What to do this October Half-Term?

The nights are drawing in, the heating’s coming on it must mean that October half term is round the corner and it certainly is!

As my Little Shrimp is only 2 years old I don’t have the shock of having to coming up with a weeks’ worth of entertainment for him like you may do if your child is at school or even pre-school.  We do however go to lots of activities during the week and I always think it’s a shame that most classes go on stop during the school holidays, but I guess everyone deserves a holiday and we’ll appreciate the things we enjoy more if we take break!

So I’ve been busy trying to rustle up some ideas of what you can get up during Half Term, and with the help of mums from the Southampton NCT, Netmums and tips from my dear friends here’s how I got on.

To kick off your half term with a swing there is plenty going on this Saturday, 27th October.  Pop along to Southampton Central Library between 11am-3pm for some free Spooky Crafts and why not pick up some spooky books while you’re there to get you in the Halloween spirit.

The Play Shack, Hedge End will be hosting a Fangtastic Halloween Fancy Dress Disco from 6-8pm for all your late night little pickles.  There will be party bags for every child plus entertainment from Scotty the Clown and much more.

Now, looking into the half term week (I feel like I’m writing a weather forecast) my next suggestion is hugely exciting and I actually heard about this when listening to BBC Radio SolentThe Discovery Centre, Winchester is hosting the Wessex Children’s Book Festival and boy do they have so much planned!  Does your little pickle like Thomas the Tank Engine, The Gruffalo, are they a want to be palaeontologist and would love to learn about Dinosaurs, are they a fan of Jacqueline Wilson stories and would like to meet the Dame herself?  Well the festival will be right up their street with 4 or 5 different workshops running from Tuesday to Friday!

If you’re looking for something which is completely free then Helen from Baby Sensory will be running free taster session at Mothercare Southampton on Wednesday 31st. I took Little Shrimp to Baby Sensory for nearly a year and can’t recommend trying out her classes enough.  Spaces are limited so check out Helen’s Facebook page for more info!


And if you’re looking to get very Spooky on Halloween itself then the Tudor House and Gardens in Southampton could be the place for you.  Take their family friendly ghost tour, enjoy craft activities and have fun in the vampire photo booth.

If going out every day seems a bit over the top then don’t feel guilty about staying in an enjoying the simple things in life.   Maybe have movie afternoon and enjoy some homemade popcorn while you all snuggle up on the sofa, arrange some playdates or even pop along to a Little Pickles Market and pick up a few bargains for the kids to play with.

We love Netmums so for more information on what’s on in your area make sure you check out their website.  As with all our suggestions please do check in advance that the activities are still running.

If you’re running any Halloween activities yourself or know of any great ones coming up feel free to share them in the comments below!

By Selina Shrimpton – Little Pickles Markets Dorset Organiser
For more information about our Dorset Markets follow us on 
Facebook: Little Pickles Markets Dorset or tweet with us on Twitter: @LPMDorset

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How to make your stall a success!

We love a good success story and there’s nothing better than hearing your stall holder made a huge profit from one of our markets.  Frances and Steve have kindly shared their experience in a very inspiring and comical blog.  Thanks guys!

My husband and I decided to take the plunge and sell at Little Pickles Markets July this year.  We have 2 sons age 12 and 4 but with the amount of toys and clothes we seem to have cluttering up the house you’d think we had 10 children!  We had umm’d and ahh’d about whether we could be bothered with the hassle of having a stall but after having a great time at one of the West Totton markets we were convinced to go for it and booked a table.

Preparing for the market wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be, when Little Pickles emailed through the “Stall Holders Pack” it all became a lot less scary.  We just sat down one evening with a bottle of wine after the kids were in bed, I pulled out all the toys the kids don’t touch anymore, my husband  made sure they worked, gave it a wipe with a damp cloth and paper towel then I priced it.

Pricing was a bit tricky for the first few things, then I got the hang of it and there was no stopping me, I didn’t want to be too greedy but didn’t want to give the things away either.  I wrote the RRP on loads of the labels and then my price so buyers could see what a bargain they were getting.  I hate asking for the price when I go to a market, car boot sale or shop, it makes me feel uncomfortable or presume the price is going to be high so made sure everything thing was labelled.  Some bits such as books would have taken too long to price individually so we’d write a sign like “All books £1”


When it came round to market day we made sure our table looked as inviting as possible,  we stood books and figures up so that the kids could see them not just the parents, grouped toys together like our Bob the Builder vehicles and set toys like our Noddy train set up on the floor.  You can get quite a lot on a 6 foot table plus the space around so everything was neatly displayed, there was no need to rummage through boxes like a jumble sale.  Then we invested in a rather tasty cupcake from another stall, stood up, put our friendliest smile on and the buyers flooded over to us.

I would never have dreamt it could be so easy, buyers were just picking up items and handing over the cash. The Noddy train set was sold first so it was worth setting that up. Grouping toys together worked well because buyers were buying multiple toys not just 1.  If someone did pick up just 1 toy I’d offer them a small discount for the set and they took it.  Before we had chance to even look at the time our table was practically empty and we still had half an hour to go!

I would recommend Little Pickles Markets to anyone, the organisers work really hard to make sure everyone has a great time and get as many buyers to come as they possibly can.  I also recommend that you read the Stall Holders Pack because you will sell more, we followed it to the letter and made a massive £196, BRILLIANT for less than 2 hours selling!


My top tips for other stall holders which make all the difference would be-

  • Price everything!
  • Stand up and smile, I’m positive we sold more because we weren’t sitting down looking grumpy!
  • Use a table cloth, it makes a big difference to presentation!
  • Take a big cash float so you always have the perfect change!
  • Take lots of carrier bags, it helps out your buyer and makes more space in your cupboards!
  • Some soft toys and clothes look neater, better looked after, more attractive and cleaner if you package them and label them in sandwich bags.
  • Don’t let your table look like a jumble sale!
  • Buy a cupcake and have fun!

Written by Frances and Steve from Dorset

For more information about our Dorset Markets follow us on Facebook: Little Pickles Markets Dorset or tweet with us on Twitter: @LPMDorset

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Mumsclub award nominations for Little Pickles Markets …….

Here at Little Pickles HQ, we received very exciting news earlier on this week that 2 of us have been nominated in the Mumsclub Business Mums Awards 2012!

Jessamine Hislop-Newton, who’s the founder of Little Pickles Market, has been nominated in The Mums of Notable Recognition category, and Selina Shrimpton a Dorset Market Organiser and Mentor has been nominated in The Mumpreneur Champions category.

Jess started the Little Pickles Markets business 2 years ago, in fact we celebrated with a market extravaganza last month and saw over 400 buyers through the door.  Through Jess’s hard work the businesses has grown rapidly during this time with markets running across 14 counties in the UK and over 30 Organisers doing a fantastic job!  The Little Pickles website saw an astounding 11,000 visits during September so we are clearly doing something right!

Selina came on board a year ago as a Market Organiser and now mentors other Organisers, writes regular blogs and is there to be Jess’s support!

So as you can image we are smiling from ear to ear but to make it to the next stage we need your VOTES!  So, if you love our markets, whether you buy or sell, follow us on online, read our stories or are just impressed with the concept we would be over the moon to receive your votes.

You can vote by visiting the Mumsclub website but you’ll need to be quick as voting closes on SUNDAY 7th OCTOBER!

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