Review - Holiday Entertainment at Eden High Wycombe

Back in October I was very excited to hear about the opening of a new kids area at our local shopping centre, Eden. We attended the opening and reviewed the facilities which are adjacent to a Toys UK store and friendly cafe - Sam's Deli.

Since then I have been impressed with the amount of activities put on by the team at Eden's Kids Corner, especially during the holidays. At Christmas they hosted an amazing little 'Elf School', during half term they had jungle themed activities and for the Easter holidays they have two whole weeks of spring time fun - all completely free!

Today was the first day I made it along but I've seen lots of friends posting pictures on social media of their children's handiwork earlier this week and am sad to have missed out on garden gnome painting, flowerpot making and daffodil windmills. If it was as good as today then I certainly missed out and I won't be making that mistake next week.

Review - Toddler World at Wycombe Rye Lido

If you're local to Wycombe then you know the Rye, I'd also bet that you've been to the Lido - either years ago, or since it's refurbishment a few years ago. I first tried it out when I was pregnant with Lily, it was perfect right at the end of a really hot summer and I wished I'd found it sooner.

What you may not know, is that they also offer a fun soft play session called 'Toddler World'. It's on every Tuesday and Thursday, even during term-time and costs just £2 a child per hour (although they weren't strict on timings when I was there).

When Lily was a baby I would go to toddler world with a friend and her baby boy, Maximus. The babies would crawl around and play and I could grab a coffee with my friend and have a catch up. The location was pretty easy to get too (apart from the one time we attempted a short cut and got stuck between a lake giant puddle and some very swampy muddy ground) and it was nice to have a wander and feed the ducks after. If the children hadn't worn themselves out in the soft play area, there was always the park or adventure playground to try out.

My Son - The Comedian

Despite only being a year old, Ollie is showing signs of becoming a performer in later life. If he does something to make you laugh, he works out quickly what is was and does it again and again. He also enjoys winding people (me) up by doing something I've asked him not to and smiling whilst he does it.

On Saturday we visited the Roald Dahl Museum with some friends. Most of the activities were for older children but Lily really enjoyed it, especially the story telling session. She also took a liking to the Fantastic Mr Fox in this display, although it was her brother who caught everyone else's attention and stole the show.

He now has a thing for glass panels and will crawl over at any opportunity to squash his face and chuckle whilst he smears goodness-knows-what over previously pristine glass.


Top tips for selling at a car boot sale

We're almost at the end of our really tight month of cash and I'm hoping that next month will be a bit easier but before payday coming on Thursday we encountered the Easter weekend and it was really tough to not overspend.

Knowing we wanted to do some fun bits, but having little money to spend, we decided to do a car boot sale. At the beginning of the month I went to a baby and children's nearly new sale and I had everything packed nicely and good to go again already so it was very little effort to pack the car and get going.

I mainly sold some of the kids old bits, some toys, a baby bouncer chair and loads of books. The books sold much better than I expected when a lovely guy came and bought all my Terry Pratchett's in one go. I know he got a good deal from me, but I didn't mind. I like selling to people who share the same interests as me and we chatted for a bit which was nice.

It was by far the nicest day of the weekend and the location of Big Ben's Car Boot in West Wycombe was lovely. There seemed to be a good range of stalls and it was quite busy at points. It cost £10 for our pitch and we went home with £35 in our pockets after spending out a bit on ice creams, drinks and some plants for the garden.

So, if you're looking to get rid of some household clutter and hopefully make some cash, here are my top tips for successful selling at a car boot sale.

1. Find a good one!
There isn't much point going to all the effort of prepping for a sale if the organisers don't do their bit to get buyers through the door. Go by recommendations, check out options online and be prepared to travel a bit further if you need to. Check the weather forecast before you leave, there's no point going if the weather is awful.

2. Bring a friend
Unlike the Nearly New Sale I did the other week, you can't really do a boot sale on your own. It always helps to have an extra pair of eyes watching for unsavoury behaviour (let's not be naive, some people do steal things if you're not watchful). If nothing else, a friend can be someone to chat to when it gets quiet and cover you when you need the loo!

3. Don't be intimidated by dealers
There's always a couple of people hanging around as soon as you pull up. They swamp you asking if you're selling electronics/jewellery/toys/perfume... They can be a tad scary but don't let them intimidate you. The best advice I received was to just get out of the car, lock up and go grab a cup of tea. They'll move on and come back later.

4. Bring plenty of change (and carrier bags)
You will need loads of change and you don't want to be caught short when someone decides to pay for a 50p book with a £10 note... It's harder with plastic bags now that shops charge, but try and collect them for a couple of weeks ahead if you don't have enough stored under your sink already.

5. Be wary
Like I said before, don't be naive and assume that everyone there is a lovely potential customer. If you're watchful and careful when it comes to locking up your car and cash, then you should be fine.

6. Have fun haggling!
I love haggling but can be put off by some people if they're very aggressive. I usually price my items a tiny bit above what I'd like for them so I have room to negotiate. If you don't want to sell at the offered price then don't - but weigh up the money you want to make against packing it all up and taking it home again.

7. Grab a seat (and drinks)
You're likely to be there for a few hours and after the first rush you may not want to be on your feet the whole time so it's a good idea to take a folding chair. I didn't and wish I did! It's also a good idea to take drinks with you as it can be pricey to buy them there.

8. Be organised
After the last sale I already had everything packed and labelled by size. There is some debate as to whether you should price your items beforehand - I did, but only because most bits had already been priced for the last sale. Customers are more likely to haggle at boot sales than they are at nearly new sales and so as a rule, you don't need to label all your goods as long as you remember what you want for them. When you pack the car, make sure you pack the table last as it's the first thing you'll need at the other end!

9. Don't spend your profits
It's easily done. We made over £40 in profit but did end up spending out on ice creams and then some plants for the garden.

10. Don't be disheartened
After the first rush it can get really quiet and you may be tempted to start packing up early but don't - people will still trickle past and you can still make some good sales. Everything you sell is something you don't have to take home with you, and every penny profit is better than a kick in the teeth. At one bootsale, selling mostly junk Matt and I once made £70, I've heard some people that make tons more and at other times have sold less. It just depends on the day. Don't feel sad if you don't make a fortune, there's always more opportunities at another time.

Have you had fun selling at a bootsale before? Do you have any tips or advice? Share them with me in the comments.

A Cornish Mum   Monkey and Mouse

Morning Calm...

I discovered this quote when I first read 'Sweet Summer: Growing up with and without my Dad' by Bebe Moore Campbell. I've since re-read the book many times and there are two parts which always stick out in my memory - one is a part about beheading a chicken for cooking (random) and the other is this quote.

Cuddle Fairy

Wicked Wednesdays

This photo pretty much sums up my life right now. Living with a grumpy threenager. Send wine. And cake.


Easter Craft Round-Up

One of the many reasons I can spend so long on Pinterest and browsing through blogs is the amazing amount of crafty inspiration. I don't know how people come up with these ideas for seasonal themed activities but I am so grateful for them.

Here is a quick round up of some of my favourite Easter themed activities.

1. I have a thing for buttons and was really taken with this simple but stylish button egg art by Super Busy Mum.

2. I'm going to be giving this sweet craft a go from A Patchwork Life, the tree looks fun and I think it'll be a fun springtime craft for a quiet afternoon.

3. I was so inspired by these potato print eggs and bunnies by Three Sons Later and I will definitely be trying it out myself this week. I also loved their field of sheep - ingenious!

4. These adorable painted birds from All About A Mummy - We're big fans of Baker Ross and Yellow Moon in our house and I love that these birds are great value for money and yet easy to create something so cute. Also check out those paper flowers! They look amazing!

5. I've always enjoyed doing sensory activities with the kids (well, the jelly play, not so much) and so I was really taken by this Easter egg hunt sensory basket by Play at Home Teacher.

6. We made our own flowery Easter bonnets this week but I obviously missed a trick by not visiting our local Hobbycraft for the goodies that inspired this delightful creation from Truly Madly Kids.

We made... an Easter Bonnet!

We do enjoy partaking in crafty activities in this household, even in months like this one when we're counting our pennies, making meals go further and trying to get in extra cash. With Easter approaching next weekend I'm definitely feeling Spring-like and have already made our Easter tree (which you can see here) and some paper bunting.

By shopping in Poundworld, Poundland and The Works and using bits I already had at home I've been able to add a little decor and a couple of afternoons crafting for about £7.

Our last purchase was this hat from Poundworld, they had a few colours to choose from and a number of different stickers and objects to stick on them. I didn't buy any extras as I knew I already had enough crap stuff at home in my junk craft drawer.

I grabbed some pastel coloured cupcake wrappers from the cupboard, some brightly coloured buttons, ribbon, washi tape and stickers. Then Lily and I got to work. Making a variety of different flowers.

Upcycled Dining Room Cupboard

I'm not usually very good at making things and crafty-stuff. Kids stuff, messy play, baking things, yes. Actual grown-up bits of DIY, no.

So I am relatively surprised by how this project turned out.

It started with this wooden cupboard unit with three drawers, bought for a bargain £30 from our local British Heart Foundation furniture shop.

It was a bit battered in places and had a fair few tea rings on the top, although it was a good fit size wise for our dining room alcove, it didn't really go with anything else in the room.

So I sanded it down, wiped it clean and gave it a few coats of paint. I also changed the handles to these blue ones from Zara Home that I bought in the sale for £2 a pack.

Since I finished painting I have noticed a few chips, I'm sure that's because I did something wrong, but having no expertise in this area at all I have no idea what it is. Matt assures me that he thinks the chips make it look good but I'm planning on touching it up a little at a later date. For now, I'm pleased and it is playing host to our Easter tree.

For someone who isn't usually good at this sort of thing, I'm glad I gave it a go! Are you any good at upcycling furniture? Or perhaps you know what I did wrong with the chips? Let me know in the comments below! Share your links, I'd love to see them.

  Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Wicked Wednesday

Perhaps unsurprisingly, my last entry for Brummy Mummy of 2's Wicked Wednesday linky is now my most viewed post ever. If you'd like tips on how to get white emulsion paint from your carpet, you can take a look here. I won't be offended if you laugh, I laugh too now (hysterically).

This week I have another comedy snap, courtesy of my darling son... It would have been nice to get a photo of him not attempting to eat playground bark, or unintentionally telling me to f**k off, but oh well...


Motherhood: Job, Career, Vocation?

It's already a week since Mother's Day. A day of thanking those who raised us into incredible human beings (thanks Mummy). Of course #MothersDay was trending on social media, and so, as I scrolled through FB on my phone (whilst enjoying my lie in and breakfast in bed) I came across this image.

It made me chuckle. I liked it. I shared it. But then it nagged at me. Tugged at my mind until, in the early hours of Monday morning, as I fed Ollie and got him back to sleep. I pondered a truly meaningful question.

Is motherhood a job, a career or a vocation?

What I learnt... from doing a Nearly New Sale

Having started the month in a pretty rubbish financial position, I've been working on ways to save money. We're cutting back on our spending, making our meals go further and on Saturday I tried my hand at making money.

I've sold unwanted stuff at boot sales before but was surprised at how different it is selling at a Baby and Children's Market nearly new sale. The clientele at the event on Saturday were far more discerning and there were a number of businesses like Usborne books and Water Babies attending.

Unlike a boot sale, you didn't have to be there and setting up at the crack of dawn. The market opened it's doors to sellers at 9:00 and let buyers in from 10:00 until 12:00. With only an hour to set up, you need to be organised and have an idea of how you want to lay out your stall.

I picked a 4ft table for £10. This also included space at the side of my 'pitch' for a clothes rail and larger items. I don't have a clothes rail and so set up clothes on the table but I did worry that it wasn't showing off my wares in the best way. Instead, I used the space at the side of my stall for selling Ollie's playmat, a Mothercare bouncer and some toys. As the sale progressed and I sold some items I did move bits around to keep it looking tidy.

Thrifty Meals - Moroccan style lamb stew

Continuing my thrifty theme for this month, I thought I'd share with you this easy way to use some roast lamb left over from our Mother's Day dinner.

I'd bought the small joint of lamb from Ocado - not my usual choice of online supermarket but they had some offers on which meant it worked out only £2 more expensive than my usual shop. A pleasant surprise. The lamb itself was only £4.25 and was lovely cooked by my wonderful husband with some potatoes and veg on Sunday.

The problem was, I didn't want to throw away what was left but there wasn't enough there on it's own to make a small meal. So, after a rummage in my cupboards and freezer I settled on a lamb stew packed full of beans and vegetables:

1 can of mixed beans
Frozen broccoli
Frozen cauliflower
Frozen carrots
Frozen (can you see a theme emerging?) mixed peppers, baby sweetcorn, and mange tout.

I then added two portions of passata, a splash of red wine and some vegetable stock followed by a pinch of saffron, some cinnamon, some turmeric and some black pepper. I chucked it all in the slow cooker with the lamb and cooked it on high for 5 hours.

It went down really well as a family meal. With no added salt or nasties it was great for Ollie, had loads of yummy veg for Lily and plenty of flavour for Matt and I - even if Matt would have preferred more meat and less vegetables!

I am having to be even more savvy than usual with our food shopping for the month, so if I have any more successes I'll be sure to share them here.

Hold him a little longer...

I'm finding that this quote really resonates with me at the moment, as I get to grips with the fact that I have a one year old son! The first year with Lily seemed to last forever, but I feel like the first year of Ollie's life has whizzed past.

S**t! There's PAINT on the carpet!

First, I apologise for my potty mouth. I assure you, swearing in this situation is entirely warranted.

Second, if you are our landlords and have stumbled upon this blog, don't panic and please skip right to the end of this post!

Picture the scene. An idyllic afternoon in the Kirsch household. Daddy is at work, Mummy is home after doing some overtime and Lily is painting whilst Ollie plays on the floor with his cars...

Wait. Where is Ollie?


Oh sugar. Sugar. Sugar. SUGAR!

My baby, my darling, my gorgeous boy has managed to tip over a huge tin of white satin paint all over the carpet.

I screamed. I cried. I laughed. All at the same time.

Then I whipped out my phone, took a photo and then called my Mum.

I'll never know how he did it. That lid had been stuck fast when I tried to prise it open and touch up the unit I'd painted over the weekend. I'd given up and popped the tin by the back door so I could take it to the shed.

Remembering this experience sends shivers down my spine. I ended up in hysterics and cried pretty much all afternoon. But. I lived to tell the tale, and here are my top tips for dealing with a similar situation:

1. Put the baby in the bathtub
This way they can't do any further damage by crawling around whilst you attempt to clean up.

2. Scrape as much paint as possible off the carpet
Don't rub, it will only make it worse.

3. Pray the paint is water-based
It should say on the tub and it makes the whole removal process a lot easier.

4. Call for back-up
My mum was amazing and turned to DIY-Google for instructions whilst I sobbed washed Ollie in the bath.

5. Be prepared to make sacrifices
Unless you have A LOT of kitchen towels, you're going to need to use whatever absorbent materials you have to hand. I spent ten minutes lamenting the use of my Cath Kidston tea towels. But, in the end, it's cheaper to replace them than a carpet.

6. Pour water and washing up liquid
Pour it over the stain, then blot straight away with the tissue/towels. Then keep going. Don't pour too much and always have the towel ready for blotting to stop it from spreading out.

7. Don't leave the toddler unattended
Lily had been happily painting before disaster struck. She was then amazing and was really good looking after Ollie and keeping out of the way whilst I got to work. However, at one point I glanced over and saw Lily, paintbrush in hand, stood on a dining chair, and I shrieked like a banshee.

8. Keep pouring and blotting
It is a long process, but it works.

9. Get a takeaway
Maybe it's just me looking for an excuse but the idea of cooking on top of two hours of working on the carpet was about to send me to a soft padded room and so I grabbed a meal for Ollie from the freezer and ordered a curry for the rest of us.

10. Pick your poison
It might be wine, or gin, or chocolate or (like me) cake. Whatever it is, you deserve it.

As they say, all's well that ends well and the carpet is now back to it's old self. Helped along by a friend who lent us their steam cleaner it's looking lovely and new, all substances are in the bin back where they are meant to be and I'm saving the photo for when Ollie brings his first girlfriend home for dinner...

brummymummyof2 A Cornish Mum

We made... spoon puppets!

I had a bit of a shock today when I went to organise funds after being paid, only to discover that Matt's work hadn't paid him for the days off he had early last month when he was struck down by lurgy. It leaves us in debt this month before we've even started and so seriously curtails any activities I had planned.

I couldn't face a day indoors, I like to get out at least once a day to stop the walls from closing in on me. With that in mind, I still headed out and got the bus into town to visit Lilymae's Play Cafe. Once there, I was tight and only grabbed a cup of tea for myself and a toasted teacake for Lily. It wasn't as though I needed to buy any more and having no money helped me fight the temptation to eat cake.

Normally I quite like to wander around town on payday, maybe splash out on some Primarni or some clothes for the kids but instead, I headed straight back to the bus stop and only detoured for Wilkos to pick up these fabulously cheap wooden spoons for 30p each.