NorthHantsMum: Pinterest and Facebook

There are lots of places that you can find NorthHantsMum…

Facebook

The best place to connect to me is on my “Louise nhm Smith” profile.

I share a lot more information here.

You don’t need to worry about me looking at your profile as I never check people’s profiles as I don’t have time and (please don’t take it personally) I’m not interested in being a stalker! lol.

Pinterest

I’m fairly active on Pinterest and have lots of different boards that you might find useful:

https://www.pinterest.com/northhantsmum/

Hope to see you there!

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

NHM Reader Experiences: Would you like to write a post on NorthHantsMum about your experiences of parenting?

I’ve had a few people ask me recently if they could write a post just for NorthHantsMum.

I always say YES PLEASE!!!! because it takes the pressure off of me having to post every day, it helps the person who is writing the post and it gives another perspective to NHM Readers that I may have no experience of.

Amber did an awesome job on the reusable nappies post that was posted in March and I’ve been meaning to ask if there was anyone else who wanted to write a post about their experience of an element of parenting.

So, in the same vein as NHM Secret Reviews, is there a burning issue that relates to your under 6 year old that you would like to share your experience of? Something that might help other parents?

Your post can be anonymous if you would prefer or you can be credited for your work by having your first name on a post, it’s totally up to you.

If this is something you would like to do, you can email me at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com with your post and any pictures (no more than 10 maximum) in .jpeg format.

Thank you in advance!

A NHM Readers Experience: Reusable Nappies

Amber sent me a very lovely email asking me if she could share her experience of Reusable Nappies with you all.

I jumped at her email! lol.

You can really tell how passionate Amber is about reusable nappies from her post below. I wish I had seen this post before my little one was born as I wanted to use reusable nappies but had absolutely no idea where to start.

If there are any topics that you feel passionate enough about enough to write a post that you think NHM Readers might be interested in, please drop me a line at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com. Thanks!

Thank you to Amber for the excellent post below!

Reusable Nappies

When I volunteered to write this article I questioned why I had done that. I’m not a rainbow eco warrior mum that feels passionately about the amount of landfill that our population creates, nor a crazy corporate conspiracy mum who believes that disposable nappies are filled with harmful chemicals which are burning our babies’ bottoms.

No, I just enjoy (yes, enjoy!) using cloth nappies and I wanted to share my experience with other mums in the hope that others will have that experience too.

I had grand ideas of using cloth nappies with my first baby but when it came to it, the sheer upheaval of having a new small person in my life was too much and I bottled, resorting to ‘easier’, more ‘convienient’ disposables, and those are in inverted commas for a reason, more about that later.

However I was pretty disgusted that we had gone from a family which produced less than a quarter of a wheelie bin of rubbish a week, to one which wheeled out a bin containing more than double that amount, groaning under the weight of stinky, un degradable nappies.Nappies further wrapped in little plastic bags no less.

This was further compounded by the fact that this continued for years! Number 1 was potty trained during the day at around 2 years and I cringe at the thought of just how many of our nappies were just sitting, festering in landfill.

So when I found I was expecting number 2 I was determined that I was going to use, and succeed with cloth nappies. I started researching in earnest, in hindsight I think that was part of the problem with number 1, I just wasn’t prepared enough and when it came to it I just gave up.

As I started reading about the different types of nappies, I was truly baffled and I quickly became quite overwhelmed by the variety, let alone the different makes.There are 2 parters, all in ones, pockets and hybrids, to name but a few, and I had no idea which ones I really should be choosing.

Then I was recommended thenappylady.co.uk, Wendy Richards, she runs out of Farnham and has a fantastic website which sells everything cloth related but also has some invaluable advice pages and an advice questionnaire.

The questionnaire is very in depth and aims to help you find the best type of nappies, number required and cost for your personal circumstances.

She asks what drying facilities you have, how many times you’d want to wash per week, how you rank various properties of the nappies, what height and build you and your partner are, seemingly irrelevant information but it all goes in to determining which nappies would be best suited to help you succeed with cloth nappies.

My recommendation was for a brand called Bumgenius with their Freetime nappy, this is an all in one, birth to potty nappy, but I almost fell off my chair with the cost! Each nappy was £15.99 and it was recommended I had 15 of them!!!

It’s an enormous outlay and people often ask me if I really think I’m saving money this way when you factor in electricity, washing powder, washing machine wear and tear, hassle factor etc. There are many calculations out there which argue that it is, but actually that’s not the sole reason that I wanted to do it.

Despite having the nappy lady’s recommendation for my Freetimes I was still hesitant to part with the best part of £300 for something that I wasn’t sure was going to work, which is when I found the Basingstoke Real Nappy Library. This is run by a lovely lady, whose name completely escapes me, out of the NCT Coffee and Chat group in Brookvale Hall.

She’s there on the first Friday of the month with a selection of cloth nappies and she sits with you going through everything you’d want to know and ask and more. She said that it would be best to wait for baby to come along then she would pop round to my house, have a new baby cuddle and a cup of tea, and leave me with a selection of nappies which I could try for however long I wanted (within reason!). It is a voluntary organisation but she asks for a donation which I was more than happy to provide given how helpful she had been.

Armed with my selection of birth to potty nappies I went about trying them out on number 2. I had several reservations about cloth nappies and fit was one of these, it’s something that the nappy lady asks in her questionnaire.

I didn’t particularly like the ‘chunky bum’ look that was inevitable with cloth nappies and on a 4 week old baby, birth to potty nappies (these are adjustable using poppers, allowing them to be used, as the name suggests, all the way from birth to potty training) do look a little ridiculous but I had to look beyond this and at the greater picture.

I never thought I would like number two’s chunky bum but I really do now, I guess part of it is what you are used to, but disposable bottoms feel quite wrong to me now and that saggy nappy look is really not a good one.

As a result of trying out my nappy selection I took the plunge and bought my cloth nappies, opting for the ones suggested by the nappy lady and buying  10 (ouch!!), I still couldn’t manage to buy the number I needed to wash every other day.

I then found that there was a huge market for preloved nappies, initially I did recoil at the idea of using nappies which had been used on other babies’ bottoms however the reality is that if they have been washed properly the nappies are still in fantastic condition and I now have no reservations about buying preloved.

There are numerous Facebook selling pages where you can buy or swap them at a fraction of the new price using Paypal which does offer an amount of protection to the purchaser. I have gradually increased the number of nappies in my ‘stash’ using preloved and further orders from the nappy lady.

A year later and we are still using our cloth nappies and I do enjoy it.

That may seem to be a strange term to use but let me explain.

Every time I put a cloth nappy on it means that the only thing that I throw in the bin is a degradable liner to catch post weened poo and that’s going to continue until number 2 is out of nappies.

They are pretty, I’ve got a lovely selection of colours, some people are proper addicted to collecting nappies and pay extortionate amounts of money for limited edition prints but in my opinion at the end of the day they are there for collecting wee and poo! They have got to better for those delicate, peachy, little bottoms.

There are plenty of people who are convinced that the chemicals in the nappies are very bad for babies’ skin, I have to say that I believe that they will have been tested rigorously, however I do believe that is far better for the skin not to be next to be constantly next to something which has a large quantity if chemicals in it. Both my children suffer from eczema and number 1 had some awful nappy rash, something that has been limited to teething with number 2.

There is a phenomenal amount of research that goes into the development of cloth nappies, inner fabrics are super absorbent so will hold lots of wee, outers are  waterproof so contain all the wetness and most, mine included, have a soft fleecy layer which wicks away the moisture from the skin so they don’t actually feel wet. They really aren’t the outdated ‘terry towelling fastened with safety pins’ that some people think they are.

What about the other cons of using cloth nappies?

There are some, but I don’t find them an issue and the pros, for me, certainly outweigh them. Hassle factor – yes you do have to do a wash every other day/three days  but it has just become part of my routine and even in the early days I didn’t find it particularly bothersome.

My nappies dry very fast and in the summer on an average day they would be dry within a couple of hours, in the winter it is more like a day when hung inside. I have a sock hanger from Lakeland which allows me to hang all nappies out on one hook and there is something extremely satisfying about seeing lots of clean nappies hanging out to dry in the sun.

Dealing with smelly poo filled nappies – just like disposables they just get whipped off and shoved in the nappy bin or bag until wash day. Pre weaning all nappies went into the wash as is, poo and all, but post weaning I just remove the liners and bin those before putting them in the wash.

I do pay more attention to the cleaning of the washing machine these days to keep it smelling fresh, something which should be performed regularly anyway according to those ‘in the know’, but that only consists of running a super hot wash every now and again or washing an empty load with soda crystals.

Cost – the initial outlay, as I said, is hard to swallow but as I say I am using them for other reasons so I had to keep that in mind. I do hope to recoup some of the cost at the end of our use by selling them on the Facebook selling pages but that would just be a bonus.

I also went down the route of reusable wipes, which if using cloth nappies is a no brainer. These are like little flannels which are kept damp in a Tupperware box and are far superior for wiping bottoms than any number of baby wipes, they just get put in the wash along with the nappies for using another day. Inconvenience – after washing I do have to fold the nappies up, put liners in each and stack them ready for use, when I’m busy I do get irritated by this but in reality it takes a matter of minutes to do and then they are just ready to go.

When out and about I just take clean nappies with a wet bag which I can put the dirty nappies in, wipes are taken in a mini wet bag, it’s not much different from disposables.

Phew! That’s a lot of words, maybe I am more passionate about cloth nappies than I had first thought?

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!

BBC Radio Berkshire Request…

Very excited to get an email from someone at the BBC! lol.

If you would like to be included in this, please send me a message and I will send you Leona’s details.

BBC Radio Berkshire Request…

I am a Producer at BBC Radio Berkshire and am on an urgent hunt for mums in North Hants!!

I’m putting together our breakfast show tomorrow morning, and we are talking to North Hampshire Hospitals about the plans for their Critical Treatment Centre, which is due to be built in the next year near Junction 7 of the M3.

Turns out – all of the maternity services for North Hants will be run out of this new hospital – which will leave Basingstoke, Andover, and North Hampshire hospitals as midwifery led units.

This is great – as it will have all the new technology and be lovely and modern, but is also going to mean longer to travel for a lot of mums who can’t/don’t want to give birth in a midwife led unit.

What I’m looking for are some parents in Basingstoke – who can have a chat with our breakfast presenter tomorrow morning.

I’m hoping you might be able to help me out, and perhaps put me in contact with any mums you might know in the area?

Best wishes, look forward to hearing from you

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My list of Posts that I just don’t get time to finish writing…

Over the Christmas period, I’m hoping to take two weeks “off” from NHM, to spend some quality time with the two most amazing and wonderful people in my life: Mr NHM and Miss NHM.

I will still schedule the normal “Things to do” post on the Monday’s of those two weeks, but expect it to be really quiet the rest of the time.

I am planning to use some of this time to work on some of my personal posts and hopefully some from the list below!

My list of Posts that I just don’t get time to finish writing…

Are there any posts below on the list that you would REALLY like me to write?

Are there any posts on the list below that YOU would like a go at writing?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the questions above, please let me know the posts you would like me (or you!) to focus on. Thank you!

Pregnancy

  • Pregnancy Classes/Information in Basingstoke
  • Birthing Ideas
  • Ante Natal Swimming Classes in teh area
  • Pregnancy exercise classes in Basingstoke
  • Parenting theories
  • Must have’s for first month with baby

Babies

  • Things to do in Basingstoke with a 9 month old baby
  • Activities to do with a newborn when it’s raining
  • Weaning in Basingstoke
  • When should I buy my baby their first pair of shoes?
  • bump and baby groups in basingstoke
  • Baby Things to do in North Hampshire

Children

  • Birthday Party Entertainers
  • Pre-Loved Baby Items in Basingstoke
  • Ideas for teaching your child to speak a different language
  • Age Limits for National Attractions

Toddlers

  • 11 things to do in Basingstoke with an 18 month old
  • Places to  Visit in North Hampshire with a Toddler

Schooling

  • Homeschooling in North Hampshire
  • Private Schools in and near Basingstoke

Working

  • Networking for the busy Mum
  • How to support local businesses
  • My experience of Flexible Working

Things to Do

  • Holiday Clubs in North Hampshire
  • 7 more Free things to do in and around Basingstoke
  • My Bucket/Life list for my daughter (before she starts dictating what she wants to do – which has already started happening, to be fair! lol)
  • Places to Visit in North Hampshire with a Baby
  • Things to do on a wet bank holiday
  • 12 places to breakfast outside with children
  • Child Friendly Restaurants near Basingstoke
  • Places to go if you are new to the area
  • Ceramic and Pottery in and near North Hampshire
  • Date Night: Things to do together that doesn’t involved food!!!
  • Frugal Date Night Ideas
  • Things to do in Basingstoke with a 9 month old baby
  • Theatres in North Hampshire
  • Baby and Children friendly Tea Shops and Coffee Shops in North Hampshire
  • Baby and Children friendly Tea Shops and Coffee Shops in Basingstoke
  • Baby and Children friendly Tea Shops and Coffee Shops in Berkshire
  • Date Night: Spa’s in the North Hampshire area
  • Grandparents
  • Garden Centres in North Hampshire
  • Florists
  • Domestic Bliss: Ideas on how to manage a home (from someone who has learnt the hard way!! lol)
  • Creches near Basingstoke
  • Creches in Basingstoke
  • Child Friendly Pubs near Basingstoke
  • Birthday Cakes
  • Basingstoke Posh/Expensive Restaurants
  • Basingstoke Mid Range restaurants
  • Basingstoke Foodbank
  • Basingstoke cheap restaurants

Food

  • Bakeries in Basingstoke

Reviews

  • War Memorial Park
  • The Willis Museum

Mum Panel Focus group

MumPanel

We are looking for 10 people to come to a focus group in the Reading/Basingstoke area on the 8th October @ 7.30pm for 45 minutes (venue – Warbrook House, Hook RG27 0PL).

It’s to discuss some new snack ideas.

We are looking for a variety of people – parents, grandparents (men and women) and people over 45 who don’t have children.

And if you happen to be French we’d be very interested in you coming along!

You will receive £30 high street vouchers for your time.

If you fit the bill and would be interested in taking part please fill in this quick questionnaire – we’ll be in touch if we’d like you to attend

Feel free to share this post or email to anyone you know who might be interested. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/mumpanelfocusgroupreading

Thanks

Nic at MumPanel

Would you like to be a NHM Secret Reviewer?

NHM Secret Reviewers

I rarely get the opportunity to talk to anyone about NHM these days. There are always several toddlers running around so it’s difficult to brainstorm or ask people what they think.

I was very lucky this week to have lunch with another Mum and I mentioned that I’m finding it difficult to do more reviews on NHM, given the limited time that I have to get out and visit places. (Typically, we had this week off but haven’t managed to go anywhere planned as appointments cropped up and now Miss NHM is ill. Boo hiss).

Kristy made the wonderful suggestion of having “Secret Reviewers” on NHM that could do the Reviews instead. What a brilliant idea!

So, if you are visiting somewhere, whether it’s a local restaurant, a local place or somewhere of interest for parents with small children and babies, how about writing a review about it?

All you need to do is take the following categories into account, take a few pictures (that you don’t mind me using on NHM, that doesn’t include any pictures of people) and email me your review to NorthHantsMum@gmail.com.

The categories that you would need to consider are:

  • About/Play
  • Tips
  • Food
  • Facilities
  • Baby Facilities
  • Parking
  • Prices
  • Rating out of 5

I would ask that you try to be positive in your review and not be nasty or mean. I make a very concerted effort to ensure that anything published on NHM is positive because these things can have such an impact on local businesses.  

I am still going to do Reviews of places that I’ve been too, with my comments, but I will also include “Secret Reviews” on the blog. If you are a “Secret Reviewer”, I will also ensure that you remain anonymous! 😉

If you are interested in doing this, please send me an email at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com. I won’t be able to pay you for your review or pay any costs associated with your review, but you would have the nice warm glow that you would be helping many other parents in the area. 

If you would like to see my previous reviews on NHM please click HERE.

Thank you in advance and thank you to Kristy for such a brilliant idea! 😀

NHM Networking lunch

As an aside, I’m thinking about arranging a networking lunch for NHM readers. This would mainly be for Mums who run their own businesses but everyone is welcome. However, you would need to pay for your own lunch.

It would be an opportunity to meet other Mums from the area and to brainstorm and bounce ideas off of each other.

I’m also thinking about mentoring other Mums who might be interested in starting their own blogs, so I was thinking of seeing if anyone is interested in brainstorming this idea over lunch.

If you are interested in the networking lunch, please also let me know on the email above and I will see what I can get arranged.