Review 2018: Stonor Park, Henley on Thames

Thank you very much to Emma for today’s NHM Secret Review! She’s done an awesome job :-D.

About

Stonor Park is a beautiful stately home found in the sprawling countryside near Henley on Thames. The house itself is open on various dates throughout the year and showcases art, treasures and a step back in time. However, as beautiful as it is, the reason that we loved our visit to Stonar Park was for the Wonder Woods play area that has been built and the beautiful gardens you can explore.

The adventure play area is really big and includes massive slides, swings, water play, climbing frames and gigantic zip wire. We arrived as soon as Stonor park opened at 10am and by 12.30pm the kids were still merrily throwing themselves around on the play equipment. We had to remind them that they needed to eat!

Once we had exhausted the play area we took a wander around the grounds and the children really loved all of the little winding pathways that they could run off and explore – it felt a bit like ‘The Secret Garden’ – really magical.

Alongside all of the exciting things to see, the facilities are also excellent. They have wonderfully clean toilets, a baby changing room, on site parking, gift shop and a café.

Tips

Take a picnic if you feel that way inclined, as they have a lovely big picnic area for you to enjoy whilst watching the Deer frolic amongst the trees.

Be aware that the play area is set on a very steep hillside. I had my baby in a pushchair and I managed to take it all the way up to the top but it was quite a work out to do so, perhaps leave it in the car and grab a sling instead! I also don’t think it would be particularly accessible if you had any mobility issues.

You can pay to visit the whole site (including the house) or just for the gardens and Wonder Woods.

Finally, I suspect that the day was made by the beaming sunshine – it is quite an exposed spot so I am not sure if it would be the same in the pouring rain.

Rating

We had a wonderful day out and I think in good weather it is most definitely a top scoring location! 5/5!

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! 

Review 2018: CarFest South

Thank you very much to R for today’s NHM Secret Review!!!

Review 2018: CarFest South

Wow.  Our day at CarFest was certainly one to remember!  Ha ha. I will explain…

CarFest doesn’t do anything half-heartedly.  It gives 100% to the atmosphere, to the entertainment, to the food, to the music, to the cars and to the fundraising.  It really is impressive. Unfortunately, on our day visit, the weather also decided to give 100%… 100% rain!!! All day.  From start to finish. It rained. And rained. And rained some more. It was relentless.

Now you would think, with all the problems that the weather was creating, that the event would be a washout.  However, I am pleased to report that it definitely wasn’t getting the better of this very British affair. We had an amazing time at CarFest and, weirdly, the crazy torrential rain made the whole experience even more unforgettable!

Top Tip:  Be prepared for all weather conditions (take suncream, hats, layers, waterproofs, picnic blankets/chairs, umbrella, etc) as this is largely an outdoor event.

About

CarFest South is a fantastic weekend of family fun, awesome cars, delicious food and great music.  It was founded by Chris Evans and raises money for BBC Children in Need.

It takes place over the August bank holiday weekend each year.

It is located on Laverstoke Park Farm, near Overton in Hampshire, clearly signposted from Basingstoke.  We didn’t encounter any issues with traffic or queuing at all.

There is plenty of parking onsite.  

Top Tip:  Please note that it is a long uphill walk from the car parks so choose suitable comfortable footwear.  Also make a note of which car park you are in to make it easier to find when you return in the dark!

Since its start in 2012, CarFest has raised £10.5 million for BBC Children in Need!  The purchasing of CarFest tickets, adding to the collection buckets, buying merchandise from the Pudsey shop and getting raffle tickets, all contribute to this wonderful charity helping disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

What’s On

The weekend is jam-packed with family-friendly entertainment.  I couldn’t possibly include everything in this review but here is a quick overview to give you an idea of what’s on:

Family
Farm Olympics, Steam Fair & Rides, Car-nival Parade, Kids’ Theatre, Inflatables, Kids’ Driving School and so much more.

Cars
Race track, Cartopia & Wall of Death, Vintage Village, Motorshow and Pudsey Bear Dream Rides.

Music
Wigwam Stage with performances from new and unsigned acts.
Main stage – headline acts this year included James Bay, Paloma Faith, Clean Bandit and Status Quo.

Food
Food Fair, Kitchen Stage (with live cooking demos from celebrity chefs) and caterers/cafes/food stalls galore!

Top Tip:  Find out what’s on and where from the Daily Planners.  Plan ahead and schedule your day so that you don’t miss out on any of your favourite activities, acts or displays. Some of the children’s activities, such as milkshake making and biscuit decorating, require booking a timeslot.

Top Tip:  The use of ear protection for young children is recommended at CarFest due to the loud cars and music performances.  These can be collected from the Organiser’s Office.

Facilities

  • Toilets and Baby Change
  • First Aid
  • Lost Child Point
  • CarFest encourages the use of reusable bottles to help protect the environment so there are drinking water points across the site.
  • Public Wi-Fi (all proceeds from Wi-Fi connections donated to Children in Need – £1 for 1 day, £3 for full weekend access)
  • Cash Machines (NB withdrawal charges apply)
  • Information Points
  • Electric Scooter & Wheelchair hire

The following must NOT be brought onto the festival site:

  • Dogs (except assistance dogs)
  • Alcohol, Glass, BBQs.

Exhibitors

All the wonderful folk volunteering and working there must have been so wet and cold but it didn’t dampen their spirits at all.  Everyone was so kind, helpful and enthusiastic.

This was particularly true of one stand “Milk & More” who kindly welcomed us to shelter from the rain for a while.  It was very interesting to learn about their service and sample some of their products. Milk & More source milk and other fresh produce from Britain’s farms and deliver them to doorsteps nationwide.  

They are passionate about encouraging people to eat well and live sustainably and it was inspiring to hear their story. I love the idea of waking up to fresh milk from a glass bottle. They were even providing the weekend’s campers with lovely fresh tasty breakfast hampers!  Their website is definitely worth a look.

https://www.milkandmore.co.uk/

Highlights

Chris Evans himself injected so much energy and fun into the weekend’s events.  He is very much present and actively involved in everything that’s going on. He is clearly passionate about CarFest and about the Children in Need charity and it was great to see him compere the evening’s entertainment and interact with all the performers.  

Tickets

http://www.carfest.org/ticket-information

Tickets for CarFest South in August go on sale in the previous November.

Prices vary depending on the number of days you wish to visit and whether or not you will be camping.  A 1-day family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) for the Friday this year was £143.

Children under the age of 6 can enter free of charge but you must order them a ticket.

Top Tip:  CarFest tickets are in high demand each year and can prove tricky to get your hands on.  You will need to set your alarm, be prepared and get online in plenty of time. If possible, use various devices and get friends and family on the case too!  Keep pressing refresh to see the latest information.

Rating

My rating of CarFest has to be 5 out of 5!!!  We really hope to return to this fantastic family event again next year.  We will also be hoping for a bit more luck with regards to the weather.

Reminder of Top Tips

    • CarFest tickets are in high demand each year and can prove tricky to get your hands on.  You will need to set your alarm, be prepared and get online in plenty of time. If possible, use various devices and get friends and family on the case too!  Keep pressing refresh to see the latest information.
    • It is a long uphill walk from the car parks so choose suitable comfortable footwear.  
    • Make a note of which car park you are in to make it easier to find when you return in the dark!
    • Find out what’s on and where from the Daily Planners.  Plan ahead and schedule your day so that you don’t miss out on any of your favourite activities, acts or displays. Some of the children’s activities, such as milkshake making and biscuit decorating, require booking a timeslot.
    • The use of ear protection for young children is recommended at CarFest due to the loud cars and music performances.  These can be collected from the Organiser’s Office.
    • Take picnic food and snacks with you to save some money as purchasing food onsite can be pricey.
    • Be prepared for all weather conditions (take suncream, hats, layers, waterproofs, picnic blankets/chairs, umbrella, etc) as this is largely an outdoor event.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of 2018 CarFest South in conjunction with MilkandMore. The tickets were supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. We were not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are our own.

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! 

Review 2018: TNT Family Fitness

Thank you very much to “L” for today’s NHM Secret Review!

Review 2018: TNT Family Fitness

My 2 and a half year old daughter and I recently attended the first TNT Family Fitness (http://tntfamilyfitness.co.uk/) session at Viables Community Centre.

The TNT Family Fitness moto is ‘making family’s fit’. Their classes cater for all the family by using activities that are fun and engaging for children but in a way that means adults can exercise.

By joining the fun and fitness together it means you can be doing something beneficial whilst having great quality family time!

I was a bit nervous about attending the class as I’ve not done loads in the way of exercise since having my second baby and my eldest always takes a little while to warm up to classes and start to join in. I had no need to be worried! The first thing Andy did was throw a load of football’s out for the children to play with while parents filled out their registration forms, that was it my little girl was straight off running around and playing with the other children!

We started off doing a warm up but this was no ordinary warm up, it was ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ complete with lots of lunges, stretches and running! After that we played a game that involved running to different colour cones and doing various movements including star jumps, high knees and stretches.

My daughter’s favourite activity was tidying the balls away. It wasn’t just tidying balls away though, there were football’s and tennis balls everywhere! We had to run to them and parents had the option of lunging, squatting or doing a press up to pick up the ball and then run and place it in the right coloured hoop. Great activity for the parents as it really got us moving and great for the children as it got them moving and thinking about colours!

Other activities involved an egg and spoon race (my daughter was better than me!!!) And capture the flag (the tent was a big hit!). We finished off with a cool down.

We really enjoyed our session and it’s definitely something we’d do again!

There are still more sessions on this summer at a variety of locations in Basingstoke and it’s not too late to book.

14 August at Old Basing
21 August at Melrose Hall
28 August at Melrose Hall

The time of the session depends on the age of your child – there is one for under 5s and one for over 5s.

More information can be found over on the TNT Family Fitness Facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/TNTFamilyFitnessUK/

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! 

Review 2018: Cupper Joe – Coffee Brewing Workshop

Review 2018: Cupper Joe – Coffee Brewing Workshop

Coffee, time away from the kids, it was already sounding like a dream before I stepped through the door! Being partial to a good coffee, I was seriously looking forward to Cupper Joe’s Coffee Brewing Workshop.

About

The workshop focuses on brewing speciality coffee at home using filter coffee methods covering:

  1. Coffee Beans – varietals, countries and characteristics
  2. Water
  3. The importance of coffee grinders and impact of grind size on a brew
  4. Coffee to water ratio and its impact on taste
  5. Brewing method, including Kalita and Aeropress

This included hands-on coffee brewing and lots of testing!

It’s safe to say I had no idea how much was involved in coffee making and how much control you can have on the finished product. From your choice of coffee and knowing what to look for, to how to brew with different methods right down to how much difference the water can make – we even did a little experiment on this with really interesting results! “Making coffee is part art and part science” as Joe states on his website, and this is definitely what we discovered.

Joe also managed to fit in some iced coffee making which was so appropriate given the weather we were having. I will definitely be putting that to good use!

The workshop itself was a really good mix of listening, group conversation, watching and group coffee making and testing. Not surprisingly we were all pretty buzzing by the end! I’m looking forward to using my new found knowledge in experimenting and finding the best coffee that suits me.

Rating out of 5

5/5 I had a great time, learnt loads, drank lots of awesome coffee. What’s not to love! It was also great to learn from someone who is so clearly passionate about what they do.

From complete beginner to the more experienced, if you are a coffee lover or just looking for something a little different to try, I would certainly recommend this workshop.

For more information on Cupper Joe’s workshops, or to try some of the amazing coffees and hot drinks at his pop up events, check out his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cupperjoe/

Disclaimer: This post is a review of a Cupper Joe – Coffee Brewing Workshop. The workshop was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. Juliet was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are her own.

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! 

Review 2018: The Fairy ClothesMother

My recent Wardrobe Refresh session with Victoria was SOO AWESOME but not only that, she’s also very kindly offering a very generous discount to NHM Readers! See below.

If you are stuck for presents for anyone or feel you need a BOOST yourself, I HIGHLY recommend as you can read below.

Review 2018: The Fairy ClothesMother

About

Victoria messaged me and asked me if I would like to have a Wardrobe ReFresh in exchange for a review and I thought I’d give it a go as I had nothing left to lose and could definitely use the help.

She used to run the store in Vintage Treasures, a boutique specialising in vintage and vintage inspired clothing, on Church Street, in Basingstoke so she knows what she is talking about!

I’ll be honest, I was NOT looking forward to Victoria coming round to help me de-clutter my wardrobe.  In my head I had visions of Trinny and Suannah (I’m showing my age now!) and GokWan DECIMATING my wardrobe.

My focus for the past few years has been on getting Miss NHM well again and as part of this I have completely neglected my body and my wardrobe reflects this.

I’ve written before about having a uniform as I don’t have time to think in the mornings or the night before as I prefer to spend my time and energy on other things. If you’ve been reading NHM for a while you’ll know that I am allergic to most man made materials, particularly polyester.

Trying to shop for clothes these days, that don’t have polyester or lycra in is very, very, VERY frustrating. There are certain shops that I know I can shop in that have 100% cotton and I tend to stick to those as I know that they aren’t going to cause me any issues.

Although this does mean that I’ve been in a bit of a clothing rut. I hate clothes shopping at the best of times and then having to double check every single label well… it’s depressing and I don’t have the motivation for it.

So the thought of Victoria coming round and telling me that I needed to go shopping for more clothes….I wasn’t looking forward to it….

Before we met

A couple of weeks before our appointment Victoria sent me a document with several questions asking me things like my hair and eye colour, what my current style is and what my dream look would be.

The document also asked me about my shopping habits and I think she could probably work out from there that I was going to be a total pain in the butt!!! (facepalm!)

Victoria also asked me to send some pictures of my face and my body, so she could see what she would be working with.

The Wardrobe Refresh Appointment

Victoria came round to my house one lunchtime, but just after I’d had a filling. So I was feeling a bit miserable, my face was all numb and I was really not in the mood for the appointment.

However, I haven’t laughed so much in AGES!!! Victoria spent about 15 minutes with me talking through my answers to the questions she’d sent me and I felt SOOOO at ease! You can immediately tell that Victoria’s main aim is to make you feel much better at the end of the appointment than you do at the beginning.

She asked me to write three words down describing how I was feeling right then about my clothes and those words were pretty depressing.

Victoria then talked through my colours and told me that I’m an “Autumn”. I had my colours done years ago and I already knew I was an Autumn and had told Victoria this in my answers but it was really, really good to go through which colours suit me again. Even though I have a colour wallet from when my colours were done when I was 18 years old, I wasn’t sure if they would still be the colours to suit me.

Victoria then briefly talked through which styles suit me best which was quite enlightening.

We then just got stuck in to my wardrobe.

I have quite a small wardrobe but it turns out that I have LOADS of clothes hidden away and even some in Miss NHM’s wardrobe that I had completely forgotten about.

We went through EVERY SINGLE ITEM of clothing in my cupboard and it was… AWESOME!!!

Victoria gave me permission (well, she didn’t actually give me permission but it felt like it!) to get rid of clothes that I’ve been hanging onto for years that I shouldn’t have been.

I read the Life Changing magic of Tidying three years ago (WOW, how time flies!) and even though there were clothes that I had purged then, there were some items that I still had an emotional attachment too that needed to be got rid of.

We went through everything and sorted them into three piles: keep, sell, recycle. It was SUCH an uplifting experience!!! Not at all what I expected.

Normally I’m quite self concious about my body, but I was just stripping off and getting stuck in and Victoria was brilliant. She echoed many things that I’d said in my head about some outfits, except she said it out loud. Hearing someone else say lots and lots of really positive things about my wardrobe was just amazing!

I realised that I do have lots and lots of beautiful dresses that I just don’t wear that I really ought too!

I felt absolutely AMAZING after the appointment. Victoria asked me to update my three words again, about how I was feeling, and it was like they were written by another person!

She advised me to start wearing more colours and notice the compliments that start rolling in and you know what, she was absolutely right! I’ve had LOADS of comments about what I’ve been wearing recently since my Wardrobe ReFresh.

Victoria also suggested making adjustments to certain items of my clothing and has recommended a local seamstress who can do this for me. I only actually need to buy ONE ITEM of clothing for my wardrobe! I expected that I would probably have to buy at least 4 or 5 new items but with modifications to my current clothes and that one item of clothing, it’s going to make such a difference!

Victoria is even going to find me the items that I need online and send the links over to me so I can just buy them directly. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!!!

Victoria says that that with her BOOST Style ethos:

“My mission is to have you with a wardrobe of clothes that are working for your body shape, not against you, in the correct seasonal colour palette and reflect your lifestyle and personality. Most of all I want you to feel empowered to be you! After all, you are the best person to do YOU!”

By the end of the appointment I was literally jumping with joy. I had freed up lots of space in my wardrobe, I’ve got a pile of clothes to sell on ebay so I can use that money to buy my extra item of clothing and it felt really good to “let go” of some clothes that I’d been hanging on to for years.

I couldn’t stop hugging the poor girl before she left as she’d made me feel so happy!!

After Care

A couple of days later, Victoria sent me a document which covered everything we had discussed. This was called “Louise style file” and it’s absolutely FANTASTIC!!!!

I cannot stop raving about this document! It’s absolutely bloody brilliant!

I love that the document has my body shape analysis and explains what body shape I am and also has a wonderful list of Do’s and Don’t’s for my body shape, which is going to make it sooooo much easier to shop with now! The document even includes pictures of styles that are mentioned, so if you don’t know what bootcut trousers look like, there is a picture to show you.

I also really liked that there is explanation of my colour analysis with suggestions of colours for me to wear.

There is also a section which highlights the key pieces that I should add to my wardrobe (very delighted it’s only 1 so I don’t have to spend much! lol).

Victoria also sent me a private style board on Pinterest. I love, love, LOVE the private style boardt. It’s absolutely brilliant and has lots and lots of suggestions of outfits that will suit me. My style for swim wear, formal wear and even some pictorial examples of which make up colours suit me best!

Absolutely perfect!!

Other Services

Victoria also offers a “Virtual Shopping Session”: “This is a digital file the she sends to you containing links to all of the items mentioned above, you can them order those that you feel suit and when they arrive you have a session via Skype for Victoria to check the fit and style, helping you decide which to keep and which, if any, to return. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe for a new season, holiday or special event without having to leave home!

I will soooo be taking her up on this “virtual shopping session” when I have a wedding to go too as she literally picks out the items for you and sends you the online links so all you have to do is order them. AMAZING!

Discount for NHM Readers

Victoria is very kindly offering NHM Readers a discount code -(NHM25) giving you a 25% discount on the “Wardrobe ReFresh” session.

Please quote this code when getting in touch with Victoria.

Rating out of 5

Twenty Five Hundred out of 5, as Miss NHM says. This was one of the best ways that I’ve spent two hours in a very long time. Victoria is absolutely lovely and a very positive person who made me feel sooooo much better about my wardrobe and also myself.

The appointment is very good value for money and having now had the appointment I would happily pay double for another one (don’t tell Victoria that, obviously! facepalm). I will actually be saving money in the long run, because instead of ordering clothes and finding out that they don’t fit me properly which means I don’t wear them often, I will know EXACTLY what to buy and won’t be wasting any money anymore.

Victoria really is a Fairy ClothesMother and I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend her services!!

You can find out more about The Fairy ClothesMother at: https://www.facebook.com/FairyClothesMother/

or at her website: https://givingyouaboost.wixsite.com/hello

Disclaimer: This post is a review of the Wardrobe ReFresh by The Fairy Clothesmother. The Wardrobe Refresh service was supplied free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

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! 

Review 2018: The Sleepee Teepee Party

Thank you very much to today’s NHM Secret Reviewer, S, for her brilliant post and thank you to Karina at The Sleepy Teepee Party for the opportunity!!

Review 2018: The Sleepee Teepee Party

About

The Sleepee Teepee Party is a company who hire out themed teepees for sleep overs.

They have various themes available including commando/army, VIP/Hollywood, Unicorn and mystical (Harry Potter).

My son and his friend chose the mystical theme for their sleepover.

Food

The Sleepy Teepee Party provided the boys with a bag of haribo each.

For an extra cost The Sleepy Teepee Party can provide you with a midnight feast, breakfast, cupcakes, hot chocolate and toiletries.

The boys really enjoyed eating their breakfast off the end tables they had the following morning.

Facilities

The Sleepee Teepee Party provided us with two teepees, one with a yellow cover and one with a red cover. They also gave us two inflatable mattresses, themed duvet covers and pillows as well as a themed blanket and cushion.

We had bunting in the theme of our choice which was draped over the teepees. We were provided with end tables and a lantern with a battery candle, a balloon and a sleep mask each. We also had fairy lights which were draped around the tepees.

Each of the teepees had a chalk board tied to it with the boys names written on to make it a bit more personal.

Parking

The Sleepee Teepee come to you so no parking necessary.

Prices

The Sleepy Teepee Party charge £30 per tent.

Rating out of 5

I would give it 5 out of 5.

Karina is so passionate and friendly. She was very prompt in responding to my emails and was very flexible over choosing a date for our sleepover.

She arrived as planned the afternoon of the sleepover to set up the teepees and made them so inviting I was slightly jealous that I wouldn’t be able to sleep in them.

Karina took great care setting up the bedding, making sure it was just right and then set up the end tables with the various props (lantern and sleep mask together with a pair of Harry Potter glasses). She then tied fairy lights around the teepees to make them even more exciting.

She was very patient with my little boy who wanted to help her set them up. Once my son’s friend arrived for the sleepover they were so excited to be sleeping in them.

The following morning Karina arrived to dismantle and remove the teepees as arranged.

The boys had an absolute blast and I would definitely recommend them to anyone.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of The Sleepee Teepee Party. The themed teepees were supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. S was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are her own.

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! 

Review 2018: HAIRaffair Basingstoke

I recently received a message on facebook from Aideen, asking me if I would like to have my hair done in exchange for a review on NorthHantsMum.

I jumped at the chance! 😀

(There is a special offer for NHM Readers at the bottom of this post :-D)

HAIRaffair Basingstoke

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not a “girly girl” but I do take an interest in how I look. I haven’t had my hair cut in a salon in over 10 years as I have always found hairdressers to be very intimidating places, especially as I’m not into fashion.

It turned out that at a recent fundraising raffle I had won a voucher to get my hair cut but hadn’t realised it that it was with Aideen. I actually gave the voucher to a friend who needed pampering more than me, so when Aideen got in contact it clicked that I’d given away my voucher!!!! lol.

I explained to Aideen that I wasn’t really a girly girl and she was absolutely lovely about it. I did know that I wanted my hair to be coloured but I didn’t want her to be anymore out of pocket, especially as she’d been so generous with her raffle donation.

I explained that I just wanted a trim and colour and we agreed that I would cover the cost of the colouring and she would cut my hair in exchange for this review.

About

Aideen decided on her career path when she was traveling around Australia for a year after studying at college and university. She’s always loved playing with hair but at the time she thought that she would end up in a different career. Then she saw that lots of fellow travellers cutting hair and making money flexibly and it confirmed her career decision.

Once back from Australia she worked and trained at Arc in Basingstoke town centre and then progressed to a salon in Odiham where she was assistant manager and senior stylist. Then a couple of years ago, after her son was born, she decided to convert a room in her house to her salon and she hasn’t looked back!

We had a chat when I arrived and Aideen chose the best colour for me based on what I’d told her.

Aideen then applied the foils to my hair whilst we continued chatting.

Once the foils came out, Aideen washing my hair in her fancy hair sink and gave me a lovely mini head massage.

Then Aideen cut my hair and layered it a bit. I didn’t realise how long my hair was as she cut off about 4 inches and it was still really long! lol.

We basically didn’t stop talking for the whole two hours!!! It was really lovely to chat to her and she’s a great listener.

She did a fantastic job with my hair and blow dried it straight as my hair normally has a bit of a kink about it.

I came out of Aideen’s salon literally bouncing. There is literally nothing like having 1.5 hours of being pampered and coming out with a fab new hair colour and hairstyle!

My FAB new hair!!!

When I got home Mr NHM said “something’s different…” which is high praise in our household! lol.

Miss NHM kept telling me how beautiful I looked. She’s not used to me having my hair down.

I felt amazing for the rest of the weekend with my fab new hair!

Tips

Aideen normally works only on Saturdays but if you are desperate, she can fit you in at other times.

Facilities

Aideen’s studio is attached to her house but it’s fab because you literally have it ALL TO YOURSELF!!! She only has one to two people at a time so you have her full concentration.

Baby Facilities

Babies are very welcome at Aideen’s studio.

The perk of Aideen only having one client at a time means that you can take your baby along as there is room for a baby car seat.

If you let her know in advance that you are taking a baby with you, she said she will allow extra time in case you need to focus on your baby at any point. How fab is that!

Aideen is very understanding as she has two small children of her own.

Parking

Is free and on the drive and streets near Aideen’s house.

Prices

Prices are what you would expect for an independent hairstylist with her own studio.

For example, a cut, style and finish is £35.

Rating out of 5

Aideen did SUCH an AWESOME job! I absolutely love it!!! My hair looked amazing.

I will easily give her 5 out of 5 because she made me feel so welcome and really looked after me.

I love the colour and the cut was a really good cut. It was such a luxury to have my hair washed AND dried.

If you need a new haircut and are looking for some pampering at the same time, I highly recommend visiting Aideen’s salon!

Aideen can be reach on 07808316933 for any bookings. She also has a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HAIRaffairbasingstoke/

Aideen is also very kindly offering NHM Readers a first time discount £5 off cut and £15 off colour and cut booked together.

Thank you Aideen!!!!!!

Disclaimer: This post is a review of HairAffair Hairdressing. My experience was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

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Review 2018: Bunnings Warehouse – D.I.Y Workshop with Upcycling Expert Mac McMurdo

Thank you very much to K for today’s NHM review! She’s done a fab job! Thank you also to Bunnings Warehouse for the opportunity!

Review 2018: Bunnings Warehouse – D.I.Y Workshop with Upcycling Expert Mac McMurdo

About

Bunnings Basingstoke

I attended (on the hottest early May Bank Holiday EVER I may add!) the Upcycling event at Bunnings on Saturday 12th May. This was on most of the day and appeared really popular/busy which was lovely to see for such a new store to Basingstoke. This review is not just based on the event but on Bunnings generally as a new store to Basingstoke that often has small events on usually at weekends.

Essentially this was all about thinking of how you can make-your-own DIY items for your house/garden and over the weekend Mac was demonstrating using different products to make different bits and bobs.

Sunday was a plant holder made of copper piping, some rope, few knots and hey presto all done!

To make this slightly more exciting this all took place on a renovated double decker bus!

I took my daughter (7) with me and everyone was so lovely and friendly and gave her the chance to make her own plant holder.

Isn’t she clever?!

They were so friendly and she had a great time. I sent lots of other little people (and lots of keen adults!) towards the bus during our wonder around the stores so I hope they enjoyed it as much as we did. Apparently the day before it was all about pallets…

Other events in store

In store in true Bunnings style there was the usual for children, craft, face painting, grow your own workshops, popcorn and use of the café and play area. If you haven’t been into this store particularly during a weekend go and have a bimble. It has a good spaced layout with a small play area for children at the back (I would say for walkers-4 year olds) that is enclosed, clean and safe.

Really conveniently literally next to it is a very cute little café serving coffee (I’m fussy with my coffee and it passed!), a variety of hot and cold drinks, snacks, cake etc. All very clean, high chairs available and during weekends there is always a different craft activity for children. Also during special themed days i.e. Fathers Day I’m told they will put on themed activities for children so keep an eye out!

Food

Outside under (I’m sure they were grateful for it last weekend!) a gazebo sausages/burgers etc were being sold and supported by the Basingstoke Gymnastics Club.

Every weekend Bunnings support a local charity which is lovely – if you want to nominate a charity please contact the customer services department on Basingstoke@bunnings.co.uk

Facilities

So it’s a big DIY store but there always seems to be something happening to make it just tip over what is normally expected! Has the usual items that you would expect and some, plus a well sized outside area. I stupidly forgot to check the toilet facilities sorry!!!!

Parking

Huge parking outside, it was really busy and still spaces so you won’t struggle for parking. If you buy anything large and need a hand or even if it’s just a little tricky let the staff know and they will happily help you.

Prices

The event was free, everything we made was free, craft/face painting, popcorn, play area all FREE. Keep an eye on the updates for this store because it’s worth a visit. I went to the opening which was so good my children made me go back on both days!

Also went at Christmas, again it was brilliant children loved it and the lure of Santa and some popcorn was enough to give me a chance to look around first! The café is small but actually still manages to be spacious – during the week.

I would even imagine it was quite a handy little place for a coffee with a friend and baby or two when it’s less busy but even during the event there was plenty of space.

Hot drinks start at £1.80 and snacks/sandwiches are all within what I would expect.

Rating

I would happily give this a 4/5 based on what it was trying to achieve. I think to promote upcycling even more just some additional photos of what else people can create would I think have been handy/nice to see.

If Bunnings do a similar type of thing again I would just ask indoor staff near the entrance to promote everything when people walk in as surprisingly there were lots of families inside who hadn’t noticed the bus!!!

Well done Bunnings! We will be popping in before Fathers Day!

Bunnings Instagram

Bunnings Facebook 

Disclaimer: This post is a review of a Bunnings Warehouse – D.I.Y Workshop with Upcycling Expert Mac McMurdo. K and her daughters workshop place was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. K was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are her own.

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Review 2018: Cupper Joe – Pop-up Coffee Shop

Thank you very much to Juliet for writing today’s review post and thank you to Joe and El for letting us trying out their offerings!

Review 2018: Cupper Joe – Pop-up Coffee Shop

I got a little distracted whilst on holiday recently when Louise asked if anyone would like to review a pop-up coffee shop and brewing workshop (which is to follow, and I am VERY excited about this!). I politely said that I would love to whilst my inner child was shouting “me, me me!”. I am by no means an expert when it comes to coffee, but since having kids it has definitely become my go to place. I now get great joy out of sitting down (preferably!) for a good cup of tea or coffee and I was very intrigued to see what Cupper Joe had to offer.

About

Cupper Joe is a new speciality coffee service company offering a mobile pop-up coffee shop and coffee-brewing workshops. On Joe’s website, he writes “We’d like to bring amazing coffee (and other drinks) to the masses, so our focus is all on the quality of our ingredients, the care we take in producing our drinks and the service we offer to you. We work exclusively with speciality coffee roasters to bring the best coffee to you.”

The pop-up coffee shop I attended took place at Basingstoke Track Party, which meant that (thanks to the amazing train distraction) I actually got to try several hot drinks and finish them without little people around. It was lovely to meet Joe and his wife El from Cupper Joe and I’m looking forward to having more of a chat at the workshop. I’m not sure if I’m embarrassed or thrilled (probably both) that I managed to finish four drinks in that time!

There was a great selection of hot drinks available and I had two teas (New House Blend, Rhubarb and Custard), Callebaut Dark Hot Chocolate and a Mocha. I really enjoyed the New House Blend and loved that there was a really great selection of tea available. The mocha is my usual go to drink and I was amazed at how smooth it was, I am nervously writing that it could possibly be the best I’ve had (sorry R!). The hot chocolate – all I can say is if you have not tried Callebaut hot chocolate before, I really would recommend it!

So does Cupper Joe bring amazing coffee to the masses? In my humble opinion, absolutely!

I really must give a big shout out to Fudging El, not only for the awesome name, but also for the amazing handmade fudge that she makes. It tasted soooo good, I even convinced my other half to stray away from his usual banana preference to buy a packet of Chocolate Espresso. Other flavours available at the pop-up coffee shop were Banana and Cinnamon, Peanut Butter, and Coconut Lime and White Chocolate. I have also noticed a whole host of other amazing flavours on her Facebook page. El’s handmade fudge company works closely with Cupper Joe and is also available separately for events or retail.

Rating out of 5

5 out of 5. This has definitely been up there as one of my favourite reviews to carry out and I am now super excited about the pending brewing workshop. I suspect I will be eagerly looking out for Cupper Joe’s pop-up coffee shops, I have already pressed follow on the Facebook page. 

For further information, and to find out where Cupper Joe’s pop-up coffee shops will be in attendance, visit the Cupper Joe Facebook Page.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of a Cupper Joe – Pop up Coffee Shop. Juliet’s coffee was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. Juliet was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are her own.

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! 

Review 2018: Good For Mums – Fit-Tums course

Thank you very much to Emma for today’s Review on NorthHantsMum. She’s done a fantastic job!!

Thank you also to Helen for letting us come and review one of the Good for Mums courses!

Review 2018: Good For Mums – Fit-Tums course

About

Having a baby is one of life’s greatest adventures and joys. It’s a magical time, filled with precious moments and unforgettable memories. However, becoming a mum can also throw up some challenges. For many women, the changes to your body can be quite a shock which can motivate us to grab our exercise gear and get back into shape.

But before you do, I really recommend that you consider attending a Good for Mums Fit-Tum Restore course.

The course is specifically designed and tailored for postnatal mums, to help you rebuild your core muscles and rectify the effects of Diastasis Recti (the process of your abdominal muscles separating during pregnancy). Whilst it’s tempting to jump back into exercise as soon as you can after having a baby, the reality is that if you do attempt it before your body is properly healed and repaired you can end up doing far more damage than good. So bump the burpees, say no to squats and read on.

What can you expect from the course?

First off every attendee is required to complete a comprehensive health check questionnaire to understand your birthing experience and any complications you may have faced. You’ll use this as part of an introductory session with Helen, the highly qualified and super knowledgeable class leader. By talking through the results and carrying out a short physical examination, she’ll be able to advise what point your starting from. This is a really straightforward process and aside from a quick check of your tummy muscles, there’s no need to bare all!

Helen will only recommend you continue with the course if your body is ready for it. In the event that she’s concerned that you might require some more advanced specialist support, she is really well connected and will signpost you in the right direction to get any help you need.

Assuming you are fit to carry on, you’ll then undertake a weekly class, as part of a group of other mums in the same boat as you. You’ll learn simple and straightforward exercises and movements that can easily be incorporated into your daily life, which will gradually and safely begin to heal your muscles back to pre-pregnancy state. The wonderful news is, this course is available for you to attend either with baby or without, so you can sign up for the class that suits you and your needs best.

Having attended the course, I would wholeheartedly recommend it to others. It’s informative, its gentle and most of all, it’s fun! My fellow attendees on the course ranged from a mum who had only just had her 6 week check, through to mums of toddlers who had realised that their stomach just wasn’t repairing itself properly. Whilst the class is intended as a restorative process and not an ‘exercise class’, it’s delivered tummy inch loss time and time again too.

So, if you think your tummy is in need of help, you can’t laugh or sneeze without peeing or you just want to be sure that your body is ready for exercise again, this is the course for you.

Tips

This course will only be as successful as you make it. In order to feel the full reward of attending, you need to be prepared to find 10-15 minutes each day to undertake your ‘homework’. Helen will be able to nudge you all along the way and suggest ways to help you remember, but ultimately it’s down to you.

Facilities

The classes are all run in halls and indoor settings, so they are able to run come rain or shine. They all offer onsite toilets and parking, which is especially helpful if you’re attending a class with baby in tow. In addition, if you are at a mum & baby session, there will be a selection of toys and to keep your little one entertained.

Rating

Having now learnt more about what happens to our bodies when we have a baby, I honestly believe this course is an absolute must for anyone who wants to begin exercise again.

It’s a 5/5 from me!

Disclaimer: This post is a review of a Good for Mums course. Emma’s course was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. Emma was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are her own.

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!