We launch our company this month so wanted to let the NHM community know all about us.

We are a home organisation/de-cluttering service and offer the following services currently;

  • Organising any room(kitchen, lounge, bedrooms, study, playroom, cellar, conservatory
  • Within a room (cupboards, shelves, clothes etc)
  • Whole house
  • Sheds, garages and garden storage units
  • Storage containers
  • Playgroups/Nurseries

For further details please see our website or facebook page.

We also offer vouchers and 10% discount for returning customers.

Thanks Lisa & Emma J

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Review 2018: Desklodge

A big thank you to Lindsey for today’s amazing post:

Review 2018: Desklodge (toddlers need not apply)

Desklodge Website

This isn’t your usual NorthHantsMum review. I can’t talk about play facilities, baby changing amenities, or whether you’re allowed to bring your own baby food. You see, this is a place for (whispers)…grown-ups. Yup. No bouncy castles. No gratis wet wipes. No fish fingers. This is dedicated to the grown-up world of work. But just because it’s for the big girls and boys, doesn’t mean it can’t be playful. So please feel free to hop, skip and jump into the Wonderland that is Desklodge.

Tucked away in Basing View, less than a 10 minute walk from John Lewis/Waitrose, Desklodge describes itself as “an award winning co-working space”. Which basically means it’s an office for people without an office. If you’re a freelancer, p/t commuter, or start-up entrepreneur, you know the agony of working from home. The crippling loneliness. The faltering Wi-Fi. The siren call of ‘Bargain Hunt’. It’s here that the appeal of Desklodge, the salve for the self-employed, becomes apparent. It offers a variety of working environments designed to suit all tastes and requirements, all under one roof. Fancy dropping in and grabbing a hot-desk for an hour or two? You can do that. Want a fixed desk to work on a longer project? No problem. Need a private meeting room to hold an interview? Not only has Desklodge got it, it’s got it with style.

It may be set beneath Belvedere House’s amazing atrium, but you step inside the surf shack themed doors of Desklodge, and you’re not in Basingstoke anymore. With playfully designed work spaces (including a Zen room), phone booths disguised as beach huts, and a high-spec kitchen complete with ‘New York skyline’, dropping in on Desklodge definitely beats working in the library. It’s buzzing with a community of people from across a spectrum of sectors and industries, and networking is actively encouraged through their free seminars, workshops and socials (or just by the good old-fashioned water cooler).

You can choose to drop-in and pay by the hour, take up a monthly membership or become a resident DeskLodger, with prices from as little as £3 an hour. That’s less than a fancy coffee in Starbucks. Oh, and superb 1GB fibre Wi-Fi, car parking (subject to availability) and tea/coffee is included in the price. How do they do it?!

We don’t have anything even close to being like this in Basingstoke, and I sincerely hope this is a sign of things to come. Festival Place can feel a little generic at times, so something as vibrant, creative and collaborative as Desklodge is incredibly welcome.

If you’re a freelancer looking for some space to focus, a business in-between offices, or even a stay-at-home parent needing a couple of hours to write an email, I would highly recommend giving Desklodge a look. And not a ball pit in sight. Bliss.

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! 

Santas, Pantos and Other Christmas events

Thank you very much to Wendy, one of the NHM Awesome Support Team, for putting this awesome post together!!!!

Santas, Pantos and Other Christmas events

The fireworks have stopped, the John Lewis advert is out and the countdown to Christmas has begun. Below are some of the local places to visit Santa plus several other Christmas experiences that you may wish to put in the diary or book now including Christmas plays and Pantos.  With school holidays starting late this year demand for weekend slots for Santa will be high so book early.

Santa Grottos

Festival Place – Basingstoke. £4.50 per child. Lots of availability and probably the cheapest Santa visit locally.

Henry Street Garden Centre –Arborfield. £9.99 per child, £2 per adult. Weekends and inset days are already fully booked but there are a few after school slots left and plenty of options for those not in school yet.

Dobbies Garden Centre – Shinfield. £9.95 per child. Good availability, including weekends and Christmas Eve.

Redfields Garden Centre – Church Crookham. £6 per child. Book instore or by phone 01252 624444

Experiences with a Santa Visit

Please click on the links for further details about these experiences.

Wyevale Garden Centre – Sherfield on Loddon. A few dates left for Breakfast or tea with Santa.

Millers Ark – Nr Hook. Lots of Christmas events including a Santa’s Grotto, Carols in the Barn and a Nativity with real animals.

4 Kingdoms – Headley. Still availability for their Christmas experience.

Finkley Down Farm – Andover. Limited availabilty for weekends. Lots of choice for week days.

Basingstoke Canal – Mychett. This has already sold out for this year.

Watercress Line – Alresford/Alton. Lots of dates still available, including weekends.

Marwell – Winchester. Some weekend tickets still left. Lots of availability for week days.

Winchester Science Centre – Winchester. Still lots of availability, includes SEN sessions.

Paultons Park – Ower. Lots of dates still available.

Lapland UK – Windsor. Lots of dates still available.

Other Christmas Events

The Malls – Basingstoke. Events start with Christmas light switch on Nov 17th  at 6.30pm.  Check their website for various other events in the run up to Christmas .

Festival Place Santa Parade – Basingstoke. Dec 3rd at 12pm.  Santa arrives at Festival Place.

Basingstoke Festive Fun Run – Memorial Park Basingstoke. Dec 10th. Please check website for times.

Basingstoke Festive Fun Run – Memorial Park Basingtoke. Dec 10th. Please check website for times.

Lantern Procession – Newbury. Dec 10th from 4pm. Join in or just admire and soak up the atmosphere as the candle-lit procession travels along Northbrook Street to the Market Place

The Vyne – Basingstoke. It’s the last chance to go up on the roof at The Vyne and, like most other National Trust properties, there’s a Christmas Trail.


A Christmas Carol – Proteus Basingstoke. Nov 25th – 26th. Performance for children age 6+

How Many Sleeps ‘Til Christmas – Proteus Basingstoke. Dec 14th – 24th. Interactive Christmas performance, Santa normally makes an appearance. Tickets are selling fast. For pre-school children (although most under 9s love it too)

Santa in Love – Central Studio Basingstoke. Dec 15th. For children age 2-5.

The Night Before Christmas – The Haymarket Basingstoke. Dec 8th – 10th ages 2 and over

Santa’s Christmas Wish – Theatre Royal Winchester. Dec 18th. All ages


Peter Pan – The Anvil Basingstoke. Dec 14th – Jan 7th. All ages

Peter Pan – The Hexagon Reading. Dec 9th – Jan 7th. All ages. With Justin Fletcher.

Peter Pan – Theatre Royal Winchester. Dec 5th – Jan 1st. All ages

Beauty & The Beast – Corn Exchange Newbury. Dec 1st – Jan 7th. All ages

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Mayflower Southampton. Dec 15th – Jan 7th. All ages. With Craig Revel-Horwood & The Chuckle Brothers.

Please let us know of any events you feel should be added by emailing the details to Thanks!

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Advent Calendar Ideas for 2017

I’ve collated these from previous posts on NHM but please add your suggestions in the comments on the NorthHantsMum FB Page and I will add them into this post. Thanks!!

Advent Calendar Ideas for 2017

Make a Christmas tree decoration

Build a Christmas item like a Lego Christmas tree, Santa sleigh, snowman, etc or with playdoh.

Make a paper chain

Go see the Christmas lights or a street that has lots of decorations. Festival Place, The Oracle, Farnham and Winchester have good local ones.

Do some Christmas baking

December 5th is Saint Nicholas Day, so do someone a good deed in his spirit. The French bake gingerbread as a tradition.

December 21st is winter solstice so take time out from all those Pre- Christmas do’s and celebrate at home by cosying up with loved Ones.

Attend Hook Christmas Cracker (Saturday 2nd December 2017)

Make a Christmas card

Play a board game

Christmas Nature Walk – Take a walk to your local park or woods and collect pine cones and see if you can spot a robin or some holly. Check out Nature Detectives to see what you can find.

Visit your local garden centre to see The Christmas decorations

Write a letter to Father Christmas. Use stickers for younger children

Go to a local school Christmas Fayre and pick up some fabulous bespoke Christmas presents.

Make Christmas Gloop (put in a couple of baubles and some glitter) ????

Put together A personalised video message for your child from Santa (and it’s free!) (this is AWESOME!) and play it to your child.

Visit a local library and find some nice Christmas stories, e.g. Father Christmas needs a wee!

Make a bird feeder

Have a Christmas boogie. When the music stops, do a christmas movement. Roll like a bauble, chickle like santa, twirl like a snowflake

Eat dinner by candlelight.(We use the electronic version of candles as I’m banned from using real candles since I set fire to my bedroom when I was 14 years old. Don’t ask!)

Have a Christmas sing song round the piano. All use instruments like jingle bells or triangle

Learn about Christmas in another country

Read Christmas books whilst snuggled under blankets

Go ice skating at the local ice skating rink

Play Christmas charades

Go see a local pantomime

Christmas dressing up

Go Christmas Caroling (even if it’s just to Grandparents!)

Give something back, make a donation.

Make jolly jars. Take an old jam jar and decorate with stickers or glass pens and then fill with sweets and treats to give to loved ones

Hand deliver some Christmas cards to neighbours

Print off some Christmas puzzles, word searches, colour pages.

Tell some of our favourite Christmas jokes

Do a Christmas jigsaw puzzle

A lovely activity to do on Christmas eve is to have a special Christmas box with new pyjamas, a Christmas DVD and snacks that your children can unwrap and enjoy while they wait for father christmas

Watch the Santa Fun Run in Eastrop Park. Is there one on this year?

Buy and decorate your Christmas Tree

Write a letter to Santa – find out about the NSPCC version or send one via Royal Mail

Listen to Christmas Music (there are normally dedicated satellite channels for music and films at Christmas!) or you can download your favourites from i-Tunes.

Have an indoor snowball fight with scrunched up paper

From today the word “Christmas” is jinxed – every time you say “Christmas” you have to sing Jingle Bells – this can run all day or all month

Put Christmas decorations up in your bedroom

Send Christmas cards

Make Christmas crackers from old toilet rolls!

Watch a Christmas movie. Which are your favourites?

Visit Santa’s Grotto at Festival Place and take a ride on the train

Sing the 12 Days of Christmas without saying Christmas.

Drive round looking for houses with Christmas lights.

Have a super duper Hot Chocolate – make your own at home with flake, marshmallows, squirty cream, etc or nip out to your favourite cafe.

Catch a ride on the Santa Bus.

Dress up as a Christmas character all day or wear a Christmas Jumper

Make a Christmas collage

Build and decorate a gingerbread house

Jazz up a chocolate Swiss roll for an instant Yule log

Christmas i-spy – make a list of Christmas items to spot then go for a walk and tick things off your list.

Track Santa’s progress around the world on the Norad website

Thank you very much to Heidi W for her suggestions in 2014!!!!

1. Put up tree and outside lights

2. Santa train ride in town centre

3. Christmas books by candle light

4. Christmas snap cards, make paperchains

5. Write Christmas cards

6. New Christmas jigsaw

7. Watch a Christmas DVD

8. Go and see a Christmas show either at the Anvil or the Haymarket.

9. Paper crafts (angels, snowflakes etc)

10. Lion’s Santa tour stops outisde our house – with glowsticks

11. Paper/foam wreaths

12. Sticker activity books

13. Make your own Christmas badge kit

14. Check out a local museum (Milestones or the Willis Museum) for their Christmas activities with little ones

15. Childrens Carol service at church

16. Do a Christmas Craft together – e.g.  foam Christmas tree kit, make Christmas crackers, Christmas baubles.

17. Christmas books

18. Stencils/sticker craft

19. Nativity Play scene set


21. Winter Ice Art or go and see the Christmas Ice Rink either at Winchester Cathederal or if they have one in Festival Place

22. Make Christmas biscuits

23. Visit Santa’s Wonderland at Paultons Park

24. Open your Christmas Eve box together (New PJ’s!!!)

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! 

Season Tickets to local attractions in North Hampshire – updated 2017

I’ve recently just invested in a Season ticket for a local attraction. I wanted somewhere that was near to Basingstoke, that we could just pop into after work or when my husband is at work on the weekend.

Paying for entry to attractions can be very expensive, but if you find somewhere that you like, and you know you will visit maybe once a month, it makes sense to invest in a Season ticket.

You also get discounts and extra perks with most Season tickets. I am planning to get a season ticket for a different place each year, so we don’t get bored of the same places.

This is an exceptionally long post. Sorry about that! It was really difficult to know what to include, so I’ve tried to include the key highlights and the costs. Hope you find it useful!

Updated September 2017

Wellington Country Park

Wellington Country Park Season Tickets

How long is it valid for?

Valid for 1 year from the date of purchase.

Under 3’s go free.  

Not only do you receive ‘unlimited access’ to the Park but also a whole host of other benefits…

2017 Season Ticket Benefits

  • UNLIMITED ADMISSION to Wellington Country Park during normal opening hours
  • 3 FREE train ride vouchers for each Annual Pass holder, with all subsequent rides only £1.00 each
  • 5 FREE hot drink vouchers for Adult Annual Pass holders only
  • 3 FREE day passes for Adult Annual Pass holders only
  • FREE PARTICIPATION in all of their in-house events – excluding Christmas and additional ticketed events
  • MONTHLY E-NEWSLETTER to keep you up to date of what takes place at the Park

Please note: Terms and Conditions do apply. For full details, please see ‘Terms and Conditions’ on their website.

How much does a Season Ticket cost?

2017 Prices  

Adult (16+) £74.00
Child (3-15)   £60.00
Children 2 and under FREE

Please Note: Don’t forgot that when your child turns 3 years old, they will need their own Annual Pass

Finkley Down Farm

Finkley Down Farm Season Ticket

An Annual Pass enables each person purchased free admission to the farm park for 1 Year from date of purchase. Ideal for a short visit even after school for a quick play on the playground or all day in the holidays.

Also if you purchase a pass before your child turns two they are free the duration of your pass.

There is also a Childminder’s annual pass, details can be found on their website.

Please note: Terms and Conditions apply.

Person Type Monthly Direct Debit (Online Only) One Off Payment
Family (4 persons) £24.00 £260.00
Adult £7.00 £75.00
Children 2 – 16 Years £6.00 £65.00
Children Under 2 Free Free
Senior Citizen £6.00 £65.00
Student Student ID Required £6.00 £65.00
Disabled + Unnamed Carer Disability Proof Required £6.00 £65.00

Beale Park

Beale Park Season

Season tickets will soon be available to purchase on-line. In the meantime, please read the options on how to buy a season pass below.  A season ticket to Beale Park is fantastic value, offering:

  • Access to the Park for one calendar year from the date of application.
  • 10 train rides during the course of your season ticket
  • Subscription to the Park’s electronic news updates

…and, by becoming a season ticket holder, you are actively supporting the conservation projects that Beale Park undertakes, as well as contributing towards the care of the animals.

It’s easy to join. Simply print out the form on the website and bring it with you to the Beale Park ticket office where, on payment, a photograph will be taken and your application processed, enabling your season ticket to be produced.

How much will it cost

Adult Season Ticket – £48  

Senior Citizens (60+) – £38.00  

Child Season Ticket – £34  

Registered Disabled + Carer – £48  

Family Season Ticket (2 Adults + 2 Children) – £135  

Terms and Conditions apply

Bucklebury Farm

Bucklebury Farm Park Membership

Why not become a Farm & Deer Safari Park member and enjoy access to the farm and deer park throughout the 2017 season? An ideal opportunity for numerous short visits either after school, school holidays, rainy days, to visit the animals, go round the deer park on a tractor, safari or deer expedition, have a stroll or just for the children to let off steam!! All our park attractions are included in the price with the exception of special events. Joining costs you the equivalent of around £5 per month. Make six visits and then go FREE!

The membership includes a 10% discount on group party bookings for 2017. This can be used for birthday parties but also your children’s class (only one discount per class can apply!) at school – well worth mentioning to your children’s teacher. We also offer all season ticket holders a very special 20% discount in Woody’s for ten visits – great for breakfasts, family lunches or just coffee and cake with friends (excluding special event menus).

How much will it cost

Adults – £60

Children & OAPs – £54

Disabled/helpers – £46 each

Many Down Farm

Many Down Farm Season Tickets

Season tickets are valid for unlimited visits during all 4 2017 events. Easter lambing, May Half Term, Summer Maize Maze (Plus all weekends in September), & October Pumpkin Carving

Front Entrance Price Online Discount Price
Adult £37.50 £37.00
Child £37.50 £37.00
Senior Citizen £35.50 £35.00
Under 2’s £0.00 £0.00
Family Tickets Front Entrance Price Online Discount Price
Family of 2 Online Only £73.50
Family of 3 £107.50 £107.00
Family of 4 £137.50 £137.00
Family of 5 £167.50 £167.00
Family of 6 £197.50 £197.00

Terms and conditions apply. Details on entry.  

4 Kingdoms Adventure Park

4 Kingdoms Adventure Park Annual Pass

Enjoy their 12 Special Events through the Summer Season for the price of 6: Purchasing an annual pass costs less than the equivalent of 6 visits over a twelve month period.

You can visit 4 Kingdoms 7 days a week throughout the year: An annual pass runs for a full twelve months from the date of purchase.

“Try Before You Buy”: When you go to 4 kingdoms on any day and buy day tickets for you and your family, if you buy an annual ticket before you leave you will have your day ticket refunded (T&C’s Apply).

An Annual Pass gives you 10% off your child’s special birthday party event at 4 Kingdoms: Choose from any of their special themed birthday parties and get 10% off the price.

An Annual Pass gives you 10% off their magical Christmas Event: Join them for a magical Christmas family experience and get 10% off the ticket price.

Visit 6 times And Every Other Day Is FREE!

Single – £59.90

Family of 2 – £115.00

Family of 3 – £165.00

Family of 4 – £210.00

Family of 5 – £250.00


Birdworld Membership

If you are a regular visitor to Birdworld then why not become a Birdworld member. Their members enjoy many benefits including:

Unlimited Visits – As an Annual Pass holder, you can visit Birdworld as often as you like, be it for half-an-hour or a full day. Just show your pass with photo at the Information Desk on arrival, thereby avoiding any queues at Admissions on busy days.

E-Newsletters – Their regular newsletters will keep you up-to-date with happenings within the Park, so you’ll hear all about new arrivals amongst the birds, fish, reptiles and animals on the farm, seasonal activity in the Gardens, and generally be aware of what’s going on around Birdworld. You may opt to receive this via E-mail.

Annual Pass Holder Events – You can join their team for exclusive events at Birdworld, which are only available to our pass holders. This includes our annual supper evening, which you can enjoy at no extra cost.

Discounts & Special Offers – Annual Pass Holders are eligible for a 10% discount on any purchases from the Gift Shops (excl. foods), and 15% discount on Birdworld Birthday Parties. You will also receive special prices for our Santa’s Winter Wonderland. When buying your pass you will also receive a one off 10% voucher to use on many products at Forest Lodge Garden Centre.

If you are still not sure, then visit Birdworld for the day and they will be pleased to refund the cost of that ticket against the pass if you decide to join on the day.

Pass type 1 year
Adult £55.95
Child £46.95
Pre-School Child (3-6 years) £29.95
Disabled Child £35.95
Concession (Senior citizens, students and disabled adults) £46.95
Family: 2 Adults & 3 Children £185.00
Family: 1 Adult & 3 Children £135.00
2 Adults Joint pass £99.95
2 Concessions Joint pass £89.95
Carer £19.95

The Hawk Conservancy

Hawk Conservancy Membership

By becoming a member you can be an invaluable part of our mission while enjoying as many visits to the Hawk Conservancy Trust as you like – not to mention many other benefits throughout the year.

Participating Member:

As a Participating Member, you can visit the Trust as many times as you like in one year and support our important conservation work. You’ll also receive:

  • invitations to our exclusive Members’ Evenings;
  • discounted tickets for your guests;
  • three HawkTalk newsletters;
  • and our Annual Review.
Adult £55
Joint (couple) £105
Child £24
Family (two adults and two children) £140
Extra child on a family membership £18

Conservation membership and life membership are also available with additional benefits, details of which can be found on their website.

Terms and conditions apply to all membership packages.

Other Passes or Season Tickets

The Living Rainforest review on NHM (The standard admission price entitles the purchaser to an Annual Ticket, which allows free entry for one year, so keep your receipt!) NOTE: the prices have increased since the review and can be found on The Living Rainforest’s website.

National trust

Culture Trust Membership

Merlin Pass

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Review 2017: Buggys Magic Valeting Basingstoke


We have been very excited (and tired) in the J household. Small J has been upgraded to Big J with the arrival of his little sister. With that we found ourselves in need of a buggy with a ‘big brother seat’ for when he is too tired to go any further.

After a bit of online searching I came across a new local business ‘Buggy Magic Valeting Basingstoke.’ Run by Emma Lyons the company buys, makeovers and deep cleans buggies giving them some TLC and a new lease of life for their next owner.

You can also have your existing buggy cleaned thoroughly. I love recycling, reusing and upcycling and the idea that unwanted buggies are getting a new lease of life rather than landing in the rubbish dump makes me very happy.


Emma answered my Facebook enquiry very quickly and was able to send me photos of suitable buggys she had ready to go as well as descriptions of some more she was still getting ready. She helped me choose one that met my requirements, my only concern was Big J might be a bit tall for it. So the following day we went to give it a test run with Big J on board.

He was delighted with his big brother seat and Mother in Law J declared it easy to push. Emma gave us a full rundown of how to assemble it and all the different configurations the seating could be in and even loaded it in the boot for me to check it would fit.

We are very happy with our new wheels (for the time being it appears Big J’s legs are permanently ‘too tired!’) and will be returning to Emma after the winters mud to have it all cleaned off.

Buggy Magic Valeting Basingstokes available stock and current valeting price list can be viewed on the facebook page of the same name.

Emma can be contacted via the page for any enquiries.

Facebook page:

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Applying for a reception place (Year R) for September 2018

If your child was born between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014, they will be eligible to start school in the school year beginning September 2018.

Below are some useful links and information for those in the Basingstoke area that we hope will help make the whole process a little less daunting. 

For more help and advice we have a Facebook group where you can ask questions and chat to other parents who are applying this year  –  Basingstoke 2018 YR R (NorthHantsMum). If you would like to join please email me at

Applications are submitted via the Hampshire County Council website.  They have all the information you need about the process here – How to apply for a school place

This post may also be useful for you if you have a summer born child: Summer born children (those born between 1 April and 31 August)

Dates for Open days for Schools Admission Sept 2018

Below is a list of schools in Basingstoke & Deane and the dates for the open days they have planned.  Some schools may not be listed.  If no dates are listed or the open days have already happened please contact the school.  Please assume you need to book open days by phone.

School Dates
Bishopswood Nov 24th 9.15
Bramley  1st November,  9.30-11.30
Burnham Copse Oct 6th 9.30
Castle Hill Greenbank (Winklebury) & Rooksdown Oct 17th 13.15

Nov 15th 9.30 & 13.15

Nov 28th 9.30 & 13.15

Dec 6th 17.00

Chalk Ridge Open Days already completed
Cliddesden By appointment
Four Lanes Open Days already completed
Great Binfields Oct 12th am

Nov 7th & 29th pm

Hatch Warren Tours at 9.30 & 13.45

Oct 10th , 12th , 17th , 20th , 31st

Nov 1st , 7th , 8th , 13th , 17th , 21st , 22nd

Hook Nov 9th – 9.15
Kempshott Oct 16th 9.30 & 14.00

Oct 31st 14.00

Nov 14th 9.30 & 14.00

Nov 27th 9.30

Jan 9th 9.30 & 14.00

Kings Furlong Oct 6th 10.00

Oct 11th 14.00

Nov 2nd 10.00

Nov 17th 14.00

Limington House
Manor Field Oct 19th 19.00

Nov 14th 14.00

Dec 5th 11.00

Maple Ridge
Marnel Private appointment
Oakley Nov 13th or by Private appointment
Oakridge Nov 7th 9:30

Nov 14th 14.00

Nov 24th 9:30

Nov 29th 14.00

Jan 16th 9:30

Jan 18th 14.00

Old Basing 9.15 – Oct 18th Nov 24th
Park View 9.30 & 13.45 on Oct 18th,19th

Nov 2nd 18.00

Rucstall Nov 7th 9.00 & 13.00

Nov 9th 17.00

Nov 10th 9.00 & 13.00

Saxon Wood
Sherborne St John By appointment
Silchester Nov 7th & 15th
South View
St Anne’s
St Bede’s 9.15 – Nov 7th, 15th, 24th
St John’s 10.00 & 14.00 – Nov 2nd & 7th
St Mark’s Oct 12th – 10.00

Oct 18th – 10.00

Nov – 1st – 19.00

Nov 8th – 10.00

Nov 13th – 19.00

Nov 14th – 14.00

Nov 16th – 10.00

The Priory By appointment
Whitewater 19.30 – Oct 18th

9.30 – Nov 22nd, 29th, Dec 6th

Winklebury Oct 12th 9.15 & 19.00

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NHM Readers Recommend how to find out about primary school open days 2018

An NHM Reader recently sent the following message “I was wondering if you could post on the NHM page asking fellow NHM’s how to find out about primary school open days for kids starting September 2018? I’ve no idea so we’d like to visit a few and don’t want to miss out!”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for your replies, which are below.

A Facebook Group was also set up, the link to which can be found here: Basingstoke 2018 YR R (NorthHantsMum). Thank you so much to Wendy for setting this up. 

NHM Readers Recommend how to find out about primary school open days 2018

Louise Nhm Smith said “ I’m fairly sure that you have to check the individual websites of each school you are interested in. I might be wrong though…”

Louise Nhm Smith said “This link will be useful too: School Catchments

Rachael said “Yeah each school is different, their websites should tell you or call the school reception. It might be a little while before it goes on the websites”

Rebekah said “Usually the open days are October- Nov so check the school websites or ring the school mid September(give the school the chance to get back in the swing of things after the hols)”

Heidi said “If there is no open day information posted, make sure you contact the school directly to ask – our school does private tours, no open days…”

Leah said “Some schools only have open evenings & some only have open days & some only have private tours. I’d look on the websites of the schools you’re most interested in & if not on there call them up. I have 2 choices I’m putting down & know one of them anyway so don’t particularly need to attend open day. I’ll be calling or attending the other school open day but as it’s my local one it’s more than likely my son will go to that one. So scary they’ll be 4 and starting school next year!”

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Tiny Oaks Pre-school

My name is Karen McCoy and I am manager of Tiny Oaks Pre-school in Oakridge, Basingstoke.

We are a charitable, community pre-school for children aged 2 -5 years. As of this September, we are extending our opening hours to 8am – 5pm to increase our capacity and create additional places for families claiming the new 30 hour funding.

We are looking at ways of getting the message out to local families that we are now open longer and have places for funded 2 year olds, funded 3 &4 year olds in addition to fee paying children.

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Cheap children’s party ideas

Thank you very much to Shona who put this post together. Hasn’t she done a FAB job!!!

Birthday party games that don’t cost the earth

Pass the parcel – You can buy many things to put in the middle of a pass the parcel with a sweet in each layer as you unwrap it.

Musical chairs – FREE

Musical bumps – FREE

Musical statues – FREE

Scavenger hunt – Use clues to help the children find what you want them to find. This could be done even more cheaply by hunting items found in nature i.e. pine cones, rocks. Then the winners get a prize.

Fancy dress – If your children have lots of fancy dress items, you could put a fancy dress box in at the party for all the children to use.

Simon says – FREE

Pass the balloon – split into 2 equal teams and sit in lines. Each person has to hold the balloon under their chin, no hands and pass it along to their team. Whichever team gets it to the end of the line wins.

Dead ants – for older children. The children dance around the room until you shout a number from 0-4. When they hear the number they put that many body parts on the floor. If you shout 0 they have to lie on their backs with their limbs in the air like dead ants.

Party activities

Bubbles – many parents have a bubble machine at home already.


Colouring books / printable colouring activities i.e. masks

Decorating cupcakes – you could have cupcakes and part of the party activity could be decorate your own cupcake to take home.

Decorate your own party hat – see below

Pin the tail on the donkey – print out a donkey picture and make a tail out of paper/material. Here you have pin the tail on the donkey.

Pasta necklace making – string and dried pasta tubes create great pasta necklaces.

Sports day type activities – egg and spoon race, three legged race or a water balloon toss.

Ball pit – many parents will have these knocking around, even if it’s a small paddling pool filled with plastic balls.

Disco – just use your own music on a stereo or smartphone with speaker. Much cheaper than hiring a disco.

Skittles – using empty drinks bottles, you could fill them with various things to make them a little heavier then use a ball to try and knock them over.

The chocolate game – a bar of chocolate, knife and fork and a dice. Sit in a circle and roll the dice. If someone rolls a 6 they have to try and cut up the bar of chocolate and eat some with the knife and fork. The other guests continue and when someone else gets a 6 they swap in.

Monday saving decoration ideas

Decorate your own party hats – rather than buying party hats you could use paper for children to make a cone and decorate their own party hat with crayons, pens or even sticking sequins, buttons or feathers on.

Pre decorated party napkins – buy some napkins, a rubber stamp and an ink pad, then you can stamp anything onto your napkins!!

Make your own happy birthday banner – using things around the house i.e an old bedsheet and some pens/paint.

You don’t need helium balloons – children are happy with normal balloons so if you want a helium one, then just perhaps get one in the number of the child’s age.

Make your own party favours – in place of a party bag, each person could go home with a homemade sweet cone. Sweets can be bought in bulk and cellophane cones can be bought from eBay.

Top Tips

  • You MUST decide on a budget and stick to it. Perhaps try and work out how much you want to spend on food, decorations, cake etc.
  • If you have a theme, not EVERYTHING has to go with the theme. Napkins, plates and decorations can be very expensive. Just use the theme for invitations and cake, the children won’t notice all of the extras as long as they are having a good time!
  • You can save money by having a birthday party for a time where you don’t need to provide food (e.g. 2-4pm).
  • Having a reasonable limit on the amount of guests can save money as then you don’t need to spend as much on favours and invitations
  • Can you find a template to print out party invitations online? Then you could print your own.
  • Keep it simple!
  • Can you host a party at home rather than rent a venue? If not, shop around for a cheaper venue but still local.
  • Search for pre-filled party bags – you can often get these cheap if buying a couple or you could go to the pound shop and get some cheap fillers for party bags.

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