Parents new to Basingstoke and North Hampshire

I’ve had several messages recently from Mum’s who have moved to the area and stumbled across NHM.

I have had some lovely feedback saying how helpful the NHM posts have been with finding out what is available in the area and keeping tabs on what is going on.

I thought I would do a summary post for parents who are new to the area, which brings together all of the previous posts and some of my suggestions. 

Hope they help!

Tips for raising children in a new area

1. Review the Day pages on NHM

I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help myself! lol. These pages give you a summary of what’s going on each day for children aged 6 and under.

They are sorted by day, so you can click on the day and see an alphabetical list of classes that are available on that day.

2. Find a Mum network in the area

There are lots of  very good groups on Facebook which support Mum’s in the area. I’ve put together a page which has a list of all of the groups that you can join via NorthHantsMum.

3. Join the secret “Mum’s and Dad’s new to Basingstoke and North Hampshire” NHM group on Facebook

Contact me directly at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com to be added to this group.

The following posts may also be useful

Softplay Centres

Swimming Pools in North Hampshire suitable for Babies and Children

Days out in Hampshire

Reviews

Do you have any other suggestions for parents who are new to the area?

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!

Sebastian’s Action Trust

I’ve driven past the Bluebells many times as we have friends who live in North Waltham. I always thought it looked like a posh nursing home. It was only when I visited on a works volunteer day, that I discovered exactly what the Bluebells is.

I can’t really explain how much my visit to Bluebells impacted me. It’s an incredibly moving but inspiring place and right on our doorstep.

Next summer I would like to do something to help raise funds for this fantastic place, via NHM. If you are interested in helping with this, please let me know.

Sebastian’s Action Trust

Jane Gates

I am Jane Gates, a 50 year old mother of two from Binfield in Berkshire.

In 2003 my brave nine-year old son, who at the time was battling a rare form of cancer, inspired my husband Michael and I, together with our daughter Rebecca, to set up the charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust.

Our tireless work was recognised in 2012 when along with Michael I accepted the prestigious Pride of Britain Award on behalf of The Trust for our work and its impact.

Sadly my son, Sebastian lost his battle on the 24th of December 2003 but his vision, spirit and drive lives on through our work.

Today The Trust stands proud and is a tribute to Sebastian’s insight, bravery and vision.  His aim was to provide a place where life-limited children and their families can holiday together away from the rigours of hospital appointments, gruelling treatment schedules and prying eyes. Importantly for very sick children the home needed to be clean, safe and adaptable to meet their often complex physical and emotional needs.  Sebastian’s vision was simple, yet vital for those facing the loss of a beloved child; he wanted to create a private place where memories could be made which would last a life-time, even if that life was to be cruelly cut short.

In 2011 Sebastian’s vision was finally realised and The Bluebells, the UK’s first purpose built respite holiday home was completed. The Bluebells is located in the beautiful village Hampshire village of North Waltham.

It consists of:

  • two four-bedroom self-catering apartments, each with a lounge and kitchen diner which can support families using wheelchairs and specialist medical equipment
  • an indoor pool with spa with disabled access.  We hold a range of specialist dry suits so that children who have feeding tubes can still access the pool.
  • an indoor games area with a wide selection of computer games, traditional board games and toys
  • a home cinema
  • a multi-sensory room
  • a music room
  • an art room
  • a therapies room
  • an outdoor adventure play area
  • a nine-hole mini golf course &a secret meadow.

Since opening in July 2011 The Bluebells has given over 200 families the opportunity to spend precious time together, safe in the knowledge that the home is close to the hospital and that trained live-in staff are on hand to provide help and support should this be needed.

Our work now extends further into emotional and practical support for families during the darkest days of their lives.  This work is delivered by trained Outreach Workers who work with families to ascertain their needs and to deliver bespoke support aimed at easing their suffering and isolation.  Our work is primarily focused across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire Surrey and Hampshire.  We do however also support families from further afield to come to The Bluebells because there is simply no other project of its kind in the UK.

PIC BY STEWART TURKINGTON www.stphotos.co.uk 07778 334771

For more information please follow the team on Twitter at @SebsActionTrust or on Facebook at Sebastian’sactiontrust.

Alternatives for those affected by the closure of two local nurseries…

I hope this isn’t too late if any of you have been affected by the closure of two local nurseries.

Cheryl sent me a message asking me to let you know about the offer that Cornerstone Nurseries has:

Cornerstone Nurseries are sorry to hear that both Headstarts & Funhouse nurseries have closed at such short notice.

We would like to offer any parents affected by this, emergency childcare at one of our 3 settings in Basingstoke, with 1/2 price fees for the month of October to help with the disruption you’ve had.

If you then choose to stay with us, we will guarantee a permanent place for your child (at our standard fee rates).

For more information please call 01256 818118.

8 things to do in Basingstoke when it’s sunny

I realise the irony of this post, but I wrote it and scheduled it when it was sunny and looked like it would stay sunny!

Just in case it is raining today, please see this previous post which has some ideas of how to keep your Little One’s occupied when it’s raining: 8 Cheap or Free Rainy Day Activities in Basingstoke

1. Climb some trees. Try Basing Wood/Carpenters Down behind Popley and next to Chineham Business Park.

2. Go to the Beach! The Nearest “Beaches” to Basingstoke are Fleet Pond on the way to Fleet and Frensham Pond, just past Farnham.

3. Play Poo Sticks on the bridge at the far end of Eastrop Park

4. Fly a Kite on Crabtree Plantation Hill

5. Visit Manydown’s Maize.

6. Pick your Own Fruit at some of the following Farms. I haven’t been to any but when the weather picks up we are planning to go to one. I recommend ringing in advance to ensure that they have crops available and haven’t all been picked the day before! See a previous post about PYO farms in the area HERE.

7. Have a picnic dinner at Basing Lime Pits

8. Paddle in the Paddling Pool at Eastrop Park.

Basingstoke Festival… 2013

Starts tomorrow!! There will be over 100 events happening in the Basingstoke area during the next couple of weeks. I’ve had a closer look at the webpage and it looks fab!

Click here for more details:

http://www.basingstokefestival.co.uk/events/category/family-fun

They say:

“Basingstoke Festival was created in 2012 to showcase the wealth of talent and community spirit in the borough. Back for a second year, the festival offers a choice of over 100 events to experience including drama, music, dance, comedy, film, historic walks and family fun taking place in over 30 venues across the borough.

Why not wander through Overton and take in over 400 individual scarecrow characters or dip in to a performance of local dancers taking part in Dear Lido around the town centre! Building on the success of 2012, this year’s festival features a packed programme including indoor and outdoor and free and ticketed family friendly events such as World Party at Eastrop Park, Alice in Wonderland at The Vyne, Elvis Costello at the Anvil, Chas n Dave at The Haymarket, community Shakespeare and finishing with the hugely popular free music festival Basingstoke Live.”

Basingstoke Homebirth Group

Denise sent me a message via NHM Friend asking me to let you know about the Basingstoke Homebirth Group: 

I co-ordinate meetings for the Basingstoke Homebirth Group and we meet monthly at a member’s home.

Meetings are a very informal chance to discuss any aspect of homebirth over a cup of tea and a biscuit. We generally have a mixture of parents that have had a homebirth and midvives/doulas attending.

Our aim is to share information and support those interested in planning a homebirth.

Details of meetings are posted on our Facebook page “Basingstoke Homebirth” and email address is homebirth@basingstokenct.org.uk for any enquiries.

 

12 Things to do when you are pregnant in Basingstoke and North Hampshire

1. Check out NorthHantsMum – obviously! 😀 Especially the newborn page and pregnancy pages. I also recommend requesting to join the secret FB NHM Pregnancy group.

2. Find out where your local baby clinic is. There is a previous post on NHM which details local baby clinic’s in the area. Click HERE for details.

3. Book up for your NCT Antenatal class early – else you not find one close by, which can become complicated (especially if you have had a cesarean) if you want to catch up with your Mummy friends and they all live miles away. NCT also do discounts on courses for those with limited funds. Or if you are looking for an alternative to NCT and live in North Hampshire, you could also try FitMama classes.

4.  Go do the “Hospital Look” round tour a few weeks before you are due. Try not to be too scared if you hear someone in labour 😉

5. Get hold of a Tumble Dryer or find out which of your family and friends have tumble dryers and start being very nice to them! Or, find out where the local laundrette is. You will be horrified by the amount of washing you suddenly have to start doing! The only laundrette details I could find in Basingstoke is the one at Elmwood Parade in Winklebury. Let me know if you have details of any others.

6. Check out the local Breastfeeding support if that’s what you want to do. Check out my previous post about Breastfeeding in Basingstoke HERE.

7. Get your maternity Bra’s from the NCT website. Much cheaper than Bravissimo and I found the selection in Bravissimo to be quite limited.

8. Find out where your local children’s centre is and see if they have a Bumps n’ Babes class you can attend, if only to meet other Mum’s in the same situation and area as you.

9.  Research what is on for Mum’s with new babies in the area. Winter is a notoriously hard time to have a baby because you are stuck inside a lot more, so you need to make more of an effort to get out and about. NHM will keep you up to date on what’s going on in Basingstoke! 😉

10.  Sign up for some of the free pregnancy “stuff” that you can get when you are pregnant. I signed up for the free Bounty Pack. When I received mine it had a bar of galaxy and a can of appletiser. I don’t think they made it out of the car park (blush)! Sainsburys and Boots used to give them out.

11. Attend a Pregnancy Exercise Class. The FitMama Studio in Stroudley Road has a number of classes that are specifically designed for Pregnant Mum’s.

12. Have a pregnancy massage.

I can probably come up with a lot more, but I think twelve (the list was originally 10!)  is a pretty round number for this kind of list! Do you have any other good suggestions for those who are pregnant?

8 Reasonably Priced Restaurants in Basingstoke (Meal for 2 for under £15)

Sometimes I really miss the lifestyle I had before having a family. Specifically the spontaneity of being able to eat out. We still try to eat out when we can justify the cost, which is why I’m always looking for cheaper places to eat that don’t mind children and won’t break the bank. Let me know if there is a restaurant or cafe that I’ve missed!

1. Debenhams Restaurant

There is a baby room next to the Restaurant. They also offer a special children’s menu and provide baby food and bottle warming facilities, free bibs and wipes.

The restaurant is open until 8pm most week days

2. Olivers Fish and Chips

They have an early Bird Deal at the moment.

The restaurant is open every day until 10.30pm, but check the website to confirm this.

They do have baby changing facilities and colouring and crayons for bigger children. Maybe a place to visit if you are lucky enough to have a night out alone with your partner/husband.

3. The Trawlerman, Chineham Shopping Centre

(Couldn’t find a website)

4. Marks and Spencers Cafe – Chineham

Please see a previous post HERE for details about the cafe at M&S in Chineham.

5. Sainsburys Cafe at Hatchwarren

The restaurant is open until 8pm every day except Sunday. However, I think they stop serving hot meals at 7pm.

6. Festival Plaice

I haven’t eaten here and I’m not sure if they have baby changing facilities or are very children friendly.

7. Nando’s

Open until 11pm most nights and has baby changing facilities.

8. Pizza Hut

There are two Pizza Hut restaurants in Basingstoke, one in Festival Place and one near Toys R Us. They seem to have a pretty good set up for children although I wonder how healthy the meals are.

 

The Olympics in Basingstoke/North Hampshire

Olympic Games: 27th July to 12th August

Paralympic Games: 29th August to 9th September

It’s not long to go until the start of the Olympics. If you haven’t been lucky enough to get tickets there are lots of activities happening in and around North Hampshire, so you can still join in all the fun!

The Olympic Torch is spending more time in Hampshire than in any other county and will be coming through Basingstoke on the 11th July.

I understand that several schools have given parents the right to take their children out of school to see the Torch, if they write and request this in advance. It looks like it’s going to be a popular day so have a look at the website for recommendations on the best places to see the Torch.

Large crowds and heavy traffic are expected in parts of the towns the torch will be visiting, so it is recommended that you plan ahead. To see a detailed map of where the torchbearers run in Basingstoke and for information about transport, parking and local torch celebrations, please check HERE.

If you don’t get a chance to watch the Olympic torch come through Basingstoke, there is the opportunity to “Watch the Games at Winchester Live”. Winchester Cathederal Outer Close will play host to a giant outdoor screen showing live BBC coverage throughout the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The screen is one of only 16 community live sites in the country. Winchester Live is open daily from 10am to finish. Why not take a picnic along. For more information click HERE.

There are several other events happening throughout Hampshire such as:

  • Exhibitions, talks and films
  • Olympic inspiration in Hampshire schools
  • Hampshire Welcomes the World
  • “Rings”

For more details about anything to do with the Olympics in Basingstoke and North Hampshire, click HERE.

If you have been lucky enough to get tickets to the Olympics and are planning to take a baby with you, please be aware of this potential issue about counterfeit slings: Parents urged to be wary of counterfeit baby slings as Baby Slings Mandatory for The Olympics “Babes in Arms” Tickets

Hope you have a great time, with or without tickets. I’m very excited and can’t wait!