NHM Readers Recommend: Top Tips when Visiting Orlando

An NHM Reader recently asked “We are off to Orlando for the last few weeks of August and I was wondering if the NHM Community had any top tips? It will be a “once in a lifetime trip” so we want to ensure we get the most out of our time there.”

Thank you for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Top Tips when Visiting Orlando

Rhiannon said “There are often Facebook groups that give hints and tips on certain trips, especially if youre planning on doing the parks.”

Jo said “I would say join a fb Orlando group…I did this before we went to Disneyland Paris in March and got some fab insider tips”

Kerri said “You will need to take plenty of fluids with you so buy cheap water bottles and pack. In Disney and universal there are drinking water refill stations. Food at the parks is pricey and even more so because of the exchange rate so stock up on snacks at a local store. Although you’ll read that you can’t take picnics in we did on many occasions and the staff always let us through. There’s a lot of walking. We hired a pushchair for our then 5 year old as it was too much for him in the heat. It’s pricey to hire pushchairs in the park but we bought one from Walmart for $20 which was basically a days hire. The queues can be long but they’re well prepared for it and there’s often things to see and do in the lines. You can pre book your fast track rides months in advance and it’s worth doing.”

Rachel H replied “Where did you read you can’t take picnics into Disney? Just curious. We’ve never had an issue taking food in with us and I’ve never read you can’t.”

Susan said “Look up ‘Everything free to do at Disney’ You can go behind the scenes in one of the restaurants, ride the monorails etc https://www.bestoforlando.com/…/10-free-things-you-can…/. Also http://stepstomagic.com/free-water-disney/

Vicky saidI’d highly recommend signing up to the website The Dibb. It’s a fantastic source of Disney and Orlando information. There’s a forum which has great advice and free planners you can use to maximise your time. There is a ‘busy day’ calculator so you can plan which parks will be best to visit on which days (it uses data collected from previous years) & pretty much advice on any aspect of your holiday. Have a great time (I’m not jealous in the slightest!!).”

Rachel H saidTake a picnic and/or snacks (not as important if free dining offer). Quick service locations offer free water (ice water), no need to buy bottled. Avoid the water fountains, warm and strange taste. Quick service locations, adults can order kids meals (they are big portions).

Use the my Disney experience app in the parks to book the next fast pass once the initial 3 have been used (as soon as you scan into the last ride you can book the 4th).

Hit the parks early, you’ll get lots done in the first two hours.

We love Boma for breakfast (Animal Kingdom Lodge), if doing Princess dining, we preferred Akershaus, but there is something amazing about eating in the castle.

Check opening hours, Magic Kingdom will close early some nights for the Halloween Parties.

The balloons are ridiculously expensive, if getting one, purchase at the start of the holiday.

If staying onsite without a car, allow plenty of time to get to reservations. The buses can take a while.

Sign up for a Landry card if eating in their restaurants (rainforest cafe is one).

We were impressed with Red Lobster food, quality and price.

Crazy golf is great.

It’s impossible to do everything, so don’t try to. Pick what is most important to you, not what others say has to be done.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Where to go to Pick Pumpkins

Last year, an NHM Reader asked the following question, which I thought would be useful to post now: “Do you know anywhere (doesn’t have to be local, hour or so drive away) where you can pick pumpkins?”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for your responses, listed below in no particular order. 

Thank you also to Juliet for putting this post together!!

NHM Readers recommend where to go to pick pumpkins

Wendy said:

“Seen lots of people go here http://bournevalleypyo.co.uk/

This place still has some https://www.facebook.com/rogatepumpkinpatch/

“And this place still has loads https://www.facebook.com/HollamNurseries/

Kathryn said:

“Bourne valley pyo, went there Friday but they are going fast!”

Siobhan said:

Farm near Crofton Equestrian at Fareham”

Amy said:

“Pickwell Farm, Netley”

Amanda said:

I was on the road from Petersfield to Rogate on A272 today .. there are 2 farms along that road that are selling PYO pumpkins”

Sarah said:

There is somewhere in romsey near the swimming pool”

Yvette said:

Secretts garden centre near Godalming is a great pick your own place. You even get to go on a tractor to the field!”

Laura said:

Here might have some. We went in the summer for other crops and it was so quiet but good produce. http://www.durleighmarshfarmshop.co.uk/

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NHM Readers Recommend: Getting Around with Kids without a Car

I recently had a question from a NHM Reader that I asked the NHM Community to help with: “For medical reasons I have been told I need to permanently stop driving. With 3 young children (1, 4 & 6) the thought of not being able to drive is utterly frightening and I am really struggling with it. I would really appreciate hearing from mums who don’t drive and how they find doing normal day to day things and special school holiday things without driving. I have no idea how we can continue with swimming, Beavers, football etc. I don’t have family to help and I don’t know what I am going to do!”

Thank you to the NHM Community for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order.

NHM Readers Recommend: Getting Around with Kids without a Car

Kathryn said “I don’t drive (hubby does) and was a sahm for the first 18 months of my second daughter’s life… Both of my girls love the bus. I found we were quite well connected, live in Popley, had nursery in town centre and attended various baby groups all over Basingstoke. I downloaded the network map on my phone so I could always check which buses went to somewhere before committing to going. Just had to allow time for longer journeys and the possibility that I couldn’t fit on the bus with the pushchair and having to wait for the next one… But it is doable”

Claire M said “I grew up in a family where my mum didn’t drive. I didn’t miss out at all, you will probably find your kids will become more independent as a result when they get a bit older. Trains are pretty good these days too with the 4 for 2 deals etc. As long as you live close to public transport you will be fine”

Claire D said “I have a 5, 3 and 2 year old (and an almost 18 year old). I am learning to drive but obviously currently dont. When I was with the kids Dad he drove but I still had to make my own way about when he was at work. I rely on buses, taxis and trains. I still am able to get to work and back and take the kids to school etc. I shop online, go and do small shops and also occasionally get lifts to do slightly bigger shops. I get by. It can get stressful, but the norm for me.

I also often have to navigate London with my 5 and 3 year old on foot and my 2 year old in a pushchair. When I have the pushchair, I find my route with buses and plan in advance. When I am lucky to have a babysitter for my youngest, I get the tube. Recently I had 4 London visits with the kids, to places that I didnt know, in two weeks. I survived, 2 visits were after night shifts.

Also a rail card is a great thing to have. £30 for a year and you get quite a saving on train tickets with it. They also do “buy one get one free” deals on entry tickets to places in London when travelling by train with a rail card https://www.network-railcard.co.uk/  https://www.network-railcard.co.uk/news-offers/days-out/

Ruth saidI was going to recommend this too! 🙂and google maps – if you select directions, and the little bus/train icon before putting in where you want to go, it gives you all the bus/train route info plus how long to walk at each stage! And if you can afford to invest in a Merlin card then there is lots to do in London when they are a bit older, plus sealife centre in Weymouth on the pass is a great day out on the train. I remember doing all sorts by public transport with my mum as dad was the only driver and worked pretty much the whole summer hols”

Kate said “There is a service called ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ who are happy to transport kids and support anyone with getting out and about. Driving Miss Daisy Whitchurch

Katie said “Speak to other parents at clubs and see if you can get lifts for your children from them. We share lifts to most clubs and would give lifts to non drivers as we are going anyway.”

Hannah said “I won’t lie it is tough sometimes but my boy is only 3 1/2 And used to only going to places on bus/train with me. My OH drives but tbh if he is working a Sunday he has to miss his rugby because we can’t get there. I would definitely see if there are other parents who could help out with clubs etc”

Zoe said “I don’t drive and have the same age children as you. My husband drives but is only around the weekends so we rely on public transport and walking throughout the week. Don’t think my children miss out because of me not driving. I guess it depends where you live and how far away the clubs etc are from you?”

Kelly said “I do drive but my husband doesn’t anymore due to complications with his type 1 diabetes. You may be entitled to a free bus pass as you have had to stop driving for medical reasons. Online food shopping is vital too it saves carrying bags. As for clubs maybe ask friends to help or move lessons to the weekends so youre not getting home too late with tired children on public transport.”

Sharon said “I don’t drive, and live in the town centre partly for that reason. I do spend a fair bit of time finding activities I can access as a lot of these are out in the ‘burbs. To be honest I limit bus use as I find this a pain with my youngest (2) needing a buggy for longer journeys (and all the stuff we still have to cart around!) – there often isn’t room on a bus for us so I always go one bus early to allow for a fall back plan. We do the things we can get to. My mum or husband help with one-offs if they are around. We arrange further days out when hubby or parents are around, which to be honest works nicely as these are often too expensive to do often anyway! Best of luck sorting out the clubs side of things.”

Mindy said Consider doing your sums and working out what you save on insurance, petrol etc and giving yourself a budget for taxis for some trips”

Mata said “I don’t drive and neither does my husband. We use public transport and taxis. We choose everything based on non-driving: where we live, work, what activities the kids do. Not driving is hard in Hampshire, especially in more rural areas. It is not too bad in Basingstoke. And the norm in London.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs running over the summer for 3 year olds

I recently had the following question from an NHM Reader “There seem to be lots of things going on in the summer break for 4 plus, as my little one doesn’t turn 4 till end of August is there a list of clubs etc that are running in the summer hols for 3 year olds?”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order.

NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs running over the summer for 3 year olds

Louise Nhm said “This link might help: http://www.northhantsmum.co.uk/…/classes-still-running…/

Heather saidBasing beans is still on in the holidays. Tuesday 10 till 1130 at Lychpit Village Hall.”

Jo said “We are running our under 5 activities until the last 2 weeks of August, all being well. Our under 5 activities are at The Hurst Leisure Centre. Tomorrow we have Messy Play.

Cerys said “NCT Coffee & Chat is open every Friday at Brookvale Village Hall, 10.00-12.00”

Kim said‘What’s Inside The Box?’ Story Time sessions with Routine Riots are still running over the summer too at Viables…with some extra summer sessions also!”

Andy said “We are running family exercise classes for under 5’s. Check out our page for the times @Tntfamilyfitnessuk

Sarah P saidI am running 3 Hartbeeps classes in Hook. Perfect for toddlers.

HOOK 3 week mini-summer half term
Class 1: Tuesday 24th July
Class 2: Tuesday 31st July
Class 3: Tuesday 7th July

10.00-10.45 Happy House (confident walkers and their older/younger siblings – older siblings up to 8yrs welcome)
11.00-11.45 Baby Beeps (independently sitting babies to walkers)
12.00-12.45 Baby Bells (new born to independently sitting babies)

Location: Elizabeth Hall, Raven Rd, Hook, RG27 9HH
Cost: 3 wk half term = £18.00, (plus £3.00 per class for 1st sibling)

Email me to book your toadstool, sarahjp@hartbeeps.com”

Sarah C replied “Sarah is lovely and fab with kids! Mine love her!!!”

Lee-Anne saidAlphabetty Adventures is running every Friday at Oakridge hall at 10 am. Full of dancing, singing and crafts.”

Kelly T said “The hurst leisure are running lots of activities for under 5’s”

Allison saidTot Cross Buns is running classes – perfect for 3 year olds”

Kelly W said “Jiggy Wrigglers are collaborating with other baby/toddler groups to give little ones memorable summer activities Jiggy Wrigglers – Summer Events

Katie said Check out our classes here…. A few for 3 year olds to try…. https://www.kidskandance.co.uk/our-new-classes We also have dance classes for age 3 on 1st and 3rd August too. Drop me a message and I can send you all the details.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: What to do when your child is frightened of dogs

An NHM Reader recently asked for advice regarding their son’s fear of dogs “He’s 6 and loves all other animals. Nothing has ever happened to make him scared and I don’t know how this has developed. I’m not a dog fan so tend to just ignore them, but he isn’t able to do that.

Obviously have asked him why he feels like this (he doesn’t know but I think it’s their energy and speed) and have explained again and again that most dogs are out to have fun and aren’t remotely interested in him.

We don’t know anyone who has a dog, no one we know well anyway, so aren’t able to help him by spending time with a dog in that way. So I was wondering if anyone had any helpful suggestions of what we could try?

Most mornings on the walk to school we see a dog or two so it’s affecting him pretty much daily.”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for all your offers of help, listed below in no particular order are your suggestions:

NHM Readers recommend what to do when your child is frightened of dogs

Tracy said “Maybe borrow my doggy website may be helpful. If you can find someone with a very calm/older dog that he can get to know.”

Becky said “The library in town used to run dog awareness sessions for children frightened of dogs. Might be worth contacting them to see if they have any sessions running soon. This was last year’s session at the library so ignore the date but may do something similar in the future” https://www.facebook.com/events/120949278409726/

Becki said “I think Dogs trust do something about children and dogs. I’m sure I saw it on a poster once” Is your child frightened of dogs? Dogs Trust is here to help

Lisa said “I don’t have any suggestions but feel your pain, my six year old is similar. He’s got better from being around my friend’s dog who is the most placid dog in the world but dogs he doesn’t know he just gets really overwhelmed. Hope you find a solution”

Libby said “She could try her local facebook page and ask if any dog owners might like to help.”

Emily said “I would say that when he feels panicked by a dog to try to turn his back on it and fold his arms. be a tree. the dog will probably just have a sniff and move on.

Lowri said “I had this with my son and I asked about at school who had a dog. Found a family that were happy for us to join them on dog walks and go round to their house. Lots of reassurance and seeing the other children happily playing with the dog helped. I started this after my son ran off screaming when he had to walk past a lady with a dog on a lead that was smaller than a kitten…”

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NHM Readers Recommend: What to do if a sibling is allocated to a different school

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader ” Can anyone help please? My son has been allocated a school different to where his sister attends. Has anyone been in this situation? Any help appreciated.”

Thank you to the NHM Community for your responses, listed below:

NHM Reader’s recommendations for a sibling allocated to a different school

Helena said “It happened to a friend. Her children ended up going to different schools for 18 months until a place became available at her preferred choice (out of catchment) school for her youngest, where her eldest already was. I think she appealed but didn’t get anywhere.”

Joanne said “You can appeal the decision and see if that helps.”

Rebecca said “I’m in exactly the same position. You could appeal, but it’s very stressful (we went through 3 appeals for my son) and unless your second child has undeclared SEN or Hampshire School Admissions made an error (it does happen), then there’s really no point. One thing to bear in mind is that every appeal is pretty expensive for the school. We have decided to ask our son’s school if they can find out if an error has been made without going to appeal because we don’t want the school’s already stretched budget to be used for an appeal that has no grounds. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.”

Further information on the appeals process can be found on the Hampshire County Council’s website:

https://www.hants.gov.uk/educationandlearning/admissions/guidance/appeals

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NHM Readers Recommend: Buggy Friendly Walks with a Tea/Coffee Shop at the End

I recently asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if they could help with the following question: “Do you know of any buggy friendly walks with tea/coffee shop at the end? Know of Eastrop, Beggarwood and War Memorial.”

Many thanks for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Buggy Friendly Walks with a Tea/Coffee Shop at the End

Rebecca said “There is one in Rooksdown on Thursday morning. We haven’t started to yet but have been talking of ending the walk at a local Costa or with a picnic.”

Mary said “Basingwoods is good for buggies. There is sometimes a cafe in the popley fields community centre but i can’t remember dates etc. Also from there you can walk up to st Gabriel’s which sometimes has a cafe. I think you need to check their websites for times.”

Emma said “Sherfield on London is nice! Take the little ones to see the ducks, play on the park, walk all around the big greens and across the streams and then there’s a lovely cafe on the corner with a post office in the back”

Wendy said “Greenham common are on the verge of opening their cafe in the old control tower. It will be staffed by volunteers so not open every day. Check their facebook page for details. https://www.facebook.com/GreenhamControlTower/

Lauren said “Beggarwood is ok and the community centre has a really nice cafe”

Karen M said “Kempshott/oakley multi user path and jolly ollie’s in oakley or kitty’s in kempshott”

Karen J said “Go on ready steady mum’s group”

Ruza said “Farnham great park, and the cafe is reality good.”

Ruchira said “Ready steady mums walk at Eastrop park on a Wednesday at 1”

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NHM Readers Recommend: How to Tell a Child a Pet has Passed Away

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader: “I have a very poorly kitty. Just waiting for the results but I think it’s likely she may need to be put down. My girls are totally attached to her, especially my eldest daughter. I was wondering if you might be able to do a question about how to tell a child a pet has passed away. And how they help with the grieving process?”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for all of your responses, listed below:

NHM Readers recommend how to tell a child a pet has passed away

Rachele said:

“The rainbow bridge is a good way to explain it. You have to be honest about it but just that when they see the brightest star it’s her watching down etc. It’s never easy.”

Marta said:

“This is very sad. I work as a psychotherapist and there are a few things we use in therapy to help with grieving process. The most powerful exercise is to allow children to write (parents can help if the child is too young) their own message”

Andy said:

“So, our daughter is three and a half. Her cat was hit by a car last month…We wrestled with the idea of allowing her to say goodbye. But decided that it was probably the best way to go.”

Wendy said:

“It’s hard because you have no idea how they will react until you have told them. My son has lost two cats, last time it happened he was four. He was OK, we just keep a few photos around and talk about our cat when my son asks. Use honest language, say dead not gone etc. We said our cat was no longer with us, someone then used that term to describe a nursery worker who had left, he thought they had died.”

Zoe said:

“When our elderly cats had to be put down my girls were small and didn’t understand. They came up with the idea that the cats had gone to live with Santa.”

Helen said:

“We said that our pets became stars”

Vicki said:

“There are some great stories about grief – Badgers Parting Gift is nice”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs/Meets for a Baby and Toddler

I recently asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if they could help with a question I had received: “just wondered if you could ask people about clubs/meets etc for a baby and toddler.? 1 month and a 2 year old.”

Many thanks for all of your replies, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Clubs/Meets for a Baby and Toddler

Naomi said “Melrose Hall run a tot group on a tues and fri”

Claire said “Coffee & Chat at Brookvale is lovely. Toddler section and baby section. Just £2 donation. Friday’s from 10am https://www.facebook.com/NCTCoffeeandChat/

Debbie said “Michelle runs tots play plus helps (I think) at coffee morning on Fridays at Sherfield Park.” www.facebook.com/totsplaybasingstoke www.facebook.com/bumpintomums

Any said “Basing Beans on Tuesdays 10-11.30 is great. It’s at Lychpit village hall. Lots for toddlers plus baby area and a cup of tea or coffee for you…https://m.facebook.com/groups/204635339562838

Sarah said “I run Hartbeeps multi-sensory classes for newborns through to preschoolers in Hook on a Tuesday morning. You can bring your little one to Happy House Class with your older one. https://www.facebook.com/hartbeepsfarnham/

Jo said “Caterpillar music”

Hayley said “caterpillar music is perfect, took my little one from about 3 weeks old with my 2.5 year old:)”

Jaz said “www.facebook.com/CaterpillarMusicBasingstoke Even better- siblings are FREE!”

Steph said “I run netmums Basingstoke meet ups once a month for people to get out with the little ones and make new friends…you can find the group here: https://m.facebook.com/groups/1833762103604347

Rachael said “Under 5’s at Sherfield Park on a Tuesday morning and bump into mums on a Friday morning both 10am-12pm and both very welcoming and friendly”

Allison said “Two year olds are welcome to Tot Cross Buns…mummies are welcome to bring younger siblings too Www.facebook.com/totcrossbuns

Kelly said “Www.facebook.com/jiggybasingstoke

Anna said “I’m a midwife running a newborn and baby massage courses in Camberley available to book now https://www.mummasandbeans.co.uk/camberley/

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NHM Readers Recommend: Gym Classes for 3 Year Olds

In response to a question from an NHM Reader, I asked the Friends of my Louise nhm Smithprofile on Facebook: “I am new to Basingstoke and looking for a gymnastics class for my nearly 3 year old boy. Could you advise me on any please?”

Thank you very much to everyone who responsed. These are listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend gym classes for 3 year olds

Active Life Centre

http://www.basingstokegym.co.uk/

Rachael said “Active life centre”

Victoria said “Active life, they have drop in groups daily if they aren’t looking for a structured class.”

Edie said “The Active Life Centre is great!”

Laura said “Active Life Centre! I love it there!!”

Natasha said “Active life centre – they do child accompanied with parents, child by self (3yrs), and free style (3yrs, small group in the smaller back room)”

Lucy said “Active Life Centre as the others have mentioned.”

Charlotte “Basingstoke Gymnastics Club, from The Active Life Centre. They’re fantastic, drop in free play, baby zone, parent and toddler, gym juniors (unaccompanied), freestyle.”

Lynden Dance and Gymnastics

http://www.lyndendance.co.uk/gymnastics.html

Sara said “Lynden dance and gymnastics. They do a little tots class. Check out the website”

Louise said “I’d second Lynden!”

Lucy also said “There’s also some classes at the sports centre I believe – a relatively new group also under British Gymnastics”

Mel said “Lynden at The Sports Centre definitely over Active Life!”

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