That’s all folks!!

I thought that when the time came, I’d be really sad about sending this post out.

But I’m not.

I actually feel a HUGE sense of relief and that a weight has been lifted, which tells me that I’m right to trust my instincts on this.

I didn’t want to end on a post like mornings but I’ve never been very good at “Endings” and you often don’t get to choose how things end.

Only when.


I’ve served local Mum’s and their children via NorthHantsMum for 8 years.

Served by providing a free service and served by doing my time.

(Yes, it has felt a bit like a prison sentence for at least a year but I didn’t want to feel like I was failing all of the new Mum’s who, in the current climate, will need the support of something like NorthHantsMum even more than ever before.)

I’m no longer the idealistic new Mum who started NorthHantsMum on 22nd June 2011 and wanted to do something good with what she’d learnt.

Someone who thought she could leave the world a little bit better than before.


NorthHantsMum has grown WAY beyond what I ever, ever anticipated. It’s kind of like my second baby.

I’ve poured a LOT of my heart and soul into it over the past 8 years and I’m very proud of what we’ve done on NHM.

I feel like it’s been such a positive thing, despite the negativity that’s been thrown at me in the past 6 months.

We’ve done loads of good things together, had loads of amazing opportunities.

Not just me but many of you and your children have also benefited.

And for that I will always be very proud.

Thank you

So many thank you’s, I honestly don’t know where to start. It’s hard to remember who to thank when you’ve been running something for 8 years!!! I know I will miss some and for that I sincerely apologise.

(Oh yes, I know this list of thank you’s is almost as long as the LONGEST Oscar winning speech <blush>, but it’s my blog and I’ll write what I like! Hahahaha).

Firstly thank you to My Beloved, Mr NHM, who has put up with me running NHM for the past 8 years, often at the detriment of our time together. He’s put up with me moan about him on a public platform, been given a pseudonym he never asked for and had some of his life shared for public consumption (via the “Weekly Things to do” posts. Remember them?!). He’s patiently listened to me talk about NHM for so long and given me so much “black and white” advice and I love him so very much for that. There is no way I could have carried on for so long without his love and support.

Thank you to Miss NHM for being the inspiration for NorthHantsMum. She continues to challenge me in soooo many ways (I naively thought parenting her would get easier as she got older. It hasn’t <faceplant>!) and, despite how much of a strong willed pain in the arse she can be at times (I often wonder where she gets it from. Sigh), I am infinitely honoured and privileged to be her Mum. I have no idea how she has coped with what she has been through in her short life already. She has so much courage and her willingness to forgive inspires me continually. She has SUCH a big heart and already wants to do so many good things in the world. I am SO extremely proud of her and the person she’s becoming. I love her more than I ever thought I could.

Thank you to ALL of the volunteers who have given up their time and energy to help me out. I seriously think there are about 300 of you!

All of the Mum’s who have written up NHM Reviews for the benefit of others. All of the Mum’s who have helped out in the background with things like formatting posts, administering groups and tagging me in posts. All of the Mum’s who tested the “new” wordpress website in 2015. All of the Mum’s who wrote a NHM Reader Experience post so they could share what they had learnt for the benefit of other Mum’s.

I literally couldn’t have kept NHM going without your help. There are so many of you I don’t want to name anyone in case I miss someone out. You know who you are and I will be forever grateful for all of your support.

I would especially like to thank those Mum’s who worked REALLY hard in the background to help me out, especially Juliet whose wise words have kept me sane during the past several years, Shona for her sense of humour and for telling me like it is and to Wendy for covering my arse FAR too many times to mention in the past 8 years! At least I now know that the clocks “Spring Foward” in Spring! Hahahaha. I know I never said thank you enough, but hopefully you know how grateful I am for your support and help. If you ever want a Reference, you know where I am ;-).

Thank you to all of those amazing Mum’s that I have met through NHM who have become some of my most treasured friends. You know who you are and my life would be infinitely worse off without you. Thank you for your wise words, your passion for NHM, your true friendship and for letting me hug you too much <blush>!

Thank you to Tina, Andy and Abi for your wordpress expertise and for stopping me from having a heart attack every time the site crashed in the past 8 years! I am so grateful to you for so frequently going out of your way use your technical skills to help me when I was panicking that new Mum’s wouldn’t be able to find the breastfeeding support schedule.

Thank you to all of the Mum’s who came along to a NHM Networking meeting over the past 5 years. Seeing small businesses grow and the impact that this has had on local Mum’s and their families has been a true highlight of my life.

Thank you to everyone who ever came to a NHM Expo or a NHM Meet Up, as a seller, buyer or attendee and thank you to everyone who helped me with setting up, planning, cleaning up and promoting. They were bloody hard work but I’m glad I did them.

Thank you to all of the local businesses who have given up their time, service or products for free to help out NHM Readers.

Thank you to all of the small business owners who have actively supported me on my NHM journey with Guest Posts, offers of their time and services and words of encouragement. All of you are doing such great things to try to make the world a better place whilst providing an income for your self and your families. I will be forever in awe of you as running a small business is really hard!!

Thank you to all of the Mum’s who bought their children along to events. I have seen so many of these children grow up, many from when they were teeny babies, and it’s been such a privilege to be a tiny part of their journey.

Thank you to everyone who came along to the cinema with me, via the NHM Cinema club. Although I still haven’t quite gotten over how awful “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” was even with Elton John doing a chicken dance! Hahahaha.

Thank you to everyone who ever listened to me rant about how much I hate Facebook. The amount of time and energy I have wasted on this platform in the past 8 years cannot be calculated (it was so bloody MUCH) and thank you to anyone who has ever had to listen to me rage about how crap it is!!! :-D. I am REALLY looking forward to having a break from social media!

You might think this strange but I am very grateful to the Mum’s who posted negative comments on the baby clinic post.  Had it not been for your outrage and negative comments on me sharing my opinion,  I don’t think I would have stopped to think about why I was still running NorthHantsMum.  Thank you also to the local business owner who accused me of killing her husband and taking food out of her children’s mouths earlier this year because I had shared a post from a competitor of hers (Please don’t ask me who it was because I won’t tell you). I really, really, sincerely appreciate your feedback as you helped making my decision so much easier. (That’s honestly not sarcastic, I am very grateful).

Thank you to everyone who sponsored me for my Sky Dive in 2015, all of those wonderful, wonderful people who helped to fund raise for the “Sitting with Jane” bench in 2017 (I might actually have the time to go sit on it now, as it’s been at least 18 months since the last time! <faceplant>) and everyone who helped to raise funds for local community charities via NHM.

Thank you to all of the people who have recommended NHM to other Mum’s and Dad’s by word of mouth, sharing about NHM with their friends or by sharing leaflets. Your passion about what we’ve done on NorthHantsMum has sometimes been overwhelming and I will always be very grateful to you!

Thank you to everyone who has gone out of their way to comment, email, tweet or PM me in the past 8 years. Your support has been phenomenal and I will be forever grateful.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has ever read NorthHantsMum. Whether it was one post or since the beginning, I am so grateful.

So grateful.

That’s all folks! 

My priority is my family, my marriage and my husband and daughter. I’m looking forward to being able to put ALL of my energies into them.

I no longer have any energy left to support anyone else other than those priorities.

As one of the trusted women in my life said “there’s no more “me” to go round”.

Since making the decision two weeks ago, to close NorthHantsMum, I’ve realised that I’ve been toying with the idea of stopping NHM for at least a year but didn’t want to let anyone down.

Didn’t want any new Mum’s to miss out on what NHM has been able to offer our local Community for the past 8 years.

Didn’t want to feel I’d set an expectation that people assumed would always be available.

Ever since the Children’s centres closed in 2016 the amount of support requests coming my way has dramatically increased and many of them were waaayyy beyond what I ever expected to be dealing with.

If I’m really honest with myself I haven’t been feeling it since Miss NHM’s Coeliac diagnosis in May 2017. That was a curveball we didn’t see coming and we are still struggling with the fall out.

As Mum’s we are raising the next generation, which is the MOST important job of all. Which also means it’s the hardest job of all.

As I said earlier this morning, Motherhood is the HARDEST job in the world (Fatherhood is the 2nd hardest job in the world ;-)) and I do believe that in the current climate it’s getting harder.

I know that as NorthHantsMum Readers, we are all just trying to do our best for our children, regardless of our circumstances and I would love to continue to support you on that journey.

But it’s time to hang up my wordpress login.

Time to clear the way for some new blood to step in and take up the reigns.

NorthHantsMum was always about pregnant Mum’s, babies and young children up to the age of 6 years old.

Miss NHM is 8.5 years old and I’m so far removed from babies and toddlers now that I’m not the right person to be running something like NorthHantsMum anymore.

What happens next will remain for the next year at least and I will continue paying the hosting costs each month. Once I get less than 10 hits a day I will close the site down.

I will keep the “Louise NHM Smith” profile active for the time being but I don’t expect to post to it anymore and I won’t be doing any more anonymous NHM Reader questions or sharing any items that would be relevant to local parents. You will still be able to message me if you think there might be something that I can urgently help with, but I won’t be sharing anything with the NHM Community, so you will only get my insights when I check my fb inbox ;-).

Most Facebook groups that haven’t been active in the past 6 months have already been deleted.

I will keep the following groups active for the time being but will probably archive them after June 2020:

NorthHantsMum Publicity for Local Businesses: Support local Businesses!!!

NorthHantsMum: Mums running Small Businesses

NHM Part Time Jobs

NHM Pregnancy in Basingstoke and North Hampshire (Due 2019)

NHM Allergy/Coeliac Disease Parents

Basingstoke 2019 Year R (NorthHantsMum)

NHM Basingstoke Homeschooling Networking

All of the other groups will be archived at Christmas 2019, so if, for example, you want to save any recipes from the “NHM Family Meal ” group, please do it ASAP.

Keep on being Awesome Mum’s! 

If I’ve learnt anything over the past 8 years it’s that my mental energy is finite.

And it’s time to put ALL of my energy back into my family, especially my daughter who inspired me to start NorthHantsMum.

I’m excited.

Excited about what the future is going to bring.

I’m excited to see what happens next, which tells me that I am definitely doing the right thing for my mental health and my family.

I’m looking forward to taking some time out.

I’m looking forward to having an awesome summer and not having to worry about September or Christmas on NorthHantsMum for the first time EVER since my daughter was born in 2011.

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with the new space I will have in my life.

I wish you and your children all the very best of luck in ALL of your future endeavours and I will be forever grateful for your support.

I love this quote from Jim Rohn which sums it up for me perfectly: “Here’s part of the drama then. I go with you, for when we all leave here and the lights are out and the place is dark, I go with you, because you are taking my notes and hopefully some of the spirit, some of the stuff I had besides just the notes, so I go with all of you. But here’s the big drama. All of you go with me. See that’s so unbelievable. So, as I leave here, I promise not to leave you behind. I will take you with me in my thoughts and in my heart.”

Thank you for reading. It’s been a blast!!!


Thank you very much to everyone who commented on the “Health Visitor Baby Clinic Drop-In” cancellation post!

Thank you very much to everyone who commented on “Louise nhm Smith” on the “Health Visitor Baby Clinic Drop-In” cancellation post.

I felt very passionately about this issue, having had so many Mum’s contact me in the past several years asking for mine and the NHM Communities support.

If we can do something to raise the visibility of the issues that Mum’s will face without being able to Drop-In to the weigh-in’s then that is nothing but a good thing.

This was NEVER my intention when I first set up NHM, that I would be filling a gap to try to raise awareness of some very big issues that are facing the local Mum community.

However, there were a couple of comments on the Health Visitor Baby Clinic post towards a paragraph that I wrote, which I would like to address.

The Ladies who wrote those comments may not like what I’ve written below and that’s absolutely fine.

And actually, I don’t need to explain myself to those Mums.

I did not mock or disrespect anyone else’s views or the choices that they have made and there was no judgement in what I wrote.

If those Mum’s who commented felt that their choices were being judged, the only people who were judging them was them. Not me.

This is what I wrote:


30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds. Depending on your perspective you can see this as a positive thing but I believe that institutionalising 3 year olds and taking them away from their Mothers at such a young age, for so long, is going to have nothing but a negative impact.’

In the meantime:

  1. Yes, I passionately believe that, in an ideal world, babies and young children should spend more time with their Mum’s than anyone else.
  2. I don’t agree with the 30 hours free childcare for three and four year olds
  3. I believe that nurseries and pre-schools are Institutions
  4. I believe that children start school far too early in this country
  5. I believe that it’s none of my business the choices that you have made for your children and likewise it’s none of your business the choices that I made for my child
  6. I passionately believe that being a Mum is the HARDEST job in the world (and being a Dad is the 2nd hardest job in the world!)
  7. I believe we are all trying to do the best we can for our children, regardless of our circumstances
  8. I believe that you and I can have differing opinions and agree to disagree

The problem with making statements like the ones above is that people will always do their best to try to pull them apart.

And that’s fine.

That’s their choice.

I’ve been writing NHM long enough to know that if you are brave enough to put your head above the parapet and share an opinion, there will be at least one person who doesn’t agree.

But there will be many people who do agree and THOSE are the people I have written NHM for.

Let me unpack those statements above a little more, to explain why I’ve written them.

  1. I passionately believe that, in an ideal world, babies and young children should spend more time with their Mum’s than anyone else.

For Millions and millions and millions of years, Mum’s have been the primary carer for their babies and young children. That’s a fact. It is what it is.

I know that society is changing.

I know that in many instances we don’t feel we have any choice but to put our children into childcare and to have someone else look after them.

We have mortgages to pay and lives to pay for and we want the best for our children which, these days, comes with a hefty price tag.

We enjoy our jobs and we want to be a good role model for our children.

I also understand that this statement is a huge steaming pile of hypocracy given that Mr NHM and I put Miss NHM into nursery when she was 5 months old when I returned to work.

But that doesn’t change my belief.

And is one of the reasons why I’ve run NorthHantsMum for all of these years.

  1. I don’t agree with the 30 hours free childcare for three and four year olds

Looking at the big picture, I believe that 30 hours free childcare is far, far too much.

I say that as someone who used to pay more than £1000 a month for her child to be in nursery, so the free hours would have been BEYOND helpful!

The main reason is the number of Mum’s that I’ve spoken too who feel they are now being pushed into the workforce, by financial needs, as soon as their children turn three years old.

They categorically don’t want to go back to work.

They want their children to remain at home with them but they no longer have that luxury (and these days, unless you’re minted, it is a luxury!) with the offer of 30 free childcare hours on the table.

I do feel that 15 hours of free childcare is the right amount for 4 year olds, four half days a week, because socialisation before they join the institution that is school can be so beneficial to them.

But no, when I look at the bigger picture, I don’t agree with the 30 hours of free childcare.

Even though I know how much those hours help many, many, many of you and how they would have financially HUGELY helped my family.

  1. I do believe that nurseries and pre-schools are Institutions

Wikipedia does a much better job of explaining it than I can:

When our children start nursery and/or pre-school they must adapt to the routine of that nursery or pre-school.

There are fixed times for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Key Workers are shared between multiple children.

Each “classroom” contains a great number of children.

Miss NHM loved going to Pre-school when she was 4 years old (when she was at nursery she couldn’t tell me if she loved it or not) but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t attending an Institution.

4. I believe that children start school far too early in this country

I don’t believe that YR is a good thing and I believe that children are far too little to start school at 4/5 years old.

5. I do believe that it’s none of my business the choices that you have made for your children and likewise it’s none of your business the choices that I made for my child.

I put Miss NHM into a nursery when she was 5 months old. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make and it almost broke me.

At the time, I didn’t feel like I had a choice. I’m the main earner in our family and I spent many years working hard in my career to get to a senior role before I met Mr NHM and Miss NHM was born.

I fell pregnant when I was working for a company that was 98% male and they had absolutely no consideration for my pregnancy or when Miss NHM was born. When I left on maternity leave I was told in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t return within 6 months, the job I’d worked so hard to have, would be given to someone else. (In 2011 if you didn’t return to work within 6 months the company you worked for was allowed to give you an “equivalent” role, which meant they would phase you out).

I’d heard the horror stories of how hard it was to return to the workforce once you’d left to have a family and I didn’t want to have to start my career all over again when I returned to the workforce.

Putting Miss NHM into nursery when she was 5 months old was, along with breastfeeding, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

The first time I picked her up from nursery and she was smelled of someone else….

But I made my choices, in discussion with Mr NHM, and I’ve made peace with them.

I’m not happy about them and I felt, and still feel, that I was trapped by my circumstances, like so many of us are.

And yet I STILL passionately believe that babies and young children should spend more time with their Mum than anyone else.

6. I passionately believe that being a Mum is the HARDEST job in the world

Whatever we do is wrong.

We are judged by others and we judge ourselves.

We judge ourselves more harshly than anyone else.

We never know if we are getting it “right” until our children are grown up.

This post puts it far more eloquently than I can:

7. I believe we are all trying to do the best we can for our children

Whatever our decisions and our choices I know that ALL NHM Readers are just trying to do the best for their families and their children, whatever their circumstances.

8. I believe that you and I are allowed to have different opinions

We are incredibly privileged to live in a Democracy where we are able to voice our opinions.

I apologise if my paragraph upset you in any way.

If you’ve been following NorthHantsMum for a while, you will know that I do my very best to use NHM as a positive force and it is NEVER my intention to upset people, especially Mum’s.

However, if that one paragraph that was embedded in a post that was about something else entirely, hit a nerve, your negative comments actually say more about how you feel than they do about what I believe.

Who cares what I believe and write about?

The only people who should really care are me, Miss NHM and Mr NHM.

Everyone else has a choice to read what I’ve written.

Ultimately, if you don’t like what I write, please don’t read it.

But I’m taking that decision out of your hands anyway.

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 on TwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!

Failing Families: Health Visitor Clinic Closures

It’s been 8 years since I started NorthHantsMum in June 2011.

I’ve seen a lot of changes during that time. Unfortunately many of those changes have negatively impacted local families, especially Mums with babies and small children and families with SEN children.

Yesterday I saw that the Health Visitor clinic schedule has been changed again so that now the Drop In’s are only Monday at The Ridgeway Centre and Friday at the Discovery Centre. The others are by appointment only.

Many of the clinics that have been running for at least 8 years (I know because I used them) have now been cancelled, such as Christchurch Chineham, Overton, Hatch Warren, Whitchurch and Bramley.

I understand that we are living in times of “austerity” but why is it that families, especially Mums and young children, are targeted with any cuts first?

What you can do!!!

If, like me, you are pissed off/ fed up  (I don’t swear on NHM but I feel it’s appropriate in this instance!) with the way local families are being repeatedly let down then this is what you can do:

Specifically email ALL of the three people below and say why it matters to you that the Health Visitor clinics have been cut.


Please cc. me in any emails that you send (

  1. Email the head of Southern Health:
  2. Email Maria Miller:
  3. Email your local councillor. You can find your local councillor here by using your postcode:

(You can copy and paste all of the emails from here:;; Specifically tweet ALL of the three people below and say why it matters to you that the Health Visitor clinics have been cut:

  1. Tweet the head of Southern Health:
  2. Tweet Maria Miller:
  3. Tweet your local councillors

The remaining clinics also have feedback forms, so please complete these as well. Please make sure you add comments as to why it matters to you that the clinics have been cut as the way these things work is that individual letters/emails count more than group ones.

What to write about

You could write about how disappointed you are that so many clinics have been discontinued because they were so important to you when your baby was born as they were somewhere for you to go for support.

You could write about how annoyed you are that funding cuts are impacting new Mums and thus putting them at more risk of post natal depression.

You could write about how angry you are that new Mums and future new Mums are being failed by the services that are supposed to be in place to support them.

You could also write something similar to this which I’ve been sent by another local Mum: “in recent years in our area parents have lost specialised breastfeeding support when grant funding was not extended and have had closures of Children’s Centres (11 remain out of 64 in Hampshire I think). To say that support for parents has been decimated is an understatement. I understand that money is tight but the latest blow will affect those parents who are only just coping and in turn these women and children will need to access more services via their GPs for example or as mental health referrals. I consider these additional closures will knock on to the health and well being of ordinary families and will cost the whole system more in the long run. We were promised more Health Visitors in the call for action – instead it seems we have fewer with just a skeleton service remaining. I worry for those families who in the past would have got early support from a trusted Health Visitor – who now will go under the radar. If a GP visit costs around £45, a hospital overnight stay more like £500 and a child taken in to care around £50K per annum… we can see how cutting services for families to the bare minimum will soon knock on to these other budgets. We are calling for a joined up approach to services in the county.”

You can obviously write whatever you would like but please put why it matters to you that the Health Visitor Clinics have been cut.

On Social Media you could use the hashtag #FailingFamilies.

Summary of Closures

If you have a bit more time and feel like you really want to “go to town” on how local families are being let down, then please see my summary of closures and cancellations in the past 4 years….



(There is now direct evidence of how children’s centres saved the NHS millions of pounds: Thank you to Danielle for sharing with me).


  • 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds, meaning many Mums are being forced back into working much earlier than they would want too.


  • Closing of Little Play Town in Nov 2018
  • Manydown Family Fun Closed
  • Absolute Karting Basingstoke Closed
  • JJ’s (softplay) Closed
  • Beenham Wolf Sanctury Closed
  • Reduction of funding for school buses – August 2018
  • Removal of school buses for children with disabilities – August 2018
  • National Playday at Eastrop cancelled in 2018. This was a free day for children that had been running for years in Eastrop but now runs in a few of the local community centres instead. It’s not the same. At all.
  • Reduction in funding for the newborn courses at the remaining Children’s Centre, Westside – 2018
  • Cancellation of the EHCP process in Nov 2018 for SEN parents
  • Closing of ParentVoice and switching to Red Rose:
  • Changes to Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support in Hampshire


  • Kids N Action Softplay Closed
(If there is anything that I have missed off this list, please let me know).

Impact of these changes

All of these changes are impacting many, many local families.

Even more so with the increase in housing of an extra 10,000 houses to be built in the local area by end of 2020, so more families are moving to the area but services are being reduced that don’t support existing families, let alone new families.

As I said above, I understand that we live in times of “austerity” but it’s very, very worrying and I try not to dwell too much on the impact these changes will have on my 8 year old daughter, her generation and future generations.

I try my best to be positive and upbeat on NHM but I think we need to try to do something to ensure that at least the Health Visitor clinics are better represented. Any help you can give with this will be greatly appreciated. If we ALL send the emails, the impact the NorthHantsMum Community could have would be huge!

Comments from other Mum’s

who have put it far more eloquently than I have!

Sarah: Sadly it Seems like this government would rather waste money hosting a £40million trump visit and push through brexit at any cost rather than look after it’s vulnerable citizens. After brexit more services like this will be cut as we will all be poorer – Apparently it’s “the will of the people”. Genevieve: As well as writing letters, you may also wish to comment on Maria’s Twitter and Facebook accounts (or here – she’s very good at attending awards, not so good at helping people!).

Eleanor: Prevention is better than cure … health visitor clinics are so useful to local people in their own communities. Mums don’t think ‘oh I’m struggling, I know I’ll book a health visitor clinic’ they just keep struggling, until something breaks or nothing happens but just struggle. I’m so sad to see the Bramley clinic cancelled. The stay and play sessions were so valuable to me. Sadly the funding is ridiculously short I presume. I’ll defiantly be emailing as you suggested. Taking away support for parents is only ever going to cause problems for parents and children in the future. Even if it’s the subtle kind of problems that don’t translate into hospital admissions etc.

Elisa: The unfortunate truth is that they are down on 5 full time health visitors for Southern Health. The reason they are not able to recruit is that most of their time is spent dealing with safe guarding issues. The role of the health visitor has sadly changed and nobody wants to do the type of work they are doing now. Add to this, the fact that the remaining staff are over worked and stressed, it’s not an environment anyone else wants to join. So as desperately sad as it is about the decreasing availability of them, writing to anyone will sadly make no difference. The jobs are available but sadly nobody wants them ☹️.

Emma: When I had my first I could walk around to chiltern school and see a HV every other Tuesday. He was regularly weighed and as a first time mum I could ask all my questions. Fast forward 4 years and I had a prem baby. Zero support. I was told I’d have more contact because he was premature- I didn’t. When I went for weigh ins the HV’s didn’t all understand how to record his weight!! You have to plot it twice for actual and corrected. The library was the easiest one to get to but queues were horrendous and then you felt rushed because you could feel the strain. Needless to say I stopped going. It was too much effort with two children and with my baby being so little. I can’t believe they’ve reduced this even further. If I was a first time mum now I’d be very worried.

Wendy: Emma, such similar story, my first was weighed once a fortnight at first, then once a month in the Popley 5 drop in that was walking distance for all of Popley, Oakridge and South View. Then they moved it to Popley Fields for my second, no longer walking distance, not at a time that was convenient for nursery/school run. He got weighed about 4 times. He had eczema and allergies but going to the drop in meant missing out on other things or struggling with the car park, so we didn’t bother. Parking charges, town being busy, all things that would have put me off going to the library. I can only imagine what it’s like for those using public transport.

Angela: It’s thoroughly saddening to see such valuable support (emotional to individuals and economic to the wider public health system) being stripped away. I hope people remember this feeling of hopelessness during the next general election and vote for a party that is going to help the public. (I’m really sorry to make this political, but in the words of a great 90s rock band “everything’s political”. We have the power to choose a government that won’t strip the first line of support from us.)

Charlotte: It’s so sad. I used to work on a HV team and the work they do really cannot be underestimated. Yes, you can still see a HV without a clinic but as mentioned above, the clinic is such a convenient and quick way to see them, without having to book an appointment. Some parents don’t have to confidence to book an appointment, or they aren’t sure if they are wasting someone’s time (they never are wasting anyone’s time). I think the cutting down of these clinics alongside the closure of the children’s centres we really come back to bite the Government in a few years when there are increased social issues and late diagnosis of problems that could have been resolved with early intervention ?.

Mary: To be a HV, you have to be a qualified nurse. They can’t find nurses because they cut the support for people to train. Lots of nurses stop nursing because its not compatible with being a parent unless you are lucky enough to work in a day service. Nurses, however, aren’t paid enough so free childcare is vital to contribute towards the cos. It’s more problematic that childcare support doesn’t start until age 3 so working parents have to struggle through age 1 and 2 first – or not work and then have to pay to reregister or train for their jobs. It’s all connected.

Nicole: I got my almost 3 month old weighed yesterday at Discovery Centre and I was shocked at how much it had changed since I took my first there in 2016. There was a queue out of the door to get in, and then you now weigh your baby and record it in your red book yourself. I didn’t need any support from the HV on this visit, but I’m not a healthcare professional and it would have been nice to just have them oversee it and my baby’s progress. To be honest I won’t be attending again. I feel sorry for the HVs because they look so stretched when you see them trying to get around the room, but most of them were extremely friendly and pleasant, and even found me a seat to feed the baby before I left.

It’s Miss NHM’s 8th Birthday today!!

Wow, she’s 8 already!!!!

It’s true when they say that the days are long but the years are short! lol. It seems like only yesterday that the picture above was taken on the day she was born.

Despite being THE most strong willed little girl and bloody hard to parent sometimes (aren’t all children at some point! lol) she is absolutely the light of my life.

As cheesy and cliched as it is, she’s brought so much joy to my heart.

NorthHantsMum wouldn’t even exist without her!!

Although now she’s 8 that does also mean that the NorthHantsMum blog is nearly eight years old.

I NEVER expected that! I honestly thought I’d end up stopping when she got to 6 or 7 years old but it seems I can’t stop as people have an expectation and it’s too big a part of my life to stop now.

NorthHantsMum was always meant to be for pregnant Mum’s and parents of babies and young children aged 6 and under but it’s gone WAY beyond that now so I don’t feel too bad about continuing.

We’ve decided not to have a birthday party for Miss NHM this year because we’ve got lots of very exciting events planned throughout the year so instead we are going out to one of our favourite restaurants for dinner tonight.

I’m very grateful that Mr NHM has been so helpful with getting everything sorted when my car broke down on Friday which meant I couldn’t get half the stuff I needed too. It never rains but it pours!!

Miss NHM was very excited that Mr NHM was home this morning and we opened all of her presents as a family together and had birthday cake for breakfast! She seemed very happy with her presents this morning although last night she told me she didn’t want to be 8 as that meant she was nearly a grumpy teenager and she doesn’t want to be a grumpy teenager! I agreed with her! lol.

Although I got in trouble for not having a birthday badge ready for her so had to make something up at 7.45am, literally just before we left for school. “Creativity” isn’t one of my strong points, let alone before 8am on a week day (the joys of parenting! lol), but she was happy with her “make shift” badge and has now gone off to school with a bag of gluten free sweets for her peers.

Happy 8th Birthday to my amazing, smart, beautiful, fantastic little girl who is the inspiration and drive for everything I do!

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New Year Resolutions: My word for 2019…

I honestly didn’t think I was going to write this post for 2019. Miss NHM and I were sick over Christmas with a nasty cold/virus that completely wiped us out and meant that most of Christmas was spent in PJ’s, coughing lots! 

Mr NHM also decided this was the Christmas he would teach Miss NHM how to play “StarDew Valley” on the computer so they have both been hidden away in the study for most of the week. Which annoyingly means I can’t get to my PC to write anything as it’s in the same room. I have GOT to invest in a laptop during 2019!  

Today I’ve “advised” them I need the study so they need to amuse themselves somewhere else. Miss NHM keeps popping in and saying that Mr NHM has done something or other to annoy her, but I’m hoping they will leave me alone for at least another hour so I can also finish my 2019 MindMap which I’m sort of working on at the same time. 

Annyyyywaaayyy, even though I didn’t think I would get to write this post for 2019 I chose my word for the year about 3 months ago. Or rather it felt like it chose me as I didn’t think about it too much or fret about the choice of word like I have done in the past few years. 

2018 was very tough for many people

Many people have said to me that 2018 was the worst year of their lives. Not even “one” of the worst years, but the worst. 

I’m very lucky to say that although 2018 was tough in places it definitely wasn’t the worst year of my life. We had some amazing family times including our first trip abroad since Miss NHM’s diagnosis which was a phenomenal holiday.  

Miss NHM is getting better and better which has been a huge blessing and relief. Both Mr NHM and I are very happy in our jobs and life feels like it’s calming down, so we can actually enjoy it after the last several years of constant stress!

So I am a bit perplexed with the word that I have chosen for 2019. Or did it choose me? lol. 

My words for the last few years have been:

  • 2010 – contradiction
  • 2011 – motherhood
  • 2012 – adjustment
  • 2013 – exceptional (not always positive!!)
  • 2014 – Me
  • 2015 – Inspiring the year really lived up to this!
  • 2016: health Oh the irony of choosing this word. I have learnt my lesson and try to choose VEEERRRYYY carefully now!!!!
  • 2017: joy and it was filled with much joy but also incredibly tough at the same time.
  • 2018: breathe there was a LOT of that going on throughout the year! lol. 

My word for 2019

I know from past experience that you need to be VERY careful with choosing a word. As I said above it feels like my word for this year has already been chosen for me. Looking at this word now, 3 months after I decided what it would be, I feel excited by it. I’m excited to see what 2019 will bring. 

My word for 2019 is going to be “free”. 


Part of me was very apprehensive when I realised that this was the word that I would choose for 2019. But looking at it now I’m actually really keen to see how this pans out in 2019. 

I’m wondering if this means that I’m going to be free of the past and free of the limitations that I have previously put on myself. Free of those limiting mindsets that we all have. Free to have some more adventures. Free to choose what I want to happen in my life. Free to have fun and explore the world again, post diagnosis. 

Starting 2019

For the first time in a LONG time I feel calm and peaceful about the following year. I feel like I’ve learnt many, many lessons in the past few years and now it’s all coming together.

As I’ve said before on the blog, 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’ve already made several decisions about what I will continue doing in 2019 and what I will stop doing. 

NorthHantsMum in 2019

NorthHantsMum now reaches far beyond me. There is a whole team of us working in the background. It’s been exciting to see how the blog has impacted these lovely volunteers and also to see how NHM has developed further in 2018. 

I don’t know what 2019 is going to bring for me, NorthHantsMum and the NorthHantsMum Community but I am excited to see how 2019 pans out for all of us. 

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 especially to the AWESOME team of volunteers who now help out on NHM.

I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful 2019 where you have lots and lots of FREE moments :-D. 

Happy New Year!


My Experience: The end of Y2

You may have noticed that I’ve been going on and on and on about our experience of moving Miss NHM to a new school so I thought it was time to write something about my experience of Y2.

Four days into September 2017 term we removed Miss NHM from her old school.

The school pastoral team were arrogant enough to do completely the opposite of the comprehensive care plan that myself, Miss NHM’s paediatrician and Miss NHM’s GP put together over the summer and made Miss NHM sicker during her first week back at school. I have since found out that it was illegal for them to do this, based on the Department for Educations “Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions” comprehensive document.

Needless to say that was the icing on the cake after two years of despicable treatment of my daughter.

It was an incredibly stressful time. During that week that Miss NHM started her new school my car broke, the washing machine gave up the ghost, my Mother had what the professionals thought was a mini-stroke and it was the Sitting with Jane Bench auction at which the Teaching Assistant, who had been subjecting abuse at Miss NHM for months, was also at.

(When I reflect on that time, I still wonder how I didn’t end up in the nut house!)

We decided on the Friday evening that Miss NHM would never be going back to her old school.

On the Monday morning I rang round all of the local schools and was beyond delighted to find that one of my favourite schools had one space left for her (I’d already visited a few in June and July in anticipation of her old school still being beyond sh*t).

We were so, so, SO lucky and I thank our lucky stars every day that she’s now at the school she is at.

They have been….FANTASTIC!! I literally couldn’t ask for a better school. ALL of the staff are so lovely and compassionate. It’s such a brilliant school and Miss NHM has THRIVED  since she started in September 2017.

Seeing her get better over the past year as a result of just over a year of the Gluten free diet and seeing her in such a safe and happy environment has made my heart sing on a number of occasions.

She’s made some wonderful friends and she really has grown into a healthy and more confident child.

Her anxiety when she started at her new school was through the roof and I was extremely concerned about the impact of moving her to a new school but we realised we didn’t have any choice and despite her anxiety and Coeliac Disease she has completely flourished at her new school and I am eternally grateful to all of the staff at the new school who have helped with this.

Now that she isn’t in pain all of the time her reading has gone off the charts! I’m having to go to the library to borrow books for her as she’s read everything at home and for her year in school! (did you know that you can now borrow 30 books at a time on a children’s library card? Thanks Su for the heads-up!)

Her maths is still behind because she missed most of YR and a lot of Y1 as she was so poorly but she’s getting up to speed quickly.

She has lots of friends in her year and is WAY more chatty that she used to be (double edged sword) probably because she isn’t in pain now. It’s been wonderful to see that she’s been in a year where the children are all down to earth and, apart from one child, there has been no bitchiness or nastiness.

Even the school Mum’s are all lovely. Yes, there are a few cliquey’s but nowhere near as many nasty Mum’s (there were lots and lots of lovely Mum’s there too!! Just in case my friends from there are reading! <facepalm>) as there were at the old school.

With hindsight we probably should have moved Miss NHM to another school earlier but we were struggling with getting her well again and that was our focus. I do believe that everything happens for a reason and when it happens when the time is right.

I’m thankful that we moved her AFTER her diagnosis so that her “unexplained” sickness didn’t carry with her and I’m beyond grateful that the “new” school have been so fantastic.

Based on my experience, if your gut is telling you that your child isn’t happy in their current school have a look around at other local schools and go and visit them. Literally everyone I know who has moved their child to another school has found it a very positive experience for the child in question.

I’m really looking forward to Y3 and seeing how Miss NHM continues to bloom, to become more healthy and overcome her anxiety and thrive. Thank you to those of you who have supported us along this journey so far! I’m very, very thankful for all of you!!!

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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 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!


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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 I haven’t quite decided yet.

We will still be working in the background on 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!


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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”.


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

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!


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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


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

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


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


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


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


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


NorthHantsMum turned 6 years old.

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

The whole bloody project nearly broke me.

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


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

It was a very, very, very stressful week.

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

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


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

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

I started the “Inspirational Mum’s” programme.


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


I FINALLY sorted out the “subscribe” option on the 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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