NHM Readers Recommend: Support groups for babies with additional needs and epilepsy 2018

In August 2018, an NHM reader asked: “Are there support groups or meet ups for babies with additional needs and epilepsy in the area.”

Thank you for all your responses, please be aware that listings may change over time but this should still be helpful as a basis for your own research. All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

Support groups for babies with additional needs and epilepsy 2018

Wendy said, “May be worth asking Spotlight UK if they know of any others.”

Debbie said,HPCN Basingstoke Share Together  is a Facebook group which may help.”

Colleen said, “There’s Barntots SEN at Viables too. I second Debbie’s suggestion to ask on HPCN Basingstoke Share Together .”

Shirley said, “Hazie Days run by Marti Hayes .”

Louise said,  “New epilepsy group starting 28th August please do come along for a coffee and chat”


Clare said, “Yes! Lovely bunch of people supported by amazing staff  Tree tots at the Firvale centre in Rooksdown.

Every Wednesday 10-12. Term time

It’s free. Sensory room can be accessed. 

Aimed at 0-5yrs but some mums come by selves whilst children at nursery etc. Happy to answer any questions or meet you outside on 1st time trying it.”

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Warren Tots and Dinky Dancers, Hatch Warren Community Centre – What’s on in January

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Relax and harmonise with Thula Mama at The Salt Lounge for physical and mental well-being!

Hi, I’m Rebecca and I run a singing group called Thula Mama (pronounced ‘Tula Mama’) for mothers of bumps and pre-crawling babies. Thula Mama is a national franchise but this is the only group in this area. I’ve just teamed up with The Salt Lounge in central Basingstoke to run my sessions in their salt room, meaning that Thula Mama sessions now come with the added bonus of salt therapy!

In contrast to most musical groups for mothers and babies, the focus of a Thula Mama session is on the mothers and allowing them a chance to relax and unwind and do something for themselves. It offers mums an hour and a half of social time and provides both mothers and babies with the many benefits of soothing singing. Babies love listening to the sound of their mothers’ voices singing gently to them.

Refreshments are provided in the seating area at The Salt Lounge at the start of the session, in a comfy place to sit while you meet other mums and catch up.  We then move into the salt room which is furnished with easy chairs and where the floor is covered with salt – like a soft winter wonderland. During the next hour, we learn a mix of gentle lullabies and more upbeat songs from around the world with simple but effective harmonies. Singing in this way in a group creates a positive and peaceful atmosphere and has been proven to be great for mental well-being. Absolutely no experience is necessary! All are welcome and all the songs are taken at a gentle pace appropriate to the group. We also benefit from a salt therapy session in the salt room, which is helpful for breathing and skin conditions. Find out more at www.thesaltlounge.co.uk.

Sessions are every Thursday from 9:30am and costs £10 per session. Normally a salt therapy session is £30, so this represents excellent value for money! For details, please contact me on 07971 798945, email rebecca.cooch@gmail.com or visit www.Facebook.com/ThulaMamaBasingstoke. The first session is free. You can also find out more and listen at www.thulamama.co.uk .

Some recent reviews of Thula Mama:

“This is such a lovely group, so friendly and welcoming. You don’t need to be a great singer to join, the songs are great, so different and really fun. I find myself singing them all the time, this group is fantastic and Rebecca is so nice.” (Holly Wakefield, September 2018)

“I am so pleased I came across this group – it is something so different from the usual Mother and Baby classes, and it is a rare combination of doing something for your child as well as for yourself. The songs are different, some joyful, some soulful. My baby has loved attending and listening to the group – it is interesting how mesmerised the babies are!
…Thanks for a lovely time Rebecca – it has been my favourite activity with my baby this year.” (Amanda McKechan, November 2017)

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A NHM Readers Experience: Cranial Osteopathy

Thank you VERY much to the NHM Reader who has shared their experience of cranial osteopathy today. Hasn’t she done an awesome job!! Hopefully this post will help lots of other new parents!! 

If you have a unique parenting experience that you would like to share with other NHM Readers, in the hope that your experience might help others, please email me your text and pictures to NorthHantsMum@gmail.com. 

What is Cranial Osteopathy?

Cranial osteopathy is not different to osteopathy, it is the name given to a subtle and refined approach to osteopathy that follows all the principles of osteopathy, and it is used throughout the body not just in the head. The name cranial osteopathy simply refers to the fact that it includes the structures inside the head. 
Cranial osteopaths use a highly developed sense of touch to feel subtle changes of tension and tissue quality in the living anatomy of the whole body, and to diagnose areas of strain or dysfunction. – Sutherland Cranial College of Osteopathy

NHM Reader Experience of Cranial Osteopathy

I write this not as an expert in Cranial Osteopathy but from the perspective of a mum of three.

I’ve got an eight year old, a four year old and now a three month old. My oldest had colic and reflux, my second had silent reflux and my newbie had very bad colic. I’m not sure whether everyone’s minds erase the hard bits of when they’re newborn so that you want more, or if it’s just me, but when my youngest came along, and started suffering from colic, the memories all came flooding back!

It was horrendous to see this sweet, little, placid thing be in extreme pain with her tummy; she would look at me like ‘please make this better’ and it would break my heart. We tried every colic medicine we could, one of which helped a tiny bit but did not get rid of it.

Evening after evening I would be pacing and rocking, trying to help my baby feel better. One night at 1 in the morning I decided to research what could help her, someone suggested a cranial osteopath could help. Reading more into it I saw it said that a stressful birth and c-sections can contribute towards colic and that cranial osteopathy could help. Not going to lie, I was sceptical… how could this help with my baby’s colic? Desperate to make her feel better though I booked a session.

The following week I arrived and had the first consultation. The lovely lady told me that my LO was very stiff around one side and this was probably from being in that position in the womb, this made sense to me as she was always looking to one side and hardly ever upwards. When she felt her, she said the fluid around the brain was supposed to be a smooth motion but it was ‘crashing’ against the side that was stiff. She sat with her hands barely touching my baby for about 20 minutes and told me she was hopeful it would help. However, for 15% of babies it doesn’t work, and if that was the case not to come back – I appreciated she said this as she clearly wasn’t after my money.  She said hopefully it would go away and that I’d see changes within 24 to 48 hours which should last a couple of days, and then would probably go back to normal colic.  She also said that if there was a change, we should come back for another session the next week, and that with two more sessions it would be a permanent change.

I went away thinking ‘wow that was an expensive half an hour when it didn’t look like she did much!’ That day was awful… she was beyond unhappy until 7.30, but she did two horrendous nappies which was very rare as she normally couldn’t poo! The lady had told me this would happen… she also settled much earlier that evening, but I assumed it was because of how she’d been awake and unhappy since 11 in the morning! The true test would be the next evening.

The next day after every feed, my LO burped much louder and easier than normal, something else the lady said would happen. Then the time where she would normally be beside herself came and went with a happy baby that wanted to eat, play and then sleep. That night she fed about 6.30 then to my absolute shock slept until 1, had a quick feed then went back down beautifully until I had to wake her at 8.30 for the school run!!! I couldn’t believe it, it must be a fluke, but no it continued for four days.

My baby was no longer in pain and was not waking continuously for milk to try make her feel better. Like the lady said the colic came back so I couldn’t wait for the next session. She did exactly the same thing – which looks like she’s not doing anything! After the first day of her clearing her system again I had a happy, content baby who either slept through the night or woke once for a feed… This lasted for 6 nights. I then had her last session and the lady told me that would be it and she should be fine now. I couldn’t really understand how this was possible but she was right!

It’s been three weeks since her last session and since then my baby doesn’t have colic anymore. I can honestly say it’s been money well spent. I couldn’t have even dreamt how much of a difference it would make. I thought I’d share my story as I wish that someone had told me about a cranial osteopath eight years ago… it would have saved a lot of heartache and pain with my other two children. The lady said that the NHS is looking into funding an osteopath to work in postnatal wards so that every baby born can be looked at, she said if that happened it would stop so many babies being in unnecessary pain. I hope this happens as it feels like a miracle and would help so many babies and their carers.

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Review 2018: Oh no you didn’t!!!! A Review of “Snow White & the Seven Dwarves” at The Anvil

Written by Victoria Kennedy, Thefairyclothesmother.com (thank you VERY much Victoria for the awesome review!!! 

About

Snow white: http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/snow-white

When offered the chance to attend the Christmas Panto at The Anvil, Basingstoke, I jumped at the chance. Many of my fond childhood memories are of attending the local panto! Panto’s are guaranteed family fun! And this one didn’t disappoint! There was plenty of audience participation- from song and dances, sweetie-chucking and water pistols to the traditional panto villain ‘boo’s’ and comedy slapstick of ‘He’s behind you’.

The Anvil Arts centre is an award winning concert hall, with amazing acoustics and an international reputation. The beautiful set design had the children captured from the beginning. With special effects such as indoor pyro- there were plenty of mesmerised faces!

A special mention has to be given to ‘Nurse Dolly’s’ wardrobe (I am a stylist after all! ). She had some absolutely stunning dresses, each unique and I would have loved the opportunity to study each in great detail! Take a look for yourself:

Snow White was played by Dani Harmer, of CBBC fame. She played the character well and her gentle, ‘girl next-door’ manner soon had the audience on side.

The Wicked Queen, played by Kirsty Sparks, was both terrifying and utterly lovable at the same time! The stars of the show, form y 5 year old son, was Muddles, played by Chris Pizzey (Basil Brush’s Mr Stephens). His jokey character got the children on side meaning audience participation was full on! The jokes had the kids roaring with laughter, creating a fantastic atmosphere. There was even a subtle ‘dad joke’ or two!

Personally, I loved the dwarves. Each played to their name sake well, with names carefully adapted so not to gain the wrath of Disney! They were both cheeky and lovable!

The show runs until 6th January with both matinee and evening performances- get your tickets here: http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/your-visit/how-to-book/online-booking-information?ticketing_id=A8PE

http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/your-visit/how-to-book/online-booking-information?ticketing_id=A8PE

Tips

Take ear defenders for children who are bothered by loud noises, as there are a few loud bangs. Also there is (without ruining the surprise) a brief moment involving water & the audience, if this is something that could bother your child ask at the info desk for the timing of the ‘stunt’ so you can be ready!

‘Flashy’ wands and the like are for sale but we took our own from previous events. This was allowed and certainly saved a small fortune as well as reducing our plastic consumption.

Dressing up was encouraged- there were many mini snow whites in the audience!

Food

There is a selection of treats –  sweeties, ice cream, crisps on sale at the venue. However, as a huge cost saver I’d recommend taking your own! The show is 2 hrs 35 min long so a drink will most definitely be needed. There is also a bar available.

Facilities

The Anvil is fully accessible to wheelchair users, and pushchairs. There are facilities for baby changing. The audience was a real mix of ages, so babes-in-arms are certainly welcomed. There is a bar onsite for refreshments.

Parking

The Anvil is easily accessed from any of the town centre car parks and just a 2 min walk from the train & bus station.

Prices

This is my only point of contention. The cost of a family visiting the theatre is becoming massively out of reach for many families. Unfortunately this is something that is happening with the panto too. At £28 per adult and £25 per child – a cost of over £100 for a family of 4 it means a big majority miss out. The Anvil does offer group rates, and discounted tickets to local schools.

Ratingout of 5

4 a great afternoon of family fun, with laughter, cheers, boo’s and song! Plus the most wonderful panto dame costume!!!

All images courtesy of Anvil Arts

Disclaimer: This post is a review of “Snow White Seven Dwarves and the  in conjunction with The Anvil. Victoria’s tickets were supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. We were not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are our own.

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Review 2018: Basingstoke Canal Santa Cruise

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

If you would like to be a NHM Secret Reviewer, please get in touch. Thanks! 

Review 2018: BasingstokeCanal Santa Cruise

Helping out with NHM articles that past couple of years I have gained quite a lot of knowledge about local Santa and Christmas experiences and this year I finally got to experience the stuff of local Christmas legend, the Basingstoke Canal Santa Cruise.

About

Each year, in late September/early October the Basingstoke Canal visitor centre opens up early to take bookings for their Santa Cruises. 

Tickets go fast and bookings can only be made in person or by phone so be prepared to spend a lot of time pressing redial. 

One friend did decide to drive there one year to guarantee her spot by booking it in person, but I persevered with the phone and finally got through at around 11am on the first day of booking. 

Their advice is to have a few dates in mind, especially if you want an evening or weekend, and also have the names and ages of children attending ready. 

In 2018 the evening experiences cost £15.50 per person, weekend day times were £15 and weekday day time were £12.  In December 2018 they ran six cruises a day and all but two cruises were sold out. 

Fast forward to a very cold night in mid-December when I arrived at the centre in Mychett, with my four year old and almost eight year old and waited outside for our boat. 

The area outside the centre had been dressed with Christmas lights and we were greeted by a giant inflatable Santa.  

Facilities whilst waiting were basic, access to toilets and a bench to sit on inside an area normally used for changing, so dress for the weather and don’t leave your car too early. 

We boarded the last boat of the day at 7pm.  There are twelve people per cruise, including adults, our cruise had five children on board.  After boarding the boat our guide asked the children to look out for Christmas lights and let her know when they saw them. 

We cruised up the canal for about 10 mins, when we arrived at our jetty and got off the boat everyone was given a torch. 

The guide then asked the children to look out for the red tinsel which would guide them to Santa, we followed the red tinsel through the dark woods until we found Santa’s grotto. 

Santa’s grotto was a yurt, beautifully decorated for Christmas. 

Inside we all sat on hay bales as we waited for Santa to wake up, once he did he chatted with us all as a group first before looking up names in his book and chatting individually to each child for a few minutes. 

He adjusted his chat accordingly to the age and personality of the child and afterwards we sang a few songs, he then gave out gifts to each child, which already had their names on. 

We were in the yurt for about 20 minutes.  After we said goodbye to Santa we used our torches to find the silver tinsel that would guide us back out of the woods and back on to our boat where we opened our gifts, good quality, age appropriate books. 

We then cruised back to the centre where we did some colouring whilst enjoying mince pies or chocolate bars and hot drinks, all included in the price.  We left the centre at around 8.20pm.

Rating out of 5

We do a few Santa and Christmas experiences each year and this was a really lovely event, unlike anything we had done before and perfect for restoring the magic for my doubting older son. 

The boat and the canal centre are practical rather than luxury but the uniqueness of the occasion and the enthusiasm of the guides and Santa, really made this feel special.  None of the children became bored, with each activity taking the right amount of time. 

All the food was branded with allergy information easily available but it would be fine to take your own if you needed to. 

The experience was really good value for money and suitable for all ages, although I think older children would really prefer the after dark cruises. 

Highly recommended. 

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NHM Readers Recommend: Board Games for Older Children

In December 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “Do the NHM Community have any board game recommendations for toddlers, 5-8 year olds and tweens? I’d like to get one for Christmas each year but want something that we will actually play more than once.”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order. All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

NHM Readers Recommend: Board Games for Older Children

Lian said, “Articulate kids is good for the older ones and adults to play”

Wendy said, “I like games that have as few parts as possible so crocodile dentist and toilet trouble are our favourites, also any of the pie faces games. We use them at birthday parties and there’s always a queue.”

Joy said, “Rondo! Friends bought it for us, ours are between 9 & 16, we’ve been enjoying it for the past 2 years!”

Ruth said, “…anything in the brainbox range – covers a wide age range, quick and simple to play for as long or as little as interest lasts, and really interesting at the same time!”

Jason said, “Payday. Love it with my 6 and 10 year old.”

Lisa said, “My 7&9 yo have been playing ‘Ticket to Ride, Europe’ for a couple of years…we also love ‘Survive’ & Catan our three favourites. All great for kids up to adults”

Rachel said, “Hungry hippos is great for my two. They were 3 and 5 last Christmas and has the added bonus that they can play it themselves with no help. I’ve bought a lot of orchard games before but am finding the old favourites are much more suitable and are getting a lot more use.”

Lisa said, “Exploding Kittens for the middle age bracket.

Rachael said, “Who am I, popping pirate, piranhas, spot the difference cards.”

Sue said, “Bugs in the kitchen.”

Helena said, “Ufo alarm is fab, easy, funny and not many parts!”

Rachael said, “Hullabaloo not a board game but loved by all. 
Orchard games are loved by 3 years up. Crash bang wallop is fabulous”

Libby said, “Exploding kittens!”

Emma said, “Ours love battleships because it’s different every time they play and it gets very competitive!”

Claire said, “Ours love Dobble.”

Emma said, “Code names is a great game.”

Alison said, “UNO is a good card game that covers a range of ages.”

Liz said, “Looping Louie is good for young to mid age range.”

Ruza said, “Operation, tummy ache, Mmmm!”

Sam said,”Orchard games are great for toddlers. We’ve got about 5 of them!”

Helen said, “Snakes and ladders, twister, hungry hippos, frustration, tick tack toe.”

Angela said, “Can’t recommend Smelly Wellies Orchard Games highly enough for a preschooler. My son loves it, we play many times a day  (And if you want variety you can use the two sets of wellies to play pairs)”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Best Places to Visit Santa with a One-Year-Old

In November 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “Where are the best places to visit Santa in the Basingstoke area for a 1 year old? I’ve seen loads of places advertised but don’t know where is recommended?”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

NHM Readers Recommend: Best Places to Visit Santa with a One-Year-Old

Wendy said, “Proteus would be well worth a visit at that age, then I would just do festival place for the present and photo op, your looking at £10 minimum for almost all other Santa’s.

Charlotte said, “4 kingdoms is always brill have taken my son since he was a baby and now he’s 4.”

Samantha said, “We took our 9 month old last Christmas to the Santa in Festival Place. Did the job and you didn’t pay for all the other bits. On reflection, perfect for the age but probably once they hit 18 months plus you’d be looking for a bit more of an ‘experience’.”

Mary said, “At Proteus the show is interactive and sensory, made especially for little ones. You move around the space so little ones aren’t expected to sit still for long stretches. Here’s a link: http://www.proteustheatre.com/whats-on/the-magical-christmas-toy-shop Santa will feature but it’s very gentle and not a one on one grotto experience.”

Joanna said, “Active tots is good but is just outside of Basingstoke.”

Becky said, “We went to Miller’s Ark. Our little one was a little young at 8 months but the doggie there made her day!”

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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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NHM Readers Recommend: Professionals For Toddler Sleep Issues

In October 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “I have a friend who is struggling to get any sleep with her toddler who only sleeps for 3 hrs each night! I am sure I read on your site somewhere about a sleep nanny or someone like that who may be able to help?” Can anyone recommend a sleep nanny?”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Professionals For Toddler Sleep Issues

Jenny said, “Care it out sleep consultant is a fb page I follow.”

Amy said, “We worked with a lady at Baby Sleep The Night who was wonderful! My 6 m/o was waking every couple of hours and not napping. In 10 days he was sleeping through the night and napping really well. I cannot recommend her highly enough and it honestly saved us from breaking point.”

Wendy said, “…get her to speak to a GP as it could be a sign of other health issues.”

Allison suggested, Kelly-Lauren Warner, who replied:  ” Little Well-Beings child sleep, behaviour and nutrition solutions Please let me know if your reader would like more information. Always best to get it checked out at the GP first.”

Hayley suggested, Tiffany-Jayne Lee, who replied: “I’m a qualified sleep consultant feel free to PM Me.”

Charlotte said,”Victoria Murphy May be helpful for u.”

Kelly Smith said, “If she wants some help…I really don’t mind talking to her.”

Laura said, “There’s a really good book called The Gentle Sleep book if she’s looking for a solution that doesn’t involve lots of tears. You can get it from the library.”

Leanne also suggested The Gentle Sleep book, “I second this. It also helps separate what is normal behaviour from real problems…It helped me realise it was all within the realms of ‘normal’ which was a relief.”

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