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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: Argos Outdoor Toys

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 03-05-2013

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Hurrah!! Sunny weather!! At last!! I’ve been waiting to write this review until the weather was decent enough. Promoting outdoor toys during snow, rain and ice seemed slightly foolish! So here we go.

Little Man has been spending far too much time indoors recently, what with it being so cold and wet all the time. I’m afraid I’m not one of those parents that puts waterproofs and wellies on and goes out in all conditions. I’d much rather wait for dry weather, and ideally warmth too. I want to make sure he spends as much of the summer outside in the garden, either at home or when he visits his grandparents, so I was thrilled when Argos got in touch asking if I’d like to review some of their outdoor items. We chose 2 – one for at home, and one for at his grandparents, where the garden is considerably bigger.

First up was the Plum Products Sand & Picnic Table. Little Man loves to play in sand and we wanted to get him a sandpit this summer. This one from Plum seemed ideal, as it has a removable top. It can be used as a sandpit, but with the top on its a normal picnic table for eating at, or doing colouring or playing outside. I liked the fact that Little Man can sit at it to play, though he does tend to stand next to it anyway. It was pretty easy to build, and Little Man enjoyed helping Daddy. Do excuse the hats and coats in these photos – it wasn’t quite as warm as it is now when I made Daddy build this!
Now Grandma and Grandad have an altogether bigger garden. Its a big like a field really. Little Man already has a wooden playhouse down there along with a sand and water table and a picnic table – we’re down there at least once a week so its not totally insane for them to have all this! With so much space available it seemed logical to add on more large outdoor toy into the mix.

Also from Plum Products this is an 8 foot trampoline with enclosure. The ladder you can see was part of an extra accessories kit which Grandad bought that included a cover for when Little Man isn’t visiting. Now the trampoline was a little trickier to build, but I suspect the cold weather didn’t help. The instructions were easy for Daddy and Grandad to follow but as you can imagine fitting the surface of the trampoline became easier as they got the knack. The enclosure was very important for me as theoretically Little Man is too small for this trampoline at the moment at just 2 and a half. However he has been using it under close adult supervision for over a month now and he’s absolutely fine in there. He bounces a little bit, but more often then not he just runs laps and then throws himself down. We’ve put a few plastic balls in there with him for more fun. If we are outdoors at his grandparents house we can pretty much just pop him in there, zip up the entrance and leave him to it. Hours of fun, and a bit of rare peace for his parents.

These two items and many more great outdoor toys are available now from Argos, including a brilliant range of bouncy castles, playhouses, and sports toys. Plus if you shop at Argos at the moment you get a £10 voucher if you spend £100 and a £5 voucher if you spend £50. A great time to get down there today and get some outdoor toys for the lovely Bank Holiday weekend ahead.

Alternative Easter Gift’s For Under 5’s

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 30-03-2012

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Despite temperatures being almost Caribbean at the moment it is in fact only Spring, which means Easter is approaching. A two week break for the children from school and a glut of chocolate beckons. What about the little children though? Giant chocolate eggs aren’t ideal so I’ve come up with a list of none chocolate based gift ideas for the smaller children in your life.

Biscuit Village
Okay so this might not be an entirely healthier alternative to chocolate eggs, but seriously – how cute are these biscuits?

 

15 assorted shaped biscuits decorated in with Royal Icing in flower, chick, rabbit and egg designs. Great for sharing with the children –  if you don’t eat them all yourself . The biscuits themselves are nice and plain in flavour, but the addition of the intricate decoration makes them a stunning visual feast. If you’re after something smaller you can also buy a lovely set of three chicks. Check out the Biscuit Village Easter Range, and their other biscuits for every occasion here.

Green Baby
You should all be aware by now what a big fan I am of clothes, especially for my Little Man. He has tonnes of gorgeous clothing, and if I had the finances, and thought Daddy wouldn’t think me crazy, I’d buy him to much more. One of my favourite online stores for clothes is Green Baby, who do a brilliant range of organic clothes. They are fantastic quality and long lasting, and seem to cope with the rough and tumble nature of my Little Man, and the necessary endless washing. My two favourite items from their current Spring/Summer Range are below – one for the girls and one for the boys.
This denim pinnie is so cute. I love the detailing on it – especially the tiny pockets on the front. It is a perfect year round outfit for any little girl, and is available now from the Green Baby website from birth to 5 years.
This hooded cardigan makes an ideal jacket for this season. Its fully lined so is great for the cooler spring days or for summer evenings. Its available in red or blue stripe, and from birth to 2 years from the website.

Green Baby also has a new product out – the Reversi-T. This t-shirt can be turned inside out and back to front so can be worn an amazing 4 different ways – 4 t-shirts in 1! You can see the Reversi-T in action here – much easier than trying to explain it – and take a look at the current range. There are some brilliant new designs due out soon this summer which will prove very popular, especially for those sporty children. Reversi-T’s are available in a range of designs for boys and girls in sizes 2 to 11 years.

TP Toys
Toys are brilliant, but keeping children active whilst playing is also important. I am a big fan of this trampoline from TP Toys, which is designed for children from 1 year plus.
Its neat and compact design is one of its main appeals. With a press of the button on the front you can fold down the handle so the trampoline can be easily put away when not in use. It can also be used indoors or out, making it a great toy whatever the weather. My Little Man is still getting to grips with this. Standing on it is not a problem. Its just a little difficult explaining the idea of bouncing to him. Apparently my demonstration using his Makka Pakka was not sufficient. The Bubble Bouncer can be bought direct from TP Toys at their website, where you’ll also find a range of larger outdoor trampolines for older children.

Leapfrog
If you’re looking for a something a little more educational this Easter then Leapfrog are sure to have the answer. As you all know my Little Man is a lover of books and merrily flicks through pages looking at the pictures… admittedly the book is often upside down AND back to front but the idea is there. We read books to him but he’d rather just look at the pictures, so when I saw this product I was immediately interested.
The Tag Reading system from Leapfrog is brilliant. Your child is given a handheld device – the little green creature in the image above – which they can hold against a page in one of the special Tag books. The book then comes to life, with the device reading the text on the page to your little one, or talking about a certain image depending on where you child touches. When you set up the device using a USB cable and your computer you even get to personalise it, so it always greets you child by name, something my Little Man found very entertaining. The only problem I’ve found with the Tag Junior Book Pal is that the on/off button is rather prominent. This will be great for independent reading with the books, but at the moment my Little Man mainly turns it on and off and on again. I’m thinking a supply of batteries will be needed!! The Tag Reading system starts at 12 months with the Junior Book Pal and moves on to the Tag Pen from age 4. A huge range of books, educational packs and carry cases are also available. The full Tag range can be found at your nearest toy store and on the Leapfrog website.

WOW Toys
I think its great to buy British toys, and WOW do a fabulous range from 18 months plus. They have some new designs out, and here are two of my favourites.
“Whizz Around Amy” is a cool motorbike and side-car which comes with a girl called Annabelle, a bouquet of flowers, Ted the Teddy Bear and Tilly the kitten. The characters can all ride in the bike and side-car or sit on the sidelines whilst Amy whizzes about. The bike makes impressive engine noises and the wheels are very responsive for easy whizzing about. Great for all action girls!
“Ryans Road Trip” is all ready for this summers ‘staycation’. Equipped with truck, trailer, tent, camp fire, dog, Dad and son, this is a camping trip that’s ready for anything. Everything fits together so that the truck can set off on its adventures with tent in tow on the handy trailer, or the truck can nip out on its own leaving the trailer at the camp site. I think every summer holiday needs one of these!

Both toys require no batteries – brilliant news – and can be found on the Wow Toys website.

JellyBox
Now Easter is all about eggs I know, but the Easter Bunny is a popular character and I think this little chap would make a great one!
Available in beige, pink or blue this would make the perfect 1st Easter gift for any newborn. Beautifully soft and cuddly this lovely rabbit comes in a lovely reusable box with magnetic fastening, which would make a great memory box. He is also machine washable which any parent will tell you is essential! If you fancy spoiling your little one with a JellyBox bunny this Easter I can exclusively offer you 15% off between now and Easter Monday with code SUM01 which you can use at the checkout on the JellyBox website.