NHM readers suggested Birthday Card “hacks”

NHM readers suggested Birthday Card “hacks”

I’ve always been rubbish at remembering birthday cards, or rather, I buy the cards in advance but never quite get round to posting them in time.

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook for any good “hacks” for how to remember to send birthday cards. 

Thank you very much to everyone who responded and thank you very much to Yvette who put this post together! 

Please note, these are in no particular order!

1. Moonpig / Funky Pigeon (as recommended by Georgina, Melanie, Lisa, Cerys & Jason)

Moonpig: Personalised Cards – Greetings Cards – Cards Online

Personalised Cards| Make Photo Greetings Cards Online

The general consensus was that these websites are great as you can set up in advance what date you would like certain cards to be sent and also you can personalise your cards with your own photo’s / text.  The only downside is that it can be a bit on the expensive side, but prices do include postage and they sometimes have special offers on.  Alternatively, Cerys came up with a great idea of setting up reminders on the websites but buying the card elsewhere when the reminder email comes through!

2. Bunches (as recommended by Madeleine)

Bunches.co.uk

You can also set up reminders on this website (or other similar ones), just remember to put the exact dates in the notes.

3. Good old fashioned pen and paper (as recommended by Marie, Elaine, Sue, Heidi & Michelle)

3.1 Another great suggestion was to write every birthday on a calendar/diary at the beginning of the year and then at the beginning of every month, bulk buy all the cards you need for that month.  Or alternatively, put a reminder in your diary to buy the cards 2 weeks before and then another reminder a week before to actually post them.

3.2 A lovely alternative for keeping birthdays separate from everything else going in your diary is getting a box of cards and planner from Heidi Wadsworth at Phoenix cards.

http://www.phoenix-trading.co.uk/web/heidiwadsworth/

Just go through the planner each week, write them out and stick them in the post. The planner lasts and doesn’t need redoing each year.

4. Phone reminders (as recommended by Hayley)

Putting a reminder on her phone 2 days before to post the card has worked well for Hayley.

5. Facebook (as recommended by Jason)

6. Buy in bulk 

Peta says “I buy packs of ‘assorted’, but quality, birthday cards to suit all ages (or multiple packs to suit a range of ages) and store them in my writing desk with books of (12x) stamps (1st class, 2nd class, £1.28 for airmail). I still forget birthdays, but at least my ‘belated’ birthday wishes are not quite as belated these days…

I also buy postcard packs (e.g. from local artists when I don’t want/cannot afford to buy individual pieces or themed packs from places like TK Maxx or independent bookstores) and packs of blank greeting cards so that I have an abundance of supplies for last minute wishes ‘thank you’, ‘thinking of you’, ‘anniversary’, ‘happy house warming’.. (you get the picture).

Oh, and my ex-housemate always writes her month’s cheques & birthday cards in advance, noting the ‘send on’ date in pencil on the front of each sealed envelope. She would pick up relevant envelopes in the morning and post them on her way to work. Teachers. So organised…”

7. A final thought 

Lisa says “The sign of a true friend is one who still loves you even when you forget their birthday…maybe more than once ; )”

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NorthHantsMum’s 5th Birthday is today!!!!!!!!

Today is the fifth year anniversary of NHM. Yup, that’s right, I started NHM five years ago today. So I’m afraid you will need to allow me a post of reflection and self-indulgence (there’s a surprise! Lol) :-D.

Five years is a long time. Five years feels like a significant milestones. After five years I still haven’t gotten used to having an alter-ego! Lol.

A lot of time and passion has been poured into NHM in five years. A lot of love and tears also. NHM is so much more than a hobby for me now, it’s a part of me, a key part of my life. When I think back to the time in my life when I started NHM, when Miss NHM was three months old, it is literally a lifetime away. I am a different person to the one who started NHM. So are my husband and our daughter.

I cannot express to you how amazing my family are. Mr NHM has ALWAYS been hugely supportive of NHM and this has been incredibly important. Miss NHM is now five years old (obviously) and I still can’t believe it. She’s five years old ALREADY??!?!!! I love them both more than you can imagine.

Louise-65
Us

NHM has been SUCH a positive influence on my life. I’m a much better person because of it. I have met SO many wonderful Mum’s (and Dad’s!) through NHM. I am INCREDIBLY grateful for the many amazing friendships and opportunities NHM has created for myself and my family.

There has also been a lot of heartbreak and stress during these past five years, with NHM and also with everything that has happened in my life beyond NHM, but it’s been my “rock” for so long. Even when it feels like everything else is falling apart around me I know that I have this AMAZING network of parents supporting me, encouraging me and telling me to keep going. Having something bigger than myself, this network of people who rely on and support me, is pretty AWESOME!

They say we leave fingerprints on the lives we touch. I wonder how many lives I’ve touched with NHM in the past five years and how many more lives NHM will touch. It’s a pretty awesome thought! Having all this positive influence on so many people has got to be a good thing, right?

Thank you!

I would also like to say thank you to my amazing team of supporters who have helped to keep NHM going during the past five years.
  • Abi – for your passion and drive with all things technical and your faith in NHM. I literally couldn’t be where I am with NHM were it not for your belief in me. I’m going to miss your techie support TONNES.
  • Sophie for all of your marketing support and for designing the latest NHM logo.
  • All of the lovely NHM secret writers who step in at a moments notice to attend and write up events and who have taken the pressure off me on a number of occasions.
  • To the fabulous NHM Marketing team (Shona, Hayley, Gemma, Chloe and Yvette) who are made up of a key number of extremely talented ladies who are giving up their time so willingly to help others.
  • Everyone who has ever been involved in a NHM event. The meet up’s (should I start these again?) and the Expo’s. Between us we have raised over £2500 for charity, which is phenomenal! Especially, Lynne, Sophie and Lowri my willing volunteers who gave up their precious time to help out.
  • To all of the local Mum’s who run their own businesses and have supported and encouraged me with my networking endeavours.
  • Everyone who contributed to my “birthday blogging tree”. I love it!
  • Mr NHM for his constant love and support and for learning how to load the dishwasher PROPERLY in the past five years :-D.
  • Finally Miss NHM for being my daily inspiration. I love her more than anything, even NorthHantsMum :-D.
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My “blogging tree” which is one of my most treasured possessions. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed.

What happens next?

I’d like to say I have big plans for what happens next on NHM but, truth be told, I have an awful lot going on in my life outside of NHM at the moment and I feel the need to focus on the basics. Time to focus on the bits I love, like the sharing of information and knowledge and supporting my fantastic readers (that’s YOU!). The big plans are going to have to wait for a bit longer.

I would also like to say that I’m going to celebrate tonight but life goes on and today I will be attending the funeral of a much loved man who was a significant figure in my life.  So today I’m going to think of how grateful and blessed I was to have known him and for him to have been in my life. Then on Friday I’m going to focus on how grateful and blessed I am to have NorthHantsMum and all of the friendships and opportunities it’s created for me in the past five years and celebrate with a cheeky glass of Prosecco.

Yay to “Proseco Friday’s” 😀

As always THANK YOU. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for your support, feedback and love during the past five years. I literally couldn’t do it without you.

Here’s to the next five years on NorthHantsMum! Cheers x

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NHM Readers Experiences of Hypnobirthing in Basingstoke and North Hampshire

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if anyone had any experience of hypnobirthing, has anyone used it and if they have any feedback.

Thank you very much to everyone who responded and thank you to Shona for putting this together!

These were the responses I received.

NHM Readers Experiences of Hypnobirthing

Michelle said:

Yes for my second child and really recommend it. I was very sceptical before I knew about it, but after practicing it I would definitely recommend, had a much better labour than the first!   

Kirsty said:

I had for my first child. It made me feel confident and relaxed in a situation I had no control over and taught me to work with my body. It’s very powerful and a great tool during labour

Cerys said:

I haven’t used it but, as an antenatal teacher (and not a hypnobirthing practitioner so not trying to sell anything), I would highly recommend it.  

Lizzie said:

Yes for both my labours – wonderful experience. I managed a back to back birth centre water birth and a home water birth with no pain relief.  

Wendy said:

Yep I used hypnobirthing for my second birth and had a wonderful experience.  

Corissa said:

Yes – it’s wonderful. I’d highly recommend it. Using the techniques during labour made me feel calm, in control and able to ‘observe’ the contractions without tensing up or needing any pain relief. I have since used the techniques at the dentist to have fillings without anaesthetic.

Naomi said:

In a total different light. I had an emergency c section at 33 weeks due to pre eclampsia with my first. So went on to have a planned section at 38 weeks following lots of bp issues that never turned into pre e with number 2. It was a very worrying pregnancy but I was determined to have a better birth experience and not let anxiety spoil it for us. We attended hypnobirthing sessions at 26 weeks once we had come past the possibility of him being prem. And it was just so very helpful. I wished I had accessed more and accessed private, individual support really. But the techniques and information we gained from that one session was used lots by my husband and I in those difficult last couple of weeks. Even at difficult appointments and certainly in theatre. We had such a healing happy pleasant experience. And if I were to have another I would invest more into it as it’s amazing.

Beata said:

Used hypnobirthing for my first baby and it was a freebirth at home and I recommend it highly. The best thing I ever did for all of us. 

Flick said:

I used it for my second child and it was amazing!! I only needed 2 puffs on gas and air at the hospital and I dealt with most of the labour at home – I was only in hospital for 20 mins before my daughter was born. Having not used it the first time round and done so the second, I can see what a huge difference it makes!! I was a lot calmer because of it and baby number 2 is chilled out as well. She’s 6 months old now and I can look back on a happy birth experience this time.

Marie said:

I run pregnancy classes, and have had mixed feedback from women I teach who have tried Hypnobirthing. Some rave about it, others are like “that was a waste of money”… I really think it depends on the person and their ability to go into themselves. I never used it, but put my own methods into practice instead, which I found worked for me. 

Lottie said:

I haven’t done hypnobirthing but I cannot recommend the confident birthing workshop enough! It was brilliant for me and my husband and really helped in labour. It’s all about positivity, breathing and relaxation techniques.

Liane said:

Yes for my second and it was a much more empowering experience. Highly recommended it. 

Vikki said:

Wow! So much choice for women… Fab! I’d add ‘go for it’, I believe that the more tools you have in your tool kit, the more options you have in labour and as previously mentioned, these are techniques that last a lifetime. I certainly use my breathing techniques regularly.

Sarah said:

I did a class but ended up being induced and was extremely stressed so didn’t help. Ended in c section due to baby being distressed. But I’m sure it would’ve been amazing for a normal natural labour.

Stephanie said:

I had all 3 of my babies using Hypnobirthing. I didn’t attend any courses, just followed some CDs and materials I purchased on amazon. I am thankful to have given my babes such a gentle entry into the world and loved being about to walk around, shower within an hour of all 3 births. Even if the ultimate result is not hypnobirth, it’s a beautiful tool to help relax late in the pregnancy and prepare for future sleepless nights.

Victoria said:

Hypnobirthing was the most life changing experience. …can’t recommend enough.

Lisa said:

I used hypnotherapy for both my boys’ births. It was Natal Hypnotherapy rather than Hypnobirthing but it was fabulous. I’d highly recommended hypnotherapy!

IMG_0717

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NHM Readers Favourite places to feed Ducks in Basingstoke and North Hampshire

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook for their suggestions on where are the best places to feed ducks in Basingstoke and North Hampshire. 

Thank you very much to everyone who responded! and thank you to Gemma for putting this post together! 

Here is also a link to show you what food we should and shouldn’t feed the ducks, thank you Liane for the information: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/keeping-our-ducks-healthy/six-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-feed-ducks

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Alresford Ducks!

NHM Readers Favourite places to feed ducks in Basingstoke and North Hampshire

Eastrop Park

Rachel said: Eastrop Park

Amy: There are ducks in Eastrop Park in town xx

Bartons Mill

Jade: Bartons Mill

Sherfield on Loddon

Saretta: Sherfield on Loddon has a lovely duck pond too 🙂

Abbie: There is a great duck pond in Sherfield-on-Loddon with loads of ducks and there is a nearby park, pub and cafe!

Basingstoke Canal

Karen: Basingstoke Canal near King John’s Castle in Odiham

Thatcham Discovery Centre

Kelly: Thatcham Discovery Centre

Amber:  Second the Thatcham Discovery Centre! Lovely walk around the lake and a good park too.

Jen: Definitely Thatcham. But get there first thing as we’ve been later in the day and the ducks weren’t hungry as so many people had fed them already!

Wendy: Thatcham sells you suitable food, tells you what the birds are called and has a brilliant playground too.

Fleet Pond

Kathryn: Fleet Pond

Winchester Silk Mill

Elaine: Whitchurch Silk Mill. We even sell duck and swan food to feed them properly!

The Vyne

Juanita: The Vyne 🙂

Dannii: The ducks are always hungry there too.

Winchester Leisure Centre

Donna:  I would also recommend Winchester Leisure Centre – we always pop down there for duck feeding and the park is perfect for toddlers.

Sherborne St John

Edie: There’s a lovely duck pond by the church in Sherborne St John with very tame (and fat!) ducks.

Ruza: Sherborne st john

Alresford

Fiona: The stream in Alresford is beautiful for a little walk and you have the High Street bakery for a treat and a large play park too.

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NHM Readers Recommend 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. Thanks to Shona for putting this post together!

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 on to 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

Is there anywhere else you would recommend?

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NHM readers recommend child friendly coffee shops

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook for recommendations for child friendly coffee shops in Basingstoke and the surrounding areas. (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!). 

Thank you very much also to Shona for putting this together! 😀

Please note, these are in no particular order!

NHM readers recommend child friendly coffee shops

1. The Tea Bar

Rachael recommended Tea Bar.

The Tea Bar

  1. Dome Cafe Project

Kath said: It’s a great venue that I often forget about

The Cafe Project

3. Little Roses – Tadley Garden Centre

Jo said: Little Roses, part of the garden centre on the way to Tadley, they have sofas and a kids corner with toys upstairs.

Melanie said: Little Roses is great.

Lisa also recommended Little Roses

Little Roses

  1. Wyevale – Reading Road

Madeline said: Wyevale Garden Centre on the way up to Reading has a toy box and a playhouse in the garden.

Wyevale

  1. More of the Good Stuff – Dummer

Kelly said: There is a lovely one in Dummer.

Fiona also recommended More of the Good Stuff.

More of the Good Stuff

  1. Redfields Garden Centre

Alison said: It has a cafe and children’s play area upstairs

Redfields Garden Centre

7. Wellington Farm Shop Cafe

Ruza said: Comes with outside space and activities. Inside big tables for spreading with toys.

Wellington Farm Shop Cafe

8. Jolly Olly’s – Oakley

Lisa recommends Jolly Olly’s.

Jolly Olly’s

9. St Gabriel’s – Popley

Rebecca said: There is a cafe with toys at St Gabriel’s in Popley on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

St Gabriel’s

10. Coffee & Co – Christ Church, Chineham

Madeleine said: On Mondays, 9.30-11.30. Toys, dressing up, play area, friendly staff and inexpensive cake!

Coffee & Co

11. NCT Coffee and Chat – Brookvale

Stephany said: Don’t forget NCT coffee and chat at Brookvale on Friday mornings.

NCT Coffee & Chat

Are there any other places that you would recommend that aren’t mentioned on this list?

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NHM Readers Top Tips for Keeping Cool

YAY! It’s Half Term!!! Whoop Whoop!!

So, on the off chance the weather is lovely during half term I thought I’d post up the responses that I asked for last year on on my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook, for top tips for staying cool with little ones in the heat.

Thank you very much to everyone who responded and thank you to Shona for putting this together!

NHM Readers Top Tips for Keeping Cool

Louise said:

Gazebo, paddling pool and lots of water and ice pops!!!

Lisa said:

Be still like crocodiles as much as possible! LOTS of water. Keep all windows shut to keep coolness in. Run cold water over wrists for 1 minute to cool down. Hats and lots of shade when outside.

Lisa B said:

Hang around lolly freezers – make sure children take ages to choose

Hayley said:

Sun shade, lots of water and paddling pool.

What are your suggestions for keeping cool in the hot weather?

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