As my youngest daughter approaches her first birthday I’m now in the process of getting rid of my baby stuff. We have had a house full of bouncers, jumpers and playmats for the last three years. Now as my daughters are that little bit older we are doing a de-clutter. If the items are still usable you can choose either to give things to friends, pass on to charity or sell your items. Selling items can be a bit of a mind-field and I have been asked my other mums how I do it. This post will cover my tips on selling your baby stuff.

We have given some things to friends, especially clothes as there is little value in second-hand items. New or nearly new dressing up clothes and outfits can be sold on, but generally if they’re not from a well-known brand you won’t get much for them. Baby equipment fares much better and some items hold half their value even when second-hand. Do your research based on what item you have to sell to get the best price.

Selling your baby stuff

eBay

A popular second-hand selling marketplace. You can set your items to a buy now price or put on auction. You can also choose to sell them locally only or post if your happy to.

Its worth checking how well other items are selling on eBay first before adding your own listing. This will help you set the price you want to pitch your item at.

Its worth remembering on eBay you will have to pay fees on your final selling price and via PayPal, so other online marketplaces might be worth considering. However you are more protected if you sell via eBay as they look after the payment side of the exchange.

Best For: eBay is best for items that you are happy to post out and items that well sort after.

Gumtree

Gumtree is an online selling marketplace where you can list you items for sale for free. Your item is unlikely to reach as many potential sellers as eBay but will be more noticed in your local area.

Like eBay its worth doing your research on what items sell for in your local area. Somethings might be better priced on eBay, if they aren’t in demand in your area but are somewhere else in the UK.

There are a couple of other online marketplaces that run in a similar way to Gumtree, including Shpock and Preloved.

Best For: Items you want to sell locally only.

Facebook Local Groups

Across the UK there are many local selling groups. Just search your area to find the nearest groups to you. Add a post and list what you want for them.

Selling items on Facebook groups may be hit or miss as your only reaching potential sellers in your local area. Be prepared that you may be approached to negotiate on your items, so stick to your guns on what you want for things.

Best For: Small items that you are happy to get rid of for a low price and/or items you want to give away free.

Baby Sales

There are a whole series of baby sales across the country, some of them run as a table top sale where you sell your own items and others as ticket sales where you price your items and they are sold by others.

Some of the biggest franchises across the UK are:

Lots For Tots Sale
Mum 2 Mum Market
NCT Nearly New Sales
Baby and Childrens Market
Cheeki Monkeys

Check your local area for when your next sale is on, as they run across the year.

At these sales generally people are looking for a bargain so be reasonable with your pricing. Aim too high and you won’t sell anything.

If you are running the table top sale yourself, be prepared for some serious bargaining. Buyers will be out for the best deal, so if your happy get involved in some haggling.

An alternative to a baby sale are car boot sales, where you could do a de-clutter of more than just baby items. Car boots are run across the UK so search your local area for your nearest ones.

Best For: Getting rid of lots of items in one day.

Charity donations

If you don’t want to sell or you don’t have anyone else to pass on your thigns to a great way to de-clutter is to donate to charity. There are hundreds of charities running charity shops in highstreets across the UK, so find your local one to donate.

Some of the larger charities who accept baby items include Save The Children and Oxfam.

Once you have completed selling your baby stuff or giving them away, I’m sure your youngster will quickly fin new things to fill the space with!

We are taught to believe that pregnancy is a magical time in our life. Hollywood films showcase pregnancy with women glowing, wandering round in high heels, with perfect hair and makeup. These images put added pressure on women to have the ideal pregnancy. But for me pregnancy sucks. I will explain why I didn’t enjoy pregnancy.

Why I didn’t enjoy pregnancy

I suffered a multitude of symptoms during both my pregnancies. These all took away a lot of the joy that pregnancy does bring to many.

Morning Sickness

With both of my pregnancies I suffered severe ‘morning sickness’ for the first 16 weeks. The first 12 weeks were the worst, as it was too early for me to tell everyone but it was hard to hide when you need to throw up once an hour. After 12 weeks the sickness softened to a nausea, which continued for a further four weeks.

Travelling on the tube to work was a nightmare as your trapped inside for long periods at a time. None of the traditional remedies such as ginger tea or sea-sick bands worked for me, so I was very happy when these symptoms eventually passed. If your interested in trying the sickness bands for yourself they can be found here Sea-Band Mama Acupressure Wristband (this is an affiliates link).

Feeling Uncomfortable

As you get bigger you generally start to feel more uncomfortable. Sleeping with a bowling ball in front of you becomes tricky. I used a pregnancy pillow to help me feel more comfortable, like this one on Amazon Orthopaedic V-Shaped Pillow Nursing Pregnancy Back Support Pillow (this is an affiliates link). A pillow like this can used in pregnancy and then during feeding sessions with the new baby.

An important note about sleeping during pregnancy is that Tommy’s (the pregnancy/baby charity) launched a campaign in Nov 2017 called #sleeponside. The campaign is trying to drive awareness of the benefits of sleeping on your side in pregnancy to reduce the chance of a stillbirth.

I also suffered from leg cramps, sometimes known as a Charley horse. These results extremely uncomfortable as your whole calf muscle in your leg seizes up and shooting pain travels up your body. Parents.com recommend standing with each feet on the ground to stretch the muscle and relieve some pain.

Maternity Clothing

Buying maternity clothing on the UK high street is not easy, there are still limited shops where they sell a maternity range. Online there are a few shops that offer a better choice, but there are improvements that could be made.

Tension headaches

Towards the end of pregnancy I would occasionally suffer with tension headaches. I tried to avoid painkillers so the best thing I could use to help was 4head Headache & Migraine Relief Stick – 3.6g (this is an affiliates link). 4head is a cooling stick that you rub on your head to ease the headache.

The midwives looking after me weren’t concerned with my headaches as my blood pressure stayed normal. If you do suffer with them whilst pregnant do make sure you also mention them to your midwife as it can be a symptom of Pre-eclampsia.

Exhaustion

During my first and third trimesters I suffered from extreme exhaustion. I love sleep anyway and could quite happily sleep 9 hours a night (if I wasn’t awaken continuously). However during pregnancy some days my body would want 10+ hours.

During my first pregnancy I would just sleep after work and rest was easier. During my second pregnancy this was trickier as I had a 1-year-old to contend with. Often my husband would take over looking after the toddler so I could sneak in 30 minutes when coming home from work.

Weight gain

After morning sickness diminished I started out feel hungry. I craved everything and anything that is bad for you. So inevitably I had weight gain in both my pregnancies.

I was able to control myself slightly better second time round. But even now 10 months on from birth I still find myself needing to lose weight.

Needing the bathroom

As your baby grows so does the pressure on your bladder. Having to pee continuously is ok in the day (if your near a bathroom) but ends up being a major problem when it starts disrupting your already broken sleep.

Night sweats

Towards the end of both of my pregnancies I would suffer extreme night sweats. Going to sleep and waking up drenched meant several changes each night. This is a hidden symptom of pregnancy you don’t hear a lot about before it happens.

What I did love about pregnancy

Baby kicks

Now this is magic, feeling those wonderful small little kicks and movements. I started to feel movements around 18 weeks with both of mine. Those kicks helped build connection with the baby, as they helped build a realisation my baby was well and truly on the way to join the world.

Scans

Seeing my precious daughters on the monitor was one for the most magical experiences of my life. Looking at their tiny bodies and hearing the heart beating, really brought home for me the miracle of the human body and pregnancy.

For me both of my experiences with pregnancy were challenging at times, but overall a blessing. I am thankful ever day when I look at my daughters, for what my body achieved. I’m just sure that twice was blessing enough for me!

Self care for mums is a post I wrote about mums taking ownership of their own mental and physical health. This is particularly importantly during pregnancy, so if you suffer from any of these symptoms ensure you raise it with your health care professionals.

Please note that this article includes affiliate links.

 

Rhyming with Wine

Squires Garden Centre Christmas Circus reviewToday I took my girls with their cousin to the Squires Garden Centre to see the Christmas Circus. This is my own personal Squires Garden Centre Christmas Circus review.

The show is running across Christmas and then post-Christmas is followed by a traditional circus up until New Year.

Squires is a national chain of garden centres, running for about 80 years. They sell plants, garden equipment and also gifts.

Squires Garden Centre Christmas Circus Review

What is it?

I’d never heard of a Christmas circus either. As my daughters are under three they have never been to a circus before so I thought that this sounded like an interesting event to go to.

As the circus is aimed at young children the acts are kept quiet tame. In Stanmore where we attended they had balancing, juggling, aerial and comedy acts.

All of our children aged 6, 2 and 10 months seemed to enjoy the show. Laughing, gasping and clapping along which is all you could hope for really.

In reality there is little to do with Christmas within the acts, just a few nods to the season such as Christmas music and some snow themed equipment. However it doesn’t really matter there is  Christmas atmosphere as you sit in the cold wrapped up in layers!

The show last about an hour which is enough for the young children and the adults. For myself I found the acts cheesy at times, but they were pitched at the right level for young children to enjoy most.

What’s included?

Meeting Santa at Squires

Tickets include entrance for the circus and the hours performance, followed by a very brief meet and greet with Santa and a small gift.

Extras you can buy when there are snacks such as popcorn and candy floss, and toys such as glow sticks.

Where is it on?

Squires has a number of Garden Centres across the U.K. and the following branches are holding the Christmas Circus:

Badshot Lea – Hosted by Ringmaster Attila Endresz with Billy the clown. Featuring new jaw-dropping acts: Aerial umbrella & rope, Bounce juggling, Cube manipulation, Gym ball acrobatics, Mind-blowing illusions and The Incredible Mr Slinky.

Shepperton – Hosted by Ringmaster Laci Schlinlof with clowns Bumble & Picolo. Featuring new jaw-dropping acts: Ariel cube, Knife throwing, Trapeze, Bubble fantasy, Slack-wire balancing and Juggling.

Stanmore – Hosted by Ringmaster Chris Balthrop with Andrea the clown. Featuring new jaw-dropping acts: Aerial skills, Aerial cube, Uni-cycling, Juggling, Rola rola balancing and Rolling globes.

Washington – Hosted by Ringmaster Ross with Pip the clown. Featuring new jaw-dropping acts: Ariel straps, Rola rola balancing, Juggling, Bounce juggling on drums and Ariel ropes.

Is it worth it?

If you are looking for a fun experience for the children this is great one to choose. It’s a cheesy, funny and enjoyable family friendly experience. At £12 a ticket it won’t break the bank too much.

However if you were looking for a more immersive Christmas experience, there are other events on around the UK which would offer this better. If you are based in North West London look at my other post on what to do in Harrow and surrounding area this Christmas. Hopefully that will give you some inspiration during the festive period.

We are now in December so I’m thinking about returning to work after maternity leave. This is my second maternity leave, after returning in between my babies for a year.

I feel very lucky too have been able to spend the first eleven months of my baby’s life completely devoted to her. Now the practicalities of life kick in and back to work I must go.

Having experienced returning to work once before I know that it will be a rollercoaster. Some days everything runs well and goes to plan. Then other days everything seems to go wrong and s*** hits the fan! I’m just hoping for more days of the former, rather than the later.

Based on my experience these are my top tips for returning to work.

Returning to work after maternity leave tips

  • Plan ahead your daily routine – including what time you need to drop kids off and pick up
    • Do a trial run before you start to check your timings if unsure
  • Talk to your child in a positive way about their new childcare – even babies will be able to pick up the sentiment in your voice and tone
  • Prepare everyone’s things the night before – getting a baby/toddler changed is hard at the best of times, so best to have clothes and bags prepared
  • Try and keep drop offs quick – a long goodbye doesn’t help you or your child
  • Dont be afraid be contact your childcare – just ring or text in the day to check on them if feeling anxious
  • Keep busy – don’t punish yourself if you realise you haven’t thought about your child for ten minutes

 

Go easy on yourself, it’s a massive change for the whole family. There is a lot going on with the new schedule, new relationships and work dynamics. It may get harder before it get’s easier, so take each day as it comes.

If your feel lack of confidence when you are back, talk to your HR department, as they may have services to help you. It’s important to have self-care during this time of change, so do talk about any issues you’re facing.

Also, if you need any help on the financial side of returning to work, contact the Money Advice Service who have lots of information.

Good luck.
I know I’ll need it when the time comes.

There are lots of things I didn’t think I would do as a parent which inevitably now I do. Before having children I’ll admit I didn’t realise how hard parenthood really is. You only really ever see a snapshot of a parents daily life. There is so much that happens when no one else is watching.

You never know how much sleep the parent had the night before. Whether they had to endure a massive temper tantrum just getting shoes on. Or if they haven’t even had a chance to grab a coffee that morning.

Things I didn’t think I would do as a parent

Let them watch TV

Watching TV face

Before kids I assumed that I would greatly limit the amount of TV my children watch. I had vaguely heard of the channel CBeebies but hadn’t yet appreciated how important it would become in my life.

CBeebies has been a life saver at times. Especially this year during the early days of bringing a baby home, to a house with a toddler. TV became the only way to pacify my toddler so I was able to spend thirty minutes with the baby.

I do try to limit the amount my children watch, but in these winter month’s it’s not always easy. You’ve been up since six, fed them, taken them out, fed them again, put them down for a nap, done an activity at home….tv becomes a very helpful friend to occupy them for an hr or so while you get jobs done.

After all my efforts I probably haven’t succeeded in limiting TV as much as I hoped As at ten months old my baby’s first word was Peppa Pig!

 

Eat anything apart from healthy snacks

With my first-born I was very strict on only feeding healthy snacks. Until her first birthday she had never tasted any chocolate, crisps or biscuits. Snacks included vegetable sticks, rice cakes and fruit.

Move on two years and my ten month old has already pinched crisps from plates, had buttons shoved in her mouth from sister and devoured a biscuit on first sight.

It becomes an impossible task to keep a second child away from ‘treats’ if their siblings are exposed to them. Unhealthy snacks are everywhere and always attract young eyes.

During the Christmas season its harder than ever. To counter balance the treats I try to feed them healthy balanced meals. In the hope that they understand that treats, are treats, and balance is best.

Listen to children’s music all the time

My daughters love listening to children’s music. Everything from nursery rhymes for the baby to pop songs sung by Justin Fletcher (aka Mr Tumble).

Whilst pregnant with my first born, I remember saying to my own mother ‘I won’t be spending all my time listening to children’s music’. She likes to remind me of this, when we have had ‘Head Shoulders Knees and Toes’ on repeat for thirty minutes.

Parenthood is full of choices and decisions, some big and small. Now I am a parent I try not to judge anyone’s individual choices for their family. We all go down different paths and as long as the child is safe, cared for and happy, there are no rights and wrongs.

 

Is there anything you didn’t think you would do as a parent?
It would be great to get your comments, so please share below.