The Santa Bus Competition Winner’s are…

Lorraine Cooper and Louise Harwood!!!!!

Congratulations Ladies!! Sarah will be in touch to ask for your addresses so that she can send the tickets to you. It would be great if you could let us all know what your experience on the Bus was like.

Thank you to everyone who entered! Don’t forget, you can still ride the Santa Bus, you just need to buy a ticket 😀

PS: I’m not Louise Harwood! lol.

Related Posts

 

The Santa Bus in Basingstoke: Competition Time!

 

Wendy French Reflexology

Wendy got in touch asking me to let you know about the Reflexology practice that she runs. If you are finding Christmas a bit stressful (like me!) then this could be just the thing for you!

Foot reflexology is based on the principle that there are reflex points on the feet that correspond to every organ, gland and part of the body. For example, the toes represent the head and the ball of the foot represents the chest and lung region. This means that reflexology can be used to aid a huge number of symptoms including; headaches, problems with digestion, PMS, back problems and morning sickness – to name but a few.

A full consultation is undertaken on your first visit to ascertain your lifestyle, health and diet which will allow specific reflexes to be worked to produce results.

The treatment will then begin with some general relaxation techniques, followed by a precise thumb and finger walking technique aimed at applying pressure to every reflex area on the top and bottom of the foot. Both feet are worked as part of the treatment.

If you are interested in a treatment and live in the Basingstoke area I am both fully qualified and insured to practice reflexology having passed my International Institute of Reflexology Diploma. I can visit you in the comfort of your home during evenings and weekends. At the moment I am offering a one hour treatment for only £15! Please contact me for further details.

Why not take an hour out of your busy schedule to make some time for you!

Wendy French Reflexology

M: 07801 968 211

F: Wendy French Reflexology

Thanks Wendy!

The Santa Bus in Basingstoke: Competition Time!

****This Competition is now Closed****

Yay, I’m so excited! It’s the first competition on NHM!! Whoop Whoop!!!

Sarah from Stagecoach South sent me a lovely email asking me if I would like to publicise the Santa Bus that will be running again this year in Basingstoke.

The Santa Bus is a special service in the lead up to Christmas which is decorated to share some festive cheer, but best of all… Santa is driving the bus!! There will also be a collection to raise money for St Michael’s Hospice and there will be special treats to give away to the children.

The Santa Bus will be running on selected Services from 17th Dec to 24th Dec. The service fares are the same as the ‘normal service’, starting at 80p for a single journey, £1.50 return (£1.40 off peak). The fare will increase depending on the journey you wish to make.

To check for details about when the Santa Bus is running, click here: www.stagecoachbus.com/santa.

In order to use the Santa Bus you will use the bus as a normal service, boarding and alighting during your journey, as per your ticket.

If you want to stay on the bus for more than one journey (because you and your children are having too much fun!) you will need to purchase a day ticket, rather than a single or return journey.

A Basingstoke family day ticket (valid the whole day) is also available, priced £8.60 peak/ £7.50 off peak (off peak is after 9am Monday to Friday and all day at weekends). This is for 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children.

The zone map for this ticket can be found here: www.stagecoachbus.com/uploads/basingstoketcktzonemap[1].pdf

Now for the even more exciting bit! Sarah is kindly offering two Stagecoach family tickets to two very lucky NHM Readers! All you have to do is answer this (EXTREMELY easy) question:

  • Q. Which Reindeer had a very shiny nose?

and send your answer in an email to Sarah at:

by End of Day Friday 14th December.

This will give Sarah time to email you back for your address and then stick the tickets in the post so you can get them in time to go on the Santa Bus with them!

You will then be entered into the EXCLUSIVE NHM competition to win a Family Day ticket, which is valid for all Stagecoach services across Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey.

A family is classed at 2 x adult and 2 x children or 1 adult and 3 x children – ideal for taking the children out on Santa bus (a child is 15yrs or younger). The ticket will expire at the end of February, so can be used on any of the bus services, not just the Santa Bus.

How exciting!??!?!?! So, what are you waiting for? You’ve got to be in it to win it, so get emailing Sarah quickly!

Oh and the winners will be picked at random by Sarah and her team, so I can’t be blamed if you don’t win!! 😉

Thank you Sarah for the lovely tickets and for letting all NHM Readers have an opportunity to win tickets for this fabulous Santa Bus experience!

Stocking Filler Ideas & Posting Dates

Stocking Filler Ideas

I pinched this from several sources, including the Tadley Facebook Group that I’m a member of. Hope you ladies don’t mind me “borrowing” your fabulous ideas!

  • Body Sprays
  • Fun Showergels
  • Toothbrushes
  • Sweets
  • CD’s
  • A Book
  • Pencils/Pens
  • Bubble Bath
  • Colouring or Activity Books/Pencils
  • Torch
  • Post It Notes
  • Bubble Wands
  • Socks
  • Oranges/Apples
  • Chocolate
  • Socks
  • Coal (My husband’s from up Norf, so this one really appeals!)
  • Hair Toggles
  • Large Chocolate Coin
  • Travel Bag

Christmas Posting Dates

Willowdene Christmas Holiday Club

Marilyn contacted me asking me to let you all know about the Willowdene Christmas Holiday Club:

Willowdene Holiday Club is open every school holiday for children aged 4 – 12 yrs. Affiliated  with Willowdene Nursery School the Club provides high quality, affordable and reliable childcare.

Open 7.30-6.00 each day, we offer flexible booking by the hour, with all day and half day discounted rates.

Dates open over Christmas are December 21st & 24th and Jan 2nd – 4th.

Ofsted registered, we provide a professional service in a happy, safe and stimulating environment. Based at Christ Church, Chineham we aim to inspire and motivate the children with a variety of activities for both indoors and out. We introduce play that challenges the children’s imaginations e.g. den making, and with the woods around us we are able to go on Nature walks, bug hunts and picnics. We also take the children to the Library and local parks. With the emphasis on fun , the children enjoy an action packed time and each day is different.

For further details please contact us at willowdene@btconnect.com or 01256 324191.

Thanks Marilyn!

Related Posts

Day Nurseries in Basingstoke and North Hampshire

How to save yourself a fortune

Camel Camel Camel – Amazon Price Tracker

I love Amazon. I’ve worked out that I’ve been using Amazon for 10 years! Wow! How did we live without the internet? I’m not a big fan of shopping. I normally know exactly what I want which is why I like Amazon so much. Most people are aware that Amazon fluctuate their prices, but unless you have the time to track each item every day, there’s no way of knowing the logic to that fluctuation. Now you don’t need to worry about it, because Camel Camel Camel shows you the price of every single product on Amazon for the past two years AND it allows you to set up alerts when a product reaches the price you are prepared to pay for it. I LOVE it! I’ve found some real bargains for Christmas already using Camel Camel Camel and I haven’t even needed to brave Festival Place! lol.

Remember the Milk

I came across this via one of my favourite blogs, The Simple Dollar. Although Trent is American he has some brilliant insights that are just as valuable to us in the UK. I’ve been using the Google Task option in Google Calendar to review my “To Do List” but I never really got on with it. I tried Remember the Milk out last week when we were on holiday and it’s AMAZING! It’s a brilliant free little tool that is revolutionising my life! I love that it works on my iPhone, iPAD and PC, although the web version isn’t particularly intuitive. I’m particularly enamoured with the email reminder which emails you at a time you specify,  all the things on your task list for the day.

If you need a bit of organisation in your life and your To Do List is spiraling out of control, this is the tool for you!

Clarks Shoe Fitting Service – Online Appointment Booking!

I found out recently that you can book online for Shoe Fittings at most Clarks stores. I tried it out for the store in Hatch Warren Mothercare during the October Half Term and it worked a treat! No hanging around and waiting for other people to finish their appointments. Just turn up at the slot you’ve booked and 15 minutes later out the door. That’s the kind of service that I love, even if the shoes do cost a FORTUNE!

  • Appointments are available in Clarks stores only.
  • Appointments are 15 minutes per child. If you book an appointment for multiple children, the appointments will be one after the other.
  • If you would like to book an appointment for today, please call the store directly, see our store locator for contact details.
  • Once you confirm your appointment, you will receive an email confirming the details and a reminder email the day before your appointment.
  • If you have saved your mobile number in your account, you will receive a text message to confirm your appointment booking and a text message reminder the day before your appointment.
  • If you have any questions about your store appointment, please call our friendly Customer Care team on 0844 248 8408.

Wrapping Paper Alternatives

I love these two posts for alternative wrapping paper. Great if you want to do something a bit different with your wrapping this year:

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2011/12/10/wrapping-paper-alternatives/

Stocking Fillers

I’m always stuck for Stocking Fillers. I don’t like buying cheap plastic toys or items that I know will end up in landfill. I like filling our stockings (yes, the husband still gets one!) on behalf of Father Christmas (just in case anyone still believes :-D)  with food because I think that’s more sustainable and less likely to get thrown away. I do love the odd silly toy of course but the less stuff that goes in the bin, the better my daughters future might be!

http://www.bambinogoodies.co.uk/stocking-fillers-smellies/?%2Btheir%2Bdiscerning%2Bparents%29

http://babybudgeting.co.uk/find-me-a-gift-cracking-christmas-stocking-fillers/

Quidco

In the run up to Christmas it’s worth checking out Quidco again as you can make a bit of money back on your purchases.

Official School Holiday Website

I’ve seen several people asking for confirmation of when the school holidays are. Click HERE for the official website to details of school holidays.

That’s it for this month! Hope it’s helpful.

PlayDays Parent and Baby Club

Kirsty sent me a lovely message asking me to publicise the new Parent and Baby Club at PlayDays every Tuesday. So if you are looking for something to do today with your baby, pop down to PlayDays 😉

Baby Club Poster

Every Tuesday (term-time only), 10:30am-12:30noon

£1.50 per child (0-18ths), Free tea or coffee for parent

Come and enjoy a focused session for your babies, whilst you enjoy a complimentary tea or coffee and the company of other parents with babies, who you can share experiences with. The session will be run by a qualified Nursery Practitioner and will end with singing a few nursery rhymes or a story.

Please check out our Facebook Page: Playdays Indoor Playcentre, Basingstoke for more information and dates, or email us on: playdays.newbabyclub@gmail.com.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Children’s Bike Seats

Getting a childs bike seat sorted has been on my to do list for a very long time, but I just never seem to get around to it. I want to go in to Basing Cycles in town and have a chat with them as they specialise in Specialized bikes, which is the bike I have. I was also hoping that I might be able to see if they are interested in doing a discount for NHM Readers also looking to buy a child bike seat.

I’m finding that a childs bike seat might be like a sling. I really want one and I just want someone to tell me which one to get, but we will probably end buying a really expensive one (like we did with the sling)  because we don’t know any better and then we will probably only use it twice (like the sling).

I’ve also been trying to put together a post about Children’s Bike Seats since March this year! In an effort to pull my finger out and get the post started AND completed, I put a request out on Facebook to see if you wonderful readers would be happy to provide your insights. This is what you came back with:

Wendy made an excellent point “The first thing you have to consider is your bike. Not all seats fit all bikes.” Amber also made an excellent point “It’s worth emphasising that ALL children should have cycle helmets along with their parents whenever they are cycling.”

Matt, a keen cyclist, said: “My recommendation is the Co-pilot Limo seat, RRP £109.99”. Lesley also recommended the Co-pilot Limo child seat. She said “We did a lot of research when looking to purchase a seat for our daughter. She was 2 years old at the time (now 4). The seat has a lot of protection, just I case your bike topples over. At that age she tended to fall asleep after a while, but the side protection, meant she could rest her head comfortably. The seat also grows with your child, straps move to deal with growing legs. And, a final bit of usefulness – the seat doubles up as a seat off the bike too. We would stop for a picnic, and our daughter was able to sit comfortably and securely for her meal. (equally-it can be a handy retaining option if you are on your own and don’t want your child to toddle off while you tend to your bike). 5* as far as I’m concerned. Daughter now cycling using her own Steam, and she asks to go to places we used to take her on the back of our bikes.”

Karen recommended a Hamax child seat “I’ve got a hamax one – very pleased with it. What about some research on the difference between rear and front seats- the ones that go near the handlebars- they look pretty dangerous to me! Amber also recommended a Hamax seat “Both my husband and I are very keen cyclists and did a lot of research before buying ours for our daughter and as Wendy says, not all seats fit all bikes…. We bought a Hamax Sleepy which is great, they are very robust seats with adjustable footrests and harness so it growns with your child. With hindsight I wish we had got the Siesta model which reclines further than the Sleepy as she invariably nods off in it and she just lolls forwards in the seat. She doesn’t seem to mind that but it is a little disconcerting!”

Charlotte suggested the Wee free ride, “We have wee free ride. Lo sits on the cross bar in front of you. Very safe for them as they’re inside your arms and they get a great view. BUT it doesn’t work well on small frame bikes as you have to ride with your knees out wide! My bike at 16″ frame is too small. My husband’s at 17½ is just about OK.”

I was originally leaning towards a Wee free ride but I have a small bike frame so I don’t think it will be suitable. I would love a Co-pilot seat but I had a quick look on Amazon and the Hamax seat seems to be a bit cheaper. If anyone has any other suggestions please do add a comment.

I hope to do some more research this weekend and will add any links I find into this post. I’m hoping that by getting this post out there it will help me get my butt into gear about getting a bike seat sorted!!! 😀

Further Reading

Which Cycle Seat Guide

Mumsnet Child Bike Seats

Carrying Children on bikes

What is the right age for a baby bike seat?

Local Bike Shops

Basing Cycles – Basingstoke

Winklebury Cycles – Basingstoke

Pedal On – Tadley

AW Cycles – Caversham, Reading

Random Friday Post – Things I’ve learnt recently

As it’s Friday, today’s post is going to be filled with a few random things, that don’t constitute a full post of their own. I’ve learnt a lot about parenting over the past six months and I’ve built on what I’ve already learnt.

Slow Cookers

Yup, it’s slow cooker season again. Yippeee!!! Although, to be honest, we haven’t stopped using ours! I indulged and bought a slow cooker recipe book and it’s been brilliant. We use the slow cooker at least once a week and I try to ensure that we have as much variety of meals using the slow cooker so I’ve been branching out. A friend told me that you can make a lasagna in your slow cooker! I’ve found a recipe but haven’t tried it yet as I feel it’s still a bit advanced. However, I also found a recipe for making muffins in the slow cooker, so I want to try that soon. Check out my post earlier in the year about why I love my Slow Cooker.

Ace gentle

An experienced Mum told me about Ace Gentle. I was moaning about how I could never get stains out of whites and didn’t want to use bleach. Her children always look immaculate in whites so I asked her what her secret was. She willingly shared the joy of Ace Gentle with me. It’s fantastic. My little one’s bibs have been revolutionised and her white tops are still white! It doesn’t get every stain out completely but I’ve found that if I hang clothes out on a sunny day, it gets the majority of the stain out. Much better than anything else I’ve tried.

Evernote

I’m still completely addicted to Evernote. I use it for everything, from recording warranty details on new items, for work, for NHM, and for organising our daily lives. I love that I can sync it to my phone, iPad and computer and you don’t have to be connected to the internet for it to work. Only for it to sync. It really is my portable brain.

Dropbox

I use Dropbox for the same reason I use Evernote. It’s easy to use and I can sync it to all of my devices. I used it in April  to store pdf versions of our passports when we went abroad. I use it to store any word or excel documents that I might want easy access too.

9 Ways to get your husband to help around the house

I probably shouldn’t share this, but it did make me snigger!

Nappies

We’ve always used Pampers nappies. I tried some eco ones early on but they weren’t very good and leaked everywhere. I wanted to get some reusable nappies but didn’t know enough about it and didn’t know if we could justify the initial outlay.

We were using the main Pampers brand nappies but I’ve discovered that Simply Dry Pampers nappies are pretty much the same as the Expensive Pampers brand, just half price. I haven’t had any incidents of them leaking yet and the only difference seems to be in the thickness of the nappy and the marketing image on the front of the nappy. Otherwise, they seem to be exactly the same.

I’ve also discovered that swimming nappies come apart. Why did no one tell me this beforehand? Even my husband didn’t know this! This was a huge revelation. We’ve both been using them as pull up nappies since my little one started swimming at 3 months old. Big DUH to us that we only found it out, literally on the day she turned 18 months! lol. Now we know that we can tear the side of the nappy to get them off. This also goes for pull up nappies, which we tried recently but I hated because they were a nightmare to get off. It’s always the simple things that make such a difference!! lol.

What are the things that you’ve learnt recently that you think might help other parents?

Christmas Planning 2012

I really don’t want to scare you, but it’s 74 days (Xmas Clock) to Christmas. Yup, that’s less than 3 months. Eek! Feels like we’ve only just finished the Summer Holidays, so how can it nearly be Christmas!!?!?!

In my effort to try to make your life a little bit easier, last year I came across a lot of really good blog posts that I thought would be useful to share with you. There are some ideas about Christmas planning, how to not spend a fortune over the Christmas holidays and some ideas about being ethically conscious during the festive season. Some of the posts come from American blogs, but I don’t think this makes them any less valuable, as I always think that our cousins over the pond seem to be better at Christmas than we are!

I hope you find them interesting and helpful, especially the ones related to planning for Christmas!

Plan Your Peaceful Christmas: Task 1

Plan Your Peaceful Christmas: Task 2

Plan your Peaceful Christmas: Task 3

Goal: Get Christmas Shopping Finished Early

The Giant Christmas List: Curbing Impulses

Frugal Christmas – top 5 recycling ideas for your gifts….

Christmas Countdown Checklists – (A NHM Reader (Thanks Gillian!) sent this through. Excellent website so I’ve included it here)

5 ways to slow down and embrace your holiday stories – (One of my favourite blogs of all time. I LOVE SimpleMom)

Some Thoughts about Holiday Cards

Should I cancel Christmas or would my children never forgive me and Santa?

How to avoid a Christmas spending splurge … using tips from a psychologist

Christmas Gift Guide – 30 days and counting (a bit early for this, I know!)

Celebrate Solstice

Ultimate Christmas Movie Guide

The Countdown To Christmas – Let The Preparations Begin!

New Mummy’s Tips Christmas 2011

An easy, no-frills advent calendar

Dealing with Holiday Leftovers

Charity at Christmas (I think this is a really, really great post)

How to have a Frugal Christmas – Free Santa letters….

Count down to Christmas with our children’s books Advent calendar – interactive

How to have a Frugal Christmas – Fun Stuff to do together….

9 of the Best Christmas Crackers under £10

Tips for making your Christmas more enjoyable, and more economical!

Here’s how to save money on Christmas presents and make your kids really want to spend time with their family

Things to Make and Do with Kids During Christmas Vacation

How to Entertain and Keep Costs Down During the Holidays