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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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Keeping School Uniforms Clean

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Back To School, Product Reviews | Posted on 10-09-2013

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Well the children have been back at school for about a week now – or longer if you’re north of the border. Little Man had his first morning at preschool last Thursday and, despite a few tears once I’d left, coped really well. Very proud mummy. What I did notice though when I picked him up was the fact he looked rather grubby. Paint and pens on his fingers, but also sand and dirt on his clothes. To be expected, particularly when you have a little boy.
He has two tshirts which he wears as his uniform, along with some shorts when its hot and trousers when its cooler. His tshirts are a bright green colour and have the preschools logo on the front. I want to keep them looking bright and colourful right through the school year, and maybe into next as they do swamp him at present.

Washing Little Man’s clothes is a bit of a minefield as he does suffer with eczema – the perils of being related to me sadly. We have medicated cream and moisturiser to protect his skin but we do have to watch what we use to wash his clothes. Non-bio is generally the safest bet, but I do tend to use a fabric softener as well, just to make sure everything is comfortable against his skin.

Clothes will probably start getting the Persil Small & Mighty with eraser ball treatment. This works wonders on really hard to get out stains like tomato sauce, simply by popping some straight onto the stain and rubbing it in with the eraser ball. I’ll also be using the new Comfort Bright Colours fabric conditioner with his school uniform. As well as keeping his clothes nice and soft, it also works to keep them looking nice and bright too.

Best get plenty Persil and Comfort in. Based on day one, its going to be a long messy school year!

Review: Portable Laundry Bag from Brabantia

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 04-04-2013

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Since becoming a parent – and also a product reviewer – I find myself getting weirdly excited about the strangest things. You’ll all no doubt recall my maddening enthusiasm for a washing line last year, well this year I’m continuing the washing theme by getting a little carried away with a laundry bag. Yes, a LAUNDRY BAG. Clearly I need help.
Its so pretty. *Ahem* Anyway, the team at Brabantia have done it again with this functional yet fun laundry bag. It has a round opening at the top to toss in your laundry. Whats a bit genius about this bag however is that the top folds out so the round opening forms a handle which you can either carry with your hand or wear over your shoulder.
It has a capacity of 55 litres and once full that equates a standard 10 kg load in your washing machine. We are using ours as somewhere to put dirty towels which previously used to fill our existing laundry baskets. Now once this is full I know I have a full load for my washing machine. I can just carry the bag downstairs and load the machine up. So easy and so convenient. What’s more the bag looks nice. Available in a range of colours – Pansy Purple which you see here, Caribbean Blue, Lipstick Red, Lemon Yellow and Grey – the bag will brighten up the corner of any room, or in our case, in the hall upstairs.


As well as be a stylish laundry bag, you could also use it to store your children’s toys in. One of these would look great in their bedroom or play room filled with soft toys and teddy bears. 

 

You can find the full range of Laundry Bags on the Brabantia website.
 

Review: Vanish Stain Removers

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle, Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 27-03-2013

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Children are messy. Whatever they are doing, and no matter how clean and tidy you think they’ll remain, they always seem to end up in a mess. Eating is probably one of the worse – the endless stains on Little Man’s clothes are remarkable – but I think a nice walk is a close muddy second. And its not just their clothes. More often than not the carpet is the next thing to bear the brunt, usually melting chocolate or muddy footprints. And to be fair if its not them its us – spilling coffee or tea on the floor and causing epic stains. At least that was the case before Vanish got in touch.

Stains on clothes and carpets are an everyday occurrence in any house with a child, but thankfully the team at Vanish have come up with some great handy stain removal tips. They have great advice for getting a wealth of stains out of clothes and carpets using their tried and tested products. They cover a range of stains, from ketchup and chocolate, to mud and grass, and even blood and motor oil. Whether its been rubbing into your little ones clothes or is currently causing a pathway through your carpets, Vanish will help you get it out.

The team at Vanish sent me a selection of products to test out. Their Vanish Oxi Action Powder was the first and most frequent product to be tried. An innocent trip to the park generally means mud covered jeans and a treat of a chocolate biscuit always causing a brown melting stain to appear somewhere! Following the dosage instructions – 1 scoop for tough stains, 1/2 scoop for normal stains – I popped Little Man’s now brown jeans in the wash with a load of his other clothes. I washed them at 40 as I always do and hoped. Without Vanish in my wash mud stains can prove tricky. They always look like they’ve come out, but closer inspection usually highlights the remains of a stain which never seems to go. A scoop of Vanish in with my usual detergent left me with perfectly clean jeans and no trace of the mud. One food based stain we have most problems with is strawberry. Little Man loves them and would live on them if I let him. Unfortunately they are particularly juicy at the moment which generally leaves a lovely dribble of red down Little Man’s chin which tends to land on his top. Today that top was sadly white. What possessed me to buy my son a white tshirt I will never know, but there we are. Luckily for me Vanish had also sent me a tub of Oxy Action Crystal White Powder. Previous white tops or even coloured tops have been thrown out after a run in with some strawberries so I feared this tshirt would go the same way. Half a scoop in my wash with a few other white items and a standard wash later and I was thrilled to remove a clean white tshirt from my machine. There was no trace of any red left – it was like new.

My main fault with the house we live in is that when we bought it it came with cream carpets. In EVERY room. Replacing them is expensive and not a priority at the moment, so we have to live with slightly off-cream carpets now. Our lounge has patio doors on leading out into the garden and despite our best efforts with a door mat inside the garden does tend to find its way inside. And even though we have a huge mat at the front door the hall carpet has definitely seen better days. For spot cleaning on my carpet stains I’ve found nothing works as well as Vanish’s Oxi Action Carpet and Upholstery Spray. Its great on small stains, such as food or drink spills, and even grass stains. For larger areas like the hall which experience high levels of traffic then its best to use Vanish Powerfoam. Sprayed onto the hall carpet, worked in gently and then left for 2 hours before vacuuming, it came up cleaner than its been since we moved in and with a pleasant and fresh smell.

Stains are inevitable, especially with children, but thanks to Vanish they no longer need to be permanent.

Washing Machine Repairs

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 25-06-2012

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I’m certain that I’m not the only Mum (or Dad) who feels like their washing machine is on all the time. As soon as a child arrives into your life your washing seems to multiply overnight. Newborns have this unfortunate tendency to bring their milk back up on themselves, and quite often you, whilst as soon as you bring food into the equation things just get messier. Once they are crawling and eventually walking about by themselves they have a brilliantly helpful ability to seek out the dirtiest place and cover themselves. My Little Man enjoys nothing more than spending his days sat in the garden, either shovelling soil onto himself, or sitting in puddles of water. If he’s feeling really helpful, he often combines the too. Needless to say his clothes are permanently caked in mud, so the washing machine tends to be on more often than not at the moment.

I can’t imagine what I’d do if my washing machine broke down for any length of time – I’d probably end up at my Mum’s house! But if it ever does happen my first phone call will be to Domestic & General Repair And Protect. By calling their free phone number I can get a quote, choose a date for the repair to be done which is convenient to me, and decide which of their payment options works best for me. All prices which are quoted are totals – there’s no hidden labour or parts costs, and if for any reason their engineers can’t fix the fault, I don’t pay them. Their engineers are all manufacturer specialists and only use official brand parts making sure that you get the best possible repair.

As well as fixing washing machines Domestic & General Repair And Protect offer repairs from dishwashers, fridges and freezer, ovens, hobs and cookers. They should definitely be your first port of call when one of your appliances breaks down.

Product Review: Brabantia Wall Fix Washing Line with Protective Storage Box

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 22-03-2012

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Washing. I swear it breeds when I’m not looking. With an active toddler, a husband out at work, and me, there is an inordinate amount of dirty washing in our house. Just the other day Little Man went through three pairs of trousers in one day. THREE! So now the glorious weather is upon us – unless I’ve just jinxed it of course – being able to hang the washing outside is essential. Having recently moved from a flat to a house a washing line was something we’d never owned. Browsing them was hardly thrilling so we never got around to buying one in preparation for spring. Luckily for us, Brabantia came to our aid.

Now I’m a little embarrassed by this next sentence, but please stick with me: I LOVE my new washing line. There, I said it. I’m THAT weird. Take a look for yourselves at the Wall Fix Washing Line from Brabantia.


Isn’t it amazing? No? Just me? *ahem*

In a compact garden like ours, or one with a toddler running around it (also like ours…) a washing line pinned into the grass would take up valuable space. Plus I’m too lazy and too busy to be putting it away when its not in use, so my Little Man would just run into all the time. He’s good like that. This marvellous washing line from Brabantia fixes to the wall, as you can see above. Yes, that is my (slightly dirty) back wall. As you can see the washing line lives in a rather neat storage box which protects it from the elements when not in use, but also looks much tidier than having it hanging there without. You can probably just make out the blue button on the front about halfway down. Pressing this causes the box to open and the sides to automatically fold back – handy one-handed opening there, especially if you’re carrying your laundry basket or child. You then pull out the washing line until it clicks into place. The outer lines are an impressive 4 foot long meaning you can easily fit double bed sheets on there, and there is sufficient capacity for a couple of loads of washing easily. Here’s my washing line in use:


When up it takes up hardly any room and doesn’t impede on the garden at all. As you can just about see its height means I can still have plants growing beneath it. Installation was easy – thanks Grandad – as there is a template included to show you where to drill the holes. Simplicity itself.

Luckily for my husband I’m still a little excited about having this in our garden so I’m quite keen to do the washing. I’m sure it won’t last.

The Brabantia Wall Fix Washing Line with Protective Storage Box can be bought from their online store.

 

 

 

Mio Solo Nappy Challenge Week

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 21-01-2012

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Last week Little Man and I embarked on something new. We used real nappies. Since day one we’ve used disposables and I’d never really considered using anything else. I envisaged the washing machine being permanently on, and I wasn’t particularly keen on getting any closer to the contents of his nappy than I needed to – especially those early explosions! Just after he turned one in October last year and money seemed to become even tighter than usual I gave real nappies a thought. People kept raving about how much money you could save by using real ones, and how amazing they were, so I did a bit of research. The choice out there is wide and varied and I felt a little out of my depth. It was brilliant therefore when I was contacted by Bambino Mio and asked if I’d like to take part in their Mio Solo Nappy Challenge. I immediately said yes, and then, I must admit, wondered what on earth I’d let myself in for!

My parcel arrived at the beginning on January and I was rather excited to open it and take a look at the new Mio Solo. The Mio Solo is a one-size-fits-all nappy that is suitable from birth right through to potty training. It comes in six colours all with a sweet themed name, and is designed to be simple to use and super-absorbent. It features velcro fastenings, poppers across the front to adjust to fit any sized baby, and a pull out inner to make them quick drying.

 

In our pack we received the blue (Flying Saucer), yellow (Sherbet Lemon) and white (Marshmallow) Mio Solo, a Mio Boost – an additional absorbent pad to use during the night, some Mio Wipes, some Mio Fresh Nappy cleanser to use in the washing machine and a roll of Nappy Liners. The nappies looked simple enough to use – the fastening is very like that of the disposables we already used – and the washing didn’t sound unrealistic either. In theory I was ready for the challenge – but how would I fair in practice?

Challenge 1: The Stay At Home Challenge
This sounded a perfect way to start – staying in! I was glad to do this as it meant I had clothes on hand in case of a leak and a stock of other nappies in case I panicked. I also had cream to hand in case my Little Man’s sensitive bottom reacted to the real nappies by coming out in a rash. The first nappy went on without any problems. Little Man didn’t notice anything different and the elasticated leg cuffs meant he could cruise around the furniture with ease as he always had. When it came to changing they were simple to take one off and replace, though the liners did tend to stick to his bottom a bit. At the end of our first day I was still happy and there was no rash – perfect.

Challenge 2: The Out & About Challenge
One day two we had to venture out. This was fine as it was our Sing & Sign class that morning. Into a Mio Solo he went and into the car seat. The class is a short drive away but it would be the longest he’d sat with a Mio Solo on so I was curious about leaking. He also spends the whole class crawling and cruising around, standing up and climbing about – all that action would put some strain on the nappy. I changed him at the end of the class and it was simple to do even away from the well stocked changing table at home. The liner and wipes went into one nappy sack to be thrown out, and the wet Mio Solo went into another to be taken home and washed. A successful out and about challenge.

Challenge 3: The Overnight Challenge
This was the challenge that caused the greatest sense of dread and panic amongst the bloggers taking this challenge. I wasn’t going to take any chances so when we put the nappy on before bed I put the Mio Boost in straight away and added a liner. Little Man sleeps on his front with his bum in the air so I was worried that any overnight wee would gather at the front of the nappy and leak out. He went to bed at 7.30pm and the sceptic in me expected a wake-up call around midnight with a wet bed. I checked on him at 10.30pm when I went to bed and all was well – no leaking, no smells. Everyone slept through and he started chattering to himself at 8am as usual. Unfortunately when I went to get him up the front of the nappy was wet, as were his pyjama bottoms and the bed sheet. Thankfully he hadn’t got the duvet too! Admittedly there wasn’t anything like as big a leak as I’d expected, but sadly gravity won. I will be retrying this challenge after advice from the Bambino Mio team but I think I did everything they’d suggested. We’ll see what happens.

Challenge 4: The Dad, Grandparent Or Babysitter Challenge
Dad was probably more sceptical than me at the start of this challenge. His parents had used terry towelling nappies on all four of their children and being the oldest he can just remember the washing machine being on 24/7. He was concerned that I’d be spending my days washing and that nothing else would ever get done! Dad was impressed with the design of the nappies and happily changed a couple during the course of the challenge week. No problems at all. They really are totally simple. I plan to get Grandma to change one next week!

Challenge 5: The Washing & Drying Challenge
My biggest fear was all the washing. Would they dry quickly enough? Would they come out clean and reusable? Would my washing machine be on for the rest of my life? Well obviously with the fact I only had three nappies I can’t really comment on how often the washing machine would be on if we were doing this “properly”. To only use Mio Solo’s for every nappy change would require a larger supply and a few more washes, but that wouldn’t be a major hardship. Washing them at 60 degrees with the sanitiser in and my usual non-bio washing liquid was fine. I put them in with towels which could also withstand the temperature and I was pleased when they came out perfectly clean. After an incident involving poo and Mummy forgetting to put a liner in for the first time I was a little scared – especially with is being the beautifully white nappy – but even this came out crystal clean and sanitised. Pulling out the inner pad meant they dried very quickly and fastening the velcro tabs back during washing meant I didn’t have everything stuck together during the cycle.

If you disregard the minor overnight problem these nappies were great. A lot less complication and fuss then I’d expected, and the fact that Little Man didn’t seem to notice at all was a bonus. At the end of our challenge week I think we’ve all thought a lot about washable nappies, and whilst we won’t be making the change 100% we will definitely keep using washables during the day, and saving disposables for night time. I highly recommend trying the Mio Solo to anyone considering making those tentative first steps into washables, especially if you’re a past user of disposables. I’m always available on Twitter if you want to chat (@SussexMummy) or if you want to share any comedy poo related incidents. I don’t think my Twitter feed has ever been so full of chatter about poo, wee and nappies ever. Thankfully it wasn’t our house that experienced the “Poonami!”

Thanks Bambino Mio for letting me take the challenge – I had great fun!

Product Review: Persil Small & Mighty

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 24-08-2011

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As wonderful as it is to have children they do come with a few less than wonderful features.  My least favourite part of parenthood is the seemingly endless mountains of washing they create.  From the earliest days of explosive nappies and regurgitating milk, to the weaning period where puree seems to end up everywhere, till they start toddling around and getting in to all manner of dirt, the washing never ends.  
Now I’ve tried lots of different brands of washing powders and liquids to try and get rid of these stains but so many of them just seem to be unbeatable.  I’ve tried several of the settings on my washing machine from the short intense washes to the long hot washes.  Bibs covered in food and juice go in to the machine and at the end of a cycle out comes a bib stained beyond repair.  I was beginning to think that this was just the way it was, but thankfully I’ve discovered that you can get these stubborn stains out – even out of long given up on casualties of the baby food chaos.  And what’s better it even works at 30 degrees!
Persil Small & Mighty to the rescue!
“New Small & Mighty is the most powerful liquid detergent from Persil to date so only needs one small dosage – measured simply in the shuttle device – to deliver mighty cleaning power, proven on a 30 minute wash cycle.  The unique concentrated liquid formulation contains five new ingredients specially designed to work even on the quicker and cooler wash programmes of your machine, to tackle the toughest stains and deliver thorough cleaning.”  And it really does work.
Now I could have taken before and after photos of my Little Man’s most disgusting bibs but I didn’t want to scare anyone who isn't weaning yet!  The other day whilst visiting his Grandma and Grandad my Little Man enjoyed a mid-morning snack of fresh strawberries.  A full body bib was called for and by the time he’d finished most was in him, but lumps of strawberry and juice was all over his bib.  The bib was put in a small carrier bag to transport it home and then sadly – and rather embarrassingly – forgotten about for a few days!  With a degree of cynicism and expectations for further washes or even throwing out the bib I threw it in with a load of other bibs and muslins and turned on the washing machine.  When it finished I set about hanging the wash up to dry but kept my eyes open for the no doubt terminal bib.  Nowhere to be seen!  Every bib came out beautifully clean and strawberry free.
Thank you Persil for making one parenting task that little bit easier!