NHM Reader Recommendations: Toddlers on an Aeroplane Journey

Louise recently posted on “Louise nhm Smith”: “Good Evening Everyone! I can’t help myself but I saw on a friends fb that she’s looking for ideas for keeping a toddler quiet on a long aeroplane journey. My initial suggestions were the Playmobil 123 motorbike and “pip squeak” crayolas with any of the Usborne activity books. I’ve also wrapped toys up as that was a nice distraction for at least half a minute! What would your suggestions be?”

Members of the NHM community responded with the below, many thanks for your contributions!

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

NHM Reader Recommendations: Toddlers on an Aeroplane Journey

Fiona says “CBeebies app with games and stories on.”

Sarah says “Aqua draw”

Beckie says “I have taken colouring, plasticine, stories, iPad, snacks, duplo etc. I have just bought some travel activity books on amazon for our holiday. That might be worth a look.”

Lisa says “We had Julia Donaldson activity sticker books”

Abigail says “A new book that has lots to look at such as Richard Scarry books, Where’s Wally or Just Imagine and You Choose by Nick Sharrat and Pippa Goodhart.”

Becky says “My friend wrapped little presents up for her son to unwrap every hour”

Skye says “iPad and don’t worry about a child making noise. It’s a flight not a day spa.”

Lucy says “Def sticker books, keeps mine entertained for hours… and snacks that take forever to eat.”

Wendy says “Wallpaper border is very good to use as drawing paper on planes. My friend also has tips on his travel blog. https://www.lifeofreilly.tv/how-to-survive-a-long-haul…/

Caroline says “Cbeebies app works really well for our daughter”

Marie says “Does she have a tablet? Mr Maker has a good app and there is a peppa pig paint and draw one that my little boy used to love. If she’s into watching movies maybe there will be a kids movie on the flight?”

Colleen says “Tablet, headphones, battery pack.”

Bridget says “We travelled over 10 hours to the US with our 19 month old on Feb and I brought her some toddler headphones because the airlines often have the buds and I thought they would be bad for her ears. Also if you are travelling from Heathrow Terminal 3 they have an excellent family lounge which is free. It has a quiet room, soft play areas and loads of toys. Was so good for tiring our toddler out before the flight. Also make a pack lunch because if your baby is under 2 and travelling on your lap they won’t get any food on board so think ahead. Snack attack things are great, raisins, cheesy ritz etc”

Karen says “When we went on a long car journey I bought various new toys to buy us time… Aqua doodles, toy car, cheap baby doll (which had odd bits with it), new book, fuzzy felt books, craft pack from Baker Ross, basically a variety of different things to buy a bit of time”

Jeni says “Shape sorter eggs. I have two sets of them for each car and they entertain mine for a good while”

Rachel says “We’ve flown abroad twice recently (2 & 4 first trip, 3 & 4 the second)….they have their own tablets which were great as could download films/cartoons in advance. Colouring books and crayons (small) were appreciated by my daughter on both trips, along with some crafty bits. My son (younger) played with a selection of vehicles the first time (free with a magazine we bought for the plane), the second time he just wanted to watch the on board entertainment. Pack some snacks too, things you know they love. I packed too many bits the first time….I followed all the advice I could get and packed EVERYTHING. Completely forgetting to take into account the fact that my children are individuals, and my daughter enjoys sitting and colouring/drawing/making but my son gets bored of those easily.”

Rachel says “I’ve heard tablets can’t be used on all flights but phones can so make sure you have some apps on your phone too!”

Lauren says “Crayola colour wonder packs are great as the pens don’t have ink in them! Keep snacks handy!!”

Kelly says “I’ve been known to take small pots of playdough for the lap tray and a couple of cutters. Small puzzles. Mini Etch a sketch type thing. New books that they haven’t seen before. Daughter had a baby and little blanket. Def snacks. Lollys! Don’t normally like them but for take off and landing they’re great if ears are an issue. Made sure we had a pillow and blanket as soon as we got on too.”

Bridget says “If you have a lap baby (under 2) call up the airline and ask for a bassinet set, these are on the bulk heads so you get extra leg room which is helpful. They can’t 100% guarantee and they will tell you to ask again at check in to confirm but it’s always worked for me. The bassinets are great for letting babies lay down and sleep comfortably. They can take up to 25lbs which is about 19 months ish”

Sarah says “Usborne sticker activity books helped us on flights when the girls were little. Good distraction for take off and landing.”

Marie says “I’ve recently done a 13hour flight with a 6 week old and a 3 year old. My biggest tip is to travel over night. Our flight left at around 9pm. The baby was easy. Slept most of the way and only woke to be fed.  The 3 year old was my biggest fear. But with his own tv and kindle. It kept him occupied for the first couple of hours. Then he slept for 7 1/2 hours. The remainder of the journey he was mesmerised with the games and cartoons on the entertainment system provided. We had cars/books/toys etc in a bag but he barely touched these. Sticker books were a life saver when he started to get fed up. (Don’t forget pull ups or nappies, saves any accidents). Of course snacks are a given. We are planning the same flight (returning to England) for Christmas and again plan to come overnight. My son I’m not worried about but my daughter will be 15 months old this time and I’m dreading it. Easier when she was a baby!”

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NHM Readers: Suggested iPad Apps for 2 to 4 year olds

In response to a question from a NHM Reader, I asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook What suggested iPad Apps (Free or Paid) for 2-3 year olds and 3-4 year olds do people recommend? Specifically educational ones, not games.” . (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

Please note, these are in no particular order!

1. Minion Rush

Despicable Me: Minion Rush on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Lisa says “If you put in children’s number games there is one kids can trace in the number, there’s the same one for letters…. My son likes Minion Rush it helps with hand eye co-ordination”.

2. Todo Math

Todo Math on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Claire says “Todo Math is brill”.

3. Jolly Phonics

Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds App – Jolly Learning Jolly Learning

As recommended by Jason.

4. Bugs and …

Bugs and Buttons on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Bugs and Numbers on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Bugs and Bubbles on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

As recommended by Susan.

5. Pirate phonics

Buried Treasure phonics game – Phonics Play

As recommended by Susan.

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NHM Readers: What I would buy if i was doing it all again!

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook what they would buy or not buy if they were to have another baby based on their experiences (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

These were the responses I received. They are in no particular order

NHM Readers: What would I buy or not buy if I was to do it all again?

Mindy said: I probably wouldn’t bother with a breastfeeding pillow as we encourage mums to lean back now and you don’t need a pillow for that. Also you may not need a breast pump, wait and see and buy if needed. Ditto with steriliser.

Jessica said: I wouldn’t bother with a breast pump, electric bottle warmer, cot duvet and bumpers, a pram that doesn’t have a car seat adapter, baby carrier/harness or millions of outfits in newborn or 0-3 months. I would buy again an electric steriliser, bottle warming flask, sleep pods/sleeping bags, pram system with car seat adapters.

Mary said: I would buy a proper sidecar cot and would buy a proper sling or find out about the sling library to see what was best.

Kathryn said: I had my 3rd baby 8 months ago, after my second we got rid of everything except the cot and car seat. Before my youngest was born we bought a new sling and got given some clothes. Nothing else was needed.

Donna said: If bottle feeding, the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep is one that I wish I had now and definitely pushchair with car seat attachments.

Shona said: I wouldn’t buy a fancy swing or rocker as he barely used it. I would stick with my Perfect Prep machine every time. I wouldn’t buy a bath seat again but I love my bath sponge that you just lay them on and they stay in one place.

Colleen said: Wouldn’t bother with car seat adaptors as barely used them, and you’re not supposed to leave baby in car seat for longer than necessary anyhow. Nappy bin is a waste of time, just use nappy bags. Change table would have been pointless as all mine moved so much it wasn’t safe to change them past floor height from about 4 months.

Jenni said: Ikea high chair is the best, easy to clean and can get an insert for little babies.

Wendy said: Best buys: Good quality stroller (worth spending money here), Morrck blanket, Ikea high chair, side crib, sling. Worst buys: New travel system (buy them second hand) and anything that takes up space in your living room (rocker chairs, rocking horses etc).

Mary said: Don’t bother with: shoes until they walk (couldn’t get the damn things on his curled up feet), faffy outfits in the first 3 months as you have to change them so often per day, stick to lots of baby gros! Gimmicky toys, they don’t take notice and you’ll be given loads as gifts anyway. Too many clothes in newborn size, in case you have a big baby and never end up using them, again you will be sent loads of clothes. Sit in walker.

Do get: Ikea or Baby Bjorn high chair that is completely wipe clean. All those ones with straps and padding get filthy and you shouldn’t need straps anyway as babies should be able to sit unaided before you wean. A good sling if you are having a second baby, they sleep for ages in them leaving you hands free. Set up a little changing station on both floors with mat/nappies/wipes so everything is to hand. We personally found nappy bins useful, don’t want to traipse out to the bin every 5 mins. If breast/mixed feeding, Medela bottles are great as baby needs to use same motion to drink helping you switch with ease. Grobags – no worrying about blankets etc. Monitor with a camera. Sock ons for no more lost socks.

Donna said: Yes to the sock ons – best buy ever!

Catherine said: Do get sling, zip up swaddle, side crib, ear thermometer, playmat/gym and video monitor.

Don’t get alarm for under mattress (unnecessary hateful thing), any body thermometer other than an earone, stupid light up egg room thermometer, highchair (there are some nice small ones that cost a bit, we got a high padded one which we never used after the first month as I replaced it with £20 one you attach to a chair) and any outfits in newborn that don’t button under nappy, they just ride up.

Jennie said: I’d buy a bath sponge seat, proper sling, cloth nappies and a baby swing. I wouldn’t bother with a side cot for the bed (it got used for storage whilst she slept in our bed), baby outfits, baby shoes, playmat or a change table. I have a bad back so getting upstairs to get to the changing table was as much of an issue as changing on my lap/floor.

Vicky said: Our best buys were the Baby Bjorn bouncer, a mothercare fabric bath support, a decent baby monitor/camera, lovely soft blanket for in and out of the pram, vests and sleepsuits. This may sound a bit strange but I bought puppy pads (cheap from TK Maxx) to put under his bum during nappy off time – they catch the urine and absorb it rather than laying on a wet towel. If you’re breast feeding I found the Lansinoh disposable nursing pads to be fantastic. I’d also buy a decent sling. Personally I wouldn’t bother with baby shoes, dribble bibs, baby outfits, fabric breast pads (just leaked straight through to clothes) and loads of cuddly toys.

Vicky said: Perfect prep is a genius if bottle feeding. Lots of muslins – I found M&S ones the softest and they wash well. Shnuggle baby bath is amazing – 2 free hands almost from birth. Aldi nappies are cheap and brilliant. Lots of babygrows, sleepsuits and vests for the first couple of months. Swaddles and then grobags – I find the Sainsbury’s ones the best.

Lisa said: Think most things I would suggest have been covered. My only addition is to not bother with special tummy time gadgets. Spent a lot of money on a Lamaze toy which was a complete waste of money! I think a good buggy is essential. I bought mine 2nd hand which was fine but chose cost over personal choice.

Gemma said: I’d get a baby sling from day one. I wish I’d got mine for baby number two earlier. I missed out the first few weeks of sling time!  
Wouldn’t bother with a Baby Bjorn as it hurt my back (let alone being bad for baby’s hips) Could manage without moses basket and pram part of a travel system. Only need one or the other, not both, especially if you get a buggy that lays flat for newborns which many do now.

Cerys said: All I needed for no 3 were nappies, a wrap sling, sleepsuits and boobs.

Melanie said: Best buys: Baby Bjorn bouncer (suitable from newborn and last years. Indestructible!) Oxo perfect pull wipes dispenser means you only need one hand to pull them out and keeps them moist. Cheeky wipes are great if your child suffers from nappy rash or you want something environmentally friendly. Monitor and webcam. Nappy bin. Ability to play music wirelessly in their bedroom (so you can put it on without going in). Jumparoo. Vtech Walker.
Don’t buys (based on things neither of my children liked): Crawl ball, door bouncer, sit in walker (but think it would be better on wooden or tiled floors)

Mata said: I would buy: Cot bed that can be used as a 3 sided bedside cot as well as a toddler bed. Nursing bras, breast pads, changing mat, wipes, nappy bin, sling, pushchair, car seat that attaches to pushchair, vest, sleepsuits, large hooded towels (still in use at age 5), sleeping bag and blanket.

Maybe: Moses basket (for daytime naps downstairs)

Wouldn’t bother: Baby bath, sponges/wash mitts, cute outfits, scratch mitts, playmat, bouncy chair/swing, standard cot, toys, lay-flat separate pram, feeding equipment, purpose-made changing bag and Bumbo seat.

Natashia said: Personally I would recommend a “try before you buy” approach where possible for example renting a sling or electric breast pump and attending sales for second hand bits where you can stock up on essentials for your baby’s next phase. For nappies sure Aldi, Lidl or own brands are cheaper but if you like the leading brands then keep a close eye on supermarket offers and shop around as it then works out to almost the same as own brands.

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NHM Readers: Sticking out ears

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if they could help with the following question: “My daughter is 3 years old and since a few months old has had ears that stick out quite extremely. Although this doesn’t bother her yet, I do worry that it will be a target for bullying once she starts school.

When I discussed with the doctor the option of having them pinned back, she was very dismissive and said that they would not do this until she was sixteen or if she started to get bullied and requested it herself. However bullying can have such long lasting effects on one’s personality that I’d rather not wait until it happens.

Has anyone else’s child had ears that stick out and what did they do about it?”

These were the responses I received. They are in no particular order

NHM Readers advice about sticking out ears

Caitlin said: I personally had my ears pinned when I was about six years old, though that was 18 years ago! I did get severely bullied and unfortunately surgery was not completely successful however I would say try and see a different doctor and get a second opinion as it is fairly straightforward so I can’t see why they would need to wait!

Stacey said: yeah why should she have to wait until she gets bullied!!

Lucy said: I was bullied at school for big sticky out ears, bugs bunny teeth with a large gap from thumb sucking, glasses and being overweight. It sucked. But I dealt with it, eventually stood up to my bullies and got on with it. It might not have been nice but it’s all part of what has made me who I am now and whilst I may still be fat, still have my grandads ears and a gap in my teeth (I took the decision at 13 not to fix that as it would affect my flute playing) I’m a strong enough person to not worry about it. Isn’t it better to teach our kids that bullying isn’t acceptable and to be strong and confident enough to stand up to it than to surgically fix a problem that might not happen?

Sue said: Think it would be viewed as cosmetic and so you would have to prove it affects confidence/ is a cause for bullying etc

Gail said: wait until nursery age and then go to doctors, lie if necessary about bullying. You must do what you think is best for your baby!!

Honor said: My ex niece had sticky out ears ,my ex brother and sister in law had the same worries they also went to the doctors and had same reply ,it landed up with them having to pay for them to be pinned back. Even when they said it was affecting her mentally they wouldn’t budge. So I suggest having to pay for it to be done whilst she’s young before it’s an issue.

Mata said: I wonder what the ‘pinning back’ involves? I would not expose my child to a procedure that is not medically necessary, unless the child fully understood what it involves and requested it him/herself. I think the doctor is right – even if what he/she’s said is not what the parents wanted to hear – exposing a child to surgery that is purely cosmetic does not sound ethical to me. I guess the parents can always go private if they wish.

Natashia said: This is a tough one but will share my personal experience. I had the same issue and had the surgery when I was 15. Getting it done through the NHS may be none unless they can assess that the issue is causing the child psychological distress. Even getting it done privately not sure what the process is in terms of consent to carry out cosmetic surgery on a minor. The thing I found wasn’t necessarily with bullying so much as the non-stop teasing which can really knock your self confidence and this was how it affected me.

As a teenager at the time it didn’t matter how pretty I tried to look there was always the dreaded ears which I always tried to cover with doing my hair in creative ways and I was convinced it will cause me issues into adulthood and affect things like relationships,career opportunities etc. Of course each of us have our own insecurities but if not managed or dealt with can cause long term issues like depression, some people can make peace with their insecurities but not everyone can but that does not make you weak. The operation was done by a fantastic plastic surgeon (it pays to do your homework here!) who did a great job, my parents could get it done for me through their private medical following a review on me by a psychologist. The operation involves a cut at the back of each ear and removal of cartilage then stitched back again. The recovery took a while, I walked with bandage around my head for about a week (or two) until they were happy for the stitches to come out. Then my ears were still quite blue,swollen and sensitive for another couple of weeks and it probably took another month or so to appear ‘normal’

Needless to say it was very painful as well through the recovery but overall it was a success. I also tried to keep the operation very quiet as I was scared of further teasing on that so planned it to happen over school holidays. But best thing my parents ever did for me I have no regrets. There were times I wished they just got it done for me when I was little but then again with anything cosmetic I strongly believe it should only be done when it is your own decision. My parents accepted and loved me for who I was and only acted upon my request, though it took Dutch courage for me to bring up the topic with them and they still tried to get me to accept myself as I were, but I couldn’t get past it and then they supported me through that. You want to do the best for your child of course but sometimes it can be hard not to reflect our insecurities as parents and assume our children will feel the same way. Good luck with your research and whichever decision you make.

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NHM Readers: Local places for Preloved items

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if anyone could recommend the best places to take second hand items. (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

These were the responses I received. They are in no particular order.

NHM Readers Recommend Local Places for Preloved Items

Spotlight Centre

Wendy said: Spotlight Centre. If you ask they can pass them onto those in need.  

Penny said: Spotlight have links with social services and can pass them on but please state that they are to be passed on.

Spotlight UK

Christ Church, Chineham

Vicki said: If you take them to Christ Church, Chineham we have contact that we can pass them onto one of which is a charity that helps trafficked individuals and has safe houses and refuges amongst its range of support.

Christ Church

Besom

Abigail said: Besom have taken loads of my baby clothes and baby items (and other stuff like kitchen goods and bed sheets etc) and they have gone to the women’s refuge. They come and collect and all the stuff goes to people in need rather than just charity and you even get a thank you letter in the post which was a surprise.

Besom

Basingstoke Voluntary Action

I have also suggested Basingstoke Voluntary action.

BVA

Community Furniture Project

You can donate unwanted furniture here.

CFP

National Childbirth Trust – Nearly New Sales

You could register to be a seller at the regular Nearly New Sales around the area throughout the year if you want to make a few pennies back.

NCT Nearly New Sales

North Hants Hospital Children’s Ward

Kathryn has advised that good quality toys (except soft toys) and books/complete board games can be donated to the hospital by being left with the ward clerks that wear purple shirts on Charlie’s ward or outpatients.

Emma also said that the children’s wards, CDU and children’s A&E room make use of toys that can be easily sterilised. Some wards may also accept clothing and nappies as they run short.

Little Hampshire

Katie said you can give good quality branded clothes to Little Hampshire and they will sell them for you and take a cut.
Little Hampshire

Basingstoke PCC

Michelle said that you can donate baby and toddler items to The Baby Clothing and Equipment Service. They accept good quality clothing (ages 0-2) and equipment such as cots, prams, stair gates, baby baths and high chairs.   
Baby Clothing and Equipment Service

Frimley Park Hospital

Desiree said that Frimley Park hospital are in need of toys (not soft toys) for their children’s A&E and F1 wards

Popley Little People

Run by Melrose Community Centre (a registered charity), Popley Little People always welcome donations of clean, working pre-school toys.

Popley Little People

As every, you can always take any unwanted items to any charity shop to see them put to good use and sold for a good cause!

Is there anywhere else you would recommend?

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My Favourite Comments so far on the October 2017 NorthHantsMum Survey…

I’m always a bit reticent to publish a survey because you never quite know what you are going to get back.

But you wonderful NHM Readers never fail me and have sent back some AWESOME comments and brilliant feedback, some of which made me laugh out loud and some which brought a tear to my eyes!

I probably ought to say that it’s not just me (Louise) running NHM now. I have an AMAZING team of volunteers who help out regularly, which is another reason why I wanted to publish some of your comments, because they should see that the work that they do voluntarily has a direct impact on parents and families in the area.

It’s been really interesting to see that there is a huge range in the time that people have been following NHM. Some of you have been with me since the very beginning (THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and some readers have only joined in the past few months. Your responses have made me a bit more aware that there is such a diversity in the length of time people have been following NHM. Not quite sure what to do with this! lol.

There have been some fantastic ideas suggested by you this year and have also prompted me to think about a few extra things to investigate over the next few months.

THANK YOU to everyone who has responded so far.

The survey is still open if you would like to complete it: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FFNHHLW

If you’ve been following NHM for a while, you will know that my ego is MASSIVE! So this post is also for my own ego. So when I’m having a bit of a blah day with NHM, I can read this post and remind myself of why I do what I do on NorthHantsMum ;-).

I’m also quite looking forward to World Domination and becoming a Dame…Hahahahaha.

Favourite Comments

What do you love about NorthHantsMum?

Louise: When asked “What you love about NorthHantsMum” your responses made my heart SIIIIINNNGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is exactly the kind of responses that I was looking for so it makes me BEYOND DELIGHTED that the reasons that you love NHM are what I intend. THANK YOU!!!!

“Honest reviews Great community spirit”

“It’s local, it isn’t trying to make money from me, it promotes a real sense of community”

“Such a wealth of info on many many areas.”

“Friendly, approachable, always available.”

“Useful stuff written by real mum’s who aren’t afraid to admit it’s hard to be a mum”

“I couldn’t live without it. My husband is about to take over my maternity leave and be a stay at home dad. I’ve told him that he only need use NHM to see what may be of interest to the kids in any given day. It’s a finger on the pulse of family events and all things kids. One source of truth!”

“The availability to meet people, help others through questions asked, ask questions, see you’re not alone, get ideas for things to do and see, activities and events that are taking place. (Often I’ve seen events that you have said you’re interested in which makes me go check out what it is!)”

“I love how nhm is the first thing I think I about when looking for things to do locally”

“Zero judgement”

“Down to earth, honest and very excitable (passionate)”

“Very knowledgeable about local area and a central point fog likeminded people in the area. If you have a question which Louise can’t answer one of the followers knows!”

“That pretty much everything you could need as a parent is in one place”

“the community feel. like we’re all friends.”

“Great supportive community, lots of up to date local info.”

“Louise 🙂 Also so much info & accessibility for so many people, friendly helpful community spirit”

“All the activities that are going on in one place. That NHM is a real Mum, and tells it like it is.”

“The community spirit, and kind and super helpful network it supports and creates for us all.”

“Great tips/info/ideas and places to visit plus what’s on locally as it’s not otherwise advertised to be seen easily.”

“Everything! Reviews, what’s on that Louise nhm fb shares, reader questions, all of it, it’s all relevant and needed!”

What would you like to see LESS of on NorthHantsMum?

Louise: I am SOOO pleased to see that there were hardly any comments to this question. 

Although I do feel compelled to respond to the comments about my recent negativity towards Miss NHM’s previous school.

I’m VERY pleased to say that Miss NHM is absolutely thriving at her new school so I anticipate that future comments about schools will be far more positive ;-).

What should happen next on NorthHantsMum? What is missing from NorthHantsMum? What would you dream of for NorthHantsMum?

Louise: Love, love, LOVE the comments on this one!!! 

“My only wish is that it doesn’t bog you down too much so that you can keep up the awesomeness and keep enjoying it! (Because then we can too ??) There’s nothing else out there like it, it’s a lifeline for mums (No pressure ??)”

“I think just to continue providing the amazing community service that you already do. It’s amazing what you have built in your “spare”time. It’s fabulous”

“Keep doing what you’re doing”

“Continue as you are!”

“World domination ??”

“Change nothing xx”

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Louise: The responses to the final question of the survey are nearly always my favourites 😀

“Just a big massive thank you for all the spare time and hard work you put into this. As one individual I would struggle to remember all that you have helped me with as there is just so much. Multiply that by everyone else and that’s a whole bunch of selfless helping!!!”

“Nope. Keep up the good work”

“It’s really helpful. Saves searching Google for the information you need.”

“Thank you for all that you do! It’s hugely appreciated.”

“Great work whatever you do next”

“Love what is done on here. Really great work going on.”

“Brilliant resource, so lucky to have it available locally.”

“An absolutely fantastic concept and a huge well done for keeping it all going along with a family and job!!”

“Great work Louise, you are doing the community proud.”

“Your the bestest”

“A great resource that can only evolve and go from strength to strength.”

“Thank you for all you do x”

“Thank you! I have shared your page with many Mum’s!”

“You’re amazing. The support you provide is amazing. Thank you so much. I would have been lost these last two years without the virtual comfort blanket you have provided for me. Well done on giving something so valuable to so many.”

“Louise is fab and should be made a Dame”

“You are an amazing lady doing a wonderful thing for other mummies! Thank you! ”

“Thank you for producing such a wonderful resource for local families.”

“Your doing fab Louise”

“You do a brilliant job Lou.”

THANK YOU for all of your comments and your support!!!

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 Reader Recommendations: Doulas

Louise recently asked “I’m currently working on a post about local Doula’s. Do you have any recommendations of local Doula’s that you have met and “worked” with? TIA”

Thank you to Desiree and Lisa for the following information websites on local doulas:

https://hampshiredoulas.wordpress.com

www.doula.org.uk

Thanks also to all those NHM readers who gave the following recommendations. In no particular order. 

Thank you also to Juliet who put this post together!!

NHM Reader Recommendations: Doulas

Lisa Ramsay

Lisa Ramsey – Confident Birthing

Beth said “Lisa Ramsey”

Karen said “Currently working with Lisa Ramsey. Confident birthing”

Lyndsey said “Lisa Ramsay is wonderful”

Desiree Rawson

Desiree Rawson

Bethan said “Desiree Doula Rawson”

Jill said “Desiree Rawson”

Karen Mitchell

Karen Mitchell – My Doula

Beth says “Karen Mitchell”

Wendy Wood

Wendy Wood – Relax for Birth

Shaneene said “Wendy Wood – incredible lady”

Laura Geary

Laura Geary

Rebecca said “Laura Geary – she was fab for me!”

Jane Barnfield

Jane Barnfield – Bright and Beautiful Maternity Care

Lisa said “Jane Barnfield”

Carly Lewis

Carly Lewis – Doula Fairy

Jenni said “Carly Lewis”

Nicky White

Nicky White – Berkshire Doula

Victoria said “Nicky White”

Charmaine Sala

Charmaine Sala Massage Specialist

Kirsty said “Charmaine Sala”

Aliceja said “I’ve not used her but I met Charmaine Sala at a mothercare event and she is really lovely and in training to become a doula this year I think”

Carla said “Charmaine Sala”

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Review 2017: Beale Park

Thank you to the NHM Secret Reviewer who wrote today’s post.

Review 2017: Beale Park

Like many other afflicted parents, I have a boy addicted to trains. I made the mistake of promising a train ride all week, and today I had to deliver. Fortunately I live in an area where there are quite a few options that aren’t solely about trains, and today was Beale Park – a stunning wildlife park and gardens with a fantastic selection of children’s play areas. Perfect!

Beale Park website

Beale Park Facebook Page

About

Beale Park is a wildlife park and gardens about 30-40 minutes away from Basingstoke, between Lower Basildon and Pangbourne, by the River Thames. There are three main features to the park:

Wildlife:
The park has a collection of small exotic animals, farm animals and birds, including meerkats, wallabies, coatis, owls and peacocks to name but a few. The train passes many of these areas, which can be very useful for tired little feet, although the paths are pushchair friendly. There is also a deer park set in a large open space with picnic area and zip wire. We haven’t been that far yet though.

Attractions:
The park’s miniature train runs every day during their open season and your first ride is included with your entry ticket. There is an additional charge for further rides. There is an amazing Little Tikes Outdoor Village, indoor play area, adventure playground, paddling pool, sandpit, Roplay area and aerial cableway. To be honest, there is so much at the central play area alone, we could spend the whole day there and our boys would be happy (with a train ride of course).

Gardens:
We have so far managed to convince our boys that the way to the main play area is through the Jubilee Water Gardens. That’s not strictly true but the gardens are so stunning we don’t see the harm in being a little sneaky in order to enjoy the amazing walk. With a beautiful oriental feel, I can’t imagine leaving them feeling anything other than relaxed. There is also a ‘Dry Garden’ running alongside the inner lake making it a wonderful feature.

Conservation

Not only is Beale Park an amazing day out for all, it is committed to conservation of rare and endangered species, managing several projects and supporting others. Always a bonus having a great day out and knowing you are contributing to a wonderful cause.

Food

The Peacock restaurant offers a good range of hot and cold food and drinks. I was also surprised and impressed to see on our way out a table offering fresh milk for tea/coffee etc, including soya milk. I don’t know if they cater for special diets, but I will definitely be checking next time!

Tips

Don’t forget your swimming costumes and towels if you’re intending on using the paddling pool

We found it useful to eat early as the restaurant got very busy

It’s also worth keeping an eye out on their website or Facebook page for events

Facilities

There are two toilet blocks with baby change facilities in the park.

The routes around the park are pram and wheelchair friendly.

Parking

There is a large car park to the front of the park with no charge for parking.

Prices

Prices for low and high season can be found on the park’s website: Beale Park admissions

Children under two years old go free

Rating out of 5

Has to be 5/5, there is just so much to do and see

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NHM Readers Recommend how to find out about primary school open days 2018

An NHM Reader recently sent the following message “I was wondering if you could post on the NHM page asking fellow NHM’s how to find out about primary school open days for kids starting September 2018? I’ve no idea so we’d like to visit a few and don’t want to miss out!”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for your replies, which are below.

A Facebook Group was also set up, the link to which can be found here: Basingstoke 2018 YR R (NorthHantsMum). Thank you so much to Wendy for setting this up. 

NHM Readers Recommend how to find out about primary school open days 2018

Louise Nhm Smith said “ I’m fairly sure that you have to check the individual websites of each school you are interested in. I might be wrong though…”

Louise Nhm Smith said “This link will be useful too: School Catchments

Rachael said “Yeah each school is different, their websites should tell you or call the school reception. It might be a little while before it goes on the websites”

Rebekah said “Usually the open days are October- Nov so check the school websites or ring the school mid September(give the school the chance to get back in the swing of things after the hols)”

Heidi said “If there is no open day information posted, make sure you contact the school directly to ask – our school does private tours, no open days…”

Leah said “Some schools only have open evenings & some only have open days & some only have private tours. I’d look on the websites of the schools you’re most interested in & if not on there call them up. I have 2 choices I’m putting down & know one of them anyway so don’t particularly need to attend open day. I’ll be calling or attending the other school open day but as it’s my local one it’s more than likely my son will go to that one. So scary they’ll be 4 and starting school next year!”

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We ARE keeping a “Sitting with Jane” bench in Basingstoke! WHOOOOOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When the first 12 Lot’s (benches) started bidding at £3000 my first thought was “ah well, at least we’ve raised £1000 for Ark Cancer Centre Charity“.

My second thought was “PHEW!! I don’t need to work out what happens next if we win one!!!” Hahaha.

Then, Lot 13, “Girl Power” came on the screen and they started playing the Spice Girls in the background.

And I started to get a tingly feeling in my tummy…

The bidding started at £3K. Then it dropped to £2K. And then it dropped to £1K and I felt my hand shoot up into the air, with the bidding paddle.

Now, it’s a huge responsibility to bid with other people’s money and there was a LOT of expectation. Running a campaign like this is a huge honour and privilege, one which I don’t take lightly.

I was shaking ALL night.

Several of the benches raised £7K and I felt a teeeennny tiny bit out of my league.

Had it not been for Sue, Rachel and Cathy who came with me, I would have been a dribbling mess on the floor.

And then the Auctioneer said, “anymore bids?”…”Anymore?”…

Sue and Rachel were sat next to me and were clutching my arms and I LITERALLY didn’t breathe for about 5 minutes. At least that’s what it felt like.

“Going once”….

“Going twice”…..

And somebody put in a bid at £1250.

GUTTED!!!!!

And that was it.

I thought it was all over.

I think I literally sagged in my chair.

I heard someone behind me bid for £1500. Then the bidding closed.

And then I got a text.

From Laura at The Topiary, who was sat at the back of the auction.

We had a conversation in the week that we would collaborate if things got a bit hairy in the auction and it didn’t look like either of us would get a chance of getting one.

And in her text it said “I’ll give you the £500”. “You can have it xxx”.

So, we got it!

“Girl Power”.

(Not the best pictures as I was STILL shaking at this point. However, I expect to see far better pictures of this bench in the future! lol).

Thank you!!!!

I need to say a HUGE thank you to the following people, without whom we never would have stood a chance.

My beloved husband, Mr NHM, whose encouragement and belief in my “crazy” ideas is never ending.

Sue – who took Miss NHM and I to see our first bench at the Walled Garden and got me caught up in this whole thing!! Your friendship and unfailing support means so much to me.

Rebecca at The Typeface Group who has been so supportive along this whole journey and who kept me going when I got back from holiday at the end of August and I thought I’d lost momentum.

Mark at The Ark for his brilliant support, enthusiasm and encouragement and Michelle for her wonderful support!!

Steve and Charlotte at Festival Place for their support and encouragement.

All of the NHM Ladies who believed we could do it and donated:  Wendy, CathyW, Lilian, LauraE, Zoe, Cathy, Karen, Lisa, Helen, Gisella, LauraW, Juliet, Emma, Sue, Sally, Mary, Sarah, Allison, Ceri, Katie, SueS, Victoria, Julie, Rebecca, Jules, Eleanor, Pauline, Michele, Jaz, Rachel, Natasha, Stephany, Kath, Sharon, Sarah, Claire, BeckyT, Lisa, Emily, Pam, Cat, Lyndsey, Rebecca H, Stephanie, Gillian. Thank you!!! You are ALL AWESOME!!!!!

Everyone who entered the competition and helped to raised the profile of the campaign. All of the children looked FANTASTIC!!!!

Mike O’Neil at Action Trophies for his very generous donation.

Nicky from Ma Humbugs Old Fashioned Sweet Shop for her generous donation.

John from Tidal Bay Crazy Adventure Golf for his VERY generous donation (£250!!!) about 30 minutes before the event started. STREEEESSSFFULLLL!!!!! Hahaha

Laura from The Topiary for her INCREDIBLE donation and without whom we never would have stood a chance of getting the bench.

Apologies if there is anyone whom I’ve missed off. I’ve barely slept a wink! lol.

What happens next?

Although I had a very strong feeling that we would get a bench, I hadn’t quite sorted out any of the details about what happens if we actually did!! lol.

I am looking to donate the bench to somewhere that people can still access the bench and where it will be indoors so that it lasts for a very long time. If you have any sensible suggestions please do let me know at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com.

Otherwise it’s going on my Mum’s front drive! 😀 😀 :-D.

Also, if you know of anyone who might be able to help me move the bench as it needs to be removed by Monday (18th September), please do get in touch!!!!

Finally

I would really love to get a little plaque for the bench which will say:

“I dedicate this bench to all of the Mums, and their children, in North Hampshire”.

We did it.

Thank you!

You are all AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xx

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