Persephone: Parent

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Operation: Declutter!

Oh, My God! I am such a hoarder. It’s unreal. I keep EVERYTHING!

I moved into my mum’s house over 18 months ago (weird house swap), and, well, I’d never truly left. My loft is full. Full of old magazines (that need to be recycled). Full of old computers that need to be chucked. Full of action figures that I think I might need to sell. And goodness knows what else. My back room (what would make a lovely adults only, evening, room, is filled with old baby toys/furniture and a huge box of preloved toys that I’ve bought and have yet to give to Elvis. There is a kitchen cupboard full of dishes that I don’t think we use. A shelf full of glassware that we don’t use (not to mention a box of unopened glassware from the house move!). Then there’s the two craft areas in the house (aka huge pile of crafty stuff that does sometimes get used but looks a mess).

Robin’s bedroom is my old bedroom and has a lovely feature over the double bed (a bed that cost a fortune but takes up all the space in a child’s bedroom) that is filled with mine and my husband’s belongings that we never moved out of the house 4 years ago!

I have two bookcases filled with DVDs that I am never going to watch. I have bookshelves filled with books that I want to read, have read and love, have read and hate. I have boxes in the loft of all my Star Trek, Buffy, Angel, Stargate, etc books that I, honestly, am never going to read. None of them are complete collections so aren’t worth anything.

So, I decided that along with purely wanting to make my house look tidier, nicer, and more fitting with my Operation Yummy Mummy, that things are going. It will be a slow job, but it will be done – please note that the loft may take YEARS because, let’s face it, it’s out of sight and not making my house look messy.

I’ve listed a load of toiletries that I got brand new for Christmas on Ebay. I delivered two huge bags of unused clothes of at our local British Heart Foundation (one bag was all mine, too!). We have started a huge box load of DVDs, games and consoles for Music Magpie and I am in the lengthy process of planning to sell on baby clothes, furniture and toys at a Little Pickles Market.

Phew, I’m doing well!

Meanwhile, doing some of my usual tidying and I finally found my address book. Behind the sofa. Now I can send out those Christmas cards!

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Review: Little Pickles … Again!

I am seriously addicted to these markets! I have no idea what I’m going to do between now and September as they take a summer break.

At today’s I spent under £20 and bought some essentials and some not so essentials. All of it clothing. Well, with the discovery mid-week that Elvis no longer fits into 0-3 month clothes, I needed to do something! So a-shopping I went. And I went around twice. I think it’s only the second Market I’ve been to since not being pregnant – bending to look in boxes is far easier now!

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Little Pickles: Southsea

Yesterday I went to another Little Pickles Market, this time with Elvis. It was his first!

We got a Gymini Play and Kick playgym for just £5 and a wooden train set (complete) from John Lewis for half price at £15! What bargains!

We do already have a play gym that we keep in the nursery, but when we saw one that easily collapses for such a great price, I wanted it purely for downstairs. The Fisher Price one upstairs doesn’t collapse down any and space is always a premium in our living room. And as it’s now Thursday when we bought the bargain on Saturday, Elvis loves it. I’ve had very little sleep for two nights in a row and feel physically exhausted so while I’m stuffing my face he’s hopefully tiring himself out on the Tiny Love Gymini Play and Kick.

The train set is obviously not needed for a few years!

As for the market itself, it was another one for us. In Southsea and very close to major bus routes, it has a very decent sized car park and is next to an infant school, which unfortunately had an event going on and I think the school had filled up the sports center car park. Similar to the Mountbatten markets, there’s loads of space inside – handy as this was the first one where we had Elvis and had to manoeuvre him in his pushchair around. The market in Cosham is incredibly tiny and cramped. It’s probably not that much further away than the Cosham market though and I’d go again.

I still avoid looking for clothes at them though – far too much hassle and there are always more girls than boys clothes!

And it’s now just over a week until the next market. At which I will remember my entry cards!

~ Persephone M

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Little Pickles Market

After attending the NCT Nearly New Sale a few weeks back I decided to see if there were any other similar types of events because there are 6 months in between NNS.

I quickly found information on Little Pickles Markets, which I immediately discovered are far more frequent and there are more dotted around the local area rather than NCT which are one per City. It means that I went to one this weekend, there’s another at the same place in the middle of May and another local one at the end of April.

After the surprise of the NNS I was still wary of LPM. Everything sold at the NNS is donated by mothers and sorted by the volunteers. Everything’s then sold through the NCT so everything’s organised like one “shop” with one till.

Before the LPM I knew it was different in that rather than donate their stuff to be sold through one place, mothers at LPM sell their own stuff. I immediately thought that would make it more jumble sale-like and I was wary regarding the lack of organising.

It was no where near as organised as the NNS but it wasn’t a huge heaped mess either! The clothes weren’t as cheap or I wasn’t patient enough to look through, but I still paid no more than £2 per item! The really good thing was that haggling was possible and whilst there were far fewer clothes than at NNS there were far more toys, push chairs, travel cots and other non-clothes.

I managed to get a few winter coats for next year (planning ahead) and two fantastic bargains! The first was a deluxe baby bather suitable for newborns so it doesn’t last long. It needs a wash, but then it’ll be fine in the adult or baby bath. The woman selling it said that she found it useful so her baby was more secure.

So LPM have on hand advice about what they’re selling – amazing! And, the baby bather I got was £2, RRP £17.99. Even better, the baby bath I’d planned on buying is RRP £27.99 but with the 2nd hand bather, I went and bought a normal baby bath for £12.99.

That’s a £13 saving.

On a different stall I got a manual breast pump for £3. I don’t mind whatsoever having a second hand one as I don’t intend on using it. I just want it as a precaution and the brand at the LPM matches the sale bought steriliser I got months ago (forward planning and being cautious) so all the bottles will fit! The RRP for the manual breast pump I got is £29.99.

So a saving of £26!

Total saved (not including clothes) is £39 for two things, one I might not use and one that’s for a short term use.

Pretty good for my first Little Pickles. I will definitely be going to the next one, unless Elvis comes early! Because whilst it wasn’t as well laid out it was filled with more accesories and user knowledge.

~ PersephoneM

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Day 58 Encounting: Clothes Shopping

There may be only 50+ days left, but I had completely refrained from doing any shopping of clothes whatsoever for Elvis. I knew I needed the basics, the essentials, and I also knew that my mum had that covered! In fact she’s bought plenty of non-essential items, too, but that isn’t the point.

Apparently it’s bad luck to have the pram/pushchair in the house before baby comes. I have no idea why; I haven’t researched that Old Wives’ Tale. What I think of as a bit like Counting your chickens before they’re hatched is the clothes thing. Not only for what if the worst happens, but also what if he’s massive so all the 0-3month clothes don’t fit! Or only fit for a day or two and then he needs a bigger size. It’s the same with nappies: yes, I need however many to cover the first few days, but there’s no point in stocking up on what could be the wrong size. Or, what if the scan was wrong and Elvis is… Elvira or something!

So I had refrained from buying anything other than a few little essentials that I knew my mum hadn’t bought as the doting Grandmother. Until I decided to head to an NCT run Nearly New Sale.

The National Childbirth Trust is a charity that runs various things for New and Expectant Mothers. Things include antenatal classes, post-natal drop ins, yoga and relaxation courses and Nearly New Sales (amongst other things). I don’t think any of their courses or meet ups are free, but a portion of what’s paid will go to the charity. The Nearly New Sale (NNS) is charged on the door by £1 per family, I think I heard them say, but I was happy to pay £1 each for myself and my mother (it is for charity).

What I expected was a jumble sale. Anyone can donate their used goods to be sold on the day, and I expected to see each seller having their own table so everything would be a bit miss-matched with a mixture of clothes, toys, books etc on every table.

It is not a jumble sale!

Everything donated is labelled up with a price and seller ID and then everything sorted into one giant “shop”. So there are clothing racks laid out by gender and age making it easier to look at the range you wanted. Starting off at newborn, clothes went up to about 3 or 4 years of age. Around the outside there were more clothes piled on tables in the same age range/gender layout. These were then used to top up the main racks when it was needed, but they did get a bit muddled.

There were also specific areas for toys, books, equipment and parent books. And a separate rack for GroBags and Fancy Dress clothing.

Some people get amazing bargains there – breast pumps, cots, baby bouncers, etc. We only bought clothes, but we bought loads of clothes and a lot of them were only 50p! One dungaree set still had the shop label on them – BRAND New. And there were some decent “brands” there, too. Not that I specifically want brands for me or my child, but if I can get a John Rocha or Next t-shirt for 50p, I bloody well will!

I think I totalled up 7 full outfits, one coat, one cardigan and another 5 t-shirts and all for £20. Everything that you want to buy (from any table or rack in the room) is taken to one till area (so there are big queues) and you pay for it all in one go. It means there’s no need to have lots of change like you might need to at a car boot sale (although change for the door donation/entry fee is needed) or constantly getting your purse out or wondering about accidentally wandering off from one “stall” to another.

It was far more organised than I thought and the clothes I got were of such a decent condition, I will definately be heading back to their next one – my area have two a year. So Elvis should be about 6 months old at the next one.

They also provide you with a bag to use as a shopping basket and then a bag at the end with all of your shopping in (and some leaflets and freebie stuff!) so there’s no worry about buying too much (unless it’s more than you can carry) and there was an option to bring your car around if you bought a cot or something! Which is probably the worst element of my local NNS – parking is limited to 1hour during the day, but we did it!

Meanwhile I did have a look online for other local second hand sales and found something local called Little Pickles Markets which sounds similar to the NNS except I think people do run their own stall (not sure), but I will be heading there in a few weeks to see what it’s like and what other bargains I can find!

~ Persephone M

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