Make Your Will Fortnight

It may be the last thing on your mind, whilst raising a little one, but having a Will is probably one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your little one is properly looked after if anything terrible happens. By taking up this opportunity you will also be supporting an excellent service that is provided in North Hampshire.

St. Michael’s Hospice is offering the local community a great opportunity to create a Will whilst at the same time raising valuable money for the Hospice.

Between the 14th and 27th of November the Hospice is offering the chance to have a professionally drafted Will in return for a donation to the Hospice. Seven local Solicitors have generously agreed to waive their usual fee for creating a Will; all donations will help the Hospice raise valuable funds to provide the best possible care to patients in North Hampshire suffering from life limiting illnesses.

By creating a Will personal assets will be divided amongst the people named. If a Will has never been drawn up then assets are divided according to the UK law, meaning it may not go to the preferred beneficiaries.

When preparing a Will there is no obligation to remember St. Michael’s Hospice, however leaving a legacy whether small or large is a wonderful way to support a cause that provides such a vital service to the community.

For further information on the fortnight please contact St. Michaels Hospice Findraising on 01256 848848, email or

Taken from Chris Griffiths article

Ballet/Dance classes for 2 year olds (Nov 2011)

Baby & Toddler Dance classes in North Hampshire

Vicky asked the question on NorthHants Mum on Facebook: can anyone recommend ballet/dance classes for 2yr olds?

I’m not able to recommend any specific classes but I’ve done some research about what is available at the moment. Details are below. If you have any recommendations, please don’t hesitate to add them. Vicky – thanks for your question, hope this is what you were looking for.

Dance Classes

Bopping Babies

Toddle-time disco fun, dance and play session for 0-5’s.

Active Life Centre

Modern Dance: The Modern Dance class involves learning dance moves to current popular music. Mondays 14.00 – 14.45hrs. Cost: £40.00 for 10 weeks

Ballet Classes

Basingstoke Academy of Dancing

One of the more professional dance schools in Basingstoke.  They hold Mother and Toddler Classes – 18 mnths – 3yrs, Monday morning 9.30am to 10.30am

J.L.D. School of Dancing

They say: Being easily accessed from anywhere in Basingstoke & Deane, J.L.D. School of Dancing has 50 scheduled classes per week and offers dancing lessons for boys and girls from 2 – 18 years of age. Dance classes for children aged 2 – 5 years are lively and fun, exploring music, movement and mime.

M&M Academy of Arts

They have a boogie babies class on Saturday morning: Pre-school Dance Classes, 45 minutes, Fun and stimulating class for 3 & 4 Years olds. These classes introduce basic ballet, tap and modern/jazz movements incorporating mime and stories.

Centre Stage Ballet

Centre Stage Ballet 3-4 years 4.30-5pm. Ballet 4-5 years 5-5.30pm. Ballet & Tap 5-9 years 5.30-6.15pm

Thursdays at Sherfield Park Community Centre.

Active Life Centre

Ballet (3-4 years): Working from the Royal Acadamy of Dance syllabus, this class involves dancing to classical and contemporary music whilst incorporating ballet steps, miming and free dance. The children have fun working to develop

Lynden School of Dance

I couldn’t find the timetable online for this dance school but I know they do Ka Motion classes at Basingstoke Sports Centre for little people and I’m sure they will have classes for under four’s. To find details you can contact them through their website.

Loose Moose – Hook

Loose Moose Theatre Arts is an exciting, vibrant and creative theatre arts school offering a range of programmes for toddlers to teens to adults.

Chandelle Stage School

I don’t have any further details about this apart from that it’s based in the Sycamore centre in Winklebury.

Stage School’s

There is also a stage school in Basingstoke:

Please add a comment if you know of more dance classes for toddlers in or near Basingstoke. Thanks!

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Attachment Parenting

Attachment parenting, a phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears,[1] is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of the attachment theory in developmental psychology. According to attachment theory, the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences. Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child’s socio-emotional development and well being. Less sensitive and emotionally available parenting or neglect of the child’s needs may result in insecure forms of attachment style, which is a risk factor for many mental health problems. In extreme and rare conditions the child may not form an attachment at all and may suffer from reactive attachment disorder as defined in DSM-IV and ICD-10. Principles of attachment parenting aim to increase development of child’s secure attachment and decrease insecure attachment.

Although there is research which shows that when mothers are taught to increase their sensitivity to an infant’s needs and signals, this increases the development of the child’s attachment security,[2] there are no conclusive empirical efficacy studies on Sears attachment parenting.

Eight principles of attachment parenting

Per Dr. Sears’ theory of attachment parenting (AP), proponents such as the API attempt to foster a secure bond with their children by promoting eight principles which are identified as goals for parents to strive for. These eight principles are:

  1. Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
  2. Feed with Love and Respect
  3. Respond with Sensitivity
  4. Use Nurturing Touch
  5. Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
  6. Provide Consistent Loving Care
  7. Practice Positive Discipline
  8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

These values are interpreted in a variety of ways. Many attachment parents also choose to live a natural family living (NFL) lifestyle, such as natural childbirth, home birth, stay-at-home parenting, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling, unschooling, the anti-circumcision movement, natural health, cooperative movements, naturism and support of organic and local foods.

However, Dr. Sears does not require a parent to strictly follow any set of rules, instead encouraging parents to be creative in responding to their child’s needs. Attachment parenting, outside the guise of Dr. Sears, focuses on responses that support secure attachments.

Taken from:

Further Reading

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Hampshire Library Annual Film Membership

We are now offering a great scheme to reward and encourage regular customers of our DVD service. Instead of the usual pay-as-you-borrow charges, why not consider taking out an annual membership?

For just £45 a year, you can borrow two DVDs (or any audio-visual items including Games and Music CDs) at any one time, with no limit on the overall number of items that can be borrowed during the course of a year.

There are NO overdues or renewal charges to pay!
(Reservation fees do apply)

You will get an extra Film Membership card which can be used in any Hampshire library for a whole year.

Join the Annual Film Membership scheme at your local library or buy online

Taken from:

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What is Elimination Communication for babies?

I’d never heard about Elimination Communication before someone added a comment to this site. They were running a blog which documented their experience of E.C. I suddenly discovered a whole new area that I’d never even really considered. Now I get how Indians used to be able to carry their little one’s in Papooses for such a long time! lol.

It was a fascinating subject and I was surprised I’d never heard of it before. Although, when you think about who runs most of our media and the advertising we see it’s not surprising that EC isn’t more widely known off, as nobody in Business benefits from it. The Nappy companies don’t make any money if you don’t use nappies, the nappy cream companies don’t make any money. So I guess the concept of EC isn’t more widely known because there aren’t huge companies behind the advertising trying to drive the knowledge.

I would have loved the opportunity to try this out with my little one, but by the time I found out about it I was back to work and it wasn’t really feasible. However, I’m thinking that now the weather is warmer (Summer? What summer?) and we can spend more time outside, where nappies aren’t always a requirement, I might do a bit more research into this and see if we can try it out. I’ve also been spurred on by reading a blog where the Mum potty trained her little one at 15 months old. I didn’t even know that was a possibility! In fact, the whole potty training experience scares me as it just seems to be a bit of a drama. I am wondering though if I’m putting myself under more pressure because I’ve also read plenty more posts about how seasoned Mum’s (Mum’s with 3+ children) recommend waiting until your little one is really ready.

Enclosed are a few links if you are interested in doing more research.

Nappy Free, or Elimination communication (often referred to as EC) is a respectful, natural way to care for a baby. It can be done with or without nappies. Millions of mothers around the world deal with their babies’ toileting needs in this way. It is a skill that has been forgotten in the West since the advent of disposable nappies.

Parents who EC respond to a baby’s needs as and when they occur, rather than ignoring them until nappy change time.

How does it work?

Parents look for signals that baby is uncomfortable, and then offer her a chance to urinate or defecate outside her nappy. They normally hold her in a ‘squat’ position, hands underneath the baby’s thighs, with baby’s back and head leaning against the parent’s chest. An older baby can sit on a potty or a toilet insert. The baby then urinates or defecates in the potty or lavatory, instead of in their nappy.

All babies have an instinct not to soil themselves.Parents of newborns often find that their baby wees and poos as soon as they remove the nappy. This is how babies exercise their instinct not to soil themselves. If a parent encourages this natural instinct, and holds the baby in a position that relaxes the pelvic floor, then the baby will soon learn to associate the hold and the place (the potty or lavatory) with his bodily functions.Parents often make a ‘psss’ sound, or a grunting noise to help baby make this connection.

EC can begin at birth, though some cultures wait until the baby can hold their head, or sit on a potty. It is harder to introduce after six months of age.

Taken from:

Further Reading

Junior ISA’s start today

Today is the first day for the new Junior ISA. I’ve enclosed a number of links to relevant articles and a link to a blog post I did a few months ago about the Junior ISA. Please add links of any other relevant articles that you find. Thanks!

Junior ISA’s – all you need to know

The Isa age just got younger

Junior Isas – the new tax-free saving option for children

Poorer children will be big losers from Junior Isas switch, warns think tank

First hint of Junior Isa rates as Nationwide unveils 3% account to launch on 1 November

What is the Junior ISA and how will it work?

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10 (Cheap and Easy) Ways to Pamper Yourself

I love Simple Mom’s blog. She has so many brilliant posts and even though they are US focused, many of her posts are still relevant for Mum’s in the UK. I totally recommend checking out her blog.

Taken from an American blog:

Let’s face it. If you’re a mom, you’re busy. It doesn’t matter what you do with your time: whether you work or stay home, volunteer or home school, cook up a storm or craft, not to mention driving the kids from activity to activity. Being a mom is the definition of being busy.

That means you need a little pampering here and there. But who has the time? If you have a free moment, an extra load of laundry could get done. You could finally repair the tear in Johnny’s soccer uniform. Or you could even, you know, spend some time with your husband.

Plus, it’s so expensive. $20 for a dinner out with the girls? You could feed your entire family for two days – all three meals – on that. For these reasons (and more), mom-pampering-time often gets overlooked.

But what if there were ways to pamper yourself that were truly simple? Ways that were very cheap or even free, which did not require large amounts of time or advance planning? Would you do it then?

I’m betting yes. And if your answer is, “Well, maybe…” then you need to think harder about this. If you’re busy trying to be Super Mom, you need a break. You deserve a break. You’ll feel happier and saner and bring that positive energy back to your family.

So let’s get to the good stuff! Here are ten ways to pamper yourself that are cheap and easy.

1. Call a friend to catch up.

Is there someone you haven’t talked to in awhile? Put the kids down for a nap (or “quiet time”) and give her a call. Save it for the weekend if you have to and make your husband take the kids out to play for awhile. Enjoy a nice, long chat that’s mostly about your friendship, not your kids. Feel happy because you’ve remembered old parts of yourself and gotten a verbal hug from a friend.

Click here to read the rest…:Simple Mom

Play Dough Recipes

Stretchy Dough 

  • 3lb self-raising flour
  • approx. 1 and a quarter pints of water

Mix together until dough is formed. Knead well.

Makes an elastic dough that the children will enjoy pulling and stretching.

Will not keep for any length of time though.

Giltter Play Dough

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • Food coloring gel
  • Glitter

Mix all ingredients with the exception of the glitter in a sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a ball (sounds cryptic, but you will know when it happens). Remove from heat, but dough ball in a large bowl. Add the glitter and knead until smooth and uniform. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Microwave Play Dough

Don’t want to cook your playdough on the stove? Use a microwave!

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • Food coloring

Mix all of the ingredients, except for the food color. Microwave it for about one minute and stir. Cook for about 30 more seconds. Keep repeating until the playdough is dough-ish. Knead the playdough and place the food coloring in. Its that simple!

Cooked Play Dough

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 Tbsp. of cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of coloured water
  • 1 cup of salt

Place all of the ingredients in a medium size or large pan. Cook slowly on medium-high and stir it until the playdough thickens. Keeps best in the fridge in plastic containers.
Takes less than 10 minutes.

Modelling Dough

There are many types of modelling dough that you can buy, but it is just as easy (and much cheaper) to make your  own.  Use food colourings for different colours and you can make it seasonal by adding glitter near Christmas (or to make fairy dough), smooth pebbles in summer etc just use your imagination!

Essential Oils
Used sparingly these make great additions to modelling dough  – a few drops of lavender can have a calming effect (and is antibacterial) and eucalyptus has a great menthol smell which is great for winter (not suitable for use around asthma sufferers).

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup cream of tartar

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook and stir over low/medium heat until play dough is completely formed and no longer sticky. Allow to cool slightly before storing in an air tight container or bag.  Keep in the fridge.

Uncooked modelling dough

  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • food coloring
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour

Put everything except the flour and cornflour into a bowl.  Gradually add these until you have the consistency of bread dough.  Store in an air tight container or bag in the fridge.

Salt dough

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup flour plus additional flour

Mix all ingredient together in a saucepan over a low heat.  Remove when rubbery.  Once cooled knead with flour to make it workable.  This is a great dough for making Christmas decorations and models out of.  Once made pop them on grease proof paper or a tray on a radiator (or in airing cupboard or bottom shelf of a rayburn) so that they dry very slowly. Once dryed they can be painted.

Fairy dough – just add glitter (great when you are getting festive too)

Lily Pad’s Play Dough

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 4 tsp cream tartar
  • Food colouring
  • To make smelly play dough, simply add an
  • essence (vanilla or peppermint).

Mix together ingredients in a sauce pan
Heat for a few minutes on the hob, stirringcontinuously
Remove from heat when the consistency is a doughy texture
Leave to cool before use

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