Money Saving Family

5 Family Money Saving Tips

Here at Little Pickles HQ we love to bag a bargain. Why else do you think we created a business to save families money through the year. We don’t only love saving money on kitting our Little Pickles. But we also love to find deals and look for ways to save money raising our families on a daily basis. So we thought we would share 5 family money saving tips with you all.

  1. Budget – Make a budget and keep to it. If you have a budget when you go out shopping you are much more likely to keep within this. Even more so if you withdraw cash to pay as when the money has gone it’s gone. It is so easy to hand over your card and lose track of your spending.
  2. Meal Plan – Many people was so much food, therefore money too, as food goes out of date. So at the beginning of each week plan the week’s meals out. It can be useful to use a white/chalkboard in the kitchen to do this. Adding use by dates for meat and veg is helpful too, in case something comes up and you have to rejig meals. Also, meal planning is great to keep you organised and not panicking at 5pm trying to think what to cook.
  3. Free Family Days Out – We all love a family day out but some of these can break the bank. However, there are so many free days out all around us. Museums, Parks and Seaside, Scavenger Hunt.
  4. Childcare Vouchers – Childcare vouchers can save many parents with kids aged up to 15 over £1,000 per year on childcare. However you can only claim them via employers, you will need to check if your employer takes part. Check gov.uk for full details.
  5. Claim cashback – if you are an online shopper, then it is no brainer to claim cashback on your spending. From car insurance to nappies. A new pair of trainers to run around after your Little Pickle to a new TV. A holiday to upgrading your smartphone. There are plenty of sites around but Quidco and Top Cashback are two popular ones.

I hope you find these 5 tips useful, if you have one that saves you a packet and you want to share please feel free to comment below.

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Baby Shower

Planning the Perfect Baby Shower

So the baby is cooking nicely, all the big ‘things’ have been ordered, nursery decorated and now thoughts can turn to the baby shower. Perhaps you are organising your own baby shower or perhaps you’ve been tasked with the job for the newest mum-to-be on the block?

Baby Shower

Here at Little Pickles, we’ve put together this short guide to help with planning the perfect baby shower!

First, consider the guest list – is this a girls only event or is dad-to-be included too? Are children invited? If family are on the list, it’s best to clear dates with them first to ensure they can make it – nothing worse than leaving family members out in the cold.

Once you have the guestlist it’s time to decide on the venue – the current trend seems to be hosting at a tearoom and having an afternoon tea style affair – though this does pose the question, does the host pay for all in the party or will guests need to pay for themselves?

Alternatively, if the host has a big enough area in their house that can be a great option – or even a local village hall or community centre.

Will there be a theme for the baby shower?

If the gender is known, go with the obvious – plan the theme around pink or blue, elephants and bunnies are nice, soft animal theme choices too – or if you’re not sure on the sex, then keep it neutral with whites, golds and pastels. You can never go too wrong with greys and yellows in my experience!

For the additional little touches, if you’re a creative type then homemade bunting and pompoms are a lovely touch to warm up the room. Etsy and Not On The High Street are fab for both generic and personalised items. Or if budget is a little stricter, Poundland and Home Bargains have an array of cheap and cheerful bits suited to a shower.
What food is baby shower appropriate?

If you’re not at a catered-for venue, like a café or tearoom, then the best food for a large number of people is a finger food/buffet style. Delicate cut sandwiches, pinwheel wraps, little sausages, pork pies, quiches, carrots, cucumber, peppers and dips and a few bowls of crisps. Be sure to make it all pregnancy friendly.

And don’t forget cake! Throw in cake pops for a splash of gender-related colour, if known.

Cake Pops

Another nice touch is to treat guests to mocktails in mason jars with paper straws!
What games are well received at a baby shower?

  • Baby bingo – who will be the first to get a nappy pin or baby bottle line?!
  • Guess the nappy contents – melted snickers bars or generous smears of marmite make fabulous meconium style nappy contents!
  • Guess the baby drink – gather together a number of babies bottles and fill them with various drinks and just like the nappy game, albeit a bit more pleasant, ask your guests to guess the contents.
  • Stick the dummy on the baby’s mouth – a bit of a twist on the classic children’s party game of pin the tail on the donkey.
  • Guess the date of birth and weight of baby – and if unknown, guess the gender!
  • ‘Advice for the parents’ cards – this is always a nice keepsake for parents to look back over in years to come
  • Decorate a babygro – arm yourself with a pile of white babygros and fabric markers and set your guests to work on designing

    Baby Shower DrinksFor the games, be sure to get some little prizes together to award the ‘winner’, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy but is a nice touch…if budgets allow.

But most of, remember, that the nicest part of a baby shower is to ensure that the mummy-to-be is able to chat and catch up with all of their loved ones; this will be the last time in a while that they’ll be sitting still, drinking hot tea without a baby puking on their shoulder or a toddler clinging to their legs!

Written by Jess from Prosecco Mum you can find her 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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Tanya

Introducing our Organiser – Tanya

Introducing our Organiser Tanya

Little Pickles Market Organiser

Where do you run Markets?

Eastleigh, Romsey, Chandlers Ford, Totton, Applemore and Brockenhurst

What is the item you can’t live without other than your family?

My Phone! I know sad right but it keeps me up to date with work, the world and the kids happy when needed!

How many children do you have?

2, a 12 year old son and a 5 year old daughter. I can not believe that I will soon have a teenager in the house!

If you woke up tomorrow as an animal, what animal would you choose to be and why?  

I would like to be an Orca, free in the ocean surrounded by so many animals but big enough that I am not going to get eaten in the first week!

Where is your favourite place to be and why?

 I love  South Wales, would move there tomorrow if I could but kids not so keen on leaving friends and family.

What is your favourite children’s book? I was a massive Enid Blyton fan and loved her Naughtiest Girl in the School series.  I can not wait for my daughter to enjoy reading and buy them all so I have a sneaky read too. Now I enjoy getting into a Patricia Cornwall book.

Cinema or fancy restaurant?

Cinema is a luxury for me definitely and something that I should do more often. My daughter is not a fan, so makes it harder to go.

Which one spring, summer, autumn, or winter, let us know why?

Tough call there is something about every season that I love, the flowers in spring, the warmth in summer (well maybe not always in the UK!), the leaves changed colour in autumn and the kids faces waiting for a white Christmas in Winter.

Name one thing you always carry in your handbag?

Epi Pen, something that has to be with me at all times due to allergies I have gained following my last pregnancy.  

One bit of information you wish you’d known before becoming a parent?

That the feeling of being a mum is the best in the world, I would have done it sooner! Having kids changes your whole world and sometimes you do not know how you will get through the next hour or even day, then you realise how lucky and privileged you are to be given a child or my case 2.

Best bargain you have found at a Little Pickles Market?

At Little Pickles it would have to be Monsoon dresses for £1 each which were so beautiful and at Bigger Pickles just recently it was a box of Barbies and clothes for £3 which my daughter has already played with every day for the last 3 weeks.

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Little Pickle’s First Christmas Present Ideas

First Christmas Present Ideas

Having children at Christmas brings with it a whole new magical dimension; there’s nothing more special than your baby’s first brush with the festive season and all the glitter and lametta that it brings!

Baby's 1st Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year so for babies first Christmas do you go for practical gifts to be played with or personalised keepsakes to be looked at from a distance? Do you put money into a savings account for when they’re older or do you go all out and fill the tree with gift upon gift?

Below is a range of gift ideas for babies aged 0-12 months – with a budget to suit all;

  • My 1st Years do a wide range of lovely personalised items; one of our favourites is this pull along caterpillar which can have up to six letters printed on it to give it that extra special touch.
  • Photoshoot – around Christmas, many photographers offer ‘mini’ sessions so you can have professional photos done of your little one – you could then make them into Christmas cards or printed and framed as gifts.
  • Toybox – you’re bound to get an abundance of toys so why not treat your little one to a toybox to keep them all in?
  • Sophie the giraffe – are you even a parent if you haven’t succumbed and purchased this glorified dog chew toy?! You can get Sophie on her own boxed or in various gift sets with smaller teethers, rattles and a book. If baby is still gummy, it will be a saviour when those pearly whites start making their appearance. Sophie Giraffe
  • Personalised teddy bear – What baby doesn’t love a teddy bear to snuggle up with? If you’re looking for a bit more of a keepsake gift as opposed to an everyday teddy, the Steiff range includes soft bears as well as classic and limited edition bears…which come delivered in a beautiful box too.
  • Books – It’s never too early to get your children into books! Usborne do a great range of ‘Baby’s Very First’ and ‘That’s not my…’ which have touchy feely bits on them. Or you can never go wrong with timeless classics like The Hungry Caterpillar or Guess how much I love you. That's Not My Books

 

  • Musical instrument set –there is no better sound than a baby laughing at the shaking of a maraca or tambourine or the joy of watching them bash a stick to a little round drum. Note: maybe buy yourself some ear defenders!
  • Sensory toys – most toys get put into little one’s mouths or just held in in their little fists so ensure the toy you pick has got a bit of texture to it. Whether it be a light up cube, a crinkly cuddly, a bobble ball or a baby-safe mirror, you won’t go far wrong.
    Sensory Toy
  • Stacking cups – a pretty inexpensive toy, but one that is loved by all children. Babies enjoy banging them together to make noise or knocking them down, once they’ve been stacked up for them. Later on they can be used to hide toys under and play ‘peek-a-boo’ with!

Stacking Cups

  • Hand /feet prints – there are many craft centres who offer hand and feet paintings on to pottery. Why not get a trinket box, coaster or butter dish printed with babies hand print?

 

  • When celebrating such a monumental event as a first Christmas, it is perfectly acceptable to go completely OTT, so buy up those ‘Baby’s first Christmas’ vests, babygros and bib sets…heck buy the full Santa/Elf costume too!

Though babies first Christmas is a milestone event to us as parents to them they will be more interested in the boxes and wrapping paper than the gift that is inside! We’re holding a number of markets in December, why not pop down and see if you can pick up some new/nearly new bargains at a fraction of their retail price?

Written by Jess from Prosecco Mum you can find her 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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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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