Category Archives: Buxton

Bargains at Minibugs’ flash sale

Minibugs, the awesome children’s store in Buxton, has a flash sale until Monday with 25% off all full priced clothes. I can’t resist a bargain so popped into the shop.

I bought these gorgeous Frugi dungarees which are perfect for a crawling baby. We already have a pair in 6-12 months which baby A wears constantly, she looks so cute in them and that makes me happy! They’re soft, easy to put on (and take off with pootastrophies) and have washed really well – no shrinkage or colour loss.

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They come in a number of designs, but this was my favourite.

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I also sneeked a peak at their discount rail (see Sale section online) and picked up another of the Little Green Radicals’ cotton jumpers. Soft, comfy and on the big side – so they last ages. A cute jumper which keeps baby warm and as its not too bulky is great for baby wearing.

Last time I chose the grey cloud design, this time I picked the moon:

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The flash sale is on till Monday and if you’re not local don’t worry as you can shop online and postage is free (in the UK)!

Happy bargain shopping!

Michelle x

High Peak artist: Andy Phillips

The Peak District with its fine scenery, wild weather and great expanse of space is a huge influence on local artists. When we first moved here we were entranced by artists’ wares, but assumed they were out of our price reach and not practical for a young family. We’ve been delighted to find the opposite and enjoy sourcing pieces from artists and using them around our home.

The other day we bought a gorgeous little dish by potter Andy Phillips:

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Andy Phillips is based in New Mills and makes a range of decorated items; pots, platters, jugs, dishes, mugs … you get the idea! We love the smoke fired ceramics, which come in deep rich colours with a lovely glaze on them. A while ago we made the decision to have plain white plates, bowls etc. and compliment them with distinct serving dishes. We already have three serving dishes and a few mugs of Andy’s and hubby couldn’t resist this small dish for sweets or nuts.

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All of the items we use on a daily basis, they are very hard wearing and can be used in an oven.

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We picked up this piece from the High Peak Artists gallery in the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, where there are a large number of dishes on display. Dishes range from £5 (such as this piece) up to larger ones around £40 – £70.

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I love that art is affordable in the High Peak and will be sharing more of our favourite artists in the coming months.

Happy shopping!

Michelle x

Buxton Veg & Fruit Co-op

From talking with other families, it’s easy to get stuck in a meals rut having the same food, week on week. You end up cooking the same ‘go to’ meals – ours are tomato pasta; sausages and veg; and Thai chicken curry. They’re yummy – but we were looking to mix it up a bit! I was looking around for inspiration when I heard of a local service that has helped us try new recipes (meals listed below), increased our veg and fruit intake, saved us money AND it supports a not-for-profit community group.

Bright Opportunities is a group for adults with learning difficulties living in the High Peak, located in Buxton. They offer a day service, with educational, leisure and development activities. A few years ago, Buxton Vegetable and Fruit Co-operative was set up to provide an affordable way for the local community to have fruit and veg. They involved Bright Opportunities to organise buying the seasonal produce in bulk from a local wholesaler, sorting it into bags and collecting the money – helping develop the adults’ life skills.

You can buy a bag at a time, here’s what we had the last two weeks (the money saving is impressive):

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Two weeks of veg and fruit

And the cooking? Well, we’ve used this fruit and veg in:

* slow cooker beef stroganoff
* cabbage with onion and bacon
* leek and potato soup
* slow cooker stuffed apples
* roasted veg with humous and couscous

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Yummmm roasted veg

And of course, as veg on the side with our favourite meal – sausages!

Each bag costs just £3 – bargain! As a quick calculation, the bags we’ve had so far were worth about £7 – £9 so it’s a huge saving. All the fruit and veg lasted well, the potatoes just took more cleaning than we’re used to.

I loved that having the bag of fruit and veg encouraged us to try new food and it’s good to know it also supports a local community group.

The bags are available every Thursday from around Buxton (United Reformed Church Hardwick Square, Residents of Fairfield Association, SureStart Fairfield and Buxton Volunteer Centre), to reserve your bag get in touch with one of the collection centres or contact them via their Facebook page.

I’m off to make some healthy vegetable soup!

TTFN

Michelle x

Bogs: brilliant snow boots!

Living in the Peaks you need a coat for all weathers, but what to put on children’s feet? We found ourselves always taking wellies AND sturdy boots with us when we went out for the day. Boots are always better for running in and wellies better for splashing in puddles! Was there one brand of footwear out there that could be great for running and give welly protection? The good news, there is!

Nichola at One Small Step asked us (well, E really) to test a new brand she is thinking of stocking – Bogs. E was really excited when we picked them up and loved the cute animal design.

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E getting her Bogs from One Small Step

Apparently they are all the rage in America, but not that well known in the UK. At first glance, I have to admit, I was a bit sceptical as they look just like wellies. But after two weeks of testing them (we like to be thorough), we’re completely sold on them. Here are the reasons why:

Easy to put on
The smart inbuilt handle design mean they are easy for little hands to use to pull on, or for big hands to give a help! Other wellies often have handles but they can break – it won’t happen with these ones.

Waterproof and warm
Bogs are waterproof with soft outer layer and a fleece warm lining inside. E wore them out in minus 0° weather and her feet were kept toasty.
She tested them in snow, sleet and rain and her feet were kept lovely and dry – as this video demonstrates:

The only downside is that they’re shorter than traditional wellies (6 inch) so wouldn’t be able to cope with today’s 10 inches of snow! But we’d probably remedy that by putting her waterproof trousers over her boots, like we normally do.

Great for running around and climbing
Compared to wearing wellies, E found Bogs great for running around in, climbing and generally mucking about. When we visited her cousins in Brussels we planned to go to the local play park. When we heard it has a sand floor we picked the Bogs so she wouldn’t get sand in her shoes and she had no problems climbing all over the climbing frames. They have a rough tread on the sole so grip well. It saved us taking wellies and boots on holiday.

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Climbing in Bogs
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Running in Bogs

Machine washable
I couldn’t quite believe it when I read the box, but they’re machine washable! The mud doesn’t seem to stick on the pretty patterned boots, so we haven’t needed to wash them yet but it’s good to know we have that option.

Price
They are more expensive than you’d normally pay for wellies, but they replace two pairs of boots – walking boots and wellies. Also, we put thick socks on E so she had half a size bigger than normal so they will last her a long time and with another little one we’ll be able to pass them on to A.

Overall, we are really impressed with Bogs and hope One Small Step do stock them so we can get some for baby A when she’s old enough. E loved the pretty animal design, they’re easy for her to put on and great for running around in. They get the thumbs up from us 🙂

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Enjoy the snow today, whatever you’re wearing!

Michelle x

One Small Step generously provided us these boots in order to facilitate this review.  However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own.

Hurrah for Hatley – coats perfect for the Peaks

Living in the High Peak means extremes of weather; sunshine, rain, sleet and snow sometimes all in the same day! When buying coats for children it can be a challenge – how many coats do they need for every weather eventuality? Through the local Buxton shop One Small Step I found a solution – Hatley coats.

We first bought a Hatley coat for E when she was a young toddler, to be honest because we couldn’t resist the gorgeous dinosaur pattern. And she wore it, and wore it and wore it and we were hooked!

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Hatley coats have gorgeous new designs each season (dinosaurs feature each time!) – take a look at the new ones that have come into One Small Step last week:

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Hatley coats at One Small Step

You can also buy matching wellies 🙂

The bright colours are great for picking your child out in a crowd. Here are other designs E has worn over the years:

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Hatley coats on E

The hooded coats have a very flexible waterproof outer layer which keeps out the wind and a snuggly inside layer to keep them warm. They have poppers to fasten them and she is now at an age where she can do this herself. They’re not too thick, so E can wear a jumper underneath and they also pack up well into a bag when you’re out and about. E has worn her jackets all year round, they are great value for money (we buy large and roll up the sleeves) and most importantly they wash well.

If you’re looking for the perfect coat for children they can wear in all weathers I’d always recommend Hatley – especially when in Buxton today we have had rain, sleet, snow and sunshine!

Would love to know if anyone else has a Hatley coat, what have been your favourite designs over the years?

TTFN

Michelle x

Nail painting for toddlers

Since Christmas, when E had her nails painted by her cool cousin, she has been OBSESSED with getting her nails done. Her nails had looked awesome (she had a spider painted on one – of course), but I was a little worried about what the paint was doing to her nails when a splash of varnish took off the top layer of my mum’s tablecloth…

Back in the day when I started my new job, after having Elizabeth, I had visions of painting my nails and looking like a ‘proper grown up’ in the office. I think I managed this twice (sleep always won as a priority)… But because I was breastfeeding and sticking my fingers in her mouth a lot to break her latch I wanted to wear some non (or low) toxic nail varnish. There’s lots of guidance out there about the gunky stuff in nail varnish and how it’s bad for you, so after some wider reading I decided to try the Zoya brand. Most of these brands are US based and they are hard to track down in the UK, in the end I bought some off Amazon.

When E wanted her nails done again (good to save this for a rainy afternoon) I dug out the three varnishes I have:

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She was thrilled to have three to choose from, but disappointed no black to draw spiders.

I very carefully painted her nails, which was much easier once I put her hand on a surface (especially after I nearly dropped some on the carpet). Then it was my turn, she chose pink.

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You’ll see the coverage on the matt colours is much better than the shiny pink. I think I’ll go for a matt when we do this again.

With nursery the next day I thought it best to clean her nails, but hadn’t quite thought things through about nail varnish remover that’s gentle. For next time, I’m going to get some gentle nail varnish remover, Boots stock an acetone free one.

An added bonus to this is she has to sit still for 15 minutes for the varnish to dry!

If she really gets into nail varnish, I’ll order some more – which I’ll just have to try out too.

It was fun painting nails with little E, but gosh she’s growing up fast.

Here’s to our next indoor adventure!

Mx

Minibugs – arm chair shopping

One of our FAVOURITE shops in Buxton is the awesome Minibugs. Not only do they stock amazing clothes and toys, but the lovely owners are ace, as today’s tale shows!

With a newborn baby, whom I feed on demand, we’re not always in synch with when the toddler wants to get out of the house. This morning, baby was snoozing (and due soon a feed) and toddler E was bouncing around the walls. We’d just tried getting E dressed and after trying to put the newly 3 year old in an age 4 dress that didn’t fit we decided shopping was required!

There’s a sale on at Minibugs at the moment so hubby and bouncy E Popped out to the shop, but I was left feeding the baby.

To ensure I was involved in the shopping decisions, the lovely Rachel at Minibugs helped hubby take photos to send to me so I could help. A small selection of the numerous photos:

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In the end we chose 4 dresses, which cost around £12 – £15 each and were a real bargain. Don’t worry, there are still tonnes available in the sale so pop in to to shop or get online!

Ah, my new favourite type of shopping – personalised armchair shopping cuddling a newborn baby.

Here’s to our next shopping adventure!

Michelle x

Buxton Opera House: panto

Our first outing to a Christmas panto

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I was so excited to take toddler E to her first panto – Aladdin – at the majestic Buxton Opera House.

After a dash through the Pavilion Gardens, we arrived at the theatre with minutes to spare. But there was still time to buy a magic wand, there were a few to choose from and E went for the really REALLY colourful one.

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This year’s panto is Aladdin, a classic tale, fun for all the family. It started off with a loud bang and lots of boooos from the audience when the baddie Jafar appeared on stage (he played the audience superbly and was my favourite!). E was scared and cuddled into me (I was glad I had bought her a ticket for £2 which let her sit on my lap, rather than her own seat). But, by midway through the first act she was starting to shout along with everyone else.

The interval was a welcome break for my lap and then on to the excitement of the second act, which (no spoilers) included a magical ride, some topical costumes at a space party and a great ‘it’s behind you’ scene. With music and songs throughout, the panto was great entertainment for all – with enough innuendoes peppered through to amuse the adults. It’s running until the 2nd of January, so if you don’t have tickets hurry up! Here’s a video with a taste of what you’re missing:

We thoroughly enjoyed the show, but as E found it a bit loud next time I’d consider taking her to the quieter show they put on for autistic children.

Here’s to our next Christmas adventure!

Michelle x

Buxton Opera House: Gruffalo

Last week (wrote a few weeks ago but only just published!) we took E to her first theatre trip, we were very excited to be going to see The Gruffalo at Buxton’s Opera House.

E is nearly 18 months old and hubby was worried she might not enjoy the experience and would be disruptive, but I told him the theatre would be jam packed with kids – of course! We booked our tickets well in advance, a group booking with our neighbour which meant we saved a few pennies.

On the day the sun was shining in Buxton so we had a lovely walk through the gardens before meeting up with (what seemed like) all the children in Buxton ready to go into the theatre. We had seats in the stalls which were easy to get to, but definitely no room for a pushchair so we were glad we had carried her there.

E had her own seat, but being a little girl she sat on our laps so she could see the stage. As the lights went down and the actors started their performance she was quite glad to have us to cuddle. It took her while to relax in the new, strange surroundings, but once she did she was bouncing and clapping along to the songs.

The Gruffalo – what a show! We really enjoyed it, there was a level of humour for the parents as well as the children. The three actors worked their socks off and engaged with the audience through the words to the story everyone knew, snazzy costume changes and songs for people to sing along to. And at an hour in length, the timing was just right to keep the children engaged and the parents happy 🙂 It also meant we didn’t have to entertain E during an interval or pay for expensive snacks!

I was so pleased we had chosen this show for her first theatre trip. The Opera House is a fabulous building (it was restored…) It’s a great location in the middle of Buxton; there’s parking nearby or the train station isn’t far away. I’ll be checking the programme to find the next kids show we could attend.
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Thanks for reading, here’s to our next adventure!

What we liked:
* Great show!
* Beautiful theatre, perfectly formed for little visitors
* Easy to get to location

Would be even better if:
* Can’t think of anything! Um..