13 things to do in Basingstoke in Spring with a three year old

1. Visit PlayDays, JJ’s, Fun House or Gym Tots at the Sports Centre

2. Go to the Aquadrome.

3. Check out nature detectives to see which packs you can use to go on a treasure hunt. Click HERE for a list of nature walks you can do.

4. Play Pooh Sticks on the bridge at Eastrop Park

5. Go Ice Skating at Planet Ice

6. Check out the aquarium’s in the fish shop at Sherfield on Loddon Garden Centre

7. Attend a Toddler Class. Have a look at the Activities Drop down on the tool bar above, to see the Classes available each day.

8. Visit the Old Fashioned Sweet Shop in Milestones

9. Go Bowling at the Leisure Park and play in the new Soft Play area after. (Keep your receipt for softplay as it gets you half price entry the next time you go.)

10. Visit a Pick Your Own Farm

11. Fly a kite on Crabtree Hill

12. Take a ride on the Viables mini steam train when it’s running

13. Go to Basing Lime Pits and play on the Train climbing frame and slide down the extra long slides

What would you recommend in the area for something to do with a three year old?

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Random Friday Post

I’ve read a lot of really good posts recently and re-read some olds ones. I thought you might be interested in reading the following:

Facilitate correction of tongue-tie in newborn babies within three days from birth

There is an epetition that is circulating about facilitating the correction of tongue-tie in newborn babies within three days from birth. This is an issue close to my heart as it took 5 weeks after my little one was born to have her tongue tie confirmed. This was partly the reason why we had such a tough first couple of months with breastfeeding. If you would like to support this epetition, please find the link HERE.

Purple Crying

Have you heard of Purple Crying? I saw this a couple of years ago but thought it was a really interesting post and I’ve been meaning to add a link to it here for ages. Definitely worth a read. Click HERE for the link.

The truth about baby food jars.

This is a fascinating, if disturbing, post about what goes into baby food. It uses scare tactics but is very powerful. Click HERE for the link.

Nine Reasons not to carry your baby facing out

This is another really interesting post. I didn’t babywear, despite really wanting too, as I suffered from SPD when I was pregnant and couldn’t cope with the extra weight of carrying my baby around. If you are lucky enough to be able to carry your little one in a sling, this is also interesting reading. Click HERE for the link.

Hope you find the links above useful. Have a great weekend!

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15 Different Experiences for Children

I believe it’s important, as a parent, to introduce your child to as many different experiences as possible. Obviously, you don’t want to overwhelm them, but the different activities and experiences may help to broaden their horizons.

For example, I would have liked to have taken my little on to the Olympics, but I wasn’t sure what the logistics would be like. I have some friends who took their 1 year old to see the London Marathon and to the Jubilee last summer. What an awesome experience for a little one.

Below is a list that I’ve put together for ideas on different experiences. Please add your suggestions in the comments.

1. Stroke a wolf at Beenham Wolf. Beenham is near Aldermaston and they have Children’s Wolf Walks which look AWESOME!

2. Go swimming at an outside swimming pool. See the previous NHM Lido Post HERE

3. See a show at the Planetarium in Winchester. See the previous NHM Chatterbox Post HERE

4. Trampolining at the Active Life Centre

5. Pet a Sheep at Finkley Down Farm, Wellington Country Park, Odds Farm, or Bucklebury Farm 

6. Pick Your OwnStrawberries

7. Fly a kite on a very big hill. Crabtree is great for this, or if you want go a bit further, try the hill behind Watership Down on the way to Kingsclere.

8. Take your child to see London. It’s such an awesome experience and we are so lucky to only live 40 minutes away on the train. Check HERE for a previous post about travel discounts for families. Or you could drive straight up to Richmond and park in Deer Park car park and get the train in (it’s much cheaper!). If you don’t want to schlep around London with your kids in tow, I totally recommend the London Sightseeing Bus. You get to see all the sights without moving from your seat 😉

9. Enrol your child on a cookery course. Newlyns Farm do great cooker courses. Or take your child to a restaurant where they do food “differently”. Wagamama’s or La Tasca could be good restaurants for this.

10. Hold a snake at Marwell Zoo.

11. Take your child to a Gallery and use this opportunity to discuss the pictures or photography. The Willis Museum in town regularly has different exhibitions.

12. Show your child some of the military history of this country. You could try the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport, the Army Flying Museum near Andover or the Gurka Museum in Winchester.

13. Take your child on a steam train. The Watercress Line isn’t far away and is a brilliant experience.

14. Visit an Aquarium. I think the nearest ones to Basingstoke are the Blue Reef Aquarium in Portsmouth or the London Aquarium. Or you could take your children along to one of the local fish shops.

15. Take your child to the theatre. The Anvil and The Haymarket have regular children’s performances.

New Toddler and Baby Group Survey

In 2012 Karen asked me if I could ask all of you if you wouldn’t mind responding to a survey for her, so she could guage interest in a new PlayGroup. Jumble Bees was formed as a result of this feedback and has been so successful that Karen is now looking for further support regarding a new song and craft group.

Please can you complete the survey below for Karen. The survey won’t take more than 2 minutes to complete as it is just 7 questions long and is anonymous, but I know Karen will be very grateful if you could complete it for her so she could understand the demand for a new group.

You can find the survey here:  www.surveymonkey.com/s/KY93F3V

I would be really interested in any classes that run on weekends as my husband works every other weekend, so classes on Sunday would be of particular interest to me. If they would be of interest to you, please make sure you highlight this in the survey.

Thanks Karen and thanks to all you NHM Readers who will respond! I know NHM readers will provide Karen with lots of good responses!! 😀

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A day of freezer cooking

I’ve read a lot recently about Batch Cooking. We are very lucky that we have a large upright freezer and it has really been an amazing help over the past two years. When I was pregnant, before I was unable to walk, I spent a few weekends making extra meals ready for when my little one arrived. Having these meals on stand by were absolutely essential to those first few frantic months. Now that I’m working and a lot more experienced in my parenting, I try to spend one afternoon every couple of months making extra meals to freeze.

I’ve mentioned before that I mealplan because it’s cheaper and less wasteful. Having a large freezer really helps us to do this. I try to ensure that, as much as possible, my family eat homecooked meals. Most of my extended family and my friends will tell you that I’m a crap cook, but I’ve managed to pull together a few staple meals which keep us going.

Some of my easiest favourite meals to batch cook are:

  • Vietnamese Beef Soup
  • Cottage Pie
  • Casserole
  • Basic spag bol which can also be converted into Chilli
  • Goulash (so easy in the slow cooker)
  • Sausage rolls (may sound a bit strange, but my husband is from up north and it keeps him happy :-D)

Another way that I also batch cook is when we have a slow cooker meal. I try to ensure that at least one evening meal a week is a slow cooker meal, as I’ve mentioned HERE before. I’ve got the biggest slow cooker I could get, I think it’s about 6 pints, maybe even bigger! This means that when I’m cooking a meal, I nearly always cater so that there is enough for two meals. I either stick what’s left in a box or a plastic bag and it goes straight into the freezer. I do write on it the date of when it was cooker, so I know when to use it by.

I’m also a total addict of Lock and Lock Boxes. They are the best “tuperware” boxes that I’ve found. We also use Ziplock bags (Costco – beg for membership! It’s next to Madjeski Stadium, Reading) to freeze things like dried herbs and soups, but I am a little paranoid of storing everything in plastic. If only they made BPA free ziplock bags!!!

Do you Batch Cook? Which recipes are the easiest and quickest that you like to cook? I’m intrigued to know as it would be great to get some more meals to add to my repertoire.

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Toddler Games: Coloured Spaghetti

I’ve been meaning to do this activity for ages and we finally got around to it this morning. It was BRILLIANT! I really didn’t think we would have so much fun. I made blue spaghetti first, to try it out, and gave that to my little one with some plastic plates, cups and a spoon. She spent about 20 mins playing with it, whilst I pottered around the kitchen. I then did some red and green spaghetti and we both played with it together for about another hour!! I really didn’t expect to have so much fun with it:

It’s easy peasy. I first saw the idea HERE and have had it on my “list of things” to do since my little one was born. All you need is some spaghetti and food colouring. I picked up the spaghetti we used from the Sainsburys value range, about 40p, but you can get it cheaper in Tesco’s. We used about a quarter of it, so we can do this at least 3 more times. I cooked my spaghetti up with the food colouring directly and am pleased to report that it didn’t stain my saucepans. I got a bit covered in food colouring, but that was half the fun and I’m not great with those food colouring bottles! lol. My little one had so much fun moving the spaghetti from bowl, to plate, to cup and learnt that she could bite the spaghetti in half to make smaller pieces. We came up with some very multicoloured patterns as you can see:

It was a great opportunity for my little one’s motor skills and for us to practice colours. I totally recommend this activity with your toddler, especially for a rainy day. If you do try it out, let me know how it goes!

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Amber Teething Necklace Update

We had a major crisis in our household recently. My Mum lost our little one’s Amber teething necklace whilst she was looking after her. My husband went bonkers (thankfully at me, not my Mum, who felt awful enough!). After four nights of unbroken sleep, the first in 13 months (we know we are very lucky, and it helps to explain why I have the energy to blog!) I was ready to sell an arm for a new necklace!

I know many people don’t believe in the Amber necklaces and I did pooh, pooh them before using them. You may have seen that good old Trading Standards decided to ban the sale of Amber Necklaces in this country earlier in the year. I was not very impressed then, as we couldn’t even get a back up necklace as there was no warning in advance that it was about to be banned.

Fumbilna added a wonderful comment to one of the previous posts about this, saying that she managed to get hold of an Amber necklace from a company in Latvia, who wall outside of the Trading Standards policy.

My wonderful, awesome husband (just checking to see if he really DOES read the posts every day!) has found a company in this country that still sells Amber Necklace’s. However, they aren’t advertised as Teething necklace’s. Rather than drop this company in it with Trading Standards, if you want to know the company we used, please drop me an email at northhantsmum@gmail.com.

Best of luck with the teething. We have incisors and the back ones coming through at the moment. It’s not fun to seeing your little one’s in pain, but it is cute seeing their perfect little teeth. That is, until they bite you! 😉

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Mum Networks in Basingstoke and surrounding areas

Winter can be a lonely and depressing time for Mum’s, new and old. It’s a lot harder to get out and about, logistically and motivationally, when it’s cold, and raining or snowing outside. If you are feeling a bit disconnected and want to meet some new people, especially Mum’s, check out the page below which is on NHM. It lists all of the Mum Networks in the area that communicate via Facebook (that I know of!). Even though I think Facebook has lost some of it’s charm, it’s still a great way to connect with people.

Does anyone know if there are any Dad’s networks in the area? It must be so hard being a stay at home Dad as there doesn’t seem to be many networks in the area for them!

Also. I know that there are a few people who read NHM from outside of North Hampshire. Are there any networks in your area on Facebook that you can join?

On a slightly related note, it’s supposed to snow tomorrow and Saturday, so if it does, I hope it doesn’t disrupt you too much and your little one’s enjoy playing in the snow. Have fun! 😉

Mum Groups

Online Food Shopping

I’ve shopped for food online for the past 6 years.  I find that online shopping gives me the freedom to buy what I want, without being drawn into buying BOGOF offers that we don’t actually need. The Online Shopping tool that I use remembers what I’ve ordered before so it’s very easy to find something that we’ve already had.

As I mealplan, to keep costs down and reduce waste, I find that online ordering allows me to ensure that I only buy what’s required for each week.  I suffered with Pelvic Girdle Dysfunction (PGD also known as SPD) when I was pregnant and I haven’t been able to push a trolley since so I like the fact that someone else is doing all the heavy lifting for me!

I found that when I was pregnant and in those first few months after my daughter arrived, having my shopping delivered was a a sanity saver. I really couldn’t cope with the concept of wandering around a supermarket with a tiny baby, trying to follow my shopping list and then needing to try to push a trolley and look after baby and shop. It just wasn’t going to happen. I know a lot of people don’t like online shopping because you can’t select your own vegetables or fruit, but we get round this by using an Organic Box Delivery service that provides us with fresh fruit and vegetables.

I’ve summarised a few Pro’s and Con’s of online shopping.

Pro’s

  • You only buy what you need
  • You can keep within budget much easier
  • You can bulk buy when offers are on
  • You don’t have to do the heavy lifting

Con’s

  •  You have to pay for delivery (I counteract this by factoring in the cost of driving/petrol to the supermarket and we also use the option of a Delivery Pass. The delivery pass ensures that each delivery is free. As long as it is over £40 we can order as many times as we like for free. We pay a £6 fee for a month, which is often the cost of one delivery with other suppliers!)
  • You don’t get to choose your own fruit and veg

I know that online shopping is a personal preference, some people like being able to choose their own food and enjoy the shopping experience. I don’t mind the shopping experience, but if it means that I can do my food shopping in 5 minutes (I can set up an online order in 1 minute, by copying the previous order, although I’ve never done this!) and allows me to spend more time with my family, this can only be a good thing.

If you are about to have a baby, I cannot recommend online shopping enough, at least for the first three months!

Have you tried Online Shopping and if yes, who were your preferred Supermarkets/Deliverers?

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The New FitMama Studio

So, do you have your New Year’s Resolutions sorted and are you raring to go? If exercise is high on you new years resolutions, check out the new FitMama Studio in Stroudley Road.

The studio is run by Marie Bahena and Lola, the ladies who have very successfully developed the FitMama Method. See a previous blog HERE about FitMama.

(I stole this from the welcome page of the FitMama studio, but I don’t think Marie or Lola will mind! ;-)):

 The FitMama Studio, Basingstoke, is a place where exercise meets motherhood!  It is a home away from home, a support structure and place of self discovery, a hub of health and helping hands to get you to your goals.

We may not have hairdryers and steam rooms, but we do have your goals and ambitions at heart, and will be with you through your journey of motherhood, whether you are pregnant or the mother of a 24 year old!

With lashings of advice, honest assistance and downright good fun, we will never judge you, only help you. We will never give up on you, only continue to support you. We will be a shoulder when you need it and a jolly good laugh when the time is right.

So don’t feel frumpy and alone, become a member of The FitMama Studio and start spreading the Fitmama Love… cheesy? yes, of course!!!!!

 The FitMama Studio is the Basingstoke HQ of the Fitmama family, including The FitMama Method Book (Souvenir Press) and Fitmama Ltd.  All of which are dedicated to the health and well being of mothers and the professionals who work with them.

The FitMama Studio is the flagship venue for all Fitmama classes, and used as a training centre for our exceptional FitMama Trainers who are expanding across the UK.

The FitMama Studio Ltd, Unit 41 Basepoint Centre, Stroudley Rd, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG24 8UP

The studio is incredibly Mum and Baby/Toddler friendly. They have classes in the evening time and during the day and also hosts one of the only Sling Meets in the area. You can join as a Pay as you Go member or you can pay a monthly fee. For more details, check out the FitMama studio website.

If you would like more details about the Studio, please contact Marie, Lola and their team on the following: 01256 369 291 or email hello@thefitmamastudio.com.

It’s on my list of things to do to check out one of the classes at the Studio very soon!

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