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.


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.
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 – 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

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


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

“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

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

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

A summer of sport IV: Cricket

I’m loving the series “A summer of Sport” by Peta. I had no idea that all of this was available in the area!

For more of Peta’s posts, please have a look at her blog:


England is hosting Australia this year in the 67th battle for the Ashes.

Britain can boast a number of recent sporting triumphs; a massive medal haul in the 2012 Olympic Games, great success in cycling, tennis, horse racing, and car and motorcycle racing, to name but a few.  But will cricket be another happy hunting ground for British sport?

Right from the start of Ashes cricket, Australia was dominated by the mother country. There were a few short periods of Aussie greatness, but history is clear about which country was consistently playing superior cricket.

In the 1990s things started to go horribly wrong for England; England started losing and Australia started dominating. By the late 1990s England’s oldest cricket foe had secured the greater number of Ashes series wins, and this made millions of Australians, including myself, very, very happy. (We do take our sport seriously.)  This was a glorious period for Australian cricket and we set about building on our lead, and build we did… Until the 2010/11 Ashes series. For the first time in 24 years England won an Ashes series on Australian soil. With only one series win in the last decade Australia is clinging to a 31:30 lead, and I bet England are keen to finally even-up the tally.

On the other hand, Aussie pride is a fierce animal, and sport is a serious matter. When threatened with the possibility of a mediocre result or even, God forbid it, failure, Aussies are capable of producing inspired results. This might just be where Shane Warne’s ‘ball of the century’ originated, that or it was just one of many episodes in our glorious period of cricket. Maybe Aussie pride sparked Ashton Agar’s enormous run haul (for a number eleven batsman) just a few weeks ago, in an effort to save the test for the Australians?

I recall learning of my grandfather’s cricketing prowess some years back. The local Masters picked their team and country (Australia or England); their selections were final and permanent. My grandfather was England captain and like Misses and Masters today, he acted out the achievements of the sporting heroes of the day. But this was during the bodyline series; my grandfather ‘was’ Douglas Jardine. I am proud of his selection to a such senior position and his being (nick)named for such a strong character, but I am not so sure about the whole bodyline business…

England hold a 2-0 lead going into the third test starting tomorrow (1 August) at Old Trafford, but I suspect play will not be as one-sided as the scorecard suggests. Whatever remains for Ashes series 2013, my hope is that this oldest of rivalries continues to inspire Misses and Masters in England and Australia to pick up a cricket bat and play. Play in the garden, play at the beach, play anywhere. Just get out there and play.

Feeling inspired?

If you would like to make your cricket playing a little more formal there are a number of local clubs to investigate. To name just a few that encourage cricket for all ages and abilities (in alphabetical order): Basingstoke & North Hants CCOakley CCOld Basing CC.