A Summer Sport I: Tennis

I’m very excited to announce that Peta is going to be covering the Guest Post Wednesday slots during the summer holidays. Peta is a Mum of two who has recently relocated to the Hampshire countryside from central London. In one of her first posts she says: “By passing on bits & bobs, tips & hints, and a handful of anecdotes of life as I know it, I hope that you can benefit from (or at least have a giggle at) things I have learnt.”

I’ve been reading Peta’s blog since the beginning and have picked up some great tips from several of her posts. Today’s post is focused on Summer Sport and ties in nicely with Wimbledon this week. If you would like to see more of Peta’s posts, please check out her blog here:


Summer Sport

It is that time of year when tennis courts up and down the counties of Great Britain are filled with tennis racquet wielding folks in an earnest exhibition of skills that encompass the entire range of on-court abilities.

 (Perhaps I am a bit cheeky but being a bit of a fair weather player lately, I tar myself with the same brush.)

It is the second week of The Championships (“Wimbledon”) at the All England Lawn Tennis Club and it is has been wonderful to see many British players in the draws*. These players carry the hopes and dreams of many and provide inspiration to little Misses and Masters everywhere.

While the Olympics are every four years, Grand Slam tennis is a reliable and regular fixture in the sporting calendar and offered me a steadfast supply of sporting inspiration when I was a Miss.

My family is a tennis family. I played tennis every summer and when I was too young to compete, I either watched my parents play or hit-up against the practice wall with my sister. I even read tennis themed fiction.

So it was to be expected that within half an hour of the eagerly anticipated arrival of grandparents MaMa and Pa, out came the toddler tennis set. Although Master would rather eat the racquet than play, Miss has had poor MaMa running around the garden playing tennis ever since. On the upside, however, all this activity should help rid MaMa of her jet lag.

I have had some success on the court, but nothing like the greatness that I dreamed of as a Miss. Perhaps my calling is not playing tennis, but raising the next Dorothea Chambers and Fred Perry?

Tennis anyone?

Making a season-long commitment to a tennis club can be off-putting for some, but this need not stop you playing. Click this link to the Lawn Tennis Association for court locations near to you (all surfaces).

I encourage everyone to get out there and play tennis. Tennis was the source of many family fun times in my childhood and I aim to engage Miss and Master likewise, albeit from the ‘other’ side of the net, if you will.

*at the time of publishing only Andy Murray remains on the order of play

8 things to do in Basingstoke when it’s sunny

I realise the irony of this post, but I wrote it and scheduled it when it was sunny and looked like it would stay sunny!

Just in case it is raining today, please see this previous post which has some ideas of how to keep your Little One’s occupied when it’s raining: 8 Cheap or Free Rainy Day Activities in Basingstoke

1. Climb some trees. Try Basing Wood/Carpenters Down behind Popley and next to Chineham Business Park.

2. Go to the Beach! The Nearest “Beaches” to Basingstoke are Fleet Pond on the way to Fleet and Frensham Pond, just past Farnham.

3. Play Poo Sticks on the bridge at the far end of Eastrop Park

4. Fly a Kite on Crabtree Plantation Hill

5. Visit Manydown’s Maize.

6. Pick your Own Fruit at some of the following Farms. I haven’t been to any but when the weather picks up we are planning to go to one. I recommend ringing in advance to ensure that they have crops available and haven’t all been picked the day before! See a previous post about PYO farms in the area HERE.

7. Have a picnic dinner at Basing Lime Pits

8. Paddle in the Paddling Pool at Eastrop Park.

Father’s Day Ideas 2013

I have absolutely no idea what to get my husband for Father’s Day this year. My Dad died when I was little, so Father’s Day has never really been on my radar.

As always, it’s sneaked up on me. Thankfully (or not, depending on your point of view) my husband will be working on Sunday, so we won’t have to do anything too fancy on the day! lol.

I’m thinking of getting my husband an “experience”, something that he will be able to remember.

Below are some previous posts that have already featured on NHM that might be helpful:

Independent Shops in North Hampshire (I was very sad to hear that MMIS is closing down soon. Such a shame as it’s a very lovely shop)

Local Businesses run by Mum’s and Dad’s

Father’s Day Ideas 2012

I hope you manage to find/make/buy something good for the Dad’s in yours and your little one’s life!

Pick Your Own Farm’s in North Hampshire and Berkshire

Mr NHM's 2015 Pumpkin!!
Mr NHM’s 2015 Pumpkin!!

Carly sent me a very sweet email, prompting me to get my butt in gear and post up this Pick Your Own Farm post! This was a really hard post to research, so if you know of any other local pick your own farms, please let me know at northhantsmum@gmail.com. Thanks for the reminder Carly and I hope you find it useful!


Bourne Valley Pick Your Own, Near Whitchurch/Andover: strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, black, red and white currants and broad beans

West Green Fruits, Hartley Wintney, Hook: West Green Fruits was established in 1997, and is a family run business of 15 acres set in farmland near Hartley Wintney. We offer an extensive range of fruit including; Strawberries, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Gooseberries, Tayberries, Tummelberries, Black & Redcurrants, Blackberries and Summer vegetables.

Durleighmarsh Farm, nr Petersfield: Set in beautiful countryside on the Hampshire/Sussex border, a stone’s throw from Petersfield, Durleighmarsh Farm with its family-run Farm Shop and Pick-Your-Own offers a huge range of top quality fruit and vegetables throughout the season.

Portland Farm, North Waltham (no website that I could see for this farm)


Grays Farm, Wokingham: The Farm is now closed for the winter. We will open as usual in mid April for Rhubarb & hope to open fully on May 18th 2013 with Strawberries, New Potatoes etc.

Copas Farms, Cookham: Copas Farms is a modern, diverse, family-run business with a landholding of just under 3,000 acres in and around the Chilterns and Thames Valley.  From this approximately 2,400 acres is under arable rotation and 81 acres is allocated to two Pick Your Own Farms providing seasonal fruit and vegetables – one at Cookham in Berkshire and the other at Iver in Buckinghamshire.  The centre of operations is based at Hedsor Park Farm, Hedsor in Buckinghamshire.

I also stumbled across this Local Organic Box Delivery in Basingstoke: Northdown Orchard. I currently use Able and Cole but am considering switching to this local supplier. I will let you know if I do manage to get this sorted!

Related NHM Pages

Food on NHM

Reviews of local attractions

NHM Reader Endorsements

Mum Top Tips

22 things to do with an under 7 year old in Basingstoke when it’s raining

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Willowdene Christmas Holiday Club

Marilyn contacted me asking me to let you all know about the Willowdene Christmas Holiday Club:

Willowdene Holiday Club is open every school holiday for children aged 4 – 12 yrs. Affiliated  with Willowdene Nursery School the Club provides high quality, affordable and reliable childcare.

Open 7.30-6.00 each day, we offer flexible booking by the hour, with all day and half day discounted rates.

Dates open over Christmas are December 21st & 24th and Jan 2nd – 4th.

Ofsted registered, we provide a professional service in a happy, safe and stimulating environment. Based at Christ Church, Chineham we aim to inspire and motivate the children with a variety of activities for both indoors and out. We introduce play that challenges the children’s imaginations e.g. den making, and with the woods around us we are able to go on Nature walks, bug hunts and picnics. We also take the children to the Library and local parks. With the emphasis on fun , the children enjoy an action packed time and each day is different.

For further details please contact us at willowdene@btconnect.com or 01256 324191.

Thanks Marilyn!

Related Posts

Day Nurseries in Basingstoke and North Hampshire

Willowdene Holiday Club 2012

Willowdene Holiday Club for children aged 5 -12 yrs

For school aged children Holiday Clubs are now held at Christ Church (opposite Willowdene) meaning we have more space and better age related activities for the school aged child. We are open every school holiday and Four Lanes Inset days catering for children aged 5-12 yrs **

(** Reception aged children will be given the choice either to attend the Holiday Club at the Nursery, or at Christ Church).

Activities are planned and prepared according to the children’s interests and each day is different. We introduce play that challenges the children’s imaginations e.g. den making, and with the woods around us we are able to go on Nature walks, bug hunts and picnics. We also take the children to the Library and local parks.

Some activities the children have enjoyed this summer include
• Fashion designing with a variety of materials
• Picking blackberries and making them into delicious pies
• Test Lab Tuesday – scientific experiments with Tizzy the test lab technician
• Walking to the shopping centre to buy the ingredients to make our own lunches.

Holiday Care also available for Nursery aged children at Willowdene Nursery School.

Ring 01256324191 or email willowdene@btconnect.com for further details! www.willowdenenursery.org.uk

Are there any other Holiday Clubs that you know about in the area?


In the Garden

This weeks theme is Outdoors, so I’ve been doing some research on things to do in the garden with your little ones and this is what I’ve come up with. Not very original, but might give you some ideas for activities:

Painting Rocks and Flowerpots

Gardening/Weeding (but be careful when trying to explain the differences between weeds and plants, especially to Toddlers!)

Have a tea party: All you need is a picnic blanket, some teddies, dolls or dinosaurs and a children’s tea set. It’s a shame the Basingstoke Toy Library doesn’t run anymore as that would have been a great place to borrow a tea set from.

Painting in the garden: This is a great idea if you like your home furnishings and don’t want them covered in Paint! A friend of mine came up with this fabulous idea. Get hold of one of those tablecloth rolls that you can get for parties (I think its called a Banquet roll) and use that as really large paper for your little one to paint with their toes, hands, feet and anything else you don’t mind getting covered in paint. Recommend to do this on a sunny day, because then you can hose the paint off outside!

Camping: If you don’t have a tent and don’t want to pay out for one, have a look on the Basingstoke Freegle site to see if anyone is giving any away. It’s also possible to put up Requests for Items. Or you could just take some chairs and a big sheet out and build a tent from those.

Take the toys outside: But only those ones you don’t mind washing grass stains off.

Obstacle course in the garden: Even more fun if you have pets that want to get involved!

Home sports day: Egg and Spoon race, Pillow case (sack) racing (preferably not your best ones!) and the three legged race. Hours of fun!

Do you have any other suggestions?

Summer Holiday 2012 Activities

So, the Summer Holidays are here. Yay! Although I’m not really affected by them yet as my little one is quite a way off from being at school. However, I know that a lot of you will be worried about money and how to keep your little one’s occupied without breaking the bank.

I found a few articles last year that I didn’t get a chance to post, so I’ve included these below. I’m also putting together a few follow up posts with lists of free things to do in the area this summer when it’s sunny or raining. I have lots of posts that I’m planning to publish this summer that should help to stem the boredom and not break the bank.

Don’t forget to check out this published post HERE with 7 ideas for how to keep your little ones busy when it’s raining.

With a little bit of advanced planning, you won’t lose your sanity or your wallet! Best of luck and hope it’s an enjoyable Summer for you and your family!

Summer activities

Memory board: Create a memory board with your little one about an event that you’ve been too or a day out that you’ve recently had.
Paint rocks: I’m not particularly creative but I think I could stretch to painting ladybirds on rocks. It’s whether you can find the right rock/stone first!
Photo book: This could be a family activity where your little ones choose which pictures they want included in a photo book. Maybe one picture a day?
Pick your own: Look out for a future post that will have details about the local Pick Your Own farms in the area. (post HERE)

Summer Holiday Articles from 2011

Father’s Day Ideas 2012

This post is just a reminder that it’s Father’s Day on Sunday.

If you are looking for cards that don’t cost a fortune, try Card Factory in Chineham. (I like to think that this doesn’t make me sound like a cheapskate but I don’t like spending a fortune on card’s as I feel its a waste of money!)

For those of you who are super rich and have saved money by buying your cards from the Card Factory, Oakley Hall is doing a lunch menu for Father’s Day which is £29 per person.

A novel gift could be a food parcel from one of our local Farm Shops, maybe a BBQ pack. Check HERE for local Farm Shop details.

I’m afraid I haven’t had time to put together a more comprehensive post. If you have any suggestions for Fathers Day presents, please feel free to add a comment, especially if you run a local business and have gifts for Dad’s.

Hope the Dad in your little one’s lives enjoys his day!