New Photography Studio at Viables

Sarah Dutton Photography has a new studio that has just opened at Viables Craft Centre.

The studio specialises in portraits, weddings, pet portraits, product photography and more. The studio is appointment only, so please contact Sarah on sarah@sarahdutton.co.uk for further information. (Don’t forget to mention NHM when you do! ;-))

Sarah Dutton Photography also has a Facebook page with regular updates of what’s happening at the studio. For group bookings, book five shoots and the sixth is free!

The studio has mother’s day photo sessions on the 11th March. They are doing a special offers of £30 for half an hour’s shoot, with all useable photos on a disc ready for Mother’s day.

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Chatterbox Shows – Planetarium shows for chatty people!

This looks SO brilliant! I can’t wait till my little one is a little bit bigger so I can take her to one of these.

Winchester Intech Science Centre Chatterbox Shows

Mondays , 5 March, 14 May, 11 June 2pm & Monday 2 April (during Easter holidays), time tbc.
They say:

“It’s natural for younger children or those with special needs to want to call out when they come into the planetarium. They like to share the experience, ask questions or just call out with surprise and amazement.

We normally ask visitors to watch quietly so that everyone can enjoy the show without distraction. But here is a show with a difference:

All the stars with no shushhing!

Come along to a Chatterbox Monday show and we promise not to shhhh you up*! It could get a little noisy but it should be great fun for the chatty ones. Shows are charged at our normal rate.

We’re currently running “Secret of the Cardboard Rocket” (30min) in this slot as it is the most child-friendly of our shows and the least likely to scare or overwhelm younger children. However, please do be aware that some children under 5yrs don’t enjoy planetarium shows, especially those scared by the dark.

If you’d be interesting in seeing other shows in this slot, please let us know!”

Half Term Outing Ideas in and around Basingstoke – Feb 2012

Sorry, I should have scheduled this for Tuesday! Better late than never 😉

There are so many places with events and activities going on this week that I thought it would just be easier to send you all the links. Don’t forget to check your local Children Centre’s webpage to see what their half term schedule is. Their events are often a lot cheaper than elsewhere. Hope you manage to find lots to do this week!

http://www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk/things-to-do/Basingstoke

http://www.destinationbasingstoke.co.uk/?page=BasingstokeLeisureDirectory

http://www.visit-hampshire.co.uk/places-to-visit/north-hampshire/basingstoke

http://www.britainsfinest.co.uk/places-to-visit/things_to_do.cfm/searchtown/Basingstoke

http://www.ebasingstoke.com/places/

http://www.wherecanwego.com/whats-on/whats-on-in-basingstoke/events.aspx

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Games to play with your baby or toddler

Are you looking for ideas for games to play with your baby or toddler?

The following link, from cow and gate, shows a play time planner which allows you to input the time you have available, whether you want to play indoors or outdoors and the age of your child. You hit return and at the bottom of the screen are a list of relevant games to play with your child:

http://letstoddle.com/my_toddler/playtime-planner

BabyCentre also have some great ideas for games to play with your little one. If you have signed up for the weekly email from BabyCentre it will include the games that are relevant for your toddler or baby’s age. If you haven’t signed up, you can find the list of games at the links below:

Baby: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/baby/development/letsplay/?intcmp=tnav_baby_play

Toddler: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/toddler/development/stimulating/letsplay/

Do you know of any other websites that have a great list of games to play with your little one? Please add to the comments section or on the Facebook page. Thanks!

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Valentine’s Day Inspiration

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’ve included a couple of links below that could help if you are stuck for valentines ideas or activities:

Tasty Valentines gifts on a budget

Setting a table for two for valentines day

Free Printable Valentines Cards Robot Hearts

How kids can create a love heart necklace

6 affordable valentines gifts that aren’t boring

Pinterest finds Valentines ideas

 

Childcare Vouchers

If you know that you will have to return to work after Maternity Leave, you will need to use a nursery or childminder, and your employer offers the vouchers, register for Childcare vouchers with your employer AS SOON as your baby is born.

Your Employer will pay the Childcare vouchers whilst you are on Maternity Leave. Don’t wait until you return to work because you could miss out on an awful lot of money. If you register for childcare vouchers as soon as your child is born, and request the full amount (£243 a month), you could rack up £2187 in vouchers for the 9 months you are on maternity leave, or £2916 for the full year.

Even if you plan on handing your notice in at the end of your maternity leave, you should still register for the vouchers as I think they are valid for up to 18 months after you leave your employment. If you find a childminder that takes childcare vouchers you will be able to use the vouchers as and when you need childcare for the following 18 months. Handy if you need an afternoon or a day off occasionally as you won’t have to pay for the childcare!

If your employer doesn’t offer childcare vouchers there is some guidance from the HMRC website about this:  http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/calcs/ccin.htm. This link also includes a link to a PDF with details about what childcare vouchers are.

Obviously, I’m not an expert on these things and you will need to double check with your employer as I am only basing this on my experience. It’s definitely something worth investigating though.

Weaning Ideas

These are some tips that I’ve picked up from other Mum’s with regards to things you might need whilst weaning your little one:

  • A high chair – If you don’t want to spend a fortune, Ikea do some really cheap but perfectly practical high chairs. However, I recently found the following article about them…Ikea Highchairs
  • At least three soft-tipped plastic spoons
  • At least three plastic bowls
  • Lots of large, wipe-clean or washable bibs (sleeved coverall bibs are great for when your baby starts feeding themslves and make sure they have patterns on. If they are white, it may look like you haven’t washed them properly!)
  • A food processor or hand-held blender to quickly whizz up purees
  • Ice cube trays or small lidded plastic pots for freezing individual portions. See the related post below about the Lakeland Oxo tot range. It’s expensive but I found it much better than the Annabel Karmel equivalents.
  • Wipes or cloths – E-cloths are expensive but are great as you only need water and don’t have to fork out on cleaning sprays too. They last for at least 300 washes.
  • A splash mat or groundsheet can be useful for protecting the floor
  • Little pots if you want to freeze single portions. Apparently PoundLand sell the Tommee Tippee pots x 3 for £1.
  • I highly recommend Annabel Karmel’s mini ice lolly set. You can fill the moulds with fruit or even savoury mush and then freeze it. When your little one is teething they might find it easier to use the lolly’s.
  • Visit your local Farm shop to see what organic produce they have available.
  • Check out Able and Cole or Riverford for their box delivery schemes in the area. Able and Cole do a Baby and Toddler box with appropriate fruit and veg.

Do you have any other hints or tips that you would like to share? Please add a comment below. Thanks!

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Amber Teething necklace’s

I was incredibly sceptical about the Amber teething necklaces. Someone at my Husband’s work recommended them to him and gave him the link so he ordered one. I thought it was a total waste of money and probably wouldn’t work. However, my husband isn’t the kind of guy to buy into “New Age B****ks” (his words, not mine) but the fact that he’d gone to such effort made me think I ought to at least try the necklace out on our little one.

Much to his delight, I’ve had to eat my words. I cannot praise this small necklace enough. You can totally tell when my little one isn’t wearing her necklace. Without it she’s grimbly, she dribbles lots more and she constantly has her fingers in her mouth pressing against her gums. With it, she’s a delightful, smiley, happy child. In fact, several people have commented that she’s one of the happiest babies they have met and I often wonder if it isn’t down to this little necklace.

She also looks very cute when she’s wearing it and is just in her nappy. Like a little Oompaloompa or Pygmy Tribal Warrior! Annnyway, I couldn’t recommend the necklaces enough. Just don’t lose it at swimming like I did so we had to buy another one!

Amber Teething Necklaces

One point I hadn’t picked up on but have just seen whilst reading the blurb is to: Avoid getting the necklaces wet and occasionally allow the amber to recharge by exposing to natural sunlight.

This is NOT a sponsored post and I’m receiving no money or any other perks for recommending Amber necklaces.