New Toddler and Baby Group Survey

In 2012 Karen asked me if I could ask all of you if you wouldn’t mind responding to a survey for her, so she could guage interest in a new PlayGroup. Jumble Bees was formed as a result of this feedback and has been so successful that Karen is now looking for further support regarding a new song and craft group.

Please can you complete the survey below for Karen. The survey won’t take more than 2 minutes to complete as it is just 7 questions long and is anonymous, but I know Karen will be very grateful if you could complete it for her so she could understand the demand for a new group.

You can find the survey here:

I would be really interested in any classes that run on weekends as my husband works every other weekend, so classes on Sunday would be of particular interest to me. If they would be of interest to you, please make sure you highlight this in the survey.

Thanks Karen and thanks to all you NHM Readers who will respond! I know NHM readers will provide Karen with lots of good responses!! 😀

Related Posts

New PlayGroup – Market Research

Ideas for February 2013 Half Term

It’s half term in a couple of weeks time (18th Feb to 22nd Feb) so I’ve put together a post with some ideas of Half Term events.  The events below are happening throughout Half Term week. I’ll update this post as I come across other Half Term activities.

Exciting News about the NorthHantsMum Meet up!!

Please note the date change. I have had lots of feedback to say that the Wednesday morning would be more convenient so I’m changing the date and time as listed below (Wednesday 27th February, 9.30am to 12.30am) . Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused and hope to still see you there on the Wednesday.

I am VERY excited to announce that the NorthHantsMum Meet Up is going to happen!!!! Whoop Whoop.

I’ve been in discussions with the lovely Kristy and lovely Cheryl at Playdays and we’ve come up with a plan! The Meet Up is going to be at Playdays on Tuesday 26th of February from 2pm to 5pm. Wednesday 27th February from 9.30am to 12.30am.  Kristy and Cheryl have a room that we can use to meet in. You will still need to pay entry to Playdays but will have full use of the facilities as usual. There will also be free tea and coffee (and possibly cake if I get my act together!) available for NHM attendees.

Do you have any suggestions of what you would like this session to be? A long time reader of NHM suggested maybe doing a toy swap. What do you think of that? I’m also investigating the possibility of having some local Mummy businesses there, but will announce more details when/if this gets sorted.

It’s going to be a great opportunity to meet some other Mum’s and Dad’s and to have a chat with some new people. It would be great to see  you there, even if it’s just for the free cake!

So, put the date in your diary!!!! Tuesday 26th February 2pm to 5pm. See you there! Yay!!!!

A day of freezer cooking

I’ve read a lot recently about Batch Cooking. We are very lucky that we have a large upright freezer and it has really been an amazing help over the past two years. When I was pregnant, before I was unable to walk, I spent a few weekends making extra meals ready for when my little one arrived. Having these meals on stand by were absolutely essential to those first few frantic months. Now that I’m working and a lot more experienced in my parenting, I try to spend one afternoon every couple of months making extra meals to freeze.

I’ve mentioned before that I mealplan because it’s cheaper and less wasteful. Having a large freezer really helps us to do this. I try to ensure that, as much as possible, my family eat homecooked meals. Most of my extended family and my friends will tell you that I’m a crap cook, but I’ve managed to pull together a few staple meals which keep us going.

Some of my easiest favourite meals to batch cook are:

  • Vietnamese Beef Soup
  • Cottage Pie
  • Casserole
  • Basic spag bol which can also be converted into Chilli
  • Goulash (so easy in the slow cooker)
  • Sausage rolls (may sound a bit strange, but my husband is from up north and it keeps him happy :-D)

Another way that I also batch cook is when we have a slow cooker meal. I try to ensure that at least one evening meal a week is a slow cooker meal, as I’ve mentioned HERE before. I’ve got the biggest slow cooker I could get, I think it’s about 6 pints, maybe even bigger! This means that when I’m cooking a meal, I nearly always cater so that there is enough for two meals. I either stick what’s left in a box or a plastic bag and it goes straight into the freezer. I do write on it the date of when it was cooker, so I know when to use it by.

I’m also a total addict of Lock and Lock Boxes. They are the best “tuperware” boxes that I’ve found. We also use Ziplock bags (Costco – beg for membership! It’s next to Madjeski Stadium, Reading) to freeze things like dried herbs and soups, but I am a little paranoid of storing everything in plastic. If only they made BPA free ziplock bags!!!

Do you Batch Cook? Which recipes are the easiest and quickest that you like to cook? I’m intrigued to know as it would be great to get some more meals to add to my repertoire.

Related Links

Once-a-month cooking made easy

Make your freezer your best friend

A Day of Freezer Cooking


Toddler Games: Coloured Spaghetti

I’ve been meaning to do this activity for ages and we finally got around to it this morning. It was BRILLIANT! I really didn’t think we would have so much fun. I made blue spaghetti first, to try it out, and gave that to my little one with some plastic plates, cups and a spoon. She spent about 20 mins playing with it, whilst I pottered around the kitchen. I then did some red and green spaghetti and we both played with it together for about another hour!! I really didn’t expect to have so much fun with it:

It’s easy peasy. I first saw the idea HERE and have had it on my “list of things” to do since my little one was born. All you need is some spaghetti and food colouring. I picked up the spaghetti we used from the Sainsburys value range, about 40p, but you can get it cheaper in Tesco’s. We used about a quarter of it, so we can do this at least 3 more times. I cooked my spaghetti up with the food colouring directly and am pleased to report that it didn’t stain my saucepans. I got a bit covered in food colouring, but that was half the fun and I’m not great with those food colouring bottles! lol. My little one had so much fun moving the spaghetti from bowl, to plate, to cup and learnt that she could bite the spaghetti in half to make smaller pieces. We came up with some very multicoloured patterns as you can see:

It was a great opportunity for my little one’s motor skills and for us to practice colours. I totally recommend this activity with your toddler, especially for a rainy day. If you do try it out, let me know how it goes!

Related Posts

Toddler Games: Making Gloop

Amber Teething Necklace Update

We had a major crisis in our household recently. My Mum lost our little one’s Amber teething necklace whilst she was looking after her. My husband went bonkers (thankfully at me, not my Mum, who felt awful enough!). After four nights of unbroken sleep, the first in 13 months (we know we are very lucky, and it helps to explain why I have the energy to blog!) I was ready to sell an arm for a new necklace!

I know many people don’t believe in the Amber necklaces and I did pooh, pooh them before using them. You may have seen that good old Trading Standards decided to ban the sale of Amber Necklaces in this country earlier in the year. I was not very impressed then, as we couldn’t even get a back up necklace as there was no warning in advance that it was about to be banned.

Fumbilna added a wonderful comment to one of the previous posts about this, saying that she managed to get hold of an Amber necklace from a company in Latvia, who wall outside of the Trading Standards policy.

My wonderful, awesome husband (just checking to see if he really DOES read the posts every day!) has found a company in this country that still sells Amber Necklace’s. However, they aren’t advertised as Teething necklace’s. Rather than drop this company in it with Trading Standards, if you want to know the company we used, please drop me an email at

Best of luck with the teething. We have incisors and the back ones coming through at the moment. It’s not fun to seeing your little one’s in pain, but it is cute seeing their perfect little teeth. That is, until they bite you! 😉

Related Posts

Amber Teething Necklace’s will be banned in the UK

Amber teething necklace’s


They weren’t wrong about Blue Monday!

I hope you had a great weekend playing in the snow with your families. Wasn’t it fab! We only managed about 15 to 30 minutes a day but my little one loved it so much she wouldn’t go back indoors when she needed a nappy change! She has also learnt the word “snow”. Very cute when she looks at the window and shouts “Snow” a couple of times.

I need to apologise for the lack of posts so far this week, especially the “Things to do” post which I normally post on Monday. I know that a lot of people check this for ideas of things to do in the week, so I’m really sorry for not getting it up this week.

I’m quite behind at the moment because my little one was teething badly last week, then I was sick over the weekend and now the husband has tonsillitis again. Looks like I may have  the equivalent to whatever tonsillitis is when you don’t have tonsils! All fun and games. Unfortunately, in situations like this, NorthHantsMum has to take a back seat. I’m hoping normal service will have resumed by the weekend.

On a slightly more exciting note, we may have found a new house AND it looks like the event for a “NorthHantsMum meet up” will be going ahead soon! Details will follow once I’ve sorted them out with Kirsty. I really want to get everyone’s feedback on this event as I’m not quite sure what you would like to do. I think I’m just going to sort it all out (location, date, etc.) and then people can decide if they want to come along or not. Then we can all chat and meet each other with our babies and toddlers. I really DON’T want to the centre of attention at this event! lol. I also don’t want it to be the kind of meet up where people only talk to people they know so this could be a great opportunity to make some new friends! Yay!

Even more exciting news, look out tomorrow for Abi’s Guest Post about her hypnosis business ;-). I’m hoping to get a few sessions in with her soon so I can stop biting my fingernails (disgusting habit and I’ve tried EVERYTHING except Abi!) so will feedback on that as soon as I get that sorted.

I hope you are all well and that your week is less stressful than mine has been! Roll on February 😉

School and Children Centre Snow Closure’s

I know this is probably a bit late, but if you want to check which schools and children’s centres are closed today due to the snow, the following link should help:

Emergency school, college and children’s centres closures in Hampshire

The weather men are predicting that the snow fall will be heaviest in Basingstoke between 10am and 1pm today. There is a link to Basingstoke council with a page dedicated to Snow Updates.

Basingstoke Snow Updates

I was supposed to be meeting friends today, but instead it’s a day of snow angels and snowmen. That’s if my little one doesn’t freak out about the snow like she did on Monday!

Please stay safe out there and only travel if you have too!

Louise x

Mum Networks in Basingstoke and surrounding areas

Winter can be a lonely and depressing time for Mum’s, new and old. It’s a lot harder to get out and about, logistically and motivationally, when it’s cold, and raining or snowing outside. If you are feeling a bit disconnected and want to meet some new people, especially Mum’s, check out the page below which is on NHM. It lists all of the Mum Networks in the area that communicate via Facebook (that I know of!). Even though I think Facebook has lost some of it’s charm, it’s still a great way to connect with people.

Does anyone know if there are any Dad’s networks in the area? It must be so hard being a stay at home Dad as there doesn’t seem to be many networks in the area for them!

Also. I know that there are a few people who read NHM from outside of North Hampshire. Are there any networks in your area on Facebook that you can join?

On a slightly related note, it’s supposed to snow tomorrow and Saturday, so if it does, I hope it doesn’t disrupt you too much and your little one’s enjoy playing in the snow. Have fun! 😉

Mum Groups

Online Food Shopping

I’ve shopped for food online for the past 6 years.  I find that online shopping gives me the freedom to buy what I want, without being drawn into buying BOGOF offers that we don’t actually need. The Online Shopping tool that I use remembers what I’ve ordered before so it’s very easy to find something that we’ve already had.

As I mealplan, to keep costs down and reduce waste, I find that online ordering allows me to ensure that I only buy what’s required for each week.  I suffered with Pelvic Girdle Dysfunction (PGD also known as SPD) when I was pregnant and I haven’t been able to push a trolley since so I like the fact that someone else is doing all the heavy lifting for me!

I found that when I was pregnant and in those first few months after my daughter arrived, having my shopping delivered was a a sanity saver. I really couldn’t cope with the concept of wandering around a supermarket with a tiny baby, trying to follow my shopping list and then needing to try to push a trolley and look after baby and shop. It just wasn’t going to happen. I know a lot of people don’t like online shopping because you can’t select your own vegetables or fruit, but we get round this by using an Organic Box Delivery service that provides us with fresh fruit and vegetables.

I’ve summarised a few Pro’s and Con’s of online shopping.


  • You only buy what you need
  • You can keep within budget much easier
  • You can bulk buy when offers are on
  • You don’t have to do the heavy lifting


  •  You have to pay for delivery (I counteract this by factoring in the cost of driving/petrol to the supermarket and we also use the option of a Delivery Pass. The delivery pass ensures that each delivery is free. As long as it is over £40 we can order as many times as we like for free. We pay a £6 fee for a month, which is often the cost of one delivery with other suppliers!)
  • You don’t get to choose your own fruit and veg

I know that online shopping is a personal preference, some people like being able to choose their own food and enjoy the shopping experience. I don’t mind the shopping experience, but if it means that I can do my food shopping in 5 minutes (I can set up an online order in 1 minute, by copying the previous order, although I’ve never done this!) and allows me to spend more time with my family, this can only be a good thing.

If you are about to have a baby, I cannot recommend online shopping enough, at least for the first three months!

Have you tried Online Shopping and if yes, who were your preferred Supermarkets/Deliverers?

Related Posts

Meal Planning

I love my slow cooker!