Monday, 28 February 2011

When chazzing goes wrong

I haven't bought anything this week, so for Magpie Monday I'll share a cautionary tale with you instead.

Where I live there's just one charity shop and it isn't that great. I pop in from time to time for a rummage about and I've picked up clothes and books for K. And tablespoons. If I see old tablespoons I have to buy them.

One day we went in and I spotted a singing Gabriel the Toad from Bagpuss, tags still on, sitting in a basket of unpriced soft toys. The elderly shop assistant came over and started chatting to K, asking her which toy she liked. I waved Gabriel under K's nose but she completely ignored him and grabbed this instead...

The man said "Oh you can have that for 50p", at which point I examined the manky beast and, trying to find an excuse to put it back on the pile, muttered something about looking for washing instructions which the man took to be my way of negotiating on price. "Ok then, 30p". Now, what Mother is going to put back the toy that her child has taken a shine to, in front of the shop assistant, in a charity shop, when it's only 30p? I asked how much for Gabriel too and we ended up with both for 50p.

We walked back through the park where I was tempted to 'forget' bunny and leave her on the swings. At home I checked online just in case she was some collectible worth a fortune (she wasn't) and we named her Vera after the manufacturers name on the label, Vera Small.

The lesson of this story is that chazzing is best done alone or, if you are taking your little one, make your selection before the assistant gets involved. Unless you want a house full of misshapen bunnies of course.

This week I'm working in Sheen which is a charity shop mecca so hopefully I'll find some goodies to share next time.
Me and My Shadow

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Personalised retargeting

Have you noticed how you can be viewing a website and a banner ad will appear for an online shop that you've recently visited?

That is strange enough but when the ad starts scrolling through the actual items you've been looking at it can feel very big-brotherish. Add to this the fact that it's your wedding dress, the dress you are trying to keep secret from your other half, that is popping up and you can get pretty freaked out.

I found a little 'i' in the corner of one of these ads...
so I clicked it and it took me to Criteo (a marketing company) where I had the choice to opt out of what they call 'personalised retargeting' or what I call 'spying on what I look at online'. And if that sounds like something out of Minority Report, things could get a lot worse. If this Telegraph article is right then I'll need to summon all my willpower when I'm walking down the street and a billboard is calling out my name and trying to tempt me into Starbucks.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Tick tock tick tock

Ella has invited us to share a cherished item for the Friday Club.

What would you save from your home if it was burning down? I expect a lot of people, once family and pets were safe, would go for the photo albums. I'd have to agree on that and rescue my beloved macbook which has got my digital pics on (I should seriously back it up more often).

But the item I want to share is this...

It doesn't look much, just an old kitchen timer, but I love it!

When my Grandad died last year, the family had to clear the house to sell. I was there on the day of his funeral, most of the furniture had been cleared by my mum and Aunty and there was just a few boxes of stuff destined for the charity shop. I spotted this timer and being in need of one, and loving the duck-egg blue colour, I took it home. But it didn't work. I gave it a good scrub (I did that to the previous timer I had and the numbers rubbed off!) and amazingly it started ticking away noisily like a time bomb.
I use it nearly every day and it evokes happy memories of being in Gran's kitchen when she was cooking a roast or fairy cakes. I know they would be pleased that it was still being used and still working after all these years. I must get my make do and mend mindset from them.

The Friday Club

Here are the other entries in this carnival:

Making It Up gives us her favourite cherished items.

The Diary of a Frugal Family shares her family's most Special Things.

Scribbling Mum tells us about her photo wall.

Cheeky Wipes gives us her cherished item in Tables Aren't Just For Eating At....

Red Ted Art tells us about her DIY Hobby Horse.

Snipsnaphappy tells us about her cherished item in My Granny's needle.

I Need Curtains for the Window inside my Head writes about the pieces of jewellery that mean the most to her.

Tiddlyompompom tells us about Adopted Ted.

Freckles Family shares A treasured possession.

Mymumdom posts about A Small Boy's Treasure.

Notes From Home posts about her cherished reclaimed box.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Free nappy cream sample

A little freebie I noticed today...

I've always used Sudacrem on K's bot, I think it's because I got those dinky free pots in my Bounty packs and, being pathetically easily swayed by marketing, I've stuck with what I know.

This freebie is a sample of Bepanthen, a brand I've heard of but not used before. Click the pink 'free sample' button in the middle of their homepage, answer a few questions and a sample will be posted to you (I can't see any mention of how big the sample is, hopefully a few bottoms-worth!)

Image from the Bepanthen website

Monday, 14 February 2011

Clutter on display

Just in time for this week's Magpie Monday the printers tray that I ordered from ebay arrived*. I'd mentioned it in my post (organising for magpies) and thought maybe I should follow my own advice for once so I went ahead and bid for it – don't you just love ebay? These drawers go for around £10 to £25 but postage adds another tenner.

I went round the house and collected junk treasure from various pots, drawers and boxes until I had accumulated this:
The drawer was a darker wood than I'd thought from the photo but still lovely with little brass corners on all the dividers, I'm hoping they might shine up with a bit of brasso.

I've started sticking bits in just to get an idea of how it will look but I'm going to have to wait until it's up on the wall to fill it properly.

And the old metal type I have now has a good home.

See what other second-hand goodies other bloggers have found over at Me and My Shadow.
Me and My Shadow

*Mr answered the door to the poor postman in just his pants thinking it was me returning from the childminder's!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Know your enemy

The Friday Club theme this week is 'Parenting Tips'. My parenting style is very much make-it-up-as-you-go-along so I don't feel particularly qualified to offer any practical tips.

I have, however, been conducting a series of tests which I feel would be of benefit to parents. Allow me to present the Stickometer (patent pending).
The results of the stickability scale are calculated by the following: ease of removal from carpet, child's face, your favourite jumper, hair, next-door's cat, and also by the 'half-life': how long you will still be finding it lurking in the aforementioned places. I hope it will enable parents to make an informed choice, e.g. At a friend's house with nice cream curtains? Steer clear of the readybrek, go for peanut butter and hope for the best.

If there's anything that should be added to the scale please let me know. Right, back to the lab for me.



Here are the other entries in this parenting tips carnival:

Nova at Cherished by Me shares her tips in Encouraging Children to Read.

Gemma at HelloitsGemma's Blog gives us her working mum tips in This working Mummy’s guide to life.

Maggy at Red Ted Art shows us how Baby Can Draw!

Chris at Thinly Spread gives us her Secret to Relaxed Parenting.

Cass at The Diary of a Frugal Family shows us how she teaches her children about other countries and cultures whilst having fun in America Day.

Helen at Cheeky Wipes gives us her tips in Fussy Eating.

Mummy Beadzoid gives us some Parenting tips for the NICU/SCBU parent.

Kelly at Domestic Goddesque shares her advice in Terrible Twos: tips for dealing with tantrums?

Ella at Notes From Home gives us her tip for encouraging children to tidy up at the end of the day.

Tiddlyompompom shares her weaning tips in her oh so helpful guide to weaning.

Mymumdom shares her tips in Parenting Tips (Me Over The Edge).

SouthoftheRiverMum tells us her plans to set up a Reward System at Home.

Not so single mum at Diary of a Not So Single Mum shares her advice on doing what you feel is best for your child and your family.

Jax at Making It Up discusses behavioural issues in a quandary in search of a tip.

Bod for Tea shares her advice on finding a 'helper' to encourage your child to do things they don't really like doing in Bunny says.

Hayley at Simply Hayley tells us about Hugs and Love.

Blue Sky at Looking for Blue Sky gives us some teenage tips.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Magpie Monday: Retro dolls

There's nothing like a deadline to give me a kick up the arse, especially when it involves a freebie. I recently got a free Pixum* photo enlargement code from Tara at Sticky Fingers, as part of The Gallery, which was due to expire at the end of January.

Ever since I bagged this cute game at a car boot sale for 50p last summer I've had the idea to scan the dolls in, change the numbers for letters, and print a picture for K using photoshop. To keep the vintage theme I found an old wallpaper image on google to use as a background.
And here is the finished article up on her wall (the monkeys are a reflection of a mobile and not randomly in the picture!). I'm really pleased with how it's turned out and K seems to like it too – well, she points at it a lot!

Sadly some of the dollies ended up in a massacre  – I blame the MIL, it happened on her watch – and I'm still finding cardboard limbs down the back of the sofa, but at least they are immortilised on paper.

I've linked this post to Me and my shadow's 'Magpie Monday' which is a new place to link up your second-hand finds.

Me and My Shadow


*For anyone thinking of using Pixum, be warned... they charge a sneaky extra £1 for 'handling' on top of the £2.99 p&p. It also took an age to arrive, although I have to admit the print quality was excellent.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Free Ideal Home Show tickets

I've just ordered free tickets to the Ideal Home Show at Earls Court in London (max. 2 adults and 2 children) but the only dates left seem to be 21st to 25th March. If that's good for you then get in quick as numbers are limited.

Go the Ideal Home Show website, click on the link on the left to book tickets and enter code MOS11.

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