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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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Product Review: Pack Mate Ottoman

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 31-10-2012

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If your lounge is anything like mine its probably hidden somewhere beneath a mountain of children’s toys and their associated “stuff”. Clutter and chaos is normal part of everyday life in our house, but at the end of the day or when people visit, I don’t like my house looking like the local toy shop. The next problem is that I hate house work. I don’t want to spend hours at the end of the day packing toys up, and if people visit at a moments notice I sometimes just don’t have the time. Some storage for children’s toys doesn’t work well in a lounge, especially if you’re trying to keep it somewhere for adults too, but the new Ottomans from Pack Mate are brilliant.

Supplied flat packed but with very simple construction the Faux Leather or Faux Suede Ottoman’s come in three sizes. The smallest is designed to fit at the end of a single bed, but also looks great in the lounge. It holds a lot of toys and books, and also makes a great spare seat. Little Man likes to sit on it whilst he’s watching TV!

You can also get the Ottoman in two bigger sizes, designed to fit at the end of double or king sized beds. If you do want to use the Ottoman somewhere else, I also found it great to use in the corner of my bedroom to store some of my shoes in.

Ottomans are the new addition to the already essential Pack Mate range. Their Vacuum Storage Bags are indispensable when it comes to packing duvets and pillows not in use away somewhere compact and clean. They are also great for packing away outgrown baby and maternity clothes, just in case! Travel Roll Bags are perfect for holidays – you don’t need a vacuum either, you simply fill it up, zip it closed, roll out any air and pop it in your suitcase. Ideal if you tend to try and cram a little too much in your case!

For more details on the Pack Mate range, including stockists, head over to their website. You can also find them on Twitter @Pack_Mate.

Rainy Day Play: Big Jigs Toys

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 25-09-2012

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I think we can officially say that the summer has ended, and somewhat abruptly at that! Its been a fairly constant downpour here for the last few days making going outside to play a little tricky. Playing indoors doesn’t have to be dull though, and it certainly doesn’t need to mean hours plonked in front of the TV. How about letting your little ones use their imaginations?

Cup of fruit tea anyone? Piece of cake? How’s about a biscuit?

These sets from Big Jigs are just adorable. First up is their “Tea For Two” set. This is made up of two plate, two cups, two cupcakes, two biscuits and two halves of a ham sandwich – this is held together with velcro so can be taken apart and put back together. Next is a box containing six additional cakes – chocolate, Victoria sponge, a custard slice and three more cupcakes. It also comes with the fetching checkered tablecloth you can see. Finally there is a box of tea bags. This for me was THE cutest thing ever. Four wooden teabags with strings attached and small labels indicating their flavour.

Wooden toys are brilliant, and these are just gorgeous. They are so well made and the detail which has gone into decorating them is exquisite. My Little Man loves to have little tea parties and if Mummy is very lucky she gets invited too. The cakes look very realistic and Little Man can often be found sucking on the end of one. Thankfully the paint used is child friendly so he’s in no danger. He sets it all up himself and even pops teabags into the green cups. I’m currently trying to teach him “Cheers” but he just laughs at me at the moment!

This is a beautiful toy for both boys and girls for indoor play, but also for picnics in the garden with friends or teddy bears. These are going to last a very long time, and I can see Little Man, and Mummy, getting many years use out of them.

You can find these sets, as well as many other additional cake items and imagination toys, on the Big Jigs website where you also be able to find details of your nearest stockist.

Product Review: Outdoor Toys From Chad Valley

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 13-09-2012

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The summer holidays might be over, but the weather at the moment is far from Autumnal… well here anyway! If you’re looking for some toys for the garden to keep your toddlers entertained, perhaps now their older siblings have returned to school, look no further than the Chad Valley range.

Chad Valley Golf & Cricket Set
For those sporty little ones this is a great toy. Suitable from age 3 this adorable set comes with two sporting kits. The Golf set comprises of 3 clubs, 3 balls, 2 “holes”, 2 flags and a bag to carry them in. The Cricket set has stumps and bails, a cricket bat and two balls. This is ideal if you’re little ones are fans of watching either sport on TV or perhaps if Daddy plays already and they want to mimic. Made of sturdy plastic this set is ideal for playing in the back garden or even at the park with friends.

Chad Valley Play Tunnel
Hours of entertainment can be had with this simple toy. The play tunnel is 1m in length and can be used indoors or out. It “pops-up” and can be folded down flat for easy storage. This is great for crawling through, rolling around inside, or playing the ever popular “peek-a-boo” with. Multiple tunnels can be purchased and then fastened together, and you can also get a larger tent which these tunnels can feed into. It would also make the perfect addition to an obstacle course!

Chad Valley toys are available from Argos.

 

Product Review: Flexibath from Whitestep

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Product Reviews | Posted on 25-04-2012

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Baby baths are notorious for being bulky and difficult to store out of the way, especially if space is limited. We bought one before Little Man was born and finding somewhere to keep it when not in use was a bit of a nightmare, especially in a small flat. But when your baby is small its not really a good idea to put them in a big bath of water, with baby baths being a much safer option.

If you’re short on space, or if you’re looking for a portable bath you can take on holidays or when staying at family or friends, a Flexibath might just be what you need.

The Flexibath is the size of a traditional baby bath – perhaps even a little bigger – and provides a good sized and easy to use bath for newborns and babies. (It holds 39 litres of water when full.) The beauty of it is then when you’re finished you simply drain it using the plug in the base – a plug designed to be difficult for children to pull out – and fold it flat.
Just like that! There’s even a handy clip on the top to hold it flat so it can be slid conveniently under a bed or chest of drawers, or propped up in the corner of a bathroom until next time. It also fits easily into a suitcase for holidays and takes up minimal room in the car for overnight stays.

I was sent a Flexibath to test out with my 18 month old Little Man, as the bath is sold as suitable for use from birth to 4 years. If your child is happy to just sit in the bath then yes, I am sure you’ll fit a child of 2 years or more in there without a problem. Unfortunately my Little Man is more of a “walk around and wriggle about” kind of bather, so keeping him happy in this was a little tricky… and wet!

But do not fear! If you buy a Flexibath for your newborn – and I only wish I had when Little Man was born – it doesn’t become obsolete as soon as your child gets too big or starts moving around. The Flexibath makes a great toy box, or could be used for laundry. We even used ours to store books in until our Tidybooks Bookcase turned up, and it holds 100 plastic ball pit balls with ease. Away from using it for your children I think it would make an attractive colourful planter for your garden, and the transparent one with turquoise trim which we were sent to review could even be fashioned into a mini greenhouse to protect your seedlings during Britain’s dubious weather. A multitude of uses for a brilliant and ingenious product!

Flexibaths are available now from Whitestep but I have one to give away to a lucky SussexMummy reader. All you need to do is click here and fill in your details to be entered into the draw.  The competition closes on Friday May 4th at 8pm so get clicking!!

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!

Product Review: Gowi Racing Car Transporter

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 14-02-2012

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With the new Formula 1 season almost upon us its time to get into the racing spirit, and this toy helps do just that.

The Racing Car Transporter from Gowi is the ideal toy for any future speed demons out there. Whilst it is made from plastic its very sturdy and strong and has been bashed and driven around by my Little Man and his little friend for ages and has come to no harm. The toy consists of a long transporter with detachable cab section, a racing car with driver, two spare tyres – something every car needs and you don’t have to go to National to buy them, a petrol can, and a spare helmet. The racing car comes off the transporter to allow separate play, but also fits neatly onto the back so it can be safely driven around. You can also park up the transporter and just drive around the cab section.

My Little Man loves this (as does Daddy to be honest!). Its very well made and copes with boisterous one year old boys very well. My Little Man enjoys taking all the detachable pieces off and attempting to put them back on, and he spends ages pushing the racing car around on the table and floor. My only complaint with this is that the drivers of the transporter and the racing car are both fixed in. When so many other parts of this toy separate for independent play I think it would be nice if you could remove the drivers as well.

Needless to say this toy will be getting many an outing during the F1 season which kicks of in March, and I’m confident it’ll last for many seasons to come!

Gowi Toys is part of the extended BigJigs Toys family. For a list of stockists go to the BigJigs website.

Product Review: Leap Frog Count & Scan Shopper

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 11-02-2012

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I first came across the Leap Frog brand at last summers Cybermummy Conference. At that time my Little Man was about 8 months old so wasn’t really “playing” with toys, more chewing on/poking them. Now he’s nearly 16 months old and has recently begun interacting with toys like he understands them a bit more, so I thought it was time for some Leap Frog in his life.

Introducing the Leap Frog Count & Scan Shopper!!

The Count & Scan Shopper is a new addition to the Leap Frog range. It consists of a handheld scanner, a shopping list and nine food items which are all featured on the list. Everything packs away neatly in a cute green bag-for-life too. The scanner unit has three settings on it – Count, Colour and Music – and each item produces a different sound or phrase when scanned. You can also scan any other item in your home for one of short cycle of additional phrases. The Count & Scan Shopper teaches your child colours, counting individual items, matching items to a list, and the all important ability to shop!

I love this item and was very keen on getting one when I found it on the Leap Frog website. I like the clever way the scanner recognises the list and all the items on it. I like how each item is numbered appropriately for how many of each thing there are in that item (6 eggs, 2 peppers, 3 cartons of juice). Some of the phrases get a little monotonous but you’ll be pleased to hear that there is a volume level option on the scanner. The fact that everything packs away neatly in the bag-for-life is also a bonus.

The Count & Scan Shopper is designed for children aged 18months to 5 years, so my Little Man is perhaps a bit young for it just yet. Whilst he doesn’t understand what the scanner is telling him he has learnt to scan the items and he can pack them all away, and unpack them again, with ease. In fact just putting them in and out of the bag can keep him amused for ages!! He also carries the bag around with him – nice to get him in training for shopping!!

The Count & Scan Shopper is available now from the Leap Frog Store at the great price of £14.99

 

 

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.