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.

We’ve come a long way, babies!

My second baby Ben is approaching his first birthday. For me it feels a bit like I deserve a graduation ceremony for passing the baby phase for the second and almost certainly final time. For me, year one for each of my babies were probably the hardest of life.  Neither were particularly difficult babies and there were no significant dramas – this is definitely a case of it’s not them, it’s me.  I am now more than happy to admit that my cute, blue eyed little hair bears just terrified me to my very core. 

I can’t count the number of times a mum has advised me to enjoy the baby bit; “because before you know it they’ll be running around”.  I’ve always nodded enthusiastically whilst secretly thinking how much I REALLY want to get to that running around bit.  In my mind if they can run then all I really have to do is catch them and I’m darn sure I’ll be able to run faster (for the next 10 years at least).

I’ve thought so much about why it has been so hard for me.   It’s certainly not a bonding issue.  I was head over heels in love with both the little monkeys the second I knew they were in my belly.  Both of them have been nothing short of utterly mesmerising to me from the minute they arrived.  I look back at photos of them pretty much on a daily basis.  Cumulatively in both their first years we’ve had 5 professional photo shoots, I have their foot and handprints in silver, clay and on Christmas baubles.  Each of them has a fully completed “Baby’s First Year” book and each has enough blogs and magazine articles written about them to embarrass them throughout their teens.

 Was it the major life upheaval?  Was it lack of sleep?  Hormones?  Am I just not maternal?   I know so many mums who just rock the baby phase. They love every second and mourn its passing.  I’m in awe of them.   For me though, the whole thing was just, well, enormous.

Firstly, you realise when you become a mum that all the adverts, book covers and packaging photography of babies are actually not “baby babies” at all.  When you see an image of a podgy little cherub in a high chair wielding a spoon, sprouting a couple of little bottom teeth and giving you a cheeky wink, it’s likely that baby is approaching its first birthday.  A real live actual baby is about the size of THAT baby’s left leg.  It can’t see, it can’t digest, let alone hold food, it can’t smile and it doesn’t even know it has arms!

Then, there’s the responsibility of protecting something that helpless, coupled with the unfeasibly ridiculous amount that you instantly love them.  It rendered me almost incapable of breathing.  I barely slept for the first years of each of my baby’s lives.  Ironically, they did!  I remember describing one of my nights to a friend; “yeah finally got to sleep at 11, woke at 2, then 3.30, then woke up for good at 5”,   they looked at me sympathetically and told me  the baby would start sleeping through soon enough.  The baby had been sleeping through for the past 3 months. 

For me though, the clichés were all true.  It did get easier.  There is a point in time when my mummying mojo arrives and that is somewhere around the 10 months mark.  I remember the moment with Holly.  She turned that age just as it turned summer and I distinctly remember coming back to life.  I remember giggling our heads off at rhyme time at the local library, playing on swings, feeding ducks, taking her to her first friend’s birthday party and just loving every second.  No fear, definitely not all perfect but mostly just joyful.

 Only this last week, I had my turning point moment with my little Ben.  We were sat in a coffee shop waiting for Holly to finish her gymnastics class (look how far SHE’S come!).  We were playing mock battles with plastic coffee stirrers and both laughing our heads off.  I lifted him out of the high chair and held him up in front of me, he stared right at me and moved in for what might have been a kiss, a bite or simply to soothe his teething gums on my cheek, but he looked me straight in the eye, held my gaze and didn’t stop smiling.  At that moment the whole world melted away.  It was just me and my gorgeous, perfect little boy.    I realised I wasn’t scared anymore.

And so now, my baby phases are near enough complete.  I know there may be trouble ahead – another round of terrible twos (threes and a couple of fours), school, teen rebellion etc. but bring it on.  I’m not scared, just up for it and ready.  So go on my little munchkins, you run.. and I’ll catch you.  Always.

Contributed by our guest blogger Jackie Wilson. Jackie has worked extensively in marketing for brands including Twinings, Del Monte, Kingsmill and Cathedral City.  She is now living the ex-pat dream in Malaysia. She’s mum to two lovely children and is combining looking after them with some freelance writing, most recently for Bonda, the magazine for Malaysia’s equivalent of the NCT and ABWM Mag (Association of British Women in Malaysia).  Her Malaysian journey is chronicled in her blog at or if you’d like to get in touch she can be found at


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!

How To Keep Healthy Over The Festive Period

With the arrival of Christmas comes the worry that we’re going to have to make more an effort to tighten our belts.  Whilst Christmas can be a challenge, it’s not impossible to keep healthy. Here are my top Christmas tips to prevent weight gain over the festive period.
Eat like a child: Regularly Know the importance of eating regularly (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and put it into practice. You’ll have much greater control of your caloric intake and hunger, meaning that you are less tempted by the high fat and sugar treats that float around.
Sitting on your drinks Let’s not beat around the bush, alcohol is high in calories, so going to endless parties can make managing weight difficult. Practice being ‘stealth’: develop your capacity to hold on to a drink longer than others without drawing attention to it. When consuming alcohol at social events consider spacing out your drinks with sodas. Alternatively, choose drinks that don’t need to be chilled so that you can hold on to them for longer e.g. Red wine, rum, whisky etc…
Vegetable variety Yes they are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre (you know that already), but including vegetables at both lunch and dinner fills you up (ensuring that you are satisfied post meals). Meals don’t have to be all vegetables or all salad, just aim to make them a third of your meal.
Push it real good Kids not walking yet? Get some pavement time by pushing that pram around town for your Christmas errands. Leave the car at home and push that pram like it’s a treadmill and weight machine in one.
Think before you act Question hunger. Christmas can be a month long eating fest filled with parties and food gifts. When you’re diving into another fruit mince pie it’s important to consider if you are actually hungry… Or are you just eating it because it is there?

This time of year is difficult and it’s likely that you will slip up. Don’t worry, just take it in your stride and learn from it. Enjoy the festive period and remember: if you do better than last Christmas you have been successful!
Perryn Carroll – Registered Dietitian MNutrDiet BSP&ExSc
Twitter: @PerrynCarroll

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

5 reasons why women gain weight after having children?

It can at times feel like weight gain is inevitable after having kids. There are some challenges that make managing weight difficult post childbirth, but it can be mastered.

Here are 5 reasons that may be making managing weight difficult post childbirth:

Plate scraping.  Your child has some food left over (kids are great at knowing when they are hungry and full), but there’s only a little left so you eat it. Although a few spoonfuls, this can add up. Two tablespoons of rice contains around 100kcals and consuming this amount daily over a month could amount to 0.5kg (1lb) weight gain. When cleaning up, consider storing food or throwing it away.

Missing meals. As adults we struggle with eating regularly because we don’t feel hungry.  Over the years our environment and experiences have led us to lose touch with our hunger signals (even though they are still going off). Figure out why you miss breakfast or lunch or dinner and work out what you need to do, to get you eating regularly. Eating regularly has been found to be an important habit in weight control.

Master chef. Cooking 3 meals is not easy and is time consuming. You don’t intend to make variations, but previous tantrums have made you make adaptions…sound familiar?  Don’t worry, you are not alone and there are steps you can take to change things.  If certain foods are rejected, they need to be tried around 15-20 times for you to know for certain if they actually like or dislike the food.  Your kids should be eating what you eat. Not the opposite way around.

Treats for the kids. You don’t intend to eat them, but you do. You’re not alone, a lot of my mother and grandmother clients complain of picking at the treats they buy solely for their kids/grand kids. Consider the next time you go and grab a treat: do I usually grab a treat at this time? If so, there may be a pattern (boredom, stress, feeling low) which you may wish to work on.

Gym membership. You’re thinking right now ‘what gym membership?! I don’t go to the gym. I have no time’. This is exactly it, before kids you had the luxury of time (and money).  In the past you would slog it out doing regular exercise at the gym and local sports in the park.  As a mum being more active basically means moving more. Be creative, I have a lot of female clients walking their kids to and from school, extra-curricular activities and events. This is a clever way to fit in incidental exercise. They are also utilising their aerobic classes recorded from TV or DVDs, alongside their kids Wii sport games (with and without their kids).

As noted above, weight control is much more than watching what you eat. It’s about watching the habits you have changed. If you are struggling to manage your weight, I would suggest chatting to your GP who will be able to direct you to your local expert weight loss dietitians for advice.

Perryn Carroll- Registered Dietitian MNutrDiet, BSp&ExSc

Twitter: @PerrynCarroll