Review 2019: Happy Faces Easter Egg Hunt

Thank you very much to Alison for today’s NHM Secret Review! She’s done a brilliant job!!!

Review 2019: Happy Faces Easter Egg Hunt

Today I took my two year old to the Happy Faces Easter Egg Hunt in Sherfield-on-Loddon. It was on from 10am-12pm at a cost of £2.50 per child. We arrived shortly after 10am to find a queue had already formed at the entrance & most parking spaces taken.

The ladies of Happy Faces were all very friendly and welcoming. We were given a bag to collect eggs, a piece of paper with our clues on and a raffle ticket. Then we set off on our hunt.

Thanks to the sudden glorious bank holiday weather we had a lovely little walk finding clues and mini eggs along the way. For someone who doesn’t know Sherfield-on-Loddon that well we managed to follow others and figure out where each clue was hidden. Knowing that we needed to look out for the ladies wearing bunny ears helped! I especially liked the added touch of the Easter bunny (although my son found him slightly scary, lol)

At each stop the children were allowed two mini eggs for their bags. The distance covered was just enough for young legs and the gap between clues was just right to keep them interested. We had a lovely time and especially enjoyed visiting the ducks.

We worked our way back round to Happy Faces where we exchanged our raffle ticket for a large Easter egg (enough chocolate for any child). After this we had a lovely time exploring the garden, which was much bigger than I had expected.

Inside Happy Faces were many different stalls etc all helping to raise money. There were lots of amazing looking cakes for sale too.

At £2.50 I thought it was great value and my son thoroughly enjoyed himself. I would definitely do this again. It was very popular so I think getting there early is key!

Happy Faces Playgroup, Sherfield on Loddon

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Warren Tots: What’s on in December 2018

Hatch Warren Community Centre

Sessions run from 9.15-10.30 & 10.45-12

£3.50 per family (adult plus 2 children, additional children £1)

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The Warren Pre-School – Special Offer for November 2018

*Special Offer*
The Warren Pre-school is offering free Pre-school Taster sessions available during November.

For further details or to book a place contact the Manager on 01635 268516, 07527680196 or email

Alternatively message us via our website ( or Facebook page (

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September 2018 Availability at Cuckoo Meadow Pre-School

Cuckoo Meadow pre-school currently has spaces available for September. If you have any friends, family or neighbours looking for pre-school places please share this leaflet.

Cuckoo Meadow is the most amazing, nurturing environment for your little ones – OFSTED agrees, we’re rated Outstanding!!

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Free Winter Wonderland: Kiddi Caru

Kiddi Caru Day Nurseries are holding their Christmas Winter Wonderland events throughout December. Fun for all the family – come and soak up the festive atmosphere together and join in some seasonal fun with Santa and the Kiddi Caru Elves.

All events are free to attend, but any kind donations on the day will be gratefully received for Home-Start’s Snowflake appeal which Kiddi Caru support all year round.

Find an event near you

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Tiny Oaks Pre-school

My name is Karen McCoy and I am manager of Tiny Oaks Pre-school in Oakridge, Basingstoke.

We are a charitable, community pre-school for children aged 2 -5 years. As of this September, we are extending our opening hours to 8am – 5pm to increase our capacity and create additional places for families claiming the new 30 hour funding.

We are looking at ways of getting the message out to local families that we are now open longer and have places for funded 2 year olds, funded 3 &4 year olds in addition to fee paying children.

Facebook Page

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Kiddi Caru Family Fun Day – Sat 8th July 2017

Kick off the summer with an amazing Beach Party themed Family Fun Day at Kiddi Caru Day Nursery in Basingstoke on Saturday 8th July between 10am and 1pm.

Sandcastles, beach balls and ice cream and lots of games for everyone to enjoy. It will be buckets of FUN!

This event has been organised to support Home-Start UK, the national family support charity that helps parents to build better lives for their children. The Fun Day is FREE to attend but any donations will be gratefully received to help this worthwhile cause.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it on the Saturday, the nursery is also running some fantastic stay and play sessions in the week between Monday 3rd July and Friday 7th July. Hopefully you can go along and enjoy some family fun at any of these Fun Week events!

Please RSVP so Kiddi Caru can welcome your family through the door.

**If you are looking for childcare and decide to register your little one with Kiddi Caru at the Fun Day, there will be no registration or deposit to pay – a saving of £150**

Link to FB event:

Link to event on website:

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Little Tots Montessori Nursery – Stoney Heath


New Nursery now open in Stoney Heath, nr Tadley/Basingstoke.

Approx 8 mins drive away from Basingstoke Hospital

Little Tots Montessori Nursery – Stoney Heath

White Lion Court, Hollybush  Farm, Stoney Heath, Ramsdell, Nr Tadley, RG26 5SL

Tel:  01256 851398

Head Office at Reading: 0118 9591371

Established for 15 years, with two very successful nurseries in Burghfield and Reading, we are very excited to announce we have now opened a new nursery at Stoney Heath, nr Tadley/Basingstoke.  Julie and Nina from the Burghfield nursery are now heading up Stoney Heath, they come with a wealth of experience including an impressive 2 consecutive OUTSTANDING Ofsted awards.


Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 8am-6pm

Flexible Sessions Available

Open 50 weeks of the year – only closed over the Christmas period and Bank Holidays.

Children age – 2 year – 5 years

What makes us different???  Little Tots Nurseries offer the best foundation for life, the Montessori philosophy is to teach children independence from an early age, every child learns at their own pace and is treated as an individual.  We also pride ourselves on our Forest School which is an inspirational experience, that offers children the opportunity to achieve and develop confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment.  To complement our nursery day we also offer extra curriculum activities e.g Children’s Yoga and Music & Dance and Cooking sessions.  Freshly prepared meals included.

Little Tots Nursery offers:

  • Open 50 weeks of the year (only closed Bank Holidays & the Christmas Period)
  • Opening Hours 8am – 6pm
  • Privately owned
  • Exceptional quality Montessori education
  • Forest School
  • Enchanted garden (completed within the next two weeks)
  • Excellent care
  • Highly qualified mature staff
  • Highly competitive rates
  • Clean and airy premises
  • Happy, safe, and stimulating environment
  • Healthy & daily prepared home cooked meals – lunch & tea
  • Outdoor learning
  • Countryside location

In the first instance we would highly recommend you make an appointment to view the nursery and meet the staff,  bring your child along too for a play and let them tell you what they think!   Please check out our Newsletter sections on our website for an idea what our children experience, our website is:

Children are eligible to 15 hours per week free government grant funding from the term after their 3rd birthday.  We also accept child care vouchers from employees.

Open Day coming soon!

Please do not hesitate to call us for more information on 01256 851398 / 0118 9591371.



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Changing Nurseries: My experience

Warning: This could be a very controversial post… 😉 

When Miss NHM moved up to pre-school, when she turned three years old, we made the decision to move her to another nursery.

She started at her original nursery when she was five and a half months old when I had to return to work.

Moving nurseries was a tough decision but I’m very pleased to say that we haven’t regretted it.

I just wish I had done it earlier, but I didn’t want to be one of “those parents” who moved their child because of the wrong reasons.

Next time I’m not going to be so worried about what other people think!

We paid an absolute fortune for Miss NHM’s original nursery. I stupidly believed that you got what you paid for. Turns out this was a big misguided belief.

Now that Miss NHM has moved nurseries she is like a different person.

She used to get very frustrated and we had a lot of meltdowns which were partly due to being very tired but now I realise were probably due to her being bored.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The guilt comes and goes ;-).

I know that nurseries have an incredibly tough job to do. Lots of children to look after, government policies, paperwork, etc.

As a parent though, my child’s interests are my priority.

If this post helps just one person who is worried about their child’s nursery, then this post is worth it.

Evidence of a Good Nursery

Are there lots and lots of toys for the children to play with?

Now that I can look back I’ve realised that in Miss NHM’s original nursery each class she moved up into had less and less toys.

The place where she currently goes has about 8 different areas in the room, full of different toys and activities.

Are the children allowed to play outside?

I found that the more outdoor activities there are, the better.

We have friends in Germany and they have playschools who spend their WHOLE time outside, regardless of the weather (they have a gypsy caravan for when it’s really bad). This is such a fantastic idea!

Does your child bring home multiple pieces of art work?

It’s only now that she’s moved to another nursery that I’ve realised that Miss NHM rarely brought art work home with her from her original nursery.

If she did bring something home it was normally once a month and it was invariably a paper plate with some felt pen on it. Nothing more expensive than a paper plate. No sequins, crepe,paper, etc.

In her current nursery, she brings home at least three different pieces of art work a DAY, often with a theme attached, so a paper bird, or a drawing of a crocodile or a model of a monkey.

One of my favourite creations that she bought home recently was an aeroplane made out of a wooden peg and lolly sticks. Very cute.

When you pick your child up, are they doing something potentially dangerous that you would never let them do at home?

I once picked Miss NHM up and she was standing in the middle of the play garden swinging a toy mop around her head.

The staff member told me she had had a brilliant day, whilst my child continued swinging the mop around her head, where she could have potentially hurt many children in the process of her actions.

I literally wanted to slap the staff member.

Is your child more intelligent than the staff?

Yes, this is harsh, but it’s something to look out for.

Are there children fighting, screaming or hitting each other when you pick up or drop off your children? If yes, does anyone stop them?

Many times both Mr NHM and I has to discipline our child and other children in Miss NHM’s room.

The staff were either too distracted or maybe they just didn’t care, that they didn’t stop the children from thumping each other, which horrified me on a number of occasions.

Have you ever seen your child be “picked” on by other children in the room?

It broke my heart the day I saw this.

As if there isn’t enough guilt about putting my daughter into nursery at such a young age, then seeing her being picked on when she was two and a half, by children bigger than her, and nobody stepping in.

Are the nursery flexible or expect you to fit in with them?

I have heard horror stories of parents not being able to pick their children up early from nursery. The children HAVE to stay for the times they are booked in.

This is rubbish. You have paid your money and it’s more important for you to spend time with your child than for them to stay in nursery because that’s what nursery wants you to do.

What is the food like that is served at nursery?

This is my only small criticism of Miss NHM’s current nursery. At her original nursery everything was home made and cooked on site and she had lots of what I would class as healthy meals.

At her new nursery they have been served pizza, sausages and jelly. I let it go because it’s not worth it and if this is my only criticism of our new nursery then I’m fine with this!

You need to be happy with your childcare arrangement’s

Ultimately you need to be happy with your child care arrangements.

I was never happy with the class Miss NHM moved into when she was two.

With hindsight I realise that we should have moved her then.

I’m fairly sure that her behavioural issues then were the result of her being bored. I’m convinced of this as we rarely have a problem since she’s moved to a new nursery.

We only looked at two nurseries and I know now that you really do need to look around.

Ask for recommendations from other parents and go with your gut feel.

Good luck!

22 Strategies for Returning to work

(Nearly all of these strategies can be applied to those who aren’t returning to work ;-))

1. De-clutter

Get rid of the clutter before your maternity leave ends. Box up all the baby clothes that you want to keep and put them in the loft and then sort the others out into “recycle”, “give away” and “sell”. (Did you know you can recycle clothes even when they are covered in stains?)

Do not buy lots and lots of toys for your children, they will not appreciate them. Especially as they will be spending some time in nursery or at a childminders or somewhere else that will have toys. The toys that you have, make sure you can tidy them up easily and quickly.

Find a place for everything and “train” the rest of the family to put things back where they belong. In our house, Miss NHM is way, way, way better than Mr NHM at doing this, possibly because it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks :-D. (Hi Darling! :-D)

Make sure there is a place near the front door for your car keys, mobile and wallet. Not too close to the front door and high enough that small children can’t get to them. I have a friend (Hi Jo! :-D) whose toddler was notorious for hiding car keys and she could never find them and was often late to things as a result.

Getting rid of the clutter and giving everything a home reduces the time you spend putting things away and hunting things down. Time you won’t have when you are back at work.

2. Get a cleaner

Our cleaner is awesome. She costs £40 a month and  comes to clean for 1.5 hours every two weeks. Yes, it’s £40 but for the sake of your sanity and spare time, it will be the best £40 you will ever spend. Tracy, our cleaner, has literally saved my marriage on a number of occasions! Lol.

Yes, I know that some of you can’t bear the thought of having someone clean your house (Hi Laura! :-D) but if you can get over it, you will be doing yourself a MASSIVE favour.

3. Don’t iron anything

Yup, I’m lazy and hate ironing, so I don’t do it. If anything in our house needs ironing I get Mr NHM to do it. Or I just don’t buy anything that needs ironing.

If you are desperate, use the hot shower Tip. This saved me on a number of work trips abroad! 😉

4. Meal plan

There is nothing worse than falling through the door after work and thinking “S**t, we’ve got nothing for dinner!?!?!?!”.

This post HERE that I wrote in 2012 is still the system that we follow in our house for meal planning.

5. Have a slow cooker, preferably two

We have two slow cookers. One that is massive (it’s big enough to fit a whole chicken in) and one that is small and makes enough for the thee of us with no leftovers. I’m so in love with my slow cooker that I even take it on holiday with us!!

Roast chicken in the slow cooker is a dream and the leftover chicken can be used the following few days in, chicken salad, paella, etc..

Last year I sent out lots of slow cooker recipes that I have tried and tested. If you would also like a copy of these recipes please email me at and I will forward them on again.

6. Beg, borrow or steal* a tumble dryer

This one speaks for itself.

You especially need access to a tumble dryer if you are returning to work before your child has finished weaning.

7. Beg, borrow or steal* a large freezer

I have a “slummy mummy” confession to make… we often “freezer dive” for meals when we’ve both been in the office.

I recommend checking out this link HERE about potential emergency meals. Or make your own if you have time ;-).

8. Beg, Borrow or steal* a dishwasher

And teach your husband, partner, children, how to load it and unload it 😉

9. Batch cook

Check out my previous post about A day of freezer cooking.

I often try to make extra of a meal and feezer into meal sized portions, just to take the pressure off another day.

10. Use technology to its best advantage

Make sure you sync all your email accounts to your mobile. This is mandatory, especially if your nursery or school uses email. It’s also mandatory for keeping on top of things.

Get yourself a Goggle calendar set up and make sure each person in the family has a google calendar and you can access and edit it. This is fundamental for when you are in the office and need to update diaries.

Synchronise your diary with any “adults” in your family at least once a week. Mr NHM and I review the following month every Sunday evening. Without fail. The times we haven’t done this someone there has nearly always been a schedule crisis that week.

11. Subscribe to your doctors, dentists, nursery and vets text message alerts

There will come a time when you get distracted by work and forget to add something to your calendar in your mobile. A text message from the doctors reminding you about your child’s immunisation shot appointments can be a god send! ( I speak from experience here, <blush>).

12. Charge your technology every other evening

This is ironic because I never do this, Mr NHM has to do it for me! lol. However, in my work rucksack I have chargers for each mobile (I carry three with me) and I also splashed out and bought mobile chargers for my car.

13. Get a car with a hands free phone built in (but only if you can afford it!!)

This has revolutionised my life. I actually have conversations with my friends these days, albeit nearly always on the way to or from work.

14. Find a reliable Babysitter

We asked around at Miss NHM’s nursery and her key worker has been our babysitter for the past two years. She’s pretty much part of our family now! lol.

If you are struggling with finding a babysitter, please check out my previous post on NHM HERE.

15. Have a regular Date Night

I know that going on a regular Date Night when your children are small is really tough. It’s so worthwhile though. We can really tell in our household, when Mr NHM and I haven’t been on Date Night for a while 😉

If you are looking for some suggestions of what to do, please check out these previous posts HERE, HERE and HERE. Or, just arrange for a babysitter and go out for a walk. It’s a great way to chat in a neutral environment whilst getting some light exercise at the same time.

16. Find a mobile hairdresser

You will not have time to make a hair appointment because they are nearly always in working hours. Unless you want to get up early on Saturday morning, but who wants to do that after a week at work! So find someone who can come to you out of normal working hours. It will save your sanity, and hair many, many times.

Check out these pages on NHM for a list of mobile hairdressers and mobile beauticians

17. Do NOT schedule lots of classes on the weekend to make up for your guilt about putting junior into nursery in the week

This one speaks for itself ;-). Weekends should be family time.

18. Online Food Shopping

Learn how to order your shopping online BEFORE you go back to work and try to find an online service that has an App on your phone. I actually cheat and use a competitor app because it’s really good, and then transfer it across to the supermarket I use when I make an order ;-).

We also have a regular vegetable delivery each week and fresh fish delivered to our door every two months. It’s one less thing for me to think about.

19. Before your maternity leave starts, try to wean yourself of any TV soaps you are addicted too

You won’t have time to watch them when you return to work. Yes, seriously.

20. Only have one child

Ok, so this one is a little bit flippant, but I’m well aware that having more than one child is at least double the work and then some.

I have no idea how people with three or more children manage it. Mucho respect!

21. Find something for YOU!

When I returned to work I became a mother, wife and worker and it felt like I was nothing but those three roles. However, you are still you, with hopes and dreams. You still need time to be you, so do not feel guilty about taking time out for yourself. I know this is easier said than done. I’ve been there.

But you will be a better Mum, wife and worker if you do make time for yourself. Have a look at this post HERE I wrote a few years ago, for some ideas for time for yourself.

22. You are doing an amazing job!

Every so often, when at work or at home, congratulate yourself on being a superior multi-tasker.

Being a parent is very hard at times and the learning curve can be very steep, but it’s an amazing life skill :-D.

*Obviously I don’t really mean you should steal these items 😉