Review 2018: Prosecco-Dough workshop – Messy play fun for adults!

Thank you very much to today’s NHM Secret Writer for today’s post and THANK YOU very much to Louise at Messy Monsters Basingstoke for our free tickets in exchange for this NorthHantsMum review!

Prosecco-Dough – messy play fun for adults!

I was lucky enough to attend Messy Monsters Basingstoke’s first adults messy play workshop.

The aim of the workshop was to show the group of mums attending how to make quick and simple messy play activities to do with their children. The activities shown to us were suitable from really small little ones up to adults (it is very satisfying to sit and play with rainbow rice and chocolate play dough!).

On arrival at the workshop, which was held at Popley Fields Community Centre, I was greeted by the lovely Lou who runs Messy Monsters sessions for children and now adults. I took my seat at the table and waiting for me was a bottle of prosecco, some chocolates and biscuits as well as an interesting assortment of items including flour, cocoa powder and food colouring.

First of all Lou took us through the steps to make taste safe slime. I’ve seen so many make your own slime tutorials but as my daughter is still quite young I’ve been wary of letting her have it to play with so finding a way to make it taste safe just in case she did sneak a bit into her mouth was ideal!

After making the taste safe slime we went on to make rainbow rice and, with all the options we had for food colouring, we ended up with some lovely colours.

We then had a short break to refill on tea or coffee or crack open the mini bottle of prosecco everyone was given.

Taste safe play dough was next on the agenda with 2 different types to make and the additional option to add some prosecco to the dough! We made a traditional coloured play dough with a choice of lemon or peppermint scent (which we had also used with the rice!) And then a chocolate scented dough. The doughs were so simple to make and only use things you probably already have around the house. As with all the items we made, they only take a few minutes to do!

After the play dough fun (kneading the dough was very therapeutic!) We made sensory bottles with coloured water and various little knick knacks which would be interesting for small people to look at.

With everything we made there was a choice of colours and the option to add glitter!

I’d recommend taking a note book and pen so you can quickly jot the recipes down and wear clothes you don’t mind getting a bit mucky as I ended up a bit flour-y!! You get to bring home everything you make so it’s worth taking a bag along with you to make carrying your packs of messy goodies back to the car a bit easier.

I’ve come away from the workshop feeling much more knowledgeable about messy play and ready to have some messy fun with my daughter!

You can find out more details about these classes at: https://www.facebook.com/messymonstersbasingstoke/

Disclaimer: This post is a review of the Prosecco Dough Messy Play Basingstoke Workshop. Our class place was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. We were not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are the NHM Secret Writers own

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CLUTTER NUTTERS

We launch our company this month so wanted to let the NHM community know all about us.

We are a home organisation/de-cluttering service and offer the following services currently;

  • Organising any room(kitchen, lounge, bedrooms, study, playroom, cellar, conservatory
  • Within a room (cupboards, shelves, clothes etc)
  • Whole house
  • Sheds, garages and garden storage units
  • Storage containers
  • Playgroups/Nurseries

For further details please see our website or facebook page.

We also offer vouchers and 10% discount for returning customers.

https://www.facebook.com/TheClutterNutters/

www.clutternutters.com

Thanks Lisa & Emma J

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Mumsmissingmums

Mumsmissingmums is a new, support network for those mums who are raising their children without the support of their own mums.

A closed group of women who would like a safe place to chat, share stories and get to know others in the same position with meeting up too if people want to.

It isn’t just for women who have lost their mums to bereavement, it is for all women for whom their mums are absent from their lives.

Please feel free to search for the group on facebook and request to join.

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Vocal Point Youth Choir

Vocal Point is a new youth choir starting up at The Point, Tadley on Wednesday 21st February.

Set up by the founders of successful Mum’s choir, Ooh Mama, it promises to be a fun, dynamic and exciting musical adventure for youngsters in Tadley and surrounding areas.

The sessions are initially being run as a project from 21st February to the Easter holidays to gauge interest, if successful, Vocal Point will become a permanent activity on offer to Years 6 – 13 at The Point.

There is a minimal cost of £1 per session, held at the fantastic facilities at The Point in Tadley, a purpose built youth centre.

The point bosts a large hall with fabulous acoustics, access to musical instruments and a recording studio.

If your child would like to join Vocal Point contact thepoint@tadleycommunitycentre.org.uk or visit The Point Tadley’s Facebook page.

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Saints Foundation Football Soccer School – February 2018 Half Term

Soccer schools are a great way for children to play Football in a safe and enjoyable environment.

Children will learn a variety of new skills and have the opportunity to make new friends.

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NHM Readers: Suggested iPad Apps for 2 to 4 year olds

In response to a question from a NHM Reader, I asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook What suggested iPad Apps (Free or Paid) for 2-3 year olds and 3-4 year olds do people recommend? Specifically educational ones, not games.” . (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

Please note, these are in no particular order!

1. Minion Rush

Despicable Me: Minion Rush on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Lisa says “If you put in children’s number games there is one kids can trace in the number, there’s the same one for letters…. My son likes Minion Rush it helps with hand eye co-ordination”.

2. Todo Math

Todo Math on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Claire says “Todo Math is brill”.

3. Jolly Phonics

Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds App – Jolly Learning Jolly Learning

As recommended by Jason.

4. Bugs and …

Bugs and Buttons on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Bugs and Numbers on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Bugs and Bubbles on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

As recommended by Susan.

5. Pirate phonics

Buried Treasure phonics game – Phonics Play

As recommended by Susan.

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NHM Readers: What I would buy if i was doing it all again!

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook what they would buy or not buy if they were to have another baby based on their experiences (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

These were the responses I received. They are in no particular order

NHM Readers: What would I buy or not buy if I was to do it all again?

Mindy said: I probably wouldn’t bother with a breastfeeding pillow as we encourage mums to lean back now and you don’t need a pillow for that. Also you may not need a breast pump, wait and see and buy if needed. Ditto with steriliser.

Jessica said: I wouldn’t bother with a breast pump, electric bottle warmer, cot duvet and bumpers, a pram that doesn’t have a car seat adapter, baby carrier/harness or millions of outfits in newborn or 0-3 months. I would buy again an electric steriliser, bottle warming flask, sleep pods/sleeping bags, pram system with car seat adapters.

Mary said: I would buy a proper sidecar cot and would buy a proper sling or find out about the sling library to see what was best.

Kathryn said: I had my 3rd baby 8 months ago, after my second we got rid of everything except the cot and car seat. Before my youngest was born we bought a new sling and got given some clothes. Nothing else was needed.

Donna said: If bottle feeding, the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep is one that I wish I had now and definitely pushchair with car seat attachments.

Shona said: I wouldn’t buy a fancy swing or rocker as he barely used it. I would stick with my Perfect Prep machine every time. I wouldn’t buy a bath seat again but I love my bath sponge that you just lay them on and they stay in one place.

Colleen said: Wouldn’t bother with car seat adaptors as barely used them, and you’re not supposed to leave baby in car seat for longer than necessary anyhow. Nappy bin is a waste of time, just use nappy bags. Change table would have been pointless as all mine moved so much it wasn’t safe to change them past floor height from about 4 months.

Jenni said: Ikea high chair is the best, easy to clean and can get an insert for little babies.

Wendy said: Best buys: Good quality stroller (worth spending money here), Morrck blanket, Ikea high chair, side crib, sling. Worst buys: New travel system (buy them second hand) and anything that takes up space in your living room (rocker chairs, rocking horses etc).

Mary said: Don’t bother with: shoes until they walk (couldn’t get the damn things on his curled up feet), faffy outfits in the first 3 months as you have to change them so often per day, stick to lots of baby gros! Gimmicky toys, they don’t take notice and you’ll be given loads as gifts anyway. Too many clothes in newborn size, in case you have a big baby and never end up using them, again you will be sent loads of clothes. Sit in walker.

Do get: Ikea or Baby Bjorn high chair that is completely wipe clean. All those ones with straps and padding get filthy and you shouldn’t need straps anyway as babies should be able to sit unaided before you wean. A good sling if you are having a second baby, they sleep for ages in them leaving you hands free. Set up a little changing station on both floors with mat/nappies/wipes so everything is to hand. We personally found nappy bins useful, don’t want to traipse out to the bin every 5 mins. If breast/mixed feeding, Medela bottles are great as baby needs to use same motion to drink helping you switch with ease. Grobags – no worrying about blankets etc. Monitor with a camera. Sock ons for no more lost socks.

Donna said: Yes to the sock ons – best buy ever!

Catherine said: Do get sling, zip up swaddle, side crib, ear thermometer, playmat/gym and video monitor.

Don’t get alarm for under mattress (unnecessary hateful thing), any body thermometer other than an earone, stupid light up egg room thermometer, highchair (there are some nice small ones that cost a bit, we got a high padded one which we never used after the first month as I replaced it with £20 one you attach to a chair) and any outfits in newborn that don’t button under nappy, they just ride up.

Jennie said: I’d buy a bath sponge seat, proper sling, cloth nappies and a baby swing. I wouldn’t bother with a side cot for the bed (it got used for storage whilst she slept in our bed), baby outfits, baby shoes, playmat or a change table. I have a bad back so getting upstairs to get to the changing table was as much of an issue as changing on my lap/floor.

Vicky said: Our best buys were the Baby Bjorn bouncer, a mothercare fabric bath support, a decent baby monitor/camera, lovely soft blanket for in and out of the pram, vests and sleepsuits. This may sound a bit strange but I bought puppy pads (cheap from TK Maxx) to put under his bum during nappy off time – they catch the urine and absorb it rather than laying on a wet towel. If you’re breast feeding I found the Lansinoh disposable nursing pads to be fantastic. I’d also buy a decent sling. Personally I wouldn’t bother with baby shoes, dribble bibs, baby outfits, fabric breast pads (just leaked straight through to clothes) and loads of cuddly toys.

Vicky said: Perfect prep is a genius if bottle feeding. Lots of muslins – I found M&S ones the softest and they wash well. Shnuggle baby bath is amazing – 2 free hands almost from birth. Aldi nappies are cheap and brilliant. Lots of babygrows, sleepsuits and vests for the first couple of months. Swaddles and then grobags – I find the Sainsbury’s ones the best.

Lisa said: Think most things I would suggest have been covered. My only addition is to not bother with special tummy time gadgets. Spent a lot of money on a Lamaze toy which was a complete waste of money! I think a good buggy is essential. I bought mine 2nd hand which was fine but chose cost over personal choice.

Gemma said: I’d get a baby sling from day one. I wish I’d got mine for baby number two earlier. I missed out the first few weeks of sling time!  
Wouldn’t bother with a Baby Bjorn as it hurt my back (let alone being bad for baby’s hips) Could manage without moses basket and pram part of a travel system. Only need one or the other, not both, especially if you get a buggy that lays flat for newborns which many do now.

Cerys said: All I needed for no 3 were nappies, a wrap sling, sleepsuits and boobs.

Melanie said: Best buys: Baby Bjorn bouncer (suitable from newborn and last years. Indestructible!) Oxo perfect pull wipes dispenser means you only need one hand to pull them out and keeps them moist. Cheeky wipes are great if your child suffers from nappy rash or you want something environmentally friendly. Monitor and webcam. Nappy bin. Ability to play music wirelessly in their bedroom (so you can put it on without going in). Jumparoo. Vtech Walker.
Don’t buys (based on things neither of my children liked): Crawl ball, door bouncer, sit in walker (but think it would be better on wooden or tiled floors)

Mata said: I would buy: Cot bed that can be used as a 3 sided bedside cot as well as a toddler bed. Nursing bras, breast pads, changing mat, wipes, nappy bin, sling, pushchair, car seat that attaches to pushchair, vest, sleepsuits, large hooded towels (still in use at age 5), sleeping bag and blanket.

Maybe: Moses basket (for daytime naps downstairs)

Wouldn’t bother: Baby bath, sponges/wash mitts, cute outfits, scratch mitts, playmat, bouncy chair/swing, standard cot, toys, lay-flat separate pram, feeding equipment, purpose-made changing bag and Bumbo seat.

Natashia said: Personally I would recommend a “try before you buy” approach where possible for example renting a sling or electric breast pump and attending sales for second hand bits where you can stock up on essentials for your baby’s next phase. For nappies sure Aldi, Lidl or own brands are cheaper but if you like the leading brands then keep a close eye on supermarket offers and shop around as it then works out to almost the same as own brands.

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Kath’s Online Relaxation

Kath from  Relax Kids, www.facebook.com/rkbasingstoke, asked me to join her online relaxation course recently and of course I JUMPED at the chance. Being someone who likes to fill her time (see how I refrained from using the word “busy”) a short relaxation course is exactly what I needed!

Kath sets up a secret group on Facebook that is open for a month (the duration of the course) and every day she posted a relaxation session first thing in the morning.

During the week the sessions are no more than 5 minutes long, which is great for busy “people who like to fill their time” people like me!

On the weekend Kath had some longer relaxation sessions which range from 30 minutes to 45 minutes.

You can also do the sessions as many times you like for the duration of the course.

You don’t have to do the activities on the same day, you can save them all up and do them in one day. I wouldn’t recommend this though as I got the most benefit from doing each session the day it was posted.

This is the beauty of the course, you can choose when YOU want to do the relaxation techniques. Most people say that you are supposed to do meditation in the morning but this isn’t always practical with busy family life. But with this course you can choose the best time for you.

I loved the breathing techniques, the visualisation, meditation and the focused sessions. I’m still using both the breathing techniques and visualisation now, three weeks later, even though I haven’t got access to the online course anymore! They are that simple that you don’t need to be prompted to remember.

Even if you are a guru at relaxation, sometimes it’s nice to have someone else remind you to stop and take a moment.

The course is only £10 and for that you get a daily relaxation session for a month.

I loved it so much that I’m paying to join the course next month. Definitely the best £10 I will have spent in a long time!!!

You can find more details at the following link: www.bookwhen.com/rkbasingstoke

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NHM Readers: Sticking out ears

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if they could help with the following question: “My daughter is 3 years old and since a few months old has had ears that stick out quite extremely. Although this doesn’t bother her yet, I do worry that it will be a target for bullying once she starts school.

When I discussed with the doctor the option of having them pinned back, she was very dismissive and said that they would not do this until she was sixteen or if she started to get bullied and requested it herself. However bullying can have such long lasting effects on one’s personality that I’d rather not wait until it happens.

Has anyone else’s child had ears that stick out and what did they do about it?”

These were the responses I received. They are in no particular order

NHM Readers advice about sticking out ears

Caitlin said: I personally had my ears pinned when I was about six years old, though that was 18 years ago! I did get severely bullied and unfortunately surgery was not completely successful however I would say try and see a different doctor and get a second opinion as it is fairly straightforward so I can’t see why they would need to wait!

Stacey said: yeah why should she have to wait until she gets bullied!!

Lucy said: I was bullied at school for big sticky out ears, bugs bunny teeth with a large gap from thumb sucking, glasses and being overweight. It sucked. But I dealt with it, eventually stood up to my bullies and got on with it. It might not have been nice but it’s all part of what has made me who I am now and whilst I may still be fat, still have my grandads ears and a gap in my teeth (I took the decision at 13 not to fix that as it would affect my flute playing) I’m a strong enough person to not worry about it. Isn’t it better to teach our kids that bullying isn’t acceptable and to be strong and confident enough to stand up to it than to surgically fix a problem that might not happen?

Sue said: Think it would be viewed as cosmetic and so you would have to prove it affects confidence/ is a cause for bullying etc

Gail said: wait until nursery age and then go to doctors, lie if necessary about bullying. You must do what you think is best for your baby!!

Honor said: My ex niece had sticky out ears ,my ex brother and sister in law had the same worries they also went to the doctors and had same reply ,it landed up with them having to pay for them to be pinned back. Even when they said it was affecting her mentally they wouldn’t budge. So I suggest having to pay for it to be done whilst she’s young before it’s an issue.

Mata said: I wonder what the ‘pinning back’ involves? I would not expose my child to a procedure that is not medically necessary, unless the child fully understood what it involves and requested it him/herself. I think the doctor is right – even if what he/she’s said is not what the parents wanted to hear – exposing a child to surgery that is purely cosmetic does not sound ethical to me. I guess the parents can always go private if they wish.

Natashia said: This is a tough one but will share my personal experience. I had the same issue and had the surgery when I was 15. Getting it done through the NHS may be none unless they can assess that the issue is causing the child psychological distress. Even getting it done privately not sure what the process is in terms of consent to carry out cosmetic surgery on a minor. The thing I found wasn’t necessarily with bullying so much as the non-stop teasing which can really knock your self confidence and this was how it affected me.

As a teenager at the time it didn’t matter how pretty I tried to look there was always the dreaded ears which I always tried to cover with doing my hair in creative ways and I was convinced it will cause me issues into adulthood and affect things like relationships,career opportunities etc. Of course each of us have our own insecurities but if not managed or dealt with can cause long term issues like depression, some people can make peace with their insecurities but not everyone can but that does not make you weak. The operation was done by a fantastic plastic surgeon (it pays to do your homework here!) who did a great job, my parents could get it done for me through their private medical following a review on me by a psychologist. The operation involves a cut at the back of each ear and removal of cartilage then stitched back again. The recovery took a while, I walked with bandage around my head for about a week (or two) until they were happy for the stitches to come out. Then my ears were still quite blue,swollen and sensitive for another couple of weeks and it probably took another month or so to appear ‘normal’

Needless to say it was very painful as well through the recovery but overall it was a success. I also tried to keep the operation very quiet as I was scared of further teasing on that so planned it to happen over school holidays. But best thing my parents ever did for me I have no regrets. There were times I wished they just got it done for me when I was little but then again with anything cosmetic I strongly believe it should only be done when it is your own decision. My parents accepted and loved me for who I was and only acted upon my request, though it took Dutch courage for me to bring up the topic with them and they still tried to get me to accept myself as I were, but I couldn’t get past it and then they supported me through that. You want to do the best for your child of course but sometimes it can be hard not to reflect our insecurities as parents and assume our children will feel the same way. Good luck with your research and whichever decision you make.

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My Experience: Y2 Autumn Term

I am absolutely delighted to say that Miss NHM’s Y2 Autumn term has been…AMAZING!!!!! She is THRIVING at her new school.

Finally, finally, finally she’s had a positive experience of school. WHOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Moving Schools

At the beginning of this term (September 2017), 4 days into the new school year, we removed Miss NHM from The Prison.

It became blindingly obvious that The Prison weren’t going to listen to anything that we, and the medical profession, were saying needed to happen for Miss NHM.

In May 2017 Miss NHM was diagnosed with a lifelong autoimmune disease. I’ve not discussed it on NorthHantsMum because it’s not something that should be discussed in a public forum and Mr NHM and I are still processing what this means. It was a massive shock and it’s been incredibly difficult to deal with.

In the final months of Miss NHM’s Y1 at The Prison, she was subject to bullying and abuse (I don’t use those two words lightly) at the hands of one of the members of staff (again, not going to discuss details in a public forum) and the school made things as difficult as they possibly could.

So, we made the incredibly tough and difficult decision to remove Miss NHM 4 days into the new term. I wanted to give The Prison one last opportunity to rectify things and they screwed it up massively.

Finding a new school

I spent a morning phoning round all of the local schools asking if they had any places left. Based on The Prison’s history I’d already gone to look at two local schools in June 2017. I was extremely disappointed to find that two other local schools that I phoned that Monday morning in September were quite rude to me when I mentioned Miss NHM’s disease and implied that they would not be able to support her effectively.

I was EXTREMELY delighted to find that there was one place left at a local school that I’d visited earlier this year. I was really, really impressed when I went to see the school which only a few years ago was under special measures. It was very obvious that the team  in place were extremely passionate about what they were doing and their main objective was to ensure that children had fun at school, that they enjoyed school and that they learnt lots, not just educationally but emotionally and spiritually – the whole package.

I did a little dance when they told me that Miss NHM could start the following day. Actually, I did a REALLY LONG dance because I was sooooo relieved!!!!

They advised that Miss NHM could start the following day but I didn’t have time during the work day to get to the shops to get her the new school cardigan so she started on the Wednesday.

Starting a new school

Both of us were obviously quite nervous but the new school bent over backwards to ensure that both of us felt very welcome. The complete opposite of what we’d experienced before!

Within a week Miss NHM had made lots of new friends, including a best friend that she is “thick as thieves” with, as the teacher said at the first parents evening in October! lol.

Miss NHM settled in far better than I ever imagined she could. The difference in her behaviour after the first week was astounding. I had no idea what a negative effect The Prison was having on her.

Things just got better and better. The school have been soooo understanding and soooo supportive and everyone is so lovely and welcoming and HUMAN! Empathy and compassion is normalised (even with the reception staff!), which has been a massive shock as that’s definitely NOT the experience that we’ve had before.

HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!!!!!

Miss NHM’s reading has gone off the charts, she’s improving with her maths, her mental health has improved dramatically and although she is still showing signs of trauma and anxiety the new school have bent over backwards to support her.

I have been wracking my brains for the past term to try to find something that I don’t like about the new school and I just can’t! I love it ALL! I cannot praise the new school enough. This may be because of the dreadful experience that we had at The Prison so my expectations were very low already but I’ve spoken to several other parents at the new school and they love it too.

I’m so delighted, after an incredibly tough year, to say that we’ve ended on a real high. I no longer have to battle for an hour every morning to get Miss NHM to school, she happily skips in. No more dragging her through the door with the teacher’s help, she skips straight in without even looking back to say bye!

To see her happy to go to school every day has been a real revelation and to see her receive the support that she has needed since she first started school in 2015 has been such a relief.

So, FINALLY, I can report that we’ve had a very happy experience of Y2 so far. YAY!!!!!

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