Dear toddler…


This morning you insisted on sitting on my lap while I used the loo, making it the fourth time this week. You beg and plead by grabbing my knees, so giving in is always easier, your clever like that! Lately our mornings together are so familiar that they all blur into one. It starts with your incredible excitement over you ‘NANNNA’ (banana). Excitment quickly turning to panic with a hint of aggression as you await the unpeeled piece of that beloved yellow fruit. With your banana demolished at a record speed the yelling for porridge commences. You are working on your patience levels, I am working on my deep breaths. We are making progress you and I!

My favourite sport, tea drinking is now broken up into 400 explanations/interruptions regarding the reasons I will not let you drink the scalding liquid. Our compromise, you get a cup (empty) so we can both ‘drink tea’ together, while making ‘ooohhhh, awwwww’ sounds. The cup generally gets broken because you love to hold things above your head and let go, but hey it just means we get to practice our ‘ooohhh awwww’ noises while I scoop up the broken pieces.

You like to be my shadow when I’m doing the chores, and lately you are undoing everything I do. Unfolding everything I fold, pulling down books as soon as I shelve them, grabbing underwear off the clothes horse quicker than I can hang them. The other day while sorting (throwing) my socks, you put a pair of my knickers on your head (I’ve kept photos to embarrass you with later). Just when Ive gathered a pile of dirt with the sweeping brush, you crawl right in it and I have to start again. Although today I caught you in the kitchen with the dustpan and brush, you were banging the it off the floor (I assume sweeping) and not eating it, proud mummy moment right there.

You have figured out how to ‘un’ childproof the makeshift childproof bathroom door, that’s how determined you are to get your hands on/in that fecking toilet. Your fascination with it, ill never understand. I meet you half way and let you sit on the throne (seat down!) while you brush your teeth. It’s all about compromise you see.
You much rather playing with my make up bag than with your toys, and I’ve accepted that my brushes will most likely always contain snot and dribble. You enjoy exploring the contents of the recycling bin, but generally this buys me two minutes while I sort dinner so I’m okay with this now. You delight in emptying the pots and pans from the cupboard, Daddy’s even taught you how to make drums with them. We have the tiniest kitchen so I’ve trained my ears to block out the music you make as you bang away happily at my feet. You throw food on the floor only to later eat it again… from the floor. You attempt to crawl away from me commando style before I can snatch it from your hands.


So it may be years before the house is ever really tidy again, and a long time before I can pee in peace but I’ll tell you a secret, I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is the noisiest, messiest, busiest stage yet, but we’ve never had more fun your dad and I, nor laughed as much. And I know your more a toddler now than a baby, yet I find myself making excuses to carry you more, or attach you to my hip, because my sweet boy your growing so fast and I’m holding on with both hands. xximage

This Mum's Life



My guide to second hand shopping for kids in Edinburgh.

imageMy former self, the version pre Edinburgh would have turned her nose up at the idea of second-hand shopping. I just didn’t get the appeal. My only experience of them in Ireland would have been to donate bags of my old clothes and leave as quickly as I came in. They  weren’t the most inviting of places.

I was amazed when I moved here at the amount of charity shops that were dotted around the city. You couldn’t avoid them. Also delighted to discover that these  (well most of them) were far from the musty, jumbled up collection of ‘stuff’ that I had experienced back at home. It didn’t take long for me to catch on to the thrill of finding some hidden gems at ludicrous prices, even if it was just a mug.

Fast Forward a couple of years to the early weeks of parenting and turns out that browsing charity shops was a pretty good way to pass the time with a newborn. That, and the daily trips to local cafes, to throw my maternity pay at mediocre decaf coffees and too much cake.

I definitely no longer have that luxury of time,but I do still like to pop in when I get the chance.

Like many parents I love buying clothes for my little one, often spending more on baby stuff than I would on myself. It’s hard not to spend a small fortune when it’s all so seriously cute. But every now and again I do get a kick out of finding something second-hand at a fraction of the original price. And lets face it, with the speed babies grow, they hardly get more than five minutes in an outfit. Best of all the money goes to such worthy causes.

Here is a list of my favourite places to find treasures in Edinburgh for your little treasure:

St Columba’s Hospice bookshop, Montagu Terrace  EH3 5QR

I almost don’t want to tell anyone about this and keep it all for myself.. This goes at the top of the list because I have been filling my bookshelves with all the classics,thanks to this gem of a shop. The books are always in mint condition and with prices as low as 50p it’s a no brainer really. They also have a play area for children and sell local organic eggs! I never leave this place empty handed.

Barnardo’s Stockbridge, EH4 1LR

Well presented and organised children’s section. Generally best for baby/newborn items, almost always more selection for girls clothes. Designer labels and good quality, Jo Jo Maman Bebe, Joules, Gap,White Company and so on. Good range of toys and books. Sometimes a little difficult to navigate around with a buggy but do able. So many lovely coffee shops next door to recharge the batteries too.

Mary’s living and Giving shop for Save The Children, Stockbridge EH4 1HN

Another Stockbridge favourite, this ’boutique’ has downsized their children’s area to a small corner. But gets full marks for the most organised and well presented charity shop. Thanks to the help of the amazing Mary Portas. Again better choice in girls clothing but I have found the odd treasure like books and wooden puzzles (aswell as a few items for myself thank you very much!). Nice staff too which is always a bonus.

The British Heart Foundation, Stockbridge EH4 1Hx

Big store, well presented and organised. Good selection of children’s clothes & toys. Bigger range for older children.

The Jack and Jill market

Okay so this is not a shop but absolutely has to be mentioned. This market takes place every couple of months on Sunday’s at the Meadow Bank stadium. It’s Scotland’s largest nearly new baby market that takes place all around the country. Here you can browse and buy from the owners stalls, get unbelievable bargains, beautiful quality and meet lovely people along the way. Get there early to get the best bits, or arrive before closing to practice your bartering skills… I had no idea how gratifying I would find paying 50p for an item that was advertised at £2! I once bought a series of “that’s not my..” books for £10!, and a Chico baby carrier for a fiver! This is how I get my thrills now! Also plenty of free parking too. Check out their website for upcoming events.

Marie Curie Cancer Care, Montagu Terrace EH3 5QX

Another great place on my doorstep. Always worth popping in for a look. Small children’s section but good choice of books, and if your lucky you could find some incredible quality wooden toys here for just a few quid. And all for a great cause

The British Heart Foundation, Great Junction Street EH6 5HX

Big shop, with a small but generally good quality children’s area. Well organised in terms of sizes/gender. Again high end labels at great prices. Toys and books also and cheery staff at the counter.

Shelter, Stockbride EH4 1HH

The Guardian  voted this place as one of the “best charity shops for finding celebrity cast offs” back in 2013.According to the article people can sometimes queue for up to two hours during sales. I would never have that patience, bargain or not! This place is generally quite busy and that alongside the narrow overcrowded layout can make it unappealing when shopping with a buggy. But the children’s section at the back does have a good selection of books and is worth checking out.
Ps: The city has dozens more second hand shops, the list above focuses on just Leith and Stockbridge.Newington for example has the highest concentration of charity shops in the city. I never make it that far into town these days, the thought alone is exhausting;).


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