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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: Tutti Bimbi Weaning Kit

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 11-11-2015

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Weaning is one of the most exciting landmarks every baby goes through. That transition from living on milk alone to being introduced to a range of flavours, tastes and textures is a great experience for babies and parents to share. There’s a huge range of weaning products out there for parents to choose from but when Tutti Bimbi sent me there weaning kit recently, I was very excited to find something that would be usable well past those first weaning steps.

Now Little Dude is clearly well past the weaning stage. He’s 18 months old now and has been merrily eating everything for just over a year now. We attempted the same spoon feeding purees that we’d done with Little Man, but to no avail, so we went down the baby led weaning route which has worked really well for everyone. He eats pretty much everything we put in front of him, but is fiercely independent so meal times still remain rather messy as he’s insistent that he self feeds.

The Tutti Bimbi Weaning Kit consists of a nine hole freezer tray with lid, and two spoons. Its hardly the most high tech of kit, but it does so many different jobs. First of all it can be used for freezing precious breast milk. Moving on it can be used to freeze homemade purees and small portions of meals. When your little one reaches toddler age it can be used as a snack tray or for serving lunch. We use our tray for this every single day.

Little Dude’s lunch is presented to him in this tray every day, and I fill each pot with a different toddler friendly food. We’ve used things like grapes, blueberries, tiny sandwiches, pieces of cooked meat, crackers, cheese, pitta bread, and toddler biscuits. I don’t always achieve nine completely different foods, but Little Dude loves the sight of this tray on his table and enjoys the independence of effectively choosing his own food. Any that he doesn’t finish – and to be fair this is very rare – gets the lid popped back on and he can graze on it throughout the rest of the afternoon if he wishes.

TuttiBimbi-SussexMummy

When he outgrows using the tray like this, it’ll be heading back into the kitchen to be used for baking. It can be put in the over so will be ideal for making individual cakes with Little Dude, or even individual bread rolls. During the summer it could even be used to make homemade healthy fruit ice lollies for children of all ages.

This is a really versatile piece of kit. It’s really well made, nice and bright which I love, and will last for years. I can see this being a part of our kitchen for many many years to come. Head over to the Tutti Bimbi website to find out more about this product, and the rest of their range.

Weaning: Getting Prepared

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews, Weaning | Posted on 13-09-2014

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It seems crazy that I’m already thinking about weaning. Little Dude is just 17 weeks old and whilst technically we are “allowed” to wean from now, its recommended that we wait till six months. Clearly nobody told Little Dude this. He wasn’t a particularly big baby when he was born – just 7lb 3 – but he’s been a big eater since day one. His feeding has always been regular as clockwork and the feed size has increased steadily, albeit faster than the guidelines on the formula box. According to that he’s consuming what a six month old should be having, and has been for about a month. This week I bought “Hungry Baby Formula” which is meant to help delay weaning. We’re using this for his last bottle before bed – part of our tactic to help him sleep through the night – but I’ll probably be using it for feeds during the day too soon. He’s been happily going three hours between feeds for a while now, but in the last week or so he’s begun to get a bit antsy after a couple of hours and sometimes even sooner than that. We’re going away on holiday in just over a week so I’d like to put him off weaning until we get back if I can, but I guess we have to work to what he wants and needs.

We weaned Little Man at 16 weeks. He was on purely “Hungry Baby Formula” for a few weeks before we took the plunge and started weaning. As first time parents we ummed and ahhed about it – and most of our decisions – before we did it, but even then we were unprepared when we did. This time around I’m feeling a lot more confident about the idea, and so I wanted to be totally prepared so that we could literally start as soon as he needs us to. So I’ve organised myself two weaning kits – one for at home and one for when we’re out. I don’t have the luxury of being about to camp out at home till he has the hang of it – I think Little Man would get rather bored – so I wanted to ensure I had the right bits and pieces to hand wherever we are. The two kits below are made up of things that I’ve been sent to review and things I’ve bought, most of which came from the Asda Baby & Toddler event.

Weaning At Home: At home will be by far the easiest place to wean, so it has a much larger kit:

  • Tommee Tippee Food Blender – I picked this up in the baby event for just £10. With Little Man I spent one day each weekend steaming and pureeing fruit and vegetables and then freezing them in ice cube trays. I really don’t have the time to do that this time around, but I’d still like to be able to offer up bits of what I’m already cooking from time to time. This blender makes baby sized portions of pureed food as well as slightly lumpier offerings for later on. I also picked up some cheap ice cube trays for those first tastes, and some Tommee Tippee food pots and lids for when his appetite grows. When it comes to serving up his meals I bought a Cool & Mash Bowl from the Tesco Baby Event yesterday. The bowl has a separate area for cooling spoonfuls of food before feeding it, and for squashing any lumps that need it.
  • Munchkin Bowls & Spoons – As a Munchkin Ambassador I’ve been lucky enough to receive a great array of their products which will be indispensable when we start weaning. Their Food Bowls are handy for a good size for serving up small portions and the snap top lids mean that we could potentially take food out with us in them if necessary. We have a good selection of their spoons too, including these White Hot Safety Spoons. Their coloured tips turn white if foods are too hot for Little Dude to eat, and being soft they are gentle on his little mouth.
  • Ella’s Kitchen First Tastes – Whilst I of course want to feed Little Dude as much fresh food as I can, I am realistic. For me there is no better ready made food than Ella’s Kitchen. We used it with Little Man, and I’m looking forward to using it again with Little Dude. The team sent us a lovely box of food pouches to test out for them, with delicious sounding meals as well as those first tastes of pure vegetable goodness. Needless to say I’ll have a couple full of these pouches to hand when the fun begins.
Weaning Out & About: With a five day holiday coming up as well as a weekend away with Nana and an almost four year old who likes to go out in Mummy’s car, there’s going to be a good amount of weaning away from the comfort of our house. Thankfully, we’re all ready for it:
  • Munchkin – Our weaning on the road adventures will generally be made much easier – I hope! – thanks to Munchkin. A good supply of spoons again, as well as one of their nifty roll-up bibs. The bib has a crumb catcher pocket on it which also doubles up as a pouch to put dirty spoons in once Little Dude is finished eating, and it then all tucks up inside itself and velcros shut making it much cleaner to transport. We’ve also got a couple of Food Pouch Spoon Tips which screw straight onto a food pouch. You simple squeeze spoonfuls straight from the pouch and there’s no need for a separate spoon or even two hands. The handy click-lock lids means you can transport them without worrying about leaks. Finally we have a super cute insulated bag to carry all our bits and pieces in. With a large capacity and a mesh pocket for storage, as well as a clip fastening meaning I can attach it securely to my pushchair, this is probably the most important part of this weaning kit.
  • Ella’s Kitchen – Homemade food may well come out with us in our food pots or bowls with lids, but I suspect we’ll be much more likely to use pouches when we go out. Like I said before, I love Ella’s Kitchen. You genuinely get what it says on the front – there are no hidden extra ingredients – and being organic I know they are the best for Little Dude.
So I’m pretty sure we’ve got weaning covered. My kitchen is practically buried in fact with all the bits and pieces I’ve gathered up. Have we missed anything? What’s in YOUR weaning kit?

E-Book Review: Indian Supermeals – Baby & Toddler Cookbook

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review, Foodie, Information | Posted on 09-10-2012

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This week is – amongst other things – National Curry Week. Hubby and I love a nice Indian takeaway or very rarely I cook one at home, but its not something we’ve ever tried with Little Man. I vaguely recall him trying an Ella’s Kitchen pouch that was spicy but never anything other than that, so I was intrigued when I was offered a new Indian cookbook for babies and toddler to review.

Zainab Jagot Ahmed wrote “Indian Supermeals: Baby & Toddler Cookbook” whilst weaning her little girl Aaliyah. Zainab was keen to introduced Asian flavours and cooking to her daughter for cultural and culinary reasons, but when she went searching for recipes she found that the baby weaning industry didn’t cater for her needs. Zainab spent a lot of time researching flavours, dietary requirements and superfoods before coming up with her own recipes which she fed to her daughter. Soon family and friends were asking for her recipes to use on their own children, and before long a cookbook was born.

The cookbook is a wealth of information and education before you even reach the recipes. There is detailed information on diet and nutrition and everything is explained clearly. There is information on recommended daily intakes based on age and clear details about how much of what your little one should be eating using the popular Eat Well Plate. I read a couple of weaning books before we started the process with Little Man – probably the same ones most parents read! – but got much more insight and relevant information from Zainab’s book. I was obviously aware of what nutrients Little Man needed but not really what his recommended intakes were. I clearly knew not to pump him full of salt or sugar, and always took an “Everything In Moderation” approach to treats, which we still do nowadays. This books was educational for me, and I think it would make a great read for anyone about to start weaning or curious about maybe giving their little ones something more interesting and less bland than the usual baby foods.

The recipes themselves begin from 7 months when you can introduce foods which are a bit more interesting and you’ve generally progressed from simple purees. They are all clearly set out with specific nutritional information, approximate preparation and cooking time, how many servings you’re going to get, and whether it is freezable. I found bulk cooking and freezing a god send when Little Man was weaning. I had a drawer full of pots in my freezer. There are no intense spicy flavours in any of Zainab’s recipes, just different flavours to ones you’ll find in the usual cookbooks or store bought baby food. You’re not about to serve your 7 month old a spicy vindaloo, you’re just looking to widen their tastes and reduce the likelihood of fussy eating later in life.

By the time you reach Stage 4: 1-3 Years you are no longer doing separate cooking for your little one, you are instead adapting your family favourites. Curries and Tagines begin to appear in the book which you can cook for your whole family. This is the chapter that I must get myself into and actually try out a few of the meals on Little Man and Hubby. They sound delicious to me and I’m sure Little Man would be willing to test a few out as he is a very good eater, though he is beginning to develop his own sense of taste and favourites.

Whether you are of Asian decent or not, and whether you’ve already started the weaning process with your little one or been through it before with older children, I highly recommend this book. As well as providing you with delicious meals and finger foods, it also provides essential knowledge and nutritional information to ensure you are raising healthy eaters, as well as varied eaters.

Indian SuperMeals: Baby &Toddler Cookbook (published by Autharium RRP £4.99) is available online at retailers including Amazon.co.uk, Tesco, WHSmith, Waterstones and ordered through all good e-bookshops.

You can find Zainab online too at her website (www.ZainabJagotAhmed.com) and on Twitter @ZainabJagAhmed

 

Product Review: Ella’s Kitchen

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 20-05-2011

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Weaning is often a difficult and confusing time for any new parent, and more often than not their baby! Whilst there is often pressure to cook fresh meals for your baby it is sometimes just not an option. The shelves of supermarkets and high street chemists are practically groaning under the weight of so many varieties and brands of ready-made baby food, but I must confess that my personal favourite comes from Ella’s Kitchen. What I love about Ella’s Kitchen food is that it tastes like its meant to – whatever it claims to be on the packet is exactly how it will taste inside – and the wide range of flavours is almost too tempting for me. I do worry that one day my little boy won’t get any because I’ll have eaten it all!!

Ella’s Kitchen was set up by Ella’s father Paul who decided that he wanted children to get a wide range of healthy, tasty foods. All their products are made using organic ingredients – and nothing else. The range takes you through all stages of eating for your baby and as well as instant meals they also provide snacks, smoothie fruit, cooking sauces, pasta and rice. The meals, smoothie fruits, and cooking sauces come in handy pouches that make them perfect for when you’re out and about, as well as for use at home. They can be simply be slipped into a changing bag or pocket and fed straight to baby using a spoon, or when they’re old enough slurped direct from the pouch. Any uneaten food can be stored in the fridge and used within 24 hours, or frozen for future use.

Stage 1 Baby Food – from 4 months:


Stage 2 Baby Food – from 7 months:

Stage 3 Toddler Food – from 10 months:



Baby Brekkie:

Baby Cookies:


Pasta, Rice & Cooking Sauces:



Smoothie Fruit:


Ella’s Kitchen is also working in association with Terracycle. Once your little one has devoured the contents of the yummy pouches you can “up-cycle” via the Terracycle website where they’ll take your old pouches and turn them into funky products like this:
 
 
     
These products are not currently available for sale, but I’m sure once the Terracycle revolution sweeps the nation you’ll be able to snap them up in no time!

Recently Ella’s Kitchen set up “Ella’s Explorers Feed Our Senses” in association with nurseries throughout the UK who provide care for babies aged between 4 and 18 months. Ella’s Kitchen’s programme “complements the Early Years Foundation Stage by encouraging little ones to explore new tastes, textures and eating occasions.” Further details can be found on Ella’s website.
 

The key question is what does my little boy think of Ella’s Kitchen? I think this photo tells you. Eating Blueberry Baby Brekkie… or should that be wearing?
 
Go to Ella’s website today and become a friend to receive a weaning guide, vouchers and the chance to win one of their fun Terracycle cool bags, as well as finding further details of their complete range, their Feed Our Senses Programme, and the importance of Terracycle.

The Baby Show 2011, London Excel

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 21-02-2011

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A fun filled day was spent at the Excel yesterday and the exceedingly popular Baby Show. Having never visited a baby show before, but being a veteran of other exhibitions aswell as a new mummy, I was massively excited and thankfully not disappointed.
Driving to the show was the best idea we had, and not just because of the amount of parcels we ended up with! A previous trip to the Excel had been done on train and tube and had become a mission of epic proportions. Driving was surprisingly easy and parking simple and reasonable (we paid £10 for 5 hours).
I was a little surprised to see a queue of eager shoppers, expectant mothers and buggies waiting at the door but once we were let in it all became clear. A vast array of stalls and stores faced me selling anything and everything a child from conception to age three, and mummy, might need. Familiar brands and high street stores were interspersed with the lesser known but equally good quality makes.
My highlights include the lovely people at Ellas Kitchen and Plum who were offering feeding advice, free samples and great deals on their organic food ranges. The outstanding baby changing facilities offered by Pampers with free nappies and wipes. The giant baby bouncer and ring stacker displayed by Fisher Price – though I didn’t have a go! And the priceless Shopping Drop Off point provided by Emmas Diary – something we certainly used!
Unfortunately there were lowlights too. The Mothercare stand was one of the largest and had a phenomenal number of people staffing it. That being said whilst I was there looking into Group 1 car seats for almost ten minutes nobody came over to provide information or a sales pitch. They all seemed more intent on chatting amongst themselves, standing around making the area cluttered and impossible to navigate, and drinking coffee. My other lowlight came at the Britax stand. They weren’t selling their products, meerly providing information and advice which was sufficient for me. On the car seat mission once again I chatted with one of the team about features and most importantly for me, price. I was looking for a good quality car seat as cheap as possible – as I’m sure most people are. “I can’t understand why people want cheap stuff.” He said as he showed me a £300 seat. Maybe because we don’t all have £300? Not the way to tempt me to buy your product!
Despite these two faults I found the show a brilliant day out. Grandma and I left heavily laden with bargains for my little boy who’d had a fun day at home with Daddy. I don’t think a repeat visit would be necessary, but its a one off must for all mummies.
Oh and by the way, whilst driving home we stopped at a retail park for lunch and spotted a Boots Clearance store. If there is one near you get in there. I bought a brand new unboxed ex display Maxi Cosi Axiss car seat for £100 – £120 less than the rrp. I was almost tempted to go back to the show and beat the Britax man around the head with it…

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A Brief Introduction, And A Bit Of A Rant…

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 19-02-2011

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Blogs by Mummies are hardly a rarity on the Internet, but I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring.  I’m a keen amateur writer (largely fanfiction based) and a new Mummy (as of October 2010) so what better way to combine my two passions? I doubt I’ll be particularly earth shattering or profound in my ramblings, but as every child is different (you just need to look at my antenatal class to prove that) I hope to bring something new to the Mummy Blogger genre. What will be written here will purely be my experiences and opinions as a Mummy. You might share my experiences, and you might not. You may agree whole-heartedly with my opinions, and you may not.  Please do have your say on what I ramble – I look forward to reading peoples responses to this new foray into writing.

So to begin with a little bit about myself and my reason for blogging.  I’m 28 and living in the midst of the Sussex countryside with my husband of three years and our baby boy who is just four and a half months old.  He is our first child, and at the moment I think it’s a little early for definitive decisions on whether or not he’ll be our only!  Whilst pregnancy was a fairly easy time, the final week and the labour which followed was somewhat fraught and at right now its not an experience I’m keen to repeat.  I am more than happy enjoying my little one and giving him my undivided attention before I consider adding to our little family.

Whilst I’ve never been somebody that fit in – I was never in with the popular kids at school and when we moved house we changed counties – I’ve never felt part of a minority group until recently. Until I became a Mummy in fact. I’m not a single parent. I’m a Stay At Home Mummy. I’m not on maternity leave. I have no job to go back to. Before you ask, no I’m not wealthy. I don’t have the luxury of endless savings or a Hubby that earns a fortune. We struggle to make ends meet, yet I choose to stay at home. I realise this is not an option for some, but for those people who can afford to stay at home, why go back to work when can do the most valuable job ever at home?

As I said my Boy is four and a half months old, and has recently taken his first tentative steps into the world of weaning.  Debate is wide on the subject of weaning, but thankfully my Health Visitor takes the “every baby is different” approach.  We started at four months because my Boy was guzzling gallons of milk and seemed impossible to fill.  Now he’s enjoying daily spoonfuls (or sometimes three) of pureed fruit and vegetables, and the occasional bit of baby rice, though he doesn’t seem too keen on that.  Food is enthusiastically chomped and swallowed, so I take this as meaning he’s ready for solids and happy to eat them.  We’ll see how it goes.

Tomorrow I am heading to London’s Excel for the final day of The Baby Show.  Boy is staying at home with Hubby for some “male bonding” whilst I take Grandma shopping.  We’re hoping to pick up some bargains and grab a few freebies and samples along the way.  I’ll let you know how it goes.