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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Car Boot Sale: Vintage plates, lace and carpet skates

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You know how you tend to hang around with people who like doing similar things to you? As EIGHT of us hopped off the bus into the bustle of a South London car boot sale I wondered if this was a good thing. Will they get to the bargains before me? Will they naysay at my visionary nana jumper purchase?

As the bedelve (you didn’t know there was a collective noun for bargain hunters?) disbanded amongst the tables I forgot my fears and got foraging. And really, I needn’t have worried. The joy I felt at one friend’s incredible find of carpet skates (you slip them underneath your shoes for a good old inside slide around) totally outweighed the tiny pang of envy at another friend’s beautiful vintage royal memorobilia mug. I got enough Total Bargs to rate this up there with one of the most successful carboots I’ve ever shopped at (and you know what a fan I am)  – including that one I drove 12 hours too.

So here it is, my Sunday swag.

This ream of lace was £1 (I KNOW!!!!)

These plates were 30p each (I KNOOOWW!!)

These glass bottles were 50p ( I KNOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!!!) (Okay, this can’t go on, just imagine I KNOW next to each item.)
Roses from the garden- how beauty and mad is that.

This gorgeus knitted jumper for Ramona was actually, for real, 25p.

This true vintage navy one for me was £1.50.

There was an article in the Guardian this week about how vintage clothing is seriously hard to come by these days, I was totally agreeing at the time, but clearly people haven’t been to this car boot. The folk of Rotherhite were BRINGING IT today.

I also got this:

For 50p

And finally…

This plate was also 30p

Sunnies 50p each (I am always picking up old school sunnies which is good as I leave one pair on a bus everytime I leave the house)

Found any steals lately?

Linking up with the marvellous Lizzie for  Magpie Monday aaaaannndddd Apron Thrift Girl for Thrift Share Monday– packed with gazilllions of finds.

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Cosleeping: The good and the bad

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In the middle of the night a few days ago Ramona shuffled over to Tim, climbed up so her bum was right in his face and did a whopping toot. Then she clambered back down to her spot and returned to sleep. Oh, how Tim and I didst laugh- the timing was impeccable. Farts- when it comes to making a list of pros and cons of cosleeping- where do they come? No one likes little clouds of excrement in their nostrils but the comical effect of childly bottom coughs are right up there. It is a dilemma, for sure. I’ll have to leave it hanging in the midst there. But here is the rest of my list.

PROS

Her morning kisses are definitely number one. Ramona wakes up, stretches and immediately finds my face for a kiss, as if she is so stoked to begin a new day with me as her mummy.

I am with her through her dreams and nightmares. I love hearing her giggle in her sleep and I equally love that when she whimpers with fright or discomfort she somehow knows I am just a breath away.

It provided another way for Tim to be with her through my maternity leave when he wasn’t getting to hang out with her nearly as much as me. There is a BEAUTY article here where a cosleeping daddy shares his thoughts.

It has eased my transition back to part time work as I get to make up for any missed cuddles throughout the night. Just breathing in her hair as I go to sleep helps me to treasure her right now, in this very moment.

We didn’t have to spend any money on a baby room and crib. Our spare room is just a dumping ground spare room complete with double bed.

I like to think it has given Ramona a real security around night times, that she will always associate bed time with comfort and met needs rather than being alone.

I am able to keep in touch with her potty needs, aware of her nightly wee rhythm and giving her chance to pee as soon as she needs it.

CONS

Unlimited, non stop access to her milk source! Mostly this is fine, she only  helps her self one or two times a night and it isn’t enough to really wake either of us, but sometimes, like last night, it is NONSTOP and well, drives me a little, er, insane.

If Ramona wees the bed it is a whole load in the washing machine rather than a tiny little crib change.

Cosleeping Positions from Howtobeadad.com

PSEUDO-CONS

I definitely thought Ramona’s movement would bother us a bit more. We are pretty fortunate that she actually doesn’t shuffle around at all. When our little nephew used to come and stay he would Jazz Hand us ALL NIGHT and we vowed to never have our kiddies in bed!

A few people have mentioned the lack of marital space which I agree I thought initially would be an issue for us. However (Intimacy aside- I may cover that in the next Practicalities post) I don’t really have those distinctions in my mind – “Tim and I”/ “Ramona” – I just kind of see us as one little family, sharing everything and doing life all together.

I also thought I would struggle with Ramona’s lack of “sleep independance” but since her arrival I have had a total turn around on this and instead feel like it is just natural for her to need the comfort of us for a while.

I really love hearing stories of people’s cosleeping experiences –this nice article by Dr Sears has lots of parents talking about the “protective effect” of cosleeping.

What are some of the things you love about cosleeping? And some of the things you find hard?

 

Old Soldiers and things in jars – a few thrifty toys

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THRIFTY! Den, den, deeeh, de den den dehhh!  (To the tune of “FOXY!” as sung by Wayne and Garth)

It is due to a mixture of cheapskateness and environmental consciousness that I have yet to buy Ramona a single new toy. She does have some new things, bought for her by loving friends and family, but only a handful. All the rest have come from charity shops, around the home and the side of the road. When I see the jawdropping cost of toys in real shops I am not surprised that the average spend on a kid in their first year of life is £9000. When you really needn’t spend a penny.

The BEST kind of toy for me is one that she, er, likes (such a loving mother) but also one that is nice to look at. Give me wood and old over plastic any day. (I know, I know it’s not about me.)

We have found some absolutely beaut things over the last few months and fortunately these are also some of Ramona’s favourite toys. I think she loves the pure simplicity of them. Here are a few:

Abacus- 50p from charity shop in Essex

Rainbow thing- £1 from car boot sale

Big Soldier – £5 from OXfam in Streatham

Soldier train – £5 from Kids Fara in Pimlico

This vintage pull along dog was sent to us from our lovely famdamily in NZ. And yes, the soldier doesn’t have all his bits.

This is my fave of Ramona’s toys- he actually plays his xylophone as he is pulled along!Puh, who needs an Ipad?

He was £5 from a charity shop. (Steep I know, but a musical duck!)

TIPS FOR COOL VINTAGE TOYS

They are often in a different part of the charity shop. These soldiers were only £5 but for some reason were behind the glass under the counter.

Car boot sales – you are less likely to find vintage toys in amongst other toy stalls but more in amongst other antiquey/ junky stalls.

They may seem a little pricey, but compare it to buying new, and think about how long it has already lasted so therefore how much longer it is likely to last. Also remember you won’t need to spend any money on batteries.

When you get them home give them the driest wipe you can with either alcohol or Dettol – water will likely cause some damage.

HOMEMADE TOYS

I am surprised at how often Ramona spurns her fanciest toys in order to play with some thing that is, frankly, rubbish. The main reason I think she does this is because that something is fitting perfectly with her stage of development. When we flew home from NZ last month I packed an entire pull along suitcase with the coolest little toys. She spent most of the time just posting pegs and other small items into a drink bottle. She was intent on it – posting them in, tipping them out, posting them in again.

I have tried to do some googling on the stages of development and play but can only seem to find very commercial pages which aren’t very comprehensive. (Although I did find this excellent and immense resource all about learning through play.) I guess the best way is to observe what they most enjoy doing and then build on that. So with Ramona’s obsession with emptying and filling things, stuff that is working well for us at the moment is:

  • A few little (ahem, nice looking) containers around the house with a selection of random things in- some little animals, finger puppets, a music box, some fabric, juggling balls. I put one down on the carpet and she’ll look through it, take it all out, put it all in, add some extras in, chuck a few things in to the bin, try to eat it, y’know.
  • Jars with filled with stuff she can pour all over the floor – chess pieces, scrabble letters, dominoes, ribbons. Basically lovely things I find in charity shops and keep around the place. It fits with the style of our lounge but also a big treat for her.
  • When I am doing the dishes I also get her a bowl of warm water and plastic cups etc. This is quite messy in a watery way but she loves it. (In fact this week she chose to sit inside her little bowl of water which was sweet and comical but Next Level Watery Mess)

I would genuinely LOVE to hear the thrifty/ home made things that you have found your little ones love.

(Part of the wondrous Thrifty Families Blog Carnival- check out loads more ideas over at Baby Budgeting!)

Cosleeping and the Heeby Jeebies

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When I was pregnant Samantha Cameron gave birth to her little girl Florence and as she was early they hadn’t sorted a crib yet so she slept in a cardboard box.

I remember thinking, as we were of course meant to by the Number 10 PR people, “What a down to earth thing to do”.

Since then I have had my own baby and took a cosleeping path and now I am less “Awww, down to earth” and more  “A CARDBOARD BOX!!! You would rather put your precious new little treasure in a bulk purchase crisp container than in your own bed???” What a typical cold hearted Tory.

(Just kidding. I know not every single Tory is cold hearted.  What? Yes, I do! I do know a Tory actually! I think one of my friend’s may be one. But he keeps it hush hush.)

But for real, I don’t think the Cameron’s put their baby in a box because of their politics, but because of the reason so many other people won’t share a bed with their Little Ones – fear. Parents are generally frightened of co-sleeping.

I can’t think why.

Ah, yep. There is a fair bit of fear mongering about bedsharing. This ad was put out a few weeks ago in Canada. But all sorts of research claims to show that co-sleeping can endanger your babes. One major piece studied Maori families in New Zealand and suggested SIDS was much more likely within Maori families due to cosleeping. (Perhaps this explains why on our recent trip to NZ so many mothers could not get their head around us bedsharing.) But as more comprehensive research shows SAFE cosleeping (no smoking, drinking, drugs)  is as safe – or even a little safer- than having baby in a separate bed. The Maori example was a prime example of getting the cause mixed up (much higher percentage of alcohol abuse and tobacco use.)  But it has put the heeby jeebies into many mothers.  Check out this overview here for a research summary.

In fact, I probably would have been like many mothers – cosleeping by stealth for varying parts of the night- if it wasn’t for my friend recommending the brilliant book “Three in a bed” . Ramona slept brilliantly close by me and I loved being able to stay in bed and nurse but I would have probably kept it a secret if it wasn’t for this book. I felt encouraged by it’s depiction of cosleeping as a completely safe, ancient aspect of parenting with all kinds of extra benefits- nurturing milk supply and supporting better sleep for mothers, being just a couple.

Having started work recently for a few days a week I am finding cosleeping gives me chance to catch up on all the cuddles I have missed out on in the day – it has really eased the transition for us. I am so, SO,  glad that a few key people in the early days of Ramona’s life encouraged me to read into, and get over, the Heeby Jeebies around bed sharing. It is one of my favourite mothering practices.

I have a bit more to say, as people often ask about the practicalities and the pros and cons, so rather than this become a whopper of a post I am going to end it here and do 2 more cosleeping posts later in the week.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your own thoughts/ fears around bedsharing…

My whole heart just walking around out there

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I read this quote today (Elisabeth Stone? But who really knows who says anything these days, eh?)

I know that it is completely and utterly cheeseballs, but it sums up exactly how I feel about Ramona. It is like becoming a mother just tore my whole soul open, made my feelings raw. To hear her laugh means heart exploding joy.  And heart aching sadness when her snot and tears dampen my shoulder.

I’m just going to crunch up her happy little self right now.

This picture is Tim and Ramona on Cooks Beach, New Zealand. Fish n chips, sand castles, ice cream. (All gave Ramona equal eating pleasure.) Lush memories.

This post really is about Bicarbonate of Soda

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Just a warning, this could be the most boring blog post you read for a while. Feel free to stop.

It is about Bicarbonate of Soda and not washing my hair.

It is an ode to Bicarbonate of Soda, to be specific. And a bit of info about how I have stopped washing my hair.

I know:  Worst. Post. Evs.

So, Bicarbonate of Soda. It is just so GREAT, this wizardly white powder that costs tiny pennies. I can’t get over it. It has slashed our cleaning budget and removed a host of toxins from the prying hands of our little tot.

For a few years now I have used it as deodorant – yup, dip your fingers in and dust it over your just showered pits and it keeps you dry and stink-free all day. And I am totally not a naturally, smells like roses kind of a girl. I have been trying out more natural deodorants for sometime, like the mineral crystal shizzle, but with no luck.

I have also begun using it for cleaning – sprinkle it’s antibacterial self around the mucky bits of your bathroom, mix with water and spray onto the surfaces of your kitchen.

I use it as a gentle face scrub.

I also, as of last week, use it instead of shampoo.

You see, I am weaning off shampoo. I am 10 days in and so far I only look like I have missed one shampoo wash. It is a little oily, but not stay-in-isolation- oily.

I read recently that women on average put over 500 chemicals into their bodies everyday just through their skin and healthcare regimes.  What the? This is madness! I am sure no one would do this knowingly. This is a rubbish fact for both women and the environment.

I also have a (maybe naive) conviction that, for the most part, our bodies were created to cope sufficiently on their own, and that too much interfering can mess with the body’s natural ability to do it’s thing.

Shampoo is a good example – we strip it of it’s natural oils every time we wash, so it goes on overdrive creating more oils, but then we have to wash it more, until we are on a once a day hair wash rhythm. Meanwhile we are also drying it out, putting random
chemicals on our scalp, and rinsing this chemical cocktail down the plug into the system again. Ramona shows this to be true- 15 months old and we’ve only shampooed her hair a handful of times. So although I use an organic shampoo I have still decided to try “no poo” out on my own locks. I did it once before, mostly out of curiosity, but my hair was cropped, it was summer and I didn’t have a job – it was okay to look a little, um, au natural. It lasted a couple of months and didn’t really revolutionise my hair care.

This time I have just begun back at work (first week back has been excellent, although I do miss Ramona  still) so need a certain hair standard and my hair is long, but I do have a few more tricks up my sleeve to do this effectively:

  • Bicarbonate of Soda – whenever it starts looking a bit needy just make a little paste up and put it on scalp, rinse and Ta-daaa!
  • Lots of “No-Poo” forum and websites for support and tips
  • A bristle brush – I am currently looking for one of these, do you have one? It helps distribute the oils. It means I have to start brushing my hair though, rather than back combing it. I am yet unclear as to how this will effect my quiff, long term. 🙂

Soooo.

There it is.

I will let you know how I get on, as I know you are particularly riveted by this most riveting of subjects!

Work

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BIG day tomorrow! After 14 months of blissful maternity leave I am heading back to work.

My feelings are a tangle of nervousness, excitement, sadness and anticipation – a mix felt by most of the millions of mums returning to work I imagine. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster to get here- a year ago I looked towards this day with a pragmatic sense of “it’ll be fine”, then I swerved into panic; “I can not leave her!” (and spent hours writing business plans and creating logos for a career that I could do with Ramona slung on my back. Trust me breastmilk ice cream is not the weirdest thing a mumpreuneur could come up with) now fortunately I have arrived at a more balanced place of  “It will be hard but also fun and fulfilling.” *Smiles cheesily and poses for the government’s “Back to Work Mums!” pamphlet*

I am fortunate in that I don’t HAVE to work my two and a half days a week, it would be so hard to have this choice out of your hands for financial reasons. And for Ramona to be with my husband for half the week- what a balanced young women this will make her! It’s pretty jammy that we get to practice a parenting/ working model split exactly down the middle (don’t you just love how I am using the word Work as if parenting ISN’T up there with the hardest work evs!)

I have thought for the last few months that my primary reason for going back is because I didn’t want my career to halt, and to then have to start from scratch post offspringing. But today I feel that my reasons for returning are deeper than that – it is because I am passionate about making the world a bit of a brighter place and my work gives me a different way to do this. (With parenting being one of the fundamental way of doing it, of course.) I have found this last joyous year of motherhood to be one of the least cynical and least disenchanted times of my life and I hope I can take that into my nine to five. To see my job as a vocation, and to see the eradication of extreme global poverty as totally doable. (Extreme Global Poverty? Meh!  One time I got out the house with a baby with two matching socks, a picnic, my phone AND my oyster card AND made my train!)

But still…

My heart just about leaps out of my mouth when I imagine going a day without her little cheeky face within kissing distance.