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!)

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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

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!) 

Cheap Transport in North Hampshire

This weeks theme is all about travel so I’ve done a bit of research into cheap travel options in the area.

Buses

Mega Rider Gold – £19.50 – includes Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex and Brighton

Mega Rider ticket – 7 days travel for £11.70.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything online to support these costs (don’t know where I found them now! lol) but I did find a website which said you could buy the weekly tickets from the bus driver. Click HERE for more details.

Mega Rider ticket – 4 weeks travel for £43.50 – 52 weeks for £460. You can purchase tickets that are 4 weeks or more online HERE.

If you are traveling to South Hampshire you may be interested in the First Day Hampshire Family ticket which is run by First services. It’s a shame we don’t have a similar service in North Hampshire!

“Family travel on all First services in Hampshire for just £10 this summer!

We’re pleased to announce we’re reducing the price of our FirstDay Hampshire Family ticket to just £10 for the summer!

Normally £13, from 22 July – 1 September 2012, a family of 5 (max 2 adults) can travel as much as they like on one day on First buses in Hampshire for just £10. That’s unlimited travel for just £2.00 each (if used by 5 people!)”

Click HERE for more details.

Trains

The Family & Friends Railcard

“Costing just £28, for a 1 year Railcard or £65 for a 3 year Railcard, the Family & Friends Railcard saves you 1/3 off adult and 60% off kids’ fares across Britain for a year. If you travel with a child between five and 15 years old then you’re eligible.

Your Railcard gives you more than cheap travel! With your Railcard you can also get fantastic offers on holidays, eating out, some of the UK’s top attractions and much more!”

Click HERE for more details.

If you are planning to be out and about this summer, don’t forget to check out whether you can travel cheaper by public transport than by car.

General Travel Tips

1. Pack a Ziploc bag for any and all purposes.
2. Bring a nightlight so you don’t stub your toe in dark, unfamiliar hotel rooms.
3. Pack old clothes so you can throw them away on vacation and fill the newly empty space in your suitcase with souvenirs. (although this is not particularly environmentally friendly)
4. Keep a scanned electronic copy of your passport and other important documents on an e-reader, laptop, or smartphone. (I use Dropbox and find this to be a very good tool for this).
5. Print and bring along a chart to remind you of foreign exchange rate.
6. Split your family’s clothing evenly between multiple suitcases—if one bag gets lost, someone isn’t left completely without clothes.
7. Bring an empty water bottle through airport security and refill at a water fountain.
8. A steamy shower works just as well as ironing.
9. Don’t forget to bring along a roll of quarters for tolls and parking meters (if going to the US and driving).
10. Always take a picture of your rental car before you leave the car park to record any pre-existing damage (If you are hiring a car).

Traveling with your baby – Part 2

Changing

If your bag doesn’t have a compact changing mat, buy a travel version or disposable ones. . If you’re going to Europe, nappy sizes are the same as in the UK, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding suitable ones.

Bathtime

There’s no need to take all your equipment away with you – a favourite toy and a fold-away or inflatable baby bath will do the job. It’s wise to pack baby-friendly toiletries as you may not be able to find the ones you normally use. If a bath is part of your bedtime routine, try to stick to it – but don’t worry if things change while you’re away, just enjoy it. Your little one will soon slot back into her normal routine once you’re home.

Bedtime

A travel cost is a must for overnight stays. All models fold down for storage and come with a carry case and handle. Many hotels and holiday cottages provide cots, so check before you go. Baby sleeping bags save on bedding and are ideal for travel. They’re available in a range of weights, so buy a light one if your going somewhere warm. And think about packing a portable safety gate if you’re staying in a holiday house or cottage.

Useful tips for trouble-free travel

  • Pack twice the amount of clothes you think your baby will need – to cope with any leaks or travel sickness.
  • If you’re going on a long motorway journey, try to plan to travel at your baby’s nap time and allow for feeding stops.
  • Allow longer for your journey and build unscheduled stops into your itinerary. Make sure you’ve got time to cope with any additional feeds and nappy changes.
  • If your baby has a comforter or uses a soother, take it with you and pack a spare one in case you lose it en route!
  • You don’t need to take all the toys you use to entertain your baby at home. When you’re on holiday, she’ll be stimulated by the change of scene, pace and family all being together.

Traveling with your baby – Part 1

Travel Medicine Cabinet

When you travel with your little one it’s best to travel with a few medical essentials, especially if you’re heading overseas. Don’t leave home without:
  • Your baby’s red book – essential if you have to call a doctor or take your baby to hospital
  • Liquid paracetamol such as calpol. Calpol do sachets which you can buy from Boots.
  • Teething gel, such as calgel
  • Thermometer
  • antiseptic wipes – ideal for cuts and for quickly sanitising a changing mat
  • Antiseptic barrier cream such as sudocrem – soothes everything from nappy rash, insect bites to eczema and heat rash. Bounty’s free family packs have trial pots which are perfect for traveling with

Bottlefeeding

If you’re going abroad, take enough formula for the duration of your trip (you can’t guarantee you’ll be able to buy the one you use). For the journey, take ready-mixed cartons of formula. If you’re flying, check the restrictions on carrying baby forumla/liquids in the Air Travel Section of www.direct.gov.uk. If you don’t have a travel steriliser, you can get microwave of cold water ones.

  • Mothercare microwave and cold water steriliser – £4.99
  • Mothercare travel bottle and food warmer – £9.99
  • Tommee Tippee single bottle microwave and cold water steriliser £9.99

Travel

From around three to six months your baby can recline in a lightweight stroller that folds down more compactly than a traditional pushchair.  A large basket is handy for travel, too. For short hops and city breaks, you may find a baby carrier or sling useful, leaving your hands-free.

You’ll need for traveling – Babies 0-6 months

  • A travel cot
  • Sleeping bag or sheets and blankets
  • baby monitor may be useful
  • pushchair, parasol and raincover
  • baby carrier/sling
  • sun blinds
  • travel changing mat – pampers do disposable changing mat’s – not very ethically minded but very helpful!
  • plenty of clothes
  • travel toys
  • enough nappies and wipes for a few days
  • breast pump, if expressing
  • travel steriliser, bottles, formula and insulated bottle bag (if bottlefeeding)
  • medical essentials (see above)
  • travel wash