October Half Term Ideas

October Half Term Ideas

The beginning of October has gone and my children only have 8 more days at school before it’s half term!! How did that happen? I am now racking my brains for ideas how to keep the Pickles entertained. So thought I would share my October Half Term Ideas with you all.

It will be nice to have a week and a half again with no routine. No 6 am wake ups to get my eldest 2 to the bus stop by 7.30am.

Now I need to decide what we are going to do with the days that the pickles are off school. Well, my bank balance is still recovering from the summer holiday. Plus having to buy school uniform, shoes and bus passes, for the kids return to work last month. Also with the festivities only 11 weeks away (Sorry, if like me you are trying to ignore this!) I will be watching the pennies to go towards Christmas surprises.

Luckily we have National Trust Membership and lots of NT properties close to home. If the weather is fine we can go and explore some of the houses and gardens at local NT properties. One of our favourite NT properties is Stourhead, it always looks lovely in the autumn so definitely worth a trip. 

Not a National Trust member then I’m sure you will have a nearby park or woods. Where you will still go and have some autumn fun. If the leaves are dry the Pickles can collect a bag full of leaves and twigs as they make lovely pictures, this will give us an indoor activity if we have a wet day.  Although I am not a fan of walking in the rain I will have to brace myself if it’s  rainy as we all of wellies, raincoats and the 2 littlest Pickles both have rain trousers thanks to Dry Kids.

Now that the Pickles are a bit older on a fine day we will go the park with some bats and balls to have a game of rounders or cricket, although we don’t stick to the rules or are too strict on scoring as this prevents battles. It’s just so that they can all run around to let off steam and wear them out.

We have a subscription to Now TV  so love to have a film marathon, with buckets full of popcorn. Nothing like a lovely lazy film afternoon to relax and recharge our batteries.

When I was little we used to have indoor picnics on autumn afternoons. If you cook with your Pickles then this could fill a lot of the day as you could make cakes, sausage rolls, cheese straws etc with them and then have these at the picnic. Cooking isn’t my thing so I will get the picnic bits at the supermarket or just raid the fridge and do with what we have at home. 

I think am going to try an Indoor Treasure Hunt if it’s the weather isn’t on our side this Half Term. Now my children’s rooms are always untidy. It seems that as soon as I finish tidying it and walk downstairs the toys and books throw themselves on the floor!! So I am going to make a list, for each Pickle. For example, they can find a Barbie with clothes on, a red car. They will have to collect 10 things each and get a prize for doing it nothing massive. But before they get their prize they will have put their items away in the right place 1st.

My last saving grace for a wet half term is our local scrapstore. The pickles can go and have a rummage, picking up all sorts of bits for crafting, including big sheets of paper to stick the bits onto. At our local one, we can fill a bag full of goodies for a minimal fee. Coming home with enough to keep the Pickles amused for ages. There are now Scrapstores all over the UK, so I’m sure there is one local to you.

Well, I hope these ideas will help you have a great half term. I have now reminded myself of all the great things we can do and am actually looking forward to having the Pickles at home again.

Written by Jessamine aka Mummy Pickle, you can follow our families half term adventures over in Instagram

 

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Prosecco Mum

Prosecco Mum’s review of Little Pickles Market

Guest Post – Check out Jess from Prosecco Mum, review and thoughts on Little Pickles Market

Prosecco Mum

One of the things I’ve learnt since becoming a mum is that babies don’t tend to wear clothes for long before they suddenly go through those bloody ‘growth spurts’ and burst out of clothes quicker than you can say, Michelin Man. 


So I’m a huge fan of Nearly New Baby Sales where you can pick up new, or as good as new, bargains for a fraction of their original price!


I have sold at a fair few Little Pickles Markets now and not only do I realise my children have a better wardrobe than me and are the new reason I teeter on bankruptcy each month but I realise how spoilt they are; rows and rows of clothes all hung on rails still with tags on, shoes that haven’t even been unclipped and every gizmo and gadget, you can guarantee they’ve had it. Well, probably not quite so much with Arlo, poor second child, I learnt my lesson with him and he still parades round with pink muslins and pink bibs on. But gender neutral clothing’s all the rage now, isn’t it?!


I don’t tend to buy clothes at these things but the last time I was selling I had a quick peruse at some of the other stallholders bits before the frenzied buyers burst through the door, and I managed to pick up a Gro Clock (I’m glad I brought it second hand because it doesn’t bloody work for Sofia she just bursts in at the crack of dawn saying “my clocks still blue mummy”) and a Maxi Cosi Family Fix base – that was a real bargain. On other occasions I have picked up some nearly new Clarks shoes for Sofia for nursery and a brand new bike seat, even though neither of us own a bike…but, you never know, maybe one day – and it was a bargain!

 

Today I sold at the Eastleigh market which is held at Fleming Park leisure centre – it’s a really busy market and ran from 10.30-12, so long enough to be constantly busy and not enough time to get bored or take up a whole day! The queue was out the door and around the carpark and I people’s faces were peeping through the door at 10am, which heaped the pressure on as I frantically tried to unload my jumbo bags full of one man’s treasure.

I had a great day today, I made over £200 and the best bit, is unlike carboot sales, people are all here for one thing; baby stuff so every person walking round is a potential buyer of your items. I was selling to make money, of course, but also to start ridding the house of bags and bags of bits that I’d accumulated over the past 3.5 years. By 11am my stall had quite literally been ransacked and I’d sold the big items such as the Sleepyhead, baby bath, baby carrier, stroller pushchair and shedloads of clothes. Also, unlike a carboot sale it’s all inside which is a real bonus as it will never be ‘rained off’ and you’ll always be warm and dry!

So what was the key to today’s success? 

  • Having a mixture of items – clothes, toys, books as well as some of the bigger items as mentioned 
  • It probably also helped that I had both boys and girls clothing; though obviously if you only have one, there’s not much you can do about that!
  • Pricing the items right – in hindsight I probably did the Sleepyhead too cheap but it’s gone now and no longer residing in the kids playroom, the clothes I marked anything from 50p (for leggings, tights and baby vests) up to £7 (for brand new with tags John Lewis/Gap/Ted Baker type items) and everything in between
  • Be prepared – I mark up all clothing labels with brand, size and price, it not only makes it easier for the people looking but also for me when selling!
  • Presentation – I always think that even though it’s a second hand/nearly new sale, it doesn’t mean that everything should look shabby….myself included! 
  • Good quality items – I only sell things I’d be happy to buy myself and I am fussy. So I do wash, iron and hang all of my clothes ahead of the sale.

Do you visit nearly new sales? Have you ever been to a Little Pickles market before?

You can see where your nearest market is by clicking here, and you never know I might see you at one if you’re local!

You can find Jess from Prosecco Mum on all the socials below

www.proseccomum.com

www.facebook.com/proseccomum

www.twitter.com/proseccomum

www.instagram.com/the_prosecco_mum

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family decluttering tips

10 Family Decluttering Tips

Life can be hectic with your Little Pickles, work and other commitments. Sometimes the house can get a little neglected and before you know it chaos has struck. So we thought we would share 10 family decluttering tips.

  1. Get the Little Pickles involved. – Sometimes the kids can be very helpful. So take time with them to go through toys and clothes they have grown out of. Once sorted you can put away for younger siblings, pass on to friends and family or ready to sell. They can also help put the things they want to keep away too.
  2. Schedule Times to do it and keep to it – The weeks can whizz by and before you know it there is more and more clutter builds. So pull out your diary and set some days or a couple of hours aside to have a clear out.
  3. Assign a home for everything – Most of us are guilty of having a pile or two of things that have no designated home. Change that make sure every item you own has somewhere to live. Then when you are tidying it will be put away instead of moving from one place to the next.
  4. Break it down into small steps – When you think about all the jobs that need doing it can seem pretty daunting. So make a list and break jobs down into small more achievable steps. It’s always great to tick lots of small jobs off than waiting ages to tick off a huge task.
  5. Nothing on the floor – A clear floor a clear mind, a room can instantly look much tidier if the floor is clear. So once the kids have finished playing encourage them to tidy up. Clear those shoes from in the hallway, pick up that used mug or plate.
  6. Have an in-tray and out-tray – As your pickles grow the forms seem to be never ending. Whether it is school trip letters, clubs enrollment forms or that tax credits return. Pop them into the in-tray and then you know where they all are. Once they have been completed pop in the out-tray ready to be returned or posted. When your pickles are older it can be their responsibility to empty letters out of their school book bags themselves.
  7. Make a list of target areas – you might have a problem area in your house. I know ours is our hallway, as it is so easy to walk in the door and dump shoes coats. Or create a pile of things to go up on the stairs. If you have an area that bugs you make it a priority to clear it once and for all and lay down the rules to keep it clutter-free.
  8. Clean up after meals – it is so easy to have your tea then feel full and want to just chill on the sofa. When you get up to go to bed there’s nothing worse than seeing the dishwasher still needs packing. If you clear up straight a meal then it may make you feel better.
  9. As your Little Pickle grows out of clothes and toys sort them – there are a huge number of parents that tell us they put everything their children have grown out of into the loft or garage without sorting. Sort things ready to sell as you go, then once you book a table it is a case of turning up on the day, unload your boxes and make some money.
  10. Make all the beds every morning – this one is self-explanatory and simple, but can make a huge difference. It’s much nicer to climb into a made bed every night. Even a toddler can kind of straighten their bed up every morning.

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rewarding your loyalty

Rewarding Your Loyalty – Updated

Have you got one of our Loyalty Cards?

Little Pickles Markets love to say thank you to our loyal followers, pick up one of our Loyalty Cards at your local market then when you have attended four times you will get your fifth entry for FREE.

It is lovely to see regular faces at our events.

Please note

  • You will get one stamp for each paid entry into one of our markets
  • The cards can be used at all Little Pickles Markets and Bigger Pickles Markets
  • Each paying adult needs to have their own card
  • All 4 stamps need to be on the same card to receive free entry on your fifth visit.
  • The cards are the perfect size to pop in your purse/wallet, so they are easy to find at each event.

For your local market venues and dates checkout our events page.

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childcare choices

Childcare Choices

Coffee and cake, nice long walks with your baby, the maternity clothes are back in the loft and you’re now getting at least 3 hours of solid sleep a night. That can only mean one thing, time to think about returning to work.

Maybe you‘re a dad who has been able to enjoy some extended paternity leave with your little one too, whatever the case,  have you had time to consider childcare options?

If you are planning to go back to work and need an idea of what’s available, take a look at the brief list of childcare choices below.

Day nurseries

  • full day care setting
  • all year round
  • cater for children from 3 months- 5yrs.

Pros:

A child gets to socialise and interact with other children.

Learn social skills such as sharing, turn taking.

Picky eaters are more likely to eat when other kids are eating the same thing.

A Wider variety of toys to play with.

Cons:

Knowing that your child might have more fun without you.

If your child is unsettled at first, it’s the most horrible feeling leaving them crying and walking away.

Illness! Both a pro and a con! Kids are more likely to pick up childhood illnesses at a day care setting than if they were at home. But it gets it out of the way early so they don’t have much time off when they go to school.

 

Pre-schools

  • sessional day care
  • times vary from 9am-12pm/ 3pm, generally on a term time basis
  • cater for children aged 3-5yrs.

Pros:

Shorter sessions

Linked to local school or nearby

Cons:

Term time only

The shorter sessions may not fit in with your work hours.

 

Childminder

  • Home based setting.
  • full day care, all year round.
  • ages 3mths-5yrs.
  • the option of school drop off and pick up for an older sibling.

Pros:

Children get to interact with older and younger kids in the same group setting.

More opportunity to do day trips and have quiet sessions when needed.

A Smaller group of children.

Home environment.

Cons:

If the childminder is ill / on holiday, they may not have a backup childminder available to help.

 

Nanny

Looks after your child(ren) in your home on the hours you agree to.

Pros:

Maybe more flexible with hours if you do shift work or are running late.

Help around the house with nursery duties

Could be cheaper than other childcare settings if you have more than one child.

Cons:

If the nanny is sick, parents will have to find alternative childcare at short notice.

Lots of 1:1 time can make the child more needy and which could take the time to adjust to independent play.

 

Au-pair

Lives in your home and helps with childcare and general household duties.

Pros:

A lot cheaper than other childcare settings

May have a second language to teach the children

Cons:

Not usually qualified in childcare

There could be a language barrier

 

Grandparents

We love grandparents! They are such valued people who can enjoy quality time with their grandkids, (including bending the rules and spoiling the kids), while you’re at work. Perhaps a little overnight stay here and there too.

Pros:

You know exactly who is caring for your kiddies and have unconditional love for them.

May be able to be flexible on days

Usually free – just the odd bunch of flowers or treat to show appreciation.

Cons:

May not stick to the rules which can lead to your child playing one off against the other!

There is funding available to help with some childcare options and depending on your circumstances.

Low-income households may be eligible for 15 hours of childcare for their 2-year-olds, take a look here for more info.

Check out the 30 hours free childcare info to see if your family are entitled to it.

You may find that your company are considerate regarding your childcare arrangements and offer flexible working.

Keep an eye out for our future blogs where we will be looking more in depth at each setting.

Written by Gemma our Dorset Organiser

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what's in your hospital bag?

What’s in your Hospital Bag?

Have you got your hospital bag packed?

With my first child, I remember being so organised and having my hospital bag packed weeks before she was due to arrive. My dates were actually a week different to the scan dates so I wanted to pack a little earlier than necessary. As it happened, I was induced after being 4 days late due to my hind waters breaking!

I had so much in my bag, literally everything you could imagine!

What I found second time round was it was better to pack 2 bags, one for when I was in labour and one for when baby was born, which I left in the boot of the car, just in case I needed to stay in.

After 2 children and chatting with lots of mummy friends it seems that most of them did the same.

As a helping hand, I thought it would be useful to compile a list of useful items for each bag.

Labour Bag

  • Toiletries – flannel, shower gel, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair bobbles, brush shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lip balm
  • Make-up – you may want just a little bit of powder and gloss for a new born family pic.
  • Face wipes to keep you cool
  • Thin, dark dressing gown and slippers / flip flops (maternity units are so hot!)
  • Nighties – perhaps cotton and if you want to breastfeed, have some that unbutton down the front
  • Nursing bra and breast pads
  • Nipple cream – if you choose to breastfeed and the latch isn’t right it will be painful!
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Comfy knickers – several pairs
  • Maternity pads
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Hospital notes and birth plan
  • Tens machine (some Children’s Centres hire them out for a small fee).
  • Comfy joggers and a vest / t shirt
  • Newborn nappies, cotton wool, little pot for warm water during nappy changing.
  • Vests and babygros for baby
  • Muslins / bibs
  • You may also want to take your birth ball, in case the hospital ones are in use
  • IPod to help you stay relaxed.
  • Magazines – some labours are quick while others can take a bit longer.
  • Snacks for you and your birthing partner.
  • Coins for the car park meter

It’s worthwhile getting your birth partner to pack a bag with a few essential items for them too, including a full charged camera!

If you plan to go in the birthing pool and want to keep a bit of dignity, it might be worth popping a loose vest top in your bag that you can throw away after.

But believe me, when you’re in labour, keeping your dignity is the last on your mind and you will have forgotten all about it when your bundle of joy is in your arms!

New baby bag

The bag that I kept in the car just had a few extra bits, I just sent the labour bag home for washing, keeping some of the bits with me, and replaced it with the new baby bag.

  • More nappies
  • Clean nightie and underwear
  • More vests and babygros
  • Scratch mitts
  • Going home outfit for you and baby.
  • Blanket for baby.
  • Newborn teddy / soft toy

It’s also essential to have your baby car seat if you’re going home by car too, that can be brought into the hospital just as you’re about to leave.

I must say, it was only second time round that I did this, first time round it was, take everything, just in case!!

Both my labours were very different, with my daughter I had to stay in for a few days, (I won’t bore you with the details), and with my son we were in and out within 11hrs!

Just concentrate on your breathing and before you know it, you’ll be a proud mummy!

Written by Gemma one of our Dorset organisers

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February Half Term Fun – Dorset

As much as I think education is important for children, I certainly won’t be missing the school run for a week!  If it’s forecast to rain, you can guarantee it will pour down around 8.45am and 3.15pm. I’ll certainly be looking forward to some February Half Term Fun here in Dorset

So the kids are home and what do we do with them for a whole week?!  As well as the down time where you can chill out with a movie and indoor arts and crafts, it’s a great opportunity to get out for some fresh air and enjoy the beautiful Dorset countryside.

Take a look at some of these activities that are happening locally. I’m sure there are many more than the ones I have found too!

Monkey World

Each child who takes a present in for a primate and are accompanied by a full paying adult will get in for £1! Offer available during the half term week.

Moneky World Offer

Moors Valley Country Park – All week from 10am-4pm                                                       

Moors Valley can give you hours of fun for just the cost of parking. Explore the country park with the Percy the Park keeper trail. £1 per trail card.

Natioanl Trust, Corfe CastleAll week from 11am-3pm.                                                                                            

A castle quest, storytelling sessions and zip wire challenges are just a few of the activities happening during half term week. Don’t forget to take a teddy! Entry charge applies.                                                                                                                                             

Kingston Lacey All week from 10am-4pm                                                                             

Wrap up warm for a crisp walk and warm up in the Laundry and make some snowdrop bunting,. The event itself is free but park entry applies.

Corfe Mullen Library Monday 13th February. 2pm- 4pm                        

For those who are dinosaur mad, go along and learn about fossils and make your own dinosaur, find out more about this Free Event here

Bournemouth Pavillion Terrace Cafe Terrace Tales. FREE EVENT!

Monday 13th February at 10am – A storytelling session and enchanting songs with Molly Mermaid.

Wednesday 15th February at 10am – Scuba Stan will be telling you all about his Aquatic adventures.

Friday 17th February at 10am – Enjoy to curious fables and smuggling takes with Pirate Polly.

Open Day at Safewise Bournemouth – Wednesday 15th February

Visit the safety village for an interactive learning session on being safe. Free fun treasure hunt during your session. Find out more here

Moon Studio Ceramics Family Ceramics Workshop

Monday 13th February , 2:30pm. (Holton Lee, Poole)

Tuesday 14th February, 10:30am or 2:30pm. (Christchurch)

Thursday 16th February, 10:30am or 2:30pm. (Christchurch)

Or Make You Own Fun

So as well as these events why not take a stroll, scoot or cycle on the Bournemouth promenade or along the path at Hengistbury Head to allow the children to use up all their energy. You could even wrap up warm and sit at Mudeford Quay for a spot of crabbing.

Perhaps feeding the swans at Christchurch Quay could be on your list of half term activities where your Little Pickles can enjoy the fresh new play area that has recently opened.

Whatever it is, treasure each moment with your children because before you know it they’ll be leaving home and having Little Pickles of their own!

Written by Gemma our Dorset Organiser

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changing bag

What’s in your Changing Bag?

What’s in your changing bag?

When I first became a mum I knew that the size of my handbag would have to change.  Gone were the days of the small bag with just enough space to put your purse, keys, lippy and mobile phone in.

My very first nappy changing bag, (I only had 2!), was grey and boring but very practical and had so many pockets inside and out! I could practically fit my whole house in it!

The contents of the bag went a little like this…

Changing mat – a handy little foldaway mat that can be used anywhere, including the boot of your car!

Nappies – I always carried way too many, and being a reusable nappy kinda mum, the size of the bag was a big deal! I did have the odd spare disposable nappy too, you just never know when you’re gonna get caught out.

Wet wipes – with my first little pickle, they were the washable type, but my second child they were disposable ones. They just have so many uses; mucky hands, sticky fingers, bumps and bruises and a quick fix to clear up the odd bit of sick!

Hand Sanitiser always came in handy for freshening up after a nappy change, but I have been known to squirt some on the table in a coffee shop ready for snack time too!

Nappy bags were handy not only for the dirty nappies but for keeping the mucky clothes contained.

Spare Clothes – from vests to babygros, cute girly outfits to boy’s comfy trousers. Depending on the age and stage of my kiddies, there would even have been a spare pair of shoes for those potty training accidents!

Breast pads – I exclusively breastfed so the last thing I wanted was a leakage, especially when my daughter was newborn, the feeding was all over the place and milk was on tap.  Breast pads have other uses though, I once used it as a plaster when I was on a long walk and had the worst blister on my heel you can ever imagine!

Muslin squares – handy for feeding, using as a bib, over the shoulder burps and even as a sunshade.

Suncream and sun hats in the summer, and gloves and a beanie for the winter.

Calpol sachets and teething gel / powder – handy to slip safely in the bag.  If it wasn’t my bubba that needed them, they were always handy to help out a friend.

changing bag

As my family grew from child to children,

additional bits were added to my bag, which was upgraded to a more sophisticated style.

Snacks and sippy cups for my toddler.

Crayons and a pad, books and small toys – for those times when you just want to finish the coffee you treated yourself to, while it’s still warm!

Tissues for runny noses or teething dribbles.

Money – lots of change was always a must. Popping to the shops for supplies and getting the buggy out of the car, all set up for baby and toddler, was always a mission.  To then find you don’t have any change for the car park must be any mum’s nightmare. I was caught out on numerous occasions stood at the parking meter when I remembered that I hadn’t replenished my coin purse!

As well as the essentials there would be a small space, somewhere in the bag, for my bits

Purse – a must when having a coffee and cake catch up with another mummy friend.

Mobile phone – full of hundreds of baby snap shots.

Lip gloss

Powder brush to help cover up those dark circles

Sunglasses –  nothing worse than going for a walk with the sun in your eyes.

Chewing gum / mints – did I ever rush out the door without brushing my teeth?! I don’t think so!

So this is mine, what’s in your changing bag?

Written by Gemma our Poole and Ferndown Organiser

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I didn't know you were there

I didn’t know you were there!

I didn’t know you were there!

I was tired all the time and had been working for two weeks straight on my feet in the run up to Christmas. I thought after Christmas and New Year I would start to feel less tired!

How wrong was I! It was now the middle of January and I had all sorts of thoughts running through my head. I wondered if maybe I was diabetic as I have struggled with my weight since a teenager. I was now 27 and worried that maybe I had abused my body with eating junk, drinking too much on a Friday and Saturday night and was now paying the price.

I plucked up some courage and made a doctors appointment for 31st January, the day which would change my life forever!

The Doctor asked me lots of questions and gave me an examination. I popped up on to the bed and he pushed quite hard on my stomach and left the room.  I was so worried I didn’t know what to think.

He returned after a few minutes with a Fetal Doppler he put it on my stomach and within seconds there was a heartbeat! I couldn’t believe it. I was pregnant.

He said I was quite far gone so he would send me for an emergency scan. I went the next day and they told me as they had no point of reference for size as I hadn’t had a previous scan that I was probably close to full term! I couldn’t believe it. What was I going to do? My partner already had children! How could I be that far pregnant without knowing I hear you ask! Well I had periods every month, he was small and laying flat on my spine. I had no bump. I had probably put on 10lbs in last year but I did this all the time up and down with my weight. I suffer with back pain already. How could this be happening?!

I was worried about telling my partner and it was his Birthday. I decided I would tell him over dinner and take it from there. Only we were not alone for dinner in the end so I couldn’t do it! I was in shock didn’t know what to do, where to even start. I decided I would spend a couple of days getting my head around it and went and got a couple of baby grows and a little outfit and hid them under the bed in a bag with my scan photo. The days went by and it got harder and harder. Until one night the baby decided enough was enough and I started having contractions.

Newborn Ryan
Newborn Ryan

So from 11 days of pregnancy, Ryan was born on 11th February, a gorgeous little boy. Who still 11 years on I am never sure if he is here, as he is still quiet and laid back but most of all he is my precious son.

Written by Tanya – Little Pickles Markets Hampshire Organiser

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House Bursting at the Seams

Is Your House Bursting at the Seams?

House Bursting at the Seams

Is your house bursting at the seams???

If your house is now over run with tons of lovely new toys and clothes from Christmas, you might be wondering what to do with all of the bits and pieces that your Little Pickle is no longer interested in.
Well look no further than our Award Winning Baby and Children’s Nearly New Sales

Why not take this opportunity to sort through all of your Little and Bigger Pickles toys, clothes, books, games, baby equipment and anything else your Pickles have outgrown or no longer needs by booking to sell at one of our 2017 Markets now.
And recoup some cash for the new year.

We have hundreds of Markets coming in 2017.  Our early January and February dates are available on our website now to book.

Alternatively, if you a buyer looking to spend some money your Pickles have been given for Christmas then why not have a look on our Facebook Events and see when we will be in a town near you.

We would like to wish to you a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing you all in 2017.

Jess and Team Pickles x

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Chessington World of Adventures – family day out

Chessington the all around family day out.

As a child I have some fond memories of family days out at Chessington World of Adventures. So it is great to add to those memories by taking the pickles all too.
A few years ago we were invited to attend the launch of the Azteca Hotel, we had an amazing time and ever since I have wanted to return with the whole clan. Now we have our Merlin Annual passes, top of myself and most of the pickles theme parks to visit was Chessington.
After a rocky start to the holidays with the man of the Family breaking both of his wrists, I wasn’t sure if we should still go as he wouldn’t be able to go on any rides and could be bored. But seriously what was I thinking, after taking a good look at the website, I saw there was shows for him to watch and tons of animals to see.
So we set off along the M4 on Wednesday, loaded up with a hearty picnic and waterproofs well it is British Summertime so rain was forecast.
After several toilet stops, we arrived just after 10, I thought being the first week of the school holidays it would be packed but I was wrong, the park was pretty quiet, with most ride queues only being between 5-10 minutes.
We downloaded the Chessington app, which was really helpful, to keep an eye on queue times, showtimes, closest toilets (essential when your taking a recently toilet trained toddler), a map of the park and where you were in the park, plus planner to help you keep track of all the things our family wanted to do on this visit.

What did we do and see?

So going back to those childhood memories of mine, a firm favourite has always been the Bubbleworks and as it is closing in September we hot footed it there, we will be returning later in the summer hopefully once Faryl’s plaster is off for him to ride it before it closes.

Then we had a rest and a snack watching the sea lion show, next to the sea lion bay is the Land of Kings featuring Tigers, Lions and Gorillas. The lions were pretty sleepy but always for the pickles to see the sheer size of them close up. As we got to the Tigers one came out had  a wander around and the pickles followed her to the top of her enclosure, where she stretched out to bathe in the sunshine. We could watch the cheeky gorillas for hours on end, seeing the silver back get a little bit irritated by the young gorillas and beat his chest, then Aliza, 3 was so excited and proud that one of the baby Gorillas came to the glass and high fives her, definitely the highlight of her day.

I have seen the adverts for Pandamonium and have to admit I wasn’t so sure but, the kids were captivated and loved the interactive, entertaining show. Plus the baby Panda was pretty cute.

We headed to the sealife centre, definitely more interesting for the older pickles than the Little Pickles that were more interested in just dashing through until they found Dory, which the did and briefly looked at before racing off again.

We stopped for a picnic, but then it obviously started to rain, so we had to decamp and shelter under a tree finishing our picnic before the rain passed and we continued with our day.

My favourite animals are Giraffes so I couldn’t miss Zufari, the bumpy truck ride to see, Zebra, Rhinos, Giraffes and Flamingos.

chessingtongirafffe
Chessington – Giraffe

We donned our poundland ponchos and got soaked on the Dragon Fall, a complete must for a family day out at a theme park.

Then we did some other rides including Tomb Blaster, Scorpion Express (The Baby’s first roller coaster) and finally myself and the 3 oldest girls braved the Vampire ride which I remember from my childhood and it was just as heart racing as ever.

So what did we miss?

Things we missed the Penguins of Madagascar show,  Temple of Mayhem, Dragon’s playhouse, Canopy Capers and Jungle Bus plus several smaller rides. So plenty more to explore on our next trip plus you can never have enough goes on Zufari and of course the Bubbleworks before they close.

Plus all the rides Faryl missed out  whilst waiting with Grandma sporting his plaster cast duo!

What did we eat?

We took a bumper picnic like we always do on a day out, full of plenty of bottles of water and snacks as walking 16,000 steps (yes that’s what my iPhone told me) needs lots of energy.

We only brought the odd coffee and slushy from a kiosk on this visit but next time we will hopefully take advantage of our 20% Merlin Annual Passholders discount and fill up at one of the parks restaurants before our long drive home.

Kids verdict?

On the way home the kids actually said a huge Thank You off their own backs (no prompting, that is like a huge parenting win in itself). Then went on to say that Chessington was the best theme park they have ever been to and can’t wait to go back, so off to find my diary and schedule a date to return.

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Our Summer 2016 To Do List

Little Pickles Summer 2016 To Do List

So the 6 weeks summer holiday lay ahead of us, here in our household we breathe a massive sign of relief. As the constant running around for school runs and extra-curricular clubs (yes between them my pickles do most of them, apart from playing an instrument, well that would be nice to have a pianist in the family ((off I wander to think which would be the best candidate, seriously woman we have enough to do)) where were we).

Yes the holiday are a time for us to chill out and recoup, but we also want to have a plenty of fun along the way. So I have asked all of the tribe to make a list of what they want to do over the break. We are proud owner of exciting Merlin Passes and members of the National Trust so we are planning some days out close to home and a little further afield.

summertodolist

So here goes with the kids wish lists.

Jolie, 7yo

  1. Go to see BFG in the cinema
  2. Complete the Big Reading Challenge at the local library
  3. Learn to ride my bike
  4. Go to Chessington
  5. Day out with Mum!

Lexia, 10 yo

  1. Go to see her cousins in Wales
  2. Visit Chessington World of Adventures
  3. Go to the Beach
  4. Go swimming at Oasis, Swindon
  5. Have a day out with just me and Mummy

Faryl, 5yo

  1. Make a Noah’s Ark
  2. Have a day out to Chessington
  3. Go to the Aquarium
  4. Try out Warwick Castle
  5. Go to my friend’s house

Firstborn, 15yo

  1. Go shopping with Mummy
  2. Take a trip to London
  3. Go to Swindon Designer Outlet
  4. Change our room around and get new bed
  5. Chill out alot

Aliza, 3yo

  1. Go to the park
  2. Go to Cbeebies Land
  3. See Finding Dory
  4. See Peppa Pig’s house
  5. Have fun

Mummy, do I need to tell you, ok! 33yo

  1. Stay in my PJs for the whole day
  2. Laugh until I cry
  3. Paint the hallway
  4. Go to see the AbFab Movie
  5. Get my hair done

So we have a huge list to achieve, hopefully you will see lots of updates over the Summer of our fun and days out for updates

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A New Baby Costs HOW Much????

There is much speculation about how much it costs to raise a child from baby to adulthood. Recently The Guardian stated that it can cost a whooping £231,843 to raise a child to their 21st Birthday  to feed, clothe and educate each new member of the family. This includes childcare, but does not take into account loss of earnings if a parent opts to stay at home, or reduces working hours. The report also reveals that the first year alone could cost a parent upto £11,498. So where does this money go and what can we do to reduce it?

The second hand market is becoming big business as people who have had babies try to recoup costs, whilst those starting on their parenthood journey are budget saving and aiming to slash costs. Our Little Pickles Markets are ideal for both markets, with families being able to hire tables to sell their good quality pre-loved baby items and buyers paying a minimal £1 per adult entrance fee. There are other organisations who run similar events, so look around to see what is on in your area. These places are ideal for picking up second hand cots, moses baskets, prams, pushchairs, baby monitors – all the things you need to see you through your first year.

You could also try eBay, Freegle, Gumtree, Freecycle and Facebook selling pages to pick up second hand items, although obviously in some cases, you have not actually seen the item before you agree to buy it, and sometimes saying “no” is not as easy as it sounds when you have arranged to meet someone at their house!

There are some items that you will inevitably want to buy new and in this instance, I would suggest trying your local Poundland, or waiting for the Aldi Event (other supermarkets also run similar promotions). Toiletries and some basic items are available very cheaply here. Another tip would be to join all the baby clubs that major retailers have. Most supermarkets have them, as do other high street names. Many of them offer freebies as an incentive to join and can be quite useful.

A New Baby Cost HOW Much

If you have a Childrens Centre in your neighbourhood, then pop along to see what they have on offer. Our local one offers baby massage, toddler groups, baby groups, coffee mornings and messy play, to name just a few! Some classes are free, others will charge a nominal amount, but it can be a lot cheaper than other baby groups. They may also offer a toy library, which will give you a chance to sample toys on offer to see what is suitable for your child. Once you have seen what catches their eye, you know what to look for when buying for them.

There are other costs you will encounter, such as nappies (reusable are obviously cheaper than disposable, but that is a whole other topic!). You will also increase electricity usage as you are home more and no doubt washing a lot more than you would have previously! However it is clear to see where it is possible to make some savings that will help to offset the other costs that you cannot avoid.

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Little Pickles Markets Buyers Tips

Our mission is to save parents as much money as they can kitting out their growing families from bump to early school years at our Little Pickles Markets and on through their primary years at our BIGGER Pickles Markets.

With this in mind we have a few tips to help you to be a savvy nearly new shopper.

  1. Raid the change jar – If you have your £1 entry ready on entry to the market, it help the queue go down quicker, so you can get shopping quicker. The stall holders also appreciate it if you have change instead of handing over a note.
  2. Time your shop – Our popular markets do attract a long queue of money savvy parents eager to scoop the bargains, so if you want first dibs make sure you arrive early to get to the front of the queue. If you like a quieter shop, you can arrive later, don’t worry there will still be tons of great quality bargains left.
  3. Make a list and set a budget – if you are expecting a new baby you might have a long list of needs and wants, if you keep note of what you need already have will help you to ensure you don’t get duplicates. Make a little note of how much you are willing to spend on certain things, it’s only a bargain if it is something you need/want and are going to use.
  4. Take a second look – You will be amazed what you can miss on the your first circuit around the market venue, after all there will be tons of bargains for you buyers to see. So take a second or even third walk around the venue and see what pops out.
  5. Lastly be safe – if you are buying battery operated/electric items make sure you see these working before purchasing. If you would like to use a plug socket please ask the market organiser and she will be happy to help on market day. Also if you are buying a a pushchair or highchair or anything else that may have a knack to using it, make sure that you get a full demonstration from the sellers.

We hope these tips help and please share any tips or advice you could offer Little Pickles Markets newbie buyers.

buyers tips

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Bottle or Breast? Your Doing Your Best

Yet again the breast versus bottle debate reared its head last week due to Jamie Oliver saying the the new sugar tax was just the beginning. And that breastfeeding should now be promoted as he believes it’s best and easy!

Wow what a statement from a man that has never had cracked nipples and a baby latched on for eternity!

But anyway that’s enough about Mr Ego and his next crusade to make parents feel guilty about their choices.

I believe that no mother should feel guilty or less superior for choosing or simply wishing to bottle feed. The bottom line is simple happy mother, happy baby. So be confident in your feeding choice, as bottle or breast as long as your baby is fed that is all that matters.

FeedingblogPic

I chose to feed all 5 of my pickles, it wasn’t always easy and each baby came with their own challenges. Even though they all had roughly the same length of breastfeeding. They have all turned out very differently. Some have allergies some don’t, some grew rapidly and others were slower to gain pounds, some slept through the night some didn’t, some were always hungry some had very little appetite, now they are older some are quick thinkers others take time to get things right, some are fussy eaters and some eat whatever.

We need to remember all children are different and embrace their uniqueness! 

So Mum’s forget others thoughts and enjoy your journey, you are doing your best xx

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PAW PATROL: PUPS AND THE PIRATE TREASURE – Review

Faryl (5) is a huge fan of Paw Patrol and when he gets his turn with the zapper, he heads straight to Nick Jr to find an episode of Paw Patrol, to see what Ryder, Chase, Skye and the rest of the patrol have been upto.

But I think we must have seen them all by now, so when Faryl heard that there was an all new DVD, he was excited to give it a try.

We snuggled down after school one afternoon to watch the 6 new episodes, Faryl was hooked and mesmerised by the patrol’s mystery adventure to search for Pirate Treasure. In the last week we have watched it a couple of times and he’s sisters Jolie (6) and Aliza (2) are loving it too.

The DVD lasted about an hour and half in total, but you can just watch one episode at a time. It also includes a Video Storybook. With a U certificate you can be reassured that the it is suitable for the whole family.

Paw Patrol: Pups And The Pirate Treasure is available to buy from Monday 14th March, just in time to treat your Little Pickles over the Easter Break, well there’s nothing better than an duvet day, with some cracking DVDs and popcorn to chill out over the holidays.

PAW PATROL: PUPS AND THE PIRATE TREASURE -Review

 

LIST OF EPISODES

  1. Pirate Treasure
  2. Ghost Pirate
  3. Save the Bay
  4. Save a Goodway
  5. Pool Day
  6. Circus Pup

Disclaimer: We were offered a review copy to watch and post an honest review on our blog.

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A Few Mother’s Day 2016 Gift Ideas

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we have a few pressie ideas for your Mum, Grandma, Nanny, Great-Grandma or Nanna.
B-Organic Lotion
B Organic Hand & Body Lotion and the Foot BalmB-Organic Foot Balm

They are both made with certified organic ingredients without the harsh, nasty chemicals. They do work great on Eczema and Sensitive skin or you just enjoy luxury, gentle organic skincare. They are made in the New Forest,
Hampshire. They are both multiple award winning organic products, including Winner of Beauty Awards.

 

The UnmuUnmumsy Bookmsy Mum Book

The Unmumsy Mum writes candidly about motherhood like it really is: the messy, maddening, hilarious reality, how there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and how it is sometimes absolutely fine to not know what you are doing.

The lessons she’s learnt while grappling with two small boys – from birth to teething, 3am night feeds to toddler tantrums, soft play to toilet training – will have you roaring with laughter and taking great comfort in the fact that it’s definitely not just you…
The Day That Frame

The Day That framed picture.

A traditional framed picture is a classic way to display landscape photography. Everything about The Day That framed photographs is of the highest quality; from the archival ink and paper to the high end frames with glass chosen to reflect the fact that we want your photograph to last a lifetime. Every photograph is personalised by hand and all the pictures are signed, adding that personal touch. There is a selection of frames to choose from, to fit with your Mum’s decor. A completely unique Mother’s Day gift.

 

deluxe skincare setTropic Super Deluxe Collection

Treat your loved ones or yourself to the ultimate range of our stunning freshly handmade, award-winning skincare. With everything you need to cleanse, tone, exfoliate and truly indulge, our most luxurious collections are the answer to your gift list this season.
Our collections come beautifully wrapped and boxed, so all you have to do is sit back and let these gorgeous products work their magic.
This collection contains:
• Smoothing Cleanser (120ml)             • Face Smooth (100ml)
• Night Repair (50ml)                            • Eye Revive (15ml)
• Tropic Headband                                 • Bamboo Face Cloth
• Vitamin Toner (120ml)                       • Skin Revive (50ml)
• Eye Refresh (10ml)                              • Organic Elixir (50ml)

 

Mums That Care

365 Quotes for mums that CARE book

A Unique gift book or to inspire you each day:

Daily quotes and thoughts in parenting and personal development to inspire

“Mums that Care”

365 is a must have for a Mother’s bookshelf. The book walks you through the entire year offering an amazing quote to start your day along with encouragement and inspiration. After each quote the Author Tarryn Hunt follows up with an explanation about how this may pertain to raising children and ideas of how the days Quote can be worked into your routine for the day. With so many ideas and helpful parenting advice it doubles as a guide and daily resource. I highly recommend this book as it warms the heart and soul while inspiring us all to be the best Mum possible.

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Dreaming of a Perfect Holiday #MarkWarnerMum

I spotted that Mark Warner are looking for 2016 Ambassadors, so thought it was worth a try, here’s our entry, well who doesn’t love a holiday.

Now our family is growing and there is no little baby in the house, things are getting a little bit easier. And being a bit of a holiday addict, my brain often wanders away dreaming of the adventures the Little Pickles and I can go on.

Even though I adore a sunshine break, we often discuss taking a family Skiing trip to the French Alps. I have skied twice many years ago when I was at school and have always dreamt of going again and now I can share that with my children perfect.

When the younger Pickles chat about it the first thing that comes to mind is their desperation to build a real snowman, well we don’t often get a much in the way of snow in the UK.

When I asked Jolie aged 6 and ¾ she said ‘I would be very excited about going skiing, going down the hills fast and getting there on an aeroplane. Oh it would be so much fun’

My new challenge for 2016 is to be a braver parent, I have even signed myself up for a sky jump in June, so flying down  slipping and sliding down the keep slopes would suit the new adrenaline junkie me very well I think!

The pickles always love a new challenge and getting to know new friends so ski school would be an absolute must for them. And I’m sure they would look mighty cute in salopettes too.

Plus indulging in some fine french wine and trying local foods. Our lives are so busy so a good holiday is just the best way to unwind and being a single Mum a little bit of time to myself whilst the pickles are in kids club would be pretty nice too.
Right now to bring myself back from my daydreaming and cook some pretty average pasta for tea.

This is my entry into the Mark Warner #MarkWarnerMum 2016 Family Ambassador Program

Written by Jessamine Hislop

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Extremely Good Fun Comes To Swindon

Fun-loving locals are in for a real treat with the opening of a brand new Extreme Trampoline Park in Swindon this week (1st February 2016)

The new 1,100 square metre park is the second of its kind in the UK and follows the launch of the Better Extreme Sports Facility in Barking, London last summer. It is operated by GLL, the charitable social enterprise that runs the facility under its brand name, Better Extreme.

Offering state-of-the-art equipment including a main court with foam pits, extreme dodgeball area, basketball, fidget ladder, slack line and performance walls, the trampoline park will provide a fun haven for children and adults alike.

Youngsters of any age are welcome and trampolining is a great way for kids to let off steam in a safe and supervised environment. Older teens who enjoy extreme sports can build up their confidence with support on hand if required, while adults can pit their skills against each other in activities designed to test their abilities to the max.

SwindonTrampoline

The facility can also accommodate birthday parties, company team building days and adult only parties

The trampoline park is situated within Swindon’s Link Centre complex and the site which includes an ice rink, swimming pool, gym, cycle studio and 3G pitches now offers the most comprehensive range of sports and leisure facilities in the town.

Commenting on the launch, Jamie Ross, Better Extreme National Sports Manager said: “We’re thrilled to be opening this park, which uses the latest state-of-the-art trampolining equipment which we sourced and imported from the USA. We’re hoping that it’ll become a real destination for the region, attracting visitors from across the South West.

“Trampolining really has something to offer everyone, from children, to extreme sports fanatics, to businesses who’re looking for a unique company away day or team building environment.”

The new Trampoline Park will be open from 1st February 2016.

Initial weekday opening times will be from 4pm – 9pm and weekend opening times from 11am – 6pm on Saturdays and 10am-4pm on Sundays. From 15th February opening times will extend to daily sessions of 10am to 9pm.

Prices start from as little as £6.95 and include concessionary rates. A reduced adults entrance fee of £7.95 will run during February 2016 (normal price £9.95).

For more information visit www.extreme.better.org.uk

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2016 Baby Name Predictions

 

2016BabyNames

Traditional Favourites

The well liked chart toppers will continue to popular including Amelia, Emily, Isabella and Lily for a those gorgeous girls born in 2016. Jack, Harry, Oscar and Noah for the newborn dudes.

Celebrity Baby Names

When celebrities choose cute unique names for their newborns many of new parents often follow suit. Honey (Fearne Cotton), Carter (Wayne Bridge), Silas (Justin Timberlake) and even the odd Maxima (Mark Zuckerberg) or Saint (Kayne West and Kim Kardashian-West)

Royal Babies

After the birth of the gorgeous royal babies in the past few years, Charlotte and George will continue to fly the flag.

Star Wars

Following on from the release of Star Wars – A Force Awakens in December 2015, we are sure that some characters names will pop up on the Birth registers in 2016. Some to choose from are Finn, Luke and Kylo for the boys or Leia or Rey for the girls.

On the rise

Lots of names have been creeping up the popularity lists over the last year or so, we predict Cooper and Theodore will make a few appearances for the little men. And all the A’s for the girls including Arabella, Aoife and Aurora.
All this talk of baby names is enough to make me broody! If you are expecting in 2016 have fun picking your Little Pickles name and let us know what you choose.

Written by Jessamine Hislop-Newton, Mummy to 5 Pickles, Founder and Owner of Little Pickles Markets

Facebook www.facebook.com/littlepicklesmarkets1

Twitter www.twitter.com/mrsmummypickle and www.twitter.com/littlepicklesmk

Instagram @mrsmummypickle 

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Toilet Training a 2 & a half year old

Toilet Training a 2 & a half year old

So, nearly 3 weeks ago my, not so, little boy decided to take off his nappy and asked to use the potty.  Well if that’s not a cue to start toilet training, I don’t know what is.  So I quickly armed myself with all the tools required: Potty, toilet training seat (purchased for 50p at one of our Little Pickles Markets?), pull ups & pants.  No-one told me I’d also need never ending patience, lots of stickers, reams of kitchen towel & tubs of bicarbonate of soda!  I’m often very guilty of expecting too much of my toddler.  He picks new things up very quickly on the whole so I tend to fall into the trap of thinking that he has a new task completely sussed & often forget to reassure him a few miles down the track.  So after 2 weeks of very few accidents, using a ‘grown up’ toilet with ease & pull ups only at night, I smugly thought we’d cracked it.  

How wrong I was.  

2 days into the third week and we seem to have taken a large backwards step.  After a completely dry weekend, we now seem to be experiencing several wee related accidents a day (poo is whole other story!); next to the potty, in the middle of the room and most upsettingly on the sofa, certainly anywhere but in the potty! Now, anyone who knows me, knows I’m not particularly house proud, it’s not horribly dirty or anything but I think the expression ‘lived in’ is the polite way of saying it’s not a show home. However, the faint smell of wee that now seems to permanently linger in my house is rather unpleasant. The sofa has taken the brunt of it today, hence the extensive use of kitchen roll to mop up and the bicarb to hopefully soak up the smell and work its magic (I’ll let you know if it works!).

I did remember not to get cross with him but did forget to say lots of encouraging words whilst wondering what it is that’s set him back from the amazing progress he’s made so far. Toilet training seems to be one of those major developmental milestones that we expect our children to master quickly and then be forever competent. Yet why would it be any different to learning to walk & talk? So with that in mind I reminded myself that tomorrow is another day & perhaps I will put up a reward chart even if it is only to remind myself to encourage, praise & reward my awesome little man who is undertaking this huge milestone in his toddler years.  

Emily G's Little Pickle trying out the potty
Emily G’s Little Pickle trying out the potty

My advice…be patient, sign up to anyone offering free pull up samples (they seem to be twice the price of normal nappies), don’t push it if it turns out they’re not quite ready, be prepared for accidents, take spares of everything everywhere you go & remember that this a big deal for them too!

Written by Emily G, Tidworth, Amesbury, Andover and Salisbury Market Organiser

emilyg@littlepicklesmarkets.co.uk

 

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Remember Remember the 5th of November

Remember Remember the 5th of November

So Halloween is over and Bonfire night is upon us. We love firework displays in our family so we always try and find a nice family friendly local display to go to (I get too nervous about home displays!).  A well run professional event is a great & safe way to introduce little pickles to fireworks and the hypnotic wonders of a bonfire. Most of us don’t know how they are going to react until you get there so best to be well prepared and follow a few simple guidelines to help make it an enjoyable experience for children & parents alike.

Firstly, wrap up warm! They can sometimes be a lot of standing around waiting for a display to begin, so lots of layers, waterproofs, wellies, hats & gloves. Don’t forget an extra thick pair of socks to keep little ones’ toes warm under wellies.

A warm cosy toes & rain cover if you have a pram or pushchair with you.

Earmuffs are a great way to protect your little pickles ears from those big bangs. It’s usually the noise rather than the pretty lights in the sky that can unnerve them and they will soon take them off if they’re happy to listen to the rockets zooming up into the sky.

Sparklers are a big no no until your children are at least 5 years old and even then should be well supervised by an adult, keeping them at arms length.

If you’re having a display at home, Fireman Sam has some great tips to follow to ensure everyone stays safe and enjoys the fireworks.

 

Bonfire Night Safety Tips

If you are looking for an event near you why not check out www.netmums.co.uk and www.mumsintheknow.co.uk. Both have lots of firework displays listed for the next few days. If you know of a good display near you that’s not listed then please do comment on the post.

Have fun and stay safe from all at Little Pickles Markets x

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My #ParentOn Moments

Becoming  a mum at 17, I had never ever held a newborn, so I was pretty clueless to tell you the truth, so parenthood was slightly daunting to say the least..

Reading wasn’t my thing so I didn’t rush out to buy every parent manual I could find, but mind you there certainly wasn’t as many 14 years ago as there is now.

My thoughts were always how could a book teach you to bound and build a relationship with your baby when every parent and child is very different. So some might say I went into parenthood very naively with little knowledge but I think in some ways the more you know the more you could worry unnecessarily. But I embraced the steep learning curve that was ahead of me and it has certainly been fun, well most of the time!

From those precious first days, my maternal instinct kicked in and I made quick decisions on all kinds of things. The first was when T refused a bottle soon after birth and the midwife was keen to get some fluids into her as she was very sleepy, so she suggested I latch her on and she took straightaway hey presto ( I know this isn’t the case for everyone so please don’t all stone me now!) so that had to be my very first ParentOn Moment. She was a dream to feed and I never looked back, even though I hadn’t really thought about breastfeeding before, it worked well for us.

To the first bath with a slippy slidey teeny weeny scrunched up baby, I have fond memories of sharing this moment with my Mum even though we were both nervous. I survived and flourished through.

I continued to follow T’s lead and we survived the sleepless nights, weaning teething, the first sniffles and some more serious chest problems that resulted in a hospital stay, but by this point I knew my baby enough to know when she wasn’t right.

Me as a Teen Mum

My second bundle was born 5 years later and things weren’t as smooth as with my firstborn, L spent time in SCBU, meaning endless hours of sitting next to her crib longing to hold her, so never let anyone tell you you need to put your newborn down, those first days weeks are precious and cuddle them as much as you want. I once again found my feet as a new parent with the added element of having an older one too so having to be up and out of the house for a certain time meant L would have to wait to be fed sometimes, she survived!

Weaning was much later than when I had been advised with T a whole 3 months difference as T had her first at 12 weeks, L was 6 months. I have been given slightly different guidlines/literature nearly everytime my babies were old enough to try solids

By the time no.3 came along I should have had this, but J had other plans, she was tongue tied, which was missed until she was 8 weeks old, feeding was tough and she didn’t sleep a wink, she’s still not a keen sleeper 6 years on. So I have to admit exhaustion set in and my mood dipped quite majorly, but nothing some anti-depressants didn’t resolve (PND is not taboo anymore, so should be openly spoken about).

Social Post - Mother's Instinct

 

We got through and J has continued with a very strong character into childhood, bringing a lots of joy and some stressful times too.

My darling boy is a complete miracle, his entrance to the world was a nightmare starting with shoulder dystocia, being starved of oxygen and rush to SCBU very poorly, leaving me shocked and gutted I had missed that skin to skin contact I had previously cherished with the girls. Another major ParentOn Moment when I had to rethink my expectations. But my 10lb little fighter got through, I have to admit I would worry more and check up on him more and wasn’t sure of the longterm outcome, but thankfully all seems ok 4 years on.

The baby of the family, had a smoother entrance, but being baby to 4 older siblings and only having one parent in the house, she spent alot of time in a car seat ferrying them around, she was hungry alot and I used a dummy alot with her none of the others except L (who only had it for a few weeks and you won’t find any photographic evidence of this) had one. She pretty much skipped the sloppy weaning stage and jumped straight to the finger foods she grabbed out of her older siblings hands.

My Newborns

So 14 years into parenting I openly admit I have brought some parenting magazines, well I needed to know which was the latest seen to have pushchairs 😉 but have not been a regular subscriber.

The Pickles and I have made it through this far and I have share just a snippet of some of my #ParentOn moments, as I have thousands more than I could mention in one blog, I feel strongly about this campaign from Tommee Tippee that is encouraging parents to follow their gut instinct. As the Pickles grow I look forward to think on my feet many more times in the future too, that’s why parenting is so exciting

Follow the #ParentOn hashtag across social media to find out more about the Tommee Tippee campaign.

They Survived My Parenting Skills

Written by Jessamine Hislop-Newton, Mummy to 5 Pickles, Founder and Owner of Little Pickles Markets

Facebook www.facebook.com/littlepicklesmarkets1

Twitter www.twitter.com/mrsmummypickle and www.twitter.com/littlepicklesmk

Instagram @mrsmummypickle

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No First Day at School for My 4 Year Old This Year

No School for Me Just Yet!
No School for Me Just Yet!

In the past as soon as my eldest 3 girls reached 4 it was always the countdown to their first day at school the following September. With Faryl turning 4 in March there should have been no reason why it would have been any different. But after having many issues with my middle girls school, I made the decision to move the children as their school was no longer working with our family. As this decision was made after Faryl’s application for reception was submitted, this meant his new application was classed as a late application.
He therefore didn’t get a place at the girls new school of choice. I very quickly came to the decision that he would not go to a different school to his siblings.
Reading in the past I knew your child doesn’t have to legally go to school until the term after their 5th birthday (something I had never considered before), so I realised that this would be our plan.
So with Faryl’s name still on the waiting list he will remain at home and attending his current pre-school until Easter when he will be 5.
Hopefully he will get a place in the next 6 months, if not I be laying the foundations of his education, starting plenty of home education activities from September.
If a place doesn’t come available in the next year I will make the decision whether he will carry on being home educated.
So no shopping for first school shoes and oversized uniform and spamming facebook with first day at school pictures, just yet! But instead we will be adding to our ever increasing book collection and res

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Time For A Big Bed

So the time has come for ‘Baby Pickle’ to vacate the cot, NOT because there is another baby on the way which was the reason for Faryl, Jolie and Lexia before her to move on to a bed. But because she is now too big for a cot at 2 years 4 months, regularly waking herself in the night by rolling over and hitting the bars in of the cot.

But this is a bigger than normal as she was not only still in a cot but still in my room. The other 4 pickles had all moved out of my room the night they hit 6 months old, but knowing that she was my final baby and there wasn’t really any room elsewhere upstairs for her cot. so the plan always to get bunk beds for her and Faryl to share (his) their room.

So we collected the bunk beds last weekend and the baby’s were very excited about their new beds, once the bunks were up, I added a Tomy bed guard, picked up at a Little Pickles Market. Aliza chose to borrow her big sister Lexia’s Frozen Bed linen and then we were ready.

(pic aliza smiles in bunk)

Once PJs were on it was bedtime, being her first night we did our usual bedtime routine a book, brush teeth and then I kissed her goodnight and tucked her into her big bed (sobs)

I came downstairs with the others and listened out for her, she crept out to have a look, so I popped her back into bed and left, so that was that she fell asleep in a big girls bed all by herself. Her first night was success I think she got up twice for a little wander and I returned her back to bed where she drifted back off to the land of nod.

Baby Pickle Happy in Her Big Bed
Baby Pickle Happy in Her Big Bed

Around 7am she toddled in saying ‘Morning Mummy’, at that moment I realised I no longer have ‘a baby’ in the house but she will always be ‘the baby or our house’!

Second night in I thought I would try popping her and Faryl, 4 to bed at the same time, otherwise with staggered bedtimes with 4 little pickles to tuck in it goes on forever. They both went straight to sleep and slept for 12 hours straight, leaving me feeling very triumphant 🙂 🙂

Lets hope this is the sign of things to come and lots of uninterrupted nights of sleep, that is a huge plus of not having a baby in the house I supposed.

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5 Rainy Day Activities

So we were promised a heat wave but that never really got started did it? So now the summer holidays are here and the odd rainy day is bound to come, here’s our top 5 tips for entertaining your Little Pickles on rainy days.

So if like me the thought of being stuck in a sweaty crammed soft play centre on a rainy summer’s day, seems like the thing of nightmares here’s some ideas.

  1. Create a Supersized Play Road – the pickles have a sizeable amount of matchbox cars and can play for hours with them. So just to make it interesting we make roads on the laminate flooring with masking tape to use as the road. You can also add a train track, house and other buildings from other play sets.
  2. Produce your own movie – if your dressing up box is anything like our it is probably bursting at the seams, why not let your pickles pick their favourite and get into character and make a movie. Decide a storyline, chose probs and practise their lines. Then I can grab the iPad and record it for us all to watch back, sure to provoke some giggles. definitely one to keep.
  3. Den making – time so good old fashioned fun grab some blankets/sheets/duvets plus dining room chairs or you could make up a home under the dining table. Once the den is up, snuggle up for a family story time with your favourite books and snacks.
  4. Magazine producing – a few of my pickles love to get creative, so love to get out the glue and scissors (supervision needed) to create magazine about there favourite things. They can think of a name, design a layout, choose a cover star, draw pictures, write story’s (for the older ones), cut and stick pictures out of catalogues in. Once they are complete, share with the rest of the family.
  5. Treasure hunt – so this one always keeps the Pickles busy for awhile, decide what your treasure will be and hide it ready to be found. A great one is to hide Duplo blocks and send the pickles off to find them and once they have a large stash, they can take it in turns to build the highest tower.

 

Hope these help you keep your Little Pickles entertained, if you have any other ideas please share

 

Written by Jessamine Hislop-Newton, Mummy to 5 Pickles, Founder and Owner of Little Pickles Markets

Facebook www.facebook.com/littlepicklesmarkets1

Twitter www.twitter.com/mrsmummypickle and www.twitter.com/littlepicklesmk

Instagram @mrsmummypickle

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We are on the Shortlist for mumandworking awards 2015

The shortlisted candidates for the prestigious mumandworking 2015 Awards as supported by babyworld.co.uk have just been announced – and Little Pickles Markets are on the list, yay! Jessamine our owner has been shortlisted in ‘The Most Inspiring Business Parent 2015’ category sponsored by Amanda’s Action Club

mumandworking.co.uk is one of the UK’s leading flexible working websites offering a wealth of employment opportunities, advice and information.

This exciting awards programme celebrates the champions of flexible working – showcasing those businesses, associations and individuals (mums and dads!) demonstrating how a fulfilling career can be balanced with modern-day family life – enjoying parenting and working together.

The awards will be held at RBS, 280 Bishopsgate on September 22 2015 and are judged both by public vote and by an impressive panel of judges – leading business women and mums who understand all too well the challenges and the rewards of juggling work and being there for your family. VIP speakers and judges also include Annabel Karmel MBE, Jacqueline Gold and Caprice Bourret.

Jessamine Hislop-Newton, Founder and Owner, Little Pickles Markets commented

‘It’s lovely to have been named in the shortlist and gain recognition for building a business whilst raising a young family and dealing with some serious ups and downs in my personal life along the way.’

Shortlisted mumandworking awards 2015

Nick Howe, Regional Enterprise Manager, NatWest Business Banking commented

‘At NatWest we are committed to supporting the UK’s female entrepreneurs. Across the RBS group, we have a team of 200 Women in Business specialists throughout the UK, who understand the market in your area. Whether you run a business today, or are planning a new business, they understand the challenges and can help you find solutions.

NatWest are delighted to be supporting the 2015 mumandworking awards and look forward to hosting the VIP awards ceremony and meeting all the finalists and winners!’ 

Award’s Event Director, Suzanne Borrell added

‘All those through to the shortlist should be very proud, the entries this year were of exceptionally high standard and I don’t envy our fabulous judging panel in their task ahead. The importance and benefits to all of flexible, family-friendly working opportunities are now being recognised at the highest levels and we are really excited to be live in the business heart of the City on September 22 to announce our winners. Thank you to NatWest for all their support’

Finalists will be announced online at www.mumandworking.co.uk by August 20th and these exceptional candidates will then be invited to attend the live awards as hosted by NatWest followed by a sparkling celebratory reception with The Mumpreneurs Networking Club.

 

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Eating Out with the Family – Lydiard, Swindon Beefeater Review

We love to eat out with the family, event though it can be a challenge. I think it is very important for children to experience what it is like to eat out, choosing their own food and learning table manners. But family restaurants with activities for the Little Pickles are always a draw, even if they only provide a colouring book to keep them entertained whilst waiting for our order.

I have to admit I haven’t been to a Beefeater for quiet a few years, I think when Tegan my eldest pickle was a baby so that’s about 13 years (crikey I’m old!). So was looking forward to trying it out.

For a treat the Grandma, Me and the Littlest Pickles Faryl, 4 and Aliza 2 headed to the newly refurbished Beefeater at Lydiard, Swindon.

The restaurant is just off the M4 so very accessible, with plenty of parking, it is pay and display but this can be refunded when you pay your bill in the Beefeater. So can be great to visit on a family day out, celebratory meal, shopping trip or stop off on a longer journey.

Beefeater Welcome

On arrival we were greeted by a polite waiter and shown to our table, it was early on Friday lunchtime when we arrived but soon got busier as the time went on, with a mixture of families, couples and business colleagues eating.

They were quick to bring us a highchair for Baby Pickle, we were given a kids Mr Men menus, activity books + crayons, full menus and the lunch menu.

Beefeater Menu

The kids menu was pretty impressive with a wide selection of starters, mains and desserts to cater for even the fussiest eater, as you can swap any of their sides.

They was a great selection of food, Grandma had nachos and Aliza joined her with the kids version, but to it was pretty large for her, but she made a serious dent in it. Faryl had garlic bread and I had Garlic prawns which were lush.

Beefeater Food

For main the kids both had one of their all time favourites sausages and mash, which was plenty for them, Aliza aka Little Miss Hungry woofed it down and Faryl ate most of his too.

Grandma had a steak cooked exactly how she requested it and she assured me it was lush.

I had a burger served with skinny fries and coleslaw which was yum and very filling.

We then had totally scrummy desserts to blow the diet right out of the window, oops!

Decor Beefeater

The decor in the newly refurbished restaurant is very modern with oranges and grey, a real hit with me as that is the colour of our living room. The colour scheme creates a relaxing homely feel, perfect for a family meal.

Beefeater are revamping lots of their restaurants across the country so visit their website for full details of a restaurant near you.

We were offered a free family meal at The Beefeater, Lydiard Park for our honest review.

Us at Beefeater

Written by Jessamine Hislop-Newton, Mummy to 5 Pickles, Founder and Owner of Little Pickles Markets

Facebook www.facebook.com/littlepicklesmarkets1

Twitter www.twitter.com/mrsmummypickle and www.twitter.com/littlepicklesmk

Instagram @mrsmummypickle

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Radio Silence

First let me apologies for the radio silence on the blog over the last month.

It has been a busy one with some pretty stressful moments too.

My 4 girls celebrated their 14th, 9th, 6th and 2nd birthdays, yay cake.

Our brand spanking new website went live, another big step, what do you think of it peeps?

We had the Easter holidays, with a decent amount of sunshine followed by an arctic blast brrrr. Seriously weather we have the light evenings can we now have some warm sun so we can enjoy them.

Mine and the pickles lovely pickles-mobile died, just imagine having 5 kids and no car no don’t  bother it’s a complete blooming nightmare.

My baby started pre-school which she makes out she’s pretty grumpy about when I drop her off but I know she’s having a ball while I work and console myself that I no longer have a baby in the house.

A joint Gymnastics birthday party for Jojo, 6 and Lex, 9 this coming week, yay even more cake.

A surprise trip to see Olly Murs with my 2 biggest pickles at The O2, cue teen dying of embarrassment because Mummy had a good old dance!

Oh and add in a smashed iPhone for good measure.

Plus worked a lot and ran some markets with lots of my lovely buyers and sellers.

So now I have got my blog on again and I’ll be bringing lots of fresh content including My Carry Potty and Huggies Pull Ups reviews (yes I’m going to attempt toilet training with Baby Pickle), cot to bed transition, plus some fab information blogs and much more.
If you want to keep up with all our summer fun follow mrsmummypickle on Instagram.

Instagram

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