I’m now on holiday until the 4th of September 2018! WHOOOP!!!!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago I’m going to (properly) take the summer off from NHM this year.

This means that I won’t be posting daily on NorthHantsMum.co.uk although I will still have “recur” post working which means that historical posts will be re-published to NorthHantsMum FB Page every afternoon, around 4pm.

I also have a backlog of posts that I’ve promised to publish so will get to those at some point next week, but I won’t be “accepting” any new posts on NHM for the rest of the summer.

I need a break! 

I am still happy to take anonymous questions on “Louise NHM Smith” over the summer and I will continue to share posts from others that are useful for the NorthHantsMum Community.

However, I will be out of the country from Friday 17th August until Tuesday 4th September so will be doing NOTHING on NHM then.

I will still be working on my “day job” during the summer but I plan to spend more time with Miss NHM and to dramatically reduce the amount of stress that I normally have to deal with during the academic year.

It definitely feels like the last few years are catching up with me and I desperately need a “proper” break.

September Emails

I am quite worried about being bombarded with emails in early September, so if you already know about class changes, etc, please email them to me now and the NHM team and we will work on them in the background.

If you plan to send me emails about class schedule changes, etc, please note that it may take me a few weeks to get through them when I get back from holidays.

Please also ensure that what you send me can just be copied and pasted into the Class list as I don’t have time to format stuff anymore.

If you have any questions at any point, please don’t hesitate to get in touch but apologies if I don’t come back to you quickly.

I’m really, really, reeeeaaaalllllyyyy looking forward to a bit of a break!!! I hope you have an AWESOME summer too!

As always thank you for your amazing support!

Louisex

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I’m taking Summer 2018 OFF from NorthHantsMum!

It’s less than a month until the end of term so I thought I better give you the heads-up that I’m taking the summer off from NorthHantsMum like I have for the past 4 years.

As you know NorthHantsMum is my hobby and I fit it in around all of the other things going on in my life. My family is my priority and it’s really important to me that I spend the six weeks summer holiday with Miss NHM, so that we can have some fun and a proper break.

After the last few harrowing years of Miss NHM’s health, this will be our first summer where she is healthy and well and we won’t be struggling with the complications of her Coeliac Disease.

Although I will still be working for most of it, we will be squeezing in lots of fun stuff in between and catching up with lots of friends that we haven’t seen during term time.

I’m also NOT going to get involved in any bloody bench auctions or anything similar. Last year’s fundraising exercise (I know I only have myself to blame for that one! Facepalm! lol) for the Jane Austen benches nearly KILLED me and although it was an amazing experience I am DEFINITELY not doing anything similar again this summer.

(If you suddenly see me doing something like that again, please, please, PLEASE send me lots of abusive messages about talking crap and slap me if you see me!!!)

I will probably post every few days over the summer as I can’t seem to help myself. But it will be more the stuff that I WANT to post than posting for everyone else.

Or I may just decide to take the summer off completely from posting on NorthHantsMum.co.uk. I haven’t quite decided yet.

We will still be working in the background on NorthHantsMum.co.uk though, cleaning things up and making it easier for you to find the posts that you are looking for.

I’m hoping that myself and the “Awesome NHM Support Team” will be putting together our annual posts of “The Ultimate NHM Summer Holiday Posts!” and “Classes still running over the Summer Holidays” so look out for those in the next few weeks.

I will still be around on “Louise nhm Smith” on FB so if you want to ask any anonymous questions please PM me and I will get to them when I can.

BUT I will be totally offline from August 17th until Tuesday 4th September because we are having a “once in a lifetime” holiday (WHOOOOOPPPPPP!!!!!), so if you would like any posts to be published in early September please email them to me now as I will be doing NOTHING from 17th Aug to 4th Sept on NorthHantsMum.

As always thank you for your amazingly fantastic support and I hope you have LOADS of exciting things planned for the summer too!

Louisex

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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”.

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!

Louise

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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

January

“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.

February

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.

March

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.

April

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.

May

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

June

NorthHantsMum turned 6 years old.

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

July

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.

August

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?

September

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…

October

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.

November

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!

December

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.

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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.

GUTTED!!!!!

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 2017), please do get in touch!!!! (Update: Thank you VERY much to JV Bouncy Castle who very kindly donated their time, muscles and van to move the bench from Laura’s garage to the Discovery centre!) 

Update July 2018: The bench is now on permanent display for everyone to sit on, at the Basingstoke Discovery Centre in the downstairs lobby area.

Still no plaque though. I’ve given up asking when they will put it up :-(.

Finally

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

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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.

Donate

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…

THANK YOU VERY MUCH

Wendy D

Cathy W

Lilian K

LauraE,

Zoe

Cathy

Karen

Lisa

Helen

Gisella

LauraW

Juliet

Emma

Sue

My Mum

Sally

Mary

Sarah

Allison

Ceri

Katie

SueS

Victoria

Julie

Rebecca

Jules

Eleanor

Pauline

Michele

Jaz

Rachel

Natasha

Stephany C

Kath R

Sharon

Sarah

Claire

BeckyT

Lisa

Emily

Pam

Cat

Lyndsey

Rebecca H

Stephanie

Gillian

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.

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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

Kidzania

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! 

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 a week on, 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 (2017). People are demanding a lot more from me than they used too.

For example, so far on NHM this year (2017) 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.

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 The Prison. 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 summer 2017 off, like I normally do. Except this year I am REALLY taking the summer off. (Except I didn’t…“Keeping a Sitting with Jane Bench” – faceplant!)

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 2017 until Mon 4th September 2017. 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 word for 2017 and Joyful January!!!

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Happy New Year!! I hope you had a blast?

I realise that the title of this post might be a bit of an oxymoron. January is often a tough month for many, after the excitement of Christmas and reality kicking back in.

So I’ve been thinking about what we could do, as the NHM Community, to spread a little more joy during January.

I put out a request a few days ago asking for some volunteers and I now have some lovely “NHM Joy Fairies” who are going to help me put out affirmation cards for Mum’s in strategic places across North Hampshire.

The whole idea came from Lindsey who mentioned a while back that she was doing something similar at work to help boost morale.

I then had a moment of inspiration and thought that it would be awesome to try to do the same thing for local Mum’s. So I’ve put together lots of little cards which have positive affirmations on them just for Mum’s and the “NHM Joy Fairies” and myself will be leaving them all over North Hampshire, for you to find and keep.

If you do find one, please let me know via NorthHantsMum@gmail.com. It would be awesome if there were pictures of the cards and where they were found too.

I am hoping that these little cards make at least one Mum feel a bit better if she’s having a tough month.

If you would like to be a “NHM Joy Fairy”, please get in touch too.

New Years Resolutions 2017

As I’ve mentioned before on NorthHantsMum, I don’t make New years resolutions anymore because they don’t really work for me.

Instead I choose a word for the year, that I use as a theme for the year. This year my word is “Joy”. Which is why “Joyful January” is so cool as it ties in with my word of the year!

I’m hoping to spread and receive lots more joy during 2017. If you have any ideas on this, please let me know!!!

Have a Joyful New Year 😀

What’s your word for 2017?

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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

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