NHM Readers: 5.5 year old not sleeping through!!

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook for help for myself! “I am hoping for your insights and suggestions. Miss NHM is STILL refusing to sleep through. She’s 5.5 years old and hasn’t slept through more than two nights in a row for the past 8 months. It’s worse now than when she was a newborn!?!?!? Mr NHM and I are averaging 4-6 hours sleep a night and with full time jobs, we are both on our KNEES! Has anyone else experienced this and if yes, how did you manage to get your child/children to sleep through?

These were the responses I received. They are in the order of response. 

Thank you to Shona for putting this post together!!!

NHM Readers help NHM!

Vicky said: It depends on why she wakes. Only had a problem when Ella was younger . We did the hand holding and creeping away quietly. Hard to know why she’s waking up . X

Saretta said: My son has only really started sleeping through since he started school in September..but he’s a nightmare to get to sleep at bedtime! We’ve tried everything, some nights he doesn’t fall asleep till 9.30!

Sue said: Agree with working out why she is waking and then maybe trying reward chart if she does sleep through? Once she has gained enough stickers she gets a treat?

Louise Nhm Smith responded: We are going to give that a go. Wish us luck!!! 😀

Gail said: I would agree here. Try bribery !! At least at 5 they understand what rewards mean!! Also the gro clock helps, tells them by colour when they can get out of bed!!

Ghislaine said: Love our gro clock!

Sally said: Lay in her bed once asleep. Observe her breathing… If she jolts awake it could be sleep apnoea…

Louise Nhm Smith responded: Hadn’t thought of that. Thanks Sally for the suggestion!

Sally replied: That’s how we discovered Aimees she would wake so many times a night.. Adenoids were the cause. Another symptom is incredibly slow eating due to not being able to breathe while eating.

Tia said: Following. My kids don’t sleep through. 6yr, 3yr, 8m.6yr old is as bad as the 8m for waking.

Rebecca said: I have heard about people who make a little ‘nest’ on the floor next to their bed, the understanding being that if the child gets scared in the night or wakes and needs reassuring presence then they come through and go in the nest where they can sleep the rest of the night without waking the parents.

Louise Nhm Smith responded: Love this idea. Might try this too Rebecca. Thank you!

Mary said: Apparently clever children don’t sleep.

Heidi said: I slept in Kiera’s bed pretty much every night until she was 6.5. She needed one of us to sit with her while she fell asleep and then when she woke in the night I would just crawl in with her (no interaction, no talking) and we’d both go straight back to sleep. That was the only way I could get enough sleep to survive. She has recently started sleeping through, with no change in my behaviour, I just figured she’s ready to sleep alone now. I found that accepting that’s just how it is has been the only way to save my sanity.

Louise Nhm Smith said: oh Heidi. That sounds so tough. I’m not sure I can cope with another 8 months though!!!!

Heidi said: Thom slept through from half way through year R so I had high hopes for Kiera. It actually took until the beginning of year 2 for her! But I’m not holding my breath about this lasting!

Seriously, accept it and it becomes much easier to cope with x

Zowie said: Look at baby support on Facebook I used them for my daughter and really worked. I was recommended by a friend who used them. X

Lucy said: To begin with sticker charts when he was little then when he got older a marble jar…. Then he was on nothing… Then he went through a stage of being terrified as he could hear noises; so I gave him Ewan the sheep (I know regressing a bit!) but I  told him to press the button whenever he heard a noise and then he wouldn’t hear the noise anymore and it would soothe him back to sleep! It’s helped for nearly two years now! Lol

I’d give him one chance with the sticker in the night… Like reassure him then say ‘if you get up again you won’t get your sticker in the morning’ … When he got a certain amount of stickers 5 to begin with but later 7 when he was used to it he got to go to the ‘treat shop’ and get a sweetie or magazine…. Then when he would eventually fill up a whole chart he got to choose a small toy from the toy shop. Good luck! X

Pat said: JP still wakes in the night at 5 yrs 2 mths. He climbs in with us and snuggles back down

Sarah said: Good luck Louise, it’s so hard & lack of sleep just makes everything so much worse. We always think a completely change can sometimes change a bad habit, so going on a sleepover, or away somewhere, or even just moving some bedroom furniture??? x

Helena said: I can recommend cranial osteopathy highly enough. My son probably slept through the night only a handful of times in 3 years. I took him to see becky Hall in Bramley and it was like a miracle, he immediately started sleeping through the night! My life was transformed! If you need her number, just shout. Good luck with anything you try. Ps it sounds painful but it isn’t at all, just the lightest hand touch.

Wendy said: We get about 5 nights a month where he sleeps through. He generally goes to bed easily around 8, sleeps like a log from 9 – midnight (can put washing away in his room without waking) then wakes up sometime between midnight and 3. Two main reasons for waking up are being lonely and monsters (even though he knows they aren’t real and if they were they’d be like Mike and Sully). No amount of exercise or school makes any difference. We’ve tried warmer duvets, moving the bed, different rooms, reward charts. We just end up with one of us sleeping with him, sometimes in his bed, sometimes ours. Generally the effort needed to get him back to sleep on his own in his own bed is more than we can manage after nearly 6 years of broken sleep. So no advice just you’re not alone. I have been considering relax kids though.

Louise Nhm Smith responded: wow, sounds just like Miss NHM. Except she was a great sleeper until she turned 5 years old. We have a lot of the lonely and monsters stuff and lots of needing cuddles. At 4am in the morning, after two hours disturbed sleep, it’s draining. I am also considering Relax Kids and have been speaking to Kath about doing a class for both children and adults at the same time, so I’m maximising my time! Kind of sad, but nice, to know we aren’t alone.

Wendy replied: Been like it since he was born, took weeks to move him 6 inches from the bed to the Co-sleeper. Dropped his naps by 19 months. All the advice I’ve seen assumes the child is waking up between 8 – midnight or isn’t going to bed properly at all, nothing deals with waking in the early hours. Nothing tires him out. His brother sleeps through till 6, always has done, similar personalities, energy levels and intelligence just one sleeps the other doesn’t. Lots suggests it sorts itself before they turn 7.

Karen also replied: Louise, Alex went through a phase of being scared of the dark and monsters under the bed and so I asked him if he had tried saying hello to the monsters and ask them what they want. He looked at me a bit surprised and then asked them and apparently they wanted to be friends and were hungry. It then became a bit of a game about what they would want feeding each night, but as this was just as we were going to bed it was fine. It obviously wouldn’t solve all your problems but might be worth a try to see I felt it helps with the monster part? Xx

Jessica said: Before i put my two pence in… can I ask; Do you have a strict bedtime routine? And when she wakes up, how do you deal with her? x

Louise Nhm Smith replied: Yes, very strict bedtime. We put her back to bed three times and then on the fourth time it’s just too much and we switch beds

Tina said: I am mean in the middle of the night, you wake me up and I’ll give you a singing teddy! It works well, I give them the button and tell them to play it enough times until they fall asleep. I’m too tired at that point to be kept awake by it and kid is no longer lonely 🙂

Kathryn said: We’ve got a BT monitor that puts stars on the ceiling and plays music. You can put each on remotely so prevents you having to go in and engage with them. The stars are useful as the take the darkness away a bit. You can apparently play your own music through it if there is something that would comfort her tho never tried that x

Cerys said: You probably don’t want to hear that my youngest only stopped coming into our bed regularly in the wee small hours when he was 11. Luckily for most of that time he climbed in without waking us. Dad did comment that A was “too old” to co-sleep, to which I replied that he was in his 40’s and co-sleeping. Why do we expect our children to sleep alone?

Libby said: Our youngest turned 5 last month and I can’t remember when she last slept through the night. She just climbs in with us at about 1am and to be honest I no longer really notice. I can’t have her crying in the night waking the other children up so for us as long as we are all asleep I don’t mind where it is. I have never heard of an 18 year old being in with mum and dad so I am sure one day they will sleep through. Just do what feels right for you.

Claire said: Just a thought – is she in reception year? Maybe that’s unsettling her and she needs the extra reassurance. If it’s any comfort (probably not) my eldest was about 7 before he slept through the night, and the youngest 2 are now 9 1/2 and 6 – they wake up occasionally too. Good luck. Infinite patience, and it will get better xxx

Louise Nhm Smith responded: She’s in Y1, which is why we are a bit baffled by it as we didn’t have this in YR. Although I am thinking that it’s linked to Mr NHM working “normal” hours now he doesn’t work shift anymore. Thank you!

Claire replied: My youngest was 6 on 31st Aug so she’s just started yr 2. Could be the change in dad’s hours, could be that the school are asking her to ‘work’ more instead of ‘play-work’. Has one of her friends moved away? Or a new teacher? At that age things that we think are nothing important can seem huge xx

Vikki said: When I stopped working shifts with the ambulance service my 2 kids, 5 and 2 spent the next 3 months getting up in the night to check I was still there. It was such a change for them for me to be at home it really threw them ! They went back to a normal pattern, they just get up early between 5.30 and 6 !!

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Christmas Food Boxes for Basingstoke 2016!!!

I am sooooo excited to be able to announce the Christmas Food Boxes appeal again this year for Basingstoke Voluntary Action.

The NorthHantsMum Community have been involved in this appeal since it started three years ago and I’m VERY proud of how much we’ve been able to help!


Christmas Food Boxes for Basingstoke 2016

Over the last 3 years Basingstoke Voluntary Action (BVA) have distributed nearly 1000 Christmas food boxes to individuals across the borough who are living with the effects of poverty, social isolation, or vulnerably housed, as well as food and tents, winter equipment and clothes for around 75 individual people who are sleeping rough.

Over 500 of these were distributed last year alone, showing what can be achieved when communities are motivated and united for such a worthwhile local cause.

The food box appeal has grown year on year, and become a huge undertaking. This means we need as much help as we can get to ensure 2016 is another successful year.

Basingstoke Irish Society have generously offered us room at Basingstoke Irish Centre to accept donations, and storage space to use as a hub for this year’s food drive.

We will be accepting donations between

Monday 18 November  – Friday 16 December 2016

Basingstoke Irish Centre

Council Rd, Basingstoke RG21 3DH

Please contact natascha.shepherd@bvaction.org.uk to arrange delivery of donations or to discuss volunteering.


Last year’s appeal benefitted recipients identified by a broad range of local charities and support agencies, including:

·         HCC Learning Disabilities team

·         HCC Children’s Services Team

·         Mencap

·         Bridge Centre

·         Opcis

·         Neighbourcare

·         Youth Offending Team

·         Hampshire Wellbeing

·         Two Saints Ltd


·         May Place

·         Jacobs House

·         The Camrose Centre

·         YMCA

·         MaD (teenage parents)

·         Young Carers

·         Citizens Advice

·         YouTrust

·         Homegroup

·         Mary Rose Court

·         Community Furniture Project

·         Trinity


“I would like to say a massive thank you to BVA for the hard work they have put in arranging food boxes this year. I have taken around 30 & delivered them to clients that were not expecting anything – all were very grateful for the thought & the generosity of people”

Home Group

“Without donations such as these, Trinity would not be able to provide the same level of service to our clients, and we are so grateful that you thought of us.”


“Basingstoke Voluntary Action do some fantastic work to help the community and I’m thrilled AWE staff have been able to contribute to such a worthy cause.”



Why not make it a team challenge?

Last year local companies competed internally to fill the most boxes, bands got together and held a concert, and local schools had non-uniform days!

There are two ways anyone can help:

Option 1 – Christmas Food Box for refuges, hostels and underprivileged families

  1. Take a photocopying paper box and lid
  2. Wrap box and lid separately in Christmas wrapping paper
  3. Fill it up with food for Christmas, selecting from following suggested items:
  • Tins of ham or chicken
  • Tins of new potatoes
  • Tins of carrots, garden peas
  • Tin or pouch of long life quality casserole meal
  • Dessert such as custard, mince pies, Christmas Cake,
  • Luxury biscuits, chocolates/selection box
  • Tea/ coffee/cocoa
  • Snacks such as crackers, twiglets, savoury twists, nibbles.
  1. Box all food up
  2. Email to arrange delivery; In some cases, or where large donations are concerned we may be able to collect donations
  3. We will donate them to the worthy causes and centres in the Basingstoke and Deane area

You can find detailed instructions on how to build your box at the following post about the 2014 Christmas food boxes on NorthHantsMum.

Option 2 – Donations of food and items to be distributed to homeless centres and hostels, can be from the list above or any of these:

  • Food items such as cup soups/noodles, tea bags, coffee (any food bags you can add hot water to); ring-pull tins of hot dogs, ravioli, stews, rice puddings; high energy protein/cereal bars; chocolate biscuits/sweets/small selection boxes, multipack crisp/snacks
  • Equipment such as warm hats, scarves, gloves, socks, jumpers, coats; unwanted rucksacks or draw string bags; wind-up torches, sleeping bags, thermos flasks/cups; sturdy boots/shoes, toiletries
  • Please note we cannot accept any donations of alcohol or food containing alcohol

We also need empty photocopy paper boxes, donations of sticky tape, wrapping paper and volunteers to help sort items, wrap, pack and distribute boxes – if you have any free time and would like to join us we would love to hear from you!!

Finally, many companies in previous years have donated money to help with winter food box appeals. If you would like to do this please make cheques payable to Basingstoke Voluntary Action and clearly write on the back Christmas Appeal

Please note that due to the change in venue this year we cannot guarantee response to phone messages. For all Food Box related enquiries please email natascha.shepherd@BVAction.org.uk.

You can also support BVA by “Like-ing” their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BasingstokeVA/?fref=ts


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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)


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.


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.


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.
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: 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!


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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

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


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 to donate 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


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.


Basingstoke Voluntary Action

I have also suggested Basingstoke Voluntary action.


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.


  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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