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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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Guest Post: Online Safety

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 25-10-2013

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As technology evolves so do privacy settings and controls meaning parents have a responsibility to ensure they are aware of the changes and the ways in which they can keep their children safe whilst surfing the Internet.

There is a great deal of pressure on parents to restrict the access children have to sites that may contain inappropriate content. With the importance of technology constantly growing, the younger generation are feeling the impact and they too express interest in using devices such as a smartphone or tablet computer.

With so many different forms of technology now being present in the household, there is a greater need to understand each item and the controls that are present which will prevent children from accessing adult material or being targeted by other Internet users in a negative way. 1 in 25 children have experienced online sexual solicitation, where another Internet user has contacted them inappropriately.

A recent survey determined that only 3 of the 15 top web-filtering services blocked 100% of pornographic sites meaning children are still able to see inappropriate content. There is now a greater need to establish as many of the privacy controls as possible.

The Steps to Take

Most Internet providers will offer privacy controls that can be put in place by parents keen to protect their children whilst allowing them to use modern technology.

Content Filters

Filters provide parents the opportunity to block and restrict certain sites they do not want their children to see. It reduces the chances of adult material being seen or pop ups from emerging while on certain sites. Filters can be set dependant on the age of the minor, with younger children needing stronger restrictions whilst older children can be trusted to have more freedom online.

Timed Access, Monitors and Locks

Children would happily spend a majority of their free time surfing the Internet and using devices. There is a setting that will turn off access for users during certain times such as homework or bedtime. Parents can also monitor a child’s online usage, including the sites they look at and any online movements. Locking inappropriate sites will prevent children from accessing adult material from any site so they only use and visit relevant and appropriate websites.

Be Responsible

Before taking steps to secure the Internet, parents must have a discussion with their children. An explanation of the dangers and why the controls are to be put in place will highlight the need to stay safe online and make children aware of the sites they should be looking at and the ones they should stay away from.

Set Ground Rules

Parents need to be strict when it comes to home technology. Children need to know there are boundaries and restrictions on when they can use devices and how long for. For instance, no phones at bedtime or the use of a tablet only after homework has been completed.

The safety of children is the main priority for parents and online safety should not be ignored. There is a need to prevent children from being exposed to adult content, harassment and from receiving unwanted attention. Parents must understand technology and the controls they come with, gaining peace of mind about the content that can be seen, before allowing children to use them.

Guest Post: Keeping It Simple: Children’s Meals

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie, Guest Post, Information | Posted on 26-09-2013

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“Mu-uum, I hate it!” “Mu-uum, it looks weird!” “Mu-uum, it’s all spicy! I can’t eat it!” “Mu-uum, it’s touching all the other stuff – I can’t eat any of it!” Do you recognise these symptoms? Do you get them regularly? If so, you may have contracted: children!

This condition, while mostly harmless, can cause serious problems in some circumstances. The most prominent of these is at the dinner table. Children can be the most troublesome and hard-to-please customers in café Mum and Dad, and can find ways to reject even the best-prepared, most delicious food.

Well, don’t worry: treatment is quite simple.

Here are some top tips for smoothing over those dinner-time disputes and making your children love your food:

Presentation

Studies have found that the critical factor in children’s food is presentation. They prefer colourful, neatly-presented food.

In the difficult task of somehow sneaking nutrition into your children, try the most brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables, like apples, tomatoes and carrots, and present them creatively and neatly.

It may seem like a bit of a cliché, but it works so try arranging your child’s food into a face. There’s a reason why spaghetti shapes are successful!

Excitement factor

Children like eating out (though, before you try it, I’m not talking five-star adult restaurants!). They enjoy the excitement of it and the novelty. Try simulating that excitement with (healthier) fast-food-style meals at home.

You could try lower-fat chicken burgers with as many of those brightly coloured fruits and vegetables crammed in as possible; then you can complete the effect with oven-cooked crispy fries. You don’t have to make all of these yourself so why not look at brands like McCain to help you out?

Hands-on!

Unless your kitchen is your private sanctum, into which no mere mortal may set foot, why not invite your kids in and get them involved with making their own dinners? It’s good practice, and in any case, how could children possibly be so irrational as to complain about something they’ve made themselves?

Don’t answer that; but they are more likely to eat the fruits of their own labours. Why not involve them and engage their creativity by letting them choose and arrange their own pizza toppings for something simple and safe?

Simplicity is golden

Children – particularly young children – can be very suspicious of new or complex flavours. Don’t give them over-subtle, complex flavours. Especially do not give them over-spicy food.

Perhaps the simplest rule is, simply: keep it simple!

Debate: Can you be an entrepreneur and a parent?

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 16-09-2013

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With the internet making it far easier for entrepreneurs to stay in control of their business ventures from home, an increasing number of people are juggling their working life with life at home.

Indeed, it’s this ability to juggle multiple tasks that can set the most successful of entrepreneurs apart from the rest. The simple answer to the question of whether you can be an entrepreneur and a parent is yes. Here, we look at a few tips to help you succeed in doing so.

 

Avoid having to multi-task

The balance of working at home does of course require you to juggle tasks but that needn’t mean doing things simultaneously. As a recent Guardian article points out, the best way to work from home is to separate your tasks. You might find it easier to set aside certain periods of time for certain tasks – so spend an hour working before taking another hour to take care of your kids.

Use good software

Part of being able to work successfully from home is the ability to make use of key tools. When it comes to your finances, for example, it can help to consider a sage accounting solution. This will allow you to manage things easily from one place, freeing up time to take care of the things that matter.

Create a dedicated work space

It can be easy for work and play to blend into one another, preventing you from dedicating yourself to either one fully. The simplest way to take care of this is to create a dedicated work space. Be sure to create this space away from other distractions, letting yourself know that the space is for one purpose and one purpose only.

Take steps to make your work space comfortable as well as distancing yourself from the rest of the house. Consider using room separators if you don’t have a spare room. It might also be useful to use headphones to block out any noises coming from the rest of the house.

Make a daily schedule

It’s easier to take care of your separate tasks if you have a clear idea of what exactly you need to do. Each day, you can begin by making a schedule which includes everyone of your tasks; relating both to the kids and to work. This schedule will not only help keep work and play separate but will also help you to stay on top of tasks.

Cold Wives Tales…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 22-02-2013

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Tips On Buying The Perfect Christmas Gift…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 30-10-2012

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From a new sweater to edible underpants, a bottle of vintage Rioja to a state-of-the-art iPod, when it comes to buying Christmas presents knowing what to buy our loved ones can be a mind-boggling predicament. Will they like it? Have they already got it? Is this the right size? All these questions occupy our thoughts as we battle through the Christmas shopping crowds desperately trying to find the one we love the perfect gift.

The good news is that buying Christmas presents needn’t be such a struggle and help is at hand with these following tips.

Shop online

To avoid the crowds, queues and general Christmas run-up consumer madness, why not shop online? You can browse through all the leading retailers at your leisure, with your feet up and shopping for Christmas gifts in such a relaxed and stress-free manner, means that you will be less rushed and therefore less likely to make a Christmas gift blunder.

Most retailers now offer online shopping to consumers, for example you can buy many great Christmas gifts from Waitrose on the Internet without even having to leave your armchair.

Ask your partner what they would like for Christmas

Avoid having to battle through the even more densely populated shopping malls, supermarkets and retail parks in the post-Christmas sales because that dress you bought your wife was too small, or your boyfriend doesn’t like that particular aftershave or granddad’s slippers don’t fit, by simply asking your loved ones what they would like for Christmas.

In times of such economic hardship why should we waste our precious pennies on Christmas gifts that get discarded to one side as soon as they are opened? Avoid this incredibly common dilemma by simply asking loved ones what they would like for Christmas.

Food can be a firm Christmas gift favourite

When we buy clothes for somebody for Christmas, the chances are that they won’t fit properly. When we buy somebody a new CD, a fashionable gadget, or a kitchen appliance or something else for the home, the chances are they have already got one or simply don’t like what you’ve bought them. If you know someone well enough, the chances you will know what they like eat. Food can therefore make a great Christmas gift as filling your loved ones stomach with their favourite nibble or topple is bound to go down well on Christmas Day.