Welcome to our Little Blog, we hope you enjoy reading.
Little Pickles Markets Owner, Jess blogs about family life with the 5 Little Pickles and a business. A mixture of reviews, parenting tips and days out. You will also find blogs from other team members, with their parenting stories and tips. We have worked with Bluestone, Chessington World of Adventures, Weetabix, Tommee Tippee and many more.
We were listed as a finalist for the ‘Working Parent Blogger’ category in mumandworking awards 2014.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So here goes with the kids wish lists.
Go to see BFG in the cinema
Complete the Big Reading Challenge at the local library
Learn to ride my bike
Go to Chessington
Day out with Mum!
Lexia, 10 yo
Go to see her cousins in Wales
Visit Chessington World of Adventures
Go to the Beach
Go swimming at Oasis, Swindon
Have a day out with just me and Mummy
Make a Noah’s Ark
Have a day out to Chessington
Go to the Aquarium
Try out Warwick Castle
Go to my friend’s house
Go shopping with Mummy
Take a trip to London
Go to Swindon Designer Outlet
Change our room around and get new bed
Chill out alot
Go to the park
Go to Cbeebies Land
See Finding Dory
See Peppa Pig’s house
Mummy, do I need to tell you, ok! 33yo
Stay in my PJs for the whole day
Laugh until I cry
Paint the hallway
Go to see the AbFab Movie
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.