Review 2013: Basingstoke Aquadrome

Basingstoke Aquadrome

I’ve been to the Aquapark many times but when we went it was my husband and daughters first time. I’m so old, that I actually remember when the swimming pool was Westfield Lido, and they used to open the glass doors so you could run down the hill, where the Bowling Alley now stands. It was always a pleasure going in the water that was full of grass! lol.

We went on a Friday evening, at 4pm. It wasn’t too busy, about 20 people in the whole aquapark section.

Play/Swimming Area

My little one loved the tiny toddler pool. She must have spent about half an hour going on the tiny elephant slide. I did think this pool was a bit cold. The baby beach was great. My little one loved the plastic puzzles on the wall. But beware of the water shoot. We nearly got drenched under this!

The lazy river was fab. We went into each of the different sections and our favourite was the one with the seating. My little one could stand up here and she enjoyed walking up and down the seating and being carried through the water jets. The lazy river wasn’t too fast but you do need to be very careful to avoid the fierce jets!

My husband thoroughly enjoyed the slides although he didn’t really rate the yellow slide.  We spent a couple of hours in the pool. It was a great bonding experience.

Food

We didn’t try this so I cannot comment.

Baby Facilities

The family changing rooms were excellent. Very large and they each had a plastic baby changing stand and a nappy changing bin.

Facilities

Were in good condition. One thing I don’t like is that the showers aren’t enclosed. You have to shower with your swimming costume on (unless you have no shame!), so you can’t shower properly. The toilets were in a good condition but I hate public swimming pool toilets. They are always wet. Yuk.

Parking

There is lots of parking (although not as much as there used to be because of the Spruce Goose hotel extension and the Parachute place), but none that is particularly well placed if you have small children with you. It is free parking though.

Price

As it was Off Peak, my husband and I both paid £5.45 each. My little one was free and from what I can see on the website, all children under 4 are free. You need to double check this though, as I wasn’t quite sure about this.

Other Information

I wouldn’t recommend attempting to take more than one child on your own. If you have more than one small child, you really need a one adult to one child ratio. For safety, I wouldn’t suggest using the lazy river with more than one child at a time. The website states that:

“Children under the age of 4 must wear approved flotation devices and be accompanied by a responsible adult in the ratio of 1:1.”

Our little one didn’t have a flotation device, but that was our decision and we were happy with this as there were two of us to look after her.

The parent and baby beach is open every day from 10.30am and is £3.50.

Rating

4.5 out of 5. We had a lovely couple of hours in the water, but I took half a point off because the water was colder than I would have liked and the showers were open so you can’t really shower properly.

9 Foody Places to go as a group of Mums with babies/toddlers

Are you looking for somewhere to meet up with several of your friends, their babies and pushchairs/buggys?

The list below are some of the foody places you could visit that welcome large groups of Mum’s and babies:

1. Queens College Arms – Tadley road

Recommend booking in advance and asking for the “big” table. They have baby changing facilities onsite and bottle warming facilities. Very friendly and welcoming of Mum’s and babies. For bigger children, there is a climbing frame in the pub garden.

2. Little Roses Tea Shop – Elm Tree Garden centre, just up from the Queens College Arms

They have excellent baby changing facilities and even provide free baby wipes and nappy bags! There is a changing station and several highchairs upstairs if you don’t want to take your pushchair in. Recommend looking in the Chests/tables as there is a treasure trove of toys that will keep children amused for a while. Very welcoming of Mums and babies.

3. Dayers – Chineham Business Park

This place is normally empty in the mornings. They do good breakfasts and cake. Gets busy at lunchtime, so maybe not the best place to go for lunch.

Unfortunately they don’t have baby changing facilities (they used too!) but they do have large toilets so if you don’t mind doing emergency nappy changes on your changing mat on the floor, you should be ok.

4. Dobbies Garden Centre – Tilehurst (25 mins from central Basingstoke)

If you fancy going a bit further afield or live near Reading, it’s worth checking out the restaurant of this Garden Centre. They have a large restaurant with a big outside eating area. Seems to be quiet because it’s outside of central Reading.

5. Wyevale Garden Centre – Sherfield on Loddon

They have a large restaurant and outside area. The baby changing facilities are good, but are in the ladies toilets. I recommend signing up for the Gardening Club as you rack up the points quite quickly which give you discounts in the store and restaurant.

6. The Cafe Project, The Dome, behind Asda in Brighton Hill

Open Tuesday to Friday’s from 9.30am.

7. Portsmouth Arms – Hatch Warren

8. Costa Coffee – Hampshire Centrecourt Hotel (Behind the large Tesco’s)

The Service is slow but you can sit indoors or outdoors and there are baby changing facilities

9. Conkers Garden Centre

Related Posts

9 things to do in Basingstoke with a newborn

8 Cheap Restaurants in Basingstoke

11 Places to Breakfast with children in North Hampshire

The Importance of Skin to Skin

This weeks theme is “Babies”.

I only picked up on how important skin to skin is when my little one turned a month old. We didn’t have a very easy time with breastfeeding, for several reasons, but it was only when I went to see Lorraine, one of the breastfeeding counselors at North Hampshire Hospital, that it became apparent to me how important skin to skin is. I am eternally grateful to Lorraine for her pearls of wisdom.

I made sure that in the morning I spent as much time as possible skin to skin with my little one. This was fairly easy to do as it was summer time (this was last year, so nowhere near as much rain!) but I can imagine that in winter time it can be quite difficult to do this. My husband also found skin to skin very rewarding and whilst we spent our first few days as a family in hospital, he spent a lot of time with our little one on his chest. The nurses at the hospital were all cool with it as I’m sure they’ve seen it all before!

Even if you aren’t breastfeeding, skin to skin is still very important. Once my little one switched to bottles I had to make a conscious effort to make sure that skin to skin still happened.

My little one is now 17 months old and if I am not dashing to work in the morning I always make sure that the first feed of the day is skin to skin. My little one has always had her milk first thing in the morning so it’s worked out pretty well to be able to do this. I’ve noticed that my little one always needs to touch my skin when I’m holding her now. She puts her hand on the edge of my top or around the back of my neck. It makes my heart sing when she does this and reminds me of when she was really tiny. I’m sure that the skin to skin approach has helped us to bond as I really miss it if we haven’t been able to make time for it.

Whether you agree with skin to skin or not, and based on my experience,  I would really recommend trying to do this as much as possible, especially in the first few months. I can imagine this is really difficult to do with your baby if you have more than one child. Does anyone have any suggestions about to manage this complexity?

If you would like more information about the importance of skin to skin, please check out some of the links below:

http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/jack_newman2.html

http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=82:the-importance-of-skin-to-skin-contact-&catid=5:information&Itemid=17

http://www.nhs.uk/Planners/breastfeeding/Pages/skin-to-skin-contact.aspx

Products that I love (that make my life a little easier!)

There have been a few products that I have fallen in love with since having my little one. I thought it might be useful to share these with you, as you might find them useful too!

One Line a Day Diary

One Line a Day Diary

I was recently talking to one of my Mum friends who works full time (total respect to all Mummy’s, but a little extra for those who work full time). When she was on maternity leave she had planned to keep a diary of her little one’s development and progress. She bought a lovely leather bound book and had the best will in the world but when she went back to work she just didn’t have the time to sit and write.

The One Line a Day Diary is the perfect way to keep on top of a daily diary. You have just five lines to update daily. Perfect for the busy Mum (and which Mum isn’t busy!?!?!) who wants to try to keep a record of those special moments. It’s not too expensive either, at £7.50 from Amazon. Could also be a great present for a new Mum who wants to keep track of everything that happens in those first manic months.

Oxo Tot Whale Pail

Oxo Tot Whale Pail

I LOVE this bath toy holder from Oxo Tots. It’s quite pricey but I managed to get it for cheaper than this when Amazon were doing a deal. It’s great as you just use it to scoop up all the bath toys out of the water, which then drains out of the bottom of the scoop. Brilliantly innovative and much sturdier than the string bath toy bags that seem to be the only alternative.

Taggie’s

Butterflies and Cupcakes

I’m sure every other Mum knows about these but I only discovered them by accident when I went to visit a “seasoned” Mum. My little one loved them immediately. She’s always been obsessed with labels (material not designer!) since she was very tiny so the Taggie’s have kept her amused for hours on many an occasion. They are quite expensive for what they are but you can buy something very similar for a far more reasonable price from a lovely little local company, Butterflies and Cupcakes who advertise on Facebook. I’m hoping to get some in for future “newborn” presents.

Evernote

Evernote

You could argue that this isn’t a product as it’s free but I wanted to recommend this computer tool as I am completely addicted. I use it for recording recipes, travel plans, product warranties, storing business card details, blog inspiration, networking and a multitude of other ways. It’s very easy to use, free to download and if you love organising like I do (you may have picked up on this from the blog :-D), then it’s the perfect tool. You can create multiple notebooks, I have one for each year, for my work, for travel and for NHM among others. You can also sync Evernote with all of your applications, including mobile phones. It has an excellent search function and has saved me on numerous occasions when I’ve had a “Mummy brain” moment. Can’t recommend this tool enough!

Are there any products that you love that you would like to share? Please add a comment below. Thanks!

 

School catchment finder, Report on school admissions and Ofsted Reports in North Hampshire

Following on from the Education posts there are some very interesting links below (Thanks Su for forwarding them on!).  I don’t want to scare anyone but you may be intrigued to see where your little one falls in the catchment lottery for when they start Infants school  in North Hampshire and where they will be allotted for Junior’s and Senior schools:

School catchment finder

The report on School Admissions is a really interesting read, particularly at the end of the report where it is listed the number of children that have been accepted into the school and whether brothers and sisters have also been accepted:

Report on school admissions

If you have a little one starting nursery soon you may also find the following website useful as you should be able to check up on the Nursery’s latest Ofsted report. You can also find Infants, Juniors and Senior schools Ofsted reports from this linky:

Ofsted Early years and Childcare

Sorry if I’ve scared anyone but I hope you find the above useful. It would be great to hear your feedback…

Related Posts

Montessori Education

Home Schooling

Waldorf Steiner Education

Bookstart

Bookstart is a national programme that encourages parents and carers to enjoy books with children from as early an age as possible.

Bookstart gives the gift of free books to children at three stages in their early life, along with guidance materials for parents and carers.

The scheme enjoys sponsorship from around 25 children’s publishers, Red House Books and government funding via the Sure Start Unit.

Bookstart Book Crawls

For children aged 0 – 4 years old.
You will be given a collector’s card when you join the Book Crawl and a sticker for the card each time your child visits the library.
When your card is full your child will qualify for a Bookstart Book Crawl certificate, which may be presented at a special event.

Rhymetimes

Fun and free Rhymetimes for babies, toddlers and their parents or carers are organised in many libraries around the county.  They aim to encourage parents and carers to share action songs and rhymes with babies from birth onwards.

Waldorf Steiner Education in North Hampshire

There are no Steiner education schools in Basingstoke.

The nearest schools are listed below:

READING
Alder Bridge School * (1989)
EC-6 (70)
Bridge House, Mill Lane, Padworth, Berks. RG7 4JU
DfE: 869/6013
Tel 0118 971 4471
Fax 07092042631

info@alderbridge.w-berks.sch.uk

http://www.alderbridge.w-berks.sch.uk/

RINGWOOD
Ringwood Waldorf School (1974)
EC to 10 (270)
Folly Farm lane, Ashley, Ringwood, Hampshire BH24 2NN
DfE: 835/6022
Tel 01425 472664

mail@ringwoodwaldorfschool.org.uk

http://www.ringwoodwaldorfschool.org.uk/

Interest Groups (non-accredited by SWSF)

HAMPSHIRE
Wildflowers Kindergarten, Kilmeston Village Hall, Alresford Hants SO24 ONR
Enquiries: Brockwood Park School, Bramdean, Hants SO24 0LQ
Tel 01962 771458

helena@wildflowers-kindergartens.co.uk

http://www.wildflowers-kindergartens.co.uk/

What is Steiner education?

Steiner education…

  • Works for all children irrespective of academic ability, class, ethnicity or religion;
  • Takes account of the needs of the whole child – academic, physical, emotional and spiritual;
  • Is based on an understanding of the relevance of the different phases of child development;
  • Develops a love of learning and an enthusiasm for school;
  • Sees artistic activity and the development of the imagination as integral to learning;
  • Is tried and tested and is part of state funded, mainstream provision in most European countries;
  • Is respected worldwide for its ability to produce very able young people who have a strong sense of self and diverse capacities that enable them to become socially and economically responsible citizens.

Who was Rudolf Steiner?

Rudolf Steiner (1861 – 1925) was an innovative academic born in Austria whose ideas founded the basis of Anthroposophy.

He applied his ideas to education as well as agriculture, medicine, architecture and social reform. The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship acknowledges Rudolf Steiner as the founding inspiration of modern day Steiner schools, but does not promote Anthroposophy or endorse every aspect of it.

For more details check out: http://www.steinerwaldorf.org/whatissteinereducation.html

Further Reading

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldorf_education

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/mortarboard/2008/nov/12/home-schooling-steiner

Related Pages

Education