Monday, 28 February 2011

Magpie Monday - Denim Daze

This week's Magpie Monday theme comes to you courtesy of a twitter tweet sometime in the week, from Karen at All About The Boys, where she tweeted "Primark or Stella McCartney?".  That got me thinking to a couple of my finds, which, while not Stella McCartney, well, you'll see.  And then I decided to go all the way down the denim route.

First off, a find for me, from last week's Cardiff Charity Shop Blitz.

Since Squeaky arrived, I've lost quite a bit of weight, and as a result none of my jeans fit.  I found these for £5 in the PDSA shop.  Can you read the label?  Let me help... 

They're, shall we say, a little snug at the moment.  That just gives me some motivation to shift a little bit more weight (and maybe grow a foot taller!)  Perfect condition, I'm not sure they've actually ever been worn.

Then, on to Squeaky's finds.  Also discovered last week in Cardiff, in the Kidney Research shop, for £2.50, this lovely Next skirt.

Next clothes look great on Squeaky (who is currently wandering round the house carrying a damp vest.  It makes a change from a towel - I think she thinks she's Iggle Piggle), because she's all length and no width. I loved the little heart shaped buttons, and this will look great in the summer.

In the previous NCT Sale, back in November,  not the one last week, I also found her this pair of Monsoon jeans for £1.50.  I'm a sucker for embellishments, and though I can sew a bit myself, I'd never manage something as good as this, so I splashed out.  I actually didn't know Monsoon had a children's range until I found these.  It's probably for the best, at least in terms of my bank balance.

And finally.  This is the picture that was inspired by Karen's tweet.  One of these skirts came from the hospice shop by my mum's house, a Rocha Little Rocha skirt, costing me £3.  The other came from the NCT sale last week, a Primark skirt, costing me 50p.  But both are gorgeous, and I'm not saying which is which.

Come join us on Magpie Monday!
Me and My Shadow

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Feeding Frenzy

I'm the one with the frenzy.  My previously adventurous daughter has suddenly developed an attack of the toddlers.  She's decided that, aside from breakfast & yogurts, she won't be fed.  She's got to feed herself.  And only eat roughly the third thing I offer her.  ARGH!!!  I made spaghetti bolognaise last night, because she normally wolfs it down, and we had tears and tantrums before the first spoonful had even reached her mouth.

It's not so bad if we're at home, I've got a mat down under the highchair & some of those full-body bibs, so messes are fairly easy to clean up, but what about eating out?  We've been able to take her out with us for meals up to this point & she's eaten happily & behaved beautifully.  What happens now?  Can I only ever eat at McDonalds?  (Actually, I could just fancy a burger, but that's not the point)

I know she needs to learn to feed herself.  But does she have to be so grouchy about it?  We do fingerfoods just fine, but one thing I've been so proud of this far is that what she eats, she actually eats, not throws around.  Clearly those days are gone.  Hmph.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Magpie Monday - Literary Mode, and a cautionary tale

Saturday was the local NCT Nearly New Sale.  I'm still recovering!  It's real high-speed shopping - get in, grab your bargains & get out again.  Took me, Squeaky & a friend a total of 30 minutes, spending £15 between us.  Coupled with some excellent charity shop finds earlier in the day (lovely bit of Cardiff full of rich students & "Trendy Lefty" families, the charity shops there are full of treasures), a fabulous day's bargain hunting was had by all.

Those finds are still in the washing pile at the moment, waiting for me to take photos, so instead, here's our earlier purchases.

I love my books, and I'm trying to instill the same love of stories in Squeaky.  We have story time every night before bed, and make good use of the library so neither of us gets too bored of the same stories all the time.  But we always need more.  I'm saving the tokens in the Daily Mirror at the moment for a load of free (well, p&p and buying the paper) Ladybird books.  And mooching the British Heart Foundation shop last week, spending a total of £3, I came up trumps.

A pair of Ladybird story books, perfect length for bedtime stories, and as there's 5 or 6 stories in each, they're great for weekends away, as they take up so much less space than my previous staple, a hardback Dr Seuss book (also a charity shop find). And a couple of videos.  2 1/2 hours of Tom & Jerry, and half an hour of Tots TV.  I loved Tots TV when it was on (I was a student.  It was that, Sunset Beach & Supermarket Sweep), and I really like the bilingual aspect of it.  It was made by Ragdoll, you know, the folk who made Rosie & Jim, Tellytubbies & In The Night Garden... amongst MANY others, and has the same addictive qualities, at least to my memory.

We're one of a dying breed in our house.  We still have a working VCR.  And as a result I'm making the most of the chance to pick up classic kids tv on video for very little cash.  It's actually still illegal in the UK to copy things from one format to another, so I'm not in any way advocating transferring the videos to dvd or anything like that, though should the law change, I will be straight there.  So don't copy your pre-recorded videos, please.  This Has Been A Public Service Announcement!

I also mentioned a cautionary tale.  I should know this really, but always check your finds before buying.  A good shop will check things over & not put damaged items out for sale, but there's always something that slips through the net.  I found a Maisy book in another of our charity shops last week.  Looked in really good condition from the outside & I didn't think to look further as I was already running late.  Handed over my pennies & went.  Had a look at it later & found that all the "pull the tab" bits had been ripped out & the book was covered in biro scribble.  :-(  Never mind, it was only pennies & a good reminder to me that not everyone donates good stuff.

Came and join Magpie Monday.

Me and My Shadow

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

101 Uses For A Nappy Bag. Part 1

The first in an occasional series... 101 Uses For A Nappy Bag.

Not a change bag, the little scented nappy bags you get to throw the used nappy in.  30-odd pence in the supermarket, or a pound in the pound shop.

1) Disposing of a used nappy. Obviously.
2) Carrying home your wet swimming costumes.
3) Carrying dirty bibs & spoons after eating out.
4) Disposing of toilet paper when in Greece, without having a smelly bathroom.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Shloer Review - or Valentine's Day at La Maison Du Squeak

As I said in my last post, we went visiting SqueakyDaddy's family over the weekend.  And came back last night to find one of those little notes from the postie to say there was a parcel for me at the sorting office.  Off I went to pick it up & came away with two huge polystyrene tubes, each containing a bottle of Shloer.

Perfect timing for Valentine's Day.  For a lot of people, it's an unfortunate bit of timing, Valentine's Day falling on a Monday this year, what with work and/or school the next day, you can't really indulge in a meal in a restaurant, with a bottle of champagne.  (I used to work in a restaurant, I KNOW how much they put the prices up and squash extra tables in)  But for us it's even more of an issue.  SqueakyDaddy works strange shifts, and was off to work for 4pm today, so our Valentine's meal had to be lunch.  And there's no way you can have a bottle of bubbly over lunch, and drive in to work for a 10 hour shift.  And that's where the Shloer came in beautifully.

Poured into a champagne flute, it looks, and tastes, very grown up indeed.  Enough to feel like an adult, not a kid with a fizzy drink at the dinner table, but without pretending to be alcohol.  We had the white grape, teamed with tomato & bacon pasta, but there's also Red Grape, Rosé, Apple and White Grape, White Grape, Raspberry and Cranberry and White Grape and Elderflower, so there's something to go with every meal, and something for every palate.  And at £1.97 a bottle, it's a treat for your bank balance as well.

Pop over to Shloer's facebook page for some lovely recipes to go with your bottle.  I know Valentine's day is today, and so you've already either celebrated or ignored it, but why not surprise your other half, or treat yourself, to a special meal another time? Shloer, like romance, is for life, not just for Valentine's Day.

Disclosure: I was provided with 2 bottles of Shloer 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.

Magpie Monday

This weekend we went up to visit the in-laws, and living as they do in the middle of Car Boot Country, I was hoping for some great finds to share with you today.  Sadly the weather got in the way, and all but one were called off, and that was only down to the die-hard mobile phone kit vendors & coffee wagons.

So instead, I'm looking forward to this Saturday when I'll hit the NCT nearly new sale in Cardiff in search of, well, whatever's there, I guess.  And in that vein, today I'm sharing with you one of my favourite of Squeaky's outfits, sourced at the last NCT sale. 

Shirt & pullover - Feu Follet, brand new with tags, £1
Cropped trousers - Pumpkin Patch, £1.50

And while not *strictly* a Magpie Monday find, another of my favourite shops for rooting out a treasure on the cheap is the Catalogue Clearance place.  There's a few of these around, for different brands, but ours is a big catalogue company (I won't say which)  Not second hand, as such, but slight seconds & catalogue returns, for prices between low & VERY low, depending on your luck.  We had a wedding to go to, a little while back now, and obviously I needed an outfit.  And I found this.

Silk Oasis dress, £6.50. RRP £95.00.  Heck, a round of drinks cost more than that!

Jump aboard the Magpie Monday train.
Me and My Shadow

Monday, 7 February 2011

Magpie Monday

Miss Lizzie over at Me And My Shadow is a woman after my own heart.  I can't resist a bit of a bargain, I know I've posted about this before.  Anyway, Miss Lizzie has put together a blog link up called Magpie Monday, based around those bargain finds, from the charity shop, the second hand store, or wherever you find those little treasures that there's *no way* you'd have paid full price for, but just can't live without.

Sounds like my kind of link up.

So, here's my first treasure, and one I'm truly proud of.  I popped in the Cancer Research shop by my mother's house back last summer, not really looking for anything, and spotted a red dress in the children's section.  Looked a bit closer, beautiful, lined Mamas & Papas dress, with the labels still attached.  For £3.  Too big for Squeaky at the time, but even then I figured it would make the perfect Christmas outfit.  And here she is in that very dress.  Also with the "Baby Zimmer" as I tend to refer to that stroller/walker which was donated to us from my cousin, as her little girl has outgrown it.

More finds next time, got to take some photos.

Me and My Shadow


I kind of thought it would never happen, even though I knew it would.  Squeaky is officially walking!

She's only managing about 3 steps before she falls over - either leaning too far forward & faceplanting into the carpet, or just landing on her bum (hooray for nappies, the padding seems to help). But the point is, she's WALKING!!!  All by herself!

As soon as I can persuade her to perform on camera, I'll put pictures up.  But for now, I'm just excited & so proud of her.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Valentine's Day Tracklist

Priceminister  are giving bloggers the chance to win a pair of iPhones, a Fender Stratocaster or a Sony Vaio laptop by blogging their 3 track Valentine's Tracklist.  And it's an interesting way to find out a little bit more about people, by what they listen to.  It's harder than you'd think - all my cds are in the attic.  Admittedly, the songs I've chosen aren't necessarily greats, but they all make me smile.

1) Beautiful South - Don't Marry Her.  Specifically the album version, not the radio edit, because I like swearing. The words are so beautifully crafted, like all Beautiful South songs, the mundane vs the glamour, with a simple backing that serves to show off the precision vocals.  I wish I could sing like that.  *love*

2) England Dan & John Ford Coley - I'd Really Love To See You Tonight. Watch it. That's all.  It could be worse, I could have said MacArthur Park.  No honestly, I really do love this song, though no-one is ever going to believe me.  I grin like a fool whenever I hear it, even without the bonus of the youtube video & their incredible moustaches & suits.

3) Otis Lee Crenshaw (Rich Hall) - The Piano Is Like A Woman.  I had to have a bit of Otis in there somewhere, and I cry with laughter every time I hear it.  I can’t tell you any more without spoiling it, but I’ve seen him sing it live a couple of times, as well as having the CD & DVD it’s on, and it never fails to hit the spot. It’s a love song, kinda.

So, now I'm going to browse the prog rock selection at Price Minister, and find something that will really upset SqueakyDaddy.  I didn't even get as far as Barclay James Harvest!

Thursday, 3 February 2011


For Squeaky's birthday, one of the things we bought her was a Waybuloo ride on thing. Like this. I'd said we wouldn't get a straightforward walker, while she likes them, they're such a short-lived toy, and we really don't have the space.  I justified this to myself because of the ride-on aspect, it should keep her interest even once she can walk unaided.  Anyway, she had it a day or two before her birthday, because we had the party the day before, and I wanted to have it at the party.  And I've got to be honest, at the time, I really thought I'd made a mistake.  All she was interested in was taking the little plastic phone off it, and throwing that across the room.

But what a difference in a couple of weeks?  Now, she'll walk behind it pushing it along, walk alongside it pushing it sideways, sit on it & ride back & forth, sit on it BACKWARDS and ride it as best as the stabiliser will let her, hide things in the seat, squeak the horn, and even let some of her other toys ride on it while she pushes it around.  Upsy Daisy seems to have been given that honour most, but that might just be because she sits better than the rest.

I don't know whether she had to get used to it before she'd consider playing with it properly, or whether she just had to figure out what to do with it, but it's amazing to watch how she's figured it out. She loves it now, and I'm so glad to have got it right.  As for the little phone on it, that she was so enamoured of throwing across the room? I have no idea where it is.  And she doesn't seem to care.

I am not an Amazon affiliates member, they just had the best picture I'd seen.  I have not received anything for this post, I'm just commenting on my observations.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

tshirtprinting,net Review

I was recently sent a t-shirt from the lovely people at to review.  It's taken me a week, because in the interests of honest reviewing, I wanted to take the shirt through the full wear-wash-wear cycle, and that's not always as speedy as you'd hope.

I asked for a unisex medium shirt, and I received a lovely grey heavyweight cotton shirt with a cool multi-coloured monkey print on it.  The fit is generous, and fits either me or Squeaky Daddy comfortably.  Still a little bit big on Squeaky herself, though she's only in 9-12mths at the moment, so that's understandable.  The print is excellent quality, and has stood up to not only the wear-wash-wear cycle, but also pulling, bending, stretching and light chewing by Squeaky, without even a slight crack.  I've had loads of printed t-shirts over the years, and plenty have cracked as soon as you look at them.

The shirt is non-iron cotton, which makes me happy, as I'm a non-iron girl, as far as possible.  It looks a little creased on this photo, but that's at the end of a day's wearing, stretching & chewing, so a few crinkles are to be expected.

The website gives details of the different styles and sizes of shirts you can order, from childrens, through to adults & work clothes.  Minimum order is 12 shirts, but they'll even do a mix of sizes, so you could kit the whole family out in custom shirts for a special occasion (Hmmmm, isn't there a Rugby World Cup coming up soon?  Tempting...)

Joking aside, these shirts would be great for a work uniform, a stag or hen party, sports teams, or attracting a tv camera's attention at a sporting event (ask me about that some day, I have tales to tell).  Just brush your hair, put on your best smile and look for the camera with the little red light on it.

Disclosure: I was provided with a printed t-shirt 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.