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.

Winklebury

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.

Chineham

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.

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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! 

NorthHantsMum is my HOBBY!!!!

I feel I need to state this very clearly.

NorthHantsMum. Is. My. HOBBY!!!

I work on it in my “spare” time.

I don’t spend all day, every day working on NorthHantsMum. I have other things going on in my life. I work a full time job (40 hrs) in part time hours (30 hrs), I have a little part time job that I work 5-10 hours a week, I have a daughter with a serious illness, a husband who is the equivalent to my second child (his words, not mine!!) AND NorthHantsMum. Plus there are my loyal friends, my extended family, a house to run, school life to manage, finances to monitor etc. etc. etc. that factor into this equation.

My time to work on NorthHantsMum is limited and I will be ETERNALLY grateful to anyone who takes this into consideration.

I make absolutely no money on the website for what I do. Neither do the couple of lovely ladies who regularly help me out with posts and pages. We are all volunteers.

VOLUNTEERS.

Please, please, please keep this in mind when you are sending me messages or posts or are emailing me. I have a limited amount of energy. I’m very sorry if your post doesn’t get scheduled exactly when you want it too. That is because I’m being pulled in MANY different directions at the same time.

I love what I do on NHM. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it. But I am finding that there has been a lot more pressure this year. People are demanding a lot more from me than they used too.

For example, so far on NHM this year I have:

  • Handled two domestic abuse cases
  • Dealt with a case of a child that was in extreme pain and what to do
  • Helped several vulnerable new Mum’s find the support systems that they desperately need
  • Put lots of parents new to the area in touch with each other
  • Helped with finding holiday childcare for several Mum’s
  • Put several single Mum’s in touch with each other so they can create a support system
  • Helped publicise the Christmas Food Box appeal and co-ordinated a Christmas present drive for a family who were in the local refuge over Christmas
  • Helped many Mum’s and Dad’s whose children are starting school in September this year AND next year.

And lots and lots more that I can’t even remember now.

This doesn’t include posting on the website every day about events, classes, important news for local parents, attending events that I’m invited too, co-ordinating the AWESOME volunteers who so fantastically help me out and save my sanity, organise the schedule and administration for NHM and a truck load of other stuff for the blog.

I LOVE that NHM can help people in the way that it does now. I definitely don’t resent any of it at all. I am privileged and very honoured that I, and the NHM Community, can help people in the way that we do.

I know that it’s my own fault for creating the “monster” that is NHM. However, I never, ever, ever expected it to be what it has become.

But I barely get any time to write personal posts anymore. I know some of you think this is a good thing, but the whole point of having a blog is to be able to actually blog! lol.

I LOVE what NorthHantsMum has become. I really do, but I need a break. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY need a break.

I am exhausted.

Exhausted from three years of battling the medical profession. Exhausted from two years of battling school. Exhausted from the changes that are being enforced upon me at work which means I am being demoted in my job. Exhausted.com.

So, I am taking the summer off, like I normally do. Except this year I am REALLY taking the summer off.

For the sake of my sanity and my family and my daughter, I am planning on taking six weeks off NHM, from Mon 24th July until Mon 4th September. That may even be 7 weeks. I don’t care how long it is, all I know is, I NEED A BREAK!!!!

Miss NHM is getting older now and strangely she needs me more now than she ever did. I don’t know if it’s because of her illness but she is far more demanding than she was when she was little! lol.

So if you send me an email or a message and I don’t reply in two or three weeks, it’s not because I’m ignoring you. It’s because I’m out enjoying my life and my time with my family. Thank you for understanding.

As always, thank you for your fantastic and very much needed support of NorthHantsMum. And yes, this post makes me sound like a total martyr and normally I’m not, but maybe I’m feeling a bit like that at the moment or maybe I just need a rest?

Roll on the Summer Holidays!!!! WHOOP!!!!!

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My 2016 on NorthHantsMum

Yay! It’s New Year’s Eve tonight! AT LAST

2016 has been a very intense year for me, from both a professional and personal perspective. I am very blessed at all of the opportunities that have come into my life this year because of NHM but there have also been some VERY stressful times in the past 12 months.

Having an Alter-ego

I’ve been a bit naive with what it means to have an alter-ego. I think of NHM as a website that provides information to parents and a way of me putting people in touch with each other but it seems that I AM NorthHantsMum. People this year have started calling me NorthHantsMum and this has been really weird!!! I don’t think I am NorthHantsMum but apparently I am and it’s taking a bit of time to adjust too!!!!

During 2016 I have learnt to be more authentic and honest as part of my work on NHM. I have always been very apprehensive about sharing more information about myself and my feelings, partly from fear of rejection and partly wanting to protect my family from unwanted attention. But this year I’ve been more open about the challenges that I have faced on NHM and the positive feedback has been overwhelming on several occasions. I know I am very, very blessed to have so much of your support.

My Life’s Purpose

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past year thinking about why I’m here and what I’m meant to be doing with my life and I’ve refined the following:

My life’s purpose is spending my time and energy finding ways to inspire and help people, particularly Mum’s, live easier and better lives. I want to have helped thousands of people improve their lives. 

I do this in a number of ways, such as helping hundreds of local Mum’s have an easier parenting experience, helping lots of local Mum’s get their businesses started and via my part time business where I help lots of people to improve their lives by saving money and/or making money.

It’s nice to end the year with a reminder of why I do what I do on NorthHantsMum.

2016 Goals for NHM

I am VERY proud of the impact the NorthHantsMum is making to parents in the area.

At the beginning of each year I set some goals for NorthHantsMum. For 2016 I set the following, very high level goals. I am soooo pleased to tell you that I SMASHED these goals.

2000 Facebook page Like’s
1100 MailChimp subscribers

1400 FB friends

I’ve already started thinking about my goals for NHM during 2017 and am going to be more specific for them during 2017.

These are some of NHM highlights from the past year: 

I am exceedingly grateful to the Ladies in the NHM Marketing team who have lightened the load for me this year, especially Shona who has gone above and beyond working to supporting NHM.

Very thankful to all of the NHM writers who have attended events for me on behalf of NHM (and their children who also have benefited) and written their reviews so promptly.

To all of the Mum’s that I support via my Small Business Networking group.

To the Mastermind Ladies that I work with to keep NHM on track: Tina, Rachel, Kath, Katie, Michelle, Liane and Natasha.

I knew I wouldn’t be spending as much time fundraising via NHM this year compared to last year.  We did manage to raise £50 at the NHM Spring Expo which went towards the ReadyEmmyWalk fund.

I have also raised £50 so far for the NHM Bench (THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO HAS DONATED!!!) and I would really like to step up the fundraising for this during 2017.

The NHM Fitness Group. Several friendships between NHM readers have been created because of this group.

The “Prosecco and chat for non cliquey Mum’s” have been a resounding success. Thank you again to Gemma for the idea! Hoping to do a few more of these during 2017.

The NHM Book Club.

The NHM Cinema club.

Cancelling the Expo. Those of you who saw my post know that this was a very difficult decision for me but with hindsight, I can say that it was absolutely the right decision for my family and I. I was OVERWHEMLED at all of the wonderfully positive messages I received. I hadn’t anticipated any messages at all when I published that post and I had over 140 people contact me in the 24 hours after!! It was absolutely AWESOME and I am sooooo grateful that so many of you support what I do with NHM. I just had no idea that so many of you were so supportive. It was a very emotional couple of days for me and I felt completely wrung out for a few weeks after!

The NHM Part Time Jobs group where I think at least two people have found part time jobs as a result.

Supporting the Christmas Food Box appeal for the third year.

I’m sure there are more, but I can’t remember now! If you think of any more, please let me know as it’s great to have a reminder of the positive influence that NHM has had on people’s lives. I’m chuffed that most of the highlights from 2016 support my Life’s purpose.

Moving into 2017 

I’m really excited about “Joyful January” which I will post about tomorrow. This is going to be brilliant and I’m really excited to see the out come from this one. I have a few ideas about what to do next year for NHM but I’m really looking to build a team that are happy to work with me on NHM and hold me accountable!

I am also looking for a group of NHM Supporters who will be my “brain storming” team.  If you are interested in being involved in either, let me know via NorthHantsMum@gmail.com.

I’m also really glad to be putting behind me some of the stresses that 2016 brought. I am hoping that someone (ANYONE!!!) can show me how to install wordpress plug-in’s, so that I can get some more functionality sorted on the site. The stuff in the back end has been a head-ache this year and I’m really hoping to get this sorted ASAP!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

I wish you and your loved ones an AWESOME New Years Eve this evening!

We will be having “Burning Night” this evening which will involve having a fire in the garden and roasting marshmallows. Miss NHM is very excited about it. I may even have a glass of Prosecco ;-).

Have a great evening and thank you again for all of your support! I’m very, very grateful for each and everyone of you!!!! x

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 Profile, LinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

NorthHantsMum’s 5th Birthday is today!!!!!!!!

Today is the fifth year anniversary of NHM. Yup, that’s right, I started NHM five years ago today. So I’m afraid you will need to allow me a post of reflection and self-indulgence (there’s a surprise! Lol) :-D.

Five years is a long time. Five years feels like a significant milestones. After five years I still haven’t gotten used to having an alter-ego! Lol.

A lot of time and passion has been poured into NHM in five years. A lot of love and tears also. NHM is so much more than a hobby for me now, it’s a part of me, a key part of my life. When I think back to the time in my life when I started NHM, when Miss NHM was three months old, it is literally a lifetime away. I am a different person to the one who started NHM. So are my husband and our daughter.

I cannot express to you how amazing my family are. Mr NHM has ALWAYS been hugely supportive of NHM and this has been incredibly important. Miss NHM is now five years old (obviously) and I still can’t believe it. She’s five years old ALREADY??!?!!! I love them both more than you can imagine.

Louise-65
Us

NHM has been SUCH a positive influence on my life. I’m a much better person because of it. I have met SO many wonderful Mum’s (and Dad’s!) through NHM. I am INCREDIBLY grateful for the many amazing friendships and opportunities NHM has created for myself and my family.

There has also been a lot of heartbreak and stress during these past five years, with NHM and also with everything that has happened in my life beyond NHM, but it’s been my “rock” for so long. Even when it feels like everything else is falling apart around me I know that I have this AMAZING network of parents supporting me, encouraging me and telling me to keep going. Having something bigger than myself, this network of people who rely on and support me, is pretty AWESOME!

They say we leave fingerprints on the lives we touch. I wonder how many lives I’ve touched with NHM in the past five years and how many more lives NHM will touch. It’s a pretty awesome thought! Having all this positive influence on so many people has got to be a good thing, right?

Thank you!

I would also like to say thank you to my amazing team of supporters who have helped to keep NHM going during the past five years.
  • Abi – for your passion and drive with all things technical and your faith in NHM. I literally couldn’t be where I am with NHM were it not for your belief in me. I’m going to miss your techie support TONNES.
  • Sophie for all of your marketing support and for designing the latest NHM logo.
  • All of the lovely NHM secret writers who step in at a moments notice to attend and write up events and who have taken the pressure off me on a number of occasions.
  • To the fabulous NHM Marketing team (Shona, Hayley, Gemma, Chloe and Yvette) who are made up of a key number of extremely talented ladies who are giving up their time so willingly to help others.
  • Everyone who has ever been involved in a NHM event. The meet up’s (should I start these again?) and the Expo’s. Between us we have raised over £2500 for charity, which is phenomenal! Especially, Lynne, Sophie and Lowri my willing volunteers who gave up their precious time to help out.
  • To all of the local Mum’s who run their own businesses and have supported and encouraged me with my networking endeavours.
  • Everyone who contributed to my “birthday blogging tree”. I love it!
  • Mr NHM for his constant love and support and for learning how to load the dishwasher PROPERLY in the past five years :-D.
  • Finally Miss NHM for being my daily inspiration. I love her more than anything, even NorthHantsMum :-D.
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My “blogging tree” which is one of my most treasured possessions. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed.

What happens next?

I’d like to say I have big plans for what happens next on NHM but, truth be told, I have an awful lot going on in my life outside of NHM at the moment and I feel the need to focus on the basics. Time to focus on the bits I love, like the sharing of information and knowledge and supporting my fantastic readers (that’s YOU!). The big plans are going to have to wait for a bit longer.

I would also like to say that I’m going to celebrate tonight but life goes on and today I will be attending the funeral of a much loved man who was a significant figure in my life.  So today I’m going to think of how grateful and blessed I was to have known him and for him to have been in my life. Then on Friday I’m going to focus on how grateful and blessed I am to have NorthHantsMum and all of the friendships and opportunities it’s created for me in the past five years and celebrate with a cheeky glass of Prosecco.

Yay to “Proseco Friday’s” 😀

As always THANK YOU. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for your support, feedback and love during the past five years. I literally couldn’t do it without you.

Here’s to the next five years on NorthHantsMum! Cheers x

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! 

My favourite blogs

This is a list of my favourite blogs. Interestingly, I much prefer American blogs to UK blogs.

It’s quite an eclectic mix, but you might find something that inspires you.

US Blogs

The art of Simple – My favouritest blog in the WHOLE world

The art of Simple Travel  – in 2020 the NHM family will be taking a year out to do a world trip, just like these guys. I can’t wait!!!!

The Simple dollar – Trent has inspired me to spend small but live large. He is partly the reason we didn’t buy a larger house last year. Just don’t tell Mr NHM this! lol.

Reluctant Entertainer – Over the five years I’ve been reading this blog, Sandy has inspired me to be a better hostess.

Modern Mrs Darcy – I’ve only been reading this blog for 6 months but I love Anne’s blog!

Super Healthy Kids – Thanks to Tracy, a NHM Reader, for the heads-up on this blog.

The Happiest Mom – I’ve been following Meagan’s blog for about 5 years and she has some brilliant tips on being a better Mum. Plus she has 5 children, so she clearly knows what she’s talking about!

The Bloggess.com – Random but HILLARIOUS!

White Hot Truth – At first I thought this was claptrap, but it’s REALLY growing on me. I so want the Desire Map book for Christmas!

Zenhabits – Leo inspires me to be a better person.

UK Blogs

The Anti Mummy Blog – I love Sally’s take on the world. She also gets to go on some amazing holidays, all because of her blog. Jealous, moi? lol.

The Diary of a Frugal Family – Cass’s blog is one of my favourites for inspiration. I just wish they would eat more vegetables! lol.

Sticky Fingers – Tara’s blog is awesome and one of the top blogs in the UK.

Kate Takes 5 – Kate’s had a pretty rough couple of years but I love her take on life and being a single Mum.

Knackered Mothers Wine Club – ironically I hardly drink anymore, but I love the posts this lady writes! lol.

The Green Parent – A fantastic blog that really makes you think. I’ve discovered things via this blog, that I’d never heard of before.

Miss Thrifty – some brilliant ideas on how to save money.

Local blogs I love

Dear Mummy

Things I have Learnt

Adventures of a Mum

Act One Adventures

Everything is Rosy

Hope & Rainbows

Peppercorn prawn

I have loads more blogs that I read, but these are my favourites.

I hope you find this list useful.

Reading Blogs

I’ve mentioned before that I read all of these blogs via Feedly.

When Google reader was decommissioned last year I did a lot of research into which tool would be the best replacement.

Feedly is fantastic and I’ve been more than happy with the transition.

You can use feedly on your phone, computer and iPad and it syncs across all.

What are your favourite blogs to read?

Are you a local blogger?

Are you a local blogger who lives either in Hampshire or in Berkshire?

Would you like to be featured on NorthHantsMum on a future Local Blogger Guest Post?

If yes, please drop me an email at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com.

You can either write a new post exclusively for NHM, directing people back to your page or link to an existing post on your page.

Some of my favourite local blogs

Minrva

Adventures of a Mum

Dear Mummy

Act One Adventures

Everything is Rosy

Peppercorn Prawn 

 

 

A Summer of sport VII: “Born to be wild…”

Another fab guest post from Peta at http://minrva.blogspot.co.uk/:

“Born to be wild…”

Last week’s summer of sport subject (ballet) was perhaps a little feminine, although, ballet is not just for Misses. All the same, it is for the sake of fairness that this week is a (stereotypically) masculine sport. But then motor sport is not just for Masters either.

As a young Miss I always wanted to drive, I was forever asking questions about road signs, (what they mean, why they are where they are etc), and every time we went to the farm I recalling whining (a lot) that I wanted to take the ‘Suzie’ out for a ‘spin’ (read: drive the Suzuki utility vehicle). It never mattered to me that my length-challenged legs were far from pedal-reaching proportions, nor that my driving skills were not fully manual-car capable, (Dad would let me sit on his lap and ‘drive’ our automatic car along the untarred lane-way between home and Grandma and Grandpop’s house). I simply just wanted to drive.

My sister, on the other hand, took jazz ballet classes.

The precursor to this driving fascination was probably the dodgem cars I loved to drive at a local theme park of my childhood. But they never went fast enough and it was a stretch to wear the seatbelt and still be able to reach the steering wheel and pedals. The, as I grew older, the track was predictably boring and I was increasingly frustrated with folks always getting in my way. On the farm, however, I only needed to worry about Kangaroos; not for fear of hurting them, it was a fear of them hurting me – which would promptly put an end to taking the Suzie out for a spin (those kangaroos really are brutal).

By the age of 12 or 13 I was adept at reversing the cars off the front garden grass onto the driveway, down the slope, onto the road, along the gutter and around the corner to the garages at the back of our odd-shaped corner block. Next, I would either reverse parallel park on the forecourt or park in the garage. All of this was done, of course, after washing Mum’s, Dad’s and then Nan’s cars. This is also precisely the same way that my father learnt to drive.

Alas, we have no family farm nearby, so it will be dodgem cars and go-karts for my Miss and Master. And I doubt they will sit still long enough to watch the Belgian F1 Grand Prix with Papa this Sunday (25 August). Mind, Master is named after a late legend of the Formula 1 (F1) scene, so perhaps go-karts might be a winner? He would certainly not be the first Briton to get into F1 this way…

Back to my old form, here are some local(-ish) go-kart providers, if you like to “Getcha motor runnin’…”

  • Chineham: The nearest and newest, having opened 27 July 2013, is Absolutely Karting Basingstoke, Wade Road, RG24 8LJ (near Great Binfields Road intersection)
  • Reading: Premier Karting (RG5 4SZ) and Teamworks Reading (RG30 1JT).
  • Andover: Thruxton (SP11 8PW)

A Summer of Sport VI: Ballet

Another lovely guest post from Peta at http://minrva.blogspot.co.uk/:

I have never studied, practiced or performed ballet, but I do so enjoy watching it!

In fact, I am writing this while on my way home from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where I relished the exquisite elegance of the famous Bolshoi, performing Jewels. Tonight, however, was not my first Russian-ballet experience; that was some years ago in Russia at one of those ‘tourist shows’ – The Nutcracker, in April… As my mum would say, they were “not much chop” (utterly rubbish).

After being completely enthralled in a truly breath-taking performance (Diamonds, in part, was a succession of solo performances showing off the most amazing, and I imagine, incredibly difficult sequences), one can be left feeling awe inspired, and then perhaps a little dismayed (I am more a terre than chassé). But fear not, ever the silver lining sort of Mama, I am thinking about what it takes to be a Bolshoi ballerina, what lessons can I learn from this, and what lessons can ballet teach my Miss and Master? Here are just a couple of things I have learnt…

Discipline. Ballet, to me, is as much about strict discipline as it is about splendorous dancing. But before exercises at the barre and breaking out the tutu, one must learn the (many) ballet terms and positions. Being instilled with the discipline to master the theory before moving on to the practice is an admirable character trait that would do anyone well in life.

Fortitude. Great physical strength will only get you so far – there are many good ballet dancers. It takes more than this to rise to the ranks of principal ballet dancers. Anyone following the news will know that the Bolshoi have been, in recent times, plagued by scandal. But after reading a number of articles, both as scandals broke and more recently, I get a feeling of the underlying, immense confidence and inner strength of these Bolshoi dancers. It is more than the stereotypical patriotism for mother Russia – these dancers exhibit fortitude in their every move.

Determination. I think of this as having the determination to reach the end goal, (or perhaps a stubbornness to accept anything less). Even the highest ranked dancers are required at morning practice with the ballet troupe. Determination to keep attending, keep dancing, keep practicing is a must. Dance, fall down, stand up. Dance, err, correct. Dance, fall down, stand up. Dance, err, correct. Need I say more?

Coordination. Whether or not you appreciate (or even like) ballet, I challenge anyone to view a professional performance and fail to be in awe of the poise with which ballerinas carry themselves about the stage, exhibiting nonchalant awareness of their fellow performers and seemingly conducting the orchestra with every move. Imagine the resulting harmony if every person in every household and business regularly performed with such effortless coordination?

Ballet schools?

Unlike previous summer of sport blogs, I haven’t a clue about what might make a good ballet school and so there are no links today, (although please feel free to pass on any personal recommendations via comments.)

If you have never been to the ballet before, I urge you to go and watch a performance of The Nutcracker this Christmas. With all the bright colours and fun music children will love it (age guide is 5 years or older).

I hope ballet teaches my Miss and Master that some achievements are not ‘quick wins’ that are so amply available these days, but with discipline, fortitude, determination and coordination, anything is possible.

A summer of sport V: Horse Racing

Another fab guest post from Peta at http://minrva.blogspot.co.uk/:

Horsing about

Glorious Goodwood is done and dusted for another year, and, although I was unaware of much press, I have had horses on my mind this week.

Many of us who are local to north Hampshire probably have, or have had horses in our lives; there are plenty of horses here. As a young Miss, however, my first one-to one encounter was during a school camp, and it was a Shetland pony. I did not actually ride a horse until I was in my 20s. My Miss, on the other hand, loves horses. Every morning I hear of horse dreams and Miss always wants to see our local farm shop horses (who seem to have been replaced by cows in the last few weeks; lucky Miss also likes cows).

Horses and horse racing have always been in the peripheral of my life; the childhood trotting track visits, my first horse riding experience as an adult (that horse was a “dud”, I rode goats in Egypt that were stronger, faster and far more responsive), and I have attended the odd major event race day (the “glam-up” sort). Even so, I had thought that horses and horse racing were mostly for ‘horse people’, but this is simply untrue. The entire family can enjoy this sport, together or separately, it is really just a matter of getting organised in advance and checking out what’s on…

The British Horse Society is the United Kingdom’s largest equestrian charity and has a huge range of horse and horse riding information, such as what to consider when you are learning to ride and a search tool to find your local training centres.

Love the Races is less about your riding and more about your enjoyment of the multitude of spectating opportunities; you will find plenty of great ideas and helpful information here. Try “8 things to do at the races” and “Young Hooves” club for Miss/Master, and “new to racing” if you are, ahem, new to racing. Otherwise, if you fancy a fun day out at the races use the What’s on tool to filter your event search by race course, event type and time of day.

These are just a couple of future meets that stood out to me:

•   17 August @ Newbury (RG14 7NZ):  Ladies Day, followed by Party in the Paddock starring Meatloaf!

•   26 October @ Newbury (RG14 7NZ): Armed Forces Day

•   26 November @ Wincanton (BA9 8BJ): Christmas Fair in aid of Help for Heroes & Children’s Charities

What have I missed?? Please share any local horse related events and activities via comments!

Related Posts

A summer of sport I

A summer of sport II

A summer of sport III

A summer of Sport IV