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 (NorthHantsMum@gmail.com).

  1. Email the head of Southern Health: hp-tr.complaints@nhs.net
  2. Email Maria Miller: maria.miller.mp@parliament.uk
  3. Email your local councillor. You can find your local councillor here by using your postcode: https://democracy.basingstoke.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx

(You can copy and paste all of the emails from here: hp-tr.complaints@nhs.net;  maria.miller.mp@parliament.uk; NorthHantsMum@gmail.com)

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: https://twitter.com/NickBroughton4
  2. Tweet Maria Miller: https://twitter.com/MariaMillerUK
  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….

2015

2016

(There is now direct evidence of how children’s centres saved the NHS millions of pounds: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/04/sure-start-saved-nhs-millions?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook&fbclid=IwAR38KyULT_ELrGweVxT_rNIHgJIK4RKL491e0MVUbcHjaVmsiC99gW3lRC8) Thank you to Danielle for sharing with me).

2017

  • 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.

2018

  • 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: https://www.hants.gov.uk/news/Nov27-SENDIASS
  • Changes to Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support in Hampshire

2019

  • 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 https://www.facebook.com/159961377372565/posts/2184994638202552?s=532163237&sfns=mo – 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.

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 onTwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

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!

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

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”. 

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!

Louisex

NEW!! Historical NorthHantsMum Posts: An Index

You know those moments when you wake up in the middle of the night, sit bolt up right and say “TaDa!!! Why didn’t I think of that before!!!”?

I had one of those moments last night. 

I need to make it easier and quicker for people to find things that they are looking for on NHM and realised in the early hours of this morning that I need some kind of index. 

So I’ve started working on an index for NHM on the website, so you can see all of the posts that have been published. The index will be ordered by year because this is the simplest way. 

I was told a few years ago that this was a rubbish thing to do, but I’ve realised that it’s actually very much needed as there are SOOO many posts on NHM now it’s become really unwieldy.

Hopefully the index will help you find things quickly. 

If you search on the Menu for “About NorthHantsMum” and then look for “Historical Posts” they will be listed here. You can see the picture of what it looks like on a tablet, ipad, laptop or PC below. 

You can also find the list of historical posts here: Historical Posts 

(If you subscribe to the website and you get this post as an email, don’t forget to KEEP this email so you can find the information easily again ;-))

I only started working on the index today so I’m going to be working on updating this over Christmas. I will let you know when I have finished it. 

It’s REALLY enlightening to see the kinds of things that have been covered on NHM since I started in June 2011. A couple of years ago I deleted about 400 posts which were mainly timely events or small businesses which no longer exist, but it’s really interesting to see how NorthHantsMum has developed. 

Hopefully the index will make it a bit easier for you to find things quickly!!

I’d love to hear your feedback! Thanks! 

Subscribe to NorthHantsMum!

Facebook has deactivated the NorthHantsMum FB Page

On Thursday, when I discovered that Facebook had moved my FB pages into a Business Manager, I moved them out of the Business Manager because I have no idea what it is and I don’t want to use it as it’s clearly yet ANOTHER attempt by FB to make money out of me.

Facebook moved my pages into the Business Manager with no warning.

Again.

I was then advised by FB that they would be removing my admin rights from the pages and deleting my FB Pages within 24 hours.

At first I was absolutely LIVID.

How DARE they do this. AGAIN!

Three years ago, in 2015, they “decided” to change my profile to a page and it caused me an extreme amount of stress and grief.

However, this time I was a bit more prepared. I’ve put systems in place to ensure that if FB decided to screw my business over again I would be prepared. (I know NHM isn’t a business, it’s a not for profit, but I class it as a business given how much time and effort it takes several of us to run!)

On Friday, I woke up with a great feeling of relief and calmness.

The decision has been made for me.

Every 6 months to a year Facebook does a massive change which “screws” those of us who are running small businesses.

I am absolutely sick of it. The time and effort it takes to get things “back on track” after another Facebook algorithm change or changing the notifications so no one can see what you post. I just don’t have the energy for it anymore.

I also learnt this week that Facebook track all of the websites that you click on from the device that you’ve connected to Facebook from (I kind of knew this already). I’m fairly sure that should be illegal!!! I also learnt that they own WhatsApp.

Ironically, in the past two weeks I’ve been moaning about FB to the Small Business Networking group and some of the Mum’s on the school run, so I wasn’t that surprised when it happened this week! lol.

I intensely dislike the way Facebook are trying to exploit people and I dislike the ethics of the company.

SUBSCRIBE!!!

Never miss a NorthHantsMum blog post again!!

As I am soooo over Facebook and their ridiculous changes that are only there to try to make money out of people, after 7.5 years, I’ve decided that I won’t be having an FB page again.

Someone had already commented on the annual NHM Survey that it was confusing having so many things being posted in so many different places.

So, from now on, you can subscribe on the website (see picture below) to receive the posts via email and you can add me as a friend at “Louise nhm Smith”.

What it looks like if you are subscribing via a tablet, iPad, laptop or PC (top of the page on the right)

That’s it.

I will no longer update the “NorthHantsMum FB Page” and if FB choose to delete the page – well, that’s up to them.

You can’t search FB pages anyway so it makes much more sense to keep the content in the website alone.

You can still share posts from the website to Facebook as the functionality is available at the bottom of each post on the website.

Subscribing on a Tablet, iPad, PC or Laptop

It’s much, much, MUCH easier to subscribe to to NHM on an ipad, tablet, PC or laptop.

So if there is any way you can get hold of one of those, definitely try to subscribe there as the subscribe box is at the top of the screen on the right hand side (see the picture above with the text under it).

Subscribe on a phone

If you are trying to subscribe via a phone, the best way is to scroll to the very BOTTOM of the home page, as far as you can go (past all of the posts) and then scroll BACK UP slowly:

  • past the “Categories”,
  • past the “Navigation Menu”,
  • past the “Random Business Directory Listing”,
  • past the “Recent NorthHantsMum Posts”,
  • past the “Search NorthHantsMum”
  • and “Subscribe to NorthHantsMum via email” will be just there.

It takes much longer to explain than to actually subscribe on a phone! lol.

Email me to Subscribe

If you can’t work out how to do the subscription on the website, please just email me at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com with the email header as “Subscribe” and the email you would like me to subscribe you with.

Hopefully if you subscribe you won’t be subject to FB and the limitations that they place on what you see from NorthHantsMum as subscribing on the website means you won’t miss ANYTHING that is published on the website.

It would be awesome if you were able to share this post with others who you know are active followers of NorthHantsMum.

As always, thank you VERY much for your support and understanding and thank you in advance for subscribing on the website.

Thank you!!!!

Louisex

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! 

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!!!

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

I’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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