Selling sites and cheeky mares


I’m a big fan of getting a bargain and I also like making money from selling unwanted items on (always good to get something back, although I’ll tend to lend things on if I know people are following behind in the baby stakes with a boy).

Nowadays there’s so many places to choose from.  I still tend to use ebay as you can list up to 99p for free anyway, but that’s a risk if you want to actually make a bit of money as you’ll not get back much once fees for paypal and ebay are paid.  But I always try and wait until the free listing weekends of which there seem to be a few as it means at least I can start listings at a reasonable price.  I guess it’s pretty successful on the whole if you list quite a few items at a time, although it does wind me up to see lots of watchers, and then no-one bids (or they wait til right at the end).  People recently have made a cock up doing that though; I’ve had 2 people forgetting to put their bid in and then missing the notifications on phones and the like so begging to buy the items if they’ve not already gone.  I prefer to bid early to set my stake in the ground – then I know I’ll not forget about it, plus there’s obviously the excitement in watching the bids and hating anyone else who bids and pushes it up (when there’s about 40 of the same item for sale, b*****r off and bid on a different item, leave this one for me!)

I’ve tried Gumtree…kind of.  In theory being local it should be good, but I find items sit on there for ages, people ask ridiculous prices, or items get sold/taken off sale and not removed.  I did ask someone for an item, offered £5 less as it had been on for ages, they accepted, but when I replied again to sort out collection time, they then turned round and said it was now off sale (although I saw it re-listed it again, then sold, at the full price I bet!).  I’ve not had much luck with selling either.  I think a lot of people don’t really know about Gumtree, and unless you’re central to your selling county (we’re stuck right out in the north), people seem to live at the other end so won’t travel.

Nowadays, Facebook seems to be leading the way – well it does if you want to give items away for peanuts! It astounds me how cheeky people are (and how sellers manage to hold their tongues).  Our local selling pages tend to be full of lots of people who live in the less salubrious area of our town, who seem to buy and sell on there all the time, and seem to expect people to deliver items to their door.  To me, it’s insane to expect that…they’re getting a bargain as it is, quite often items are immaculate, they then bargain down on the price….and then expect delivery!

The other night on one page I saw someone posting  a picture of a huge bundle of baby clothes – I’m not really sure why anyone would want 70+ items of size 0-3 baby items (unless they have twins maybe), but she was asking £40.  Seems reasonable to me, even if they were all supermarket items.  She hadn’t asked for offers, but to me, £5 off would have been fair to offer…nope, someone pipes up “will you do it for £15″.  I think I spluttered out loud.  I mean, that’s riduculous.  I know people struggle, but there’s also people selling for a reason who potentially need to make back some money to then buy the next stage up etc.  I think she managed to bargain her down to £25, but I still think that was mad to accept.

I’ve had people offer me  (for a craft system item which had an rrp of £60, bought for around £40 and only used once, plus I was throwing in a couple of freebies in with it) £15 less than I was asking.  I dropped the price a fiver, and that was it, no more negotiation, she didn’t want it.  I’m mean, I say £35 or very near offer….to me that means I’ll go a fiver less (in fact to clear out the space I’d probably have accepted a bit less again if they’d pushed), but people need their heads reading on what a near offer is.

Maybe I’m just too nice and not ruthless enough.  I think fair price, offer near in the hope someone’ll drop the price, but if I really want the item I’ll pay for it.

(Other cheekiness is rife on these selling sites as well….my online mum friends and I do quite often have a chuckle over some ‘wanted’ posts that appear on all our different local pages…many of them involve people asking for free pushchairs…”must be blue Quinny, 4 wheels, with carry cot and delivered”)

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Ok so two lavatories posts on the trot but couldn’t not write about this.

I always make a point of telling N where I’m going or what I’m doing a) to help with language and b) because generally it means he’s quite happy if I go somewhere else in the house.  But he shoes love going into the bathroom with me.

He sits or plays in the bathroom in the morning while I have my shower, and he’s just started leading the way when I announce that I’m going for a pee. very amusing although I do think OH needs to start letting N go into the bathroom with him sometimes otherwise he’s never going to understand about men standing up. OH was put off a while back when N wanted to put his hand in the way! I’m sure he’s better at taking orders now.

So when N”s in the bathroom with me he’ll stand there, he might they and grab the toilet brush or try and put the lid down when I’m sat down. But for the first time today, he pointed to the loo roll, then grabbed it from me and bent down to wipe himself! Highly amusing…I suppose he does sometimes get given a wipe after I’ve cleaned his bottom before the nappy goes on and he’ll make an attempt to wipe, so tks him it’s probably the same thing (buffalo with clothes on).

He’ll then pull up his step and want to wash his hands in tge basin…very hygienic my son although his ability to dry his hands leaves a lot to be desired. Wonder how long his love of washing will last!?

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Poo and working from home

Apologies now for the tmi…we’ve had an awful lot of poo the week from N. As it’s predominantly the stink and colour that’s so vile I’m now tending towards the ‘teething’ poo theory rather than him actually being ill.  As he’s been normal apart from not really eating anything except potato for a couple of meals.

Of course it’s the dilemma for any working parent…do you take them to nursery and hope they don’t ring you to pick him up to to ‘loose stools’ or do you keep him off and pray that you can get some work done from home. In our situation like so many others, it’s always the mum who has to take the time off…there’s not even a discussion in ours as any suggestion would bring meet with incredulity because of course one job’s more important than the other (OH being self employed doesn’t really give any choice in the matter).

Luckily I am able to work from home in desperate times although that’s easier said and done when you’ve exhausted every game or activity that a 20 month old can or is willing to do on his own.  Then his boredom sets in and you get whining, crying and clinging. Of course him not really being ill  means he’ll only sleep his normal nap time rather than mammoth hours and this week the weather has meant that it’s impossible for him to be out with dad on the farm…which is what he wants to do, play outside.

The one benefit of working from home is getting to set up and start work an hour earlier than normal which kind of offsets the having to make lunch and tea which wouldn’t normally be on the agenda know a nursery day.

Still he’s gone back today…much better in the nappy department although not strictly back to normal consistency so here’s hoping there’s no phone calls from them otherwise it’ll be a trek back from a London conference.

……. ..  
Hmmm, well went back and got sent home again at 4.50!  Annoying as another day at home on Thursday even though there’s been no more diarrhoea since Monday in my view. And he’s been perfectly fine today. It’s horrible to think how much money is wasted through childcare that doesn’t happen due to illness (or effectively quarantine).

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Review: Tommee Tippee Xplora roll up bib

We’ve been a fan of roll-up silicone bibs for a while now.  They’re much better than fabric ones, and as they’ve still got the pelican bib it means all the dropped bits get caught.  We have an old TT one and a Boots own brand one, but have to admit that to date I’d preferred the Boots one.  It was a bit more structured which meant it wasn’t as good to roll up, but the bib bit on the old TT one stayed quite flat so didn’t really catch the food.

But, we’ve been sent a new improved Tommee Tippee Xplora bib to try out.

It’s made from the same soft silicone, it’s in a fabulous jade green colour (more green than the blue it looks in the photos), but I’ve noticed two improvements which make it much better than the old ones.

  1. It’s got a proper ‘bib’ part which seems wider – so a better opening and stays open to catch  any bits.
  2. There aren’t as many holes, but the fastenings for the holes seem better – instead of the one size hole, there’s a bigger one which you slot the bit in and then pull across to the smaller part to hold it in.  Seems more secure.

We also like the fact you don’t have to just roll it, you can now roll and kind of slot the roll into the bib bit.  Nice and tidy!

Obviously N’s happy any way, as long as he gets his food!


We received a Tommee Tippee bib to try out, but weren’t asked to write a review/feature; it was my decision to write the review

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Hints & tips for friends

I love sharing my opinions and thoughts with friends if they ask for it (and sometimes if they don’t!), and having a baby’s a great opportunity to glean information from others, especially if it’s your first.

I’ve been pulling together a collection of hints & tips on having a first baby, things that I’ve learnt – by trial and error or advice from friends which has been brilliant.  I’ll be sharing them all at some point but am still looking out for more hints and tips…not just about newborns, but as they turn from babies to toddlers.  My main idea is that you must pick and choose what advice works for you and your family, and stand your ground as you’ll have an inkling whether something’s right or wrong.

What’s your best piece of advice you would give someone?

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Nappy game

I have just seen the funniest thing…not really good when you’re trying to have quiet downtime before bed.

N’s now at the ‘do what you get told to do’ stage in terms of putting things away and trying to do real life tasks.  We’d got his pj top on, but he was wandering round avoiding me just in his nappy with me patiently (mmm, maybe not!) waiting for him to come over and lie down on the mat so I could put on his new nappy.

Of course, doing the whole ‘try to communicate normally’ with the toddler and telling him what we needed to do, I suggested he take his nappy off so we could put on the new.  Either he’s a bit dim and hasn’t worked out that he could remove it, or he’s just lazy and can’t be bothered;  he just grabbed the wet bulging front a few times (one hand only as the other thumb was still in his mouth at this stage), then picked up the new nappy, opened it up and shoved it between his legs.

Imagine the party game where you have balloons between your legs and have to move the balloon passing it along between knees, walking between the people…well, that’s what it was like.  He was clasping the new nappy between his legs, still with the old full nappy on and trying to wander about.  I was in hysterics!  I’m not sure he knew what was so funny.

Luckily he was totally un-phased by my laughter and then just lay down and let me swap them over as usual.  I just wish I’d had my camera or phone upstairs to take a snap.

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Trendy Toddler Tuesday: the new dawn

Maria’s passed over the baton for TTT to Medicated Follower, so this week sees a new beginning.  I’ll be watching out for the new badge to display over the next couple of weeks.

Today saw N wearing his lush new pyjamas.  I love him in the skinny ones at the moment, although with nappy, they’re a bit padded bottomed!  These ones I bought from Zulily (can’t remember the actual brand) on special flash sale…mainly because when I was pregnant, my best friend and I used to joke about bad celebrity baby names so called my baby ‘banana’.

Then it was normal everyday clothes – what a surprise, featuring blue!  All bargains – Next navy casual trousers, Debenhams stripy jumper (we had one in a different colourway in a  smaller size), and Funky Giraffe dribble bib.

Do join in and find out what other trendy toddlers are wearing this week over at the link up.

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Blenheim Palace visit

Trying to make the most of the good (ahem, cough) weather (mmm, think the forecast was a bit optimistic!), I’d decided we’d make a trip out to Blenheim Palace.  I’d won a family ticket and therefore annual pass upgrade from our local paper so wanted to get that all set up as well.  As needless to say, the OH was working, we invited Grandma to come along as well.

Of course I wanted to make things hard by not wanting to specific the 2nd adult on my annual pass.  As I see it you turn up and ask for a family ticket on the day – this doesn’t necessarily have to include family members as it’s just 2 adults, 2 kids or 1 adult, 3 kids.  But if you upgrade to an annual pass, you have to specify as each person gets an individual photo card pass.  Hmmm, but I’ll never know who I’m going with as it’s unlikely the OH will ever come with me, and if we’re going for a bit of a kids run around then chances are, it’ll be with other friends/family, not always with my mum.  No way of getting round this – I’d presumed that they’d just have the family name/lead person with a card, but as everyone has one there’s no taking along a different adult family member so it would mean whoever had gone along would have to pay the full price.  In the end I had to just put my mum down – at least the 2 of us would be able to go in for the year whenever we want, and N’s free anyway as he’s under 5 (generous for free compared to a lot of other places which are only free for under 3s).  I guess the upgrades to annual passes are free, so I can’t really complain too much.

After the faff of sorting that out, we’d missed the mini train round to the Pleasure Gardens and the children’s area, so we walked.  Turned out to be further than we thought, but was a nice walk.  We’d gone as soon as the place had opened so it’s wasn’t too busy either.

Quick whizz through the butterfly house (none of us were too keen on them fluttering around us), we then found the playground areas.  They’ve lots of grass areas perfect for picnics and playing, normal climbing frame/slide bits, plus large chess and draughts sets, and a few puzzle maze games for children.  Great for older kids (and adults).   We wandered into the Marlborough yew maze (against rules, taking the pushchair in), but decided to not bother doing it fully and instead headed for the adventure playground.

The area looks small to begin with as it’s long and narrow with not many places around the edges for parents to sit and hang around.  But there’s an under 12’s wooden playframe and a second smaller version within a sandpit for under 7s.  I avoided the sand so N was quite happy to climb up with me on the larger version and walk backwards and forwards along it.  He did the wobbly bridge bit (felt a little scary for an adults weight), but the slide was a little high – too high for us to reach and hold his hand.  Lots of practising counting with him while he was climbing up the step parts.  He loved it.  Luckily there were only about 3 families there so plenty of room for him to be slow at it while the older children whizzed past.

Afterwards, a run to catch the mini train back to the palace and a bite to eat (the rest’s pretty hot and good quality, but some work needed on the cakes – both of the ones we chose were a tad heavy & dry, plus more choice needed as it was fairly restricted in the ‘cafe’.  We didn’t check out the smarter restaurant, although there was hot food on offer there.

N couldn’t make up him mind on the way back to the car, whether he was walking, being carried (he’s too heavy to carry for long) or in the buggy, so decided he’d just do his own thing and take his time on the grass areas on the way back to the car.  He was tired, but hyper at the same time…you wouldn’t believe he was used to playing on big areas of grass at home, the way he was enjoying lying, running and falling there.  We just stood and watched him mucking around, while a random lady wandered over and started jabbering about how it was wonderful to see him enjoying the grass; telling me how she’d once done an exhibition based on grass.  Err, ok.  Why do random eccentric people start conversations with me?  We were then stuck with her for a while until I managed to make a move and go and grab N.

It was a lovely morning, and hopefully next year once the weather gets warmer again we’ll go again for an afternoon picnic and play session.

Playing and exploring Blenheim Palace – Pleasure Gardens

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Foody cupboard staples

I’m finding food on my mind quite a lot…not that that’s any different to normal (even on holiday I’ll be eating one meal but working out in my mind where we can potentially eat for tea and at what time).  I think with babies and young children you need to be really organised when it comes to meal times and food in general.

N’s always been a hungry child, from going from happy to screaming for milk as a newborn (the whole having to wait for freshly made formula to cool wasn’t an option for us), wanting milk every 2 hours.  Even during weaning where he was eating well from 5 ½ months, it took until about 9 or 10 months before he started dropping milk feeds.  So aided by nursery getting him into the habit of having a morning and afternoon snack I have to ensure I have a ready stash of suitable food available to hand.

Fruit is always a handy snack and raisins, grapes and bananas are stars with N.  He’s not a fan of rice cakes, but I’ll generally have a few toddler snacks in his cupboard in case we go out – handy as they’re usually snack packed up for portability.  I usually stick with Plum and Ella’s kitchen although we’ve been getting a few of the Kiddilicious snack packs (fruit crisps and smoothie pieces) with Tesco clubcard vouchers recently.  Anything that doesn’t get too crushed in my handbag is always good.  To go with berries I’ll often buy mini pancakes from bakery sections in the supermarket.  They do basics ranges so can be really cheap, and one of those for a snack with some berries goes down well.  They last for ages in the fridge as well so pretty perfect on the avoiding waste front.

For meals I know there’s certain foods I can always resort to and that I always have in the fridge or larder:

  • Philidelphia, cream cheese etc – I love the phili cook book so if I’ve got it in the fridge we can always have a chicken, salmon or pasta dish ready quickly that all of us will eat.  Plus N has lots of it in sandwiches
  • Pesto – whack it in with the cream cheese on salmon, chicken, pasta, to make a salmon en croute with ready made puff pastry.  Really simple buy tasty.  Again, lasts for ages in the fridge.
  • Ready made pastry – see above.  Also great for jam tarts, open apple tart, using up a ham or meat casserole for a pie topping, great for other desserts.
  • Frozen fruit mixes – I always have several packs in the freezer.  I did think I’d use them for smoothies or the like, but actually they’re my go to when I need to do a quick pudding…crumble here we come (or pie, compote, ice cream topping).
  • Chilled tomato pasta sauce.  If it’s a variety without cream, it seems to last forever (well, not quite, but a long enough time, even after opening).  I use it for pasta (dur!!), homemade pizza topping, addition to tinned tomato based meals, salmon en croute for a topping inside the pastry…the list is never ending.

And the best is obviously making more than you’re going to eat and having leftovers to freeze.  Always handy.

Are there staples you turn to when you’re in a hurry or need something reliable?  And we’re always looking out for snack ideas.

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Noisy sleeper

Good god, N’s a noisy sleeper.

On our recent road trip he was in a different room for the first two nights, but on the last two he was in a big family room with me.  We stayed at my friend’s parents B&B so it was great there was a room with lots of space to put up the travel cot and have room for him to whizz round on his wooden trike (a saviour toy to take with us – little toys he tends to get bored of quickly, but a ride on toy keeps his attention longer).

I’ve not slept in the same room as him since he went into his own room at around 6 weeks old, then we turned off the monitor at night after he’d been sleeping through for a long, so I’ve never heard him snoring, heavily breathing, shuffling, grunting.  He didn’t seem too worried about my snoring and talking (as I’ve been told I do), but crikey, I don’t want to be sharing a room with him again in a hurry.

What did make me laugh was the way I’d do our usual bedtime routine with milk, play, teeth, story, close the curtains and put him in his travel cot, but obviously then he could see me still in the room.  He’d put his head down, pretend to sleep for 5 minutes then keep popping his head up to see if I was still there.  Very funny although annoying when I was sat in the dark at 7pm with lights out and tv off waiting for him to sleep before I could turn them on again and have a bit of an evening before going to sleep myself!

We were lucky though, that he slept just as well as he does as home and that we could keep pretty much to our normal routine.  Always helpful when away, especially when adjusting back home again.

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