Friday, 30 December 2011

Becoming a Mumtor

First things first... what's a Mumtor? I can see you looking a bit confused at the screen.  Well, Mumtors are Cow & Gate's Growing Up Milk Mummy Mentors.  As that's a bit of a mouthful, they took the "Mummy" and the "Mentor", mixed them up, and came up with "Mumtor".  And that's me (and a whole host of other people).

I really thought long & hard about teaming up with Cow & Gate when they asked mums to apply to be Mumtors.  I breastfed Squeaky until she was about 17 months old.  When she reached her first birthday, I started to include some formula feeds, because I knew I'd be going back to work at some point, and it meant I could wean her off me at my own pace, rather than needing to do it quickly.  And as she's a finicky creature with her food, I wanted to give her something more than cow's milk to replace the nutrients she'd been getting from me.

I'm a breastfeeding peer supporter with my local Health Board, so it might seem a bit of cross-purposes to be a Mumtor as well. But really, it's all about supporting mums through some difficult decisions, giving them the information to make their own choices in the best interests of their child.  Heck, if anything, the fact I've both breast and formula fed Squeaky means I'm not going to judge anyone, or tell them they've got to do any one thing.

Breastfeeding is bloody hard work, there's no other way to put it.  The decision to move on to toddle milk is a hard one.  Choosing the right one for you & your child is a case of trial and error.  Cow & Gate is the one that works for our family, and the one Squeaky enjoys.  So after a lot of thought, I applied to Cow & Gate to become a Mumtor, and was delighted when they chose me.  I've got a whole host of information they've sent me, results from The Toddler Census which was carried out last year, so watch out for more informative posts.

Don't worry, I'm not going to become one giant advert, I'm still me.  And I'm not going to force Growing Up Milk down your throats, either literally or figuratively.  But if you see me about in the Real Live World, have a word, I may well have a sample for you!

Cow & Gate Growing Up Milk are sponsoring me to attend the CybHer conference in May 2012.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Vitamin D - The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D is really, honestly, quite easy to come by.  It's free, and made naturally in our bodies as a result of exposure to sunlight.  Trouble is, there's not a lot of that around at the moment (you might have noticed!), and shockingly, 9 out of 10 toddlers aren't getting enough Vitamin D to meet their nutritional needs, either naturally or through supplements.

Vitamin D helps with bone growth, and can prevent rickets in children, and osteoporosis in adults, as it helps regulate the calcium levels in the body.  That's something I know about, thanks to a couple of broken ankles, and surgeons giving me dire threats about bone density scans & the like.

Our lifestyles have changed so much over the last 30 years or so, modern toddlers don't get the same levels of Vitamin D that their parents and grandparents did.  Reliance on cars for even short journeys, greatly increased use of sunscreen, more time spent in front of the tv & computer rather than "playing out", all reduce the amount of exposure to sunlight and therefore the amount of Vitamin D floating around in children's bodies.
Image Credit
So, what can we do?  Get out in the sunshine!  Ten minutes a day through the summer months (April - October), without sunscreen, can give a child enough exposure to the sun's rays to produce enough Vitamin D to store in their bodies for the winter.  But really, do we risk our toddlers' skin with exposure to the sun without sunscreen?  And even if we did, that's not going to be enough for some people.  Those living in the north (sorry Northerners!), and those with Black or Asian skin won't get enough sunlight this way, so something else is needed.

The Department of Health recommends all toddlers receive a daily supplement of Vitamins A, C & D.  Those who receive milk tokens (or Healthy Start tokens to give them their proper name) are also entitled to free supplements, and in certain areas of the UK, you may be able to get free supplements from your health visitor even if you're not on benefits(though you might well have to ask).

In addition to a supplement, you can try to include Vitamin D rich foods in your toddler's diet. A lot of breakfast cereals & margarines are fortified with vitamins, another good reason not to skip breakfast!  Oily fish, egg yolks and liver are also good sources of Vitamin D (and yeah, good luck with those).

You can also include a specially formulated Growing-Up milk into your toddler's day.  Squeaky is a DEMON for being a fussy eater at the moment, but two beakers of Cow & Gate Growing Up Milk gives her more than half her daily Vitamin D requirements, so I know she's off to a good start each day, even if she spends the rest of the day refusing to consider anything other than toast.

Cow & Gate Growing Up Milk are sponsoring me to attend the CybHer conference in May 2012.  The statistical data in this post came from The Toddler Census, a questionnaire answered by over 1000 parents in July 2011.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Stay Safe This Christmas

We had a bit of a scare today.  I was just starting to do lunch, I'd put a pan on the oven, with only about a tablespoon of oil in, to heat up, before making some pasta sauce.  Dropped my concentration for a minute & let the oil get a bit hotter than I'd like.  It was smoking slightly, but nothing much, so I thought. Opened the pack of frozen quorn, and shook the first couple of chunks in.  Sizzle. Hiss. Woosh!

Honestly, I never ever realised that pan fires can start with such a small amount of oil.  I always thought of it as being chip pans, full of oil, but seemingly not.  Fortunately, as there was only a small amount of oil, the flames were only small, and I was able to use the wet tea-towel approach to putting it out.  Turned off the gas first, wet tea towel over the pan, away from me, left it for a couple of minutes, then put the whole thing outside to cool down safely.  Textbook manoeuvre.

The official advice from the Fire Service these days is "Get Out, Get The Fire Brigade Out & Stay Out", but as it was such a small thing, I felt I was safe to deal with it.  Remarkably calm afterwards, I was expecting the adrenalin to be flowing, but not a dickybird.

So, lesson to be learned.  If it can happen to me, with a tiny amount of oil, it can happen to anyone.  Please watch the video below, to see what to do, and what not to do.  And if you're in any doubt as to whether you can safely deal with a fire (pan, or otherwise), Get out & leave it to the experts.  The fire service are trained, it's their job.

Christmas Photo Crafts

How could I possibly choose anything else?  I'm not exactly gifted in the crafting stakes, I have to admit, but be honest, who could fail to smile when greeted with a Christmas Card, thank you card, or generally anything, with this photo on it? Just imagine - baubles, gift tags.  In fact, that could be the way to go, gift tags with the recipient's photos on them, rather than writing.

I'm writing this post, brief though it is (the photo makes up for it, right?), as my entry for the Christmas Photocraft Challenge with Britmums & Kodak.  Give it a go yourself!

I'm Taking Part in the Kodak Christmas Photo Craft Challenge

Monday, 5 December 2011

Magpie Monday - Old Friends

Every now & then I figure I should write a Magpie Monday post that's not JUST made up of toddler clothes.  (Spoiler... there are still toddler clothes in this post, but not yet).  This is that post.

When Squeaky was a tiny little Squeak, I had a Poinsettia plant in the window, I'd bought it just before Christmas when I was huge & pregnant & thought it would brighten the place up a bit.  Didn't expect it to last a week, I've got a notorious black thumb. However, somehow this brave little poinsettia made it all the way til May!  Squeaky loved it, as much as a newborn can, and spent a fair number of her waking hours staring at it, and squeaking occasionally.  Fast forward 2 years (OMG, it really is that long), and I spotted out friend Plant in the supermarket. Decided to see if I could make this one last a month, and brought it home to sit in the same place as its predecessor. Then I realised it was just sitting in its cheapy plastic pot & looked a bit rubbish.

Off to the charity shops go I, with a mission, for once.  A pretty plant pot.  And there, in the Salvation Army shop (my least favourite, usually just full of smelly men, school uniforms and bobbly cardigans), was the perfect pot.  Right size, suitable balance of bling and restraint, and all for 50p, when the lady on the till could bring herself to stop gossiping and serve me.  (Please ignore my horrible blinds. I know, believe me, I know.)

Admittedly, the pot now has a length of green tinsel wrapped round it, but I couldn't have found a better home for Squeaky's friend Plant if I'd tried.

So, after my success in finding a plant pot, I thought I'd have a quick look at what the other shops had to offer - hoping I'd find some granny blankets to chop up & turn into ponchos, or generally some crafting talent, because mine ran out a good few years back.  Sadly they were all out of talent, and granny blankets (even the PDSA shop!), and my travels led me to the nice new Marie Curie shop - which reminds me of something I found in there the other week, but haven't taken photos of yet.

They've made a good job of the shop, nicely colour co-ordinated, and volunteers that actually do stuff.  That's more than can be said for a lot of our local charity shops, so as a result I took them in a big bag of stuff earlier in the week.  Well, I had to see what they'd got now, right?  And there, on the children's rail, was a treat.  Squeaky doesn't believe in coats at the moment. Zips are no challenge to her, normal buttons only slow her briefly.  Surely though, the combination of a zip and loop buttons will be beyond her for a week or two?

And better yet, look who's peeking out of the pocket!  It's Upsy Daisy!  You've heard about her Upsy Daisy obsession, right?  And not just one Upsy Daisy on the pocket, but three of them dancing across the back.  In Squeaky World this is nothing short of a miracle.  There's a couple of velcro patches inside the arms, so I think there were originally gloves, but they weren't with it, and I couldn't see a rummage bin to nose through for matching gloves, so we'll have to do without.

Honestly people.  I can't begin to explain how excited Squeaky was to see this coat.  I'll try to transcribe.  "Daisy, Daisy, Daisy, Daisy, Mummy, Daisy! Daddy, Daisy! One, Two, Three, Four! Daisy!"  I put it through the wash (as is my usual way with charity shop clothes), and she spotted a corner of the fabric in the machine this morning.  Not an Upsy Daisy, just a little pink flower.  And stood in front of the washer shouting DAISY until I opened it, and then she dragged a damp coat around with a big grin on her face until I distracted her with toast.  Such are the excitements of life in our house. Toast & Daisy.

Pop along to Lizzie's place & see who else has been shopping this week! Me and My Shadow

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Laura Comfort - It Hurts (review)

I was recently sent a copy of Laura Comfort's new single, It Hurts to review for you lovely readers.

Now, it's been a long time since I listened to anything more modern & relevant than Radio Wales, so I didn't quite know what to expect, and was half anticipating something I didn't understand.  See, my hearing loss kind of messes up a lot of music for me, if the backing is too heavy I can't hear the vocals at all.  That's why my taste in music is pretty much stuck in 1990.

Much to my surprise, I didn't have that problem with Laura's song.  It's beautifully open, acoustic & folky, bordering on country, with more than a little hint of Eva Cassidy.  Laura has got a great voice for this song, and it'll be making a regular appearance on my playlist, I love listening to something different to what people expect of me.

At this time of year, everywhere is full of the same old Christmas classics we hear every year, and whatever dross has been churned out by the X-Factor, Laura Comfort provides a welcome antidote to that, a real singer-songwriter with something new, and genuine content.  The musicians are excellent, and there's a lot of talent in that 3 and a half minutes.  (Also I love her dress. I would look like a sack of spuds in it, but I love it all the same)

Will it be a hit? Possibly not, simply because it's not X-Factor dross, and that's what sells, unfortunately.  Is it worth a listen? Yep, in my opinion.  Take a look for yourself.

It Hurts was released on 14 November.  Laura will be appearing at Ronnie Scott's on December 13th.

Disclosure: I was provided with a cd free of charge for the purpose of this review.  I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own.  Links are provided for your convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Christmas in Squeaky Mansions

If only...  But as it's December tomorrow (have you got your advent calendar ready?) I thought I'd start our Christmas posts, to give you a little insight into the World Of The Squeak.

Neither of our families has a huge number of "Christmas traditions", except they both share one very important one (aside from the dinner, obviously), namely Avoiding The Queen.  Walks, feeding ducks, washing up (if things are really desperate), the age of satellite telly has been the death of this age-old family tradition, because there's always a repeat of a 1970's Christmas Special on somewhere.

So as we didn't really have any family traditions, we decided we'd try to make our own, so that Squeaky will have things she always associates with a family Christmas.  First off, the Christmas Pyjamas. It seems to be quite a popular tradition this one, at least round South Wales, so much so, I don't know who I "borrowed" the idea from. Quite simply, everyone in the family receives a brand new pair of pyjamas to wear to bed on Christmas eve night, which they then wear to open their presents the following morning.  OK, this is a tradition that involves spending a little bit of cash, but everyone needs pyjamas, so it's a good chance to get everyone in decent condition for at least one night of the year!

Second of our traditions is one that truly is part of a traditional Christmas.  After the dinner has been eaten, the pots & pans washed & put away, and at least one round of turkey sandwiches has been made, it's time to break open the cheesy footballs, and gather round the table for a game of cards or two.  Good chance to turn the telly off (please!), cards are always a source of entertainment, and someone will have to remind me the rules of almost every game.  They're much less prone to arguments than scrabble (my dad is legendary for cheating at scrabble and inventing new words), and it's a great way to get an insight into what people are REALLY like - who is determined to win at all costs (me, usually), who throws a temper tantrum when they're first out (brother-in-law), and who is just not paying attention to their cards?  And if you can win actual cash from your nearest & dearest (pennies, admittedly), then all the better!  I have an admission though, the Greek Gods, snooker mascot & Bali Beaches cards above are strictly not for playing with. I have a bit of a love for pretty playing cards, these are for looking at, boring brewery corporate cards are for playing with.  Cards cost next to nothing, especially compared to the board game du jour, can be tailored to almost any age (snap & happy families spring to mind), they're fab for a budget Christmas.

More to follow, another time.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Seven Secrets, an award, and a bundle of tagging

The fabulous Kate at Kateonthinice tagged me, and gave me this  award!

My challenge is to reveal 7 secrets about myself.  Yours is to read them!  (And check down the bottom to see if you've been tagged, natch)

It's harder than you'd think - what constitutes a secret in the blogosphere? Something none of my readers would know? Most wouldn't? Something I'm prepared to run the risk of my mum finding out? (she normally only reads the posts I link on facebook, but you never know)

  1. I am part cyborg.  If not actually the $6million woman, than at least the good few $,000 woman.  Both my ankles are held together with meccano style metalwork, which means I've had the dubious pleasure of trying out all sorts of painkilling meds (mmmmm fun), and seem to have a 75% chance of a free grope at the airport.  Coupled with a pair of hearing aids, some days I feel that I owe more to the skills of the NHS (and their overseas counterparts) than nature.
  2. I have entire series of books & films that I have made an effort not to watch, and have every intention of continuing to avoid.  These include Star Wars, Harry Potter & Twilight. If this upsets you, tough.  There is nothing you can say that will make me change my mind.
  3. I actually really like the taste of Lemsip, and have been known to drink it even when I haven't got a cold.
  4. I have travelled on numerous planes with a glasses screwdriver in my purse. It's now become a matter of principal that I won't take it out until a security search is actually vigilant enough to notice the fact I've got a contraband item (and a sharp metal one at that) about my person.
  5. When SqueakyDaddy's on late shifts, I tend to be online reading blogs, entering comps, and generally wasting precious sleeping time until about 15 minutes before he's due home. Even if that's 3am
  6. I have got a large glass of rum & ribena in front of me, with the excuse that I'm using it for medicinal purposes to defeat my germ. It's not providing any inspiration, but it does taste nice.
  7. I'm still convinced that the only reason I passed my driving test, at the second attempt, was that there was a rail strike that day, and the roads around the test centre were jam-packed, so we couldn't do as much driving as normal, and most of that was inching along in second at best.
Now, there seems to be a thing for tagging 15 people on this, but that seems a bit harsh to me (and will also show off where I'm really, really behind in reading other people's blogs when I tag someone that did this weeks ago)  So I'm going to tag:

Danielle at blogbybaby
Mama Syder at thesyders
Emma at emmaand3

Monday, 28 November 2011

Magpie Monday - NCT Round Two

Part two of my Magpie finds from last week's NCT sale insanity.  My bruises have just about healed, I almost considered a second run at the Albany Road charity shops over the weekend (common sense & bank balance won out in the end) and I can now get my head around the all-important question "errr, what the heck did I buy then?"

First out of the starting stalls today, a pair of grey Next skinny jeans.  I'm a sucker for skinnies, and La Squeak is all length and no width, so they look better on her than chunky trousers.  There's a bit of a grass stain on the left knee, it's faded now after a wash with the Vanish, but hey, even if it hadn't, for £1 I'm not about to argue. There'll be grass stains on both knees by the time Squeaky's finished wearing them.  (I left the price stickers on the first couple I took photos of, then decided it was too much work to take sellers' names off & just took the whole tag off the others, in case you were wondering)

Nothing special these, I broke one of my golden rules - check the labels. They're only Tescos, but again they were only £1.  It's so much easier for nursery and when Daddy's on Squeaky Wrangling Duty to dress her in trousers, they're more practical than skirts & tights (much to my dismay), and these are in good nick, a sensible colour to hide the dirt, and have lots of pockets.  Squeaky has just developed an obsession with pockets.  She doesn't tend to put anything in them, but she likes to have them, and look inside them a lot.  Maybe I should hide small but interesting things inside them to surprise her?  Raisins, perhaps?

And while I'm breaking my golden rule of label-checking, I spotted these in the boys section while I was in the queue to pay, and to quote Little Bo Peep on Show Me Show Me "Oh My Woolly Word, I just gotta have it!"  We had a pair of khaki cropped trousers last summer, which turned out to be a wardrobe staple for ages, and these are just FABulous.  I have absolutely zero qualms about dressing Squeaky in boys' clothes, if they fit & look cute, I don't care.

Then I grabbed this very festive stripy t-shirt. The photo doesn't do it justice, there's a sparkly gold thread in amongst the stripes there.  I'm looking forward to dressing her up over Christmas in this, it's so soft & cosy, and it'll hide cranberry sauce stains nicely.  That's right, I have a child that refuses to eat dinner, but will eat yorkshire puddings, gravy and cranberry sauce. Hmmmmmm...

I foolishly ventured upstairs to the toy section.  I was actually very good, they also have bedding & things upstairs & I resisted the temptation to grab an In The Night Garden sleeping bag, partly because it was £8, which was WAY over my budget, and mostly because the last 2nd hand one I bought cost me 50p and I'm spoiled now.  I did grab this noisy shape-matching game though.  The puzzle is a bit (OK, lot) simple for Squeaky, but the noises are very entertaining & she's enjoying learning what the animals are, and copying the noises.  I'll probably get sick of this very soon & donate it somewhere, but right now it's doing OK.  (I also bought a Waybuloo Fuzzy Felt set, but that's upstairs in my wardrobe hiding out with the Christmas presents, so no photos for you just yet.)

And a last minute, bonus entry to today's bargain bonanza!  We went to the carvery for Sunday lunch, and when I took Squeaky for a change, through the connecting doors into the Travelodge next door, I spotted a table of books, on sale raising money for Cancer Research.  Well, internet, you know me by now, I'm not one to turn down a book.  There were 3 or 4 Enid Blyton books there, all short stories, and in varying conditions.  Squeaky actually chose this one, and I asked her if she wanted any of the others as well (I was feeling generous), but no, she only wanted the Watering Can book.  The stories include such gems as "The hole in the mackintosh", "Mr Binkle's Boots", and the intriguing sounding "Mr Pink-Whistle and Santa Claus". I'm not sure I want to find out how Mr Pink-Whistle got his name.

Well, if you've got your breath back, that's all from me for today. See what everyone else has been finding, over at Missie Lizzie's place. Me and My Shadow

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

DDH - the journey continues

If you remember way, way back in October last year, after a selection of typical NHS cock-ups, we got to see the paediatric orthopaedic specialist, way down in the Vale of Glam, who said that after worrying, fretting & double-nappying, Squeaky's hips were "just within the normal range", but that they'd send us another appointment for 6 months time to check again once she was walking.  6 months came and went.  No surprises in the tale of missed dates that this whole saga has been, and to be honest I was torn between harassing the doctor to find out what was going on & shrugging it off thinking they'd said things were ok.

And then last week we got one of those letters addressed to "THE PARENTS/GUARDIANS OF MISS SQUEAKY BABY" in big capital letters.  Telling me to phone Llandough & make an appointment to see the orthopod for a follow-up. 6 months has become 14.  I umm & ahh for a week, forget to phone them because the appointment line is only open silly hours & eventually get round to making an appointment for 15 December.  Happy freakin Christmas.

I know in my rational brain that all will be well, she doesn't appear to have any issues with walking.  Part of me doesn't even want to bother going.  But I know I'd never forgive myself if something wasn't picked up.  So now we have another round of me fussing, fretting and generally getting into a state, a trip to Lovely Old Out-Of-The-Way hospital, and a trip to somewhere nice on the way home as a reward.  Hobbycraft? Ikea? The drive-thru Starbucks?  All of the above?  Who knows.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Music Therapy

I was challenged to Mammywoo's Music Therapy meme by Him Up North, and after having spent a fair number of years in the wilds of Ilkley & Leeds, I've learned not to argue with a Yorkshireman.

For those of you as out of touch with the memes of the moment as I am, it's a simple premise.  Three different artists, three different songs, three sets of lyrics that mean something to you. ARGH. It sounds so easy, but it's so difficult. My entire music collection is boxed up and either in the attic, or in a storage unit somewhere the other side of town, my mp3 player is upstairs next to a sleeping SqueakyDaddy.  And I'm old and haven't listened to anything more relevant than Radio Wales in years.  So I'm working from a mixture of memories and ARGH.

1) Wilson Phillips - Hold On

"No one can change your life except for you
Don't ever let anyone step all over you"

I'm not proud, I'll admit to my 90's teenhood.  I love the song.  There's been some long long nights this song got me through in my teens, and times where maybe I should've listened to those lyrics again since. Given the right mood, this song can make me cry.

2) Fools Garden - Lemon Tree

"Isolation is not good for me
Isolation, I don't want to sit on the lemon-tree"

A reminder not to wallow in my own self-pity. And a perky, happy, silly reminder that drags me straight back to college, jumping around in the now-defunct Travs in Ilkley.  The last night before I left college, the DJ played this (as he did very frequently), and said we'd never hear it again after that night.  He was wrong, but it takes me straight back to a simpler time and leaves me with a smile. Also it makes me popular with people from Germany.

3) Cliff Richard - Congratulations

Now, you weren't expecting that, were you?  Let me explain.  SqueakyDaddy and I both have a shameful love of the Eurovision Song Contest (I very nearly chose LT United's "We Are The Winners"), and we have a tendency to not take things very seriously.  So when we got married, we decided to have a bit of fun with the music, and walked out of the ceremony to this.  Just those first beats make me smile.  The whole thing summed us up, and our wedding, and took everyone by surprise.

Who to tag? You!  No, not you, you've already done it.  You, there, trying to hide behind your mug.  I can see you!

(In other words, if you want to do it, I've tagged you. If you don't, I haven't.  Get to it, people!)

Monday, 21 November 2011

Magpie Monday - Winter Warmers

Saturday was the quarterly (if I remember to go to them all) test of endurance and pointy elbows that is the Cardiff NCT sale.  Squeaky & I bundled into the car with my friend & Squeaky's and off the four of us went for a shopping expedition.  If you'd seen the contents of my bag, expedition was the right word, you'd've thought we were off to conquer the Antarctic by the amount of food 2 toddlers seem to need.

We hit one of the charity shops before lunch (there's LOADS on that road, and you can usually pick up a fair haul of bargains, but having the girls with us kind of slowed us down a bit), where I found this gorgeous Pampolina hoodie/cardigan.  It looks to be brand new, there's not a bobble on it.  I love the colours, I'm not one for pastels, and I'm really not going to miss her in this am I?  The embroidery on the hood is fabulous (though it seems to be more a decoration than a proper hood, it doesn't sit right), and the detail on the breast patch, wow!  SPARKLES!!!!  Every little girl needs sparkles from time to time, right?

The ladies in the shop were struggling to size it, it's a German brand, and like a few continental brands I've found, the label just gives a measurement, not an age. We guessed at roughly a 2-3, but it comes up a little bit small and is a spot-on fit for Squeaky right now.  Perfect for the chilly weather.

My friend picked up a vintage dressmaking book, a Wombles bed linen set (screamingly 1980's, I think I had the same one myself) and a toy laptop to entertain the girls over lunch (which was left in the cafe when we finished, it'd served its purpose!)

Then onwards to the NCT Sale.  The usual rugby scrum of over-entitled mommies, grannies and volunteers who are REALLY regretting volunteering and would much rather be sipping a latte in Starbucks.  I'm going to spread these finds out over the next few weeks, but today is all about the snuggly warm stuff.  The rails weren't inspiring me, I have to admit, so I spent my money on the rummaging tables in the middle of the room.  There, I spotted a Laura Ashley girls cardigan, again looks to be brand new, hiding amongst the George at Asda babygros.  I know I just said something about not wearing pastels, but creamy-beige doesn't count, does it?  I just fell in love with the detailing.  Covered buttons & the collar, oh.  I'm a sucker.  But £2.50?  For Laura Ashley?  I brought it back to its spiritual home, Laura Ashley was from Merthyr, so it's only right that the cardigan comes here.  That's my excuse anyway.

And finally for this morning, also hiding out on the rummage table, though I honestly don't know why... a Ted Baker hoodie, for the princely sum of £1. It would've been rude not to, for that price.

We learned a few ideas for how to handle the next sale better - merge our shopping into one bag, so only one person needs to queue, and the other can wrangle toddlers, then settle the money up afterwards.  The queues are crazy, and that seems to be where most of the patience (and tempers) are lost, adults as well as children.  Still, we each came away with a bag of bargains, and enough to keep the washing machine busy for a day or two.

Why not pop over to Missie Lizzie's place & see the other bargains? Me and My Shadow

Thursday, 17 November 2011

My letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I've been a very good girl this year, and for Christmas I would like:
A shiny new car
A shiny new house
A winning lottery ticket...

You get the picture.

I was thinking about this the other day, the Letter to Santa thing.  It's turned into quite a business now, there's a whole selection of companies and charities who will send your child back a letter from Santa, in return for a chunk of your hard earned cash.  But that causes a couple of problems - 1) which one to choose? and 2) have I really got that hard earned cash to spare?

I think I've found the answer.  The real Santa, as we all know, lives in Reindeerland, not a PO Box number, or a trading estate somewhere on the edge of Leicester.  And the real Santa will read our letters for free, and reply to as many as he can (sadly that means there's no guarantee, but FREE!)

If you, or your child, want to write to Santa, and tell him how good you've been, and what you want for Christmas, his actual, real & proper address is:

Santa/Father Christmas
Santa's Grotto

Just 3 things to remember:

  • Write your name & address on your letter, or Santa won't know who it's from.
  • Attach a 1st or 2nd class stamp to your envelope
  • Make sure you post your letter before Wednesday 14th December, to make sure it gets to Santa on time.
I got this information from the Post Office, I have not been compensated in any way for sharing it.  This is the first of my Christmas On A Budget posts.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Slatterny, or why I'm not allowed nice things

I was tagged by the lovely Wendy at Inside The Wendy House to answer the immortal question, "Where do I blog?"  And then I kept her waiting all weekend while I drank cider, watched The Wurzels and played on the beach, before coming home to answer the question.

We all wonder, I know, what the people behind the blogs we read REALLY get up to.  Are they the saintly neat & tidy people with everything in its place that my husband assumes is how the rest of the world lives, or are they the slatternly folk for whom everything has a place, and that place is wherever it lands?

From that picture, you might be able to guess which side of the line my blogplatz falls on. Highlights of this picture include: a can of Coke Zero, some hair wax, Squeaky's change bag (the black messenger bag on top of the drawers), and almost out of shot, the baby monitor.  You can tell it's real, the screen is showing my last post, mid-way through the creative process.  It's actually not as bad as it could be, there's often a discarded coffee cup or two, and maybe a plate of toast hanging around there somewhere, but as we've been away, I haven't had chance to make too much mess, there's only the static junk there today.

Honestly, though, I can see the tv, Squeaky's usually around my feet (the uncomfortable old wooden chair is because she worked out how to climb onto the computer chair, so I took it away. She can climb on this one now too, though.), or if she's not, she's watching CBeebies just a few feet away.  The desk is getting pretty rickety now, I had it when I went to university, and it kind of leans to the left in a slightly worrisome manner.  I keep thinking about replacing it, but while it's still standing, what's the point?  I'm the last of the Old Skool, in that I'm using a desktop pc (a very new one at that, I only bought it last month when the old one died a death), mostly because my lappy is a temperamental beast, and if I'm writing, I want to know it'll get to where I wanted to post it. Otherwise I'd blog in bed, it's warmer there.

I'm going to tag the following lovelies.  Are you saints, or slatterns like me?
Abigail of Abigail and the Future
Gingembre of Momma Wears Combat Boots

See Bibsey's original post, where it all began.

Giddy Up!

Hello, my adoring public
I said, way way back in the mists of time (earlier this year), that I was revelling in the fact that Squeaky loved the kind of sit-on rides you find outside the supermarket, but that she hadn't figured out they do things when you put money in them.  Sad to say, that's no longer true.  Squeaky Daddy is a soft-touch, and when she spotted the carousel horses (it was TEENY, only 3 horses and no up & down), out came his cash, and away she went.  Again.  And again, and again.  It's the start of something expensive, isn't it?  I can tell.

I Am A Cider Drinker
This was the last of our 5 (yes, FIVE) £9.50 holidays this year, and to be honest, it was probably the biggest let down.  We got a call a fortnight before, asking us if we could swap dates or locations, because they had a jive weekend on, and were over-booked.  Yet when we got there, there were plenty of empty chalets, so I'm not sure what was going on there.  We'd made arrangements anyway, so we weren't swapping.  And by arrangements, I mean tickets to see The Wurzels and babysitting by Grandma & Grandpa.  I'm not going to apologise, I spent my formative drinking years in Somerset, The Wurzels are an important part of my heritage & I can sing Combine Harvester with the best of them.

Serious business, this beach lark
Anyhoo.  The site, this time was like stepping into the set of Hi-De-Hi, and our chalet would have been classed as "basic" if it were 1981, never mind 2011.  Still, we did what we do best, and had fun.  The weather was remarkably mild for November, so we played on the beach, used our Groupon to visit the Seaquarium (well worth the Groupon price, not so sure about paying full price), ate ourselves silly at the carvery down the road, and generally had the Squeaky version of a very good time.

Please understand at this point, that the Squeaky version of a Very Good Time involves carrying around a small brown mouse bought from Ikea the other week, and trying to share your dinner with it.  Much to the consternation of fellow dinners.  No Little Brown Mice were harmed in the making of this blog, though one did get slightly sticky whiskers.

So that's been our weekend.  Horsies, little brown mousies, and a trip in a time machine back to the mid 1960's.  Next weekend... the NCT Sale hits Cardiff, so it's a girlie shopping extravaganza!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Justin Fletcher - Hands Up! The Single

No. Really. It's NOT a cover of the Ottawan song.  Though that would have been entertaining.

Justin Fletcher, star of pretty much EVerything on CBeebies releases his single Hands Up on 20 November.

Take a look. 

I sat Squeaky on my lap this morning to watch it, and she's hooked.  As soon as it finished, she was demanding "more".

Come on people.  Wouldn't it be even better than Rage Against The Machine if we could get Justin to number 1 for Christmas, keeping the X Factor off?  Children's tv's done it before... Mr Blobby and Bob The Builder were Christmas number 1s, so why on earth not Justin?  You'll be able to download the single from amazon or itunes from 20 November, and here's the facebook page for the single.

Do it people. Let's mess with Simon Cowell's master plan.  JUSTIN FOR CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE.  I'm starting a campaign. Are you with me?

Disclosure: I was provided with a cd free of charge for the purpose of this review.  I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own.  Links are provided for your convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Magpie Monday - End of the Year?

Yep. It might be the first week in November (just about), but according to my local car boot, it's the end of the year, and they're finishing now til about April.  I can see their point, it was a quagmire yesterday, and I really wished I'd got my wellies on.  Now I've got to take the car through the carwash (sorry, I'm lazy), and clean the buggy wheels.  In fact, can I do that at the car wash too?

Right. Well.  Anyway.  There's getting less stalls now as well, so nowhere near the chance of finding something lovely as earlier in the season.  I've been really jealous of people who've found lovely vintage Ladybird books for pennies, because I only ever see them in Hay-on-Wye with crazy price tags.  So when I spotted a pile of books today with those distinctive matte cardboard covers, I had to have a closer look.  Sadly most of the Ladybirds were newer, and the few vintage ones were dull and/or badly looked after.

The stall didn't disappoint though.  Someone who knows far more about these things than I was haggling out a bargain on a vintage early 70's Sindy doll, still in her box.  I wouldn't have known where to start with that, so I was glad to be out of it.  I did spot a pile of other old children's books, and took a closer look.  TBH I was hoping for The Eagle, Beano or Dandy, but my luck wasn't quite that good.  I couldn't leave the Enid Blyton Bedtime Annual of 1978 behind though, could I?  Sadly the binding's a bit shaky & there's a page missing out of the middle, but these things happen.  I'm particularly amused by the title of the last page "I Love Little Pussy"  (Oh dear, the google hits I'm going to pick up from that don't bear thinking about.)

And in addition to our old friend Enid, I also found a gorgeous pop-up fairy tales book, which I simply couldn't leave behind.  Sorry about the flash flare at the bottom, it's a really really yellow-tinted book, and all the rest of my pics were coming out looking like they had jaundice. It was 75p back in 1982 when it was printed, so the fact I paid 50p for the pair is a bit of a bargain.  This reminds me of the kind of books my cousins & I used to share at my grandparents' house when we were little.  I wonder if the Rupert Bear annuals are still there?

Do you know how difficult it is to take photos of pop-up books, by the way?  I didn't, but I do now.  There's only 3 stories in the book, but each one has a pop-up scene, and this one is my favourite.  (Any secret nail-bloggers reading this, I'm wearing Revlon's Facets of Fuchsia)

So, that's the car boots over for another year. Good job I've got a stash of finds I haven't shown you yet!  What have you found? Pop over to Missie Lizzie's place & tell the world. Me and My Shadow

Hotel Chocolat Winner

The mighty randomiser has spoken, and the winner is Number 36.

The lucky winner is... Michelle @fluffymummy

I'll be in contact very very soon.  Thank you all for entering, please stick around, I'm sure there'll be more cool stuff very shortly.

I've sent you a DM on twitter, can you get back to me by Sunday (13/11), thanks!

Friday, 4 November 2011

HABA Toys Splish Splash Fishing Set

We were delighted to be sent the HABA Splish Splash Fishing Set to review recently, as part of our ambassador relationship with HABA

The Splish Splash fishing set is a lovely introduction to magnets, with a fishing line with magnetic “hook”, and five beautifully coloured fabric creatures to catch, picking them up with the magnets hidden inside them. Squeaky loved the bright colours straight away, and quickly got to grips with catching the fish, crab, jellyfish, starfish and turtle, and then taking them back off the hook.

The creatures are as colourful and well made as I've come to expect from HABA toys – the fabric is well stitched, and the animals are brightly coloured with attractive designs on the fabric and happy smiling faces. As well as catching the creatures, we've spent many (many, many) moments identifying the creatures in response to Squeaky's “Whassat?” questioning. To me, that shows a good degree of thought has gone into the game, providing an educational aspect, as well as the entertainment. There's also opportunity for education for older children, learning about magnets, polarity and magnetism, without the messy iron filings that I remember from my own childhood.

The Splish Splash fishing set is a fantastic take-along toy, the whole set fits into a pocket or bag, and as the creatures are magnetic, it's easy to keep everything together. The creatures are water-friendly, and the game can be played as a water fun game in the bath, in a paddling pool (if only the weather was better), or on dry land. I found the creatures dried quickly and well, and if you're like me, you can use the magnets to stick them onto the radiator to dry even quicker!

Squeaky hasn't bored of the Splish Splash fishing set at all, and it seems to have quickly become a favourite, and she returns to it on a regular basis, and is now discovering that magnets stick to other things too! I've found  the starfish in a few unexpected places!

The HABA Splish Splash Fishing Set is suitable from 2 years.

Disclosure: I was provided with the HABA Splish Splash Fishing set free of charge for the purpose of this review.  I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own.  Links are provided for your convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

HABA Small Sounds Workshop Review

As HABA ambassadors, Squeaky & I get exciting parcels to play with, to share our thoughts with you lovely readers.  Recently, we received the HABA Small Sounds Workshop to try out & review.

The Small Sounds Workshop consists of a drum, xylophone (with beater for either), and a “magic sound flute”, better known to those of us of a certain age as a Swanee Whistle. All the instruments are made of beech wood, and are smooth, safe and light enough for small hands to easily play.

Squeaky immediately took to the xylophone and drum. We'd visited a local hands-on science museum about a week before the toys arrived, and she'd been fascinated by a drum machine and a much larger scale xylophone, so these couldn't have been better timed, her eyes absolutely lit up. The swanee whistle's ball handle makes an excellent second beater, and Squeaky quickly mastered drumming & playing the xylophone with both hands. I think we may have a future Patrick Moore on our hands! The xylophone's three chimes are different colours, adding a good educational aspect, as we can encourage her to hit a certain colour to play simple tunes.

She did struggle with the swanee whistle a little, while she enjoyed the sound, she struggles to blow it successfully herself, as she tends to block the opening, but I've no doubt in time she will master this as well, and I'll find myself accompanied by sound effects wherever I go.

I was a little concerned that Squeaky would be a bit young for the Small Sounds Workshop, as it says ages 2 up, but she's 21 months, and I've had no cause for concern, the parts are all firmly fixed and she's loving her introduction to the world of music. As long as HABA don't start making full sized drum kits and violins, we're safe!

Disclosure: I was provided with the HABA Small Sounds Workshop free of charge for the purpose of this review.  I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own.  Links are provided for your convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Sneaky Peak

I thought I'd give you a quick sneaky peak at what came through our door the other day...  

There's only 2 things I'm going to tell you so far.  The first is that you can pre-order your own copy from Amazon  (I am not an Amazon affiliate, I will not make any money from you using that link).  The second is that I was half expecting the title track to be a cover of Ottawan's 1981 classic "Hands Up".  Thankfully I was wrong.

Magpie Monday - Is There Anybody There?

Sorry. It's Hallowe'en, I couldn't resist a spooky title.  I haven't really been buying ouija boards from the charity shops.

Instead, do you remember a couple of weeks ago, I was bemoaning the fact that a mid-week visit to the in-laws meant I'd miss the car boot sales, but at least I'd still be able to get roe & chips?  Well, I was wrong.  Not only did I completely fail in my quest for battered cod eggs, but as we came off the M6, we spotted those familiar red signs.  But instead of saying "Sunday Morning Boot Sale", or even "Sunday Afternoon Boot Sale" (Sunday afternoon starts at 10 a.m. for no good reason), they said "Thursday Boot Sale".  Be still my beating heart!

Who am I to refuse?  Off into the muddy field we go, to find much the same as the weekend boot sale, including the impassable mud pit and incompetent car drivers.  Had a bit of a wander, and then Squeaky spotted this.  And when I say spotted, I mean something more akin to "gave a death stare & yelled MINE".  The somewhere-Eastern-European guy selling it could barely control his smile.  They were pretty near to packing up, and I think he was glad not to have to take it home.

I've been tempted to the Toy Story phones for a while now, though torn over whether a toy phone will distract Squeaky from trying to play with the house phone, or just encourage her more.  So when she/I found this one for £1, my decision was made.  She chatters away on it, and even seems to get the hang of the dial (and when was the last time you saw a phone with a rotary dial?), but it's not made much difference either way to her obsession with our real phone.  Ah well, you can't win 'em all.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Hallowe'en Tricks & Treats with Poundland

I never really got the chance to "do" Hallowe'en as a kid.  The whole Trick or Treating idea passed me by (it was the 80's after all, who would tell?), and then when I was older I moved to Yorkshire, where it seems to get passed over in favour of Mischief Night on 4 November.

So it's only now I really get the chance to play.  Squeaky's still far too young for Trick or Treating, but that doesn't stop us enjoying ourselves.  Poundland sent us a bag of goodies to get our Hallowe'en off to a great start (and I'll be scaring the local kids when they knock the door over the weekend, now)

Costumes and Hallowe'en parties don't have to be expensive.  A couple of white loo-rolls (or bandages) make an effective mummy costume, as long as the weather's ok.  Cotton wool pulled apart makes spider webs, or you could just pull the real thing down from the corners of my hall. Talc for a white face, a little tomato sauce or old lippy as blood.  And the old favourite to drink - vimto, with peeled grape eyeballs floating in it!

Poundland are also a great way to get your Hallowe'en supplies in for a low price.  We were sent masks, face paints, tights, and THE coolest beanie hat in the world, see for yourself. I snuck it out of the parcel without her noticing, aiming to wear it myself, but as soon as I put it on, she shouted "MINE, MINE!" and I had to give it up.  All the way round town, my little skelly girl modelled her hat, even when we popped in to Poundland for a few extra supplies for the weekend (batteries, Vimto, popcorn & glowsticks, if you really want to know!)  Whether you're going out, or just want to decorate the house to get into the spirit, there's loads of choice - oh yeah, and big bags of sweeties to distribute on the doorstep.

You can easily make your own Hallowe'en items at home too.  We got baking yesterday, and made Gruesome Marmalade pumpkin cupcakes.  Dead easy (muahahahahah!)  Take your own favourite cupcake recipe, or a packet cake mix (that's what we used, I'm lazy), and add quite a healthy dose of red & yellow food dye to make the cake batter bright orange.  It takes a lot of colour to make the resulting cakes colourful, so don't worry about overdoing it.  I probably could have done with a bit more in here, to be honest.

When it's mixed, put a small amount of cake batter into your cupcake cases, then add a quarter of a teaspoon of marmalade to each cake, then cover that up with the rest of your cake batter.  Try to make sure the marmalade is completely covered.  (If I was a food blogger, I'd've remembered to take photos at this point)

Cook for as long as it takes.  When they're done, take them out & leave to cool.  Meantime, use some green food dye to colour fondant icing & make stems. They're fairly gruesomely orange inside, but taste fab, the marmalade gives them a lovely flavour. And I can never resist fondant icing.  These cost me about £1.50 in total to make, for the bits I had to buy, all the rest was already in my kitchen.  Told you Hallowe'en didn't need to be expensive. And I can hand these out to the Trick or Treaters!  Not sure whether they'll think they're a trick or a treat, mind you.

So, there you have it, my guide to a great value Hallowe'en, with a little bit of help from Poundland.

Disclosure: I was provided with a selection of Poundland Hallowe'en products free of charge for the purpose of this review.  I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own.  Links are provided for your convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Hotel Chocolat Christmas Selection Review & Giveaway - CLOSED

This competition is now closed.

You know me, internet, I'm just slightly addicted to chocolate.  So when Hotel Chocolat got in touch with me & asked me to pick something from their Christmas Selection to nibble upon as the evenings are getting darker, well, how could I possibly refuse?

Shall I let you in on a shameful secret?  SqueakyDaddy hates mince pies.  I only like mince pies when they're warm & they've got a cheeky spoonful of brandy cream underneath the lid.  So when I browsed the Christmas Chocolates page, and spotted Alternative Mince Pies, my mind was made up.  Milk chocolate cups, with praline & salted caramel sounds far better to me than pastry & raisins.

The box contains 6 beautiful chocolates, and the attention to detail is astounding, even the tape sealing the box is printed to match the box design.  Seriously people, these are some beautiful chocs.

You'll have to imagine your own sprinkling of icing sugar over the tops of them, I didn't have any in the cupboard, and thought talc probably wouldn't do the taste any good.  But don't they look like mince pies? The ones from the posh shops with the shaped lids?  I know which ones I'd rather be offered.

You're probably thinking "6? Is that it?" but believe me, they are so beautiful and rich, I couldn't eat more than 2 in a sitting, and the second one I had to take my time over.  In the interests of an accurate review, I obviously had to have a darker and lighter one, just to see the difference.

Look at that!  If that's not a droolworthy photo, I don't know what is!  The praline layer on top is smooth and light, and the salted caramel base, well, what can I say? You can see it there, it's perfect.  I don't know why salted caramel tastes so good, but it's like something from another world.

We're converted to mince pies now, in Squeaky Towers, but only the alternative ones.  There's no alcohol in these, but I've got to admit I haven't shared them with Squeaky, they're too good for little mouths!  I think I'll find her something from the Stocking Fillers range instead.  Go and have a look & see what you'd buy.

Well, I mentioned a giveaway up the top there, didn't I?  That's what you're here for.  The lovely people at Hotel Chocolat have got a pack of Alternative Mince Pies for one of you lucky, lucky people to win.

How To Enter.

All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me which Christmas tradition you'd like to swap for an alternative.  Whether you'd like to replace the mistletoe with a glitterball, Cliff Richard with Justin Beiber or Morecambe & Wise repeats with Gigglebiz, the choice is yours.  (Tell me how to contact you as well, or I'll have to eat your chocs!)

Additional Entries
Extra entries can be gained by following tweeting Alternative Mince Pies, in your eyes! Win with @meedja & @HotelChocolat at

Or by liking the Squeaky Baby Facebook Page

Maximum 2 additional entries.  Please leave separate comments for each additional entry.

Closing Date Sunday 6 November at 23.59 GMT.

Please read the Terms & Conditions tab above. Entry into this competition signifies acceptance of the terms & conditions as stated.

Disclosure: I was provided with a pack of Alternative Mince Pies free of charge for the purpose of this review.  I was not told what to write, and all opinions are my own.  Links are provided for your convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Cuddledry Cuddlemoo Review

I'm a big fan of loyalty schemes, the idea of getting something for using a product you'd use anyway really appeals to me.  So I was quite upset when Organix announced the end of their Natter Codes promotion.  However, it did spur me on to collect all my barcodes & send them off before the closing date, and in return I received a Cuddledry Cuddlemoo towel.

You may well have heard of Cuddledry, the founders featured on Dragons' Den a few seasons back.  Well, their range goes beyond the beautiful apron towel for babies, and also features toddler towels, SPF beach towels, colour change bathmats (how much do I need this? Not for Squeaky, but for her Daddy!), a whole range of bath accessories, and even a doggy version!  Squeaky had pretty much outgrown her baby towels, and the poncho towels on the high street are great for the beach & pool, but not all that practical at home every day, or at least not for me.

Anyway, I chose a Cuddlemoo, a toddler sized towel, with an absolutely adorable cow print, and little cow horns on the hood.  I knew the towels were good quality, from everything I'd read before I chose, but nothing prepared me for how good.  The towel has two layers of bamboo & organic cotton, so it's super-soft, and keeps in the warm as well as absorbing water.  I didn't quite understand that to start with, but there's two fine layers of towel, seamed together, trapping lots of lovely warm air between the layers.  There's a single press-stud at the bottom of the hood, meaning the towel stays on even when Squeaky decides to sprint through the house in search of fun.  Being a press-stud, I'm confident that if the towel catches on something, it will easily undo, reducing the risk of injury, something that worries me with ties & ponchos.

I love the design of the Cuddlemoo.  Squeaky has plenty to say for herself, though not all of it makes a huge amount of sense at the moment, but one thing she definitely knows is the noise cows make. Admittedly, she's adamant they say "mmmmmm", but it's close enough for me, and whenever she sees a cow, be it a real live one in a field, a picture in a book, a toy, or on the tv, she happily greets it with "mmmmmm".  She does the same with her Cuddlemoo towel, a sure sign it's designed to be understood.

There's loads of growing space in the Cuddlemoo, it's designed for walking age to 3 years, so I can see it being part of our family for a long time to come.

We even took our Cuddlemoo on our recent caravan holiday.  The weather was a long way from warm & dry, but even so, the towel dried quickly, and stayed soft & snuggly, and ready for the next wash.  And as the towel is so fine, it rolls up tight and takes up next to no space - essential in our little car!

I'd really recommend the Cuddlemoo, and the other products in the range. They'd make excellent gifts, as they're both practical and gorgeous.  I'd love an adult sized one, but as yet, they don't exist.  Maybe next year?

I received my Cuddlemoo towel free of charge as part of the Organix Natter Codes loyalty scheme. I was not asked to write this review, and have not received payment for it.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Magpie Monday - A Penny Saved...

Well, after an extended break, thanks to life, work, and a whole host of technology-related tragedies, we're back on the Magpie Monday wagon this week.

I'm sure I've mentioned before that one of Squeaky's favourite hobbies is robbing my handbag.  She particularly enjoys finding my beat-up silver purse, opening it, and tipping the contents all over the floor.  As a result, the coin part had sort of stopped staying closed properly, so I was losing all my cash into the bottom of my handbag - also known as a black hole.  New purse, therefore, was order of the day.

I'd decided, following our recent trip to Newquay (not enough charity shops open, booo), that what I wanted was a surfer-style velcro rip wallet, because it might present a slightly tougher challenge.  What I could find in the High Street, was either too big, too small or too expensive.  And the day I'd decided enough was enough, the market was closed, so I couldn't find one in there either.

Instead, I popped into whichever charity shop it is in Swansea that bothers to open on a Sunday morning (only one, but it was far busier than I'd expected), and sitting on the shelf above the shoes, I found it!  The perfect Quiksilver wallet, for the princely sum of £2.50, rather than the £12 or so the surf shop round the corner wanted for it.

So I get a lovely new purse, and better yet, Squeaky gets my old purse to put her plastic coins and other treasures in.  Two for the price of one!  Can't beat that, can we?

See who else has been bargain shopping this week at Magpie Monday. Me and My Shadow