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.

9 “things” I’m planning to do with my daughter in the future

I’ve been thinking recently about those activities and events that I want to do with my daughter as she grows up. These “things” will make up the map of her childhood, and to be honest, I want to do them as they look so much fun!! That’s one of the perks of having children, you get to relive some of your childhood again.

1. Overnight at the Natural History museum or the Science Museum, or both! This looks AWESOME.

2. Go to the Winchester Planetarium and the London Planetarium. See a previous post on NHM about the Winchester Planetarium HERE.

3. Go Sky Diving at the new sky dive place at the leisure park

4. Go to the Roller Disco in Newbury. I can’t find a specific link for this, so if you know the details, please let me know!

5. Go to a Lido. See a previous post on NHM about Lido’s in Hampshire HERE.

6. Go to a theme park. We are hopefully going to Peppa Pig World in the next few months, look out for a review about it! You have to pay when your Little One’s are over a meter in height, so we want to go sooner rather than later!

7. Have afternoon tea. This looks like it could be a lot of fun. See a previous post on NHM on luxury places for Afternoon tea in the area HERE.

8. Go to the theatre. See a previous post about future theatre events HERE. I also want to take her to a children’s performance of a Ballet too. I’ve just seen that the Mayflower Theatre has announced a ballet especially for children, Three Little Pigs, that will be in May 2014. Might need to book that up quickly! 😀

9. Stay overnight at the Lookout Lodge in Whipsnade Zoo. This looks AWESOME too!!

Basingstoke Festival… 2013

Starts tomorrow!! There will be over 100 events happening in the Basingstoke area during the next couple of weeks. I’ve had a closer look at the webpage and it looks fab!

Click here for more details:

http://www.basingstokefestival.co.uk/events/category/family-fun

They say:

“Basingstoke Festival was created in 2012 to showcase the wealth of talent and community spirit in the borough. Back for a second year, the festival offers a choice of over 100 events to experience including drama, music, dance, comedy, film, historic walks and family fun taking place in over 30 venues across the borough.

Why not wander through Overton and take in over 400 individual scarecrow characters or dip in to a performance of local dancers taking part in Dear Lido around the town centre! Building on the success of 2012, this year’s festival features a packed programme including indoor and outdoor and free and ticketed family friendly events such as World Party at Eastrop Park, Alice in Wonderland at The Vyne, Elvis Costello at the Anvil, Chas n Dave at The Haymarket, community Shakespeare and finishing with the hugely popular free music festival Basingstoke Live.”

Review 2013: Finkley Down Farm

Finkley Down Farm, Andover

I LOVE Finkley Down Farm. I’ve been visiting, on and off, for the last 30 years (OUCH!). It’s been great to see how it’s developed over that time. I remember the old gypsy caravan, when you used to actually be able to go into it and sit on the beds. Anyone else remember that? lol.

Play

There is SO much to do at Finkley Down Farm. It’s quite small so it’s easy to walk around and there’s a lot packed in. A new “play barn” was built this winter and it’s massive! We went on a Sunday morning, and it was very quiet until 12.30pm, where it started to become very busy. I’d expected it to be very busy, but was really pleased to see how quiet it was.  We spent a lot of time in the Rabbit Barn because my Little One loves the rabbits. We then ventured over to the Mini ride on Tractor field and my Little One practically had it to herself for 30 minutes. She had to go on every single tractor! lol.

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We then wandered back through the farm and went over to the Little Tikes play area. My Little One loved this area and we spent a good 40 minutes playing on the slides and on the trampolines.

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I then noticed that there were five very large trampolines nearby that were deserted, so we went and had a go on every single one!! Well, I wasn’t allowed because it was for 10 year old’s and under but my Little One had a whale of a time. She just LOVES bouncing.

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We then went back through the farm again. We didn’t attend any of the Handling sessions because I think my Little One is too young to handle farm animals, at 27 months old. But this is obviously a personal choice. We spent a lot of time watching the Ferrets, which were very funny and then talking to the Ducks. We also went into the Touch and Feel barn again but my Little One was a bit freaked out by the sheep that were “baa-ing” very loudly. At that point, we were both exhausted so went and had our picnic, had one last go in the Little Tikes play area and then headed home.

We had a look in the new Soft play barn when we arrived at 10am (it’s massive!) but decided we would come back later on. When we did go back, the place was heaving. Which was a little disappointing as it seemed most people were inside, even though the weather was nice. It was always an issue before if it rained at Finkley as there weren’t many sheltered areas, but now the Soft Play barn has this covered!

Food

We took our own picnic (we remembered it this time! lol). I did have a quick look at the menu and it seemed reasonable, but without many healthy choices. I did think that £3 for a slice of cake was a bit steep.

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Facilities

Were never that great but they have improved radically over the past few years. However, I was a bit disappointed that I could find any recycling facilities on site, especially as they sell drink cans.

Baby Facilities

Are near the entrance. There are a few baby changing tables and a few nappy bins. All seemed in good condition.

Parking

Is free and there is lots of it. When the main parking area is full, they open up a field nearby and you can park here.

Prices

Maybe I’m getting old, but I was surprised at how expensive the day tickets are. I think I’m getting wise to this now, after my Wellington Country Park review! lol.

SAVER Ticket – 2 Adults & 2 Children £31.00
Adults £8.95
Senior Citizens, Students & Disabled Adults £8.50
Children (aged 2 – 16 years) £7.95
Children with disability and carer £7.50

They also do a reduced after school rate and Serving Military Personnel discount.

However, if you live near Andover or plan to go to Finkley more than four times in a year, the best option by far is to get the Season ticket, which is cheaper if you buy it online.

Rating 4.75/5

Finkley has a special place in my heart, because I’ve been going for such a long time. So I’m giving it a 4.75 out of 5, because it isn’t cheap and doesn’t have recycling facilities, but we always have a fabulous day out there!

Alton Teddy Bear Festival 2013

Jane sent me a lovely email asking me to let you know about the Alton Teddy Bear Festival which will be on Saturday 22nd June from 10am to 4pm at the Alton Assembly Rooms…

This one!

This is the first year of operating the event and we are hoping for great things.

The event will have the feel of a summer fete, family event, Bear Festival to ensure that there is a large and varied range of clientele. We are planning to have a bear restoration team at the event, a second hand bear adoption agency, story time and individual make & take workshops for adults and children, amongst many other stands with dedicated bear designers and makers.

We are also very fortunate to have Paddington Bear attend the event to celebrate his birthday with us. He will be attending as part of the Medical Active Research charity (www.action.org.uk) who help save and change the lives of sick and disabled children in the UK.

For more details please see the poster: Poster V2

You can also find more details on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AltonAssemblyRooms?fref=ts

Picture for Alton

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!

Usborne Books in North Hampshire

I LOVE Usborne books. I was bought up on them and still have my first cookery book and gardening book, both of which are Usborne.

If you’ve never seen an Usborne book, I totally recommend looking out for them. I love that they have books for each age range and I love the baby books, especially the bath books.

I’m probably going to shoot myself in the foot with this, but we always scour every baby and children market or nearly new sale for cheap Usborne books. We picked up a bargain with the Apple Tree Farm books for £5 and the Phonic’s Reader books for £10.

I’ve been reading both to my little one since she was 10 months old. She could spot the duck on most pages by the time she was 14 months.

I also love the children’s story books. For older children there are a huge variety of subjects. We bought the first dictionary for my little one and she’s loved it since she was tiny. I really hadn’t expected her to pick if up, but she loves sitting there and pointing to the pictures and saying the words.

When she was tiny I would point to the words and she would try to say them. I’ve recently acquired the Spanish version of the first dictionary, so I can practice my Spanish whilst my little one practices her English!

The Usborne team don’t advertise publicise what they do, it’s all done via word of mouth. There are several Usborne “lady’s” in the area. Each month there is a deal on the books.

One of the best ways to get access to the books is to ask one of the lady’s to come and do an Usborne party for you. I loved these as a child as it meant my Mum got the yummy chocolate biscuits in for the other Mums!

I really recommend having a look at the Usborne books. Once we’ve moved house and have some more space, I’m really looking forward to having an Usborne Party. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with my friends and have a good nose through the books and get some birthday and Christmas presents sorted.

You can’t go wrong with an Usborne book, I can vouch that they last for years 😀

www.Usborne.com

Ashford Hill Toddler group

Sue sent me an email asking me to let you know about the Ashford Hill Toddler Group:

Every term time Wednesday 10am-11:30am

Why not come along and join our friendly group for a cuppa and a chat?  There is a large selection of toys and activities including a baby corner, dressing-up box, crafts table, books.

Attendance fee: £2.00 for one adult and 1 child

50p for additional children

Refreshments and snacks included

(no need to book in advance – just show up on the day)

Find us on facebook, https://www.facebook.com/groups/AshfordHillToddlers/

Neon Fairy Face Painting

Caroline sent me a lovely message asking if she could do a Guest Post on NHM. I had spoken to her about doing one last year, when we were supposed to meet at the Baby and Children’s Market, but I couldn’t make it because my little one was sick. We still haven’t met, but at least we’ve got the Guest Post sorted! 😀

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Neon Fairy Face Painting

Caroline the owner and principle face painter of Neon Fairy Face Painting, a Basingstoke based business happily serving The Hampshire area and beyond!

A working mum to two young boys I am delighted to be sharing on North Hants Mum.

Let us enchant you with our magic!

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From fantastical animal and fairy designs to action heroes and aliens we simply LOVE transforming them into their wildest dreams!

Professional experienced and friendly face painters we are constantly updating our training, use only non toxic professional products and hold full insurance and enhanced CRB disclosures for peace of mind.

We offer a range of services and are available for private hire or happy to attend your festival, funday or corporate event, tailoring packages to your requirements:

  • Chidrens Party Face Painting
  • Glitter & Temp Tattoos
  • Princess/Pirate Sparkle Packages
  • UV Face and Body Painting
  • Weddings & Hen Nights
  • Bespoke, Themed & Corporate

We also have a colourfull online store with premium party boxes , downloadable party invites, bespoke tutus for princesses of all ages, Hen night accessories and more!

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www.neonfairyfacepainting.co.uk

Princess Sparkle Packages

Let us dazzle your little princesses with our original fairy and princess face designs, glitter in a myriad of colours, gems and diamontes, glitter and temporary tattoos, premium princess party boxes for guests, tiaras and princess colouring sheets. 1.5 hours or sparkly magic for up to 10 children.

These parties can be adapted to suit boys too for Pirates, dinosaurs or superheroes, face painting, glitter tattoos, party boxes and also fake wounds and gory painting for older boys too!

Baby Bump Painting

Mark your special journey with a bespoke gestational art or baby bump painting. Incorporating dates and designs of significance to you and your family we can create a  bump  painting just for you along with complementing smaller designs for siblings and other family members.

Some kind words from our customers:

Feb 2013 -Lynsi Winkworth wrote: “Thank you for the face painting at my daughter’s party yesterday. You did a brilliant job again! Thanks so much x”

March 2013 -Jane Williams wrote: “Thank you so much for coming to Evie’s Birthday party yesterday you were amazing and everyone was so impressed , the adults loved it as much as the little ones!! Hope to see you again at another part soon, will be recommending you to everyone!”

April 2013-Miranda Hughes wrote: “Thank you so so much Caroline the princesses were delighted and the face painting  was FABULOUS xx”

 Contact Caroline for a quote:

info@neonfairyfacepainting.co.uk

www.neonfairyfacepainting.co.uk

07926671015

Find us on Facebook too!

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Basingstoke Homebirth Group

Denise sent me a message via NHM Friend asking me to let you know about the Basingstoke Homebirth Group: 

I co-ordinate meetings for the Basingstoke Homebirth Group and we meet monthly at a member’s home.

Meetings are a very informal chance to discuss any aspect of homebirth over a cup of tea and a biscuit. We generally have a mixture of parents that have had a homebirth and midvives/doulas attending.

Our aim is to share information and support those interested in planning a homebirth.

Details of meetings are posted on our Facebook page “Basingstoke Homebirth” and email address is homebirth@basingstokenct.org.uk for any enquiries.