Your Little Pickle’s First Day at School

It is a huge step as parents to wave your Little Pickle off to Big School, I have done it 3 times now and I can assure you it doesn’t get any easier. I have shared a few pointers with you.

  • Free School dinners, from September 2014 all key stage one children will be entitled to free school dinners, yippee that’s one less lunchbox to pack.

  • Tears are ok, when all three of my big pickles have started school, I became emotional in the run up, buying their first school shoe shoes, seeing them in their full uniform for the first time. Then watching them toddle off into their new classroom, even though you know they will have a ball.

  • Name everything, everything from, polo shirts to pants, yes one of my children managed to lose her pants while changing for PE!

  • Don’t expect to find out what they have been doing, I am sure all children sign the secrecy act on their first day at school.

  • Uniform, 5 polos/shirts (make sure you keep one for best, well school photo day anyway), 2 to 3 jumpers depending how messy your pickle is, 2 skirts or trousers, socks and tights for the girls when the weather starts to get cold. Having extra means no mad panic to wash and dry uniform mid week if they get a bit mucky. PE kit, shorts, school PE top, daps, jumper and tracksuit bottoms in school colours. Some schools require you to buy from them but most schools are happy for you to just buy the jumpers with school logo on from them and the rest from supermarkets.

  • Shoes, buy good quality shoes as they sure take a battering through the school day and don’t be surprised when they get scuffed because I’m sure they will on their first day.

  • A calendar, whether it is on the wall, in a diary or on your smart phone. You will need to take note of all the events going on at school especially in the run up to Christmas as there is usually lots going on. I have learnt the hard way and missed an assembly before and felt like the world’s worst parent for it!

  • The school run, walking check how long it takes and allow a bit extra for stopping to say Hello to the neighbours cat, collect sticks, walk along that 1 ft wall or anything else that appeals to a curious 4 year old. If you are driving leave yourself ample time to park about half a mile away, as every school I have ever come across never has enough parking.

  • Then there is the big day, it always seems so surreal, plus if it’s your first pickle starting the thought of doing the school run for at least the next 12 years, is pretty daunting. I have 9 years under my belt with 15 to go, eek I so wish I hadn’t bother to calculate that, I wonder how many lost shoes and forgotten lunchboxes we will have in those years.

  • School is pretty tiring for your Little Pickles, so remember they may not have much energy for lots after school, so maybe not the best term to start those swimming, ballet or karate lessons you have been meaning to sign them up for.

  • And Mums and Dads make sure you always have a waterproof or umbrella on hand, as if rain is forecast the Heavens will always open between 8.15 and 9.15 or 2.45 and 3.45 guaranteed.

But most of all remember to enjoy watching the progress and knowledge they will get from starting school, as much as we would all love to keep them our babies forever, we need to let them go and learn to flourish.

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


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Summer Days Out Essentials

So the summer holidays are here and what a mix of weather we have had so far, let’s hope that the sun comes back to stay soon.

I like many other parents are looking forward to family days out with the Little Pickles,

So here are my essentials for summer days out with your family

  • Drinks, especially in the hot weather make sure you have bottles of water, cartons of juice. My top tip is to make up a couple of big bottles of squash and take along so plastic cups or beakers for the smaller kids. This means the pickles can drink as much as they want and you save money too.

  • Picnic, eating out soon mounts up and can make a day out pretty pricey

  • Waterproofs well it is England so the weather is just a bit unpredictable so getting wet can’t spoil your day if you are prepared. Plus raincover and snoozeshade for the buggy.

  • Baby Wipes, whether you have a Little Pickle in nappies or not baby wipes are great to clean mucky faces, hands or those spillages.

  • Carrier Bags, remember to take your rubbish home with you, so after lunch collect all your rubbish up. Plus handy to have in the car just incase someone is travel sick.

  • Plasters and Savlon, just incase of a little cut or graze, magic cream and a Princess/Fireman Sam plaster always makes it better.

  • Colouring and Reading Books to keep the Pickles entertained in the car

  • Ball, frisbee, kite, bucket and spade to name a few, these can give the Little Pickles hours of fun and great to keep in the back of the car

  • Suncream and hats, as I said before the British weather is unpredictable so one minute it may be dull the next scorching

I hope this helps, if I have forgotten anything please let me know

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


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My 15 Niggles of Being Mum!

As the Mum to a larger than average family there are just a few things that bug me, yes even though I enjoy having a big family everyone has a bug bare or two!

  1. No one else in the house is capable of changing the toilet roll, pretty simple but I’m sure they think the bathroom might explode if they do this.

  2. I have 4 daughters so why oh why can I never find a hair tie to tie my own hair up.

  3. It’s official the washing machine eats socks or am I the only Mum is the country with a mountain of odd socks looking for their other half.

  4. Washing, well what can I say, it’s never bloody ending (excuse my french), yes I get totally frustrated by this one!

  5. Why do I have to become a complete mad woman trying to get the kids out of the house in the morning, is it too much to expect them to remember what we do every morning.

  6. One trolley at the supermarket is not big enough and no matter how much I buy I always need to dash to the convenience shop to buy bread and milk some point during the 4 days between a big shops.

  7. Yes everyone they are all mine, all 5 of them and no I’m not mad, well not yet anyway!

  8. My car (or shall I say bus) has half of the Little Pickles toy boxes and wardrobes in it, plus the lost shoe you have been looking for manically in the morning rush.

  9. I always need to book a table when we eat out as they only have tables of 4 available not 7, then when ordering I need to take note of the everyones choices as I’m bound to forget something.

  10. My battery on my phone is permanently dead as the pickles play the Cbeebies or watch YouTube everytime I put it down.

  11. I often share my bed with a wriggly/sweaty child, meaning no sleep for me.

  12. There is always one child that will refuse to eat tea, even if it was their favourite last week

  13. I play referee a lot.

  14. I get in a muddle with names when I’m telling them off, so they no longer take me seriously.

  15. I am yet to find nobody, somebody and not-me, who all apparently live in our house.

Oh this is all sounding a bit negative, I love them really, so I’m going to finish on the biggest positive to being Mum to 5, there is always someone to give me a hug

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


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Our Chessington Adventure

On Friday we were invited to the launch of the brand spanking new Azteca Hotel at Chessington World of Adventures Resort.

And oh my is it fantastic, after checking in we were greeted by a friendly giraffe in reception and we knew we were set for a pretty wild adventure over the next two days. In reception there is also a couple of iguanas and tortoises.

The new Azteca Hotel is adjoining the already popular Safari Hotel that has been open for some years, they are joined by a glass walkway on level 2, from which you can see the animals in the Zufari park.


The Room

We headed to our room for the night and were suitably impressed, the hotel is themed as an Aztec Temple with the rooms carrying on the theme with Monkeys, Tropical Birds, Butterflies and more all over the show.

The rooms can happily accommodate a family of upto 5, with a super comfy double bed, bunk beds and a trundle bed. All rooms have a well planned separate sleeping area for your Little Pickles, this area includes a TV plus a secret vault, we finally managed to crack the code and the Pickles lived their rewards.

The parents sleeping area has a second TV, dressing table/desk, chair, a storage trunk (remember to check this before you leave, as we nearly left a beloved teddy in there) plus lots of plugs to charge the families numerous phones, tablets and other gadgets.

The bathroom was pretty wild too with a lovely shower, yes I lost myself in there for a bit of peace while the pickles were arguing over which film to watch on the TV. The shower is lovely and powerful.

Plus there is all the essentials for usually found in hotel rooms including a kettle, cups, tea and coffee making supplies plus an iron and ironing board, no fear I didn’t change a habit of a life time and use this.

The Hotel Facilities

The Azteca Hotel has the Temple Restaurant and Bar. The restaurant overlooking the animals in the Zufari Park serves a huge selection of food from a healthy salad bar, to a kids range of food, to lots of hot, meat and vegetarian dishes cooked in the open kitchen. Then most importantly the yummiest selection of desserts, and yes I did sample one or two, so the diet went out the window yet again oops!

We were welcomed in the bar with some tasty cocktails (I only had one or two, ok ok I admit it 3) plus the kids had non alcoholic alternatives.

There is an outdoor bar area which played hits to our evenings entertainment, including stilt walkers, tribal dancing, meeting some of the animals including a snake, skunk and Parrot, a very magical illusionist and then a pretty impressive fire show to finish the evenings entertainment.

The hotels share two pools, one very child friendly one that carrys on the tropical theme. Hotel guest’s children have also have access to activities and entertainment in the Rangers Club.

Plus Azteca Hotel guests have access to the Safari Restaurant and Bar too.


The Added Extras

Being a guest in either of the hotels allows you early access the the park and some rides from 9am and hour before the gates open to the general public.

Character Breakfast on our stay Alex from Madagascar joined the guests for breakfast.

Evening Access to the Amazu Play Area plus Wanyama Village & Reserve, which allows your Little Pickles to run/climb off some energy before bed.

So what was our verdict, well can’t you guess we loved it and would highly recommend a weekend at Chessington for all the family.

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


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Chickenpox Survival Guide

4 of the Little Pickles have had chickenpox in the last three weeks, it has been pretty hard work!!!

Lexia, 8 got them in the last week of the summer term at school, but she had a pretty mild case with not temperature and no too many spots. Then to the hour 2 weeks later Faryl, 3 and  Aliza, 15 months started to get spotty followed by Jolie, 5 the following day, the 3 little ones have had it much worse with high temperatures, lack of appetite, grumpiness and of course zillions of spots.

I thought I would share my Chickenpox must haves, to help get you and your Pickles through with as little stress as possible

  1. Calpol, a staple of every family medicine cabinet. This will help reduce the fever that often comes hand in hand with.

  2. Piriton, this antihistamine will help to reduce the itching and irrational of the spots

  3. Calamine Lotion and lots of it to cover the pickles head to toe, not as easy as it sounds when the Little Pickle is totally covered as Faryl was and didn’t want anyone near him. I just did a few parts of his body at a time then some more an hour later and so on

  4. Baths with oats, I filled an old sock with oats and popped it in the bath.

  5. Cut fingernails, keep the pickles fingernails short so they can’t do too much damage if they do scratch.

  6. Don’t brush hair or if you do only use a soft baby brush, Aliza’s head was covered especially in her hairline.

  7. Cuddles, my Little Pickles were feeling well and truly grumpy so between Mummy, Daddy and Grandma we just took time out from everything to give them all the cuddles they needed.

  8. Paddling pool, when the weather was really scorching especially when Lexia had her spots, she just relaxed in the shade in the paddling pool to keep her from itching and nice and cool.

  9. Be lazy, just chill out with your Little Pickles

  10. Biscuits, ice lollies and lots of treats as I’m sure if it was you you would only want to eat what you fancied.

  11. Don’t make plans, you never know how long and how bad it will be with chickenpox. So just go with the flow until your Little Pickles are fully recovered because even though the spots may have gone, they may still be feeling a little fragile and not their usual selves for a week or so.

Other things suggested to me were Virasoothe – a cooling chickenpox relief gel, bicarbonate of soda in the bath, if you have any other suggestions please share with our followers below.

Please note these are are just things that helped my family to deal with chickenpox, please remember every child and each case of chickenpox will differ, if you have any concerns about your child’s health please consult your Doctor straightaway.

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


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