NHM Readers Recommend: Quick Healthier Alternatives to McDonald’s

In November 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “Recommendations for healthier alternatives to McDonald’s (cheap and quick) for when you can’t be bothered to cook (such as when you’re other half isn’t eating at home) but it’s not at occasion, jacket potato type places along the lines of M&S cafe”

As always, thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.

All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

NHM Readers Recommend: Quick Healthier Alternatives to McDonald’s

Costa

Mary said, “Costa drive through have hot food now like macaroni cheese. It’s still about a million calories but it feels healthier than McDonald’s.”

Sainsbury’s Cafe

Hannah said “Sainsbury’s cafe is nice, has a good variety and is relatively cheap.”

Yvette said, “Sainsbury’s”

Charlie also said Sainsbury’s cafe, “…I love the staff and people are really chatty unlike some coffee shop chains.”

Louise said, “We do Sainsburys cafe at Hatch Warren quite a bit too, mainly because the chips are GF and Miss NHM loves ‘Ham, egg, chips and peas’.”

Lucy said, “…when I asked if the chips were gluten free they told me no. I said how last time I was there they were but they were adamant they weren’t and refused to check. I was gutted, and sat and watched the rest of the family eat…not good when I was heavily pregnant and hormonal. I bet they are but I happened to go on a day the staff didn’t want to check!”

Jenni said, “I was in Sainsbury’s today, it’s convenient but I always find the service shocking & today was no exception unfortunately.”

Subway

Katie said, “Subway is always a fave, and if it’s warm, even better!! A lot more filling than you’d think.”

Louise said, “…the last two times I was in a local Subway they were so grubby!!!”

Wendy said, “We’ve found we can’t trust subway, they have a really lax attitude to allergies and being American they have egg in all kinds of stuff it isn’t normally in.”

Ellie said, “I used to work in subway and depends who is working on how clean it is. I ran a tight ship when I was in charge but overall they only care about profit and not about anything else.”

Vanessa said, “The Subway in Brighton Hill is lovely.”

Morrison’s Cafe

Hannah said, “Morrison’s is also nice….and do feed the kids free on certain days after school.”

Hayley said, “Morrison’s cafe… kids eat free after 3pm weekdays…”

Debra said, “Only problem with Morrisons is the toilets are nowhere near the restaurant which is a pain with kids!!”

Cesca said, “Morrisons cafe is always a winner for us, kids eat free after 3 per adult meal and there’s a little play area! But I also get the cardboard boxes like the happy meal boxes or home bargains do a basket and I do my kids a home made version of McDonald’s!”

Yvette said, “Morrisons…”

Cafe Giardinio

Susie said, “Cafe Giardinio up opposite Iceland do paninis, jacket potatoes, pasta dishes.”

Shabby Gourmet

Marion said, “Shabby Gourmet! Home cooked meals, with no additives or preservatives, using only the freshest ingredients, and cooked with as much love as, if not more than, you’d cook yourself for your own family. What could possibly be better?!!…Old Barn Stores in North Waltham stock us, plus The Village Shop in Upton Grey, and Premier Stores in Old Basing. You can also pop over to Cliddesden to collect directly from the kitchen. This is the website – www.theshabbygourmet.com

Louise said, “…and they come frozen and most are gluten free!! I have a few in my freezer for emergencies.”

Elisa asked, “Are any of the vegetarian options also vegan friendly?”

Marion replied, “Yep! It’s not a meat-free kitchen, though. I’m actually massively inspired by vegetarian and vegan food at the moment, as I’m writing a vegetarian day course, cookery course. It’s one of my most requested courses, so I think I’d better do it. Vegetarian is inspiring me and vegan is just that little (big!) step further. I’m finding it really exciting.”

Costco

Amanda said, “If you have a costco card and are near a costco £1.50 for a jacket potato! If you’re wanting quick and easy at home batch cooking is the way forward for easy and healthy.”

Louise said, “We do Costco too as they can’t go too wrong with a jacket potato and cheese!”

Waitrose

Ruza said, “Waitrose café has good priced children’s meals…”

Yvette said, “Waitrose cafe!”

Festival Street Kitchen

Ruza also said, “…I like the festival place kitchen.”

Pizza Hut

Hayley also said, “…Pizza Hut restaurant, the ice cream factory is s big hit with my son.”

Pret A Manger

Linda said, “My fave place is Pret Manger opposite the Sports Centre. A little on the pricey side but really healthy and so yummy.”

Asda

Yvette also said,”… Asda.”

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

NHM Readers Recommend: Professionals For Toddler Sleep Issues

In October 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “I have a friend who is struggling to get any sleep with her toddler who only sleeps for 3 hrs each night! I am sure I read on your site somewhere about a sleep nanny or someone like that who may be able to help?” Can anyone recommend a sleep nanny?”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Professionals For Toddler Sleep Issues

Jenny said, “Care it out sleep consultant is a fb page I follow.”

Amy said, “We worked with a lady at Baby Sleep The Night who was wonderful! My 6 m/o was waking every couple of hours and not napping. In 10 days he was sleeping through the night and napping really well. I cannot recommend her highly enough and it honestly saved us from breaking point.”

Wendy said, “…get her to speak to a GP as it could be a sign of other health issues.”

Allison suggested, Kelly-Lauren Warner, who replied:  ” Little Well-Beings child sleep, behaviour and nutrition solutions Please let me know if your reader would like more information. Always best to get it checked out at the GP first.”

Hayley suggested, Tiffany-Jayne Lee, who replied: “I’m a qualified sleep consultant feel free to PM Me.”

Charlotte said,”Victoria Murphy May be helpful for u.”

Kelly Smith said, “If she wants some help…I really don’t mind talking to her.”

Laura said, “There’s a really good book called The Gentle Sleep book if she’s looking for a solution that doesn’t involve lots of tears. You can get it from the library.”

Leanne also suggested The Gentle Sleep book, “I second this. It also helps separate what is normal behaviour from real problems…It helped me realise it was all within the realms of ‘normal’ which was a relief.”

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! 

NHM Readers Recommend: Best Places to See Christmas Lights

In 2017 a NHM Reader asked “Can you ask the group where best place to drive to see lots of Christmas lights as our road only has two including us”. 

Obviously these may not be the same in following years but they give you some ideas to investigate.

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

NHM Readers Recommend: Best Places to See Christmas Lights

Brackley Way

Rachael said “Brackley Road does an amazing one”

Wendy said “We drive to Brackley Way”

Helen said “Brackley Way are awesome. Done to raise funds for charity and he gives out chocolate to the kids as well.”

Sandhya said “South ham, being a bit biased here… lovely one in brackley way. We went there to see it today.”

Sue said “Brackley Way. They raise money for charity every year. It’s awesome”

Collette said “…brackley way”

Gabriel Park

Wendy said “…Gabriel Park”

Sherfield Park, head towards Sherfield Park Community Centre

Joanna said “Sherfield Park is usually good”

Natasha said “I second Sherfield park!”

Wendy said “…and Sherfield park”

Michelle said “Sherfield Park definitely – they do “Light up sherfield park” so there is a competition, weekend of 16th/17th is the judging weekend”

Louise Nhm said “We went out last year during the judging competition and it was AWESOME!!! Videos of Father Christmas from one window to another, real snow spray and some amazing Christmas displays! Highly recommended!”

Homesteads

Helen said “…Otherwise Homesteads residents usually have lots of nice lights to look at.”

The Clarke Estate, near Elmwood Parade shops

Lianne said “The Clarke Estate usually has quite a lot of houses all done up”

Buckland Avenue

Collette said “Buckland avenue”

Oakley

Collette said “…Oakley!”

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! 

NHM Readers Recommend: Daytime Carol Services

I had a question last year from an NHM Reader which may be useful this year too: “Do you know what daytime carol services are being put on in the area this year? 6:30pm seems to be normal but that’s a bit late really.”

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

NHM Readers recommend daytime carol services

Naomi said:

I don’t know about carol services generally, but Winchester cathedral has a fab crib service on Christmas Eve, it’s usually mid-afternoon and children can go dressed up as an angel, shepherd or other nativity character. It’s lovely.”

Heidi said:

Sherborne St John church has a children’s carol service at 4pm ish one Sunday before Christmas but I’m not sure what date yet…”

Rebecca said:

“There will be a carol service at Christ Church Chineham. There will also be a crib service on Christmas Eve.

Rebecca also recommended Christingle at St Gabriel’s at 5pm

Kath said:

Brighton Hill church near Asda used to do a Christingle service mid afternoon I think, and possible Oakridge Methodist church might do an early service

Gillian said:

“The Crib Service at Christ Church on Christmas Eve is at 4.30 pm”

Caroline said:

St michaels church in town centre has a lunchtime carol service usually in the week leading up to Christmas and also a children’s nativity story service (with dress up) at 5pm on Christmas Eve.

Allison said:

St Mary’s, Eastrop usually has a Christmas Carol Extravaganza for children on Christmas Eve at around 4pm and a 10am Christingle service earlier in December. Website is updated regularly http://www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/upcoming-events/

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! 

NHM Readers Recommend: Favorite Christmas Movies

Last year, I asked the NHM Readers “What are your favorite Christmas movies for young children?” 

The responses are listed below, in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Favorite Christmas Movies

Santa Clause the Movie

Claire S said “Santa Claus the Movie in our house.”

Honor said “Santa Claus”

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Diana said “Muppets Christmas Carol”

Rebecca said “Muppets Christmas Carol!”

Sarah said “Muppets Christmas Carol, for children young and old!”

Sue said “Muppets Christmas carol”

Helen J said “Traditionally I watch A Muppets Christmas Carol every year on Xmas Eve….I will be introducing this to my 2 year old”

Arthur Christmas

Claire K said “Arthur Christmas on Netflix at the minute!”

Helen B said “My son’s is Arthur Christmas”

Vicky H said “Arthur Christmas”

Kelly said “Arthur Christmas”

Sue said “and Arthur Christmas”

Kate said “Arthur Christmas”

The Polar Express

Carolyn said “‘The Polar Express’! ….it gets played all year round in our house!”

Ruza said “Polar Express”

Honor said “or polar express”

Miracle on 34th Street

Helen B said “My daughter is miracle on 34th street”

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Jessica “Nightmare before christmas”

Elf

Vicky M said “Elf”

Jo said “Elf!!!!!”

The Snowman and the Snowdog

Wendy said “Snowman and the snowdog

Ghostbusters II

Wendy said “and my 3 year olds favourite Ghostbusters 2”

The Great Escape

Susan said “Great Escape!!!”

Saving Santa

Sian said “My 5 year olds favourite last year was Saving Santa. Looks like it’s going to be the favourite this year to”

Home Alone

Lisette said “Home alone”

Rise of the Guardians

Kate said “Rise of the guardians”

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! 

NHM Readers Recommend their Favorite Father Christmas Visits

In 2017 I asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook “which Father Christmas “visit” would you recommend that you’ve been to this year and why would you recommend it?”

Many thanks for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend their favorite Father Christmas visits

Marie said:

4 Kingdoms Adventure Park is good but it gets more expensive every year (you do get a lot for your money though).

Finkley Down Farm is good alternative that is a bit cheaper.

Helena said:

We’re going to 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park for the third year running. So much for the money and the 2hr Christmas experience is different every year.

Paultons Park is very good but the same every year and very expensive for a family. The whole park is open but most of the best rides are shut. They’re both by booked ticket only.

Kelly said:

Breakfast with Santa at Wyevale Garden Centre is really good! We’re going for the second year running. Would highly recommend”

Rachel said:

If they just want to see Santa Conkers Garden Centre is good

Vicky said:

We’re doing brekkie with santa next week at Sherfield on Loddon Garden Centre

Personally I’d avoid santa in Festival Place there’s no magic or mystery as he’s in full view! Saw a preschool girl open up a pressie, was a cheap looking very small book!

Leah said:

Unfortunately I’ve booked my 2 to do to Festival Place this year. The train has gone & for £4.50 each child it doesn’t seem like there’s much for them this year (a walk round the icy forest, a snowball fight with the elves (!) & a visit to Santa. I’m quite disappointed tbh & think I’ll avoid after this year.

Wendy said:

We’re off to Henry Street tomorrow to see the real one…they have the best Santa’s.

Then we do the 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park one just before Christmas, they feed their elves sugar and E numbers all year round then let them out to do the Santa experiences.

Hannah said:

We love Conkers Garden Centre, the guy always remembers my boys, and you get private space away from others to sit and chat to him. Someone did say the grotto wasn’t there this year though so maybe call ahead and check.

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! 

NHM Readers Recommend: Where to get a Real Christmas Tree

Good Afternoon Everyone! I’ve had a great question (in 2017) from a NHM Reader: “We are looking forward to our first Christmas in Basingstoke and I wondered if you could tell me where I could get a real Christmas tree from?” TIA!

NHM Readers recommend: where to get a real Christmas tree

Stacey said:

West Green Fruits in Hartley Wintney do the best trees around in my opinion!”

Emma said:

I agree with Stacey! West Green Fruits – and it’s a nice experience too in their barn with a small selection of Decs to look at too”

Aimee said:

West green fruits!! Absolutely gorgeous trees and the Christmas barn is lovely!!”

Allyson said:

https://www.facebook.com/burcotfarmtrees/

Lisa H said:

We got ours last year from there. Def recommend.” https://www.facebook.com/burcotfarmtrees/

Lisa W said:

Elm Park Garden centre on the A340 just north of Basingstoke towards Tadley”

Skye said:

Yep this” Elm Park Garden centre

Rachel E said:

Burcot Farm has lovely trees. So many sizes to choose from and reasonably priced to.”

Rachel W said:

Elm Park Garden centre every time”

Lisa R said:

There’s a ‘pop up’, outdoor Christmas tree sales place down Roman Road each year – not sure when they start to set up from. I’ve not used them but go past them on the way to work!”

Hayley said:

The one on Roman rd as mentioned above … cheap and good quality – last well!”

Rebekah said:

Last year we decided to try Moles garden centre in Sherfield-on-Loddon. My husband bought it without seeing it out of the net. I was like why?!! But then we opened it and it was perfection! The best tree we’ve ever had.”

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! 

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. https://www.facebook.com/LLBasingstoke/

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. Www.facebook.com/popupplayvillagebasingstoke

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. Facebook.com/muddypuddleclub

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. sarahjp@hartbeeps.com https://www.facebook.com/hartbeepsfarnham/

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”

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! 

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 https://www.bestoforlando.com/…/10-free-things-you-can…/. Also http://stepstomagic.com/free-water-disney/

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.”

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! 

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 http://bournevalleypyo.co.uk/

This place still has some https://www.facebook.com/rogatepumpkinpatch/

“And this place still has loads https://www.facebook.com/HollamNurseries/

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. http://www.durleighmarshfarmshop.co.uk/

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!