Keeping a “Sitting with Jane” bench in BASINGSTOKE!!!

Have you seen the “Sitting with Jane” benches that have been dotted all over Basingstoke and local areas in the past month?

Wouldn’t it be AWESOME if we could crowd fund one of them to stay in Basingstoke? So we could show our children that we all did something AMAZING together?

The NorthHantsMum Community and anyone else who would like to be involved, are working hard to raise money for one of the “Sitting with Jane” benches to stay in one of the local parks, maybe War Memorial or Eastrop Park, depending on whether Basingstoke and Deane council agree.

I am hoping the bench will be used by lots of people but also as a safe place where Mum’s can meet other Mum’s and children can meet other children. How cool would that be!!!!

(Crowd funding means that the money is only taken at the end of the 30 days, IF the project goes ahead. However, I’ve made the executive decision that ALL donations that are made will still go to the Ark Cancer Centre Charity, even if we aren’t successful in our bid.)

Donate

You can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/louise-northhantsmum

All money raised will go towards the Ark Cancer Centre Charity, regardless of whether we are successful with our bid.

Even if you can only donate £1, this will go towards the bid for a chair at the auction will be taking place on Friday 15th September.

Every time someone makes a donation towards the campaign, I will post up a picture to NorthHantsMum FB Page of a local child sitting on one of the benches with the amount of the donation.

If you would like your child to be featured as part of the campaign, please email me their picture to NorthHantsMum@gmail.com, with some words that say you are their parent and are happy for their picture to be used.

Everyone who donates towards the bench will also have their name listed in this post and hopefully somewhere on the bench, although I don’t quite know how that will work yet! (If you would like your last name to be included, just to let me know).

If you are sponsoring as a business, a link to your business will also be included in this post.

This is going to be an AWESOME way for the community to come together to raise funds to keep a little bit of heritage right here in our town.

Everyone who has donated towards the bench…

THANK YOU VERY MUCH

Wendy D

Cathy W

Lilian K

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New Pregnancy Yoga course in September 2017

Pregnancy Yoga is an ideal form of exercise during pregnancy to keep you and your unborn child healthy and safe. Exercise together to safely stretch and stay fit during pregnancy, take time to relax and connect with your unborn baby as well as learning lots of different techniques to help ease labour and childbirth when the time comes.

New Pregnancy Yoga course is starting on Saturdays 10-11.15am in Basingstoke. This six week Course begins on 2nd September – places are limited and must be paid for in advance to secure a place. Cost is £50 for the full 6 weeks course.

Check out my website for more details www.yogawithgloria.co.uk

Contact yogawithgloria@gmail.com    Tel 0758 462 1857

Please share with your new mummy friends

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Kids Fitness Made Fun!

My name is Sarah and I am passionate about keeping children fit and healthy, and making it lots of fun!

I’ve been working as a Personal Trainer for a few years now. Prior to that, I was a teacher and a Deputy Manager of a nursery. So for me, combining my two passions to specialise in children’s health and fitness, seemed perfect!

As well as after school clubs in various local schools, and sessions in some local nurseries, I also teach lots of kids classes at Basingstoke Sports Centre. Junior Bootcamp is on a Thursday and Friday after school, Junior Pedal (indoor cycle classes with disco lights!) on a Wednesday after school, and a Mini Movers session on Wednesday mornings for toddlers and pre schoolers.

I’d love to see some new faces and meet more children who are as excited about keeping fit as I am. Throughout the school holidays I will be running taster sessions for all my classes, so please send your children along!!

Have a look at my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/insideoutkid for the latest information.

And for the grown ups, check out www.facebook.com/insideoutresults, where you will find details of my adult classes and food plans. Mention you saw me on NHM and I will happily offer a discount.

Thanks for reading!!!!
Sarah

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Ready Steady Mum’s – FREE Buggy Walk

We run 3 in different areas of Basingstoke. City centre, Tadley and Beggarwood.

More details are available on the posters below. Even though the classes have already started, you can still join them using the contact details in the posters.

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,Google+,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

The Ultimate NHM Summer Holiday 2017 Posts!

YAY! The School holidays have officially (or very, very nearly) started!!!

If you are already panicking about how you are going to keep your little ones amused for the next 6 to 7 weeks, then this is the post for you :-D.

Don’t forget, you can also search for key words on NorthHantsMum at any time.

NorthHantsMum is my Hobby! 

NorthHantsMum Summer Break 2016

We are currently working on the “classes that are still running during 2017 Summer Holidays” post and will get it published as soon as we can.

Classes that are still running during the 2016 Summer Holidays!

Summer “Bored” Jar ideas

Top Tip 33: Creamy coconut and berry Lolly’s

NHM Readers Top Tips for Keeping Cool

Summer Fun

24 things to do during the summer holidays with young children in Basingstoke

15 Different Experiences for Children

9 “things” I’m planning to do with my daughter in the future

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

In the Garden

DINKY DISCO – Fun, Energetic Weekend Classes for 5 and Unders

Summer Holiday 2012 Activities

Ideas of Things to do for May 2016 Half Term

Top Tip 35: YouTube Kids

Summer Reading

Library Membership for your child

Our favourite books

Swimming

Warm Swimming pools suitable for babies and young children in North Hampshire

Paddling Pools/Splash Pools in Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey

Lido’s in Hampshire

Top Tip 3: Swimming Bags

Swimming Pools in North Hampshire suitable for Babies and Children

Swimming with Babies

Summer Outings

NHM readers recommend child friendly coffee shops

Season Tickets 2013 to local attractions in North Hampshire – please check individual websites for up-to-date prices

Age limits for 2013 attractions  

Hampshire Days out with your children

Berkshire Days Out

Softplay Centres

Places to go for children who love animals

Summer FREE Outings

NHM Readers Favourite places to feed Ducks in Basingstoke and North Hampshire

Great Picnic Spots near Basingstoke

Great Picnic Spots in Basingstoke

Nature Detectives

A week of “free” Activities – Autumn

Poll: Free Activities over the summer holidays

12 Free Activities over the summer holidays 2015

NHM Readers Favourite Beaches

Summer Holiday Clubs

Spotlight summer holiday 2017 clubs

Holiday Clubs in North Hampshire 2016 – please check individual websites for 2017 information

Summer Holidays/Travel

Cheap Transport in North Hampshire

NCT House Swap Reduces Holiday Costs

Family Camping Club

Summer Food

Early Bird Meals with children – please check individual websites as this is a 2012 post and not all are relevant

11 Places to Breakfast “out” with Children in North Hampshire

9 Foody Places to go as a group of Mums with babies/toddlers

8 “Cheap” Restaurants in Basingstoke (Meal for 2 for under £15)

Pick Your Own Farm’s in North Hampshire and Berkshire

Blackberry Picking in North Hampshire

Rain

8 Cheap or Free Rainy Day Activities in Basingstoke

23 things to do with an under 7 year old in Basingstoke when it’s raining

7 More Free Rainy Day Activities

Reviews 2017

Review 2017: Little Street

Review 2017: Kitty’s Tilted Teacup Tea Room

Review 2017: Jump Factory, Mini Jump

Reviews 2016

Review 2016: Cornish Yurts

Review 2016: Beggarwood – FREE

Review 2016: Whitchurch Silk Mill

Review 2016: Museum of Army Flying

Review 2016: Gousto Recipe Delivery

Review 2016: Nelson’s Diner: A Taste of the USA

Review: Reading Eggs and Mathseeds

Jump Factory – First Look!!!!

Reviews 2015

Bucklebury Farm Park

Sundaes Gelato Basingstoke

Frensham Common – FREE

Centreparc’s – Sherwood Forest

The Parlour Tearoom

Ideal Imaging, Lifestyle Bespoke Family Photography by Alistair Jones

The Cafe Project, Brighton Hill

The Natural History Museum

Reviews 2014

Dinton Pastures Country Park, Berkshire

Dinosaur Crazy Golf at the Oracle

Marwell Wildlife

Giraffe in Festival Place

Micheldever Wood– FREE

California Country Park, Finchampstead

Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway

Review 2014: Wagamama’s Basingstoke

Legoland

The Vyne

Swanage

Miller’s Ark, Nr Hook

Reviews 2013

Lakeside Country Park – Parking cost only

Paulton’s Park/Peppa Pig World

NorthDown Orchard Deliveries

Farleigh Mount – FREE

Birdworld

The Hawk Conservancy

Basing Lime Pits – FREE

Basing Wood – FREE

Finkley Down Farm

Wellington Country Park

Basingstoke Aquadrome

Alice Holt, Farnham – Parking cost only

Kids ‘n’ Action, Soft Play Centre, Winersh Triangle nr Reading

The Living Rainforest, nr Newbury, Berkshire

Babies

Treasure Baskets

Swimming Pools in North Hampshire suitable for Babies and Children

11 Songs and Rhymes for Babies and Toddlers

Babies and Chocolate

Things to do/Places to go with a baby when it’s raining

The Importance of Skin to Skin

Toddler Games

Winter “Bored” Jar Ideas

Coloured Spaghetti

Making Gloop!

A Toddler Box of Tricks: Things To Always Have On Hand With A Toddler Or Two

Dry Food Play

Play Dough Recipes

Spring “Bored” Jar Ideas

Coloured water play

Something for Mum’s

I saved the best for last ;-).

If it all gets a bit much and you find yourself dreaming about them going back to school, these posts might help you to plan for a little well deserved “Me” time once your little ones actually do go back!

Review 2017: Thrive Massage Therapy

Spa’s in the North Hampshire Area

Review 2016: Jo Plackett Hairdressing

GPW: Ann Hoad Consultancy Ltd, Training Consultant and Personal Development Life Coach

More ways to make friends via NorthHantsMum!

Love Baking? You’ll love Bakedin!

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Domestic Violence in North Hampshire

Louise recently asked the NHM Community on “Louise nhm Smith” for advice for a local lady suffering domestic violence and in need of support.

The responses were heart-warming, and the offers of individual help were amazing to read. In the hopes that this information can help others who find themselves in a similar situation, this post has been put together.

Please note that we are not experts in Domestic Violence and have only tried to put together the information that the NHM Community provided us with, in the hope of helping others in this awful situation.

Thank you to all those who provided input and for showing true community and thank you to J who put this post together on NHM.

Immediate Assistance

Women’s Aid is the national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children. They offer a Freephone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women’s Aid & Refuge – 0808 2000 247. Their online services also include The Survivors Forum and The Hideout.

Refuge is a national charity providing specialist support for women and children experiencing domestic violence with a network of refuges across the country. They offer many services including child support workers and outreach services (for women who choose not to go into a refuge or leave their home). Their Freephone Helpline is in partnership with Women’s Aid above.

Domestic Abuse Support Hantsweb is a confidential help service for women, men, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse in Hampshire, available on the council website.

Victim Support, Hampshire and Isle of Wight is an independent charity funded by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Police Commissioner.

Support and Information

The Survivor’s Handbook is an online guide on the Women’s Aid website providing practical support and information for women experiencing domestic abuse, with simple guidance on every aspect of seeking support.

Further Support

Taking Steps is a local charity based project, founded by a lady called Gerrie Jordan, offering support for men and women who have experienced domestic abuse.

The You Trust is a charity working in Hampshire and Dorset in a number of specialist areas, from Learning Disabilities to Mental Health and Domestic Violence and Abuse.

North Hants Domestic Violence project on Sarum Hill, 01256 816004.

Practical and Legal Advice

Basingstoke and Tadley Citizens Advice Bureau offers free, independent, impartial and confidential advice.

Assistance with Family Life

The Safe is a local charity offering practical, emotional and social support.

Home Start is a family support charity, with local offices helping families with young children deal with whatever life throws at them.

Counselling

There are many counselling services across North Hampshire, the above organisations should be able to put you in touch with those most relevant. There are also a few examples below:

Relate is a charity aimed at helping people make the most of their couple and family relationships, past, present or future. There is a fee involved, although there is also a free online Live Chat service.

Cedar Tree Counselling is a counselling service located in central Basingstoke, providing affordable, professional counselling for the whole community.

Top Tips

It’s worth considering clearing your browser history after researching your options.

If deciding to leave, do not be alone when breaking the news, or leave when they are out. Make sure there are people with you either way.

Reach out to your local community centre, there may be groups behind the scenes who may be able to offer support.

Are there any other comments you would add? 

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Rock & Pop Foundation Owner and enrolled parent Steve Sammut

Look out for details below about the half price taster sessions!!

Rock & Pop Foundation

My personal journey began at the age of 8 where I was desperate to play the guitar and had encouragement from a father who was a professional full time percussionist enrolled in the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for over 13 years.

Being the youngest of 7 children my other brother and sisters said I was the spoilt one as by the time I started to play mum and dad could just afford to pay for lessons.

Guitar lessons were offered at my middle school St Joseph’s Primary in Guildford where the option was either classical or folk lessons which seems strange now as we teach the guitar and cover a combination of both.

Because I had good finger picking technique behind me and quick chord combinations, I was taught how to read music and went straight in at Grade 2 classical guitar Trinity College of Music passing with a merit within 9 months of starting the classical guitar.

Fast forward, at 14 years old I was studying for grade 8 classical guitar and went through the usual teenage transition of becoming an adult. My father was convinced I was going to the Army Kneller Hall of Music, demanded a military style to practice (an hour a day) and constant nagging with phrases like “When I was in the Army I had to………. and so the story goes!! By 15 I quit playing the guitar!

Secondary school was not inspiring for me as if you didn’t play football your weren’t considered one of the crowd and me loving cooking and guitar meant I wasn’t one of the lads. A similar story rings true of a legend by the name of Ed Sheeran.

After choosing a path in Hotel and Management at college I started working in the Hotel trade and was offered a position with a Caribbean Cruise Line.

On one of my ships there was a crew talent show where crew were invited to play or perform. I switched back into performance mode and wowed the cruise director with my playing so much so that I was offered auditions to play in the show band. Fast forward 5 years later at the age of 28 I left my final ship, performed literally around the world as a professional musician with some very big names in a 6 star environment.

Having returned to the UK I got my first teaching position working for a county service music organisation that taught music lessons in schools. The first observation for me was a lack of personal service, syllabus, framework and common standards – the lesson delivery was poor and there was no consistency in the delivery. Some music services started guitar lessons using recorder books!! You would turn up to deliver a first guitar group lesson and 3 out of 6 children had a guitar and only half of them had remembered to buy books.

After training I eventually started my own schools and thought I needed to raise the standards in music education –  where there was no framework or syllabus I decided to write one. Within 9 months I wrote the first of the Guitar Trainer Series Books  using sports as a theme. Going back to my childhood of athletics and  sports training  my students were happy to call me coach, enjoyed their guitar training and worked hard to improve on their technique. After a while I had teachers coming to view my lessons and they soon bought into my schemes of work.

When I tried to standardise the concept to the county music service all my fresh ideas like, buying and hiring guitars for first lessons, delivering books direct to schools and even attending exam centres to tune and accompany kids, were not taken on board.

It was a frustrating time and I eventually left and 6 schools soon followed as well as other teachers who wanted to join me. Within the first year I had 4 teachers, 300 children all using my schemes of work and this was all operated  with a small home office and one Pentium PC.

Within 3 years we had 1000 children and expanded from guitar into keyboard, piano and drums. Finally in 2000, my scheme of work got nationally accredited by Rockschool who then worked alongside us to make sure our schemes of work had a meaningful qualification and pathway.

Some 40,000 children later we continue with the same principles we started with 20 years ago. A uniformed approach, Industry professional tutors, excellent customer service standards, an accredited scheme of work and now – the icing on the cake, we have college status with Farnham 6th form College to deliver Level 3 diplomas with Pathways to industry which brings me back to you as mums and dads who are building on your child’s skills and experiences for their future.

The Rock and Pop Foundation continues to grow from strength to strength and our online brochure has a range of activities and services to suit all your contemporary music needs as a school, parent or company. We now have a blueprint school in Germany as well as providing solutions for home school learners. The motto is “ the answer is yes , now what’s the question”

If you as a parent are not happy with the level of music education in your school, or looking for music lessons please call us for a meaningful chat and we can hopefully work with you as a parent or member of the school to find a solution to keep your children motivated. We always work from recommendation and hope to see you all soon.

These sessions are for ks2 and above aged children and sessions are based in Aldershot.

You can also find out more about the rock and pop foundation at: https://www.facebook.com/rockandpopfoundation/

Half Price Taster Sessions

The rock and pop foundation are doing some half price taster session on the 24th and 25th July 2017:

Guitar lessons

Drum Lessons

Keyboard Lessons

Piano Lessons

Ukulele Lessons

The Code is ( all upper case) RPFTRIALHQ

Link is: https://www.rockandpopfoundation.com/trial.

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Review 2017: Relax Kids

Kath from Relax Kids recently invited me to review one of her classes with Miss NHM.

I was one of the first people that Kath “practised” on a few years ago when she started out. I thought she was brilliant then so was very keen to see how she had developed and for Miss NHM to attend a class.

I saw that Kath was doing classes on a Sunday morning as a taster session to come along and find out what it’s all about before committing to a 5 week course, which was perfect for us. It wasn’t too early in the morning too, which was great. I asked my friend S whether she wanted to bring her son K along, and she decided that she wanted to check out the class too.

Kath sent me an email the week before the class detailing what would be happening for the hours class. It included things about what to wear for the session and a child protection policy that needed completing which is brilliant as it shows what a professional Kath is!

Kath follows a 7 step process in helping the children to relax. She was brilliant at explaining to the children what she was doing and the steps that they were taking.

A couple of people turned up late to the class which I always think is a bit rude but then remembered that some children find coming to classes very intimidating. Kath handled their lateness really well and explained things very clearly to everyone.

All of the exercises that Kath used were sooo clever! I love the “Smile to reach your stretch” moment. That was awesome to see Miss NHM stretch and expand.  I loved the “hedgehog” and seeing Miss NHM in this position made me quite emotional! The Angry thoughts exercise was fantastic and just such a lovely concept.

I also REALLY loved the books that Kath used and have purchased two for home already as they have such wonderful concepts in them.

All through the class children are doing breathing exercises but they don’t even know it!! I particularly loved the “breathing in happy thoughts, breathing out sad thoughts”. I also loved the relaxing music that Kath uses and really want to ask her where she got it from as I think we could do with a copy of this for home! lol .

Miss NHM is quite a confident little girl at the best of times and I was very interested to see how she responded to the class.  My favourite bit of the class was when the children were asked to write out what makes them happy. Miss NHM had written about 9 things within 2 minutes and I was uber proud that she knows what makes her happy and could express this.

I also felt quite privileged seeing all the children relax throughout the class, which was fascinating to watch. There was one little boy who really didn’t want to participate, but by the end of the class he was lying on the floor with the other children and you could see that he had got a lot out of the class even if he hadn’t been actively participating for most of it.

Tips

Book quickly because Kath’s classes sell out REALLY fast. They are very popular and she often has a waiting list!

Parents are allowed in the room. This must have been initially intimidating to Kath, having the parents watching, but she wasn’t bothered.

Rating out of 5

All of the little details were excellent, it’s very obvious that Kath is passionate about what she’s doing as such thought had been put into the whole class.

As you can see, I’m a HUGE fan of Kath’s work. Miss NHM got so much out of just that one class and talked about it for weeks later. I’m very keen to enrol her in a class when she starts Y2 next year!

Definitely 5 out of 5!!

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Review 2017: Thrive Massage Therapy

 

A few months ago I noticed a sign on the side of a car about a local massage business and thought, ooh, I really must check that out. About two weeks later Nicola messaged me asking if I would like to review her massage business – Thrive Massage Therapy. Turns out it was her!!  I thought for less than a second before accepting her lovely offer!

Initially Nicola had a Guest post on NorthHanstMum because I wasn’t available for the first month after she contacted me. These days I’m really busy in the evening as well as the day times and Nicola was very accommodating of my schedule. Nicola takes bookings via her website, phone, text or email. We arranged a date and she sent me instructions of how to get to hers.

I found Nicola’s house really easily, she has a Thrive Massage picture in the window and her house number sign is lit up, so it’s obvious which is her house.

My first impressions were, WOW! How TIDY is her downstairs! lol. Nicola welcomed me and led me into her massage room. I was (and still am!) sooo impressed!!! Her massage room is AMAZING! It’s a purpose built room, built just for Nicola’s massage business. It’s the space that would be a garage so it’s quite large and she has lots of lovely storage and a large massage couch with lots of space around it. I’ve had massages at many other places over the years and the rooms are always TINY, many with not enough space for the masseuse to comfortably walk around. Nicola’s massage room has lots of space and such a lovely ambience. She even has the plug sockets built in so that they are under her massage table, so she doesn’t have to walk over cables!

One of the things I was most impressed with is all of the marketing that Nicola has, it’s so professional. It’s obvious that a LOT of thought has gone into Nicola’s business and how she markets her services. Even the towels she uses match her theme colour!!!! These little details are so important and really helped me to feel like I was dealing with someone who really cares about her business.

I also really liked that all of her qualification certificates are up on one wall, behind the door, which gave me a nice warm feeling that she knows what she’s doing!!!

The massage room is very welcoming and exactly what you would want in a massage room.

The Massage

We had a chat before the massage started, so Nicola could check whether I had any health issues that she needed to be aware of. The room was soo relaxing, I nearly fell asleep then! Dimmed lights, candles, lovely smells and music that’s actually soothing during a massage.
The room was the perfect heat too.

I had a massage a few years ago, at a local spa, where the massuese was pregnant so she had a dehumidifier in the room which kept the heat down to 17 degrees ( I knew this because I could see the red screen telling me it was 17 degrees all through my massage). As she was heavily pregnant I didn’t feel I could ask her to turn the heat up but I was FREEZING which ruined the whole experience. Nicola’s room temperature is just perfect.

Nicola’s massage couch can be heated, which was wonderful. The towels were lovely and soft and I could have happily gone to sleep there with or without a massage! lol.

Ok, so I know I’m always positive on reviews but the massage with Nicola was AMAZING!!! Definitely one of the best massages I’ve ever had. I was convinced that she used hot stones, but it’s just her hands and arms that she uses. It never felt like she was going through the motions either. I’ve had massages before where the masseuse clearly doesn’t want to be there and it feels like they are doing the “dot to dot” massage on your back. Nicola’s style wasn’t like this at all. It was very fluid and didn’t feel stilted.

Before the hour long massage started Nicola had asked me if there were any specific areas that I wanted her to focus on. I’ve had persistent shoulder pain for the past 6 months and despite having physio and acupuncture it’s still not properly fixed. I was a little apprehensive that she would “go to town” on my shoulder, like I’ve had other masseuse’s do and has meant that I’ve been in agony for weeks after. Nicola used EXACTLY the right pressure. Sometimes when you come out of a massage you feel a bit bruised and battered but I felt exactly as I wanted to feel when the massage was finished. She even found bits of me that I didn’t know were tense!! I came out of my massage feeling really relaxed and “flexible”.

One of my favourite bits was at the end of the massage. Nicola has an tea caddy filled with lots and lots of herbal teas and she lets you take one home with you. Such a lovely and thoughtful idea. Nicola also reminded me to drink lots of water and take it easy for the rest of the evening. She also gave me an aftercare leaflet with advice about what to do after a massage to make the most of it and a stamped addressed envelope which had a feedback form in, which if I completed and sent back to Nicola, meant that I would be entered in to her draw to win a free massage!!!

Rating out of 5

Definitely 5 out of 5!!

I felt really pampered and it’s definitely one of the best massages I’ve ever had. My skin felt amazing afterwards and my shoulder has felt much better since my massage with Nicola.

I used to get my massages done at my local spa/gym but having had two massages with Nicola (I went back as a paying customer and my massage was just as good!), I won’t be going back to the spa at the gym. The quality of service that you get from Nicola is far above what you get from an impersonal service like a massage at a gym.

I HIGHLY recommend Nicola’s personally tailored massages.  Thrive Massage: www.thrivemassage.co.uk

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Thrive Message therapy. My massage was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
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My Experience: Y1 Phonics Screening Check

This may or may not be a controversial post…

Miss NHM has her Y1 Phonics test next week. Apparently it is a 5-10 minute check of words that is done with a teacher that is “known” to her.

We haven’t done any preparation for the test. I’ve read all sorts of horror stories about parents who are hiring experts to “coach” their children for these tests. The parent Y1 Facebook group was all of a flurry during half term, with parents spending a couple of HOURS going through the “phonics workbooks” that were sent home at the end of term. (Workbooks for 6 year olds. Phonics for HOURS during half term. Seriously???!!!)

(My favourite bit on the facebook group is when parents post up the list of spellings for the week, because there is invariably some child who didn’t get their spellings that week, with their children’s answers next to them. All written perfectly of course.)

In the past week I’ve read LOTS of stuff about the Phonics test, what it involves and why it’s being done. I really don’t understand why the Department of Education feels the need to test 6 year olds on anything and that ANY child, under the age of 13 can be listed as having “failed” at anything. A great way to make the parents AND child feel like failures.

Anyway, my understanding is the reason for the phonics test is to try to increase the number of children who read?

I’m sorry, but am I missing something here? It seems obvious to me that the best way to get children to read is to switch off the TV and technology!!

Just switch off the TV!

Why do we insist on making things so complicated? Why do we have these overly complicated tests that cost a fortune to run, when we should be trusting teachers to do their jobs and parents to invest in their children by switching off the TV and encouraging them to read or listen to audio books?

Personally, I had never heard of a digraph or trigraph before Miss NHM’s homework a few weeks ago. I understand that teaching techniques have changed considerably since I was a child but if I’ve managed to get through THE WHOLE OF MY LIFE without knowing what a “trigraph” is, then why is it so important that it be drummed into my daughter?

Honestly, the more I see and experience about our current education system in the UK, the more I slap my head repeatedly.

Er, so maybe a bit controversial and maybe a bit ranty too but that’s the perk of having your own blog! 😀 😀 :-D.

I know you won’t hold back but what are your thoughts on the Y1 Phonics test?

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