Children’s Bike Seats

Getting a childs bike seat sorted has been on my to do list for a very long time, but I just never seem to get around to it. I want to go in to Basing Cycles in town and have a chat with them as they specialise in Specialized bikes, which is the bike I have. I was also hoping that I might be able to see if they are interested in doing a discount for NHM Readers also looking to buy a child bike seat.

I’m finding that a childs bike seat might be like a sling. I really want one and I just want someone to tell me which one to get, but we will probably end buying a really expensive one (like we did with the sling)  because we don’t know any better and then we will probably only use it twice (like the sling).

I’ve also been trying to put together a post about Children’s Bike Seats since March this year! In an effort to pull my finger out and get the post started AND completed, I put a request out on Facebook to see if you wonderful readers would be happy to provide your insights. This is what you came back with:

Wendy made an excellent point “The first thing you have to consider is your bike. Not all seats fit all bikes.” Amber also made an excellent point “It’s worth emphasising that ALL children should have cycle helmets along with their parents whenever they are cycling.”

Matt, a keen cyclist, said: “My recommendation is the Co-pilot Limo seat, RRP £109.99”. Lesley also recommended the Co-pilot Limo child seat. She said “We did a lot of research when looking to purchase a seat for our daughter. She was 2 years old at the time (now 4). The seat has a lot of protection, just I case your bike topples over. At that age she tended to fall asleep after a while, but the side protection, meant she could rest her head comfortably. The seat also grows with your child, straps move to deal with growing legs. And, a final bit of usefulness – the seat doubles up as a seat off the bike too. We would stop for a picnic, and our daughter was able to sit comfortably and securely for her meal. (equally-it can be a handy retaining option if you are on your own and don’t want your child to toddle off while you tend to your bike). 5* as far as I’m concerned. Daughter now cycling using her own Steam, and she asks to go to places we used to take her on the back of our bikes.”

Karen recommended a Hamax child seat “I’ve got a hamax one – very pleased with it. What about some research on the difference between rear and front seats- the ones that go near the handlebars- they look pretty dangerous to me! Amber also recommended a Hamax seat “Both my husband and I are very keen cyclists and did a lot of research before buying ours for our daughter and as Wendy says, not all seats fit all bikes…. We bought a Hamax Sleepy which is great, they are very robust seats with adjustable footrests and harness so it growns with your child. With hindsight I wish we had got the Siesta model which reclines further than the Sleepy as she invariably nods off in it and she just lolls forwards in the seat. She doesn’t seem to mind that but it is a little disconcerting!”

Charlotte suggested the Wee free ride, “We have wee free ride. Lo sits on the cross bar in front of you. Very safe for them as they’re inside your arms and they get a great view. BUT it doesn’t work well on small frame bikes as you have to ride with your knees out wide! My bike at 16″ frame is too small. My husband’s at 17½ is just about OK.”

I was originally leaning towards a Wee free ride but I have a small bike frame so I don’t think it will be suitable. I would love a Co-pilot seat but I had a quick look on Amazon and the Hamax seat seems to be a bit cheaper. If anyone has any other suggestions please do add a comment.

I hope to do some more research this weekend and will add any links I find into this post. I’m hoping that by getting this post out there it will help me get my butt into gear about getting a bike seat sorted!!! 😀

Further Reading

Which Cycle Seat Guide

Mumsnet Child Bike Seats

Carrying Children on bikes

What is the right age for a baby bike seat?

Local Bike Shops

Basing Cycles – Basingstoke

Winklebury Cycles – Basingstoke

Pedal On – Tadley

AW Cycles – Caversham, Reading

Autumn on a Budget

Autumn is well and truly here now (boo). So, I’ve put together a few ideas that might help if you are trying to keep your littles amused and don’t want to spend a fortune. You can also check out all of the baby, toddler and children classes that are available in the area by clicking on the main tool bar at the top of the NHM webpage.

1. Nature Detectives

I know I always rave about Nature Detectives but it’s absolutely fantastic. They have special Autumn packs that you can download to use for Autumn activities.

2. The Cinema

Odeon and Vue both have children sessions on Saturday and Sunday morning and throughout school holidays. Vue is from £1.75.

From what I can see Basingstoke Odeon doesn’t have any Newbie and Children’s performances scheduled at the moment, which is a bit disappointing. I loved going to the Newbie’s showings when I was on Maternity Leave. Our little one “saw” her first film when she was three weeks old!

3. Puddle Splashing

I’ve mentioned before on NHM that I’ve heard the saying “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad weather clothing!”. Puddle jumping is great but you need some wellies otherwise it can become a bit miserable pretty quickly.

4. Find your local park.

We are very lucky in Basingstoke that we have some wonderful parks in the area. This is a great website to check out what’s around, especially if you are a bit bored with your local park. With weather being as windy as it today, Crabtree hill would be a great place to fly a kite!

5. Make Play Dough

I’ve posted up a few posts that have recipies for making your own Play Dough. Check them out here and here. I find this is a great activity when I want my little one to be preoccupied in her highchair when I’m trying to cook!

6. Cook together

We’ve tried this once and it was…interesting! lol. Our little one isn’t big enough to stand on a chair so I put her in her highchair and she had great fun playing with dough. She created an almighty mess though, but it was worth it to see how much fun she had.  There are some really easy recipes out there that you can make with your children, regardless of their age.

7. Visit your local museums

The Willis Museum in Basingstoke town centre is free and has a good variety of activities for children. Milestones Museum isn’t free but is worth a whole day out. Basing House isn’t free either but they have a lot of activities for children. You might be interested in a Culture All passport or Discovery Pass which helps to keep the cost of Activities down.

8. PJ Days and Movie Afternoons

When it’s raining and cold outside, Pyjama days are great. I personally wouldn’t watch a movie with my little one as I feel she’s too young (19 months) but for those bigger children movie days can be loads of fun. If your children have seen all of your DVD’s, why not rent one from the local library for a nominal fee. They even do a special deal where you can pay for film membership for the year.

Related Posts

7 Cheap or Free Rainy Day Activities in Basingstoke

Christmas Planning 2012

I really don’t want to scare you, but it’s 74 days (Xmas Clock) to Christmas. Yup, that’s less than 3 months. Eek! Feels like we’ve only just finished the Summer Holidays, so how can it nearly be Christmas!!?!?!

In my effort to try to make your life a little bit easier, last year I came across a lot of really good blog posts that I thought would be useful to share with you. There are some ideas about Christmas planning, how to not spend a fortune over the Christmas holidays and some ideas about being ethically conscious during the festive season. Some of the posts come from American blogs, but I don’t think this makes them any less valuable, as I always think that our cousins over the pond seem to be better at Christmas than we are!

I hope you find them interesting and helpful, especially the ones related to planning for Christmas!

Plan Your Peaceful Christmas: Task 1

Plan Your Peaceful Christmas: Task 2

Plan your Peaceful Christmas: Task 3

Goal: Get Christmas Shopping Finished Early

The Giant Christmas List: Curbing Impulses

Frugal Christmas – top 5 recycling ideas for your gifts….

Christmas Countdown Checklists – (A NHM Reader (Thanks Gillian!) sent this through. Excellent website so I’ve included it here)

5 ways to slow down and embrace your holiday stories – (One of my favourite blogs of all time. I LOVE SimpleMom)

Some Thoughts about Holiday Cards

Should I cancel Christmas or would my children never forgive me and Santa?

How to avoid a Christmas spending splurge … using tips from a psychologist

Christmas Gift Guide – 30 days and counting (a bit early for this, I know!)

Celebrate Solstice

Ultimate Christmas Movie Guide

The Countdown To Christmas – Let The Preparations Begin!

New Mummy’s Tips Christmas 2011

An easy, no-frills advent calendar

Dealing with Holiday Leftovers

Charity at Christmas (I think this is a really, really great post)

How to have a Frugal Christmas – Free Santa letters….

Count down to Christmas with our children’s books Advent calendar – interactive

How to have a Frugal Christmas – Fun Stuff to do together….

9 of the Best Christmas Crackers under £10

Tips for making your Christmas more enjoyable, and more economical!

Here’s how to save money on Christmas presents and make your kids really want to spend time with their family

Things to Make and Do with Kids During Christmas Vacation

How to Entertain and Keep Costs Down During the Holidays

Halloween Parties for the Younger Age Group in North Hampshire – 2012

A NHM reader asked a great question on NorthHants Mum and I thought the response deserved blog post. (Plus, I feel guilty that I didn’t post much this week because of internet issues.) Thanks for your question Kaela! I’ve put together a short post for you on Halloween Parties for little ones. Hope it helps!

Kaela asked: “Do you know anywhere that are doing children’s Halloween parties for the more younger age group? Many thanks”

Bopping Babies: Wednesday 24th (Chineham)  and Friday 26th October (Bramley)

BOPPING BABIES RETURNS FOR THE AUTUMN TERM (Chineham)
Bopping Babies is back with a ‘bang’ with the Halloween special themed
party.

Toddler Sense “Spooky Wooky Party”

Toddler Sense Spooky Wooky Party on the 28th October! Places are filling so please do contact me if you would like to come along for some fabby “more Wooky than Spooky” fun especially for your little one! Email at basingstoke@toddlersense.co.uk

PlayDays is having a Halloween Party: TICKETS ON SALE NOW!!!

Playdays Halloween Party, Fri 26th Oct And Sat 27th Oct 6-8:30pm. They have prices for children under 18 months, so will probably be appropriate for little people.

Active Tots Halloween Party

Join us for some HALLOWEEN FUN on Wednesday 31st October! Its a chance to show off your fancy dress! Soft Play as usual, with a few extras in our Activities Room which will be transformed to provide themed activities throughout the day!

The Green Gloop will be simmering in the cauldron for those that wish to give it a stir! Decorate yummy themed biscuits and more….. Usual Play Price plus £2.00 for those wishing to take part in the Halloween Activities! Fancy Dress is a must with prizes for the best dressed!

JJ’s

JJ’s has a halloween Party on, but it’s for older children and is from 6pm to 10pm

Children’s Centres

The Big Children’s Centres: Pebbles, Octopus and Buttercups used to do Halloween themed parties  and events (I think), but I can’t find anything about this on each of their websites and they may not be happening because of the change to Action for Children.

If there are any other events that are happening in the area for younger children, it would be great if you could share so others can see. Thanks everyone!

5 Places for Sunday lunch, with Children, in North Hampshire

Is it just me or has it been one of those weeks? We had no internet at the weekend and it’s been intermittent all week, hence the lack of posts this week. Very frustrating as I had lots of posts that I wanted to work on. For example, this post is supposed to have 5 places for Sunday lunch with children. I only had time to come up with three. Do you have any recommendations for this post?

1. The Beech Arms – Oakley

3. The Harvester – Brighton Hill (I’m going to be very controversial here and say that I’ve never been that impressed with the Basingstoke Harvester. The last time we were there the babychanging room was in a disgusting state, which never bodes well for a restaurant!)

Updated Dec 2013

4. Spruce Goose – Leisure Park

Playmobil.123 and Childhood Dreams

I’ve found somewhere that sells Playmobil.123 locally! Yay!!!

We were pretending we were posh and went shopping in Winchester the other week. I wanted to check out Childhood Dreams, a toy shop that I’d heard about. I have a bit of an addiction to wooden fruit and veg. Don’t ask me why and I know it’s a bit tragic but I just think they are SOOO cool!

I’d heard that Childhood Dreams sells them so I saved up especially for them. My Beloved Husband gave me a limit of £10 to spend (he’s so generous! lol) and I managed to get a lot for my money. We came home with a wooden lolly, a wooden fried egg, a wooden bratwurst among others. I ended up with about 7 different items. I loved a lot of the other items in the shop but wasn’t allowed to buy any (boo hiss!).

They stock Usborne Books (another one of my addictions!), the cutest wooden Tool set (Saving up for this already!), lots of wooden cooking implements, some VERY cute little baby shoes and THE most expensive rocking horse I have ever seen!

Annnyway, after I’d spent my budget in Childhood Dreams we popped round to see The Toy Cupboard. I love it in here too, but they don’t stock as many “old skool” toys. However, their display of playmobil was AMAZING! I was so impressed to see that they also have the Plamobil Advent Calendars.

I was even more impressed when I saw that they also sell Playmobil.123. Yay! At last! I’ve found somewhere that stocks it! I wasn’t allowed to purchase any as I’d already blown my budget and I would still probably buy through the site we’ve used before as it’s so much cheaper, but they did have some items that I’ve not seen before.

I think one of the reasons why I love wooden toys and Playmobil.123 is that they are built to last. No matter how much your children munch and throw about these toys, they still seem to look like they did when you bought them. This also helps if you are a tight wad like me and plan to try to sell on as many toys as possible!I also like to think I’m doing my bit for the environment too, by not buying plastic tat that’s built to end up in the dustbin.

Playmobil Posts you might enjoy reading

http://stickyfingers1.blogspot.com/2011/12/what-playmobil-to-buy-for-christmas.html

http://www.whosthemummy.co.uk/2011/11/seven-of-the-best-playmobil-toys-for-christmas-.html

http://babybudgeting.co.uk/review-playmobil-school/

Blackberry Picking in North Hampshire

Today’s post was supposed to be about good blackberry picking spots in the area. Unfortunately I haven’t had much time to research this or to get out and about to find some new spots.

The blackberries are quiet late this year which is probably because of the wet summer that we had. Blackberry picking is a great family activity and can save quite a bit of money if you have the ability to freeze your berries after you have picked them. I like to stick them in a bowl covered in water with some salt, then rinse them off, bag them up and put them in the freezer for the winter months. It can save a fortune when you compare the cost of buying frozen or fresh berries. We use ours in porridge for breakfast (great for weaning as the frozen berries makes the porridge cold and is another dose of fruit for the day) or I use them to make smoothies or a crumble.

These are the places that I do know which have good Blackberry picking spots. I am going to put out a request on the NorthHants Mum friend and the FB Page to see if anyone else can recommend any good spots and will update this post as I receive them. If you do know of any good blackberry spots please add a comment to this post. Thank you!

Carpenters Down/Basing Wood

There are lots of Blackberry Bushes at Carpenters Down and the further you go into the Woods, the more likely you are to find some good bushes. If you follow the path out to Bramley, there are some bushes there too.

Chineham Business Park

A new path has been put into Chineham Business Park and there are a lot of bushes around this area, towards the back of the Business Park.

Related Posts

Review: Basing Wood

MAD Academy

Elaine contacted me asking if I could publicise the new MAD Academy classes for her. Here is her post…

MAD Academy classes for preschool children are bursting with energy and fun!  Each week we combine lively music and dance, with carefully structured learning, designed for the specific age and developmental stage of your child.

We sing and dance to lots of popular songs which you will already know, as well as a few new funky ones of our own.  Children are introduced to a wide range of music, whilst being given the chance to explore different rhythms, musical instruments and musical styles.  Dance and movement are key elements of every session and we play lots of games which are guaranteed to be fun and motivational!

As well as ensuring each child has a fantastic time, we give them the opportunity to develop confidence, motor control, physical co-ordination, and social skills, whilst learning to express themselves creatively and encouraging their natural passion for music.

Children are accompanied by an adult and we hope you will enjoy the opportunity to share some fun time with your child.  At MAD we believe in a free-spirited approach to learning which means that if your child doesn’t want to join in an element that’s fine.  The ethos at MAD Academy is a relaxed and fun time for the children and this will, we hope, rub off on you!  Come and experience it for yourself!

We’re actually restarting. The classes used to be run by Cathy, who’s now teaching classes at Hatch Warren on Friday for us…9.30 walkers to 2 yrs, 10.25 2-4 yrs, and 11.20 walkers to 4s. And it’s now run by Sarah Maskell , who’s been teaching for many years and she’ll be doing a class at 9.30 in Chineham Village Hall on a Tuesday for walkers to 4yr olds, and a class at the Salvation Army Hall in Tadley on a Wednesday for walkers to 4 year olds at 9.30.

www.madacademy.com or the MAD Facebook Page

People do need to call to book, as we only put a limited number in each class.

If you mention NorthHantsMum then the first class is free and we do a special rate for siblings and childminders.

Please call us on 01189391055 or 07771850298 to reserve a space.

9 Foody Places to go as a group of Mums with babies/toddlers

Are you looking for somewhere to meet up with several of your friends, their babies and pushchairs/buggys?

The list below are some of the foody places you could visit that welcome large groups of Mum’s and babies:

1. Queens College Arms – Tadley road

Recommend booking in advance and asking for the “big” table. They have baby changing facilities onsite and bottle warming facilities. Very friendly and welcoming of Mum’s and babies. For bigger children, there is a climbing frame in the pub garden.

2. Little Roses Tea Shop – Elm Tree Garden centre, just up from the Queens College Arms

They have excellent baby changing facilities and even provide free baby wipes and nappy bags! There is a changing station and several highchairs upstairs if you don’t want to take your pushchair in. Recommend looking in the Chests/tables as there is a treasure trove of toys that will keep children amused for a while. Very welcoming of Mums and babies.

3. Dayers – Chineham Business Park

This place is normally empty in the mornings. They do good breakfasts and cake. Gets busy at lunchtime, so maybe not the best place to go for lunch.

Unfortunately they don’t have baby changing facilities (they used too!) but they do have large toilets so if you don’t mind doing emergency nappy changes on your changing mat on the floor, you should be ok.

4. Dobbies Garden Centre – Tilehurst (25 mins from central Basingstoke)

If you fancy going a bit further afield or live near Reading, it’s worth checking out the restaurant of this Garden Centre. They have a large restaurant with a big outside eating area. Seems to be quiet because it’s outside of central Reading.

5. Wyevale Garden Centre – Sherfield on Loddon

They have a large restaurant and outside area. The baby changing facilities are good, but are in the ladies toilets. I recommend signing up for the Gardening Club as you rack up the points quite quickly which give you discounts in the store and restaurant.

6. The Cafe Project, The Dome, behind Asda in Brighton Hill

Open Tuesday to Friday’s from 9.30am.

7. Portsmouth Arms – Hatch Warren

8. Costa Coffee – Hampshire Centrecourt Hotel (Behind the large Tesco’s)

The Service is slow but you can sit indoors or outdoors and there are baby changing facilities

9. Conkers Garden Centre

Related Posts

9 things to do in Basingstoke with a newborn

8 Cheap Restaurants in Basingstoke

11 Places to Breakfast with children in North Hampshire

Back to School

It’s back to school next week. Yay!! I hope you have had a great summer. Last year I did a number of posts on alternative education options in the area, so I’m going to include a summary of them here. I hope you enjoy the last few days of the summer holiday. If you have children going or returning to school I hope it’s not too frantic trying to get them ready in time!

Montessori Education

Waldorf Steiner Education

School catchment finder, Report on school admissions and Ofsted Reports in North HampshireSchool Catchment area

Homeschooling