August 2018’s “NHM Inspirational Mum”: Aliceja Fisher

I stopped doing the “Inspirational Mum” programme because it felt like I was the one who was deciding who was inspirational and who wasn’t and that’s definitely not my decision to make.

But it looks like the universe is deciding for me on this one after my original “Inspirational Mum” post was automatically re-published on “NorthHantsMum FB Page” a few days ago and I realised that I’m just the “facilitator” for this.

YOU are the ones who nominate a Mum for this, I just have the AWESOME job of passing on the message :-D.

So, I think I’m going to try this one again. I will put out a request each month for nominations and whomever gets the most nominations will “win” for that month. Let’s see how this goes…

August 2018’s NorthHantsMum’s Inspirational Mum, with by far the most email nominations is: Aliceja Fisher!

Congratulations Aliceja! I know we’ve never met but it’s clear that you are an awesome Mum and person based on the number of emails that I received for your nomination!!

As Helen says below, make sure you print the comments out and use them to boost you on those wobbly days 😉 :-D.

Inspiration Mum Nomination 1

Helen: My nomination is Aliceja Fisher

Things changes a lot for her in the last 12 months and the game got a lot harder. She’s embraced it, fought the challenge, become stronger, more empowered and while she has wobbles of self doubt, which she really shouldn’t, she is a wonderful mum to her daughter.
She’s also a huge supporter of community projects, involved with social events for Mums to help their mental health and stop Mums feeling alone. She’s always seen to be pointing mums in the right direction of classes and support. My message to Aliceja would be, always believe in yourself and when this is published and you’re recognised as a Inspirational Mum, print it, keep it and use all the lovely comments to boost you on those wobbly days.

Inspiration Mum Nomination 2

Holly: I’ve seen your FB post and I’d like to nominate Aliceja Fisher as my local mum.

I’ve known Alice a number for years, we went to senior school together, she’s has always put others before herself, she has always be so kind and loved by all even through many trying times.

She truly is a wonderful person and now she’s a wonderful mother. She made my journey in to motherhood so much easier just by being there, our babies are a couple of months apart and they’ve brought her back in to my life and I’m so grateful to have her in it! I love you lots Aliceja!

Inspiration Mum Nomination 3

Lisa Marie: I would love to nominate my friend Aliceja Fisher.

Around a year ago her world was rocked and kind of crashed around her, she could have given up completely. However, she embraced the huge changes happening and became even stronger than she ever was.

As us mums do, she has days where she doubts everything she’s doing, but she’s the most amazing Mum and the best friend anyone could ask for! She helps everyone without any hesitation and she deserves to be recognised for everything she does!

She’s beautiful inside and out and such an inspiration! Aliceja, be proud of everything you’ve achieved!!! We love you loads!Xxx

Inspiration Mum Nomination 4

Jen: I would like to celebrate a local amazing Mum, Aliceja Fisher from Basingstoke. I met her at a Mummy social event which she organised, she has been through a lot this past year and becoming a new mum herself I think has bought out the best in her! She is an amazing inspiration to all Mums and personally has become a very close friend who supports me and everyone around her without even batting an eyelid.

She is an awesome person and one of the most hard working Mums I know always putting others before herself!

This would mean the world to her even though she would be completely overwhelmed and feel like she didn’t deserve it! She really does!

Inspiration Mum Nomination 5

Joanna: I’d like to jump on the bandwagon and nominate Aliceja Fisher as an inspirational Mum. I met her last summer when she set up regular coffee meet-ups using the Mummy Social App. I was a few months into maternity leave and these socials gave me the impetus and confidence to get out of the house with a young baby and meet new friends.

Aliceja has had a tough year but has remained a good friend as well as being active in community events.

Aliceja deserves recognition for her support to new mums and general awesomeness!

Inspiration Mum Nomination 6

Louisa: My nomination is Aliceja Fisher.

Aliceja and I have babies the same age, and without her creating social events when they were small I wouldn’t have a the great friend group I have now.

She always goes out of her way to help everyone and quite often forgets about herself in the process.

She is genuinely one of the most selfless people I have ever met and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this nomination.

A true awesome mummy!!

Inspiration Mum Nomination 7

Jenna: I’d like to nominate Aliceja Fisher!

I don’t even know where to begin with reasons as to why she’s awesome! She walked ( quite literally- at the HV walk) into my life last year as we were finding our feet as first time mums! She introduced me to other mums who now I call my closest friends! She keeps getting curve balls thrown at her but she gets back up and continues on! She is a credit to our mummy group and she needs to know that we are with her ever step of the way!!! She is the most kind person I know and deserves this!

Inspiration Mum Nomination 8

Gayle: Nominate Aliceja Fisher

Aliceja has been a great friend since we both became mums. She makes time to make sure we are ok regardless of what is going on in her own life. She keeps in contact with a large circle of friends and the list gets bigger and bigger as she picks up more and involves more as she goes.

She is truly an inspiration, being a single fantastic mum and now working full time, being open and honest to all she meets making sure no one feels alone, and sharing her feelings on Instagram/ Facebook – she says what we are all feeling.

Inspiration Mum Nomination 9

Odette: My nomination is for Aliceja Fisher, she is an amazing mum and friend! She is my sister in law and she is always willing to listen to everyone and try to help despite whatever happens in her life.

She is always willing to help, everyone specially new mums; giving them right advice or putting them in the right direction.

She also gets involved in social events to support new mums, helping them to meet new people. Always with a smile

She has a golden heart.

Thank you very much to everyone who nominated a Mum for this month’s “NHM Inspirational Mum”!

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I’m now on holiday until the 4th of September 2018! WHOOOP!!!!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago I’m going to (properly) take the summer off from NHM this year.

This means that I won’t be posting daily on NorthHantsMum.co.uk although I will still have “recur” post working which means that historical posts will be re-published to NorthHantsMum FB Page every afternoon, around 4pm.

I also have a backlog of posts that I’ve promised to publish so will get to those at some point next week, but I won’t be “accepting” any new posts on NHM for the rest of the summer.

I need a break! 

I am still happy to take anonymous questions on “Louise NHM Smith” over the summer and I will continue to share posts from others that are useful for the NorthHantsMum Community.

However, I will be out of the country from Friday 17th August until Tuesday 4th September so will be doing NOTHING on NHM then.

I will still be working on my “day job” during the summer but I plan to spend more time with Miss NHM and to dramatically reduce the amount of stress that I normally have to deal with during the academic year.

It definitely feels like the last few years are catching up with me and I desperately need a “proper” break.

September Emails

I am quite worried about being bombarded with emails in early September, so if you already know about class changes, etc, please email them to me now and the NHM team and we will work on them in the background.

If you plan to send me emails about class schedule changes, etc, please note that it may take me a few weeks to get through them when I get back from holidays.

Please also ensure that what you send me can just be copied and pasted into the Class list as I don’t have time to format stuff anymore.

If you have any questions at any point, please don’t hesitate to get in touch but apologies if I don’t come back to you quickly.

I’m really, really, reeeeaaaalllllyyyy looking forward to a bit of a break!!! I hope you have an AWESOME summer too!

As always thank you for your amazing support!

Louisex

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Classes still running during Summer 2018

If you have a class that is still running during the summer holidays and you would like them to be included in this post, please email me the details to NorthHantsMum@gmail.com before 20th July 2018. Thank you.

Classes still running during Summer 2018

Cookery Doodle Doo summer sessions

I’ll be running pop up cooking sessions for ages 2-10 at Chineham library at 10am and 11am to make Beach Bowls on Weds 25th July. Link to book the 10am session here:

https://www.hants.gov.uk/librariesandarchives/library/events/eventdetail?id=383709

The 11am is also open to book here:

https://www.hants.gov.uk/librariesandarchives/library/events/eventdetail?id=383717

I’ll also be doing the Beach Bowls at Testbourne School as part of the ‘Summer of Play’ programme at 10am on Friday 27th July. I don’t have booking details for this yet – it’ll be with them directly.

Finally, there will be drop-in Beano-themed biscuit decorating at The Basingstoke Discovery Centre on Tuesday 28th August as part of the summer reading challenge 🙂

Little Learner Summer classes

Little Learners

Friday 20th July, Friday 10th August, Friday 17th August

Roger Morris Centre in Eastrop

10.30-11.30

book online https://littlelearnersuk.com/franchise/basingstoke/

Also have joint classes with Jiggy Wriggler

Little Learners & Jiggy Wriggler

Friday 27th July & Friday 3rd August,

Roger Morris Centre in Eastrop

10.30-11.30

book online https://littlelearnersuk.com/franchise/basingstoke/

Relax Kids Back to School session

I’m running a Relax Kids Back to School session on Tuesday 28 August 9.30-10.30 at Westside Community Centre.

Bookings can be made at Relax Kids Basingstoke – Booking by Bookwhen

Caterpillar Music Summer Sessions

These are the sessions I’m running…

Mondays @ Beggarwood Community Centre

9:45am (mixed ages)

10:35am (0-18months)

4 weeks from Mon 30th July

£24 for the 4 weeks OR £7.50 per session (must be prebooked tho!)

Tuesdays @ Chineham Village Hall

10am (mixed ages)

10:50am (0-18months)

5 weeks from Tues 31st July

£30 for the 5 weeks OR £7.50 a session (must be prebooked tho!)

Tots Play Summer Sessions

Baby Development 6 week course (birth to 6 months) every Wednesday at 11:30am (except August 15th) starts July 18th at Chineham Village Hall, £60 for the course

Summer Sessions suitable from 3 months to 2 years (older siblings welcome) as follows

Sherfield Park Community Centre:

  • Monday July 30th at 10am
  • Monday August 6th at 10am
  • Monday August 20th at 10am

Chineham Village Hall:

  • Wednesday August 1st at 10am
  • Wednesday August 8th at 10am
  • Wednesday August 22nd at 10am

£6 per session or 3 for £15

All can be booked online by clicking the link on the website www.totsplay.co.uk/basingstoke

Yoga Babes

My class is still running during summer: www.yogababes.co.uk

TNT Family Fitness

📢We are delighted to announce our first ever SUMMER classes in Basingstoke 📢

All class times are the same at each venue and are age appropriate: –
Family fitness fun, walkers to preschool age – 10:15-10:55 am
Family fitness fun, 5 years and over – 11:00-11:45 am

3 locations around Basingstoke :-

Viables Community Centre – 31st July and 7th August
Old Basing Village Hall – 14th August
Melrose Community Hall – 21st and 28th August.

Launch offer = The first 20 family to book get all 5 sessions for £20.
Otherwise, £5 per session when booked before 20th July.

Message for more information or to book your place 📲💰

We look forward to welcoming you and your family to our Summer fitness event. With thanks to our partners at Radian Housing.

Event link is :- https://www.facebook.com/events/1750761688354128/

Pop Up Play Village

Pop Up Play Village are running the following special sessions this summer:

27th October East Oakley Village Hall 10-11:15am

22nd August Clift Meadow, Brocus Hall in Bramley 10-11:15am

Both of these events are our special Outdoor Explorers sessions appearing by popular request for the summer holidays. There will be stick whittling, our mud kitchen, clay tiles to make, ice play, nature hunts and lots more! Sessions are aimed for children from 0-11 years old this summer but older children are welcome!

Tickets for our events are available from our website www.popupplayvillage.co.uk/organiser/basingstoke

We hope to see you there!

CHAMPS Academy Workshops over the Summer

Confidence Kick-Start (11-16 year olds)

Tuesday 31st July, 5pm-6pm

£10 per child

Confidence Kick-Start (6-10 year olds)

Tuesday 7th August, 5pm-6pm

£10 per child

Bully Proof (11-16 year olds)

Monday 13th August, 5pm-6pm

£10 per child

Bully Proof (6-10 year olds)

Monday 20th August, 5pm-6pm

£10 per child

Back to School (11-16 year olds)

Wednesday 22nd August, 5pm-6pm

£12 per child

Back to School (6-10 year olds)

Tuesday 28th August, 5pm-6pm

£12 per child

All workshops are taking place at Hatch Warren Community Centre.

Email: Chantal.champsacademy@gmail.com
Web page: http://www.champs-academy.co.uk/chantal-dawson/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChampsChantal/

InsideOut Health and Fitness

I’ll be running Junior Bootcamp at Basingstoke Sports Centre every Thursday and Friday during August, 11.15-12.15.

It’s £3.80 to drop in for an hour of fun, games and working out like the adults do!

For further info, call Sarah on 07745555809 or email sarahleaford@outlook.com

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Questions I would ask if Miss NHM was starting YR now

I’ve learnt a few things during the last three years, since Miss NHM started school.

We’ve changed school in that time and we’ve experienced two very different schools as a result.

These are the questions or the things I would be thinking about if Miss NHM were to start school all over again.

As I’ve said here before, I’m very aware that I only have experience of two schools so please take this with a pinch of salt.

You don’t have to agree with me and that’s fine. These are just my ramblings, as a parent, on what I would be asking or considering if Miss NHM was to go back and start school again.

Oh and apologies to any teachers or teaching assistants who read NHM and take offence to any of this. I think that the majority of you do a PHENOMENAL job under very difficult conditions and I’m very thankful for all of your efforts.

Visiting Schools/Questions to Ask

“What are your objectives for the school?”

“What do you want the children to get out of their time from school?”

If you are visiting lots of schools I would recommend seeing if you can get some time with the head. They are top of the food chain at the school and as everything flows down from them it would be important for me to understand what their “ethos” is for the school.

I would ask them about what their objectives are for the school and what they expect the children to get out of school. If they don’t mention the word “fun” at least twice during that conversation I wouldn’t even be considering that school.

If all the head or the teachers talk about is education and maths and english that would be a red light. For me, infants school (in fact all school) needs to be not just about education but also about the welfare ofeach child and how the school would support that.

I believe that there needs to be a fun element in school. Children should not be expected to sit at their desk all day long, especially not in YR.

I would also be VERY reticent if that head teacher came across as very cold and didn’t share anything about their thoughts or feelings. This will reflect throughout the school.

Length of service of the teaching staff

“How long has the head teacher been at the school?”

At Miss NHM’s first school the head teacher changed during the summer holidays just before she started YR. Parents were not informed and I only found out about this by accident. It was handled appallingly by the school and things changed dramatically from when we originally saw the school to when Miss NHM started school. To the point that we didn’t even know when Miss NHM would be starting school until a month before. This should have been an early warning sign to me.

Also, it was clear that the head teacher had no idea what they were doing and this reflected in Miss NHM’s experience of YR.

“How long have the teachers in YR been at that school? ”

This is really important. It’s very interesting to note that often when a new head starts, a lot of the existing staff leave within 6 months, so you will essentially be starting with a brand new staff team.

School Visits

We were given a tour of one school by a parent governor. I wouldn’t attend this tour again. They did not give us a clear picture of the school and we only found this out once Miss NHM started at that school.

I also attended another school visit that was led by children who attended that school. This was a DREADFUL way of seeing a school because it wasn’t possible to ask questions as we went round because the children were unable to answer them. Or maybe that was the idea…

Visit during the school day

As I’ve said before I would also ensure that my visits were during the day time whilst the existing children were in the school. This is VERY enlightening. If the children are all sitting well behaved behind desks, that wouldn’t sit well with me after everything we have experienced.

In YR children should be free to roam. Their focus should be on play activities. I would stand in the YR rooms and turn around slowly and take in the environment. Are the rooms free flowing? Are there mostly toys and sensory items available for the children to play with? Are several of these outside? These are the kinds of things I would be considering as a parent.

School Uniform

“What’s the policy on school uniform?”

Are the school really, really strict on school uniform? This speaks volumes to me if they are strict about uniform in infants school.

Particularly if they demand that the children wear logo’d T-shirts. The stress that we went through because Miss NHM wouldn’t wear logo’d T-shirts because they scratched, is still firmly etched in my mind.

“Extra” classes

“Does the school allow for any other “classes” during the school day?”

I know of some schools that have extra classes during the school day that parents can pay for. Things like sports, music and art, the stuff that the government doesn’t deem important enough to be included in the school curriculum on a regular basis.

If the school doesn’t allow external providers into the school, to me, this indicates the philosophy of the school.

Forest School

“Does the school have any provision for forest school.”

I know of several local schools that have forest school and I’m GUTTED that Miss NHM missed out on this at her school as they mainly do it for the YR and Y1’s in her current school and her old school didn’t have forest school at all.

The children turn up in casual clothes and spend the day outside. The fact that some schools recognise how important it is for young children to be outside would be important to me.

Holidays during term time

“What’s the school policy on taking a child out of school during term time?”

This was my “killer” question when we were going round to view schools before Miss NHM started YR.

All the schools will say the same. It’s illegal, the children will miss out on their education and become illiterate, stupid and will fail at life, you’ll get fined, blah, blah, blah. However, it’s not WHAT they say it’s the WAY that they say it. One head teacher of a school we visited literally tried to rip my head off after I’d asked her that question.

Her response made me think very long and hard about whether I would want my child in a school where the head felt it was appropriate to behave like that with a very reasonable question from a parent who was new to the schooling system.

Failing YR

“How does a child fail YR at this school?”

If a teacher or head teacher balks at the word “fail” then that’s what I would be looking for. If I got a long spiel about how children fail YR for whatever reasons, I would NOT be sending my child to that school.

Time outside

“How often are the children allowed to play on the school field?”

Does the school even have a school field and if they do are the children allowed to play on it or is it “just for show”. I would also want to know about break times and the times that children are allowed outside.

For example, if it’s a heatwave are children still allowed outside to play in the shade during their break times or do they need to remain in the sweltering heat in the classroom?

Additional Needs Children

“How are children with additional needs treated at this school?”

Even if I didn’t have a child with additional needs this would now be a key question for me.

Having seen the IMMORAL and inhumane way that Miss NHM was treated at her old school and having heard that several other children with additional needs have now been removed by their parents from that school, I would want to know exactly what the school was doing to support children with additional needs.

Even if my child didn’t have additional needs I would want to meet the SENCO and the ELSA of the school so I knew who these people were and I got to see how sympathetic and understanding they were.

You never know if your child is suddenly going to need extra support, like we did, and knowing these people in advance and what their “ethos” is would be important to me.

Reception Staff

Having experienced two school receptions I know EXACTLY what I would be looking for.

If the receptionist on the front desk is rude, dismissive or patronising, this speaks volumes about the school.

They will potentially be the first person that you speak too or meet. If they can’t be civil or understanding of a new parent who has no idea what is going on, I wouldn’t want my child at that school.

If the reception staff are bubbly and happy and very willing to give you advice if you are a new parent then this is what I would be looking for.

Sports Day

“What happens on Sports Day?”

This is a bit of a random one but having experienced two very different Sports days at two different schools I would want someone to explain to me what happens on sports day.

If there is no mention of Mum’s races, Dad’s races, toddler races or teacher races this would raise a red flag for me.

For me, Sports days should be a really lovely family affair and if parents and families aren’t invited to take part and it’s just about rigidly following the “structure” of the schools Sports Day, I would be concerned.

Primary Schools vs. Infants Schools

“Is the school a Primary or an Infants school?”

In my naivety before Miss NHM started school I was adamant that she went to an Infants school because I thought it would be better for her to be with children roughly the same age as her and that she would be with lots of her peers.

However, now that we’ve been through two schools I would ALWAYS opt for a Primary school, for many reasons.

Primary schools are normally smaller schools with smaller years, so instead of 3 or 4 classes of 30 children in YR you have 1 or 2 classes of 30 children for each year in a Primary school.

Younger children are also mixing with other children a lot older than them and I have only seen good things come from this. Miss NHM is in awe of the children in Y6 and is always trying to emulate her favourites.

Also, if your child is in Infants school you then have all of the anxiety and stress when they move from Infants to Juniors. I have several friends at Miss NHM’s old school who are living this reality and it looks like it’s quite stressful. Not knowing what the new junior school will be like can be very worrying (they often operate independently of the infants school), as well as stressful wondering about how things “step up” in Y3.

Go with your gut

Most importantly, I would trust my instincts. I wouldn’t let Mr NHM do some of the school visits on his own because I was busy working and trying to look after Miss NHM whilst she was still an un-diagnosed Coeliac. I would want both of us to go and see ALL of our local schools either together or independently during school time.

I wouldn’t just follow the system and think that the school that’s closest to us has got to be a “good” school because aren’t all schools “good”? (No, they aren’t).

I would trust my parenting instincts and if a school didn’t feel right for whatever reason, even if I couldn’t verbalise it, I wouldn’t send Miss NHM there.

When you go into a school and you speak to the staff and the children you will just “know” which school is right for your child.

I hope this hasn’t been too stressful to read for new parents who are due to join the schooling system soon.

Hopefully it’s given you some things to think about that I had never considered when Miss NHM started school. (I wish I had had the benefit of reading this post when she was 3 years old!)

What would you add to these questions?

Good luck!

Feedback from NHM Readers on this post:

Alison: “Some interesting points although I was rather shocked to find out that the school closest to you might be the only one you got even if you didn’t chose it.” 

Leanne: “Lots to think about although your bit about infant/junior schools I would say is unnecessarily worrying for parents who live where there is only a choice of separate schools and no primaries. There are also some enormous primaries! I’ve taught in both and I don’t think the type of school has been a significant factor in children’s happiness.

Also-no teacher or parent races at sports day would not raise a red flag. For every parent that enjoys that sort of thing, there is one that dreads it and hates the thought of letting their child down. Also, the more races there are, the longer the children are sat doing nothing which is especially not great during this hot weather!

I totally agree with listening to see if the HT talks about more than just English and Maths.”

Lucy: I’d add that your child isn’t legally required to be in school at all. It’s your choice how and where your child is educated.”

Leanne: “Oh and it is worth knowing that you can take your child out of school legally until the term after they turn 5 (when they then have to be in education). So if your child is 5 in May, for example, you can take them on holiday any time during their Reception Year but if they are 5 in November you only can for that first term.”

Lizzie: “Couple of things I would like to add. Firstly, your child is not compulsory school age until the term after they turn 5 so it is your right to choose how much they attend until then. Also, if your child is born 1st April – 31st August you can apply to decelerate them and start them at school a year later at age 5. You can ask for them to start in reception.”

Lizzie: “In regard to forest School – I am a forest School and outdoor learning teacher. If you really want forest school make sure it isn’t just one class that get the opportunity, look for a school that continues the provision throughout the school every year to get the most from it. Also, don’t get hung up on forest school itself. There’s schools out there that don’t have actual forest school sessions but outdoor learning and is embedded across the curriculum throughout the school. If a school values outdoor learning they will be telling you about it before you ask.”

Other questions to ask suggested by NHM Readers

Good Afternoon Everyone! I’m putting together a post with questions to ask and things to look out for when visiting Infants/Primary schools. I’ve had some great suggestions in the YR 2018 group but thought I’d ask the whole of the NHM Community if they have any suggestions? TIA 

Charlotte: “Ofsted report, exam results, behaviour management, teaching method as in topic based etc, class sizes, mixed year classes or years on own”

Mary: “Ask about toilets and the dignity of children when using them.”

Lisa: “Mainly go with gut feeling but also look at how happy/polite/well presented the kids are, how much homework do they get in each year, after-school clubs, staff turnover, parent involvement (trips etc), friendliness of staff particularly office staff, how often parents get feedback (i.e reports/parents eve)….”

Victoria: “You can ask all the questions in the world but you will ‘just know’ when you’ve found the right one for your child. When forming questions think about your child’s needs, current ‘academic’ interest, emotional maturity and then base your questions on that. In some way generic questions about OFSTED, sat results are not really going to give you the answers you need!”

Hannah: “Look for how the staff interact & engage with the children. I’d want to know more than anything else that staff would be able to build a positive relationship with my child (no matter how difficult they were being) so they would feel safe and happy… only then will the learning etc take place.”

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

My Experience: Body shaming 7 year olds

On Saturdays, after Miss NHM’s swimming lesson, her and Mr NHM go out for a “Daddy Daughter” date, so they can have some quality time together and have a chat.

It was during their “Daddy daughter” date on the morning of the Royal Wedding when Miss NHM suddenly said to my husband: “Daddy, I need to be skinnier”. Just matter of fact, in the way that my daughter is.

It was so out of the blue and not related to what they were discussing and he was so shocked that he just asked her why she thought that.

She said “Because ***** says I’m too fat and I need to be skinnier”.

He continued to be so shocked that he just changed the subject. When he got home he asked to talk to me in private and told me what had happened. I was just as shocked. I had NOT anticipated dealing with things like this when our daughter has just turned 7 years old.

We agreed that we wouldn’t make a big thing about it but would try to re-iterate a positive body image.

However at dinner the next evening I made a flippant comment about it being really healthy and Miss NHM piped up with: “good, I’m glad it’s really healthy as I’m too fat and I need to be skinnier”.  I was so shocked again, but slightly more prepared, so I told her that she is definitely not fat and her body is just perfect as it is.

(Miss NHM already has challenges with food because of her coeliac disease and she is anything but fat.)

I emailed the head teacher on Monday who had asked me to keep them informed previously, as it’s not the first time that Miss NHM has had things like this happen to her.

The head teacher confirmed that body shaming at 7 years old isn’t as rare as you would think.

A few days later I spoke briefly to some trusted parents in the playground and a couple of the Mum’s of girls said that their 6 or 7 year old daughters had also said, at one time or another, that they were “fat”.

WOW. Just WOW. What is our society coming too?

I was very naive in thinking that because we don’t have a TV Miss NHM would be avoiding this type of thing. I hadn’t expected some of her peers to be projecting it instead!

Miss NHM hasn’t mentioned it again since that weekend but she’s being kept away from the other child in school because of their negative impact on Miss NHM anyway.

I’m sharing this not because I have any answers. I don’t have any, but in case any other Mum’s and Dad’s are freaking out about their young children saying things like this, you are not alone.

If anyone has any specific professional advice about what to do with this, then please do let me know.

I don’t know whether it’s right to not make a big thing about this with Miss NHM or whether we should be talking to her more about these things.

Why is parenting so hard at times?

Louise: I wrote this a few weeks ago and I’m not as worried about it anymore as Miss NHM hasn’t mentioned it since but it does make me a little concerned about the future and what that might bring. 

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I’m taking Summer 2018 OFF from NorthHantsMum!

It’s less than a month until the end of term so I thought I better give you the heads-up that I’m taking the summer off from NorthHantsMum like I have for the past 4 years.

As you know NorthHantsMum is my hobby and I fit it in around all of the other things going on in my life. My family is my priority and it’s really important to me that I spend the six weeks summer holiday with Miss NHM, so that we can have some fun and a proper break.

After the last few harrowing years of Miss NHM’s health, this will be our first summer where she is healthy and well and we won’t be struggling with the complications of her Coeliac Disease.

Although I will still be working for most of it, we will be squeezing in lots of fun stuff in between and catching up with lots of friends that we haven’t seen during term time.

I’m also NOT going to get involved in any bloody bench auctions or anything similar. Last year’s fundraising exercise (I know I only have myself to blame for that one! Facepalm! lol) for the Jane Austen benches nearly KILLED me and although it was an amazing experience I am DEFINITELY not doing anything similar again this summer.

(If you suddenly see me doing something like that again, please, please, PLEASE send me lots of abusive messages about talking crap and slap me if you see me!!!)

I will probably post every few days over the summer as I can’t seem to help myself. But it will be more the stuff that I WANT to post than posting for everyone else.

Or I may just decide to take the summer off completely from posting on NorthHantsMum.co.uk. I haven’t quite decided yet.

We will still be working in the background on NorthHantsMum.co.uk though, cleaning things up and making it easier for you to find the posts that you are looking for.

I’m hoping that myself and the “Awesome NHM Support Team” will be putting together our annual posts of “The Ultimate NHM Summer Holiday Posts!” and “Classes still running over the Summer Holidays” so look out for those in the next few weeks.

I will still be around on “Louise nhm Smith” on FB so if you want to ask any anonymous questions please PM me and I will get to them when I can.

BUT I will be totally offline from August 17th until Tuesday 4th September because we are having a “once in a lifetime” holiday (WHOOOOOPPPPPP!!!!!), so if you would like any posts to be published in early September please email them to me now as I will be doing NOTHING from 17th Aug to 4th Sept on NorthHantsMum.

As always thank you for your amazingly fantastic support and I hope you have LOADS of exciting things planned for the summer too!

Louisex

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I started NorthHantsMum 7 years ago today!

Seven years on.

I’m still here.

So are you.

I wish I had something insightful and witty to write about 7 years of my life leading the NorthHantsMum Community but I’m too exhausted today! lol.

I STILL can’t get my head around how I’m considered to be NorthHantsMum. I think it’s because it’s not just me. There’s a whole team of us who work in the background.

Thank you especially to Juliet and Shona who have helped me so much in the past 3 years, putting posts together. Thank you also to Tina for her expert wordpress help. And the many others who have helped me during the past 7 years: Wendy, Andy, Jo, Abi, Sophie, Peta, Claire and many others (apologies if I’ve missed your name off!).

I also can’t believe it’s ONLY been 7 years. It feels like it’s been part of my life for much, much longer!!!! In a good way, of course :-D.

Anyway, Happy 7th Birthday to the NorthHantsMum Community!

Roll on summer, when I’m taking my annual 6 weeks off!!! 😀 😀 :-D.

As always, thank you for being part of the NorthHantsMum Community and for all of your support!

Louisex

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Review 2018: The Fairy ClothesMother

My recent Wardrobe Refresh session with Victoria was SOO AWESOME but not only that, she’s also very kindly offering a very generous discount to NHM Readers! See below.

If you are stuck for presents for anyone or feel you need a BOOST yourself, I HIGHLY recommend as you can read below.

Review 2018: The Fairy ClothesMother

About

Victoria messaged me and asked me if I would like to have a Wardrobe ReFresh in exchange for a review and I thought I’d give it a go as I had nothing left to lose and could definitely use the help.

She used to run the store in Vintage Treasures, a boutique specialising in vintage and vintage inspired clothing, on Church Street, in Basingstoke so she knows what she is talking about!

I’ll be honest, I was NOT looking forward to Victoria coming round to help me de-clutter my wardrobe.  In my head I had visions of Trinny and Suannah (I’m showing my age now!) and GokWan DECIMATING my wardrobe.

My focus for the past few years has been on getting Miss NHM well again and as part of this I have completely neglected my body and my wardrobe reflects this.

I’ve written before about having a uniform as I don’t have time to think in the mornings or the night before as I prefer to spend my time and energy on other things. If you’ve been reading NHM for a while you’ll know that I am allergic to most man made materials, particularly polyester.

Trying to shop for clothes these days, that don’t have polyester or lycra in is very, very, VERY frustrating. There are certain shops that I know I can shop in that have 100% cotton and I tend to stick to those as I know that they aren’t going to cause me any issues.

Although this does mean that I’ve been in a bit of a clothing rut. I hate clothes shopping at the best of times and then having to double check every single label well… it’s depressing and I don’t have the motivation for it.

So the thought of Victoria coming round and telling me that I needed to go shopping for more clothes….I wasn’t looking forward to it….

Before we met

A couple of weeks before our appointment Victoria sent me a document with several questions asking me things like my hair and eye colour, what my current style is and what my dream look would be.

The document also asked me about my shopping habits and I think she could probably work out from there that I was going to be a total pain in the butt!!! (facepalm!)

Victoria also asked me to send some pictures of my face and my body, so she could see what she would be working with.

The Wardrobe Refresh Appointment

Victoria came round to my house one lunchtime, but just after I’d had a filling. So I was feeling a bit miserable, my face was all numb and I was really not in the mood for the appointment.

However, I haven’t laughed so much in AGES!!! Victoria spent about 15 minutes with me talking through my answers to the questions she’d sent me and I felt SOOOO at ease! You can immediately tell that Victoria’s main aim is to make you feel much better at the end of the appointment than you do at the beginning.

She asked me to write three words down describing how I was feeling right then about my clothes and those words were pretty depressing.

Victoria then talked through my colours and told me that I’m an “Autumn”. I had my colours done years ago and I already knew I was an Autumn and had told Victoria this in my answers but it was really, really good to go through which colours suit me again. Even though I have a colour wallet from when my colours were done when I was 18 years old, I wasn’t sure if they would still be the colours to suit me.

Victoria then briefly talked through which styles suit me best which was quite enlightening.

We then just got stuck in to my wardrobe.

I have quite a small wardrobe but it turns out that I have LOADS of clothes hidden away and even some in Miss NHM’s wardrobe that I had completely forgotten about.

We went through EVERY SINGLE ITEM of clothing in my cupboard and it was… AWESOME!!!

Victoria gave me permission (well, she didn’t actually give me permission but it felt like it!) to get rid of clothes that I’ve been hanging onto for years that I shouldn’t have been.

I read the Life Changing magic of Tidying three years ago (WOW, how time flies!) and even though there were clothes that I had purged then, there were some items that I still had an emotional attachment too that needed to be got rid of.

We went through everything and sorted them into three piles: keep, sell, recycle. It was SUCH an uplifting experience!!! Not at all what I expected.

Normally I’m quite self concious about my body, but I was just stripping off and getting stuck in and Victoria was brilliant. She echoed many things that I’d said in my head about some outfits, except she said it out loud. Hearing someone else say lots and lots of really positive things about my wardrobe was just amazing!

I realised that I do have lots and lots of beautiful dresses that I just don’t wear that I really ought too!

I felt absolutely AMAZING after the appointment. Victoria asked me to update my three words again, about how I was feeling, and it was like they were written by another person!

She advised me to start wearing more colours and notice the compliments that start rolling in and you know what, she was absolutely right! I’ve had LOADS of comments about what I’ve been wearing recently since my Wardrobe ReFresh.

Victoria also suggested making adjustments to certain items of my clothing and has recommended a local seamstress who can do this for me. I only actually need to buy ONE ITEM of clothing for my wardrobe! I expected that I would probably have to buy at least 4 or 5 new items but with modifications to my current clothes and that one item of clothing, it’s going to make such a difference!

Victoria is even going to find me the items that I need online and send the links over to me so I can just buy them directly. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!!!

Victoria says that that with her BOOST Style ethos:

“My mission is to have you with a wardrobe of clothes that are working for your body shape, not against you, in the correct seasonal colour palette and reflect your lifestyle and personality. Most of all I want you to feel empowered to be you! After all, you are the best person to do YOU!”

By the end of the appointment I was literally jumping with joy. I had freed up lots of space in my wardrobe, I’ve got a pile of clothes to sell on ebay so I can use that money to buy my extra item of clothing and it felt really good to “let go” of some clothes that I’d been hanging on to for years.

I couldn’t stop hugging the poor girl before she left as she’d made me feel so happy!!

After Care

A couple of days later, Victoria sent me a document which covered everything we had discussed. This was called “Louise style file” and it’s absolutely FANTASTIC!!!!

I cannot stop raving about this document! It’s absolutely bloody brilliant!

I love that the document has my body shape analysis and explains what body shape I am and also has a wonderful list of Do’s and Don’t’s for my body shape, which is going to make it sooooo much easier to shop with now! The document even includes pictures of styles that are mentioned, so if you don’t know what bootcut trousers look like, there is a picture to show you.

I also really liked that there is explanation of my colour analysis with suggestions of colours for me to wear.

There is also a section which highlights the key pieces that I should add to my wardrobe (very delighted it’s only 1 so I don’t have to spend much! lol).

Victoria also sent me a private style board on Pinterest. I love, love, LOVE the private style boardt. It’s absolutely brilliant and has lots and lots of suggestions of outfits that will suit me. My style for swim wear, formal wear and even some pictorial examples of which make up colours suit me best!

Absolutely perfect!!

Other Services

Victoria also offers a “Virtual Shopping Session”: “This is a digital file the she sends to you containing links to all of the items mentioned above, you can them order those that you feel suit and when they arrive you have a session via Skype for Victoria to check the fit and style, helping you decide which to keep and which, if any, to return. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe for a new season, holiday or special event without having to leave home!

I will soooo be taking her up on this “virtual shopping session” when I have a wedding to go too as she literally picks out the items for you and sends you the online links so all you have to do is order them. AMAZING!

Discount for NHM Readers

Victoria is very kindly offering NHM Readers a discount code -(NHM25) giving you a 25% discount on the “Wardrobe ReFresh” session.

Please quote this code when getting in touch with Victoria.

Rating out of 5

Twenty Five Hundred out of 5, as Miss NHM says. This was one of the best ways that I’ve spent two hours in a very long time. Victoria is absolutely lovely and a very positive person who made me feel sooooo much better about my wardrobe and also myself.

The appointment is very good value for money and having now had the appointment I would happily pay double for another one (don’t tell Victoria that, obviously! facepalm). I will actually be saving money in the long run, because instead of ordering clothes and finding out that they don’t fit me properly which means I don’t wear them often, I will know EXACTLY what to buy and won’t be wasting any money anymore.

Victoria really is a Fairy ClothesMother and I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend her services!!

You can find out more about The Fairy ClothesMother at: https://www.facebook.com/FairyClothesMother/

or at her website: https://givingyouaboost.wixsite.com/hello

Disclaimer: This post is a review of the Wardrobe ReFresh by The Fairy Clothesmother. The Wardrobe Refresh service was supplied free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Review 2018: HAIRaffair Basingstoke

I recently received a message on facebook from Aideen, asking me if I would like to have my hair done in exchange for a review on NorthHantsMum.

I jumped at the chance! 😀

(There is a special offer for NHM Readers at the bottom of this post :-D)

HAIRaffair Basingstoke

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not a “girly girl” but I do take an interest in how I look. I haven’t had my hair cut in a salon in over 10 years as I have always found hairdressers to be very intimidating places, especially as I’m not into fashion.

It turned out that at a recent fundraising raffle I had won a voucher to get my hair cut but hadn’t realised it that it was with Aideen. I actually gave the voucher to a friend who needed pampering more than me, so when Aideen got in contact it clicked that I’d given away my voucher!!!! lol.

I explained to Aideen that I wasn’t really a girly girl and she was absolutely lovely about it. I did know that I wanted my hair to be coloured but I didn’t want her to be anymore out of pocket, especially as she’d been so generous with her raffle donation.

I explained that I just wanted a trim and colour and we agreed that I would cover the cost of the colouring and she would cut my hair in exchange for this review.

About

Aideen decided on her career path when she was traveling around Australia for a year after studying at college and university. She’s always loved playing with hair but at the time she thought that she would end up in a different career. Then she saw that lots of fellow travellers cutting hair and making money flexibly and it confirmed her career decision.

Once back from Australia she worked and trained at Arc in Basingstoke town centre and then progressed to a salon in Odiham where she was assistant manager and senior stylist. Then a couple of years ago, after her son was born, she decided to convert a room in her house to her salon and she hasn’t looked back!

We had a chat when I arrived and Aideen chose the best colour for me based on what I’d told her.

Aideen then applied the foils to my hair whilst we continued chatting.

Once the foils came out, Aideen washing my hair in her fancy hair sink and gave me a lovely mini head massage.

Then Aideen cut my hair and layered it a bit. I didn’t realise how long my hair was as she cut off about 4 inches and it was still really long! lol.

We basically didn’t stop talking for the whole two hours!!! It was really lovely to chat to her and she’s a great listener.

She did a fantastic job with my hair and blow dried it straight as my hair normally has a bit of a kink about it.

I came out of Aideen’s salon literally bouncing. There is literally nothing like having 1.5 hours of being pampered and coming out with a fab new hair colour and hairstyle!

My FAB new hair!!!

When I got home Mr NHM said “something’s different…” which is high praise in our household! lol.

Miss NHM kept telling me how beautiful I looked. She’s not used to me having my hair down.

I felt amazing for the rest of the weekend with my fab new hair!

Tips

Aideen normally works only on Saturdays but if you are desperate, she can fit you in at other times.

Facilities

Aideen’s studio is attached to her house but it’s fab because you literally have it ALL TO YOURSELF!!! She only has one to two people at a time so you have her full concentration.

Baby Facilities

Babies are very welcome at Aideen’s studio.

The perk of Aideen only having one client at a time means that you can take your baby along as there is room for a baby car seat.

If you let her know in advance that you are taking a baby with you, she said she will allow extra time in case you need to focus on your baby at any point. How fab is that!

Aideen is very understanding as she has two small children of her own.

Parking

Is free and on the drive and streets near Aideen’s house.

Prices

Prices are what you would expect for an independent hairstylist with her own studio.

For example, a cut, style and finish is £35.

Rating out of 5

Aideen did SUCH an AWESOME job! I absolutely love it!!! My hair looked amazing.

I will easily give her 5 out of 5 because she made me feel so welcome and really looked after me.

I love the colour and the cut was a really good cut. It was such a luxury to have my hair washed AND dried.

If you need a new haircut and are looking for some pampering at the same time, I highly recommend visiting Aideen’s salon!

Aideen can be reach on 07808316933 for any bookings. She also has a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HAIRaffairbasingstoke/

Aideen is also very kindly offering NHM Readers a first time discount £5 off cut and £15 off colour and cut booked together.

Thank you Aideen!!!!!!

Disclaimer: This post is a review of HairAffair Hairdressing. My experience was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

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NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs and Groups in Old Basing

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if anyone could recommend clubs or groups for 3 year olds in Old Basing. (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

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

NHM Readers Recommend Clubs and Groups in Old Basing

Tracey said: Old basing and Lychpit NCT coffee groups group is worth joining their Facebook page sure some in this group will have children going to school next year.

Aimee said: I’ve never been but I know of the Basing Beans toddler group which I think runs on a Tuesday in the Legion. Also, I wouldn’t worry too much about making friends before school….my little boy has just started at OBIS and the induction programme is fab, they have lots of settling in sessions before the summer holidays so get to know lots of people before they even set foot in the classroom. Xx

Kerryann replied: Basing Beans is the village toddler group. Please find our Facebook page or message me. Would be lovely to have you come along!

Louise Nhm Smith said: https://www.facebook.com/groups/basingbeans

Heather said: Have you thought about preschools? My son is nearly 3 and goes to Bolton Under 5s preschool. Lots of children from there go onto old basing infants. Other than that we go to basing beans which is great for meeting people.

Heather replied: Why don’t you go along to the nct coffee mornings too? They are on Wednesdays between 10 and 12 at houses around the village. I can aďd you to their Facebook group i think. They have babies and toddlers there. It’s a great way to meet lots of people.

Natalie said: Hi, Yes there’s a facebook page on here called mummy meetup Basingstoke, lots of new mums, next meetup is on friday 12.30-2pm in playden at sports centre. also there’s a group of us on mummy social, we are meeting on thurs for coffee at 11.30 in town if you want to come too?

Louise Nhm Smith said: Mummy meetup Basingstoke or Last minute mums Basingstoke.

Louise Nhm Smith said: or try NHM – A safe inclusive group for mummies who don’t know anyone

Hannah said: Basing beans is great fun. My son is also starting next year so feel free to message me as quite often we have preschool get togethers with other mums at our preschool. I’m in basing but my son is at preschool in lychpit.

Claudia said:  Cathy Rowe runs Music with Mummy classes in Old Basing. Fab musical classes for preschoolers!

Pam said: We used to go to the playground behind the Millstone pub so my son could get used to lots of children as they stop off after school at about 3.30-3.45. The introduction sessions at the school were brilliant too. Familiarity so no anxiety of the unknown really helped confidence. We also enjoyed sessions at the Active Life centre for preschool children. We did a preschool freestyle session with a class structure without Mum which I thought would help him with the idea of following instructions and behaving independently of my guidance. Good for me too as able to watch what he was doing in the class on their screens too.

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