How NorthHantsMum supports local Businesses

I’m a HUGE fan of local businesses and supporting the local economy. Especially when many NHM Readers are local business owners themselves.

It’s one of the things that I am proud of NHM for, being able to directly impact the local economy by publicising local businesses. Even more importantly, by directly impacting local families, either as the providers of goods and services or the purchasers of goods and services.

There are several ways that we support local Businesses on NorthHantsMum…

Guest Post

Guest Posts are FREE and are a great way to publicise your local business to local parents.

Any local business can have a Guest Post on NHM. You can find out more at the following post:

You can find a link to all previous Guest Posts here:

NHM Reviews

NorthHantsMum is quite famous for our reviews of local places to visit, things to do and places to eat. They are often very popular posts because people seem to prefer Reviews.

You can find all of the Reviews here: 

Sometimes we decide to write a Review about a place because we absolutely love it, (sometimes we DON’T write Reviews because friends have made us SWEAR not to tell the NHM Community about a secret/special location that they know of! lol), but more often than not we are asked to write a Review after sampling the local businesses offering.

If this is something that might be suitable for your business, please have a look at this post:

I have several NHM Readers who help me to write these Reviews and I’m very proud of them all for all of their hard work in doing such a fab job writing these posts.

Business Directory

The Business Directory is coming into it’s own at the moment!

You can have a free or paid advert on the NorthHantsMum Business Directory.

Free listings have just the name of your business and either a website or facebook page listed. If you would like your business to be listed with a free listing, please just email me the name of your business and the website or facebook page you would like us to link too.

Free adverts never expire, but once a paid advert “runs” out on it’s time, it is converted to a free advert.

If you would like a paid listing, please email me at for more details.


Small Business Support Groups

I have two Facebook groups that support local businesses:

NHM Publicity for Local Businesses – Support local Businesses!!!!!

This group is open to anyone to join and is a great way to support local businesses. As the pinned post states, please only post your offers once a month, so as not to cause lots of spam in the group.

NHM Mums running Small Businesses

This group is for local Mum’s who run their own businesses to share information and network. I often set up networking events and these are where those events are created and publicised.

Check In on Facebook

There are over 2361 people who are friends of my Louise nhm Smith” profile.

(Don’t worry, I never look at people’s profiles as I don’t have the time or energy. The NHM Community is very welcoming and there are loads of groups to join).

Whenever I click to say that I am “interested” in an event, these events pop up in my friends newsfeeds. If there is ever an event that you would like to pop up in my friends newsfeeds, please just add me to the event.

I also often visit local places and check in to say I’ve been there as it raises the profile of that business.

Other ways to support local Businesses

Are there any other ways that you think NorthHantsMum can support local businesses? Is there anything that is missing?

I’d love to hear your feedback at

As always, thank you for your support and thank you for being part of the NorthHantsMum Community!

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! 

How to choose the right fitness professional

Thank you very much to Helen at Good for Mum’s for writing today’s post!

How to choose the right fitness professional

Maybe you’re pregnant or you’ve recently had a baby and you’re looking for a fitness class. But how, in an industry where you can qualify in as little as a couple of months and complete an entirely online qualification in pre/postnatal exercise programming, can you be sure that your instructor is prescribing safe and appropriate exercise?

The answer is simple A.S.K !!!

A. Accredited – They should be qualified, ask to see their certificates. If they aren’t qualified then they won’t have insurance and you aren’t then protected should anything go wrong. Do they have an up to date first aid certificate? Are they a member of a regulating body, such as REPs, CIMSPA or FHT Sports. There are lots of professional standards agencies which fitness instructors can voluntarily sign up to. They often provide CPD, training, further education and keep the instructor up to date with changes in regulations or guidance and it shows they’re committed to maintaining high standards. How long have they been in the industry and what is their speciality. Do they have testimonials from clients which evidences their skills. Do they get results?

S. Screening – Pregnant and Postnatal women go through massive changes when carrying and birthing babies. No two women or births are the same and as such, the screening should be in depth and facilitate answers to questions which are as unique as your body. If your fitness provider is not screening you for pelvic floor disfunction, diastasis recti, over all core function, postural assessment, birth trauma to tissues and the fourth trimester, are they really screening you deeply? Are they painting a picture of your pre/postnatal health and truly able to prescribe appropriate exercise? I recently heard a wise lady say ‘Specialists assess, they don’t guess’ and when it comes to ladies who carry and birth babies, this could not be more true.

K. Knowledge – Does the Company or Fitness Instructor truly understand the client they are working with? Are they saying that you are only postnatal if you had a baby less than six months ago? Are they able to identify potential complications? Do they have the integrity to know when to refer a client to another specialist when symptoms warn of something which maybe beyond their professional capabilities?  Or are they telling you to ‘just take the low impact modification’ and taking your money. Is the instructor offering you explanation and reasoning behind their instructions? Do they talk sense? If it sounds like BS it probably is and if they’re saying lots of ‘I don’t know’ or ‘no you don’t need to do that’ you have to ask yourself do you want to settle for  industry standard or does your body deserve best practice?

If you’re serious about getting your body to a place where it heals well and recovers properly, be serious about your choices when looking at exercise classes. Your GP check at six weeks clears you to return to ‘normal activity’ such as driving, walking, lifting a baby etc it does not clear you to head straight back to boot camp or iron-mans. Even if you regularly did them pre-pregnancy.

Do something good for you and always remember to ASK.

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! 

Netball Tournament to help Ark Cancer Charity

Debbie McLatch and her daughter Dani Taylor have kindly organised a Mixed Sex Versatility Netball Tournament to raise funds for Ark.

Taking place on Saturday, April 28 at Russell Howard Park in Basingstoke, this fun event is for men and women players over 16.

It would be great if you could please post the info on the NorthHantsMum page and spread the word to anyone else who may be interested.

To register to take part, please contact Dani at

Thanks to everyone who signs up.

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 Readers recommend: Baby-Led Weaning Ideas

Thank you all for the replies we had regarding a question on baby-led weaning from a member of the NHM community: “I need some inspiration on baby led weaning foods for lunchtime and dinner time. I’ve done the cucumber sticks, carrot sticks, pasta but am wondering if anyone has any other suggestions?”

Thank you also to Juliet who put this post together!!

NHM readers recommend – Baby-Led Weaning Ideas

Kelly says “Eggs are good in different forms – scrambled, slices of omelette even egg muffins with different fillings. Pittas, Hummus, Avocado (messy!!!), Savoury rice, Soup!!!”

Natalie says “Banana egg pancakes – easy to do (2 ingredients) make up a batch and they’re good warm straight from the pan & my little one also likes them cold too so good for out & about”

Shona says “This Facebook page gave me so many awesome ideas outside of the normal ones… worth a look.” Weaning, starting solids/finger food- Friendly Support & Guidance

Catherine says “pasta is my fav with mascarpone cheese and some herbs as it’s salt free or sometimes I use an Ellas pouch for sauce. Avocado toast, grated courgette in pancake mix. Peas are great when they get their pincer grip. I also use a lot of preloaded spoons for rice or lentil dishes etc.”

Jennie says “We do a cooked chopped broccoli with breadcrumbs, cheese, chilli sauce and egg mixed together and baked in a Yorkshire pudding tray that goes down well”

Laura says “Mine loved peas and broccoli for weaning and still loves them now at 4. Steam til they’re soft enough to go a bit mushy. But a great intro to green veggies.”

Kimberley says “Maybe add hummus and other dips to bread sticks and carrot sticks.”

Lottie says “With blw I have just always given my daughter whatever meals I am having. She enjoys chilli, curry, gnocchi and bangers and mash at dinner time. For lunches we have crackers with cheese, wraps, quiche and sandwiches. Just have to be mindful of salt intake!!!”

Claire says “Mine used to love these spinach and cheese muffins, make a huge batch they freeze well and are great for taking out too… View topic – spinach and cheese muffins • Baby Led Weaning

Also like the others said egg stuff so eggy bread, sliced omelette, hard boiled eggs, cheese cubes, sweet potato chips, homemade fish fingers always go down well and tuna pitta pockets (can also make these with puff pastry and freeze!)”

Rachel says “Whatever you are eating….that’s the best bit”

Laura says “The baby led weaning cookbook app is so good! Only £4.99 I think and so many good and easy recipes”

Karen says “Anything you eat.. (except honey if under 1 year). Cut into pieces that are longer than their fist initially so they stick out of a clenched hand. Let them go for it. Don’t worry how much goes in/down. Food before one is just for fun. As they get used to it make the foods smaller, you’ll be surprised how they’ll concentrate until they can pick up that pea! The book baby led weaning by Gill Rapley is fab”

Wendy says “Agree with above just feed them whatever you are eating. The only real rule is no honey until around 12 months. I’ve heard so many people say how much more enjoyable weaning is second time round because there’s no rules.”

Kath says “As the others have said anything you are eating. Often if my little one was on my lap while I was eating she would launch her hand onto my plate to try whatever it was. They do say that if they can’t handle it they won’t be able to pick it up (eg smaller foods like peas etc with that worry of choking). I remember at around 8 months old she got hold of a spare rib while we were having chinese and started munching on that!”

Tara says “Baby led weaning cookbook app is really helpful. Includes advice as well as recipes”

Jade asked “With the carrot sticks are they supposed to be cooked? Will be asking the exact same question in 6 months time”

  • Kelly said “Entirely up to you and what you’re comfortable with an uncooked carrot probably will only be used for gnawing!!! But quite good for teething!”
  • Catherine said “I would avoid raw carrot sticks myself and raw apple slices.. whole raw carrot or apple or else cook carrot or blanch the apple”
  • Karen said “If they’re sat upright, supervised and only putting food into their own mouth then the risk of choking is very small. As baby hits 6 months(ish) their gag reflex moves backwards in their mouth, they may trigger their gag reflex as they learn to put food in their mouth, but that’s what’s supposed to happen, that way they learn how to do it. Have a look at the book baby led weaning by Gill Rapley”

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! 

Review 2018: FlipOut Basingstoke

Thank you to S for today’s NHM Review!

Review 2018: FlipOut Basingstoke

I visited FlipOut last Saturday( just before the half-term) as part of NHM community. I was there with my 3 year old son and husband for 1 hour between 11am and 12pm. It was quite easy to buy tickets once you are there, they also offer online pre-booking which has a separate queue. However the entrance is quite narrow which can make it busy during peak time, so be prepared well in advance.

All sessions are timed and they start every half hour. Once you bought the tickets you are then asked to go to the briefing room where they show a 5 mins safety video of do’s and dont’s.

I really liked the graffiti artwork. It was beautifully used throughout the whole of Flip Out which made the place very colourful. My first reaction once I got into the park was “It was enormous”, they have over 50 trampolines of different sizes. They have lots of different areas to cater all age groups.  

The park has :

  • Main trampoline jumping area
  • 28 ft Ninja slide ( for teens/adults)
  • Foam pit.
  • Total wipeout( Kids loved it )
  • Climbing walls
  • And lots more ( I didn’t get to go into the teens/adults area )

The main park is for all age group but a few areas are height restricted which means under 6s weren’t allowed. They have a special trampoline area with FlipOut’s signature car in the middle. Kids loved jumping from and on to the car. Foam pit and total wipeout was my son’s favourite of the day. Unfortunately we didn’t use much of the teen/adults section but by the look of it I was sure they were all having lots of fun. It was a busy day with lots of toddlers, kids, teens and adults thought it didn’t look over-crowded.

Safety team:
They had a good number of safety team staff members spread all over the park. They had a keen eye on the jumping area to avoid double jumping. They are also very interactive and lively.

Baby Softplay area:
They also have a separate baby soft play area on the other side of the cafe which is small but good size for 1 and 2 year old babies when you have other kids to jumping on the trampolines.

Prices and Sessions:
All sessions are on hourly basis. You can either buy 1 hour session or add another hour for half price.
Standard jump ( 1hr) : £9.95 (2hr):  £14.95
Under 6: £5.95

You can buy FlipOut socks for £2 or they allow other parks socks as well.

Facilities and Activities

They have a huge locker area which works with a pound coin. The locker sizes are quite small so I had a tough time shoving my big bag into it. They are good size for shoes and coats though!

Cafe and viewing area:
There is a cafe in the mezzanine floor above to the main jumping floor with seating area. It is gallery styled and got a view to the jumping area, it allows parents to enjoy a coffee while keeping an eye on their kids.  The menu is a standard one which caters for all ages. The cafe seating area seemed to be always full and was quite a task to get a seat.

Toilets with baby changing area

Toddler Time:
Every weekday between 9am-11am  there is a dedicated toddler session in the park. Parents with under 5s can find this time appropriate as you don’t want older kids to run around at the same time.

Fit Classes :

They offer a structured Flip Fit class led by qualified fitness instructors on Wednesday 7pm. It is a pay as you go class and also you can buy 6 session for the price of 5.

Kids and adults party:

They offer different party packages according to your need which also includes exclusive room and arena hire

Overall experience

It looks awesome and is an excellent place for a trampoline park. Fun place and lots to do for all age group. 3 and above would enjoy their time in FlipOut. If you have only small babies then I would ask you to get an idea of what FlipOut is as it could be disappointing for a few who expected it to have big soft play areas. I really liked FlipOut and would go again.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Flipout Basingstoke. The session was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. S was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are her own.

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! 

Review 2018: Studio 1314

I reviewed Studio 1314 on NorthHantsMum in 2016 when they were just starting out.

You may have seen their Lemon Face promotion (which will be starting again in April 2018) on Facebook, which has been hugely popular.

Click on the pictures themselves to see them in detail

I LOVED the pictures that they did for our family in 2016. Absolutely loved them. You can even see one of them at the top of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook. So when Wayne invited me back to review the studio, to see what had changed, I LEAPED at the chance.

Wayne and Lucy are also very kindly offering a Special Offer just for NHM Readers, which is listed at the bottom of this post.


The team at Studio 1314 believe in the personal touch, not just in their pictures, but also in the way that they conduct their business.

Once you have made a booking you receive a very professional confirmation email which confirms your booking and provides a link to a slideshow of some of their pictures, a link to a Pinterest board which is a great source of inspiration.

The email also has a really useful section about what to bring to the photo shoot and which clothes would work best.

I really love that they encourage accessorising and personal items as these make the photos even more meaningful.

A few weeks before our photo shoot, Wayne phoned me and we had a really good chat about what to expect and what to bring for the photo shoot. I love that Wayne was interested in what I wanted to get from the photo shoot as well and that he had some great ideas of what to bring along.

The photoshoot

Having been to several family photo shoots since Miss NHM was born(which I am extremely grateful for!) we kind of know what to expect.

However, it’s always a NIGHTMARE the morning of the photo shoot. Trying to get everyone mobilised and in the car and not forget any of our outfits. Mr NHM nearly forgot his outfit this time (facepalm).

When we arrived at the studio (about 15 minutes drive from Hatch Warren) we were all quite harassed as there had been a couple of “discussions” in the car on the way there.

It was sooooo nice to just arrive at the studio and plonk ourselves on the lovely squishy sofa’s.

Wayne was very welcoming and let us catch our breath before looking through the outfits that we had brought with us. He gave us advice on which outfits he thought would photograph the best.

The photoshoot lasted 90 minutes and that time just FLEW by. Miss NHM absolutely loved being the centre of attention (no comment) when Wayne took lots of pictures of her. We also had several family photo’s taken which are just awesome.

I really loved that when Miss NHM was “doing her thing” (total poser. I blame her father!!!) we could just sit and watch on the lovely sofa. It was so nice to see someone else entertaining Miss NHM and to be able to just sit back and enjoy it.

Wayne was very patient with Miss NHM and he made her giggle lots. She’s very photogenic (yes, I am a bit biased) but she can also be VERY stubborn if she doesn’t want to do anything but Wayne had no problem at all with getting her to do the things he needed too, to ensure that the pictures are perfect.

(No, that isn’t Miss NHM. Lol!)

It’s brilliant that the studio is split into several areas. Miss NHM is getting to that age where she’s conscious about her body and doesn’t want to undress in front of someone else, so it was really useful having the dressing area to change in but still be able to talk to Wayne and Mr NHM.

On our way home, I asked Mr NHM if he enjoyed the photo shoot and he said that he did because it was very relaxed and fun. (I often drag him along to these kinds of things and he’s not often that enthusiastic but that previous sentence is high praise from him!!)

Miss NHM talked for the WHOLE 20 minutes that it took us to get home, about how she liked “the man who was really funny” and she liked having her picture taken. So high praise from her too! Lol.

A couple of weeks later we went back to the studio to see the final pictures in the viewing room. This is a lovely big room with a large TV screen, another fab sofa and an area with toys for little ones to play with. It was awesome to see the pictures on a big screen and we are soooo pleased with them!!!

Special Offer for NHM Readers

Wayne and Lucy are also very kindly offering a very special offer for NHM Readers. (Thank you very much!!!)

The first 10 people to contact the team at Studio 1314 and book before May 2018 will receive a Free family photoshoot, a mounted 7×5 inch prints of their choice and a digital file of the same image.

This would normally have a value of £150.

This offer is ONLY open to the first 10 people who book and ONLY available to NorthHantsMum Readers. Yay!


Make sure you read through the confirmation email and have a look at the pinterest board and the video.

Plan the outfits that you are going to take with you at least a few days before.

Make sure you have everything ready to go the night before your photo shoot so you don’t have a frantic morning like we did!!!!


Wayne has a lovely stash of biscuits and a very wide range of drinks, including tango orange!!

They even had gluten free biscuits available for Miss NHM, which I thought was such a lovely touch!


I think Studio 1314 are the only family photography studio in Basingstoke.

The studio itself has a large area where pictures are taken with a couple of sofa’s on where you can sit and watch what’s happening.

There is a separate viewing room which has a very large flat screen TV where you can review pictures and has an area for toys for toddlers and little ones. The sofa is fab in here too! lol.

There is a toilet within the studio and changing area.

Baby Facilities

The team at Studio 1314 are parents so they TOTALLY get what it’s like having children. They even have a baby changing mat available for you to use!


Is free, ample and next to the studio.


Please see the website for more details.

Rating out of 5

Definitely 5 out of 5. It’s clear that Wayne is very passionate about what he’s does and ensuring that the customer gets what they want.

Final Thoughts

We LOVE the photo’s that Wayne and Lucy take. Absolutely love them and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have another photoshoot with them.

Contact details

Wedding Page:

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Studio1314. The photoshoot 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.

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! 

Review 2018: Family Bootcamp

Thank you very much to Rachel for today’s NHM Review post!!

Family Bootcamp

When your life revolves around children, family commitments, work and everything else that we have going on, it is difficult to find the time to exercise.  I have often been spotted taking a skipping rope or hula hoop to the park so I can grab the odd few minutes, while the kids are distracted playing, to sneak in a quick workout.  So when I had the opportunity to review a Family Bootcamp for NHM, I (quite literally) jumped at the chance


Family Bootcamp is a series of exercise classes which involve circuit training, a mixture of cardio and resistance work, team games and challenges.  It allows you to exercise and have fun as a family. And we did just that!

I attended the Sunday Family Bootcamp class with my son (age 10). He looked a little apprehensive actually as we arrived and whispered to me “Mum, have the others in the class all been doing this a long time? Is it ok that we haven’t been before?” He needn’t have worried. Sarah, the instructor, was very welcoming and showed us to the studio where we met the other families who were all absolutely lovely. We woke to a lot of snow that morning so I was surprised to see a fairly busy class considering (about 8 others). Obviously a testament to Sarah’s fab class – everyone wanted to be there!

We started with some team games to warm up. Everyone at different levels of fitness, age, ability but everyone moving and having fun. It really didn’t matter that we were newbies as we felt part of the group straight away.

The game of dodgeball was my son’s favourite. I really enjoyed the individual exercises (squats, lunges, skipping, etc) which we did at opposite ends of the studio facing our partners, swapping over at regular intervals. We even got to have a go on the bikes in the next studio – challenging but brilliant.

Sarah’s energy, passion and patience make the class what it is. She explains everything really well, demonstrates, takes part herself, and is always aware of everything that is happening and where she might be needed. Her class is well-planned and the music is fab.  Sarah’s energy is infectious and you can’t help but feel uplifted. We were sweaty but super smiley!

The class is 50 mins with a warm up and cool down, abs and a stretch. The time flies.

Suitable for children age 8 – 14 approx.


Wear comfy sportswear type clothing that you can move around in easily.

Take a water bottle (don’t worry if you forget though, there is a water fountain in the studio).


Family Bootcamp takes place at Basingstoke Sports Centre in town.
Facilities are therefore great.
Easy to get to. Central.
Parking for town or Festival Place (prices apply).

Value for money

Family Bootcamp:  Sundays 11:10-12:00. 15th April to 27th May (7 week course). £17.50 per person for the whole course.

Please note – Basingstoke Sports Centre members receive 10% off.

Sarah also runs the following:

Family Pedal:  Saturdays 12:10-12:40. 21st April to 26th May (6 week course). £12 per person for the whole course.

Junior Bootcamp (term time):  Thursdays or Fridays 16:25-17:25. 19th/20th April to 24th/25th May. £22.80 per person.
Junior Bootcamp taster sessions also run on Thursdays and Fridays in the school holidays. 11:15-12:15.  £3.80 per person per session.


5 out of 5!

I love that I got to spend a bit of time with my son – grinning at each other, laughing, high-fiving, all whilst exercising.

Sarah’s main aim of her classes is to make fitness fun, accessible and engaging and she certainly achieves that.  

Getting fit, happy and spending time together – win win! Thank you Sarah.

Further info

Check out Sarah’s Facebook pages:

Disclaimer: This post is a review of InsideOut’s Family Bootcamp classes. The class was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. We were not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are our own.

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! 

Mum2Mum Markets Hampshire

Thank you for the opportunity to tell everyone about my events!  I’m Linda and I run the Mum2Mum Markets in Basingstoke, Eastleigh and Southampton.

Mum2Mum Markets are community events where parents (and grandparents and friends!) can buy and sell high quality nearly new baby and children’s toys, clothes and equipment.  Our friendly, popular markets are all held indoors and usually see between 200 and 300 shoppers at each event. Our stalls are packed with toys, games, books, clothing, shoes, walkers, buggies, play mats, bedding, travel cots, trikes, ride-on toys, sterilisers, nursery equipment – and more!  Our events are aimed at age 0-6 years and maternity. 

The Basingstoke markets are held at Hatch Warren Community Centre and Queen Mary’s College, the Eastleigh markets at Pavilion on the Park, and the Southampton events at Woodlands Community College.

Our upcoming market dates are as follows: 

To book a stall, simply visit our bookings website at and select your market.  We supply the tables, and you keep 100% of your takings on the day!  Each stallholder receives our useful Information Pack a couple of weeks before the market, which is packed with information, tips and advice on sorting, displaying and pricing their goodies.  We have a loyal group of repeat sellers at each location and stalls usually sell out well in advance of each market.

If you’re looking to shop at our events, you’ll find our stalls packed with amazing bargains!  A huge range of high quality nearly new baby and children’s toys, clothes and equipment at a fraction of the retail price.  You really can save a fortune! There’s no need to book to come and shop, just come along on the day. Adult entry is £2, children are free and there’s free entry for everyone for the last 30 minutes of each market.  You can also download a 2for1 entry voucher from our website and bring a friend for free (or pay £1 each of course!). 

We also work with local baby and child related businesses, who promote their products and services through our events.  There are a variety of ways to do this, including placing flyers in our goody bags, booking a business stall, or sponsoring our events.  We love working with other local small business, so would love to hear from anyone looking to engage with local parents. 

So whether you fancy selling or buying, we’d really love to see you at one of our markets – come and join us!  

Join our Facebook page for our latest news, event dates, market photos and preview of items for sale!

Please email me at with any questions or enquiries – I’d love to hear from you.

Linda x

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! 

Finding Your style when returning to work – By Victoria Kennedy

Hi, I’m Victoria, mum to 2 crazy, lively boys, vintage frock lover, tea drinker and Personal Stylist. I am passionate about empowering women to love being themselves. My style ethos is that ‘you are best at being you’.

So embrace who you are and shout about it for the world to hear! I’m often contacted by women returning to work after having their children. The story is almost always the same, and 99% of the time it boils down to confidence, confidence in ourselves as working women. If you are considering returning to work, read on!

Going back to work after having a baby is a big move, your heart, mind and body are still adjusting to the new ‘normal’ and it can feel very overwhelming and stressful. Usually full of emotional turmoil and a bucket load of ‘mum-guilt’ at the thought of leaving your child.

Whether you took 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years of maternity leave, deciding what to wear to work after having a baby will be different but yet the same for all of us. You may still be carrying baby weight, you may still be breastfeeding and more than likely your confidence will have dipped.

For me, returning to work after the birth of my first son was so daunting. I was absolutely riddled with guilt as well as feeling totally overwhelmed about my ‘new body’ and how to dress for it. Let’s face it, I’d spent the majority of the last 12 months in my new found ‘mummy uniform’- rotating PJ’s for leggings and oversized sweaters. Marry that with a distinct lack of sleep and time to myself meant makeup and hair styling was no longer on my monthly to do list let alone part of my mornings routine!

When deciding to return to work, first and foremost, before thinking about what to wear: 

  1. Be kind to yourself

 Take some time to process the return to work decision in your own head. You may be feeling guilty about leaving your child, you may be feeling guilty about being excited to return to work. All of these feelings are normal. Do not beat yourself up about how you feel. Talk to your partner, friends, family and allow yourself those feelings.

2. Take up the offer of ‘Return to work days’

Going back into work in an informal way, for a chat & coffee can help it feel less daunting. Remember these days are for you to ‘catch up and refresh yourself’ don’t be pushed into working or being pulled into office politics!

3. Take care of yourself

Try to build a routine into the mornings and evenings on the days leading up to your return to work. This will help you ensure you get enough sleep and eat well- returning to work is tiring! Prepare yourself!

So once you’ve found good childcare, figured out logistics, battled tiredness and getting into the ‘work’ frame of mind, you can start to think about what you will wear on the ‘big day’.  This was such a huge challenge for me as I felt I had lost myself. I was ‘mummy’ and knew that role quite well- I knew the uniform! But I had no idea what ‘working Victoria’ looked like these days. Plus I had no idea what suited my new expanse of tummy!

I knew I wanted to return to work feeling confident about myself. I wanted people to see me as a professional, not as a ‘mummy’- which is strange as I have the utmost respect for mums- the jobs a tough one! But I felt, on my return to work, I would be judged by my appearance, that ‘how together’ I looked was a reflection on my ability to be a working mum.

So with that in mind I went shopping with a close friend, someone who had returned to work previously after having her children, and her advice is something I still use regularly with my clients today!

1. New Clothes

Whilst it seems obvious to say buy new clothes- after all we are all familiar with that ‘shiny new item’ feeling- much like the first day back at school adorned head to toe in new gear! But when I say buy new clothes what I really mean is take a good look at your new post baby body shape and buy new pieces that flatter this new fabulous shape.

If you’re unsure of your body shape- take a look at my facebook page for some tips and guidance! Dressing to flatter your shape can make you look slimmer, younger and feel more confident. There is no need to purchase the entire Next Directory- See my next point!

2. Buy 3 or 4 versatile items

For example, buying a black shift or wrap dress (great if breastfeeding/pumping) can be a great investment as you can wear it in different ways- with a blazer, with a scarf, with heels, with boots, with a bright necklace etc.

A great rule I impose on my clients is ‘never buy an item that doesn’t already go with 2 or 3 items you own’- that way you can wear it in many ways. So when you are choosing some new workwear think carefully about how the pieces can be worn to create multiple outfits.
Other good versatile items are;

  • ‘trophy blazers’- bright/jazzy fabric blazers that can be added to outfits to provide colour or texture.
  • Statement jewellery- another great way of adding colour and changing the look of an outfit.
  • Neutral coloured trousers or skirt- these can then be worn with a variety of tops and shoes to create different looks.

3. Bag & Shoes

You’ve probably got the hang of packing the changing bag with every possibility accounted for. You’re used to lugging around the contents of your house- just in case! But when returning to work the contents of your bag is entirely for you. So as well as having the luxury of carrying just your purse and lippy, you can do so in a lovely new bag! Treating yourself to a gorgeous-but- totally-impractical-for-mummy-duty bag can be a great way to bring your personality back into your style.

It’s a way of reminding yourself that ‘you’ are still ‘you’! This can also be the case with shoes! Although an air of practicality may well be needed, depending on your job, but it can be a great confidence boost to walk into work rocking a killer pair of heels! You’ve still got it girl!

Whatever you choose to wear to return to work, above everything else, it should make you feel most like you. Your style is a reflection of your personality as well as your lifestyle and body shape.

We are naturally going to feel most confident when we are being ourselves. Embrace who you are- an amazing women, who has carried and birthed a precious baby, a baby who loves you unconditionally for being their Mama. Return to work with this love in your heart and let your light shine- You are best at being you!

If you would like more tips and advice on finding your style join my ‘Style File’ group on Facebook-

Alternatively, book a Personal Styling session with me for an in depth analysis of your shape, colours, style and personality-

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! 

Swimming Schools and Lessons in North Hampshire

Thank you very much to Shona for putting this post together!!

Swimming Schools and Lessons in North Hampshire

Alton Sports Centre

Swimming lessons start from 3 years old (Stage 1). All lessons are taught by qualified instructors who help children to develop confidence in and around the water.

Alton Sports Centre

Judy Sporle School of Swimming

Based in Winchester, Judy Sporle provides parent and child classes (3 months – 3 years), pre-school classes (3 years – 5 years) and also after school classes (3 years plus). In the parent and child classes they provide introduction to the water, safety, songs and games and water confidence. Pre-school classes have a maximum of 4 children to a class with the teacher in the water. After school classes have a maximum of 8 children in a class and promote water confidence and teach techniques.

Judy Sporle

Turtle Tots

Operating through Reading, Wokingham and Caversham, Turtle Tots run a baby programme and a toddler programme. The baby programme can start any time from newborn to 14 months old. You learn to swim with your baby above and below the water and help teach your baby confidence in the water. The toddler programme has been designed with a set of activities including swimming technique, safety and floating. The toddler course is suitable from 18 months.

Turtle Tots

Angela’s Swim School

Angela’s Swim School has small classes to allow for individual attention and feedback from each session. They offer swimming lessons for all the family with a wide range of lessons for children, adults and babies from 4 months. There are sessions available nationwide, locally they are held at Aldershot, Petersfield, Bordon and Hook.

Angela’s Swim School

Everyone Active

Having more than 70,000 children learning to swim through their swimming Programmes, Everyone Active helps children learn the skill of swimming. They are available 50 weeks a year (2 week break over Christmas and New Year), suitable for children aged over 5 months, all teachers are DBS checked and don’t run “terms” so children can join at any point throughout the year. Locally this is run from Hart Leisure Centre in Fleet, although it is a nationwide brand.

Everyone Active

Water Babies

Water Babies is aware that swimming is one of the few things that you can do with your baby from birth. Water Babies encourages babies to swim underwater whilst having fun. They run locally across Berkshire and North Hampshire and teach from 21 swimming pools.

Water Babies

Swim Expert

Swim Expert runs from the Apollo hotel in Basingstoke. They can provide private 1-2-1 swimming lessons to improve children’s swimming more effectively as well as running small group lessons with a maximum of 3 children per class. They will do lessons for anyone over the age of 2 years.

Swim Expert

Rushmoor Royals

Rushmoor Royals provides swimming lessons from 2 ½ years old in Farnborough, Aldershot and Yateley. Lessons are held over 3 terms and normally run for 12-14 weeks. There are badges for each stage and once achieved, children can move to the next stage.

Rushmoor Royals

Kim Chapman Swimming School

This swimming school is run from Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke. They provide adult and baby/toddler lessons from 4 months. They also do pre-school lessons for children aged over 3 years. With qualified teachers, the classes are fun using a mixture of toys, nursery rhymes and games to help children learn to swim and be confident in the water.

Kim Chapman Swimming School

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!