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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: Tommee Tippee Steri Bottle

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews, Travel | Posted on 10-11-2014

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On my recent trip to the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough I decided I didn’t want to drag our steriliser all that way just for one night, and what was eventually just a few hours in the hotel. Its a large, though essential piece of equipment and as you will all know packing space is often at a premium when travelling with babies. We are Tommee Tippee fans here, having used their bottles and equipment with Little Man and repeating this with Little Dude. A few weeks before my trip I was offered the chance, purely by coincidence to review their brand new Steri-Bottles, and thought I’d found the perfect solution.

Steri_Bottle_TommeeTippeeWe were sent two packs of their Steri-Bottle twin packs to test out on our trip. Little Dude has been using Tommee Tippee bottles since day one after a rather traumatic birth left me unable to even consider breastfeeding so I thought these bottles would be ideal for him. The bottles come ready to use and already sterile. They are incredibly well packed, and the instructions ensure you don’t touch the teat or the inside of the bottle when unpacking them or when preparing your feed. They are single use BUT are recyclable which I love. They sounded too good to be true.

Sadly for Little Dude they were. Despite almost six months of daily Tommee Tippee bottle use these bottles were not for him. The teats were too different to the ones he’s been using that he simply refused to drink from them. We use ready made formula which he isn’t the biggest fan of, much preferring it to be made fresh in the Perfect Prep machine, but whether it was cold or warm, or ready made or fresh, he just wouldn’t drink it. I’d taken some of his usual bottles with me too, so we had to do a bit of make shift sterilising by soaking bottles and teats in boiling water fresh from the kettle.

In theory these are brilliant. A safe sterile way of feeding your little one if you’re away for the night and can’t face lugging your steriliser with you. I guess the ultimate test is whether your baby is as fussy as mine! Great idea Tommee Tippee, sadly not for us though.

Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Travel | Posted on 06-11-2014

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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 – a former farmhouse and barns all of which have been converted – which has, so I’m told, the reputation of being the best hotel in Yorkshire. After receiving the invitation to head north and review for them I checked out the website, looked at photos and even spent a little time reading up on it on travel review websites. As I’m sure you’ll agree, it looked stunning and sounded amazing – but could it really live up to its reputation? Would it be worth the 600 mile round trip? Here’s what we thought.

Ox-Pasture-Exterior-SussexMummy
Things certainly looked optimistic when we arrived. Hard to believe this photo was taken on the first weekend of November isn’t it? Admittedly it wasn’t hot by any means, but unseasonably warm certainly. A short walk up this path led us from the spacious car park to the hotel reception where we checked in. Now the hotel was expecting me to arrive with my husband so we’d actually been booked into the Honeymoon Suite. We’d arranged to have Afternoon Tea upon arrival so it was agreed that we’d eat that in there – we could of course have eaten in the hotel lounge, the bar or on the terrace, but we wanted to give Little Dude the chance to roll around after his journey – whilst they set us up with a twin suite. We were escorted to the suite and enjoyed a comfortable sit down whilst we waited a short time for our freshly made Afternoon Tea to arrive.

Ox-Pasture-Afternoon-Tea-SussexMummyOkay so its a bit of a shame that the table in the Honeymoon Suite was in front of a radiator, but I’m sure you can appreciate how impressive this Afternoon Tea looked. Two large fruit scones, four small jars of jam, some clotted cream, finger sandwiches – egg mayonnaise, roast beef and horseradish, and cream cheese and cucumber – which were crust free, a selection of miniature cakes – profiteroles, bite sized lemon meringue pies, tiny cheesecakes, chocolate brownie squares and a mint chocolate slice, as well we a large pot of tea. Now we’d seen photos of these Afternoon Teas before we’d set off so we’d eaten nothing since breakfast, and it was most definitely worth the wait. It goes without saying that the cakes were without doubt the highlight – though we were certainly ready for a cup of tea or two after our journey – but the sandwiches were delicious too. At £15 per person I think this is very well priced for the quality and quantity of food that you receive. We’d arrived a little later in the day than we had hoped – I blame the M1 for most of our trouble – so we were a little concerned that if we ate it all we’d be full for the day. This didn’t stop us from tucking in with gusto however and we thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful.

After eating our Afternoon Tea, changing Little Dude’s nappy and getting him some milk – though I’m pretty sure he wanted a cake – we were helped to our actual room for the evening. A spacious beautiful suite overlooking a pretty courtyard with a rather nice view of the gardens and Yorkshire countryside beyond.

Ox-Pasture-Gardens-SussexMummy

 

The suite was made up of three well sized rooms. A living area with two large chest of drawers, a large wardrobe, comfortable sofa, coffee table, TV set, and drinks facilities. There was a bedroom which had been set up with two single beds, a desk, a chest of drawers, another TV and a travel cot they’d set up for Little Dude’s use. Finally there was a bathroom which boasted a huge bath, two basins – all three coming with waterfall taps, a walk-in shower and a toilet. Now whilst the bedroom and living area were well equipped and comfortable, the bathroom was, for me, the highlight.
Ox-Pasture-Bathroom-SussexMummy

The entire room was tiled floor and walls, with the suite itself a bright white with silver taps. Complimentary toiletries were supplied along with cotton buds, cotton wool and tissues. I thought this was a nice touch and something more than you may expect from hotel bathrooms. There were plenty of towels on offer and room for you to unpack your own bits and pieces. Sadly I didn’t have a bath – I’d probably never have gotten out if I had – but Nana did use the shower. Whilst she loved the large shower head the walk-in nature of it did result in a bit of a death trap. The “cubicle” had two walls and a glass partition, the fourth side was open to the rest of the bathroom. Whilst the floor in there did of course slope towards the plug Nana did manage to distribute water throughout most of the room. Either a steeper slope or a less enthusiastic shower head needed here I think.

Our original plan was to take dinner in the Courtyard Restaurant. Now as all parents know plans tend to need a bit of adjustment when small children are involved, and after spending the best part of the day in the car getting little sleep, Little Dude wasn’t in the best of moods. He wanted to roll around, have cuddles with Mummy and generally chill out – and who can blame in. We decided it would be best for him and the sanity of the other guests for us to eat in our room so we called reception and they brought over some menus. There was a great selection of meals on offer and it took a fair bit of deliberation before we settled on our dinner for the night. I started with Duck Liver Parfait with Melba Toast and Cranberry Compote, followed by the Beef dish which consisted of a Mini Beef Fillet, a Tender Brisket, Creamy Mash Potato, Mushroom Duxelle, Baby Turnips and Carrots. For dessert I chose the Lemon dish which included Cheesecake, Yogurt, Mousse and Ice Cream.

Ox-Pasture-Meal1-SussexMummyIt just looks incredible doesn’t it? Everything was so beautifully presented, so perfectly cooked, and SO delicious. Despite having eaten a substantial Afternoon Tea just a few hours before every last morsel from my dinner was eaten and thoroughly enjoyed. There was just enough and once I’d eaten I felt comfortably full. I hate getting a mountain of food in restaurants which is heavy and overly filling so you end up leaving so much of it and its such a waste. Not the case here. Don’t get me wrong, the servings were not small, it was just a well balanced meal and everything complimented everything else.

Nana went for three different courses. She began with Marinated Herring fillet, served with Pickled Cucumber and Tartar Dressing. To follow she enjoyed a Pork dish which was made up of Slow Cooked Belly, Tender Loin Stuffed with Apricot and Sage, Savoy Cabbage, Sautéed Potato, Homemade Black Pudding and Red Onion Marmalade. She finished with a Caribbean cocktail dessert which included Coconut Panacotta, Mango Rice Pudding, Passion Fruit Sorbet, and Pina Colada.

Ox-Pasture-Meal2-SussexMummy

Am I making you hungry yet?

Our meal was delivered efficiently and courteously to our room, the waiter tiptoeing in every time in case Little Dude was sleeping and for fear of waking him. We also had a bottle of wine brought over in an ice bucket, which was also lovely. You got the impression that nothing was too much trouble yet that they were acting as they would with any guest, not just us because they knew we were there to review. A truly professional service.

An excellent nights sleep followed – yes, even with a six month old who slept through till 6.30 – and after feeding him his milk and getting dressed we ventured over to the dining room for our breakfast. A high chair had been set up by our table ready for Little Dude who settled in quickly and tucked into his porridge whilst we waited for our cooked breakfast to arrive. There was the option of a Continental Breakfast with pastries, yogurts and fruit, but we chose to set ourselves up for the day. Large pots of tea were also supplied along with a rack of toast with a selection of jams. We went for the full Yorkshire breakfast, and as you can imagine we weren’t disappointed.
Ox-Pasture-Breakfast-SussexMummyPerfectly cooked bacon, delicious local sausages, mushrooms, black pudding, cooked tomato and the nicest scrambled egg I’ve ever eaten. In fact my breakfast looked so tasty that Little Dude decided it was rude of me not to share. Despite having eaten a bowl of porridge and half a fruit pouch, he also packed away half my scrambled egg. Hopefully I’ll manage to replicate it at home for him too.

I don’t have cooked breakfasts very often so this was something of a treat. I thoroughly enjoyed it all, and the beautiful setting of the restaurant overlooking another gloriously designed courtyard made for the perfect start to our morning.

Now sadly for us it was soon time for us to make our way home. Another epic journey down the M1 awaited, but not before a brief walk through the gorgeous gardens of the hotel. They were truly breathtaking and we commented time and time again how perfect they would be for wedding photos, with so many lovely spots. This was one of my personal favourites, the ideal place for the happy couple to take a breather during a hectic day. This cute pagoda is located in a quiet corner of the front garden. It would also be a lovely spot for a relaxing drink.

Ox-Pasture-Pagoda-SussexMummy

The car soon beckoned and we reluctantly set off. We’d not spent very long at the hotel at all, but it had certainly made an impression. The staff were friendly and intent on ensuring everything was perfect for everyone, without being overbearing or in your face. The setting is breathtaking, and its hard to believe you are just a few minutes from the sea. The suite was perfect, ideal for couples enjoying a romantic break, but also just right for families with small children. The hotel was incredible, nothing was too much trouble, and whilst it is without doubt a luxury hotel you feel nothing but welcomed.

Without question I would heartily recommend this hotel to anyone. Was it worth the 600 mile round trip and the chaos of the M1? Without a doubt. You can find full details of the hotel, including rates and events on their website.

 

 

 

 

Child Safety Week

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews, Summer Holiday Essentials | Posted on 30-06-2014

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Last week was Child Safety Week, a week which I’m sure we all count as one of the most important. Keeping our children safe is our top priority as parents. We’ve had an array of safety products come through our front door recently, thanks in most part to our new role as ambassadors for Munckin Lindam. Here are our top picks from them, and other brands.

Munchkin White Hot Inflatable Duck Bath: Bath times are great fun, but they do present a number of hazards, especially for babies. One of my biggest concerns at bath time is making sure Little Dude’s bath is the right temperature. This bath from Munchkin is perfect for ensuring that he always gets a safe comfortable bath. On the bottom of this super cute bath is a White Hot Safety Disc which changes colour depending on the temperature of the water. If its too hot it glows white so you know to add more cold water. The “tail” of the bath also makes a comfortable support to rest Little Dude against whilst we are holding him in the water. He loves this bath and splashes his little legs around whenever he’s in there. We keep it at Nana and Pops’ house as its ideal for use at grandparents and for holidays. My only complaint is that the bath taps don’t reach over the duck’s sides to fill it, so we had to use a jug which was a bit time consuming. I’m sure if you had a shower head on your bath taps you could use that for a faster filling. Overall a great fun safety product.

Lindam Adjustable Back Seat Mirror: I’ve found we go out and about much more with Little Dude than we did at this stage with Little Man. Packing them both into the car for trips to the grandparents, the shops, or the local National Trust doesn’t seem as hard as I expected it to and its a great way to keep Little Man entertained. For me its important that I can keep an eye on both children when they are in the back seat. Little Man is in a forward facing car seat behind the passenger seat so he’s pretty easy to watch. A quick look in the rear view mirror and I can generally spot what he’s up to. Little Dude is in his rear facing car seat behind the drivers seat so he’s altogether more difficult to watch. Lindam’s back seat mirror stops this being a problem however. The mirror is really easy to fit to the headrest of the seat and can be adjusted to ensure its angled correctly. From my seat I can now see Little Dude – generally sleeping to be honest – clearly. I love the size of this mirror – far bigger than others I’ve seen and the one we used with Little Man without being obtrusive.

NSA Travel Centre: What a beautiful summer we’re having so far. Who’d have thought it after all that rain and flooding earlier in the year. Glorious sunny days seem to be here for the long haul and we’re certainly making the most of them in the local park and running about in Nana and Pops’ garden. We’ll hopefully get to do the same in our own garden soon but it currently a building site! Little Man is clearly the one doing the running around in the garden, whilst Little Dude is invariably asleep or just chilling out. Keeping him cool and protected from the sun is of upmost importance, and the NSA Travel Centre does this job perfectly. Its a brilliant pop up tent – you can literally throw it and watch it pop up if you wish to – which provides UV protection as well as a comfortable place to sleep as it doubles as an approved travel cot. Super compact when not in use it can also be easily packed into a car for day trips and is light enough to carry with you to the local park as well. I love the included self inflating mattress which makes sure Little Dude is comfortable, and knowing that when the sides are zipped up he’s perfectly safe and protected from the sun, heat and any wildlife in the garden. I also plan to use this inside too, as a ball pit and somewhere to pop Little Dude safely when he starts moving about.

NSA Travel Centre

Competition: Best Driving Views

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Competition, Information | Posted on 26-09-2013

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I’m sure over the course of the summer you’ve been doing a lot of driving, whether it be on holiday or visiting family and friends. Have you seen anything amazing from the comfort of your car? Did you take a photograph? Well if you did you might want to enter this competition in association with Carcraft to win a brand new Nikon Coolpix S3500 Digital Camera. They want to see your photos of the best driving view – taken safely and legally of course – and an explanation as to WHY you think its the best view, whether it be near your home or on the other side of the world.

I know a lot of you are keen photographers and I’ve seen some of the amazing shots you’ve taken for your own blogs. Now’s the time to dig out you very best and enter it to win this great prize. Entering is really easy too.

There are three methods to enter. You will get one entry per method, and you can enter using all three methods to get three entries. So if you do use all three methods, you will have a higher chance of winning!

• Email us your photo to marketing@carcraft.co.uk
• Tweet us your photo with the hashtag #VROOMwithaview
• Post your photo on your blog/website with a link back to the Carcraft website

If you email and/or blog about the competition please tell us in no more than 200 words why your driving view should win our competition and what it means to you.

You have until the 15th October 2013 to enter this competition and the winner will be announced on Monday 21st October 2013.

Travel: What’s Your Favourite City?

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Holiday, Information, Travel | Posted on 03-07-2013

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Do you have a favourite city? I do. I’ve recently come back from two nights in Dublin, my favourite city. The break was short, but much needed. Two nights on my own in the city I love . For the first time in a long time I was just me, not someones wife, or mother, and not a blogger or writer. I wasn’t working – well, I did have my phone on me so did do a bit of emailing but I wasn’t really working – I could just do what I wanted, when I wanted. And it got me thinking. What is it about this city that pulls me in and makes me want to return so many times?

I first went to Dublin in 1998. It was the first year of my A-levels and a friend of mine and I went on a day trip. We took the ferry from Liverpool with his mum and sister – a very early start if I recall. The pretense of the trip was a bit of a booze run, but I wanted to see the city. Back then the attraction for me was a boyband I liked at the time – I’m sure I’m not alone in being a Boyzone fan – not that I was expecting to bump into any of them. I’d seen the city on one of their videos and, being something of a fan of the Irish accent, wanted to go and see it for myself. I didn’t realise then that it would be the first of many trips I’ve taken over there in the last 15 years. The fact that my friend and I returned ourselves for a day trip a few months later should perhaps have been a hint though.

My first big trip to Dublin came at the end of 1999. The very end in fact. I went with a good friend from Norway to Dublin for New Year. The turn of the Millennium seemed as good a reason as any to go to Dublin, and this time I’d be staying for a few days as opposed to a few hours. The appeal had changed a little from that first trip. The music was still prominent – the new Irish boyband of Westlife were in fact responsible for my becoming friends with my co-traveller – but we were also off to see Temple Bar and all it had to offer. Lots of alcohol if I recall. My main advice is to never be in a city changing its national currency if you’re likely to be hungover. The change to the Euro occurred on January 1st 2000, and it was baffling.

From the year 2000 I have returned numerous times, at least once a year up until recently. I’ve been for New Years again, St Patricks Day, on trips with my Mum, my Norwegian friend, and in more recent times my husband and even his family. I have so many incredible memories that all stem from that city. Shopping till we literally couldn’t lift our suitcases with my crazy Norwegian friend, a friend I also accompanied to Sligo for the day in early 2002 when I nearly got hit by a car. The car was being driven by one of Westlife, so not all bad. Watching a St Patricks Day parade before a night out which largely included green drinks and some very dubious walking. My last trip to Dublin with her occurred in 2008, just a few months after I was married. We went to Croke Park for a huge Westlife concert and that was an unforgettable night in itself. I returned again on my first solo trip just a few weeks later to do some genealogical research for my new in laws, or at least that was the reason I gave at the time.

River Liffey Dublin City Ireland Hapenny Bridge

My last visit to Dublin for many years was in 2009. My husband was turning 30 and his younger twin brothers were turning 21. Clearly a cause for celebration and their parents had the genius idea of going to Dublin to do it. Needless to say the younger members of the party spent a lot of time in and around Temple Bar for the few days we were there, and I was a bit like Tourist Information having been quite as many times as I had.

From 1998 to 2009 I went to Dublin at least once a year every year. A cycle I planned to continue, but pregnancy and Little Man’s arrival soon put a stop to that. Returning this last week was a pleasure. I spent two full days in the city and for the first time didn’t step one foot into Temple Bar. I frequented Grafton Street and Henry Street – shops galore – and spent a delightful two hours sat in the sunshine of St Stephens Green reading a book. I ate leisurely breakfasts in cafes – Bewley’s Grafton Street is a MUST. I rode the hop-on hop-off bus around the city, taking in the sights, hiding from the rain, and remembering great times. The bus is something I have done every time I’ve visited. Its such fun and so convenient. The numerous buskers – of varying skills – that litter the main shopping streets are always a hit, whether they are singing, playing music, or attempting to look like statues. The highlight of my latest trip was an evening out with a good friend. The last time I saw him was during my second visit of 2008 so it had been far too long. You wont be surprised to learn he has a musical connection to my story, having been in an Irish boyband himself several years ago.

Dublin Grafton Street Performers Buskers Statues

My reasons for going to Dublin have changed since that first trip 15 years ago, but my love of the city hasn’t. I wish I could put my finger on what it is about the city that makes me return year upon year. I just recall feeling at home there even back then on my first visit, and that feeling was as strong this week as ever before. Will I be going back? You better believe it. Trips to Dublin will be something I always do, and I hope to take Little Man with me soon. Yes, I may well venture out of the city on my next trip, but I suspect Dublin will always be at the heart of it.

What’s YOUR favourite city?

Travel: Content & Calm Tray Kit

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Holiday | Posted on 28-05-2013

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Are you planning a trip away this summer with the children? May be a long car journey is involved or maybe you’ll be jetting off somewhere in a plane. How are you going to keep your children entertained? Whenever I go out in the car with Little Man alone he sits happily in the back, looking out the window, dancing in his seat to the radio and chattering away to himself. Put anyone in the front passenger seat and he seems to automatically start demanding their attention. Especially if its Daddy. There is nothing I find more distracting when I’m driving, especially if I’m going a long way, than the person in the seat next to me spinning around every few minutes and things being passed back and forth in an attempt to keep Little Man amused.

We recently went on holiday to Pembrokeshire with my parents. I live in West Sussex, so Pembrokeshire is a VERY long drive. We had an overnight stay in Cardiff, but with stops on the way we were going to be looking at four hours to Cardiff, and three hours from there to where we were staying. I was not looking forward to seven hours of a toddler complaining in the back and Daddy endlessly passing him things to do, so I went in search of a solution. I wanted Little Man to have a selection of things to hand, from books to crayons, some small toys and a few snacks. I didn’t want half the contents of his bedroom balanced around him, but I wanted a manageable amount of items within reach that he could play with easily and without causing too much havoc. Luckily for me, I discovered this.

This handy little “suitcase” is actually a Content & Calm TrayKit. As you can see it has a handle which Little Man could use to carry it around – not that he ever carries anything of his own around apart from Teddy and food – and it also comes with straps so it can be worn like a rucksack. Sadly Little Man won’t do this either, having only ever worn one rucksack for longer than three minutes. To be honest these are the least exciting features, as when you open the “suitcase” you have a great travel companion for your little ones.

Now of course they come empty, but this is what we did to ours. In the big pocket at the back we put a colouring book and a copy of Zoe & Beans: How many pets? for Little Man to look at on the journey. He really enjoys pointing at all the animals in this book, and he especially likes the fact that it features a tortoise as we recently got one as a pet too. In one flap pocket we put a few crayons to use with the colouring book – and hoped he wouldn’t colour the Zoe & Beans book instead. In the other flap pocket we put a couple of packets of fruit snacks. We also popped two of his Hawkins Bazaar Wooden Robots to play with. These are ideal toys for in the car as they can’t break and there’ll be no bits bouncing around the back seat mid journey. Whilst we had a back up stash of things for him to play with when he got bored of this – he’s two and has an attention span of about ten minutes unless its Toy Story or Finding Nemo – these were the items we were happiest for him to play with unsupervised.

The bag is designed to fasten to the back of a car seat, and when its opened it creates a play tray for your little one to use like a desk. Because Little Man’s car seat is quite large, and he’s also a giant, we couldn’t attach the TrayKit as its designed as Little Man’s legs were in the way. Instead we used the rucksack straps to fasten it to the headrest and it was pretty secure. The tray balanced neatly on his knee and he could reach everything he wanted unaided. It would probably work correctly for Little Man on a plane where his seat would be lower. He loved rummaging in each pocket to see what we’d put in there, and within ten minutes everything was out but confined to the tray, and he was eating his way through his snack pile. One of his favourite features was the small mirror you can see just above the wooden robots in the photo above. That was at the perfect height and angle for him to pull faces at himself and it kept him amused for ages.

The TrayKit is brilliant. No, it didn’t keep his amusement for the entire journey, but I wasn’t expecting it to. I love how it holds a good quantity of items and I think it will get a lot of use for many years to come. It did precisely what I wanted it to, and in turn saved Daddy from spending his whole journey turning awkwardly in his chair. Next time we go out and use it I’ll make sure to put different things in there so its always a new experience for Little Man. There are plenty more long car journeys planned for this year, not least a trip to Cumbria in September, where this will get used a lot.

The TrayKit is available in a range of colours and you can also get additional accessories to match. I think I’ll be getting Little Man a couple of Travel Bugs before our next trip.

Travel: Cuties And Pals Luggage

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Holiday, Information, Product Reviews, Summer Holiday Essentials | Posted on 15-04-2013

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After a lovely burst of sun and warm weather this weekend summer is definitely on our minds, and we’re looking forward to a week away in May with my parents. We’re off to West Wales and we’re starting to think about what to take and how we’re going to fit it all in the car. The first thing we’ve been thinking about is luggage. We’re going to try not to take too much with us, but Little Man invariably needs all the clothes that fit him just in case. This year he’ll be using this luggage set from Cuties and Pals.

This is Peko The Penguin. Peko is one of the original members of the Cuties and Pals suitcase range. On the left you have a two wheel suitcase with an extendable handle so you, or your little one, can easily wheel it along after yourself. The suitcase has a 26.5 litre capacity making it plenty big enough for all your little ones things, and inside you’ll find one side has elasticated straps to hold things down, whilst the other has a large zip up section. This will be perfect for keeping clean and dirty items separate for the journey home again. The case is made from an ABS / Polycarbonated mix which gives them a hard glossy shell to protect your things but also to look pretty stylish too. On the right you have a small rucksack.  This is made from the same hard shell, but has a soft back so its comfortable for your little one to wear. It also has a grab handle for quick picking up, or for gentle steering from parents! Inside there are a selection of pockets and pouches to keep bits and pieces in.

Little Man was fascinated by Peko when this set came to our door. I’d barely got them out of the box when he was waving and saying “Hi” to them both, and proceeded to give them each a cuddle. We’ve tried to get him to wear numerous rucksacks before but he’s always resisted or taken it off within moments. He actually requested that Peko be put on his back and spent ages wandering about the house wearing it, as if he were giving it a guided tour.

I love the bags. They are compact in size yet have a great capacity, and the hard shell means there’s no danger of anything inside getting damaged. The suitcase is easy to wheel around, so easy in fact that Little Man has taken that too on several laps of the house. Mostly I love the design. There are a range of Cuties and Pals available – Dogs, Chicks, Ladybirds, Dinosaurs to name but a few –  but I think Peko is one of the cutest. The bags are just the right shape for a penguin, and despite the design being fairly simple its obvious what it is. I like how bold it looks too.

Of course if you can’t choose which little friend to get for your child you could always pre-order a London Sticker Bus. Due out later this year the bus has four wheels and is a more traditional square shaped case. It comes with stickers of all the characters making this a case which can be completely customised. The case also has an optional shoulder strap if you want to carry it, and it is hand luggage sized so is just the thing for a plane journey.

Make your way over to the Cuties and Pals website to find your little ones new friend and follow them on Twitter @CutiesAndPals for all the latest information.

Thinking About The Future

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Holiday, Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 05-04-2013

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Before Little Man made his appearance Daddy and I traveled quite a bit. We visited Paris during the first six months of our relationship, and when we’d been dating for a year Daddy took me to New York for a few days – clearly a sign he was a keeper. We were married on the 5th of April 2008 – today is our 5th Wedding Anniversary – and for our honeymoon we returned to New York again before spending five days on Maui. Most other holidays were much more local, often visiting Dublin but more often than not staying UK based. After Little Man our holidays were always UK based and probably will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

We have fond memories of New York and whenever we see it on the TV, either in the news or in a movie or whilst watching Friends we keep saying “We must go again and do…” but I don’t think either of us believes its going to happen anytime soon. I’d like to think we’ll manage it one day, probably when Little Man and any future siblings have left the nest and we’re heading for retirement. 

I like the idea of travelling when we’re retired. There’s a great big world out there and so many places we’d love to visit, and revisit. New York is a clear favourite, a city that holds a special place in our hearts, but I think a trip to New Zealand is something Daddy would love. America is a vast country and there are several cities and states I’d like to see. And of course a return to Hawaii would be amazing. Perhaps a different island next time. Plus anyone that knows me will know how much I love and adore Dublin, but fingers crossed a trip there will be in my near future.

Travelling is a fun and exciting event, but there are, as with all things, risks to consider. Travel insurance is a sensible option, especially if you are travelling a lengthy distance. Travelling in your later years brings an added dimension, which is why insurance is essential. Age UK offer a great service for older travelers, and are the ideal choice for those with existing medical problems. They cover medical expenses and personal belongings whether you’re sunning yourself in Cyprus or skiing in Switzerland. They also cover medical equipment against loss or theft, and that includes wheelchairs and walking frames.

So if your parents or grandparents are planning an exotic holiday this year, or even just staying in the UK, suggest they take a look at Age UK for their insurance. You can find all the details here.

 

Majorca – The Fun Filled Destination For You And Your Children

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Holiday, Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 26-07-2012

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This goes out to all parents who have young children. Knowing that parenting is probably the most difficult task, and with that taken into consideration, you will find that many of the Villas in Majorca have been designed as a special get away for you and your kids. Bring along your children and enjoy the numerous fun filled activities in any one of the villas available for rentals. Kids are very specific about the environment and what they want; good thing is that there are many villas that have taken it upon themselves to provide the right environment for you and your child. You will easily get them to sleep and when awake, you will have a bucket list of activities to engage in.
There are various amenities such as swimming pools and other children games or outdoor activities your child will fall in love with. Changing environments is very much ideal for any child upbringing and your child will surely appreciate this fact. Most villas have relaxing areas, playground for children and of course something for you too. Get your child out there to make new friends, fall down, cry, play in the water and learn the adventure of life in Majorca home rentals.
Remember that you are not only limited to the beaches. Fun for you and your child can proceed as far as where you want to go and what you want to do. There are leisure centers, natural caves, manor homes, and tours. You can even request for tailor made tour just for you and your child. Since a lot of villas in Majorca have been designed keeping children in mind, there are also various security measures that have been put in place. For instance, where staircase and balconies, safety gates are have been installed to prevent access to children who may wander without your notice. Most of the home fixtures such as television units have been installed properly and despite their low position, they cannot trip or fall on your young child. Your child safeties have not been compromised and so, enjoy your holiday with 100% peace of mind.

Product Review: Joolz Day Pram

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Days Out, Holiday, Product Reviews | Posted on 12-07-2012

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Having the right pram for your child is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a parent. You need them to be totally safe, secure and comfortable, but you also want the best pram for you – one that is easy to manoeuvre, perhaps one that fits into a compact car, maybe you need one that can go off-road. You know what you need and you can bet there is a pram out there that is perfect for you. One you might not have heard of, but should definitely consider, is the Joolz Day.

The Joolz Day is the ultimate pram. Above you can see it as we mostly used it – as a forward facing pushchair. Little Man loved riding about in this pram – he was that little bit higher up than with other prams so had a better view of his surroundings, his feet sat neatly on the adjustable footrest, and he held on tightly to the safety bar. The large back wheels had great suspension on them so he was never bounced and shaken around, he was always gliding about in total comfort – even when we took the pram onto the beach during our holiday in Devon, though we did have to balance the pram just on the back wheels!

The Joolz Day also gives you the option of turning this seat around so your child can be facing you. On the occasions where we pushed him around like this it made handing him snacks and drinks much easier. Having the seat in this position would be ideal for younger babies who had recently progressed out of the carry cot. Little Man wasn’t overly keen as he’d much rather look at where he’s going then whoever is pushing him around!

The Joolz Day comes with a carry cot which has a hypo-allergenic breathable mattress inside. I only wish Little Man had been small enough to fit in this as it feels so soft and cosy. It is a good size and can be carried around by transferring the safety bar across from the pushchair. The carry cot would make an ideal bed for your newborn when at home, as well as if you’re visiting friends or relations – one less thing to pack in the car!

Moving from carry cot to pushchair is simple – whether forward or rear facing. Each component simply clicks in and out of position with ease, and when not in use they take up very little room.

One of my favourite features on the Joolz Day was the handlebar which is adjustable. By simply pulling on two small latches you can raise or lower the handlebar to suit whoever is pushing it. This was a great feature which came in very handy on holiday as both myself, my husband and Little Man’s grandparents were on pushing duty at some point, and it allowed each user to push in comfort. A handlebar at the wrong height makes pushing a pram very uncomfortable so this feature is a godsend.

I also loved the ease with which we could manoeuvre the Joolz Day. Its turning circle is tiny, and with it being lightweight (just 12kg) and having swivelling wheels on the front and the giant back wheels, the pram literally glides on its journey. You could push it around easily with just one hand if needs be, making it a good choice for anyone with an older child who perhaps doesn’t need a pram any more, but still needs to be kept an eye on! I could safely push Little Man around in this with one hand with a takeaway coffee in the other, safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t put him (or any passers-by) at risk.

When it comes to collapsing the Joolz Day to put it in the boot of your car or take it on board public transport it is a bit of a hassle unfortunately. To go in the boot its fine – you need to take off whichever seat you are using and then fold the chassis up. Now it does fold fairly flat and if you’re putting it into the boot your child will have already been placed into a car seat. If you’re taking them onto a bus or train however and you’re alone it could be a bit of a nightmare. You are going to struggle getting this pram onto public transport in one piece, so if that is your only means of travel, this pram might not be the one for you. Whilst on holiday in Devon we went on a cliff railway. Luckily there were four adults so one of us carried Little Man, one of us carried the seat, and another carried the chassis. That journey of only a couple of minutes would have been impossible on my own.

At £649 this is a pricey pram, but if it meets your needs it is a sturdy piece of equipment which is certain to last you for as long as your child needs a pram, and maybe even for any future additions. A list of your nearest retailers can be found online here.