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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.


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.


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”.

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.

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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!!!!


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NHM Reader Recommendations: Toddler groups for socialising children and parents

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader that I was really hoping the NHM Community could help with. I know that there are groups on NHM but thought maybe there were other support groups that could also help: “I have 2 children, a 2yr old and a 4year old. My 4 year old is very shy and I do not have any friends with children. I feel really isolated. I would love to find out about some groups (regular ones that I can keep going to) to give my 4yr old an opportunity to mix with other children and me to make some friends.”

Thank you so much for all the responses and also for the kind offers to meet up. The group suggestions are listed below in no particular order:

NHM Reader Recommendations: Toddler groups for socialising children and parents

Edie said “Sherborne St John baby and toddler group on a Wednesday in term time at 9.45-11.30am in the village hall is a very friendly group that is a good way to meet other mums.”

Shirley said “Sycamore Halls Community Centre has two parent and toddler groups… Monday 10 til 12 and Thursday 10 til 12… term time only”

Hannah said “Basing beans is a lovely friendly group. They have a Facebook page. Also places like fun house are good as the kids kind of gravitate towards each other.”

  • Stephanie asked “Hi,is basing beans still running? We’ve been twice(term time) in the last 2 months and the building was in darkness and locked”
  • Jenni replied “Hi Stephanie, I’m not sure if you know but Basing Beans moved to Lychpit Village Hall a while ago, it’s still great fun!”

Rebecca said “Mini Professors is good for 2-4 year olds.”

Allison R said “Two friendly toddler groups held at St Mary’s Church, Goat Lane Eastrop. Tues and Thurs term time, 10am – 11.30am. Many parents bring pack lunches and stay on for more chats and social ‘indoor picnic’!”

Lene said “I run Little Learners Basingstoke (aimed at 5 months to 5 years). A messy play group developing early writing skills and mark making. The classes are small and very relaxed.

Joanna said “BusyBees Hook is a lovely craft toddler group, Friday mornings at 9.45am”

Laura said “I really recommend Muddy Puddles forest school. Being outside gives shyer children space to make friendships at their own pace. And brilliant for my 2 who are almost 2 and almost 4.”

  • Edie said “Second that actually, we’ve just started our second term”
  • Sarah said “Muddy Puddle Forest School is amazing!”

Erica said “Come and join the fun at Pop Up Play Village on a Wednesday morning in Beggarwood Community Centre. We’ve had a few people come who have felt like that… It’s hard feeling like that. Once your 4 year old gets school visits underway that might help as they meet Classmates.

Mary said “Do you use your preschool hours? If you find the one where most children go to the school your child will go to you maybe able to benefit for the rest of the term and then meet up with people in the holidays. My issue with lots of groups is they stop in the holidays so you might need to arrange to meet people through the holidays to maintain friendships.”

Mandy said “The Link, Newchurch Road in Tadley have various toddler groups on, all very friendly. Monday 1.15 to 2.45pm cheeky cherubs, Tuesday Little Squigglers Messy Play 9.30am to 11am, Wednesday Cheeky Chimps 9.30am to 11.30am, 2nd and 4th Thursday 9.30 to 11.30am Little Explorers Soft Play. There is also groups run by others like Totcross Buns on Thursday Mornings and Caterpillar Music on a Friday. All the groups are really friendly.”

  • Allison (Tot Cross Buns) replied “Thank you for the recommendation Mandy. We have spaces on Thursday and love meeting new mini bakers and their grown ups.

Wendy said “Basingstoke gymnastics run classes everyday that would accommodate both children.”

Rachael said “Sherfield Park community centre 0-5 toddler group on a Tuesday 10am-12pm. Very friendly group. If you want a smaller group to get her used to people first there is also Bumps into mums every Friday morning at Sherfield Park community centre just pay for drinks and cakes. Runs every week throughout the year (apart from bank holidays and Christmas) 10am-12pm. Kids ages range from newborns through to school starters”

Cerys said “NCT Coffee & Chat, Friday mornings 10.00 at Brookvale Village Hall”

Rachel said “TinyTalk Basingstoke – Baby signing and Toddler Talking classes have a social time as part of the class and I have had so many Mummies and little ones make firm friendships in class!”

Katie said “Join us at Cookery Doodle Doo – with a max preschool class size of 6, the children sit together and cook with me. You’re welcome to help her, or sit at my kitchen table with your littler one and watch/chat/drink coffee. Whatever works for you on the day. Trial class only £5 if you contact me to book. Or try our short pop-up on Thursday 10th May at the Overton Coffee Shop – all the adults join in and help at this fun Flowerpot Cheesecake class for little tots (walking/talking) up to preschool. Both your kids could do that one Www.Cookerydoodledoo.Com/northhants

Naomi said “Melrose Hall has two tot groups running one on a Tues and one on a Friday. The Friday one is very small in numbers so all are welcome”

Sasha said “Oakridge hall does a lovely playgroup on a Tuesday 9:45 -11:15 I have a 4yr and 2yr old and moved here not knowing anyone and felt isolated too.”

Juliet said “I started taking my shy boy to Tot Cross Buns about a year ago when he was two, the class size was perfect for him and the involvement has done wonders for his confidence. It‘s great for meeting other mums too”

  • Allison (Tot Cross Buns) said “Thank you for the recommendation Juliet. We love our mini bakers and enjoy meeting new faces”

Jaz said “Caterpillar Music is suitable for both ages and siblings are free too. I hated playgroups as would sit on my own and not be brave enough to talk to anyone. Structured classes I find much better and less scary. Being a mum is so daunting when you go to new places. I’m only more confident now I have a 3rd and even now don’t dare try playgroups!!!”

Kim said “‘What’s Inside The Box’ Story Time Sessions with Routine Riots. Teas and coffees for mums and dad’s whilst we explore a story, sing, dance and play. Themed each session. Every two weeks and next one is Thursday 3rd May from 1-2pm at Viables Community Centre. £4 and you’ll need to contact the Centre to book”

Yvette said “I went to caterpillar music this morning and usually I find new places and groups daunting. Being a structured class eased my uncomfortable side! Little ones 5 months and thoroughly enjoyed it!!!”

Kelly-Lauren said “Jiggy Wrigglers is a great class for all your children’s ages and is priced per family and not per child. All children love the music, dancing, props and bubbles! There is also social time with toys at the end where you can relax and have free tea/coffees and biscuits whilst your little ones play.”

  • Emma asked “Where is this one please? I have a baby and need to find classes to go to. All the ones I used to do with my first had stopped coz of the children’s centres cutbacks
  • Kelly-Lauren replied “Hi Emma, we are currently at Hook Home and Garden Centre on Tuesday 10-10.30 and 10.45-11.15 (no refreshments here or social time but there is a free play area you can use afterwards inside) which is £3 per child, Thursdays Melrose Hall in Popley 10-11am and Fridays Crookham WI Hall 10-11am. It’s such a shame about the cut backs as a lot of people are missing out on vital connections and support!”

Kath said” Zoe runs zingtastic and mumbaba. Zoe would definitely make you feel welcome and introduce you to other mums”

  • Hayley replied “Another recommendation for Zoe. I’ve been to her groups with both of my children and she will absolutely make you feel welcome”
  • Lisa said “I second that, Zoe is lovely and we have been going to Mumbaba for 3 years now.”
  • Julia said “Zoe is awesome and so welcoming – as a first time mum I went along to Mumbaba having had no mummy friends. My little girl and I were given such a warm welcome and made wonderful new friends”

Lizzie said “I run forest school sessions in Bramley and in morgaston woods at The Vyne. We have a few parents who bring 2 children along as the child led nature of forest School means children of all ages can join in. The parents are all lovely and welcoming and it’s a great place to make new friends as people attend every week.

Sarah said “I run Hartbeeps multi-sensory classes suitable for both ages and siblings. It is a structured class with lots of fun. Classes in Hook are on a Tuesday morning and I have a special offer of 3 introductory classes for £12.00 on at the moment.

Hayley said “Little angels in hatch warren on a Thursday morning is good for mixed ages too. My 4 year old and 19 month old go every week. It’s very relaxed and a nice bunch”

Louise NHM said “I was thinking, maybe we need a “code word” for Mum’s who are a bit shy or nervous, so that when they turn up, the organisers know to make them feel very welcomed and introduce them to others. Would that be a good idea?”

  • Rachael said “I think it’s a great idea just a shame it needs to be done, why can’t people just be more welcoming and introduce themselves when they see a new face walk in the door”
  • Jade said “This has never changed. I first had my first child 7 years ago and I was always the one sat on my own at baby group. 7 years later I take my 8month old little girl to one for her sake. Not mine. I don’t feel welcome no one wants to chat they’ve all got their friends I just go purely to get out the house now and no longer worry about having any ‘mummy friends’”
  • Rebecca said “I know exactly how you feel. This is why I prefer structured classes rather than playgroups.”
  • Mary said “I actually think the organiser needs to be more obvious so you know to introduce yourself to. Also most people who are talking in groups will let someone into the group.
  • The other thing to do is get there early and help to set up or put stuff away, that’s another way to get chatting. I don’t think I’m overly confident but i won’t sit on my own either.”
  • Helena said “Our village playgroup had a designated ‘welcomer’ who would instantly spot a new face, explain the set up and introduce them to the adults who she knew would be friendly and chatty Because let’s face it, not everyone is! It worked really well and no one was ever sat alone.
  • Sasha said “Louise NHM that’s a really good idea, make it easier for people”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Top Tips when Visiting Orlando

An NHM Reader recently asked “We are off to Orlando for the last few weeks of August and I was wondering if the NHM Community had any top tips? It will be a “once in a lifetime trip” so we want to ensure we get the most out of our time there.”

Thank you for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Top Tips when Visiting Orlando

Rhiannon said “There are often Facebook groups that give hints and tips on certain trips, especially if youre planning on doing the parks.”

Jo said “I would say join a fb Orlando group…I did this before we went to Disneyland Paris in March and got some fab insider tips”

Kerri said “You will need to take plenty of fluids with you so buy cheap water bottles and pack. In Disney and universal there are drinking water refill stations. Food at the parks is pricey and even more so because of the exchange rate so stock up on snacks at a local store. Although you’ll read that you can’t take picnics in we did on many occasions and the staff always let us through. There’s a lot of walking. We hired a pushchair for our then 5 year old as it was too much for him in the heat. It’s pricey to hire pushchairs in the park but we bought one from Walmart for $20 which was basically a days hire. The queues can be long but they’re well prepared for it and there’s often things to see and do in the lines. You can pre book your fast track rides months in advance and it’s worth doing.”

Rachel H replied “Where did you read you can’t take picnics into Disney? Just curious. We’ve never had an issue taking food in with us and I’ve never read you can’t.”

Susan said “Look up ‘Everything free to do at Disney’ You can go behind the scenes in one of the restaurants, ride the monorails etc…/10-free-things-you-can…/. Also

Vicky saidI’d highly recommend signing up to the website The Dibb. It’s a fantastic source of Disney and Orlando information. There’s a forum which has great advice and free planners you can use to maximise your time. There is a ‘busy day’ calculator so you can plan which parks will be best to visit on which days (it uses data collected from previous years) & pretty much advice on any aspect of your holiday. Have a great time (I’m not jealous in the slightest!!).”

Rachel H saidTake a picnic and/or snacks (not as important if free dining offer). Quick service locations offer free water (ice water), no need to buy bottled. Avoid the water fountains, warm and strange taste. Quick service locations, adults can order kids meals (they are big portions).

Use the my Disney experience app in the parks to book the next fast pass once the initial 3 have been used (as soon as you scan into the last ride you can book the 4th).

Hit the parks early, you’ll get lots done in the first two hours.

We love Boma for breakfast (Animal Kingdom Lodge), if doing Princess dining, we preferred Akershaus, but there is something amazing about eating in the castle.

Check opening hours, Magic Kingdom will close early some nights for the Halloween Parties.

The balloons are ridiculously expensive, if getting one, purchase at the start of the holiday.

If staying onsite without a car, allow plenty of time to get to reservations. The buses can take a while.

Sign up for a Landry card if eating in their restaurants (rainforest cafe is one).

We were impressed with Red Lobster food, quality and price.

Crazy golf is great.

It’s impossible to do everything, so don’t try to. Pick what is most important to you, not what others say has to be done.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Where to go to Pick Pumpkins

Last year, an NHM Reader asked the following question, which I thought would be useful to post now: “Do you know anywhere (doesn’t have to be local, hour or so drive away) where you can pick pumpkins?”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for your responses, listed below in no particular order. 

Thank you also to Juliet for putting this post together!!

NHM Readers recommend where to go to pick pumpkins

Wendy said:

“Seen lots of people go here

This place still has some

“And this place still has loads

Kathryn said:

“Bourne valley pyo, went there Friday but they are going fast!”

Siobhan said:

Farm near Crofton Equestrian at Fareham”

Amy said:

“Pickwell Farm, Netley”

Amanda said:

I was on the road from Petersfield to Rogate on A272 today .. there are 2 farms along that road that are selling PYO pumpkins”

Sarah said:

There is somewhere in romsey near the swimming pool”

Yvette said:

Secretts garden centre near Godalming is a great pick your own place. You even get to go on a tractor to the field!”

Laura said:

Here might have some. We went in the summer for other crops and it was so quiet but good produce.

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NHM Readers Recommend: Getting Around with Kids without a Car

I recently had a question from a NHM Reader that I asked the NHM Community to help with: “For medical reasons I have been told I need to permanently stop driving. With 3 young children (1, 4 & 6) the thought of not being able to drive is utterly frightening and I am really struggling with it. I would really appreciate hearing from mums who don’t drive and how they find doing normal day to day things and special school holiday things without driving. I have no idea how we can continue with swimming, Beavers, football etc. I don’t have family to help and I don’t know what I am going to do!”

Thank you to the NHM Community for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order.

NHM Readers Recommend: Getting Around with Kids without a Car

Kathryn said “I don’t drive (hubby does) and was a sahm for the first 18 months of my second daughter’s life… Both of my girls love the bus. I found we were quite well connected, live in Popley, had nursery in town centre and attended various baby groups all over Basingstoke. I downloaded the network map on my phone so I could always check which buses went to somewhere before committing to going. Just had to allow time for longer journeys and the possibility that I couldn’t fit on the bus with the pushchair and having to wait for the next one… But it is doable”

Claire M said “I grew up in a family where my mum didn’t drive. I didn’t miss out at all, you will probably find your kids will become more independent as a result when they get a bit older. Trains are pretty good these days too with the 4 for 2 deals etc. As long as you live close to public transport you will be fine”

Claire D said “I have a 5, 3 and 2 year old (and an almost 18 year old). I am learning to drive but obviously currently dont. When I was with the kids Dad he drove but I still had to make my own way about when he was at work. I rely on buses, taxis and trains. I still am able to get to work and back and take the kids to school etc. I shop online, go and do small shops and also occasionally get lifts to do slightly bigger shops. I get by. It can get stressful, but the norm for me.

I also often have to navigate London with my 5 and 3 year old on foot and my 2 year old in a pushchair. When I have the pushchair, I find my route with buses and plan in advance. When I am lucky to have a babysitter for my youngest, I get the tube. Recently I had 4 London visits with the kids, to places that I didnt know, in two weeks. I survived, 2 visits were after night shifts.

Also a rail card is a great thing to have. £30 for a year and you get quite a saving on train tickets with it. They also do “buy one get one free” deals on entry tickets to places in London when travelling by train with a rail card

Ruth saidI was going to recommend this too! 🙂and google maps – if you select directions, and the little bus/train icon before putting in where you want to go, it gives you all the bus/train route info plus how long to walk at each stage! And if you can afford to invest in a Merlin card then there is lots to do in London when they are a bit older, plus sealife centre in Weymouth on the pass is a great day out on the train. I remember doing all sorts by public transport with my mum as dad was the only driver and worked pretty much the whole summer hols”

Kate said “There is a service called ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ who are happy to transport kids and support anyone with getting out and about. Driving Miss Daisy Whitchurch

Katie said “Speak to other parents at clubs and see if you can get lifts for your children from them. We share lifts to most clubs and would give lifts to non drivers as we are going anyway.”

Hannah said “I won’t lie it is tough sometimes but my boy is only 3 1/2 And used to only going to places on bus/train with me. My OH drives but tbh if he is working a Sunday he has to miss his rugby because we can’t get there. I would definitely see if there are other parents who could help out with clubs etc”

Zoe said “I don’t drive and have the same age children as you. My husband drives but is only around the weekends so we rely on public transport and walking throughout the week. Don’t think my children miss out because of me not driving. I guess it depends where you live and how far away the clubs etc are from you?”

Kelly said “I do drive but my husband doesn’t anymore due to complications with his type 1 diabetes. You may be entitled to a free bus pass as you have had to stop driving for medical reasons. Online food shopping is vital too it saves carrying bags. As for clubs maybe ask friends to help or move lessons to the weekends so youre not getting home too late with tired children on public transport.”

Sharon said “I don’t drive, and live in the town centre partly for that reason. I do spend a fair bit of time finding activities I can access as a lot of these are out in the ‘burbs. To be honest I limit bus use as I find this a pain with my youngest (2) needing a buggy for longer journeys (and all the stuff we still have to cart around!) – there often isn’t room on a bus for us so I always go one bus early to allow for a fall back plan. We do the things we can get to. My mum or husband help with one-offs if they are around. We arrange further days out when hubby or parents are around, which to be honest works nicely as these are often too expensive to do often anyway! Best of luck sorting out the clubs side of things.”

Mindy said Consider doing your sums and working out what you save on insurance, petrol etc and giving yourself a budget for taxis for some trips”

Mata said “I don’t drive and neither does my husband. We use public transport and taxis. We choose everything based on non-driving: where we live, work, what activities the kids do. Not driving is hard in Hampshire, especially in more rural areas. It is not too bad in Basingstoke. And the norm in London.”

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NHM Reader’s Experience: Sensory-processing sensitivity (SPS)

Thank you very much to today’s NHM Reader who has shared some of her experience to benefit others.

NHM Reader’s Experience: Sensory-processing sensitivity (SPS)

I am a mum of three kids and in the past few years have been really struggling to cope with their moods and the noise they make. I have now worked out why I have been feeling as I have and thought I’d share this with you because it might help others, too.

All three of my kids were very much wanted and planned and we were so happy when each of them was born. What I didn’t anticipate though was how much their noise and physical demands were going to challenge me. It got worse over the years and in the end I felt I was in a constant state of anger and that I never fully calmed down – I went from 0 to 100 in 2 seconds over very small things.

By now, even happy noises from children other than my own put me on edge immediately. I was very unhappy about this and shed many a tear in the evenings – and in the daytime because I had also got so very emotional – and complained to my poor husband. He tried to help but couldn’t really understand.

I researched many conditions that could explain just how I felt. Stress, depression, various phobias, even autism in female adults, but none of it really described how I felt. Until I came across “sensory-processing sensitivity” (SPS for short). People who are affected are called “highly sensitive persons”; their brains can’t filter out all the different stimuli that enter during a day and as a consequence they can feel greatly overwhelmed while the brain tries to deal with it all.

I have never been very good in noisy, crowded situations, I can’t stand the heat and I don’t like bright sunlight in my face. I also very much need my own personal space and I had started to make a connection between how these situations made me feel and how being with children made me feel.

And now it all makes perfect sense.

Before we had the children, I would either avoid situations that I found stressful (I have never been to a concert in my life and avoid going into busy town centres as much as possible) or I would have time to give my brain a break afterwards. When you have kids, that is often impossible and so the stimuli build up and up, leading to the feeling over overwhelm and even anger.

SPS is not an illness but rather a personality trait but just knowing why I feel that way has made my life much easier. I am still at the beginning of my own journey but I now try limit the amount of noise I subject myself to by, for example, wearing ear defenders at home even when it is not particularly noisy or taking five minutes in a quiet room when I have just sat in the car with the kids for half an hour, to give my brain that break it needs.

There is some useful information on the internet and, now that I know what to search for, I have found many blogs by affected parents. Not all have the same triggers as me, as all senses can be affected, but if any readers feel they are struggling with noises, lights, smells, crowds, etc or are otherwise very emotional I suggest they google SPS and highly sensitive persons.

If anyone feels the description of SPS fits them I would also be very happy to be contacted to exchange thoughts and ideas of how to cope with it. (please drop me an email at and I will forward it to the lovely lady who wrote this post).

NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs running over the summer for 3 year olds

I recently had the following question from an NHM Reader “There seem to be lots of things going on in the summer break for 4 plus, as my little one doesn’t turn 4 till end of August is there a list of clubs etc that are running in the summer hols for 3 year olds?”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order.

NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs running over the summer for 3 year olds

Louise Nhm said “This link might help:…/classes-still-running…/

Heather saidBasing beans is still on in the holidays. Tuesday 10 till 1130 at Lychpit Village Hall.”

Jo said “We are running our under 5 activities until the last 2 weeks of August, all being well. Our under 5 activities are at The Hurst Leisure Centre. Tomorrow we have Messy Play.

Cerys said “NCT Coffee & Chat is open every Friday at Brookvale Village Hall, 10.00-12.00”

Kim said‘What’s Inside The Box?’ Story Time sessions with Routine Riots are still running over the summer too at Viables…with some extra summer sessions also!”

Andy said “We are running family exercise classes for under 5’s. Check out our page for the times @Tntfamilyfitnessuk

Sarah P saidI am running 3 Hartbeeps classes in Hook. Perfect for toddlers.

HOOK 3 week mini-summer half term
Class 1: Tuesday 24th July
Class 2: Tuesday 31st July
Class 3: Tuesday 7th July

10.00-10.45 Happy House (confident walkers and their older/younger siblings – older siblings up to 8yrs welcome)
11.00-11.45 Baby Beeps (independently sitting babies to walkers)
12.00-12.45 Baby Bells (new born to independently sitting babies)

Location: Elizabeth Hall, Raven Rd, Hook, RG27 9HH
Cost: 3 wk half term = £18.00, (plus £3.00 per class for 1st sibling)

Email me to book your toadstool,”

Sarah C replied “Sarah is lovely and fab with kids! Mine love her!!!”

Lee-Anne saidAlphabetty Adventures is running every Friday at Oakridge hall at 10 am. Full of dancing, singing and crafts.”

Kelly T said “The hurst leisure are running lots of activities for under 5’s”

Allison saidTot Cross Buns is running classes – perfect for 3 year olds”

Kelly W said “Jiggy Wrigglers are collaborating with other baby/toddler groups to give little ones memorable summer activities Jiggy Wrigglers – Summer Events

Katie said Check out our classes here…. A few for 3 year olds to try…. We also have dance classes for age 3 on 1st and 3rd August too. Drop me a message and I can send you all the details.”

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August 2018’s “NHM Inspirational Mum”: Aliceja Fisher

I stopped doing the “Inspirational Mum” programme because it felt like I was the one who was deciding who was inspirational and who wasn’t and that’s definitely not my decision to make.

But it looks like the universe is deciding for me on this one after my original “Inspirational Mum” post was automatically re-published on “NorthHantsMum FB Page” a few days ago and I realised that I’m just the “facilitator” for this.

YOU are the ones who nominate a Mum for this, I just have the AWESOME job of passing on the message :-D.

So, I think I’m going to try this one again. I will put out a request each month for nominations and whomever gets the most nominations will “win” for that month. Let’s see how this goes…

August 2018’s NorthHantsMum’s Inspirational Mum, with by far the most email nominations is: Aliceja Fisher!

Congratulations Aliceja! I know we’ve never met but it’s clear that you are an awesome Mum and person based on the number of emails that I received for your nomination!!

As Helen says below, make sure you print the comments out and use them to boost you on those wobbly days 😉 :-D.

Inspiration Mum Nomination 1

Helen: My nomination is Aliceja Fisher

Things changes a lot for her in the last 12 months and the game got a lot harder. She’s embraced it, fought the challenge, become stronger, more empowered and while she has wobbles of self doubt, which she really shouldn’t, she is a wonderful mum to her daughter.
She’s also a huge supporter of community projects, involved with social events for Mums to help their mental health and stop Mums feeling alone. She’s always seen to be pointing mums in the right direction of classes and support. My message to Aliceja would be, always believe in yourself and when this is published and you’re recognised as a Inspirational Mum, print it, keep it and use all the lovely comments to boost you on those wobbly days.

Inspiration Mum Nomination 2

Holly: I’ve seen your FB post and I’d like to nominate Aliceja Fisher as my local mum.

I’ve known Alice a number for years, we went to senior school together, she’s has always put others before herself, she has always be so kind and loved by all even through many trying times.

She truly is a wonderful person and now she’s a wonderful mother. She made my journey in to motherhood so much easier just by being there, our babies are a couple of months apart and they’ve brought her back in to my life and I’m so grateful to have her in it! I love you lots Aliceja!

Inspiration Mum Nomination 3

Lisa Marie: I would love to nominate my friend Aliceja Fisher.

Around a year ago her world was rocked and kind of crashed around her, she could have given up completely. However, she embraced the huge changes happening and became even stronger than she ever was.

As us mums do, she has days where she doubts everything she’s doing, but she’s the most amazing Mum and the best friend anyone could ask for! She helps everyone without any hesitation and she deserves to be recognised for everything she does!

She’s beautiful inside and out and such an inspiration! Aliceja, be proud of everything you’ve achieved!!! We love you loads!Xxx

Inspiration Mum Nomination 4

Jen: I would like to celebrate a local amazing Mum, Aliceja Fisher from Basingstoke. I met her at a Mummy social event which she organised, she has been through a lot this past year and becoming a new mum herself I think has bought out the best in her! She is an amazing inspiration to all Mums and personally has become a very close friend who supports me and everyone around her without even batting an eyelid.

She is an awesome person and one of the most hard working Mums I know always putting others before herself!

This would mean the world to her even though she would be completely overwhelmed and feel like she didn’t deserve it! She really does!

Inspiration Mum Nomination 5

Joanna: I’d like to jump on the bandwagon and nominate Aliceja Fisher as an inspirational Mum. I met her last summer when she set up regular coffee meet-ups using the Mummy Social App. I was a few months into maternity leave and these socials gave me the impetus and confidence to get out of the house with a young baby and meet new friends.

Aliceja has had a tough year but has remained a good friend as well as being active in community events.

Aliceja deserves recognition for her support to new mums and general awesomeness!

Inspiration Mum Nomination 6

Louisa: My nomination is Aliceja Fisher.

Aliceja and I have babies the same age, and without her creating social events when they were small I wouldn’t have a the great friend group I have now.

She always goes out of her way to help everyone and quite often forgets about herself in the process.

She is genuinely one of the most selfless people I have ever met and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this nomination.

A true awesome mummy!!

Inspiration Mum Nomination 7

Jenna: I’d like to nominate Aliceja Fisher!

I don’t even know where to begin with reasons as to why she’s awesome! She walked ( quite literally- at the HV walk) into my life last year as we were finding our feet as first time mums! She introduced me to other mums who now I call my closest friends! She keeps getting curve balls thrown at her but she gets back up and continues on! She is a credit to our mummy group and she needs to know that we are with her ever step of the way!!! She is the most kind person I know and deserves this!

Inspiration Mum Nomination 8

Gayle: Nominate Aliceja Fisher

Aliceja has been a great friend since we both became mums. She makes time to make sure we are ok regardless of what is going on in her own life. She keeps in contact with a large circle of friends and the list gets bigger and bigger as she picks up more and involves more as she goes.

She is truly an inspiration, being a single fantastic mum and now working full time, being open and honest to all she meets making sure no one feels alone, and sharing her feelings on Instagram/ Facebook – she says what we are all feeling.

Inspiration Mum Nomination 9

Odette: My nomination is for Aliceja Fisher, she is an amazing mum and friend! She is my sister in law and she is always willing to listen to everyone and try to help despite whatever happens in her life.

She is always willing to help, everyone specially new mums; giving them right advice or putting them in the right direction.

She also gets involved in social events to support new mums, helping them to meet new people. Always with a smile

She has a golden heart.

Thank you very much to everyone who nominated a Mum for this month’s “NHM Inspirational Mum”!

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NHM Reader Comments: Homework in Infant and Junior School

Louise posted the following question on her Louise Nhm Smith profile “Good Afternoon Everyone. I’ve had a question from a NHM Reader that I’m intrigued to know the answer myself: “Has anyone advised their child’s school that their children won’t be doing homework in Infants school, and if yes, how did they go about doing this? My understanding is that homework isn’t mandatory until 8 years old…” TIA”

Thank you to all who contributed to this discussion, highlights are below and thank you to Juliet for putting this post together! 

NHM Readers comments on advising infant /junior schools their children wont be doing homework

Jaz said

“We’re clearly lucky as my school doesn’t believe in it so young. We just have to read each day- but I think that’s right! They do have a project over the summer which I think is fine. But also- if it’s making a project or something you don’t want them to be the only child that doesn’t do it and is left out…”

Mary said

“My son is y1 and his homework is a short writing exercise (often draw a picture and write a sentence); practice tricky words, read his book and number bonds. I let him chose to do it when he wants to. It takes no time at all. The teacher says it’s ok if not everything gets done. If I were you I would open the conversation with the school in an open and honest way. You might find they are open to your choice. Plus think about what aspects of homework you won’t do. Be prepared.”

Louise Nhm Smith said

“I have already had this response from a Primary school teacher who obviously wishes to remain anonymous: “I’m currently a Primary school teacher and when my little boy goes to school I will be doing the same and probably withdrawing him from KS1 SATs.

I would write a clear polite letter outlining why you do not want your child doing homework, inc references to official sources to support your view if you think the school will cause a fuss. I would also include what educational activities you will do i.e. read and discuss books, family meals, visits to places that engage your child (whatever is relevant to you). Speak to your child so they don’t rub it in to others and keep track that they are not doing it in break times.

I would however keep an eye on the projects because they can be fun for the family to share in and be aware they may miss out on rewards (merits, stickers). Good luck and I hope the school supports your plans.””

Louise Nhm Smith said

“Response from the same Primary school teacher: “After a very quick google search, there is no formal method to withdraw an able child from SATs that I can find. There is an option to simply not take them in during the week (and risk fines) or take them on an unauthorized holiday (less likely to get fines but as you will have seen in the press it is a hot topic).

From my personal perspective my boy is not due to take KS1 SATs until 2022 and a lot will change in that time. If they do not then I will have a conversation with my school about my concerns, and if not addressed, will consider not sending him in and taking the penalties/fines.

I have a lot of professional concerns about how schools are implementing the tests, especially at KS1 and the pressure that is put on very small minds, bodies and souls.

If you as a parent also have concerns your first port of call should be your child’s teacher. Understand how the school approaches the tests and discuss how your child can be supported so that they are not stressed. If this does not reassure you, I would go to the head as the ethos of a school can shape the exam experience. If you are still not happy you need to reflect on your options. The sad fact is that if you simply withdraw your child for the test week, they will still be taught as if they are sitting them and the stress that might bring. It’s a really hard thing to address and most schools have their hands tied and so (unfairly) pile the pressure on the children.

If you feel the pressure is affecting their mental health (scary at such a young age) or their love of learning/school, then I would bring that to the school’s attention asap. Always be polite and provide evidence: from language used at home (‘I hate school’, ‘I’m not doing well’, ‘I’m not good enough’), examples from work in school, sleep patterns etc. Explain that you are not happy that the year has become about a set of tests when they should be loving learning and see how the school respond.

If you have concerns you could always talk to the LEA to see what they’d expect in a year 2 class. Or consider changing school/home-schooling.

This is not in any way official, just the reflections of a mum who also teaches.””

Susan said

“My child is 5 (year 1) and has reading and maths and now spelling homework (10 words a week) and also “talking homework” but saying that the school is outstanding!!”

Emily said

“Yes. But it took my son’s paediatric consultant saying it three times before they listened…”

Louise Nhm Smith said

“A response from an assistant head at a local junior school who also wishes to remain anonymous: “Homework is not a statutory requirement in infant or junior schools in England. I am not sure it is statutory in KS3 but don’t quote me. However, parental involvement proven to be crucial in child development. There is no set definition of what parental involvement constitutes and it certainly isn’t restricted to ‘formalised homework’.

Many schools have project/topic related homework that is designed to encourage families to share in activities for those who wish to do it and many schools are more than happy to pinpoint parents to the right place to find suitable additional home learning tasks. However, this is again non-statutory.

Personally, as a teacher and a Mum, I do value reading at home (even if that comes in the simple form of a bedtime story). Spelling and multiplication tables/number facts are also areas that can make an impact.

The Sutton Trust report rated homework as having very little impact on children’s progress at school. However, parental involvement is paramount! Parents should feel confident in making a judgement about whether their child actually benefits from homework and schools will respect this if the child is generally supported by their parents in their learning.

By the way…homework is always a nightmare topic at parents evening because it generates such conflicting opinions. It’s very difficult for schools to please everyone on this one.””

Mata said

“Interesting it is not ‘statutory’ in Juniors. I wonder if that means the school does not have to set it or does it mean the child does not have to do it? My daughter’s school give them detention if it’s not done. Tried complaining but it’s hopeless.”

Karen said

“Only an education is statutory. How it is delivered is up to the parents. If you can’t find a school whose ethos you like or can negotiate with don’t forget home education is a perfectly allowable method of delivering education with no constraints on your curriculum or time.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: What to do when your child is frightened of dogs

An NHM Reader recently asked for advice regarding their son’s fear of dogs “He’s 6 and loves all other animals. Nothing has ever happened to make him scared and I don’t know how this has developed. I’m not a dog fan so tend to just ignore them, but he isn’t able to do that.

Obviously have asked him why he feels like this (he doesn’t know but I think it’s their energy and speed) and have explained again and again that most dogs are out to have fun and aren’t remotely interested in him.

We don’t know anyone who has a dog, no one we know well anyway, so aren’t able to help him by spending time with a dog in that way. So I was wondering if anyone had any helpful suggestions of what we could try?

Most mornings on the walk to school we see a dog or two so it’s affecting him pretty much daily.”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for all your offers of help, listed below in no particular order are your suggestions:

NHM Readers recommend what to do when your child is frightened of dogs

Tracy said “Maybe borrow my doggy website may be helpful. If you can find someone with a very calm/older dog that he can get to know.”

Becky said “The library in town used to run dog awareness sessions for children frightened of dogs. Might be worth contacting them to see if they have any sessions running soon. This was last year’s session at the library so ignore the date but may do something similar in the future”

Becki said “I think Dogs trust do something about children and dogs. I’m sure I saw it on a poster once” Is your child frightened of dogs? Dogs Trust is here to help

Lisa said “I don’t have any suggestions but feel your pain, my six year old is similar. He’s got better from being around my friend’s dog who is the most placid dog in the world but dogs he doesn’t know he just gets really overwhelmed. Hope you find a solution”

Libby said “She could try her local facebook page and ask if any dog owners might like to help.”

Emily said “I would say that when he feels panicked by a dog to try to turn his back on it and fold his arms. be a tree. the dog will probably just have a sniff and move on.

Lowri said “I had this with my son and I asked about at school who had a dog. Found a family that were happy for us to join them on dog walks and go round to their house. Lots of reassurance and seeing the other children happily playing with the dog helped. I started this after my son ran off screaming when he had to walk past a lady with a dog on a lead that was smaller than a kitten…”

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