Miss NHM is 7 years old today!!!!!!

I am now the Mum of a seven year old! I have NO idea how that happened because, as cliched as it sounds, it seems like only yesterday she was born!

This also means that the NorthHantsMum blog is nearly seven years old. Wow, that makes me feel old!!! lol

I started NorthHantsMum when Miss NHM was 3 months old in 2011 and it was originally for pregnant Mum’s and parents of babies and children aged six and under. Now that she’s 7. that kind of puts a spin on things! lol.

I decided about a year ago that I would carry on running the blog anyway. It’s such a huge part of my life now, I cannot NOT run it!

I’m incredibly proud of the person that my daughter is becoming. Yes, she is very often frustratingly determined and opinionated (No idea where she gets that from…). Yes, she very rarely listens to what I have to say. (Right now, for example, she’s reading what I’m writing at the same time as telling me knock knock jokes. Which isn’t annoying at ALL whilst I’m trying to concentrate! Face Palm!)

But when I think of the things that she’s had to endure during her short life and that this hasn’t affected the caring and generous nature that she has, her wicked sense of humour and her love of history, books and fashion, I am filled with awe that I have the privilege of being her Mum. (Ok, so I’m not ALWAYS filled with awe because a lot of the time she’s really bloody difficult to parent, but you know what I mean!! lol)

Without her my life would literally have no meaning and despite the really crappy bits of the past few years, I wouldn’t be the person that I am now if I wasn’t her Mum. I’m so very, very, very grateful for her and the light that she brings with her everywhere she goes.

Happy 7th Birthday to my amazing, smart, courageous, beautiful, sparky, fantastic little girl who is the inspiration and drive for everything I do!

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! 

New Year Resolutions: My word for 2018…

Happy New Year!!

A bit late, I know, but Mr NHM and I suffered from a particularly nasty bout of food poisoning from last Friday until yesterday, so I was feeling very sorry for myself and didn’t have the energy to do ANYTHING! We completely missed NYE’s this year!! Although I think we always have since Miss NHM was born in 2011! lol.

New Years Resolutions 2018

As I’ve mentioned before on NorthHantsMum, New Years Resolutions don’t really work for me, so I set myself a word for the year and try to refer back to this as much as possible throughout the year.

My words for the last few years have been:

  • 2010 – contradiction
  • 2011 – motherhood
  • 2012 – adjustment
  • 2013 – exceptional (not always positive!!)
  • 2014 – Me

My word for 2015 was “Inspiring” and the year really lived up to this!

My word for 2016 was “health”. Oh the irony of choosing this word. I have learnt my lesson and try to choose VEEERRRYYY carefully now!!!!

My word for 2017 was “joy” and it was filled with much joy but also incredibly tough at the same time.

My word for 2018

I have really wrangled with choosing a word for 2018. I’ve learnt that you have to be veeeerrrryyyyy careful with the word that you choose. (So if I stop breathing this year, I only have myself to blame! Hahahaha).

I was going to choose “calm” or “peaceful” but they felt a bit too static for how I would like 2018 to be. I want to be both but I need something to keep me moving at the same time.

So, my word for this year is going to be “breathe”.


If I’ve learnt anything over the last few years, it’s to breathe.

To breathe deeply.

To know when to breathe and when not too.

In 2016 I started doing what i said I would and started looking at meditation to help me relax and find my focus. I spent some time in 2017 meditating and it really helped.

I also want to be better at “being in the moment”. Being an organiser and a planner means that a lot of the time I’m looking forward, working out what happens next, but this year I want to also learn to switch it all off and just “be”.

In the past few days, whilst we’ve been on enforced house arrest due to illness, I’ve spent a lot of time with Miss NHM, just “be”-ing with her. I’ve looked into her eyes a lot more than I normally would and realised she’s growing up so fast. I don’t want to miss anymore of those times.

She’s going to be 7 years old this year.

I will be the Mum of a 7 year old. NO idea how that happened!

Not so far away now, she’s going to want to spend more time with her friends than her “boring” parents (her words, not mine!).

So I want to be able to remember to breathe when she’s either a) telling me I’m boring and b) when she still wants to spend time with me!

Starting 2018

I wasn’t that excited about 2018 starting. I mean, 2018!!!!!!!! 2018!!!! I remember when it was the year 2000!!!! Now it’s 18 years LATER!!!!

But I’ve woken up today feeling a million times more positive than I have for the past few months.

I don’t believe in all that “new year/new you” crap, but I do believe that the beginning of a new year is a chance to re-assess and decide what’s working and what’s not.

I don’t know what 2018 is going to bring for me, NorthHantsMum and the NorthHantsMum Community, but I’m going to spend some time during January to work out a sort of business plan for the rest of the year. If there is anything you think I should be including, please don’t hesitate to let me know at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com.

As always, thank you for all of your support. I know that we are very, very, very lucky to have such an amazing community of readers supporting myself and the team on NorthHantsMum. Thank you also to the AWESOME team of volunteers who now help out on NHM.

I’m excited about what 2018 is going to bring for this little website that I started in 2011, and is still going strong 7 years, 7 YEARS, later!!!!

I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful 2018 where you have lots and lots of moments to “breath” :-D.

Happy New Year!


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! 

Looking back at 2017 on NHM

2017 has been a tough year. This year has challenged me more than I ever expected. I’ve learnt many, many lessons during this year.

I’d love to be doing a positive post about how awesome 2017 was, and it was in many, many ways but it was also one of the toughest years that I’ve been through since I started NHM. I thought 2016 was really tough but it was NOTHING compared to this year.

There is so much that I want to say about 2017 but it’s too personal to share. I’m still processing a lot of things that have happened this year and it feels like this is going to take a while longer.

But, I’m still here, so are you and so is NorthHantsMum and I’m very, very grateful for that.

2017 on NHM


“Joyful January”.  I’d love to try this again in January, so if you are interested, please let me know!

I was asked to be a sponsor again for Basingstoke Track Party, I finally got around to putting together an FAQ for the site, and this heartbreaking post was sent to me by a local Mum.


Miss NHM and I were verbally attacked by another parent on school property. It wasn’t a very nice experience but I’m very proud of myself for not swearing at her. Miss NHM was very shaken up after this for a long while after. I wanted to blog about this but we had too much going on at home.


With everything going on in my personal life it was a struggle to publish every week day. I am incredibly grateful to the AWESOME NHM Support Ladies who have really come into their own this year and helped me out immensely on NorthHantsMum.


I dealt with a Domestic Abuse situation via NorthHantsMum. This was waaaay beyond what I ever expected to be covering on NHM and I found it a very stressful situation, even when it wasn’t happening to me.


Miss NHM was diagnosed with a lifelong autoimmune disease. The floor fell out from under our family.


NorthHantsMum turned 6 years old.

Mr NHM was the best man at his best friends wedding and we had an awesome day!


We discovered that Miss NHM was being subject to abuse by one of her Teaching Assistants. The schools behaviour in response to this, particularly the Head teachers, was despicable.

My friend Sue took Miss NHM and I to see our first #SittingwithJane bench.

The school holidays started. NEVER have I needed the school holidays to start than I did this year.


Miss NHM started to heal and wasn’t quite as anxious or stressed as she had been, mainly because she wasn’t at school.

I came up with the inspired idea of keeping a #SittingwithJane bench in Basingstoke. The irony is, this was one of my goals at the start of 2016, to have a bench in a public place that Mum’s and their children could use to meet at.

Unfortunately, with everything going on in my personal life, I dropped the ball in 2016, so when it fell into my lap in August 2017 it just seemed so perfect.

The whole bloody project nearly broke me.

Next time I decide to take on a project of this size, with a seriously sick child, a full time job in part time hours and the summer holidays – will someone slap me please?


In the first week of September. we removed Miss NHM from her school as it was clear they weren’t going to listen to us or the medical profession, my Mother had what they now think was a mini-stroke, we moved Miss NHM to another local school, the washing machine, boiler and my car all broke and on the Friday I had the #SittingwithJane auction, which the Teaching Assistant who had been subjecting my daughter to abuse was also at.

It was a very, very, very stressful week.

But we got the bench. YAY! Congrats again to those winners of the competition.

Huge thanks again to everyone who donated. I’m still waiting for the Basingstoke Discovery Centre to put up the plaque…


I sent out the first NHM Survey in over a year and had some AMAZING feedback from you all. Thank you!

It meant even more after everything that’s happened in the past two years, to know that my time isn’t being wasted.

I started the “Inspirational Mum’s” programme.


Myself and a couple of the NHM Awesome Support Team were very kindly invited to review Absolutely Karting. Which reminds me, I really need to write that post up! Opps!


I FINALLY sorted out the “subscribe” option on the NorthHantsMum.co.uk website. I’m not technical so this was a huge step forward, to work it all out and get it all sorted. So you can now receive all of the posts published in your emails. Double YAY!

I published a post about Y2 Autumn Term.

Final Thoughts

Normally I’m so upbeat and positive on NHM but I’m not very well today which isn’t helping and it has been a really, really, really tough year.

But I’m very grateful and thankful that as a family we are coming out of it and that you are all still here supporting NorthHantsMum.

I have no idea what 2018 will bring for any of us, but I do wish you all an AWESOME 2018.

For those of you celebrating tonight, have a great one! For those of us who will be in bed long before midnight, sweet dreams :-D.

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! 

My Experience: Y2 Autumn Term

I am absolutely delighted to say that Miss NHM’s Y2 Autumn term has been…AMAZING!!!!! She is THRIVING at her new school.

Finally, finally, finally she’s had a positive experience of school. WHOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Moving Schools

At the beginning of this term (September 2017), 4 days into the new school year, we removed Miss NHM from The Prison.

It became blindingly obvious that The Prison weren’t going to listen to anything that we, and the medical profession, were saying needed to happen for Miss NHM.

In May 2017 Miss NHM was diagnosed with a lifelong autoimmune disease. I’ve not discussed it on NorthHantsMum because it’s not something that should be discussed in a public forum and Mr NHM and I are still processing what this means. It was a massive shock and it’s been incredibly difficult to deal with.

In the final months of Miss NHM’s Y1 at The Prison, she was subject to bullying and abuse (I don’t use those two words lightly) at the hands of one of the members of staff (again, not going to discuss details in a public forum) and the school made things as difficult as they possibly could.

So, we made the incredibly tough and difficult decision to remove Miss NHM 4 days into the new term. I wanted to give The Prison one last opportunity to rectify things and they screwed it up massively.

Finding a new school

I spent a morning phoning round all of the local schools asking if they had any places left. Based on The Prison’s history I’d already gone to look at two local schools in June 2017. I was extremely disappointed to find that two other local schools that I phoned that Monday morning in September were quite rude to me when I mentioned Miss NHM’s disease and implied that they would not be able to support her effectively.

I was EXTREMELY delighted to find that there was one place left at a local school that I’d visited earlier this year. I was really, really impressed when I went to see the school which only a few years ago was under special measures. It was very obvious that the team  in place were extremely passionate about what they were doing and their main objective was to ensure that children had fun at school, that they enjoyed school and that they learnt lots, not just educationally but emotionally and spiritually – the whole package.

I did a little dance when they told me that Miss NHM could start the following day. Actually, I did a REALLY LONG dance because I was sooooo relieved!!!!

They advised that Miss NHM could start the following day but I didn’t have time during the work day to get to the shops to get her the new school cardigan so she started on the Wednesday.

Starting a new school

Both of us were obviously quite nervous but the new school bent over backwards to ensure that both of us felt very welcome. The complete opposite of what we’d experienced before!

Within a week Miss NHM had made lots of new friends, including a best friend that she is “thick as thieves” with, as the teacher said at the first parents evening in October! lol.

Miss NHM settled in far better than I ever imagined she could. The difference in her behaviour after the first week was astounding. I had no idea what a negative effect The Prison was having on her.

Things just got better and better. The school have been soooo understanding and soooo supportive and everyone is so lovely and welcoming and HUMAN! Empathy and compassion is normalised (even with the reception staff!), which has been a massive shock as that’s definitely NOT the experience that we’ve had before.


Miss NHM’s reading has gone off the charts, she’s improving with her maths, her mental health has improved dramatically and although she is still showing signs of trauma and anxiety the new school have bent over backwards to support her.

I have been wracking my brains for the past term to try to find something that I don’t like about the new school and I just can’t! I love it ALL! I cannot praise the new school enough. This may be because of the dreadful experience that we had at The Prison so my expectations were very low already but I’ve spoken to several other parents at the new school and they love it too.

I’m so delighted, after an incredibly tough year, to say that we’ve ended on a real high. I no longer have to battle for an hour every morning to get Miss NHM to school, she happily skips in. No more dragging her through the door with the teacher’s help, she skips straight in without even looking back to say bye!

To see her happy to go to school every day has been a real revelation and to see her receive the support that she has needed since she first started school in 2015 has been such a relief.

So, FINALLY, I can report that we’ve had a very happy experience of Y2 so far. YAY!!!!!

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! 

I remember when…

I’ve lived in Basingstoke, on and off, for over 30 years. So I’ve seen a LOT of changes.

Recently I’ve met a lot of people who have only just moved to the area and it’s weird to think that they haven’t seen the town change, like I have.


I went to Winklebury Infants and Juniors school and Fort Hill school. When I was at Fort Hill we used to do cross country from the school down to “Westfield Lido”, which is now the Aquadrome. The rest of that area was all fields. In Winter we used to sledge down the hill where Milestones is now. I remember when the dual carriageway there was single carriageway.

I watched the Warner Brothers cinema being built and saw it open in September 1990. My Mum and I were the only ones who went to the cinema on the day that the first Iraq war started. Anywhere that had links with America was derelict for the weeks after the start of the war as there was a lot or paranoia.

I grew up in Winklebury, on the “posh” bit, the Clarke Estate. I remember when Rooksdown was all fields. Every weekend we used to walk the dogs over there and walk all the way past the ambulance station, when the field behind used to be a golf course. I built camps in the waste land between the ring road and the hospital fields. I used to go to gigs at the Cricket Club/Tennis Club there when I was at college.

I learnt to drive on Gander Drive, Rooksdown, when it wasn’t Gander Drive, when it was just a derelict tarmac road. I used to be part of dance shows that were at Park Prewett Hospital. I had my QMC 6th form end of year ball in that AMAZING hall. I remember it being huge and having gorgeous chandaliers. I was very sad when they knocked it down.

I also remember Rooksdown House/Hospital itself. The building was a huge listed building but was derelict for many years. After school we used to try to explore the building but it was VERY spooky and often had homeless people sleeping in it. I do remember seeing some of the paintings on the ground floor, that apparently previous patients had painted. My understanding is that the hospital was very important during and after the 2nd world war for it’s work on facially disfigured servicemen and civilians. I think my Mum even has a picture of me with the dogs on the front steps, probably taken in about 1987.

I remember when you didn’t have to pay to park at the hospital!!!!

Town Centre

I remember the old town as it was, before Festival Place was built. When the “posh” part of town was the top of town. I remember the old cinema that was destroyed in 1991. You used to have to queue outside, round the side of the building. I went to see the film “ET” with my Mum’s friend and her children and vividly remember her telling someone off who was smoking in the wrong section. Yup, those were the days when you were allowed to smoke in half of the cinema!

I remember the old bus station, with the chip shop on the corner. I spent MANY years waiting in that bus station as I didn’t have my first car until I was 24. I used the bus service a LOT or walked home.

I spent a LOT of time in Martines, on Monday nights when it was “Alternative Night”. I went pretty much every single Monday. It used to REALLY annoy me when people sat down on the floor every time they played James’ “Sit Down”. But you had to get up pretty quick if Nirvana was played straight afterward as it could be a bit of a blood bath! Haha. We always sat upstairs and the carpets were disgustingly sticky. We’d get there early and sit outside the light shop and if we had enough money we’d nip into Wimpey to get a milkshake on the way. Oh and the ghastly car park, with the bridge that you had to cross. Scary!!!

I remember when the food hall was opened and that part of town was refurbished, where Sports Direct is now. It was very popular when it first opened and just like American food halls.


My first job after Uni was working in Chineham Business Park, in what is now the Regus Building. I used to get the bus from Winklebury into town and then from town out to Chineham Business Park. Four nights a week I also worked at the Anvil as an usherette. I would finish work and get the bus into town and then walk home after the performance had finished because the buses would have finished running at 10pm.

I remember when the business park was built! We used to walk the dogs in Carpenters Down/Basing Wood when it was National Trust land. They used to have the best blackberries on the hill. It’s pretty weird to walk through there now as I LITERALLY remember when some of the trees were planted, trees that look much older than they are. Or maybe I’m just older than I realise? LOL.

Kempshott/Hatch Warren

I remember when the Hatch Warren estate was built. When I was at QMC 6th form I got a job working at Hatch Warren Sainsbury’s. I remember when the store was MUCH smaller. I used to get the bus into town on a Saturday morning, grab a spicy bean burger (I was veggie then) from Burger King when it used to be where M&S in town is now, and then get the bus out to Hatch Warren. When I finished my shift at 8pm I would either get the bus down to Ziggy’s (now the Academy Basingstoke) or walk. It would take about 1.5 hours to walk.

I went to the first “Novelty Island” when it was the Altis Leisure centre and before they refurbished the place into Ziggy’s. I may also have accidentally thrown up on one of the snooker tables one night, when they used to let the clubbers wonder into the snooker area. The stopped allowing people to do that after that night! Oops! Sorry!!! Hahahaha.

I was also the “Entertainments Officer” when I was in my 2nd year at QMC and I organised at least two student nights at Ziggy’s that were VERY successful. I think I even have a copy of the tickets in the loft somewhere! Haha.

Should I keep going with my reminiscing or is it all very boring? lol.

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!


My Favourite Comments so far on the October 2017 NorthHantsMum Survey…

I’m always a bit reticent to publish a survey because you never quite know what you are going to get back.

But you wonderful NHM Readers never fail me and have sent back some AWESOME comments and brilliant feedback, some of which made me laugh out loud and some which brought a tear to my eyes!

I probably ought to say that it’s not just me (Louise) running NHM now. I have an AMAZING team of volunteers who help out regularly, which is another reason why I wanted to publish some of your comments, because they should see that the work that they do voluntarily has a direct impact on parents and families in the area.

It’s been really interesting to see that there is a huge range in the time that people have been following NHM. Some of you have been with me since the very beginning (THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and some readers have only joined in the past few months. Your responses have made me a bit more aware that there is such a diversity in the length of time people have been following NHM. Not quite sure what to do with this! lol.

There have been some fantastic ideas suggested by you this year and have also prompted me to think about a few extra things to investigate over the next few months.

THANK YOU to everyone who has responded so far.

The survey is still open if you would like to complete it: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FFNHHLW

If you’ve been following NHM for a while, you will know that my ego is MASSIVE! So this post is also for my own ego. So when I’m having a bit of a blah day with NHM, I can read this post and remind myself of why I do what I do on NorthHantsMum ;-).

I’m also quite looking forward to World Domination and becoming a Dame…Hahahahaha.

Favourite Comments

What do you love about NorthHantsMum?

Louise: When asked “What you love about NorthHantsMum” your responses made my heart SIIIIINNNGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is exactly the kind of responses that I was looking for so it makes me BEYOND DELIGHTED that the reasons that you love NHM are what I intend. THANK YOU!!!!

“Honest reviews Great community spirit”

“It’s local, it isn’t trying to make money from me, it promotes a real sense of community”

“Such a wealth of info on many many areas.”

“Friendly, approachable, always available.”

“Useful stuff written by real mum’s who aren’t afraid to admit it’s hard to be a mum”

“I couldn’t live without it. My husband is about to take over my maternity leave and be a stay at home dad. I’ve told him that he only need use NHM to see what may be of interest to the kids in any given day. It’s a finger on the pulse of family events and all things kids. One source of truth!”

“The availability to meet people, help others through questions asked, ask questions, see you’re not alone, get ideas for things to do and see, activities and events that are taking place. (Often I’ve seen events that you have said you’re interested in which makes me go check out what it is!)”

“I love how nhm is the first thing I think I about when looking for things to do locally”

“Zero judgement”

“Down to earth, honest and very excitable (passionate)”

“Very knowledgeable about local area and a central point fog likeminded people in the area. If you have a question which Louise can’t answer one of the followers knows!”

“That pretty much everything you could need as a parent is in one place”

“the community feel. like we’re all friends.”

“Great supportive community, lots of up to date local info.”

“Louise 🙂 Also so much info & accessibility for so many people, friendly helpful community spirit”

“All the activities that are going on in one place. That NHM is a real Mum, and tells it like it is.”

“The community spirit, and kind and super helpful network it supports and creates for us all.”

“Great tips/info/ideas and places to visit plus what’s on locally as it’s not otherwise advertised to be seen easily.”

“Everything! Reviews, what’s on that Louise nhm fb shares, reader questions, all of it, it’s all relevant and needed!”

What would you like to see LESS of on NorthHantsMum?

Louise: I am SOOO pleased to see that there were hardly any comments to this question. 

Although I do feel compelled to respond to the comments about my recent negativity towards Miss NHM’s previous school.

I’m VERY pleased to say that Miss NHM is absolutely thriving at her new school so I anticipate that future comments about schools will be far more positive ;-).

What should happen next on NorthHantsMum? What is missing from NorthHantsMum? What would you dream of for NorthHantsMum?

Louise: Love, love, LOVE the comments on this one!!! 

“My only wish is that it doesn’t bog you down too much so that you can keep up the awesomeness and keep enjoying it! (Because then we can too ??) There’s nothing else out there like it, it’s a lifeline for mums (No pressure ??)”

“I think just to continue providing the amazing community service that you already do. It’s amazing what you have built in your “spare”time. It’s fabulous”

“Keep doing what you’re doing”

“Continue as you are!”

“World domination ??”

“Change nothing xx”

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Louise: The responses to the final question of the survey are nearly always my favourites 😀

“Just a big massive thank you for all the spare time and hard work you put into this. As one individual I would struggle to remember all that you have helped me with as there is just so much. Multiply that by everyone else and that’s a whole bunch of selfless helping!!!”

“Nope. Keep up the good work”

“It’s really helpful. Saves searching Google for the information you need.”

“Thank you for all that you do! It’s hugely appreciated.”

“Great work whatever you do next”

“Love what is done on here. Really great work going on.”

“Brilliant resource, so lucky to have it available locally.”

“An absolutely fantastic concept and a huge well done for keeping it all going along with a family and job!!”

“Great work Louise, you are doing the community proud.”

“Your the bestest”

“A great resource that can only evolve and go from strength to strength.”

“Thank you for all you do x”

“Thank you! I have shared your page with many Mum’s!”

“You’re amazing. The support you provide is amazing. Thank you so much. I would have been lost these last two years without the virtual comfort blanket you have provided for me. Well done on giving something so valuable to so many.”

“Louise is fab and should be made a Dame”

“You are an amazing lady doing a wonderful thing for other mummies! Thank you! ”

“Thank you for producing such a wonderful resource for local families.”

“Your doing fab Louise”

“You do a brilliant job Lou.”

THANK YOU for all of your comments and your support!!!

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! 

Good Infant Schools vs. Bad Infant Schools

Before I start this post, I need to make it VERY clear that this post is a bit tongue in cheek, is based on my experience of only 2 schools (and therefore cannot be taken too seriously) and is entirely from my (a parents) perspective…

Mr NHM and I moved Miss NHM to a new school 5 days into the start of the September 2017 academic year.

I won’t go into the details on NHM, for obvious reasons, but we now refer to Miss NHM’s old school as “The Prison” and I will continue to refer to it as such, regardless of feedback from anyone. The way they treated my daughter and my family was despicable.

Needless to say, I’ve learnt a LOT about what a “good” infants school is like and what a “bad” infants school is like.

Several points below aren’t based on my actual experience, they are based on what I have seen and heard from other parents and children.

Good Infant schools vs. Bad Infant schools

A good infants school will have large, naturally lit classrooms.

A bad infants school will have tiny classrooms, the same size as my kitchen, which will be expected to seat 32 children in and will be very, very dark with barely any natural light. (Top tip, if visiting a new school for your child, ALWAYS go during day light hours so you can see what the natural light will be like for your child when they are imprisoned in the classroom for 5 hours a day, 5 days a week.)

A good school will allow children to play on the field.

A bad school will have a field that is entirely for show and sports day. Children will NOT be allowed to play on it, for their own safety (!!!).

A good school will give a 5 year old in YR1 two pieces of homework a week and will realise that family time is more important than more work outside of school.

A bad school will give over 6 pieces of homework to a 5 year old in YR1 and when your child doesn’t do all of this homework they are punished.

A good school will give a child the chance to get off the “thundercloud” and the child will not be permanently punished.

A bad school will put the child on the “thundercloud” for the rest of the week and the child will miss the most exciting part of the school week, “golden time” if they don’t do ALL of their homework.

A good school will not have the “thundercloud”, “sun” or “rainbow”.

A bad school will use the “thundercloud” to inflict intimidation and fear into small children.

A good school will give children the opportunity to move around during their “free” time.

A bad school will play films during “golden time”.

A good school will send messages to parents about things like nits and harvest festival collections.

A bad school will send weekly emails about the attendance levels for each class, messages that if you park in the wrong place you will be arrested and about how several children are wearing the wrong coloured coat to school.

A good school will have teachers who send the children in their class Christmas cards.

A bad school will not have teachers send the children in their class Christmas cards because the “personal touch” is not encouraged.

A good school will care more about the welfare of the children than children wearing EXACTLY the correct uniform, including the colour of socks and outdoor coat.

A bad school will NOT care about the welfare of the children and will only care that the children are wearing the CORRECT uniform and god forbid those who don’t have logo’d uniform.

A good school will have a variety of different classes including music and arts for all years.

A bad school will have only english, maths and science classes, with one class per term of “fun” stuff from YR2 onwards.

A good school will allow children to have their classes outside when the weather is over 28 degrees.

A bad school will force children to remain in a classroom that has no air conditioning when the weather is over 28 degrees, including no playtime or lunchtime play outside, because it is for their own safety as it’s too hot to be outside (!!!!!).

A good school will realise that children of infants school age require a rounded experience of life.

A bad school will only concentrate on attendance at school and will send you a “delightful” red letter each half term if your child’s attendance is below their requirements, regardless of whether your child has a serious medical condition which means they are more sick than “normal” children.

A good school will have extra classes after school like “forest school”,  which are run by teachers and are free to attend.

A bad school will only have classes after school that cost an absolute arm and a leg for your child to attend.

A good school will have guitar lessons, Spanish lessons and rock steady lessons which will all take place during the school day.

A bad school will have NOTHING other than lessons for children to attend during the school day.

A good school will bend over backwards to ensure that your child is treated the same as other children in their class, regardless of their situation.

A bad school will single out a child if they have any extra requirements or special needs that don’t fit in with the schools vision of a “normal” child.

A good school will care greatly about a child’s emotional wellbeing.

A bad school won’t give a rat’s fig about a child’s emotional well being and will actually do everything they can to ensure that the child conforms to their expectations of what small children should be like, regardless of that child’s situation.

A good school won’t focus on the costs associated with supporting children with extra needs.

A bad school will ONLY focus on the costs associated with supporting children with extra needs.

A good school will have lovely receptionists that are also Mum’s who TOTALLY get it.

A bad school will have very grumpy receptionists who raise their eyebrows and grumble at you, for example, when you forget to bring paperwork back in on time and then proceed to make you feel like it’s you that’s back in infants school when you return said paperwork late.

A good school will have lots of pictures of happy smiley children on their website.

A bad school will have only have a picture of the head teacher on their website.

A good school will allow children to bring in anything they like for “Show and Tell”.

A bad school will ONLY allow your child to bring in something for “Show and Tell” that is related to the subject they are studying at that exact moment and if they try to bring in something else to show their classmates it will be confiscated.

What would you add to this list?

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! 

We ARE keeping a “Sitting with Jane” bench in Basingstoke! WHOOOOOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When the first 12 Lot’s (benches) started bidding at £3000 my first thought was “ah well, at least we’ve raised £1000 for Ark Cancer Centre Charity“.

My second thought was “PHEW!! I don’t need to work out what happens next if we win one!!!” Hahaha.

Then, Lot 13, “Girl Power” came on the screen and they started playing the Spice Girls in the background.

And I started to get a tingly feeling in my tummy…

The bidding started at £3K. Then it dropped to £2K. And then it dropped to £1K and I felt my hand shoot up into the air, with the bidding paddle.

Now, it’s a huge responsibility to bid with other people’s money and there was a LOT of expectation. Running a campaign like this is a huge honour and privilege, one which I don’t take lightly.

I was shaking ALL night.

Several of the benches raised £7K and I felt a teeeennny tiny bit out of my league.

Had it not been for Sue, Rachel and Cathy who came with me, I would have been a dribbling mess on the floor.

And then the Auctioneer said, “anymore bids?”…”Anymore?”…

Sue and Rachel were sat next to me and were clutching my arms and I LITERALLY didn’t breathe for about 5 minutes. At least that’s what it felt like.

“Going once”….

“Going twice”…..

And somebody put in a bid at £1250.


And that was it.

I thought it was all over.

I think I literally sagged in my chair.

I heard someone behind me bid for £1500. Then the bidding closed.

And then I got a text.

From Laura at The Topiary, who was sat at the back of the auction.

We had a conversation in the week that we would collaborate if things got a bit hairy in the auction and it didn’t look like either of us would get a chance of getting one.

And in her text it said “I’ll give you the £500”. “You can have it xxx”.

So, we got it!

“Girl Power”.

(Not the best pictures as I was STILL shaking at this point. However, I expect to see far better pictures of this bench in the future! lol).

Thank you!!!!

I need to say a HUGE thank you to the following people, without whom we never would have stood a chance.

My beloved husband, Mr NHM, whose encouragement and belief in my “crazy” ideas is never ending.

Sue – who took Miss NHM and I to see our first bench at the Walled Garden and got me caught up in this whole thing!! Your friendship and unfailing support means so much to me.

Rebecca at The Typeface Group who has been so supportive along this whole journey and who kept me going when I got back from holiday at the end of August and I thought I’d lost momentum.

Mark at The Ark for his brilliant support, enthusiasm and encouragement and Michelle for her wonderful support!!

Steve and Charlotte at Festival Place for their support and encouragement.

All of the NHM Ladies who believed we could do it and donated:  Wendy, CathyW, Lilian, LauraE, Zoe, Cathy, Karen, Lisa, Helen, Gisella, LauraW, Juliet, Emma, Sue, Sally, Mary, Sarah, Allison, Ceri, Katie, SueS, Victoria, Julie, Rebecca, Jules, Eleanor, Pauline, Michele, Jaz, Rachel, Natasha, Stephany, Kath, Sharon, Sarah, Claire, BeckyT, Lisa, Emily, Pam, Cat, Lyndsey, Rebecca H, Stephanie, Gillian. Thank you!!! You are ALL AWESOME!!!!!

Everyone who entered the competition and helped to raised the profile of the campaign. All of the children looked FANTASTIC!!!!

Mike O’Neil at Action Trophies for his very generous donation.

Nicky from Ma Humbugs Old Fashioned Sweet Shop for her generous donation.

John from Tidal Bay Crazy Adventure Golf for his VERY generous donation (£250!!!) about 30 minutes before the event started. STREEEESSSFFULLLL!!!!! Hahaha

Laura from The Topiary for her INCREDIBLE donation and without whom we never would have stood a chance of getting the bench.

Apologies if there is anyone whom I’ve missed off. I’ve barely slept a wink! lol.

What happens next?

Although I had a very strong feeling that we would get a bench, I hadn’t quite sorted out any of the details about what happens if we actually did!! lol.

I am looking to donate the bench to somewhere that people can still access the bench and where it will be indoors so that it lasts for a very long time. If you have any sensible suggestions please do let me know at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com.

Otherwise it’s going on my Mum’s front drive! 😀 😀 :-D.

Also, if you know of anyone who might be able to help me move the bench as it needs to be removed by Monday (18th September), please do get in touch!!!!


I would really love to get a little plaque for the bench which will say:

“I dedicate this bench to all of the Mums, and their children, in North Hampshire”.

We did it.

Thank you!

You are all AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xx

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!

Keeping a “Sitting with Jane” bench in BASINGSTOKE!!!

Have you seen the “Sitting with Jane” benches that have been dotted all over Basingstoke and local areas in the past month?

Wouldn’t it be AWESOME if we could crowd fund one of them to stay in Basingstoke? So we could show our children that we all did something AMAZING together?

The NorthHantsMum Community and anyone else who would like to be involved, are working hard to raise money for one of the “Sitting with Jane” benches to stay in one of the local parks, maybe War Memorial or Eastrop Park, depending on whether Basingstoke and Deane council agree.

I am hoping the bench will be used by lots of people but also as a safe place where Mum’s can meet other Mum’s and children can meet other children. How cool would that be!!!!

(Crowd funding means that the money is only taken at the end of the 30 days, IF the project goes ahead. However, I’ve made the executive decision that ALL donations that are made will still go to the Ark Cancer Centre Charity, even if we aren’t successful in our bid.)

The NorthHantsMum Bench – June 2016

At the end of June 2016, just after the Brexit announcement, I had several friends who were struggling with certain aspects of their life.

I posted up the following status on my “Louise nhm Smith” profile and was completely blown away by the positive feedback that came back: “Good Afternoon Everyone! I have several “Mum” friends who are struggling at the moment. I don’t know if it’s because of the weather or the Brexit result or even England being out of the football, but if you are struggling at the moment, I want to send you a MASSIVE hug and ask you to reach out to someone and tell them. Don’t suffer in silence. Being a Mum is REALLY hard work at the best of times, but even harder when, for example, your baby has colic or the ground floor of your house has been flooded or you are on your knees with exhaustion. Somehow though, knowing that there are other Mum’s who are highly sympathetic, it makes it easier to get through. If you are struggling to find someone who will listen to you, let me know and I will see if I can help in whatever ways I can. Massive hugs to anyone who is struggling at the mo.”

That night I was chatting to Mr NHM about how I want to do something tangible to support local Mum’s and he came up with the idea of having a “Mum bench” in either Eastrop Park or the War Memorial Park.

It was such a brilliant idea and I started campaigning straight away. But a week or two later Miss NHM became quite seriously ill and that took over everything for nearly a year of our lives.

When my friend Sue mentioned about the “Sitting with Jane” bench trail at the beginning of August 2017, I didn’t really get it until we went to see the Walled Garden bench and the children LOVED it!

Then a few days later I had a spine tingling moment and thought about how awesome it would be if we could raise some money to keep one of the benches in Basingstoke after the trail closed, for everyone to use whilst raising money for an amazing cause…

So it’s all Mr NHM’s fault really! lol.


You can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/louise-northhantsmum

All money raised will go towards the Ark Cancer Centre Charity, regardless of whether we are successful with our bid.

Even if you can only donate £1, this will go towards the bid for a chair at the auction will be taking place on Friday 15th September.

Every time someone makes a donation towards the campaign, I will post up a picture to NorthHantsMum FB Page of a local child sitting on one of the benches with the amount of the donation.

If you would like your child to be featured as part of the campaign, please email me their picture to NorthHantsMum@gmail.com, with some words that say you are their parent and are happy for their picture to be used.

Everyone who donates towards the bench will also have their name listed in this post and hopefully somewhere on the bench, although I don’t quite know how that will work yet! (If you would like your last name to be included, just to let me know).

If you are sponsoring as a business, a link to your business will also be included in this post.

This is going to be an AWESOME way for the community to come together to raise funds to keep a little bit of heritage right here in our town.

Everyone who has donated towards the bench…


Wendy D

Cathy W

Lilian K












My Mum


















Stephany C

Kath R










Rebecca H



Mike O’Neil at Action Trophies for his very generous donation.

Nicky from Ma Humbugs Old Fashioned Sweet Shop for her generous donation.

John from Tidal Bay Crazy Adventure Golf for his VERY generous donation (£250!!!) about 30 minutes before the event started. STREEEESSSFFULLLL!!!!! Hahaha

Laura from The Topiary for her INCREDIBLE donation and without whom we never would have stood a chance of getting the bench.

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!

My list of places to visit in 2017

The really frustrating thing is, we went to loads of things last year, but I’ve hardly had the time to write up Reviews of them all!

My list of places to visit in 2017

Kyoto Gardens – DONE but I need to write up the Review!

Cotswold Safari Water Park

Kew Gardens – DONE but I need to write up the Review!

Porchester castle

Windsor Castle

Brownsea island

Harry Potter world


Visit a Lido

Frimley Lodge Park

Watercress Line

Basing House – I KNOW! I still haven’t been here! lol.

Bucklebury Farm

Manor Farm Country Park –  I haven’t been here for 12 years, so am looking forward to going back

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!