COMPETITION!!!!! Family Tickets and Goody Bag for “We’re going on a Bear Hunt”!!

It’s been a while since we did a competition on NorthHantsMum.

Probably because I was rubbish about the last one and never actually got it sorted in time. OOPS! <blush>.

Annyyywaaay, you may have seen the details about “We’re going on a bear hunt” that were published on NHM last week…

Well, the wonderful team at Anvil Arts are offering a family ticket (for 4) to the show on Thursday 28 March 2019 at 4.30pm at The Haymarket PLUS a copy of the book and a CD to give away – so a nice goody bag of gifts!!

How AWESOME is that!!

All you have to do is:

  1. share this post (http://www.northhantsmum.co.uk/2019/03/04/competition-family-tickets-and-goody-bag-for-were-going-on-a-bear-hunt/NorthHantsMum.co.uk) to any social media platform (as many as you like if you REALLY want to win! lol)

AND

2. go to the relevant post about the competition on my FB profile at “Louise nhm Smith” (please make sure you are friends with me) and comment with which social media you have shared it too.

The deadline for this competition is Midnight on Sunday 24th March 2019.

The Anvil Arts team will then pick someone at random on Monday 25th March so we can give you some notice if you are the winner.

You can find more details about the show at the following web link: http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/bear-hunt

If you have any questions please ping me at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com. Thanks!

GOOD LUCK!!!

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 ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

NHM Readers Recommend: Meet-up Apps for Parent/Baby Socials

In November 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “”Could you please ask your NHM community what apps they use to meet up from a parent/baby perspective?”

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: Meet-up Apps for Parent/Baby Socials

Erin said,  “Hoop is pretty good.”

Claire said, “There is Mush.”

Kelly said, “Hoop and Mummy Social.”

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 ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Based on the much-loved book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

Thursday 28 – Sunday 31 March
Thu & Sat 4.30pm
Fri – Sun 10.30am & 1.30pm

The Haymarket, Basingstoke

Credit: Anvil Arts

The smash-hit production of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt comes to The Haymarket from Thursday 28 to Sunday 31 March.  Based on the much-loved book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, the fun-filled adaptation is set to Benji Bower’s versatile lively score.

Join our intrepid family of adventurers and their musical dog on a quest to find a bear; as they wade through the gigantic swishy swashy grass, the splishy splashy river and the thick oozy, squelchy mud! Expect catchy songs, interactive scenes, plenty of adventure and a few surprises along the way.

This mischievous celebration of play is the perfect treat for families with children aged 3 and up.  It is just under an hour long with no interval.

WE’RE GOING TO THE THEATRE
WE’RE GOING TO SEE A BEAR HUNT
WHAT A BEAUTIFUL PLAY!
WE’RE NOT SCARED!

Tickets are priced at £12.50 (includes £2 booking fee).  Call the Anvil Arts box office on 01256 844244 or visit anvilarts.org.uk.

Credit: Anvil Arts

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 ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Early Steps – a Preschool Developmental Programme

If you have a child that has autism, social communication delay or other developmental disabilities we offer a child-friendly course that can help you learn ways to support your child develop the skills they need and get them school ready.

We work with children up to the age of 5, and tailor our groups to meet their needs – whether its developing early communication skills to playing cooperatively with other children.

We are Early Steps and we can help you and your child get on the right path in time for school.

“We have been put on the right path. Early Steps is a life changing course. I highly recommend this to anyone – we are a new family now”
Family of four year old.

We offer small groups, that allow pre-school children with additional needs the opportunity for repeated practice within a safe setting and learn how to get better at following instructions, communicating, friendships, group activities and more. 

Each child is assessed on intake, given individualised goals and parents are given the techniques to help their child learn.  

The first session is free, to allow you and your child to see if the group is right for you.

Join us today and you can:

  • Understand how to teach your child
  • Give your child the skills they need to reach their potential
  • Take back control of your child’s progress
  • Access a support network of other parents as well as experienced and understanding professionals
  • Access skills-based assessment and a termly report
  • Get your child ready for school!

We also offer free information in our blogs and advice that you might find useful. Please see our Facebook page or find our useful parenting tips on our website

“The support I received from Early Steps made me feel confident that I am a good mum and I can handle and understand my boy’s behaviour. I have coping skills now thanks to Early Steps.”
Mum of two boys

Our first group this year starts on the morning of Friday 1st March in Bracknell. Dates in both Crowthorne, Reading and Basingstoke coming soon!

To find out more about how we can help you, or to register for our free session, please call us on 07824 366802 or email us earlysteps@behavioursolutions.net for a free chat about how we can offer you assistance.  

www.early-steps.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/EarlyStepsSchoolReady/

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 ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Solo Mia Fashion Show in aid of The Pink Place Cancer Charity

Tickets on sale now £10 in advance or £12.50 on the door, for more info and sales email: events@thepinkplace.org.uk or call 07899 970 841.

On: Thursday 7th March 2019

At: The Apollo Hotel, Basingstoke, RG22 9NU

Browsing from 6.30, Fashion show approx. 7.30 tickets include a glass of bubbly! all proceeds to The Pink Place Cancer Charity.

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 ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Local Dad is a record breaking beatboxer and is bringing his family theatre show to Basingstoke

Local dad Simon Shlomo Kahn, professionally known as SK Shlomo, grew up in Buckinghamshire and now lives in Hook with his wife and two young children.

His breathtaking vocal skills gained him early recognition as a world record breaking beatboxer and world looping champion, and he has worked with superstar fans like Ed Sheeran, Lily Allen, Rudimental and Bjork.

“Beatboxing is the art of creating unbelievably rich music using nothing but your voice” says Shlomo. “Beatboxers can create the sound of a full orchestra or electronic track – the drums, the keyboards, the basslines, all performed using nothing but a mouth and a mic.

“It’s an amazingly empowering way for people from all walks of life to express themselves and I love teaching people how simple it is to make vocal rhythms”

SK Shlomo is bringing his family theatre show “Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids” to Basingstoke Anvil this Easter on April 16th, where everyone young and old can become one of his superstar sidekicks in a world of funny sounds, brilliant noises and cool music.

“Hook is a great place for families. We’ve made lots of lovely friends here on the school and nursery run who keep asking me to bring my kids show to a local theatre so we are finally doing it! The Anvil is a great venue and I’m really excited to share my love of music with the next generation of music makers. My own boys are excited they can finally come to a show too but I know the parents will have just as much fun!”

Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure For Kids is currently on tour and is at Basingstoke Anvil on April 16th 2019
Find out more: skshlomo.com/kids
Book tickets now: anvilarts.org.uk or Box Office: 01256 844244

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 onTwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Organising a children’s party

Thank you very much to Shona who put this post together!!

Organising a children’s party

Parties can feel like a nightmare to organise, especially if you are on a budget. Here we will share all the information we have gathered about birthday parties, including cheap ideas, venues and entertainment.

So, first you need to decide where it is you want to do your party. Is your home suitable for the amount of guests you will have? If you have a younger child’s birthday, remember parents will stay with their children so there does need to be enough space. In the summer you will be able to use the garden, but in winter you need to ensure there is indoor space.

If your house isn’t big enough, here are some venues in North Hampshire that you can rent.

St Lawrence Church Hall

St Lawrence Parish Centre provides a venue for private hire. It is conveniently in the town centre and popular for parties, meetings and conferences.

Cost: £15 per hour on weekdays and £12.50 per hour on weekends.

Contact: 0142082442

28 Park Close Road, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 2HA

Crookham War Memorial Hall

There are 2 halls for rent here, both have kitchens and large off street parking. Ideal for weddings, christenings, parties and dances.

Cost: upon enquiry

Contact: 07784830989

Sandy Lane, Fleet, Hampshire, GU52 8LD

Hatch Warren Community Centre

There are daytime and evening slots for parties and you can rent either the main hall or the lounge. Hire of the kitchen is included in hall hire cost.

Cost: £22 per hour for main hall and £18.10 per hour for the lounge (reductions available if you live locally and can join the Community Association).

Contact: 01256811262

Longcross Lane, Hatch Warren, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG22 4XF

Hiring Hatch Warren Community Centre

The Cross Barn, Odiham

An absolutely stunning building built in 1532 and converted in 1997. There are two rooms, a large hall and a small room available for meetings.

Cost: £26.50 per hour for the Great Hall during summer or £27.50 per hour during winter.

Contact: 01256701803

Palace Gate Farm, Hook, Hampshire, RG29 1JX

The Cross Barn

Hook Community Centre

Newly refurbished, Hook Community Centre offers a range of spaces for hire. There is parking for around 100 cars. There are 3 different rooms of different sizes.

Cost: Varies from room to room. Cheapest is £32.50 to Hook residents and £36.50 to non residents. This is for a 3 hours children’s party (based on 2 hr party and half hour either side to set up/clean up).

Contact: 012567604000

Ravenscroft, Hook, Hampshire, RG27 9NN

Hook Community Centre

Alton Community Centre

Located behind the High Street there are rooms to hire at Alton Community Centre. The room recommended for children’s birthday parties is the Garden room which has a kitchen area too.

Cost: For the Garden room for a 3 hours slot (2 hour party and half an hour either side) the cost is £35.

Contact: 0142085057

Amery Street, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 1HN

Alton Community Centre

Oakley Village Hall

There are two halls available for hire: The Committee Room is suitable for up to 20 people and the Main Hall is suitable for up to 120 people. A kitchen is available on site.

Cost: available on request

Contact: 01256780918

Andover Road, Oakley, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG23 7HA

Westside Community Centre

Westside Community Centre in South Ham has 3 different rooms available to hire.

Cost: Main hall costs £18 per hour (only available during the day on Sundays, every other day is evening only). The small room costs £12 per hour and the Russell Howard room is also £12 per hour.

Contact: 01256464571

Paddock Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG22 6QB

Westside Community Centre

The Sycamore Centre

There is a hall available for hire at the Sycamore Centre for a variety of functions.

Cost: Available upon request

Contact: 01256330375

Sycamore Way, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG23 8AB

Westside Community Centre

Westside Community Centre in South Ham has 3 different rooms available to hire.

Cost: Main hall costs £18 per hour (only available during the day on Sundays, every other day is evening only). The small room costs £12 per hour and the Russell Howard room is also £12 per hour.

Contact: 01256464571

Paddock Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG22 6QB

Westside Community Centre

Bramley Village Hall

There are three rooms available to hire at Bramley Village Hall.

Cost: Main hall costs £18 per hour (only available during the day on Sundays, every other day is evening only). The small room costs £12 per hour and the Russell Howard room is also £12 per hour.

Contact: 07464749997

The Street, Bramley, Tadley, RG26 5BP

Bramley Village Hall

Chineham Village Hall

Cost: from £8.20 per hour

Contact: 07935328172

Thornhill Way, Chineham, Basingstoke, RG24 8YE

Chineham Village Hall

Next up you will need to decide on party games (if your child is old enough for these).

Here are some ideas of cheap/free games you could play:

  • Pass the parcel – You can buy many things to put in the middle of a pass the parcel with a sweet in each layer as you unwrap it.
  • Musical chairs – FREE
  • Musical bumps – FREE
  • Musical statues – FREE
  • Scavenger hunt – Use clues to help the children find what you want them to find. This could be done even more cheaply by hunting items found in nature i.e. pine cones, rocks. Then the winners get a prize.  
  • Fancy dress – If your children have lots of fancy dress items, you could put a fancy dress box in at the party for all the children to use.
  • Simon says – FREE
  • Pass the balloon – split into 2 equal teams and sit in lines. Each person has to hold the balloon under their chin, no hands and pass it along to their team. Whichever team gets it to the end of the line wins.
  • Dead ants – for older children. The children dance around the room until you shout a number from 0-4. When they hear the number they put that many body parts on the floor. If you shout 0 they have to lie on their backs with their limbs in the air like dead ants.
  • Pin the tail on the donkey – print out a donkey picture and make a tail out of paper/material. Here you have pin the tail on the donkey.
  • Sports day type activities – egg and spoon race, three legged race or a water balloon toss.
  • The chocolate game – a bar of chocolate, knife and fork and a dice. Sit in a circle and roll the dice. If someone rolls a 6 they have to try and cut up the bar of chocolate and eat some with the knife and fork. The other guests continue and when someone else gets a 6 they swap in.
  • Pinata

You can also have some activities set out around for children to do such as:

  • Bubbles – many parents have a bubble machine at home already.
  • Colouring books / printable colouring activities i.e. masks
  • Decorating cupcakes – you could have cupcakes and part of the party activity could be decorate your own cupcake to take home.
  • Decorate your own party hat – see below
  • Pasta necklace making – string and dried pasta tubes create great pasta necklaces.
  • Ball pit – many parents will have these knocking around, even if it’s a small paddling pool filled with plastic balls.
  • Disco – just use your own music on a stereo or smartphone with speaker. Much cheaper than hiring a disco.
  • Skittles – using empty drinks bottles, you could fill them with various things to make them a little heavier then use a ball to try and knock them over.

Decorations can also be made economically:

  • Decorate your own party hats – rather than buying party hats you could use paper for children to make a cone and decorate their own party hat with crayons, pens or even sticking sequins, buttons or feathers on.
  • Pre decorated party napkins – buy some napkins, a rubber stamp and an ink pad, then you can stamp anything onto your napkins!!
  • Make your own happy birthday banner – using things around the house i.e an old bedsheet and some pens/paint.
  • You don’t need helium balloons – children are happy with normal balloons so if you want a helium one, then just perhaps get one in the number of the child’s age.
  • Make your own party favours – in place of a party bag, each person could go home with a homemade sweet cone. Sweets can be bought in bulk and cellophane cones can be bought from eBay.

If you want entertainment, here are some options in the local area:

Routine Riots

Specialising in children’s entertainment for parties, events and shows, all the performers are trained and experienced in working with children. You can choose from Magic Shows, Princess Parties, Face Painting and many more!

Routine Riots Facebook Page

A Message From.

A Message From. is run by Jade who dresses up as your children’s favourite princess characters to provide entertainment for children’s parties and events. You may have seen her as Elsa from Frozen as she has attended many local events. She also provides personalised video messages for your little ones.

A Message From. Facebook Page

Website – A Message From.

Silly Scott

Silly Scott is a popular children’s entertainer in the south. He can provide a comedy magic show, games, competitions, balloon modelling, dancing and music. You can also book face painting through the website too. There are also party tips and suggested venues.

Silly Scott

All Puffed Out

All Puffed Out provide balloon twisting entertainment within the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey and parts of Hampshire areas. They combine 1, 2 and 3 balloons to make models, wands, hats and swords if they are booked to attend. You can also just ask them to provide pre-made balloons for the day, perhaps as prizes for a game.

All Puffed Out

All Steps First Dance

All Steps First Dance provide children’s birthday dance parties within the chosen venue. All dance teachers are fully qualified and have a DBS check as well as insurance. You pick from a theme such as Street Dance, Bollywood, X Factor or Disney (these are just a few) and you can also pick your own. They do games and learn dance routines.

All Steps First Dance

Juggling John

Juggling John is a children’s birthday party entertainer, magician, party clown, juggler, jester and much more. He is fully police checked and insured as well as a member of the Magic Circle.

Juggling John

Miss Sunshine

Miss Sunshine has an enhanced CRB check and has previously entertained at previous pre-schools, in holiday parks as well as on P&O Cruises. Wearing bright colours she makes children laugh with her silliness. Popular for both boys and girls. She provides a magic show and can also do music and games.

Miss Sunshine

DNA Kids – Hampshire

DNA Kids is a nationwide provider of children’s parties from age 4 – 13 years. They host a variety of different things such as discos, Princess, Heroes and Pirates Parties, Magic Shows, Beach Parties, Monster Parties, Soccer Superstar Football Parties and Popstar Parties.

DNA Kids

Bouncy castle hire can also be good for little ones because they don’t need any entertainment. NHM recommends JV Bouncy Castle Hire.

If you are looking for face painting, NHM recommends Neon Fairy Face Painting

Top tips

  • You MUST decide on a budget and stick to it. Perhaps try and work out how much you want to spend on food, decorations, cake etc.
  • If you have a theme, not EVERYTHING has to go with the theme. Napkins, plates and decorations can be very expensive. Just use the theme for invitations and cake, the children won’t notice all of the extras as long as they are having a good time!
  • You can save money by having a birthday party for a time where you don’t need to provide food (e.g. 2-4pm).
  • Having a reasonable limit on the amount of guests can save money as then you don’t need to spend as much on favours and invitations
  • Can you find a template to print out party invitations online? Then you could print your own.
  • Keep it simple!
  • Can you host a party at home rather than rent a venue? If not, shop around for a cheaper venue but still local.
  • Search for pre-filled party bags – you can often get these cheap if buying a couple or you could go to the pound shop and get some cheap fillers for party bags.
  • Ensure there is easy cleaning floor if you are serving food!
  • Ensure there are tables and chairs for adults to sit on as well as refreshments such as tea/coffee
  • Don’t forget a knife to cut the cake!
  • Check if anyone has any allergies to food/latex balloons
  • Remember if you have a venue to take: Rubbish bags, balloons, sellotape, blu tack, napkins, tea towels, scissors
  • Ensure there is public liability and insurance if you hire a bouncy castle.
  • Double check with your venue if they can use their plates, cups etc.

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 onTwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

NHM Readers Recommend: Classic Pop and Rock Music Tracks Suitable for Children

In December 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “I’m trying to introduce my son and daughter to really good music, especially the classic tracks (not classical) from the last 50 years. What specific tracks would you recommend?”

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: Classic Music Tracks Suitable for Children

Holly said, “Queen!”

Matthew said, “Acdc just get out classic rock and 80’s etc there are loads but just play them in car that’s what we do and kids love them.”

Natashia said, “Bee Gees/ Fleetwood Mac / Roxette / Bryan Adams / ABBA ……that’s just pop……or depending on their age they may prefer rock….otherwise ACDC, Crash Test Dummies, The Doors…list goes on …”

Emma said, “I love a bit of rolling stones! Though don’t listen to the lyrics too much so couldn’t say how appropriate they are.”

Hayley said, “Requested in our house:
Levellers – One way, Beautiful Day, Angels.  (They’re one of our favourite bands, we’ve taken the kids to the Beautiful Days festival for the last few years – they love it)
Most songs by Bryan Adams.  Guns’n Roses – Sweet child of mine. 
Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil, Paint it black. 
Aerosmith – Pink, Crazy.
Most songs by the Beatles. 
Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a prayer, Always. 
Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t fear the reaper. 
Madness – Our house, One step beyond.
Specials – Ghost Town
Fleetwood Mac – The Chain, Landslide. 
The girls also like a bit of Metallica, Rob Zombie, Oasis, Coldplay & Pearl Jam too.”

Melrose Hall said, “Love the Levellers, been a fan since 92! Saw them last week in Bristol as part of their 30th anniversary tour, just as brilliant as ever.”

Cerys said, “My teenage boys are huge Stones fans. We took them to see them live in Southampton earlier this year and they loved it…
My 15 year old is sick of Queen! He likes 2 door cinema club, the Killers, the Gorillaz, 21 Pilots, Jimmy Hendrix, and all sorts of people I’ve never heard of.”

Kym said, “Michael Jackson, Beatles.”

Cat said, “My boys’ current favourites: Nickelback rockstar and MJ bad. We have Amazon prime music and I often ask varied playlists: classic rock, 80s rock, disco, 90s etc…”

Wendy said, “Radio 2!”

Allison said, “Don’t forget the Sergeant Pepper album – that’s a real classic with a mass of musical styles and instruments.”

Laura-Leigh said, “Fleetwood mac
The eagles
Abba
The carpenters
The beatles
The beach boys
Queen
Eva cassidy
Simon and Garfunkel”

Genni said, “The jam, blur, oasis, pulp, nirvana, the list goes on…”

Wendy said, “Just buy now 100, see what they like on it and go from there. My kids love the Smiths. The ministry compilations are also pretty good for trying out different types of music and kids love songs they know from films.”

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 on TwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!

Half-term sure to be eventful in Basingstoke

An intimate pop-up venue which will host entertainment for all ages is coming to Basingstoke for a wide range of activities and performances throughout the February half term.

The Event Box is a temporary indoor venue which will be in the Market Place at the Top of Town in Basingstoke from Monday 18 February until Saturday 23 February. A full programme of free daytime activities for the family will be on offer as well as ticketed events for children and adults in the evenings.

The initiative is being run and organised by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Basingstoke Together, which is the face of the Basingstoke Business Improvement District (BID). The BID’s aim is to help Basingstoke town centre to thrive by creating destination events, engaging with consumers and supporting retailers and businesses.

Lucy Boazman, Chief Executive of Basingstoke Together, said: “We’re so excited to be hosting such a fabulous calendar of events here in Basingstoke at The Event Box. At this time of year, we’re all a little more inclined to stay at home or indoors. However, we want to encourage people to venture out and explore the fun activities which are on offer during this traditionally quieter time of the year.

“We hope that lots of people of all ages will make the most of this fun opportunity to come and join in the fun at The Event Box. We also hope that it helps to cement Basingstoke as a great destination for families as well as visitors of all ages.”

The full schedule includes:

Monday 18th February, 11am – 6pm, The Jurassic Box
Head off on a dino dig to discover T-Rex bones, train your dinosaur and find out about the world when dinosaurs used to roam. Arts, crafts and dino dress up for youngsters.

Credit: Basingstoke Together

Tuesday 19th February, Midday – 6pm, The Bricks Box
Children can indulge their imaginations in a world of LEGO®. Marvel at the amazing brick unicorn made of 37,800 individual elements, take control of the Brick Kingdom or get a selfie in the LEGO brick throne. Play tables also available for children to get creative too.

Credit: Basingstoke Together

Wednesday 20th February, 11am – 5pm, The Art Box
Get messy with Artventurers to make your own creations with glitter, paint and everything in between. Free face painting for children aged three and over.

7pm – 10pm, The Art Box After Dark
A pop-up art gallery will showcase up to 30 new works from local and visiting artists, hosted by THAT Gallery, Basingstoke. Some of the artists will also be on hand to discuss their work. Free to attend but pre-booking is required.

Credit: Basingstoke Together

Thursday 21st February, 11am – 4pm, The Circus Box
A day of circus skills workshops and demonstrations for your budding greatest showmen, as well as puppetry workshops and interactive shows.

5.30pm – 7.30pm, Film Box Kids
The Greatest Showman (PG) 1hr 40mins
£3 per ticket which must be pre-booked

8pm – 10pm, Film Box Adults
Top Gun (15) 1hr 50mins
£5 per ticket which must be pre-booked

Credit: Basingstoke Together

Credit: Basingstoke Together

Friday 22nd February, 11am – 4pm, The Games Box
Test your skills against Miss Pacman, beat your friends at Air Hockey or take yourself back to the 1980’s and try your hand at Space Invaders.

5.30pm – 7.30pm, Film Box Kids
The Lego Movie (U) 1hr 40mins
£3 per ticket which must be pre-booked

8pm – 10pm, Film Box Adults
The Wedding Singer (12) 1hr 40mins
£5 per ticket which must be pre-booked

Credit: Basingstoke Together

Saturday 23rd February, 11am – 4pm, The Tech Box
Test your skills as a drone pilot or take part in a live virtual orchestra. The drone racing is suitable for children who are able to ride a bike as hand-eye coordination is key.

5.30pm – 7.30pm, Film Box Kids
Despicable Me (U) 1hr 35mins
£3 per ticket which must be pre-booked

8pm – 10pm, Film Box Adults
Shaun of The Dead (15) 1hr 40mins
£5 per ticket which must be pre-booked

Some activities will require pre-booking due to a strict capacity restriction. All of the daytime activities will be free of charge although some evening activities incur a ticket cost. More information can be found here: www.basingstoketogether.co.uk

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! 

NHM Reader’s Experience: Children with Additional Needs, 5q14.3 deletion

Thank you very much to the NHM Reader who has written today’s post. It’s a very brave thing to write about and she’s done a brilliant job. 

NHM Reader’s Experience: Children with Additional Needs, 5q14.3 deletion

I have spoken to Louise a few times about how we can raise awareness about children with additional needs so I agreed to write a post.

I am keen for my daughter and children like her to be included, respected, accepted, encouraged, supported and loved. Hopefully raising awareness helps with this.

I have a beautiful daughter with a rare chromosome disorder. That rare it is only seen in 1 out of 120 million people !!!!

I believe there isn’t anyone in Basingstoke with the same condition, so thought it was worth explaining. I will start by describing my daughter’s story.

When she was born in April 2015 and as far as we knew she was “normal”, weighing a healthy 8lb 8oz, passing all tests & was absolutely gorgeous.

We joined the standard classes & groups making mummy+baby friends at each one. Everything was lovely for the first few months. Then between 4-6 mths a few things started playing on my mind, why is she not doing so well as the other babies ? I put most of it down to the fact she was the youngest and everyone kept telling me….

“all babies are different”

“she will get there in the end”

“all babies learn at different rates” etc

When she got to about 7 mths things became more difficult. Taking her to classes & groups started to become a struggle. Simple questions from other mums upset me, even like the standard opening question “how old is she?” I used to panic straight away thinking they were asking as they noticed how little she could do. But it’s the most common asked 1st question. The list was also getting long of all the things she couldn’t do which she should have really done much earlier e.g. roll, sit unaided or crawl. So I went to the GP who agreed a referral to a paediatrician was needed.

We had to wait till she was 9 months to get this appointment. So we enjoyed our 1st Christmas together as a family of 3 and carried on as usual. We also attended a lot of her friends 1st birthdays which was difficult as they were all walking or at least standing and walking with a parent. Whereas we were getting excited as she had just mastered a roll!

When we saw the paediatrician and we stated her short list of current milestones he referred us straight away for tests, bloods were taken that day and an MRI scan booked. The following month she had her MRI scan. Such a scary and long day at the hospital but she handled it so well. She is a placid and content person.

All her tests and MRI scan came back negative. The paediatrician just said they were waiting on the genetics team to get back to him. Everything sounded fine – Big sigh of relief. She then had her 1st birthday in April. She had 2 parties and we had a little holiday in Butlins. Our 1st family holiday. She couldn’t go on most of the rides or enjoy the parks but we had a nice time. She loves the water and the pool there is great.

At 13 months old we went back to the paediatrician and were given the devastating news that she had a rare chromosome disorder. 5q14.3 deletion. What even is that?!? Let’s ask the doctor, but even he couldn’t tell us much about it as he hadn’t come across it before. He downloaded a leaflet which explained the condition & sent us on our way.

Reading the leaflet I was in flood of tears…..

“May not walk till much older if at all”

“May never talk”

“prone to autism, epilepsy, hypotonia etc etc etc”

I was numb. Trying my hardest not to get too upset or stressed as I was 5 months pregnant. I knew I needed to be strong for my unborn child and also be there for my little girl who that same day had further blood tests along with Mummy and Daddy to see if we had passed her this. As if I didn’t feel guilty enough as it was.

We went to see the genetics team in Winchester. Finally, someone can answer our many questions. What did we get, the same leaflet that was given to us at the paediatrician appointment. However, we also found out that within her 5q14.3 deletion she was missing an entire gene – MEF2C. We later found out this is a commanding gene and explained many things.

At 17 months her baby brother was born. As I had to have a c-section the 1st 12 weeks we had visitors every day and a few people supported us so well and I will be eternally grateful. Then followed some of my loneliest & darkest days of my life. It was winter. I struggled to leave the house with both babies as I couldn’t carry them at the same time. The visitors became few and far between and the days were long and hard. Then the 2nd birthday invites started to roll in. I felt pleased that she was still being included but also extremely anxious about the fact that she was VERY different to her peers now. She was still a “baby” & they were all clearly “toddlers” running around, jumping, laughing etc whereas she could not even stand or crawl.

Now she was a little under 2 years old and her little brother started crawling at just 4 months old. I knew 1 day he would overtake her in milestones. But I had not yet prepared myself.  She had been trying all year to master crawling and he picked it up in a few days. I was honestly depressed. But also felt guilty that I couldn’t be happy for him as I was grieving for her. How bad a mother am I!!

However with each passing milestone he achieved, for instance walking at just 9 months I could then be happy for him. The 1st one was just hard. It seemed to come so easy to him with very little effort. Why is life so unfair? To make some children work so hard for what many people take for granted. I may never hear my daughter say she loves me and that is the hardest thing with all this. I can cope (well possibly my back can’t) with the physically side of this. But if she never talks, that will slowly break my heart.

At 2.5 years she got a place at an amazing special needs nursery. She also has lots of equipment now like a stander, a supportive chair and a walker. Within 3 months at the nursery she was doing well and started crawling!!! It’ss about 1 year since then and I still stop whatever I am doing to watch her crawl as I am still overwhelmed and emotional to see it.

She still continues to amaze me all the time. She can almost now stand unaided and is trying so hard to pull to stand up. She loves music and water so we are very grateful we get to do both at the amazing Bluebells facility in North Waltham which is funded by the charity Sebastian’s Action Trust.

If you are reading this and think or know your friend or family member has a child with additional needs, I would encourage you to reach out to them. They just want to feel supported and to be included and treated the same as anyone else. Empathise and listen if you can. But they certainly don’t want pity though, that is very different.

I often wish I had an easier life. But if that meant giving her up (or indeed giving up on her) I soon stop wishing that. I am blessed to be given my daughter. She is unique, loving & so special. She puts a smile of my face every day.

Some things I do that help. Some are much easier than others, some I don’t do all the time and some you may need help with

  1. I don’t compare her to others
  2. I don’t think about what she should be doing at her age
  3. Applied for financial help – Disability Living Allowance
  4. Contacted local help for support and advice hampshiresendiass@coreassets.com
  5. Tree tots. This is a coffee morning. Run every term time Wednesday 10-12. For parents of pre-schoolers
  6. I try to have separate time to concentrate on each child (when possible). My children couldn’t be more different and need/want very different things from me
  7. To not be afraid to ask for help. I need to get better at this myself.
  8. Me time. I don’t get this often, but I try to ring fence some pamper time or catch up with friends
  9. Seek support from charities (Like the above-mentioned Sebastian’s Action Trust)

Also Family Fund give grants (up to £500 per year) according to child’s needs

  1. Find Facebook groups with people who have the same or similar condition. I am on a few groups like this 1 in particular are like my extended family even if the group is only 300 people and are all over the world. This means if I am not sleeping and want to vent someone in Australia for instance will chat with me
  2. Find places that offer child free or carer free. 

If you are in a similar situation or would like me to explain any above points further please do get in contact with me via Louise ! If you don’t want to reach out to me, please reach out to someone. Thank you for reading to the end !!

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!