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!

8 Cheap or Free Rainy Day Activities in Basingstoke

I hope you had a fabulous Jubilee weekend but hasn’t the weather been awful for the past week? Why does it always seem to rain when the children are on their holidays from school? It’s even more galling given how glorious the weather was last week. So, if you are looking for some free or cheap things to do during this half term, I’ve put together a summary of ideas below. Do you have any other suggestions that you would like to share?

1. Visit your local library. Lots of libraries in the area have Children’s libraries with toys and books for little ones to play with.

2. Take the children to a soft play centre. There are several in the area and you can find details of them on this previous NHM post: Soft Play Centres. Also check out my previous review of Kids’n’Action over near Winersh Triangle, Berkshire.

3. I’ve raved about Nature Detectives before. They have great packs that you can download for free to keep your little one’s amused. I especially like the “Outdoor” pack which changes depending on which season it is.

4. Goobeetsa has some great free papercraft toy plans and masks that can be cut out and made.

5. Patterns for Colouring has some very cool patterns that are designed by guest illustrators and are free to print out for colouring or painting. It’s updated regularly.

6. Organise a play date with your child’s friends.

7. Story sack loans. Chineham Library have story sacks which can be borrowed from the Children’s Centre. I’ve tried to find the details about this via the Action for Children website but no luck. Does anyone know if this is still available? I think they were £1 to borrow for a few weeks, but not sure.

8. Go puddle jumping!! You need the right clothes for this though, e.g. a water proof onesie or galoshes!

Related Posts

22 things to do with an under 6 year old in Basingstoke when it’s raining

A Toddler Box of Tricks: Things To Always Have On Hand With A Toddler Or Two

15 Different Experiences for Children

7 More Free Rainy Day Activities

Great Picnic spots in Basingstoke

Following lasts week’s post about Great Picnic spots near Basingstoke, I’ve put together my highlights of places to go for picnics in Basingstoke. Have I missed any?

Don’t forget to check out this post: Great Picnic Spots near Basingstoke.

Basing Lime Pits:  The Common opposite Basing Lime Pits

Carpenters Down/Basing Wood


Eastrop Park

Wootten St Lawrence Park

Odiham Castle

Basingstoke Common

Zebon Copse


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Guest Post Wednesday: First Aid Angels in Basingstoke

Vicky contacted me about publicising her First Aid course on Guest Post Wednesday. Vicky is a local Mum who runs First Aid Angels in Basingstoke:

First Aid Angels are a local Health & Safety Executive approved first aid training company run by a highly trained and experienced Registered nurse.

We  offer a  very popular 2 hour Parents first aid course at your own home for small groups , in the daytime and evenings. Babies are welcome too!

The training is relaxed and friendly , delivered by very experienced and highly trained first aiders with nursing/emergency services backgrounds.

We cover the key subjects about infant and child first aid to help you feel more confident and competent  and all questions are welcome !

We use manikins for the practical and each person receives a written training guide with the theory about the subjects that are covered. All subjects are taught in accordance with the UK Resuscitation Council guidelines.

Please see the course flyer with the list of subjects that we cover: PARENTS – FAA A5 flyer v1

We can be contacted by our website www.firstaidangels.co.uk , email info@firstaidangels.co.uk  or call 01256 412240

This would be a great activity for a new ante-natal group who’ve all had their babies and would like some reassurance in first aid techniques.

Feel free to share the flyer with anyone who doesn’t read NHM (don’t they know what they are missing out on?!?!?! lol)

Best of luck with the business Vicky!

Pushchair Friendly Walks in Basingstoke

If you are itching to get outside and get some fresh air this weekend, the weather looks like it’s going to be glorious. So I’m republishing a post which has details about walks in Basingstoke, including walks which are suitable for pushchairs. I always find the heat is easier when I’m moving, it’s sitting still which makes it worse! Don’t forget those hats and sunscreen!

This is a brilliant website with details of local parks in the area, including many of the ones mentioned below.


Basing lime pits

  • Has the coolest train climbing frame ever!
  • Massive slides
  • BBQ facilities
  • Ampitheatre for rounders, baseball, etc.


  • Olivers fish and chips over the road
  • Lovely (!!) view of Basingstoke
  • Great for flying kites
  • Has a fantastic new play area for children aged 8-14 years at the bottom, including a low zip wire and wooden climbing frame
  • A couple of park benches dotted around

Eastrop Park

  • Has toilets on site
  • Boating Lake
  • Fishing lake
  • Swimming pool in summer for little people
  • Assault Course
  • The perfect bridge for pooh sticks!

War Memorial Park

  • Parking is a bit of a nightmare so recommend parking for free at Eastrop or in a town centre carpark
  • Bird Aviary is quite interesting for little people


Carpenters Down

  • Parking is next to Popley Spotlight Centre
  • Used to be National Trust Land
  • Big Hill to Climb to get into most walks
  • Excellent Blackberry picking
  • See my review of Basing Wood from 2013

Basingstoke Common

Otherside of Crabtree

Blackdam Pond

  • Has a play area for children
  • Nice pond to feed the ducks and swans
  • Has a short walk around the park but connects through to Crabtree

Great Picnic Spots near Basingstoke

I LOVE a good picnic. It’s the simple things that count. A good location, yummy food and nice weather and you have a perfect day ahead of you. It helps that the weather for this week is predicted to be sunny…at last!

You don’t even need to spend much, just grab whatever is in the fridge or cupboard that can be used as finger food and stick it in a lunchbox or rucksack.

It’s a known fact that food eaten outside always tastes so much better than when it’s eaten indoors.

Grab a blanket, pack some suncream, make sure you don’t forget hats or drinks for your children and head off somewhere new. Most of the places below are suitable for pushchairs.

Also check out this post about Great picnic spots in Basingstoke HERE.

Let me know if you enjoy these picnic spots too.

Great Picnic Spots near Basingstoke

Frensham Common, Frensham Great Pond Farnham, Surrey (love it here, but you need an offroad pushchair as a lot of the paths are sandy)
Greenham and Crookham Common, Newbury (love it here too. The cows gave my little one something to laugh at!)
Padworth Common, West Berkshire
Wokefield Common,  Wokefield, Berkshire
Yately Common, Yateley
Hartley Wintney Cricket Ground,  Hartley Wintney
Elvetham Heath pond, Elvetham Heath
Hosehill Lake nature, Reading
California Country Park, Wokingham
Horseshoe Lake, Bracknell
King’s Pond, Alton
Bucklebury Common, Berkshire
Thatcham Reedbeds, Thatcham
Forbury Gardens, Reading
Abbey Ruins, Reading
Heathlake, Wokingham
Christchurch Meadows, Reading
Alice Holt Forest, Nr Alton. See a review on NHM about Alice Holt
Lavell’s Lake, Wokingham
Aldermoors Local Nature Reserve, Wokingham

May 2013: I’ve just found a new picnic spot, which is fab! It’s over in Herriard, about 10 minutes drive from Basingstoke to Alton on the A339.

You pass the sign to Herriard and then take a left signed  to Upton Grey/Weston Patrick. The park and meadow are just on the right.

There are three play areas and a huge meadow which my toddler loved running around. It’s great for a picnic as there are a few trees so you can get some shade in the sun.

Are there any other great picnic spots in the area that you would like to share?

Related Pages

Great Picnic spots in Basingstoke

Basingstoke Toddlers

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

The “Top 5 play parks in Basingstoke” Poll – as voted by YOU!

Slings and Sling Meets in Basingstoke

You may have seen that I recently put out a plea to see if anyone had any advice or details about slings. I wish I had been able to find more about slings before my little one was born because once she was here there was no time to get things sorted. I really wanted to get one but had no idea where to start. I ended up buying a really expensive sling from Mama’s and Papa’s which we’ve used twice. Not the wisest of decisions.

After seeing my plea, Martina sent me a document that she wrote with Heather that she has very kindly given me permission to publish here. There is also a PDF document enclosed in this post which Martina sent which details the T.I.C.K.S. rule for safe baby wearing. I am going to post this on Thursday. If you are looking to buy a sling I urge you to read this document first.

Martina also highlighted information about your local sling meet which you can find from the following two websites:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/294541269792/ – Basingstoke Sling Meet

Thank you very much to Martina and Heather for the details. Please add a comment if you think the details will be useful as I’d like to pass that feedback onto Martina and Heather.

SLING GUIDE: Choosing a Sling for your Baby

by Heather Chinn and Martina Kraner

A sling should be on every new parent’s wish list. It is the closest thing to an  extra pair of hands you are likely to come across. They are infallible for  soothing a grizzly or colicky infant, keep the baby happy while letting you get  on with essential chores, and are invaluable while out and about, whether  travelling on public transport, negotiating steps, escalators and busy shops, or  on country walks.

So many slings are available today we are spoilt for choice, but the selection  is so wide it can be bewildering. When choosing a sling it is best to consider  when and how you plan to use it, if anyone else will be using it, and whether  you have the patience to master one of the trickier types. Or you could buy more  than one for different purposes.

Soft carriers which have been tried, tested and have had the seal of approval  from experienced sling users are usually sold by online vendors or at baby  shows, including NCT shop that has some new exciting ranges coming up in the near future.

But opportunities to try different types before you buy are available at local  sling meets held throughout the UK. They are organised by volunteers to help  others make the right choice of sling and they are also a good chance to meet  other new parents for coffee and a chat as well as sling tips. For information  about your local sling meet visit . The Basingstoke slingmeet at Buttercups children’s centre is no longer operational, but we will have slings regularly at the NCT Coffee and Chat on Friday’s if there is sufficient interest.

A wealth of helpful and friendly advice about slings is available at the UK  parenting forum www.naturalmamas.co.uk . Clear, concise, independent information  about different types of sling, the best places to find them and how to use them  is set out at www.slingguide.co.uk , a website set up by experienced and  impartial sling users to help parents choose and use the sling which is right  for them. As with all baby equipment the safety of your child is the top priority in  making your choice,  so do ensure you choose from recommended brands, follow the  instructions for use, and check for wear and tear with secondhand slings.

But be warned, they can be just as addictive as handbags and shoes, and you  might find yourself building up a collection! With that in mind, read on for a  brief guide to the most  popular types of sling.

Pouch Slings.

A pouch sling is a simple tube of fabric with one half folded inside the other  to form a pocket which is worn across the body like a sash. It allows a baby to  be carried in a variety of positions, for example upright facing in, or sitting on the parent’s hip. It can be used  from birth to toddlerhood by altering the carry position, and allows an older  baby to have arms and legs outside the sling. Pouches are made in a variety of materials from cuddly fleece to cool linen and  are quite cheap in comparison to other types of sling. They are also quick to  master, easy to put on in a hurry, and pack up small to carry in a change bag.  Unfolded, they can be used as car seat or buggy blankets, especially the fleece  types. They do, however, place all the weight on one shoulder, which can get  tiring for long periods with an older baby, and they have to be made to fit the  wearer so it is unlikely a partner could use it as well.

Ring Slings.

A ring sling is a long length of fabric with two rings sewn in at one end. The  other end of the material is threaded through the rings like a belt to form a  pocket for the baby with a tail of fabric hanging down. Ring slings are worn  over the shoulder like pouch slings and have the same variety of carries, but  the rings allow for adjustability in different positions and for different  wearers.

They come in a range of fabrics, can be padded or unpadded, and some are frankly  stunning for special occasions. However, learning to adjust the rings for a  comfortable fit takes a bit of practice – the rings are meant to sit in what the  Americans call the corsage position, not cutting into your neck. The types of shoulder vary (for example gathered, pleated, etc.) and what suits one person may not suit another. And, like the  pouch slings, they place all the weight on one shoulder.

Mei Tais.

These are a traditional type of Asian baby carrier. They consist of a shaped  piece of fabric to fit around the baby’s body with long straps at the base and  the top. The lower pair of straps tie around the wearer’s waist, and the top pair goes over the shoulders.

Mei tais can be used on the wearer’s front, back or hip, and, as the weight is spread  across both shoulders, they are very comfortable for long periods and with  heavier babies. They can be used by different sized adults without any  adjustments, and are suitable for babies with good head control until well into  toddlerhood.

Most mei tais come in a sumptuous range of fabric designs but plainer ones are  available for fathers! They are very easy to use, although back carrying single  handed takes a bit more practice. The only disadvantage is the length of the  straps which can trail on the ground while putting one on outside.

Soft Structured Carriers.

These are superficially similar to the mass-produced baby carriers available in  many high street mother and baby stores, having a padded body and fastening with  straps and buckles but, unlike the mass-produced carriers, are designed to take  the weight of heavy babies and toddlers. They can be used on the wearer’s front  or back, and, as the weight is distributed across both shoulders, they are very  comfortable for long periods.

They are quick and easy to put on, but if the carrier is to be shared with a  different sized adult you will have to learn to adjust the fitting of the  buckles. They are suitable for babies from about three-months-old until well  into toddlerhood. Some makes come in a beautiful range of fabrics, while others  are more utilitarian in style.


Wraps are very long lengths of material which are wrapped around the wearer and  baby, and tied. They are very versatile, allowing a complete range of carries on  one or both of the wearer’s shoulders, can be used by different sized adults and  are very comfortable for long periods.

They come in either stretchy or woven material. Stretchy wraps are easier to use  but do not give as much support for an older baby, so they become less  comfortable as the baby grows.

Woven wraps can be used from birth into toddlerhood but are more difficult to  master. All wraps require some practice before using them but most makers  include very detailed instructions and/or DVDs. They are not, however, the  quickest to put on and the lengths of fabric do trail on the ground while you  are wrapping.

The range of slings and soft carriers now available in the UK is very large so  only the most common types have been described in detail. Framed back pack carriers are not covered because, while many may be excellent  for hiking the Pennines carrying a toddler and outdoor activity gear, most  people find soft slings are more suitable for their everyday needs, and are far  less cumbersome, much lighter to wear and give babies the reassurance of contact  with a carer’s body.

The mass-produced carriers available in high street stores vary greatly in  quality and in comfort for the wearer. While for many experienced sling users  they were their first introduction to the convenience of hands-free baby care,  few would buy one for a second child as they tend to be comfortable only when  used with very young babies, making them a very expensive purchase for the time  they are used.

Have fun choosing!

Tommy’s Free Pregnancy Guide

Tommy’s is a charity that funds research into pregnancy problems and provides free, accurate and up-to-date information for both medical professionals and parents-to-be.

They have a Pregnancy Guide available which provides a lot of indepth information. You can request a copy of the pregnancy guide from this link HERE. Due to huge demand for the publication it is still free but you need to pay postage and packing.

Tommy’s also provide a number of free publications including: Having a premature baby; Planning for a healthy pregnancy; Pre-eclampsia – your questions answered and many other guides. If you click on the link above it will take you directly to the Tommy’s publication page.

Guest Post Wednesday: FitMama

Marie contacted me and asked me if I could publicise the details about FitMama on a “Guest Post” Wednesday. I wish I’d known about FitMama when I was pregnant!

Please can you tell all your NHM Readers about our lovely pregnancy and postnatal exercise & support courses, which are open for new bookings for May 2012. All details of our courses which are run out of the chineham business park, Basingstoke, are online and open for booking

  • Pregnancy Exercise and Education
  • Pelvic Floor & Tummy Repair
  • Postnatal Pilates
  • Functional Fitmama (for way past postnatal)
  • Personal one 2 one advice and support

We also specialise in helping women all types of Pelvic Girdle Pain, Hernia, Diastasis, Prolapse, Bladder Incontinence and any other maternity related problem.

Nutritional support for mum and baby available too. We love our mums, and hope you will support us by spreading the word… x


I had a look at the website and it’s interesting to note that some of FitMama’s clients believe they are a great alternative to the NCT antenatal classes. So if you think NCT isn’t for you, FitMama might be!

Thanks for the details Marie!