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: https://www.facebook.com/Buggymagicvaleting/

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Review 2016: Cornish Yurts

Cornish Yurts

I’ve blogged about Our Yurt before on NorthHantsMum but I thought it was time I did a Review about it. Although I’m only publishing this review because Polly, who runs the place, has agreed that we can have “our” Yurt for every May half term for the next 10 years :-D.

About

We have been visiting Cornish Yurts for the past 4 years. I always said I wouldn’t be one of those people who went back to the same place every year, but when you find your little piece of heaven, it’s hard not to keep going back!

The sense of excitement of our impending Yurt holiday starts about three weeks before in our house. I’m excited about relaxing, Mr NHM is excited about cooking over an open fire and Miss NHM is excited about the beaches!

It takes about 5 hours to drive from Basingstoke to Cornwall and we always try to go early to avoid the traffic. We used to stop at Exeter Services on the way down but we’ve found a new place to stop now which is almost half way.

When you arrive at the Yurt you can drive your car up to unload but then the rest of the holiday your car needs to remain in the car park. You also get a lovely welcome from the farm dogs. Sprocket is definitely our favourite.

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When you arrive you get a “welcome pack” which includes local scones (normally still warm!!), Cornish fairings, a pot of locally made jam, the local paper (perfect for making fires with! Lol) and a pot of Cornish cream in your fridge.

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Outside

There are two yurts in an acre of land.

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As you can see there is LOADS of space to run around and play

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Each yurt has a picnic table and chairs outside the yurt and has a place for a fire

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Mr NHM with “Derek” his Dutch Oven

The kitchen hut is a shared space with the other yurt but each yurt has its own fridge. There is also a washing machine, kettle, toaster and every piece of kitchen equipment you would need whilst camping including a sieve and two huge hugs that would be great for squash or cocktails.

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There are platters in the kitchens so you can prepare your food in the kitchen and easily carry it back to the yurt.

Each yurt also has it’s own private bathroom with sink, toilet and shower.

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The yurts are on a working dairy farm and if you are very lucky one of Polly’s girls will give you a tour of the farm. We STILL haven’t had one BUT Miss NHM (5 years old) did get to go out hay bailing with AJ, the farmer, and is still going on and on about it. If you ask her what she wants to be when she gets older, she says “be a farmer on the cornwall farm”!!

Inside

Each yurt sleeps six people and has two double sofa beds and two single sofa beds.

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Each yurt also has a wood burner that is made out of an old oil drum and tyre and has a fire guard

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The Yurts have a wooden floor throughout and a wooden porch. There is a covered porch at the entrance where we store wood.

Each yurt also comes with its own wood. There is extra cost for this and Polly requests that you don’t waste the wood by leaving the fire going indoors or outside unnecessarily.

There is also an outdoor cooking area and each yurt has its own BBQ.

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There is an outside chess set, swing ball, a set of swings and a fairy table.

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Tips

Love that there is a washing machine in the kitchen hut.

Love that if it rains it makes absolutely no difference as you are still camping but there’s no risk of everything getting wet.

Love having private shower and toilet, so we can leave our stuff there.

Love that there’s only two yurts and so much space that Miss NHM becomes feral!!!

Food

We use “Derek” Mr NHM’s Dutch Oven, my small slow cooker and occasionally the BBQ on site.

Facilities

Fire extinguisher in the yurt

Private bathroom – toilet, sink and shower

Chest with a file with suggestions if things to do in the area

Games set with lots of different types of games like chess and backgammon in each yurt.

There is also a large chest of drawers for storing items with a couple of rugs in, just in case it gets cold, a small table and a large rug on the floor so you don’t get cold feet.

Each yurt has electric and our yurt has a lamp in it.

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Each yurt has its own rotary line.

The kitchen area also has tea lights, books of relevance like “Cornwall with kids”, a Dutch oven cooking book (Mr NHM is now in love with his Dutch oven after he got one for Father’s Day last year. The yurts used to have one but it wasn’t looked after properly by people staying here :-()

A 4 slice toaster and kettle in the kitchen

Washing baskets

Outdoor games like jeronimo

Baby Facilities

Very amenable to babies however you do need to be careful with toddlers near the fire. We took Miss NHM for the first time when she was 2.5 years old and it was fine because she learnt pretty quickly that the fire was hot and she needed to stay away from it.

You also need someone who can build a fire to be there, otherwise it will get cold pretty quickly in the evening times.

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Places we love to visit whilst here

Rosskillys. Fantastic ice cream and grounds you can visit for free. They also have farm animals you can buy food for. The pigs are very vocal!! Also do wood fire pizzas on Wed evening.

Poldhu beach – a short drive from the yurts. On Friday night they do wood fire pizza’s from 5pm to 7.30pm.

Kynance cove –  check the tides though as we had to wait for the tide to go out for two hours last year. Had a fab time playing on the rocks though. Also, not a great place for pushchairs as it’s a 15 minute walk if you don’t walk down the cliff face and then you have to carry your pushchair over some of the rocks. People do it though!

Kennack sands – this can become filled with chav’s as its very close to a caravan site.

We always ask Polly for her recommendations on places to go. She’s a font of local knowledge.

Parking

When you first arrive you can drive up to the yurt to unload but your car must remain in the car park until it’s time to pack up.

Prices

Extremely reasonable.

Rating out of 5

10 out of 5!!!

We absolutely LOVE staying here. It’s all the little details that make it so awesome, from the moment we arrive and Sprocket comes to greet us at the door and then Polly comes out to give us massive hugs. It really is our home from home!

Although, this time we didn’t get any scones because Polly was off to china for her birthday, and knew that it was “us” and we wouldn’t mind. I did mind as I was looking forward to those scones for weeks before!! Sorry Polly, I lied!!! lol.

You may think I’m crazy for sharing this with you, as there’s a risk it might become so busy that we can’t get in, but don’t worry, I’ve done a deal with Polly that we can always have “our” yurt during May half term. Whoop!!!!

If you do decide to book, make sure you tell Polly that you are booking via NorthHantsMum.

Hope you have an awesome time as much as we do!!!

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Family Camping Club – This weekend!

WCP THIS WEEK.

Event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1702576306698600/

A bit about the Club / us

We are a husband and wife team that wanted to set our own Family Camping Club to invite families to come and camp on a rally field or at a campsite and for the children to play together in a large open space.

Also for children to do all things we used to do when we were children. It’s all about spending time together as a family.

We would like families to try and go screen free for a while and play games, chat and be social, even if it for a short period.

So we Launched the only Dedicated Family Camping Club @ the NEC Camping, Caravanning and motorhome show in February. We have great response from families mentioning they like the concept. So we booked up several places and organised rally for members to come to, and non-members to give it a try.

This weekend:

Our large one for this year is at Wellington Country Park. Great place for children. We have secured a large field in which to camp in, which excepts all types of units from Tent – Motorhomes.

We have organised for a BBQ to be provided.(£10 family 4) and Bouncy castle to use for free. Plus free activities and fun and games for all to join in.  Not forgetting free entrance to Wellington country park over the 3 days.

The cost of this rally is £40.( non-members price) But this includes 2 nights camping. Plus everything else mentioned.  For visitors to the park for the day for a family of 4 is £37. So camping works out quite a good price.

Events:

We have more events going on thought the year also, but we would like to get families to this one to show the park that families love to camp also to secure for the club to use in the future.

Most of our events are at weekends, school holidays and half terms. We try to get places close the area as we understand school and work on Monday. Most of our events are from £8.00 a night. Some are more expensive as they maybe attached to a country park or more things are going on. Eq Wellington Country Park.

High Season.

We have taken over a campsite in Hayling Island for 2 weeks in August with electric hook for £20.

A night Non Members and £15 a night for members, which is close to the beach.

This price is silly compared to other campsite that charge £30 / £40 a night.

Sites:

Most of the sites are basic, but like to allow families and children to be together. Most are just fields but are safe to camp in and enclosed. We do have a few sites that have swimming pools and bars etc which we have enquired about using , but they are more expensive. The site will give the club a discount which helps, these would have to be used in low season.

Membership:

Membership fee for the club is set @ £20 for the year for the whole family. This is cheaper than the larger clubs, but helps us pay for advertising, website and insurance.

We run this as a non for profit organisation. And want members to help shape the club to make their own. We will just manage it for the members as we are members ourselves in effect.

We encourage non-members to come and try the club. Then they have the option to join on the day if they wish too We will  refund the difference on their pitch fee as they was a member already.

Its free to join our mailing list to hear about what’s going on, plus our FB and Twitter feeds.

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Review 2015: Centreparc’s – Sherwood Forest

We went to Centreparc’s at Sherwood Forest in March of this year and I made a couple of notes about things to remember in case we are lucky enough to go again.

They might be useful to you and, after a NHM Reader contacted me asking me if I had any recommendations after our holiday at Centreparc’s, I thought I would add them as a post.

Several of these notes will also be relevant to other Centreparc’s in the UK.

Review 2015: Centreparc’s – Sherwood Forest

  • Arrive for 2pm. You have to queue for 30mins on the drive into the site anyway. They open the barrier at 2.30pm ish, so you can get into your apartment early. However, you can arrive from 10am, so if you can get there earlier and don’t mind leaving your things in the car, then this could also be a good plan.
  • Go swimming as soon as you arrive. Don’t even unpack. Just dump your stuff in your accommodation, park the car in the car park and go swimming. It’s the quietest it will be during your stay.
  • Dining in is free delivery on Mon and Fri. £2.75 delivery for the rest of the week.
  • We took our slow cooker with us. Great to come home, after a busy day, to a cheap, cooked meal with limited effort in the morning.
  • The Pancake house gets packed so get there before 11.30am or after 1pm
  • Most restaurants are heaving from 11.30am to 1pm and you have to wait at least half an hour. You couldn’t reserve tables when we went because people were reserving them and then not turning up. All literature says you can reserve, so check when you get there.
  • Scooter – very handy but bring a lock for it.
  • Don’t over book yourselves like we did (something every morning and afternoon. You need some time to relax!)
  • Pottery was wicked and we have something to keep as a memory but it’s really early in the morning!!! Plus quite expensive. Was worth it though as it was a lovely family activity to do together.
  • Need £1 for swimming lockers which you get back. We had a locker each, with coats, bags and shoes.
  • Twlight spa was awesome. We organised babysitting through Centreparcs at £6.50 an hour. Miss NHM loved the girl who came to sit for her.
  • Geo caching was a brilliant way to explore the site. It takes two hours and is 5k though. All on road so you can use the pushchair.
  • Very set up for children. Every restaurant on site has a microwave for heating food, a soft play area and parent/ toddler and baby changing rooms. The staff are very used to dealing with families with young children.

Please help us build a local sustainable taxi system by completing a 2 minute survey

My good friend, Rob, runs Evergreen Consulting, an independent expert electric vehicle support for businesses and individuals, and his team were wondering if you would be so kind as to respond to his very quick survey below.

It’s such a brilliant concept, to run an electric vehicle taxi or two in Basingstoke, but they need as much input on the survey as possible.

I said that I was sure the NHM Community wouldn’t let him down ;-).

Please contact Rob directly if you would like more details about the new taxi system.
A local sustainable taxi system

We would like to build a business model to encourage local car dealers to support local taxi companies to switch to electric vehicles, but we need specific data to verify its feasibility and value to the dealer.

Please take just 2 minutes to complete the survey below (making sure you finish the survey by clicking the “Done” button):

Thanks in advance,
Robert Sharpe
07711 252971

 

Your Plugged-in Partner

Evergreen Consulting is the trading name of Sharpe Consultants Ltd

Evergreen Consulting on Facebook 

Top Tip 14: YHA Holidays

http://www.yha.org.uk/

If you are looking for a reasonably priced holiday, have you checked out Youth Hostels recently?

There has been a dramatic change in the way Youth Hostels are structured in the UK over the past couple of years.

Most of the rooms are private rooms so no more dormitories, many are en-suite and they cater specifically for families.

Most of them also have self catering facilities (only the very small ones don’t) and many have restaurants on site that use local produce.

You no longer need to leave your room during the day either.

We are hoping to go Youth Hosteling in the autumn and spring next year, because I’m not a big fan of camping with a little one when the weather might be dubious.

Some of the best holidays I’ve ever had were with the YHA.

When I was 13 my family went on a weeks adventure holiday at the Wye Valley hostel which included:

  • orientering on bikes
  • a night kayaking down the River Wye
  • abseiling off a bridge into a boat
  • caving
  • horse riding in the brecon beacons
  • a medieval banquet at Briaval Castle

The two adventure holidays that we did when I was 13 and 14 were by far two of the best holidays I’ve ever had. Only my travels to Peru and Kenya compare!

There are several Youth Hostels that are just over an hours drive from here. One’s we are hoping to visit in the near future are Littlehampton and Alfriston.

Next year we also might try the new Youth Hostel campsite at the Eden Project.

Related Page

Mum Top Tip’s (all of the Mum top tips on NHM on one page!)

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! 

Yurt Camping!

We’ve just got back from a couple of weeks holiday. Hopefully you didn’t notice I wasn’t here, because the wonderful Abigail has been making sure that you all still see the posts that were scheduled in advance. Thank you Abigail!

This was my first two weeks holiday in a long time and it was so good just to down tools and get away from my computer and work laptop!! We spent the first week in a static caravan on the cornish coast, but the highlight was a weeks camping in a Yurt!

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It was an awesome experience and if you like camping and want to try something different, I highly recommend it. We had a lovely wood burner in ours, so I would recommend going with someone who knows how to build a fire.

Also, if you are going with little ones, I would suggest only going with immobile babies or little one’s that can understand the concept of “hot” and “fire”. Miss NHM picked up very quickly that she needed to stay away from the fire, which took a lot of pressure off.

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We found our yurt via the “Cool Camping – with kids” book. There is a website too and I’ve discovered that one of the campsites now has tree houses, which look wicked!

I also wanted to apologise to those people who sent messages these past two weeks. I haven’t replied because I’ve been relaxing on a beach in deepest, darkest Cornwall :-D. I’m back now, so normal service should resume very shortly.

Thanks for your patience!

Children’s Bike Seats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further Reading

Which Cycle Seat Guide

Mumsnet Child Bike Seats

Carrying Children on bikes

What is the right age for a baby bike seat?

Local Bike Shops

Basing Cycles – Basingstoke

Winklebury Cycles – Basingstoke

Pedal On – Tadley

AW Cycles – Caversham, Reading

Guest Post Wednesday: Book your free electric vehicle advice clinic

“Guest Post Wednesay” is returning! Yay! You may have noticed that things went a bit quiet over the summer period with regards to Guest Posts. However, now that summer is over (boo!) it’s back on track, so if you have anything you would like to publicise to the network of over 1000 parents who read NHM, please email the details to me at northhantsmum@gmail.com.

Are you worried about the impact your lifestyle will have on your children’s future? If yes, have you considered an electric vehicle? Evergreen Consulting are a Basingstoke small business that can provide you with LOTS of information about electric vehicles, including obtaining a grant from the government for one…

Evergreen Consulting are delighted to offer a personalised 30 min one-to-one electric vehicle advice clinic at LCV2012.

Electric vehicles:

  • can reduce fuel costs by upto £2,000/year/vehicle
  • are motorway capable (some can easily travel 90 mph)
  • are very responsive in acceleration
  • durable, traveling up to 25,000 miles/year
  • can reduce your carbon footprint by using 100% renewable electricity
  • make transport ready for a low carbon future

As independent experts with over 5 years experience of operating EVs we can help you answer the key questions you may have.  We can provide professional evidence based recommendations on all aspects of EVs to save money as well as speeding a transition to a low carbon future.

However, places are limited so book now by contacting 07711 252971 or reply to this email: rs@evergreen-consulting.co.uk. You can also find out more details at the website:  http://www.evergreen-consulting.co.uk/index.html

I’ve driven an electric car and I was really surprised at what a great drive it was and especially how quiet they are! If you are thinking about an electric car, I urge you to contact Rob at Evergreen Consulting as he is very knowledgeable and helpful.

Traveling with Babies

This week’s theme is about traveling. I published a few posts last year with tips and hints for traveling with babies. I’ve enclosed a link below to the original posts, rather than re-publishing.

General Travel Tips

Traveling with your baby – Part 1

Traveling with your baby – Part 2

I’ve been lucky enough to travel a few times with my daughter since she was born and have picked up a few tips.

If you can fit them in, take your own nappies with you. They are very expensive on the continent compared to here and feedback from other Mum’s who’ve traveled with little’s ones is that the nappies abroad aren’t as “good” as the ones in the UK.

I wasn’t sure where to get my little one’s passport done so I ended up getting it done in Costco. They were very good and it was all over in a few minutes. Several friends have recommended Jessop’s in Basingstoke town centre for baby passport photo’s.

Do you have any good traveling tips that you can share with other parents?

(Thank you to all of you who have added comments to the blog recently. I’m sorry I haven’t replied, it’s been a manic couple of weeks. I plan to respond to all of them over this weekend, but in the meantime, thank you all for your fabulous support!)