Little Play Town – Making our voices heard!

Following on from my post on Monday about Little Play Town’s imminent closure, I’ve been overwhelmed with feedback on what to do to try to stop this from happening.

At this stage, I’ve been advised that the best thing to do is to email the Odiham MP and express your concerns to him. The more people who do this, the more likely he will actually take notice and hopefully do something to stop Little Play Town from closing or help with finding a different, far more suitable, location.

Ranil Jayawardena is the Odiham MP and:

If you would also like to email Maria Miller at the same time then you can:

The twitter hashtag is #DontCloseLPT and this is the twitter account for

I’ve also been advised that it might also be worth mentioning that this may affect your vote at the next local election…

You can also email the local Hart councillors because local councillors need to put this as an agenda item at the next Hart full council meeting. They will then have to give us time to ask questions, discuss and get the community’s concerns across. As the whole of the Hart districts will be represented if a new venue is needed then hopefully lots of opportunities will arise.

If you feel as passionate about this as I know lots and lots of you do, please take a couple of minutes of your time to email to make your views known.

Thank you very much to everyone who has reached out with feedback. It’s been an amazing response and I really, really, REALLY hope that the people who can influence this decision sit up and pay attention. I also had NO idea how many local solicitors, lawyers and people from Hart and Basingstoke councils followed NorthHantsMum! lol.

It’s awesome to know that a group of people who are normally defined as “just Mum’s” are actually some pretty powerful people in the area!!! 😀 😀 :-D.

Oh and Mr NHM has given me a long lecture this evening for being too political because NorthHantsMum is supposed to be impartial <facepalm>.

It is, but when it comes to something that is going to directly affect local families, especially children and Mum’s who are my target audience, and when I received so much feedback from my readers, then I need to use my influence to share what I have learnt and do what I can to help. Which is what NorthHantsMum has always been about.

So, please, please, please take a couple of minutes to email our local MP’s and if you get a chance, let me know when you’ve done it so I can let everyone know how many people have taken up the cause and we can see if we can have some influence on this debacle!!!

Thank you!!!!!

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Chalk Ridge Christmas Fayre – 1st December 2018

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The Warren Pre-School – Special Offer for November 2018

*Special Offer*
The Warren Pre-school is offering free Pre-school Taster sessions available during November.

For further details or to book a place contact the Manager on 01635 268516, 07527680196 or email

Alternatively message us via our website ( or Facebook page (

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Little Play Town is Closing

We are so sad to say that Little Play Town is being closed down by the Council. We would like to thank every adult, baby and child that came to Little Play Town. I’ve loved seeing your reaction when you come in. All the wows! And the smiles, all the fun, the learning and the experiences that the kids and adults had. Creating Little Play Town was a dream come true and I’m forever grateful for every happy moment I’ve seen and every kind word to said to me. Thank you for sharing the Little Play Town experience with me and all the staff. I’ve tried to make every person feel welcomed and included and I’ve met some wonderful people, both big and little!

Sadly, our neighbours from downstairs reported us to the Council as soon as Little Play Town opened and have been campaigning to shut us down ever since we started. It has come to light after working diligently with the Council that the building has foundational issues and although we have tried every sound proof solution currently available in the U.K., we can not fix the foundations of the building. And as we can’t fix it, the landlord is evicting us to pre-empt any problems for himself.

We would like everyone to know that we had no idea that the building would provide issues when we signed the lease and we never had any intention to make a noise and upset anyone. The Council gave us a D2 recreational lease for a nursery. We do not make any noise that you would not expect from any child, baby or adult at any nursery across the U.K. and we did not at this point receive any objections from the 2 downstairs neighbours during our application. All parties knew exactly what we were going to do. We’ve been working every day for over a year to rectify the problems that the neighbours have subsequently had, but frustratingly the Council has turned down the planning application to put steel plates and pavement slabs in the building make the foundation stronger, so that it will be able to hold the very heavy soundproof floors which weigh 100kg per square meter. It’s a beautiful old listed building – the light is stunning and the first time I walked in I could imagine how lovely it would be to have a role play facility for little ones in the area and what a special place it would be for the children to enjoy.

We were completely unaware that and when anyone walks on the floors the noise could be heard below, especially when the building had previously been used as an office. We feel we have been treated very unfairly by some of those opposed to our business; we passed two professional sound testing tests and we are within normal limits for residential and commercial building regulations using our current padding solutions we have in place at present. But due to continual campaigning the Council have decided that these professional tests are not good enough. We feel it’s unfair that we pass testing but we are still not allowed to stay open due to opposition by vociferous individuals who are prominent in the community.

There is still one solution available that can save Little Play Town, and that’s to put a suspended ceiling in the gift store below. Structural engineers have been working closely with us in the past year: this solution can be put into place in 4 days and then the noise is gone. And we will pay for it all for the sake of continuing our special Little Play Town. We needed the approval for this situation from the gift store below, as this the only way to fix the building. But the individual in charge is refusing. And although the individual in question knows that we will be closed down and lose all our savings of 85K which will have a terrible impact upon our family, she has said in every meeting to us and the council that ‘it’s not her problem.’ We always wanted an amicable, mutually supportive relationship with our neighbours, but we feel they have been set against us from the start and just want us out whatever we do.

The final straw happened this week, when we emailed the gift store, the coffee shop owners, the Council and the landlord. We wanted to say that we have a party this Saturday with kids with disabilities, and that some noise might occur. We wanted to do the right thing and tell them as we didn’t want another complaint from the owners to the Council on Monday, so we though it best to inform them. Within the hour of receiving our email, the Council received a call from the gift store to complain. I really couldn’t believe it. At Little Play Town ALL kids are welcome. And for us to be told by the Council that ‘these” people – disabled kids – should not be let in at Little Play Town if they are going to cause more noise, I am flabbergasted. Demanding that we do ‘anything’ to prevent noise, even if it means to turn kids with disabilities away, is against everything we stand for and shows how irrational and narrow minded the opposition we have faced is. I believe role play is very beneficial for any child and my door has always been open to anyone that wishes to come in.

We’ve spoken to the MP, who is across the road from us. He has been invited a few times to come and see what Little Play Town offers the families of Odiham and surrounding communities, but so far he has shown no interest. We have also spoken to the Parish Council and the Councillors of Odiham. We have applied for a grant to help us pay for the floors the council wants us to put in which cost just under £20000, but were not successful. They have put us in an impossible position. We have 10 staff members at Little Play Town and all of us stand to lose our jobs. And most of my staff live in Odiham. Little Play Town is such an asset to the community and we could do so much more but for the entrenched, short sighted, and very personal opposition to us.

In the end, my husband tells me that my health is more important than the business which I love so much; having to be rushed off in an ambulance thinking that I’m having a heart attack over all the daily stress of the pass year, and getting heart palpitations daily when I enter Odiham, being afraid of entering the car park of my own business – all of it is just not worth it. We’ve come to realise that the neighbours weren’t willing to give us a chance and work with us – the first verbal attacks happened while I was still unpacking Little Play Town and we hadn’t even opened. Since then I have been attacked by the coffee shop owner and the police had to be called. After the police spoke to them they agreed that they will not enter Little Play Town again. But this hasn’t stopped me from always having to be on guard, always wondering if I will be attacked or intimidated again.I would like to thank the mom and child who were also verbally abused by the coffee shop owner, writing a statement to the police regarding the incident, as the same happened to me minutes later.

So here we are. We are not sure if we have 1 week, 2 weeks or 1 month left. I’m sure there will be a few that will be happy that we are gone, but I’m hoping that most of you will feel it is a loss and a shame. I have written this from the heart and I’ve never been very good at writing but I’m not going to edit this. We are good kind and honest people, and we have been trying very hard to fix this problem but we can only do so much but the 2 owners from downstairs have no intention of meeting us half way or at all of that matter. My kids want heir mommy back, as all they see is me crying every day.

So if you love Little Play Town, come and visit us for one last time. As I’m not sure for how much longer we will be here for. My heart is broken. I love Little Play Town and I’m struggling to come to term with this, but it’s been taken out of our hands. I hope you remember those moments with your children at Little Play Town as fondly as I do – I will miss you all. All the smiles and laughter. All the happiness.

Thanks you for reading my story. Feel free to share it on.

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Facebook has deactivated the NorthHantsMum FB Page

On Thursday, when I discovered that Facebook had moved my FB pages into a Business Manager, I moved them out of the Business Manager because I have no idea what it is and I don’t want to use it as it’s clearly yet ANOTHER attempt by FB to make money out of me.

Facebook moved my pages into the Business Manager with no warning.


I was then advised by FB that they would be removing my admin rights from the pages and deleting my FB Pages within 24 hours.

At first I was absolutely LIVID.

How DARE they do this. AGAIN!

Three years ago, in 2015, they “decided” to change my profile to a page and it caused me an extreme amount of stress and grief.

However, this time I was a bit more prepared. I’ve put systems in place to ensure that if FB decided to screw my business over again I would be prepared. (I know NHM isn’t a business, it’s a not for profit, but I class it as a business given how much time and effort it takes several of us to run!)

On Friday, I woke up with a great feeling of relief and calmness.

The decision has been made for me.

Every 6 months to a year Facebook does a massive change which “screws” those of us who are running small businesses.

I am absolutely sick of it. The time and effort it takes to get things “back on track” after another Facebook algorithm change or changing the notifications so no one can see what you post. I just don’t have the energy for it anymore.

I also learnt this week that Facebook track all of the websites that you click on from the device that you’ve connected to Facebook from (I kind of knew this already). I’m fairly sure that should be illegal!!! I also learnt that they own WhatsApp.

Ironically, in the past two weeks I’ve been moaning about FB to the Small Business Networking group and some of the Mum’s on the school run, so I wasn’t that surprised when it happened this week! lol.

I intensely dislike the way Facebook are trying to exploit people and I dislike the ethics of the company.


Never miss a NorthHantsMum blog post again!!

As I am soooo over Facebook and their ridiculous changes that are only there to try to make money out of people, after 7.5 years, I’ve decided that I won’t be having an FB page again.

Someone had already commented on the annual NHM Survey that it was confusing having so many things being posted in so many different places.

So, from now on, you can subscribe on the website (see picture below) to receive the posts via email and you can add me as a friend at “Louise nhm Smith”.

What it looks like if you are subscribing via a tablet, iPad, laptop or PC (top of the page on the right)

That’s it.

I will no longer update the “NorthHantsMum FB Page” and if FB choose to delete the page – well, that’s up to them.

You can’t search FB pages anyway so it makes much more sense to keep the content in the website alone.

You can still share posts from the website to Facebook as the functionality is available at the bottom of each post on the website.

Subscribing on a Tablet, iPad, PC or Laptop

It’s much, much, MUCH easier to subscribe to to NHM on an ipad, tablet, PC or laptop.

So if there is any way you can get hold of one of those, definitely try to subscribe there as the subscribe box is at the top of the screen on the right hand side (see the picture above with the text under it).

Subscribe on a phone

If you are trying to subscribe via a phone, the best way is to scroll to the very BOTTOM of the home page, as far as you can go (past all of the posts) and then scroll BACK UP slowly:

  • past the “Categories”,
  • past the “Navigation Menu”,
  • past the “Random Business Directory Listing”,
  • past the “Recent NorthHantsMum Posts”,
  • past the “Search NorthHantsMum”
  • and “Subscribe to NorthHantsMum via email” will be just there.

It takes much longer to explain than to actually subscribe on a phone! lol.

Hopefully if you subscribe you won’t be subject to FB and the limitations that they place on what you see from NorthHantsMum as subscribing on the website means you won’t miss ANYTHING that is published on the website.

It would be awesome if you were able to share this post with others who you know are active followers of NorthHantsMum.

As always, thank you VERY much for your support and understanding and thank you in advance for subscribing on the website.

Thank you!!!!


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Children’s parade to light up Festival Place as it launches season of festive fun in Basingstoke’s “most magical Christmas ever!”

A spectacular light-up children’s parade will launch six weeks of non-stop festive fun at Festival Place, Basingstoke, in what promises to be the town’s most magical Christmas shopping season ever.

The town centre shopping and leisure destination has pulled out all the stops this year to prepare a full programme of events, competitions and attractions that will keep visitors in the Christmas spirit throughout November and December.

The most wonderful time of the year begins on the evening of Friday, November 16, with a parade and dance display featuring local schoolchildren alongside an array of magical woodland characters, including Squirrel Nancy Nutkins, Deer Darlington, Anka The Snow Hare, and many more! Not forgetting Snow White, from the Anvil!

The procession, starting at 6pm, will use the latest lighting technology to put shoppers at the heart of the event. The stunning switch-on finale will take place at 6.30pm.

Visitors to the launch event will each be issued with a band that illuminates. Ten lucky people will have their band change colour and will win a £100 shopping voucher for Festival Place.

After the parade, shoppers are invited to spend the evening exploring Festival Place’s huge range of top-brand retailers, leisure facilities and restaurants.

The parade is only the beginning, as a variety of festive events fill a fun-packed calendar throughout the shopping season.

Visitors will be able to try their hands at The Snowball Throwball competition, become a Stealthy Elfy in a laser mission, get hands-on with the latest children’s gifts at the Toy Lab, take time out in calming Christmas wreath-making workshops, get their pressies wrapped for a donation to St Michael’s Hospice, and get gift tips from the centre’s very own Fairy Gift Mother. Visitors will, of course, be able to visit Santa in his traditional Grotto on the second floor, which will be Destination Christmas. All the activities will be free for visitors.

Neil Churchill, Centre Director at Festival Place, said: “This is my first Christmas at Festival Place, and the first since a huge refurbishment which has transformed the centre.

“We wanted to do something spectacular this year to celebrate the changes, launching with an action-packed event that families will love, and then continuing throughout the season with the biggest and best programme of events and activities that Festival Place has ever seen.

“We’re really excited to capture that Christmassy feeling and the excitement that comes with seeking out special presents for loved ones in a magical, welcoming environment that has something for everyone.

“The whole Festival Place team are already feeling festive and can’t wait to welcome the thousands of visitors who will experience Basingstoke’s most magical Christmas ever this November and December.”

For the first Christmas shopping season, visitors will enjoy the benefits of Festival Place’s newly-refurbished car park with improvements including wider spaces, lights to alert drivers to free spaces, and more payment machines. And watch out – there are even rumours that Santa himself may be parking there during the festive period!

The full line-up of events and activities:

November 16 – Christmas Launch (6pm)

Join woodland friends, Nancy Nutkins, Deer Darlington, Anka the Snow Hare and Snow White in the magical parade through the forest to help wake up Snowy the Wishmas Owl and kickstart the season. The parade will end in Porchester Square and culminate in a grand finale of dance, lighting up a giant animatronic installation.

November 16 to December 24 – Snowball throwball

Visitors will be invited to test their aim at Snowball Throwball! On your marks, get set, throw! Throw some magic at Snowball Throwball!

November 16 to December 24 – Gift Guide Live

Stuck for gift ideas? Gift Guide Live is here to help with your gifting needs. Hosted by everyone’s favourite Fairy Gift Mother on November 17 and 18, get inspiration and treat your loved ones to what they really want this Christmas.

November 24 and 25 – Cracker Station

Get crafty and join our elves at the Christmas Cracker Making Station! Fill your crackers with giggles, jokes and wishes to set your Christmas off with a bang! Super festive fun for all ages. Sponsored by Basingstoke Together.

December 1 and 2 – The Toy Lab

Try out the latest toys, gadgets and Christmas must-haves for little (and big) kids. All elf approved, of course!

December 8 to 22: Stealthy Elfy

Do you have what it takes to be a Stealthy Elfy? Get the presents under the tree without being caught to climb the leaderboard in this interactive laser game. Will you win?

Various dates between November 16 and December 16: Flower Therapy

Need a break from Christmas Shopping? Head over to the Hampshire Flower Studio for mindfulness wreath making. Learn a new skill and natter away in this adult only space – with no outside distractions! Tea and cake provided. Make sure to book your slot at the Customer Lounge.

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December (Led by Basingstoke BID on December 20) : The Happy Wrappy Place

Rubbish at wrapping? Need an extra pair of hands for those tricky presents? The Happy Wrappy Team are here to help! Festive Services are here to help! Get all wrapped up with Festive Services in aid of St Michael’s Hospice.

November 15 to December 24 – Santa’s Grotto

Come and visit our fabulous, festive grotto and meet a very special person indeed. A truly magical Christmas experience for all the family, open throughout November and December!

For further updates on Christmas at Festival Place visit or find details on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Oliver’s Fight Against Neuroblastoma

Who is Oliver?

Oliver was only 2 years old when his family were delivered life shattering news. He was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma just weeks before his third birthday and what has since followed, has changed Oliver and his family’s lives forever.

To be told that your child is suffering from a life-threatening disease is an experience no parent should have to face. Heartbreakingly, after Oliver and his family had the relief of being told that he was in remission and cancer free in May 2017, he subsequently suffered a relapse in January 2018. Having already seen their brave little boy endure the horrors of cancer, the treatment it entails and all the dreadful side effects, this was a devastating blow.

Now 5 years old, Oliver’s parents are seeking to create a community to help follow their journey and support in any way they can to help see their beautiful little boy free from this terrible disease once and for all. His most recent rounds of chemotherapy have been going well and he is responding really well. Living in the Basingstoke area, Oliver’s parents, Jo and Matt, are aiming to raise the funds required to access treatments abroad that aren’t available on the NHS, which could be the key to him making a full recovery.

How can the NorthHantsMum community help?

The NorthHantsMum community have proven themselves to be caring, kind and supportive through all manner of different causes. We would really love to see as many of you as possible take a moment to like and follow Oliver’s Facebook page. If you have an extra moment, giving the page a share will also help to spread the message further.

Oliver’s parents will be posting regular updates on fundraisers and local events taking place to help them to reach the goal to get him to the States and any contribution that can be made will be gratefully received.

Perhaps you work for a local business who are looking for a charity to support? Maybe you know of businesses who could make a donation that could be used to raise funds for this very important cause. As the saying goes, every little helps!

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Review 2018: Gymfinity

Thank you very much to S for today’s NHM Review! She’s done a fab job!!!

Review 2018: Gymfinity


Gymfinity is a kids activity centre.

They say: “Gymfinity Kids is the one-stop destination for active classes for kids. From budding gymnasts to natural born ninjas, all skill levels are welcome to join the fun!”.

They host all types of gymnastic classes, holiday camps, baby balance, Ninja Zone and parties.

There are several types of gymnastic classes ranging from beginners, intermediate to advanced and team gymnastics.

Ninja Zone was: ” designed to help children channel their boundless energy into something productive.

This fun and energetic class combines a mix of martial arts, freestyle movement and gymnastics. Every one-hour session includes warm-ups, games and rotations adapted to each child’s ability, plus a fun obstacle course. As their skill and ability grows, each child will advance through the different levels.”

Baby Balance sessions are: “”30 minutes of FREE sensory play for babies aged 3 months +. These are parent-led sessions where you can spend quality time with your little one, while catching up with other parents too!”

There are lots more details about each of the classes at the following link:

They have branches in Farnborough, Colchester, Reading and Leeds. I visited the Farnborough branch with my 8 year old son.

Every child has a free trial prior to signing up; this means that the child and parent gets to see if the facilities work for them, and it also gives the coaches a chance to assess the child’s ability and place them in the correct group for their ability.

Every coach is trained by a regional trainer regularly which means that they are all trained to the same standard. They also train coaches on the floor during classes so they receive on-the-job training.


Gymfinity is based on the upper floor of the Meads Shopping centre (above Sainsbury’s). I would advise you get to your session in plenty of time to get a parking space and pay for your ticket.


There is a vending machine and a hot drinks machine in the gym. These are usual vending prices.


There is plenty of seating so you can watch your child during the class. There are a couple of tables. There are male and female toilets and disabled toilet with nappy changing facilities. They are very clean and well maintained.

There are two party rooms, both with disco lights which are very cool. I was told their unicorn themed party is very popular.

The gym itself has loads of equipment including balance beams, trampolines, assault course (with timer), vaulting horse, climbing wall as well as two slides which end in a massive foam pit.

Baby facilities

There are changing facilities in the disabled toilets


There is a car park which costs £2 for two hours. This can be refunded if you spend £5 in Sainsbury’s.


The trial session is free but if you decide you want to go ahead with classes these are prices as follows;

Pre-schoolers (up to 4.5): 25.95 a month with £30 annual membership fee
Recreational (4.5-16 years): 34.62 a month with £30 annual membership fee
Additional child: same monthly price but just £5 annual membership fee

Classes run daily and at weekends. At the end of each class children receive any awards and certificates they have earned.

Rating out of 5

5/5. Gymfinity is honestly amazing; it is well air conditioned without being chilly, light and airy. The gym itself is bright and colourful and very inviting to children (I was very tempted to dive headfirst into the foam pit after my son!)

The coaches are fantastic, really encouraging to the children and willing to throw themselves into the activity (my son certainly put his instructor through her paces). There are plenty of coaches on the floor who can help those children who need it and there is a maximum of 10 children per class.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Gymfinity Farnborough. Our session was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. We were not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are our own.

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Baby & Me Time

Baby & Me Time offers fun and informal baby massage classes in Basingstoke in a warm, calm and relaxed environment. Take the opportunity to relax and bond with your baby whilst also meeting other parents.

We follow the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) curriculum and over 5 weeks you will learn a full body massage routine for your baby.  We will also cover benefits of massage, use of oils, alternatives to massage, a gas and colic routine and adaptations for the growing child to enable you to continue massaging your child for many years to come.

You will benefit from support and guidance from an experienced instructor trained by the IAIM who have been training instructors for over 30 years and last year celebrated their 20th anniversary in the UK.

Our next course starts on Thursday 15th November at Hatch Warren Community Centre. Please contact us for more information or to book onto the course.


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Be rewarded for your loyalty with new Basingstoke shopping scheme!!

Shoppers in Basingstoke can now reap the benefits of supporting the Hampshire high street as a new loyalty card scheme has been launched to encourage residents to love local.

The Basingstoke Rewards scheme, which is available from today (Thursday 1 November) courtesy of Basingstoke Together, gives shoppers access to a wide range of offers and discounts. A wealth of Basingstoke businesses and national chains are supporting the scheme including shops, restaurants, solicitors, recruitment agencies, insurance companies, sports and leisure facilities.

The card boasts discounts including 10% off in Topshop, Monsoon, Accessorize and Yankee Candle as well as 20% off in Zizzi, a month’s free membership at Anytime Fitness, 40% off Taylor’s Hair & Beauty plus many more.

Lucy Boazman, Chief Executive of Basingstoke Together, said: “The new Basingstoke Rewards card is packed with brilliant ways to save money from an impressive range of retailers throughout the town centre.

“There is huge pressure on high streets throughout the UK to combat the ever-popular trend of shopping online. So, we hope that people in Basingstoke will support local businesses by visiting the town for all of their shopping, leisure and business needs. They can also be happy in the knowledge that their money will be going further by doing so.”

Basingstoke Together is the public face of the Basingstoke Business Improvement District (BID). The BID’s aim is to help Basingstoke town centre to thrive by creating destination events, engaging with consumers and supporting retailers and businesses. The organisation hopes that the loyalty card will encourage more shoppers to visit Festival Place, The Malls and the Top of Town as value-for-money shopping destinations.

Shoppers can save every time they make a purchase at participating venues by showing the specially created loyalty cards. The card, which will be valid until 31 March 2021, costs £2 as a one-off purchase and it is available from the Basingstoke Together website from today (Thursday 1 November).

Fran Balogh from The Salt Lounge, in Feathers Yard, which is offering 20% off treatments to Basingstoke Rewards card holders, said: “We try to encourage people to use a more natural way to heal their respiratory and skin problems. This new loyalty card enables us to achieve this by making treatments more affordable. Being able to get involved in the project and offer customers discounts in businesses like ours really is a great opportunity for us and our valued clients.”

Shops and brands who are part of the Basingstoke Rewards scheme include:

National brands

  • Monsoon

  • Zizzi’s

  • Caffe Nero

  • Gourmet Burger Kitchen

  • Yankee Candle

  • Oasis

  • Mountain Warehouse

  • Moss Bros

  • Pizza Hut

  • A Plan Insurance

Independent businesses:

  • Wax Works

  • Exciting Escapes

  • The Tea Bar

  • Basingstoke Sports Centre

  • Basingstoke Service Centre

  • Taylors Hair and Beauty

  • Clarke and Son Solicitors

  • Lamb Brooks Solicitors

For more information or to purchase a Basingstoke Rewards card, visit

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