Confessions: Waitrose Mango Fingers & the patter of tiny feet…

Miss Thrifty28 August 27, 2011

tiny feet Confession 1
You may have noticed that I’ve been quieter than usual recently. I could tell you that it’s because I’ve been busy at the sewing machine, sunning myself on some bargain basement Med holiday, doing a Nigella in the kitchen and diligently adjusting the mix for my tip-top homemade compost…

But, erm, none of those things are true – even though these are the things that I would have liked to spend time on over the past couple of months.

Instead, we have a baby on the way! Exciting times, although I must admit that they have become a lot more exciting since I magically regained the ability to eat food other than soup, and stopped spending every spare hour asleep. I’ve been fine at work, but I tend to blog from home, in the evenings and at weekends. And walking through the front door has been triggering some sort of internal “off” switch. Then one day I woke up and ZING! I was fine again. And I’m back. Jeez, I can’t tell you how nice it is to have emerged from that sleep coma.

Confession 2
christmas baby My due date is Christmas week: extremely convenient for quietly disappearing on maternity leave (the office is closed that week anyway); bad for the poor kiddo’s haul of birthday swag in future years, apparently, which makes me feel angelically thrifty but also a bit guilty.

Someone else with a child born at Christmas told me that it’s the best time of year to have a baby, because all the other families are busy or away then, so you don’t have to go through the HELL of hosting kids’ birthday parties. (Are children’s parties really that bad? I wouldn’t know: the last time I went to one I was nine.)

Confession 3
waitrose mango fingers I have a craving for Waitrose Mango Fingers (above). It started a couple of months ago: I used to pop out and get a little box at lunchtime, as it was the only food that stopped me feeling queasy. I’ve tried chopping up mango and storing it in the work fridge, but it isn’t the same, damn it. There’s something about the Waitrose ones: the ripeness? The chiller cabinet temperature? I don’t know. Sadly, Waitrose Mango Fingers cost an eyewatering £1.75 a pop… My food budget is well and truly trashed!

Confession 4
baby booties I haven’t bought anything for the baby yet. During one particularly intrepid lunch hour I did a reccy in the local branch of Mothercare, for the first time since I accompanied a friend in there a few years ago. (Actually, my one memory of that shopping trip is holding up a premature-sized babygro and gasping, “WHAT? THEY COME OUT THAT BIG?” But let’s not dwell on that right now.)

I left Mothercare in a daze. I had no idea that a Juicy Couture fur-lined pushchair even existed – let alone that people are expected to fork out £300 for it. “Baby furniture”? I think not. And what is all that random plastic tat in the feeding and bathing sections? Is this stuff really necessary?

Right now I’m Clueless McClueless, so if any readers possess more wisdom than I do about what is needed, what definitely isn’t and where to find the baby bargains, then please share it. I am all ears!

Image credits: Karen Sheets, simplyla.

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28 Responses to “Confessions: Waitrose Mango Fingers & the patter of tiny feet…

krantcents says:

Congratulations. My daughter was born on December 26th. She was due in the middle of February, but just did not want to wait! She was 7 weeks premature and spent her first 30 days in ICU. She is now a successful adult (5 ft 7in & normal weight). We celebrated her birthday when she was school age early because many of her friends were away over the holidays.

August 27, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Miss Thrifty says:

@krantcents – Thank you! It’s good to hear that your daughter is a successful Christmas baby, and the plan to celebrate her birthday early sounds like a good one.

August 27, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Caroline says:

Hey, well done you!
We found the most thrifty place to buy baby stuff was our local NCT sale. Look out for the next nearly new sale in your area and hit it with a list and maybe a willing helper or two. We saved a fortune and I now also sell stuff at them to fund the next round of toys and clothes!

August 27, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Sarah says:


Cloth nappies are my biggest recommendation!! We switched to them after we got fed-up with paying for disposables.

Modern cloth nappies are nothing like they used to be, they are often shaped like disposables and have gorgeous covers in special breathable fabric (no plastic pants!!) and with modern washing machines a 60 degree wash and no soaking is needed!!

My youngest “baby” is 11 now, but as I am sure you can tell I am still a bit evangelical about cloth nappies!!

Oooh, and you def don’t need a baby bath!! The sink and then the big tub is fine!!

How exciting!!

S x


August 27, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Mrs Karla Grant says:

Hi – my son was due in February also, and was born on the 29th December, 5 weeks early. I spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in hospital, as he was in the neonatal unit. The problem with having a baby around Christmas is 1) the expenditure of two lots of presents quite close to each other, and 2) no presents the rest of the year!

When it comes to baby stuff, there is a lot that you do not need, a lot of stuff is the cult of baby’s idea of what every yummy mummy should need, not really a case of practicality.

I would look out for your local Freeshare/Freecycle, charity shops, friends who already have babies, or young children. Once the word gets around, you will probably get offered things as well if you have a network of friends and family. Other good places to look for baby paraphernalia is Poundland, B & M Homestores and the like. They are good for things like baby toiletries, small plastic bits and pieces like feeding spoons and bowls, grooming bits and pieces like hair brushes, combs, nail clippers, cotton wool and the like.

Car boot sales are a good source of baby clothes, as at that age, children very rarely wear out their clothes before they outgrow them. You can get good deals on baby clothing, pushchairs, baby cots, etc, but look in the shops first because you need to know how much things cost, as some people try to get their money back for the clothes, and want far too much for them.

I have had two children on an extremely tight budget, and if you want any advice on preparing for a new baby thriftily, just ask. I am always happy to help!



August 28, 2011 at 8:59 am

Maria says:

Congratulations! I thought this is a good occasion for me to get out of lurkdom. Christmas birthday is a bit pants but my principle for child raising is: ‘it doesn’t matter what you do they are likely to end up in therapy; so you may as well enjoy it!’ I also remember panicking terribly a week before my due date that I didn’t even know what babies wear – it turned out to be very straight forward at the end. Most useful item? A push chair – my son was four months when he cound be in it and never looked back (he enjoyed looking around). So investing in good one of those is worth it.

August 28, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Joanna says:

Congratulations! I thought you had been quiet lately. Lovely news, and glad to hear you are feeling better. Good luck with the baby on a budget, I’ll look forward to reading about it x

August 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Congratulations! I’m sorry to hear you had a rough patch. I always wondered why some women loved being pregnant; it was not my favorite time. The babies are worth it though!

August 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Sadie says:

Congratulations Miss Thrifty on your special news. I’m a fellow thrifty and pregnant person and I had to laugh when I read your comment about Mothercare, because that is exactly how I felt when I went in there, and then I vowed not to go back if possible at all. Anyway, very special news indeed, have fun preparing and enjoying it.

August 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm

daisychain says:

HUGE congratulations to you m’dear xxx

August 28, 2011 at 5:16 pm

sally m says:

I’m sure mum is so excited she is finally going to be a grandma that she will buy you lots of things. Your baby is going to be incredibly spoilt until the next grandchild is born and i don’t plan on having any children anytime soon!!!!

August 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Jackie says:

Congrats! I’ve found that you need very little of all the things you’ll start to think you need. (If that makes any sense, hah!) One thing I would definitely get though is extra sheets for the crib.

August 28, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Mrs Karla Grant says:

Extra sheets definitely. With our first baby, we were seriously skint, and cot sheets were SO expensive. We went to the local market and bought fabric, particularly colourful gingham, and sewed a seam all around the edges, and then just tucked it in, didn’t bother with elastic, or anything like that. The good thing about them is that my husband made our daughter a cradle that used a pram sized mattress, so they were useful for the cradle and also for the pram, a Silver Cross that was given to us by friends. When the baby was more active, then we managed to get some on sale, proper ones with elastic to stop them coming off! There are always tricks! xxx

August 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm

MsDarkfish says:

Congratulations to you!

August 29, 2011 at 10:14 am

Miss Thrifty says:

Wow – thanks everyone, for so many lovely comments! Lots to think about…

@Caroline – I haven’t joined the NCT, for various reasons, but rest assured that I am ON IT re. the nearly new sales. There’s one in a neighbouring town next month: elbows at the ready!

@Sarah – I am planning to go down the cloth nappy route. The only things that worry me are (i) we don’t have a tumble dryer; (ii) there is so much choice, re. various makes and brands these days, that I don’t know where to begin. An American thrifty blogger, Frugal Babe, made her own nappies – I might try that, if I’m feeling particularly hubristic…

@Mrs Karla Grant – thank you for some great tips. Funnily enough, just yesterday our neighbour over the road offered us 3 x bags of baby girl’s clothes – quite out of the blue. How lovely! Only problem with that is that we don’t know what we’re having yet… Oh, and I’m already fantasising about a Silver Cross pram, even though we don’t have ANYWHERE to put it inside the house. I love the tip about the sheets. My sewing machine has been gathering dust recently, but perhaps it’s time to get it again…

@Maria – Argh, the pushchair. We know people who have spent several hundred pounds on these, which plain boggles my mind. I definitely need to do some more research on this count, and come up with a cunning cutprice plan.

@Sadie – Pleased to find that I’m not the only one to find a trip to Mothercare a hair-raising experience! I suppose there is an appetite for all this stuff, or they wouldn’t be selling it, but it leaves me cold.

@Jackie – that makes perfect sense. Thank you!

This blog has such lovely readers. 🙂

August 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm

ross says:

Congratulations! I read your blog a lot, exciting times ahead for you 😀

August 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Popbabe7 says:

Congratulations! I was born on Christmas day and used to think it was one of the worst things ever: everybody used to forget my birthday and I could never have a party as my friends were visiting family etc. Now I think this is brilliant because the place where I work closes for the Christmas holidays so I never have to work on my birthday!!

There are lots and lots of very cute knitting patterns for babies on the internet- you should check Ravelry for loads of funky, cute and free knits.

August 30, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Massive massive congratulations! So pleased that the days of the soup diet are over! Canne wait for some budget baby posts.

August 31, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Woodsider Mum says:

We used cloth nappies for our daughter (now three and a half). They are more economical only if you get them second hand, and or are given them (there will be LOTS of washing to do). As they can be washed on a very hot wash at least once, second hand should work well. I bought several off the used nappy website and have since passed them on to a friend. They do sometimes come up on freecycle too, so it’s definitely worth putting up a note asking for them.

If you don’t have a tumble dryer, you need particularly soft ones. If any one is selling Tots Bots fluffles, although they are bulky and more synthetic, they are lovely and soft. I like them and the motherease/sandys bamboo (not the cotton) as the bamboo is that much softer. NB, totsbots bamboo wasn’t as soft, so not as good without a dryer. It is worth buying disposable liners for them as much easier to deal with and clean and if there is no “solid waste” in them, most of them can be washed too, I used most of them 3/4 times after I found that out on the nappylady’s website, I think.

Two things I found out quickly were: 1 use a barrier cream (but only something innocuous like petroleum jelly (or although it seems expensive, Waitrose bottom butter is cheaper than alternatives if you don’t want the petrochemicals) and 2 always ensure that the nappy is totally inside the wrap (wicking = more washing).

Our daughter, very, very rarely got nappy rash but when she did, metanium was brilliant. We bought one tube, when she was a few weeks old and have still got 2/3 of it left. Real nappies are fab, if used with care.

Sorry for length but here’s a couple more real nappy tips:
They are more bulky than disposables so you can make a little “vest extender” just by hemming a rectangular piece of fabric and putting poppers at each end (little green earthlets sell them if you want to see a picture of what I mean)

Also, when buying second hand clothes, particularly trousers, look out for ones that say on them cut for real nappies, or indeed by companies like Frugi/Cut for cloth. More expensive than mothercare, but wash and wash and wash, have good sales and do show up on e-bay.

Hope this is useful on the real nappy front (once you use them, you do get evangelical about them, all that horrible landfill waste with the disposables).

September 1, 2011 at 12:29 am

Becki Hall says:

Many many congratulations! What an exciting time for you 🙂 I’ve been dipping in and out of your blog and love your posts, so I hope motherhood doesn’t leave you too exhausted 😉

We were very frugally-minded when awaiting the arrival of our son Theo. Like some of the posters above have mentioned, we also used cloth nappies- which not only saved us a fortune long-term, but also earned us a ‘rebate’ from our local council of £100- an incentive many local councils use to help reduce household waste. If you do go own this route, it’s worth contacting your local council to see if they offer anything similar. We also used cloth wipes (which I far prefer over the conventional ones!) and never had any issues with them at all- washing at normal temperatures and line drying meant we weren’t created astromonical costs for ourselves. Oh, and we bought them at the BabyShow in Birmingham at cost price, saving an additional £50- and asked the grandparents-in-waiting to chip in for those, as opposed to piles of clothes. They were only too willing!

We also got our entire nursery set off ebay using localbargainfinder – the set was from Argos originally and was one I had been eyeing up at a costy £800. We got it all for £50 for a local pick up- in beautiful condition!

Shop around relatives and friends for short-term items like the moses basket (if you’re going to use one) and respective sheets and blankets- babies grow so unbelievably quickly that you rarely get your moneys worth out of them, so I always found the borrowed ones looked as good as new. Same with newborn clothes- if you can resist the beautiful alluring outfits when out shopping!

Breastfeeding- simply the best both in terms of frugality and every other way. But I worked for 2 years as a breastfeeding support worker, so I’m a tad biased 😉 However, it IS true that formula is incredibly, unbelievably expensive- something to bear in mind! And don’t been caught up in the marketing ploy of companies convincing you that you need bottles anyway, or a steriliser, pump, breastfeeding tops etc. etc… I found a vest top under a v-neck t-shirt always did the job just as well.

There’s sooo many more I could pass on, but I’m sure I’ll bury you under it all so will leave it there for now. Will be watching with excitement with all fingers crossed for a smooth pregnancy and birth for you!!

Becki (

September 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Karen says:

Children’s parties aren’t that bad. They are actually very fun, especially that it is a new experience for me. I had been worried though, not having enough games or activities for the kids to enjoy but it turned out well. It is okay that you haven’t bought anything for the baby yet, just remember to enjoy when you finally do so. Congratulations, you will love being a mom.

September 12, 2011 at 7:53 am

kath says:

Asda mango fingers are just as delicious and £1 ! I am addicted !

September 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Anna says:

lots of babygrows, a changing mat and a basket so you can have the baby sleep downstairs with you whilst you iron/watch tv, fall asleep hanging upside down from the ceiling…..don’t bother with changing tables or those huge prams ( get a pushchair that fits in a car that folds down flat for a newborn)
Get lots of bibs, lots of baby wipes, nappy rash cream and help from family so you can sleep…..
Snore…I’m asleep……

September 15, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Anna Foxall says:

Fabulous joyous news, I love babies. I only had one myself which is a bit sad but I love cuddling everyone else’s babies! I would please please advocate not buying your baby any christmas or birthday presents until they are much older about 20! no I joke, well I do think babies & toddlers don’t need presents, they are very happy little people as their needs are so simple. So save yourself £££s by not getting suked into buying pressies for your baby & toddler, you won’t stop other people buying so they won’t go without! Enjoy your fabulous times ahead!

September 22, 2011 at 1:17 pm

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