Author Archives: fayebell

Tips from a top Baby Jumble seller

Tracy was our top seller at East Finchley Baby Jumble last year and sold 90% of what she brought along on the day. She has kindly shared her top tips on how to make the most of selling at a Baby Jumble nearly new sale

How did you hear about Baby Jumble?
I heard about the nearly new baby sale online through a mum & baby Facebook group

What prompted you to come along last year?
My twins had reached 3 1/2 years old and I hadn’t parted with anything during that time.  With two of everything taking over my house, I felt that booking a table at Baby Jumble would force me to start sorting everything out and get a room back in my house that I’d lost to baby paraphernalia!

Who did you come with?
My Mum was my right hand sales lady

What did you enjoy about the event?
The location was very local for me so I was able to spread the word amongst my neighbours and friends. Plus I knew East Finchley would be a great market place since it is so family-orientated

You were our top seller at the sale – what did you find sold well?
Yes, I sold about 90% of my goods. People were clearly searching for specific items – especially large items in good condition that are costly to buy new.

Did anything surprise you about the event?
Even before we’d even set up and opened doors, there were shoppers arriving and eager to get in and get the best bargains!

Have you got any advice for sellers?
I think I did well because I did my research before I priced.  I only sold good quality clean items and I didn’t pile things high. Items were clearly visible and labeled properly.  I had a separate price document with photographs and descriptions of items which I shared around my networks beforehand, so people knew in advance what I was selling and who to ask for on the day. But my main piece of advice is to really think about your buyers… most people are coming with cash in their back-pocket – probably no more than £100 – so whilst a large item that cost £200 new may seem a bargain to the seller at £50, most buyers wont go for it because it wipes out their budget.  Everything I sold regardless of original price was £5, £10, £15 or £20 max.

What about advice for buyers?
Have a clear idea of what you are looking for.  Bring cash.  And don’t hesitate too long; if you want to browse all the tables first to compare pricing then don’t expect popular items to still be there when you return.

The Pox

‘Chicken Pox’. The word ‘chicken’ makes it sound quite cute, as if someone, somewhere back in time decided to take the edge off and make it sound appealing to its usual victim – children. And in some respects it does because although it’s never pleasant, it’s usually less horrific on children. But when you get it as an adult it’s not cute. It’s medieval. It’s THE POX.

It started with an itch. And then some lumpy bumps on my face. Around about day two the strange new look my face was worthy of a selfie. Then it became more and more unpleasant until the night of day three when all of the redness and lumps gathered forces and marched north to my scalp where they settled into a pulsing, agonising itch that drove me absolutely fucking insane.

While my son – the deliverer of the gift he picked up from the germ pool also known as nursery – slept soundly nearby, I itched and scratched on the sofa all through that night. TV failed to distract and a 3am viewing of ‘Sweat the Small Stuff’ had me feeling that life was no longer worth living.

The grim news from the NHS website (still more appealing than Grimmy) informed me that I had one of two things: Hand, Foot and Mouth (1 week) or Chickenpox (2 weeks). And so I settled in for the long haul…

It’s nearly nine months since all this happened and looking back at the daily photo updates, I’m reminded of the incredible changes – horrific and hilarious in equal measure – in my appearence over the following few days as the spots took over my entire body. What I remember less well is just how unwell I felt those first few days: feverish, roaring temperatures and exhausted.

By now looking like a fully paid up lepper, I pulled on a hat as low as I could without losing all vision and headed to the doctor.  She visibly shuddered, confirmed it was chicken pox, then shrugged and prescribed me some pills with the admission that they’d almost certainly have no effect. This wasn’t strictly true. Whilst they didn’t have the effect of curing me, they did give me powerful hallucinations. Fun for the first day or so – I remember flying with a swarm of bees – but the drugs quickly began to really addle my brain and so I knocked them on the head.

Meanwhile the outbreak of spots had levelled off to a state of utter carnage and I was begining to warm to them as they had clearly warmed to me. Could this have been Stockholm Syndrome on top of Chicken Pox? By now I was a week in and settling into a homeopathic routine of cool baths garnished with a heavy splurt of Aveno lotion followed by concerted hours of watching Wimbledon on the TV. It worked.

The insanely irritating itching had only lasted the first few days. The fever another couple of days. And then it was just me and the spots. Spots which initially threatened to crush my morale but by day ten I felt I was cultivating them like a proud farmer growing tiny, crusty radishes all over my body.

It was two weeks before I felt the compulsion to pick them. Naughty I know, but with the greatest will in the world, there will always be a place or two where a little scar won’t do any harm. Picking and sitting, no longer itching, the third week was one of feeling much, much better, interspersed with visits to the bathroom where the mirror reminded me that I still looked absolutely ludicrous. Will it ever end?

It did end but slowly. Spots and scars remained for some weeks yet as did an inglorious beard and an unwelcome lesson learned. Until my brush with the pox, I’d been dismissive of the reports that delightful young children could become carriers for far from delightful illnesses. Especially – I thought – my little Fred. How wrong I was. And I’ve got the photos to prove it.'s not pretty!

…it’s not pretty!

There is a postscript to this story. Poor little Fred – the cute carrier – who had had a small dose of the pox himself before passing it onto me, clearly hadn’t had it hard enough to build up the antibodies. So while I was on the mend, he was breaking out in a vigorous new batch of spots which eclipsed his earlier outbreak. And as his constantly down turned, sulky and sad bottom lip reminded me of the shitty feeling of the pox, I wished – far too late – that we’d just got him vaccinated in the first place.

Baby Jumble revisited: top tips from a seller and why Baby Jumble is good enough to do twice!

Sarah is from North London and booked a table at the East Finchley nearly new sale last year. Read her top tips for sellers and why she decided to come along and do it all again…

Which Baby Jumble nearly new sale did you sell at?
The East Finchley sale last September

And what prompted you to come along?
When you first become a parent you don’t realise how quickly your child grows out of clothing and toys and I soon realised that I had lots of beautiful, almost new clothing, shoes and toys that no longer fitted or were played with. As the pile kept growing and the storage space became less I knew that I had to do something – and fast! Like most families these days, times are hard and I realised that perhaps I could sell things on to other families and make some of my money back. I really liked the sound of Baby Jumble and how all the money you made was yours.

Who did you come with?
I came with my best friend who has a slightly older child than mine. It worked out really well as we split the table cost.

What did you enjoy about the event?
It was a great atmosphere. Everyone was really friendly and the selling part was lots of fun.

What did you find sold well?
I found that boys clothing sold really well.

Did anything surprise you about the event?
Just how much fun it was. I came thinking it might be quite stressful but left with a big smile and some cash in my back pocket!

You have booked a table at the next East Finchley sale – why have you decided to come back and sell again?
It proved a good way of making some extra money – useful for buying the next stage of clothing and toys.

Have you got any advice for sellers?
Make sure your table looks tidy and presentable and clearly label your clothing. I packaged things in clear bags and put outfits together, which went down well.

What about advice for buyers?
Keep coming and keep buying!

A Day In The Life Of A Stay-at-home Dad

tommyI have been pretty hands on dad when it comes to raising our 6 month old son, Kizzy Ray. I have always felt comfortable as I had helped raise my two younger brothers and have also spent lots of time with my nephews, aged 10, 5 and 2. So when my girlfriend suggested that I take 3 months off of work (paternity) when she returned to work at the end of her maternity leave, I felt quietly confident that it would at LEAST be a bit of a rest bite from the hectic pace of life working full time in a busy London restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, I know AND appreciate what my girlfriend does, but she makes it look and seem effortless! I mean, how hard could it be taking my son to the park every day, giving him some tummy time, keeping the home tidy? Being off work I’d surely get to watch some great movies, keep up to date with all the summer football transfers too…? EASY! Right…? Or so I thought….

It Starts…

Now Kizzy Ray is a pretty good sleeper. His mother and I have been blessed that he likes his routine, and will regularly sleep in excess of 10 hours a night. So when he wakes at 8am and has his 1st feed, I would usually still be sleeping after a night shift and not notice. I would normally be woken up around 9ish for some “Daddy time” before I would jump in the shower, eat breakfast then off to work again all before 10:30am. (depending on rota’s). So in my mind, that was always a switch off point for me where I could concentrate on other important “non-baby” related issues. (Mostly Facebooking and Sky Sports news updates)

Now all my prep had been done the night before, bottles washed and sterilised, I’d got some food bits in to make breakfast for my girlfriend before she went to work, and a mental list of all the movies I would be watching over the coming weeks. SWEET! And I swear to God, all was going according to plan until my better half informed me that I would also need to make our son his organic carrot puree for his tea, feed him his breakfast solids, cut his nails, do the weekly food shop (she had already emailed me the list), fix the pushchair I had broken when we were on holiday and to make sure that I taken the meat out of the freezer so I could cook our dinner later. WHAT?!!? All this on top of Tummy Time and making sure I take him out for fresh air and play time? A joke. Surely…?

Honestly, I did NOT know where to start!  So I just sort of, stood there! Looking at the pile of dirty breakfast dishes standing in front of me, my son laying on his play-mat, and all the time in my head trying to figure out (logically) which of the two needed addressing first, when it suddenly dawned on me… I was in deep s#!t! Quite literally. The God awful whiff expelling from my sons nappy meant that the decision had been made for me. Dishes it was! Kidding. After dealing with my sons gift and getting him into his daytime clothes (his Arsenal kit that I had bought before he was even born) I placed him on his play mat for Tummy time and started defrosting his solid foods. I have to hand it to myself, I even managed a bit of multi-tasking and did the dishes at the same time while also keeping a paranoid little eye on the rug-rat, who had somehow managed to get himself under the coffee table even though he cant yet crawl?!!?

After feeding/wearing a fair amount of Kizzy’s solid food, I decided that I needed a quick time out to re-group so I put him in his Jumperoo, a total God-send piece of equipment that was to become my Alli over the coming weeks when I needed to be doing something and needed to have him somewhere that I knew would A) keep him safe. And B) entertained. This bought me a GOOD 25/30mins. Time enough for me to peel his carrots that I would be pureeing and take the meat out of the freezer. I had planned to do something really special for dinner to kind of show off how well I had handled and easily adapted to my new role, but feeling slightly stressed out already (it was only 11:50am) I went with my trusty old fail safe. Spag Bol. (every mans specialty) At this point little man started whinging. I was a little confused as I had fed and changed him so he should’ve been good. When I picked him up and asked him what was wrong, he responded by rubbing his eyes… A-ha! Nap time. YESSS!

Now, I had planned on using his nap times, as my daddy time, but I was to soon work out that his nap times were to become my “getting stuff done” times. So with him down for an hour or so I successfully finished his carrot puree and began freezing it, put a load of washing on and prepared to hit the shops and park when he woke up. Again. I had totally under estimated just how much effort and forward planning goes into getting everything together in order to be able to leave the house with an infant. Its kinda like packing to go away for a whole weekend! And even though I had checked, double checked and even did an idiot check, I still managed to forget his “muzzie”. So when he made a mess after feeding, I had to use my sleeve to clean it up. Nice.

The day was fast fast slipping away, and by the time I had finished my calamitous shop in my local Sainsbury’s having fun trying to push a buggy and pull a shopping trolley at the same time (bumping into a few disgruntled OAP’s along the way) all the time trying to reason with an 8month old who despite me telling several times in my best soothing ‘mummy’ type voice that we were “almost done, baby…” continued to voice his frustration and anguish at what I can only assume was his complete and utter dismay at how incompetent a buffoon Daddy was. I swear, it was almost like he was mocking me from his pushchair as I once again rammed him into a supermarket display… Ooops!

My walk home was a little slower than I anticipated, what with being laden down with shopping bags and having to stop every few meters to rest my hands and take a breather. At least Kizzy found my struggle amusing… Having accepted that I wasn’t doing too well I made the executive decision  that I would NOT be fixing the push chair today!!! Sod it! I was going to drop off the shopping, change his nappy then hit the park for some play time. We did this and I really enjoyed watching him shuffle through the tunnel in the park backwards. I think it was the 1st moment that day that I stopped stressing or worrying about time schedules or what else i had to do. It was just me and my beautiful son playing and laughing. This was the moment that I remember most about our 1st day together. it was definitely one of those father son moments that i will always cherish…

When we returned home, I must admit that I felt a lot more relaxed. I think the fresh air and a little play time really does help! He ate (and loved) his carrot puree, and was happy to have some more tummy time while I made the fastest ever Spag Bol and threw a load of washing on. And with that all done I could concentrate on getting him ready for bed. So by the time Mummy arrived home little man was bathed, ready and enjoying a cuddle on the sofa with daddy while we listened to his Bedtime Nursery Rhymes…

“How was your day babe?” asked my missus. I replied with my BEST EVER poker face… “Easy..”.      😉    Xx

*I like to add that after Merilin arrived home, she was quick to point out my failure to cut his nails, the washing that although was now clean, was still in the washing machine, the buggy was still broken AND i has failed to put Sudo-cream on his neck after bath time…

*I’d also like to add… I have (since the time this article was written) improved to almost “Black belt” daddying status!!!   🙂 Xx

Camping holiday with a baby (is it a holiday?) – list of essentials

Relaxing amidst lush green fields, beautiful beaches with freezing cold water, eating stinky cheese and baguettes for ten days solid and drinking only the reddest of red wine. Our camper van trip to France was full of potential for our first family of three holiday – and it was fabulous – really lovely. Daisy loved the seaside – shouting with excitement each time she saw dogs jumping the waves, ponies trotting down the beach, and seagulls swooping down to scavenge picnics. To watch her little inquisitive face trying to work out all of the new things that she was seeing was fabulous.

But seriously… nobody tells you that camping with a baby is HARD WORK! I can’t decide if we came back more tired than when we left (actually, we definitely did!), but on reflection it is definitely worth it. So go ahead and book that ferry crossing, dust down the camper and get packing.  My advice is: know your subject.

So, here is my holiday essentials checklist for camping with a baby:

          awning or  gazebo come rain or shine to avoid sunstroke and to keep the pram dry during downpours
          at least two beach or yoga mats that can be your base when back at camp and can be taken to the beach etc for picnics (beach picnic with baby on the move = very tricky)
          tiny blow up paddling pool (AKA baby bath) to keep baby clean and to cool down on a hot day (we got ours from the pound shop – best £1 I’ve ever spent)
          highchair – this may seen excessive but is probably no. 1 on my list of essentials as Daisy was SO distracted when eating picnic style as she just wanted to crawl around.  The highchair enabled me to keep my sanity during mealtimes and prevented Daisy from starving (luckily, we’d splashed out on the Baby Bjorn highchair which folds flat and is super neat, so didn’t take up too much precious room in the camper).
          sterilising tablets to keep baby alive (and another top tip: be vigilant about rabbit poo on the floor = BAD when put in baby’s mouth)
          plenty of hats / bibs / vests / weaning spoons and bowls
          easy to put on / take off cardigans and warm layers
          WET WIPES
          head torch
          warm, runny baby porridge for the morning – drunk from a bowl (I consider this to be the baby equivalent of the early morning caffeine fix….an essential kick start to the day)
          bananas (the simplest,  healthiest, easiest of all foods for littluns, non?) and other easy to access snacks (esp. for driving days)
          small selection of toys

Finally, don’t forget to take a healthy amount of humour for the ride – it was much needed at times, especially when the tiredness crept up on us!

Enjoy the trip brave travellers – your baby definitely will – but be prepared to book grandma in for a day on your return so that you can rest up and recover!


Yoga For Pregnancy

Guest blog by Sunnah Rose – Yoga Teacher, Pregnancy Yoga Teacher and Child Birth Educator in North London

I feel so honoured to be part of the positive experience that women go through on their journey to becoming a mother. With their body changing before their eyes, the sense of control, the harmony and the peace that Yoga helps to realise can be such a powerful benefit to mums-to-be, whether it’s their first time or if they’ve been through it before.

Yoga plays a very important role in pregnancy. It is such a wonderful time and yoga is a beautiful way for a pregnant woman to allow herself the opportunity to connect inwards with herself and her baby.

The postures and movements are all designed to ease problems that come up while pregnant and by keeping flexible and mastering different techniques Yoga can be a wonderful way to promote positive outcomes for mother and child. Even if you breeze through your pregnancy easily (lucky you!) the breath work and visualisation will help you to connect with your body and baby.

The classes are designed to give you a range of tools to take in to your birth, and working with similar movements week on week helps you to trust in your body. From experience, I know that a lot of women find themselves too much in their heads throughout pregnancy and delivery but of course the female body is a highly developed baby machine and yoga techniques are one of many great ways to recognise and trust in this.

The tools that you learn will help you through the discomfort associated with labour, will give you positive relaxation techniques and from this relaxed place, hopefully you will be able to deal with whatever comes up in as calm a space as possible.

Sunnah Rose

Another useful resource for finding yourself a brilliant local Yoga teacher is

I am my mother afterall…

I’ve always thought that much as we resist, we are genetically programmed to turn into our parents at some point. My lovely friend Jo Avery sums it up quite nicely on her blog.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, I am my mother after all.
The final realisation hit me as I bit down into my crackerbreads and light cheese spread that I can hide from it no more. I am my mother.
I have become a 1976 housewife.
I ride to school on my bicycle with a basket on the front. Just like my Mum.
I eat two crackerbread’s for lunch whilst watching Australian soaps. Just like my Mum. Only she watched The Sullivans and Sons and Daughters. I watch Neighbours and Home & Away.
I help out at my children’s school listening to children read. Just like my Mum.
I tell my children to not sit on public toilets. Just like my Mum.
I wipe muckiness off their faces with my own spit. Just like my Mum.
I go to coffee mornings whilst the kids are at school. Just like my Mum.
I buy all my school uniform from M&S because, ‘it washes well.’ Just like my Mum.
I don’t like going out on Saturday nights anymore. I used to chastise my Mum for this as a teenager, seeing it as a sure sign of having no life. Now I am to be found with a cup of tea (not even alcohol) on the sofa watching Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday night. Just like my Mum.

God help my other half…