.

In your postbox sized parcel you’ll receive a bag of flapjack mix and a bag of mixed fruit, depending on which flavour you go for. To that all you will need to add is about a glass full of apple juice, and in the case of one mix a grated apple. After a good stir you pop it into the oven and 20 minutes later you have a delicious flapjack all ready. Whilst you don’t get the chewy consistency you get from sugar and syrup based flapjacks, you do get a yummy fruity flapjack which is altogether healthier – I know which I’d rather give to my Little Man!! Head over to the Just Jaks website now to check out their range.

Mothers Day Gift Guide

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 02-03-2012

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Mothers Day is just over a fortnight away – March 18th if you’re curious – so if you’re looking for something a bit different for you own Mum or your Mother In Law, or you want some inspiration for what to drop hints about for yourself, take a look at this lovely lot. You’re bound to find something to suit!

Hotel Chocolate
You can’t go wrong with a nice box of chocolates, and The Jewellery Box from Hotel Chocolat is a guaranteed hit. The box contains 10 individually wrapped chocolates – which were delicious by the way – and when they’re all gone it leaves a stylish box with mirrored lid that is perfect for storing your own treasures in. You can buy this gorgeous box from the Hotel Chocolat website.

So…? Perfume
For a slightly longer lasting gift how about a bottle of the classic So…? Perfume or a Body Spray? So…? has been around for years and its range gets larger every season. The Original So…? fragrance combines tangerine and orange blossom with vanilla, sandalwood and patchouli and has been a favourite in my house for a long time.  It is available in a 75ml body spray, a 100ml eau de toilette, or a choice of two gift sets from the So…? website.

Pinky Knits
If you’re after something a bit different for a Mum who enjoys crafts why not try a Pinky Knits Kit? Launched this year at Top Drawer the Pinky Knits Kit allows you to knit without using needles. In fact all you need are your fingers! Casting on is simple following the instructions on the side and then you work the wool to create a knitted “noodle”. This “noodle” can then be transformed into anything your imagination can come up with! There are instructions for making a snood or a coil twist scarf, but the “noodle” can easily be turned into a hat, a cushion cover, or even a bag! Pinky Knits Kits come in a range of colours and can be found online at their website.

Mama Baby Bliss
The Little Bag Of Mama Bliss is the ideal gift for Mums celebrating their first Mothers Day. The bag contains some “Ooh” Relaxing Bath Soak which as well as providing some much needed chilling out for Mum also aids post-natal healing with its calendula, aloe vera and  geranium. There is also a tube of “Aah” Soothing Mummy Baby balm which is perfect for soothing sore nipples or chapped skin. I use this on my eczema and its amazing, and my Mum is also using it on some flaky skin caused by an operation she had last year and its working a treat for both of us. Finally there is an “Uplifting Bliss Stick” which gives Mums a little boost when applied to pulse points. The Little Bag Of Mama Bliss can be found at the Mama Baby Bliss website a long with hints and tips for creating a blissful mama this Mothers Day.

 

Keep Calm For Mums
Parenthood can be difficult and at the end of a long day Mums can often be left feeling fraught and reaching for the nearest bottle. If you need a helping hand to get your through those days get yourself a copy of “Keep Calm For Mums” from Summersdale Publishing. This lovely pink book is packed with witty and uplifting quotes which are sure to bring a smile to your face and get your through even the most nightmarish day. “Keep Calm For Mums” is available from all good bookshops, or direct from Summersdale.

Stockwell Ceramics
Stockwell Ceramics is based in Cornwall and they produce a range of buttons, pendants, brooches and earrings made from beautifully coloured ceramic. You might have spotted their items in the V&A in London, or The Natural History Museum. As well as their standard range they often create bespoke commissions, but I think my favourite of their items is this lovely bird brooch. You can view their range now at their website.

Period Features
If you’re looking for a gift with a slightly more classical look to it you’d be best going to Period Features. Period Features primarily sources products for period homes, such as wallpaper, furnishings and heritage paints. However they also do a range of classic items like napkins and feather dusters. I particularly like the French Soaps and the traditionally packaged bath salts. The soaps are traditionally hand made and look beautiful as a decoration as well as in use. The bath salts look exactly as you would expect in their period paper packets. Period Features can be found in Leek, Staffordshire or online.

TeaJay Tea
Every Mum I know loves a good cup of tea. I know I certainly do. Whilst I am typically more like to reach for my usual brand of tea, I do occasionally fancy something a bit different. Why not send your Mum some TeaJay Tea to try? Their teas are inspired by music so are all named after songs. They have a wide range of herbal, fruit and Rooibos to choose from which make ideal teas all year round – they can all be made into delicious ice teas during the summer months. I rather enjoyed the Corazon De Melon which is delicious mix of honey, melon and guava with a hint of strawberry. TeaJays tea can be bought in varying quantities at their website.

Honey Tree
Honey Tree are bespoke stationers who create personalised stationary, invitations, labels and sell unique artwork from their online store. For Mothers Day they have a lovely range of labels for those Mums who enjoy making jams and preserves, or their own drinks. Labels can have just an image on or text too are designed by you so you are getting exactly what you want. The quality is great and ordering couldn’t be simpler.

Limited Edition Prints are also available, and these make a lovely gift. There is a wide range available and they come either mounted or framed and mounted and are signed too. You will find prints that are kitchen and garden themed that any Mum would be proud to hang. I am a big fan of the Fork & Spoon print which I think would look great in the kitchen, or the range of Heart prints would be a great way to show your Mum just how much you care. You can view the full range of prints, and the array of labels at the Honey Tree website.

Wood And Willow
Wood And Willow is a small family run business and #SBS winner who sells items to “Make Your House A Home”.  They sell a beautiful range of gifts for both the house and garden, and also feature a lovely selection of UK Handmade items. You will be spoilt for choice on the Wood And Willow website when it comes to buying something for your Mum, or at other times of the year, but my favourites include the Heart Shaped Frame Trio and the Red Gingham Apron Set. The frame trio is off-white in colour and would be ideal for photos of Mum, Dad and Baby. The Apron Set comprises an apron, oven glove and quilted pot stand. It comes direct from France to add a little French chic to your kitchen. The Wood And Willow website can be found here.

Boots
If your Mum is in need of a little pampering and you’re thinking a nice gift set is the way to go then you can’t go wrong in Boots where there is a great range from Champney’s on offer.  My picks are the “Indulgence Oriental Opulence Travel Collection” and the “Best Of Spa” sets which both contain handy sized products including bath soaks, shower gels and hand creams. If you’re after a gift for a Soon-To-Be-Mum how about the “Extracts Fairtrade Mini Body Butter Collection” which will be perfect for keeping bump nice and soft, and includes a Cocoa Butter which is good for helping prevent stretch marks. A full range of Boots Gift Sets can be found in store, or online.

Gumigem
How about a gift that’s both for Mum and for their little one? Jewellery wearing is generally a nightmare when you have a small child so most Mums forgo their collection until their children are older. With Gumigem you don’t need to! The stylish necklaces feature what look like solid stone pendants so are fashionable, but the “stone” is actually made from the same material as most traditional teethers. This means you can look stylish whilst your baby can safely chew on your necklace during times of teething, and if they do pull hard on it the safety catch at the back releases meaning no more strangling Mum! The necklaces come in four shapes and a range of beautiful colours, and are even worn by celebrity Mums like Denise Van Outen and Michelle Heaton. The full range can be viewed here but if you want to buy a Gumigem this Mothers Day I sell them with prices starting at £10, so get in touch for details!

Curvety
If you’re after clothing for that slightly curvier figure take a trip to the Curvety website. They stock a range of glamorous and fashionable clothing to dress your beautiful curves in style. From dresses, trousers and skirts to an amazing Bridal range as well as the all important shoes Curvety covers everything you could possibly want. In addition to their vast clothing range they also sell accessories including the gorgeous necklace you see below, which would look great on any woman, regardless of size. The full Curvety range can be found online.

The Old Bag Company
Perhaps a new bag is in order for Mum this year, but you want to get her something a little different. What about the “Sophie Canvas Bag” from the Old Bag Company? The bag comes with an array of pockets to store all Mum’s bits and pieces and has a waterproof liner in case of any spills. It’s machine washable and inside every bag is a message from the Old Bag Company children (who all the bags are named after) so you know you’re getting the genuine article. Available in six colour choices this bag is perfect as a handbag, shopper, beach bag, hand luggage or funky work bag. This bag, and the rest of the spotty and stripey range, can be found at the Old Bag Company website.

Swanky Maison
If you want to get your Mum something totally different whilst supporting new and up-and-coming UK designers head over to Swanky Maison. Swanky Maison is an online boutique that sells gifts and items for the home that have been designed and made here in the UK. The range of items on there is mind-blowing – I was on there for hours pouring over the gorgeous things – and I defy anyone to not find something they love. One of my favourite designers on there is ‘Red Brick Glass’. Based in Dorset, Wendy the founder of ‘Red Brick Glass’ creates a stunning array of glass items using a her kiln, finishing them all by hand and packaging them beautifully. I adore these glass lanterns, available in a set of three, with their delicate butterfly print on them which are fired in the kiln to ensure they won’t scratch off. I think these would look pretty in the garden, as centre pieces at a spring wedding, or just around the bath when Mum has that much deserved relaxing soak. ‘Red Brick Glass’ and a host of other talented designers can be found on the Swanky Maison e-boutique website.

Tesco Nail Varnish
If your children are just reaching an age where they understand the significance of Mothers Day and perhaps want to spend “their” money on a present for Mummy then Tesco might just have the answer. Their “All About Nails” range is perfectly priced at just 99p per bottle and they have large number of colours available from the brights to the on-trend pastels, and whilst the price is cheap the quality is fabulous. So come on Dads, why not nip out to the supermarket with your children this weekend and grab Mum a present they can buy themselves? ‘All About Nails’ is available now from your local Tesco store.

Yankee Candle
A Housewarmer candle from Yankee Candle is a gift that Mum, and the rest of the family, can enjoy for up to 150 hours. Presented in a large glass jar with glass lid this is an epic candle that will also make a lovely decorative feature in any room of the house. When it comes to scented candles I prefer something subtle to provide a nice background smell as opposed to something overpowering, so for me the ideal Yankee Candle would be the Vanilla Satin – a gentle classic fragrance. This fragrance, and others, is available in several sized candles from small tea-lights to the mighty large glass jars from the Yankee Candle website.

Afternoon Tea
She’s probably spent years slaving over your tea, and now she can have a fantastic time unwinding with a different type of tea, scones, and a selection of scrumptious cakes on her tea for two experience. Whether you opt for afternoon tea at Harrods or you whisk her away to any of 20 elegant rural locations across the UK, she’ll simply love this traditional treat. Tea For Two days out are available from the Buy-A-Gift website.

Product Review: Stretchy Puppy from Letterbox

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 25-10-2011

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Awww! Isn’t she cute? I think the pink spots and pink nose make this little puppy a girl, but that’s just me.

Letterbox sent my Little Man this Stretchy Puppy to play with a few weeks ago – yes I am still catching up on blog posts! Measuring 19″ in length at full stretch this lovely puppy features a squeaky nose and a rattling teething ring tail, as well as an expandable crinkly body and big colourful ears. My Little Man did find the puppy a little confusing and does chew the nose whilst teething instead of the tail, but each to their own I guess. The multicoloured design and bright pink spots make this puppy a very colourful addition to our house and whilst the recommended age of user is 10 months, I think the dog would appeal to babies and toddlers of all ages.

You can get your very own Stretchy Puppy – and don’t forget, Christmas is coming – from the Letterbox website, where you will find a host of brilliant toys for all ages.

Product Review: Boots Nappy Rash Spray

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 22-07-2011

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Once in a while a baby product comes along that makes you think "Why didn’t I think of that?" and that was certainly the case when I received this product from Boots.

Nappy Rash Spray just seems to logical doesn’t it, yet its something I’ve never seen before or even thought to look for.  The whole idea of just spraying your babies sore bottoms as opposed to rubbing in often thick creams is genius.  Two or three short sprays is all it takes and my little man’s bottom had a thin layer of cream on it without the fuss and crying often associated with applying the creams and lotions I used to buy.  Boot Nappy Rash Spray protects from and helps prevent nappy rash and soothes and softens sore skin.  Clinically tested it is suitable for use of even the youngest of babies, and can easily be operated one handed – another plus as cream application usually ends up in a gloopy mess!!

Once again though the key question is does it work?  I’m happy to report that yes it does.  My little boy only gets nappy rash on two occasions – if we can’t get hold of his usual brand of nappy and have to buy an alternative leading brand, or when he’s teething.  Teething has returned to our previously serene (ish) household so his little bottom was getting a red tinge.  Grandma babysat for me yesterday and she used this spray each time she changed him, and she was thrilled to see the redness disappear by the end of the day.
 
A brilliant product that I highly recommend.
 
Boots Nappy Rash Spray can be bought online (http://www.boots.com) or instore for £5.60.

Product Review: Gumigem

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 27-05-2011

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 Like many new mums I gave up wearing jewellery when my little one arrived. Fine metal chains would invariably snap once my boy took hold and anything cord based would result in a strangulation attempt. Earrings were never tested but I can imagine the blood! I presumed that it was just something I’d be able to wear again once my little one was older. I was wrong. Having seen an advert in a baby magazine I was thrilled to discover Gumigem.

Gumigem is a teething necklace designed to look like a funky and stylish piece of jewellery but in reality being made from baby friendly silicon which is similar to that used in more traditional baby teethers. Designed to withstand high temperatures the Gumigem can be put in the dishwasher or sterilised upon removal of the cord, and strangulation is no longer a danger with the breakaway clasp which releases if baby gets a bit carried away. The Gumigem necklace was created by mother of two Jenny McLaughlan from Scotland. Whilst on maternity leave with her second child she developed the idea after watching him grab at everything especially whilst teething.

Gumigems are currently available in two shapes – heart and lightning bolt – though new styles are planned for this year, and come in a wide range of colours that anyone should be able to find one to suit their tastes. What’s more the Gumigems come with a celebrity endorsement! A certain Denise Van Outen is a huge fan (as is her little girl Betsy) and tweeted her enthusiasm earlier this year. Her name is now associated with the necklace she wears, and just happens to be the one I bought this week.


The “Van Outen” is a blue and red marble effect heart shaped pendent on a long black cord and costs £12.50 from the Gumigem online store. When it arrived my little one was fast asleep unfortunately, but once he’d woken up I put my new purchase on and he immediately grabbed for it. A brief period of passing the pendent from hand to hand ensued before it went straight into his mouth for a good old chew, and there it remained for quite a while. When I got it back it was a little “gooey” but otherwise in perfect condition. A brilliant purchase and a must for anyone with an inquisitive and/or teething baby.

Find Gumigem at http://www.gumigem.co.uk
Follow them on Twitter at @Gumigem