Dear Mummy, we went to a ball last weekend, but this was no ordinary ball. It was for bugs and creepy crawlies…..oh and us! Not the bugs you find in the garden though…extra special crafty ones. *Phew* It was an Ugly … Continue reading
Basingstoke’s NCT Easter Party
Dear Mummy, a couple of weeks ago we visited the Basingstoke NCT Easter Party. We had such a great time we had to tell you all about it. For those that don’t know what NCT is, it’s a charity set up to provide support to parents and families up and down the country. It stands for National Childbirth Trust. We’ve been firm supporters of our local Basingstoke NCT Branch since my mummy joined her antenatal class over two years ago.
My mummy met some wonderful people who were first time mums (like her) and who she continues to hang out with and are now friends for life. She had such a positive experience being on the course that she believes it directly influenced her positive birth experience too. Her NCT friends and the support groups were there for her when she had a rough couple of months in early motherhood and have continued to give her support.
We’ve been to nearly new sales organised by NCT groups in the past and picked up some bargains but now my mummy and daddy wanted to go to one of the NCT’s organised parties to help raise money for the charity. It’s been a great way of meeting other local people and seeing what children’s activities are available in the local area.
Entrance to the NCT Easter party was £5 a ticket per child, which gained us entry to Lychpit Village Hall and adults were free – so we brought Grandma with us as well. Included in the ticket price was a free easter goodie bag on completion of the Easter Egg Hunt and the opportunity to immerse ourselves in 3 FREE 20-30 minute taster sessions put on by some local businesses. This was a great way to see if any of these activities appealed to me.
We had to pre-book onto these taster sessions via email in advance as the organisers didn’t want over crowding on the timed sessions. Eeek we were all so excited! The taster sessions included activities ranging from messy play to cake decorating to dancing! Sound like a perfect way to spend a morning, my mummy thinks. All my little friends were there as well, so we got to hang out while our parents chatted over a cuppa and a slice of glorious home-made cake. The lemon drizzle was to die for and was made by one of my mummy’s friends.
The NCT Easter party was held in a lovely hall, which looked a little bit like a converted barn, with wooden beams and exposed brick walls. All the taster sessions were played out in different corners of the barn along with a crafting table, a raffle table and Routine Riots who attended to face paint and blow balloons for the children. Routine Riots were also accompanied by no other than the real Rapunzel! I couldn’t believe my eyes having just watched Tangled the previous day. She was stunning and the dress was beautiful. I had my photo taken with her by a local photographer who was covering the event called Little Tot Shots. We haven’t seen the photos yet, but have been told that they look great!
Before we could sit down and have a natter it was time for me to put my apron on for the first session which was with the creative Splatter Monkeys. The name kinda gives it away what this session was…..messy play! Splatter Monkeys are based in Basingstoke at Viables Craft Centre right next door to Pots2Paint and run sessions during the week for little ones. It includes messy play, sensory play and general creative freedom. Lots a messy play without having to tidy up after yourselves…..? My mummy likes the sound of this.
We only found out that day that Splatter Monkeys also can travel to your home as well and hold sessions for parties. This is such an awesome idea! At the NCT Easter party I had a great time playing with the dyed spaghetti and rice, playing with water and foam, and covering myself in paint. But not to worry! I was wearing a provided apron so I didn’t get any mess on my clothes. I played with the other children until my free taster session was over and had a great time. It’s convinced my mummy that we need to visit Splatter Monkeys soon for a longer session.
After the messy play session we had a breather and my mummy enjoyed so cake while Grandma took me outside to explore the Easter Egg hunt. We picked up a clue list and hunted high and low for the Easter eggs. Quick as a flash we’d finished, as we could hear other children shouting where the eggs were hidden and I just followed their voices. We exchanged our score sheet for a goodie bag filled with crayons, bubbles and treats. Well worth the £5 ticket price!
Then all of a sudden I could hear music coming from inside the hall. I love dancing and as quick as a flash I ran in and joined the second taster session organised by Kids Kan Dance based in Basingstoke. We followed the instructors lead and danced around the hall, waving musical instruments and silk scarfs. I danced with my (boy) friend, much to daddy’s dismay! Everyone else thought it was kinda cute! We might have to book ourselves onto a course after this! www.kidskandance.co.uk
We had a bit of a gap after the dancing so I decided I wanted my face painted. I knew straight away who I wanted pained on my cheek…….Olaf from Frozen.
I’m in love with this little snowman chappy, his big carrot nose and white snowy skin. Routine Riots did a great job for painting my face and even added sparkle so he twinkled in the light! Only for £2! Even my parents were impressed. I glanced at myself in the mirror then went to go and show my friends. He looked so pretty! My first EVER face paint and one for the family album.
The kind Tot Cross Buns were next up and even though we haven’t booked on to this timed session they had a spare seat, so I sat next to my friend and decorated my cookie and coloured in my gift bag. I stamped my bag with paint and vegetables cut out into interesting shapes. I had great fun eating my way through the edible decorations! They too are based in Basingstoke and run baking classes for little people like me, to give us a greater understanding of food and what certain foods are. Very educational. They also do cookery parties for little ones! It’s not all cake you’d be glad to know – they cook homemade meals with children too!
We had a great couple of hours and met some wonderful local businesses. Hope you like reading my little overview x
Love Bella x
NCT Basingstoke Nearly New Sale
Saturday, October 4, 2014.
Dear Mummy, it’s a wet and windy day and we’re all house bound watching telly and playing with playdoh. You hear on the grapevine about Basingstoke’s NCT Nearly New Sale and decide to pop down to see if you can pick up some bargains.
You’ve been an advocate of NCT for sometime and joined a group when you were pregnant with me. Along the way you made some friends for life, who helped you through the late stages of pregnancy and early motherhood. Taking part in an antenatal class was one of the best things you did, for support, education and aftercare. If it wasn’t for NCT my mummy probably wouldn’t have breastfed me…..she probably would have hidden away in the house and the NCT group gave her the confidence to get out of the house in the early days to attend Coffee & Chat on Fridays at Brookvale, Basingstoke and have friends introduced her to sling meets and the whole world of baby wearing.
We’ve both attended nearly new sales in the past, my mummy has carried me in her sling while browsing the sales. However this time, as I’m a little terror at present, she leaves me at home *sob*, you can’t take buggies or pushchairs into the sale rooms due to health and safety and how busy it gets.
They really jam pack the sale rooms as you can see from the pictures. It’s a buyers heaven! I stay at home and terrorized family friends while mummy ducks out.
She later informs me that it wasn’t a wasted trip and brings back two large bags filled with goodies, all for £35! She’s got at least £100+ worth of toys, a lot of them still in wrappers and all in mint condition…they do look like new! I’d never know the difference and I think that’s the point 😉
She tells me she queued for 20 mins in the rain in the non-members queue (which gets in 15 minutes after the NCT Members) the sale starts at 1pm, but luckily for mummy the organisers let us all in early due to the rain – that’s nice of them. She donates £2 to gain entry, usually it’s only a quid which is great value for money.
The NCT Nearly New Sale is not a Carboot or a table top sale where sellers bring their goods and sell direct to the public. The sellers arrange via the NCT branch before to sell on behalf of them for a small charge, which is great when you think about it, someone else selling your stuff for you, no mucking around with setting up and sorting out change and dealing with buyers.
There are 2 large sale rooms which are split into departments, so all books will go together from multiple sellers up on the stage of the hall, the clothes rails are clearly marked in ages on the left hand side as soon as you walk through to the second hall etc.. As my mummy’s been a couple of times she has a fair idea where everything is and makes a beeline to the books and the toys. It’s like supermarket sweep trying to fill her large NCT shopper bag which is handed out at the doors.
In the first hall there are large toys (e.g. bikes, slides, swings, small trampolines, scooters) but it’s been raided by the NCT members which got a head start 15 minutes earlier. Even though my mummy is 20 people from the front of the queue not much is left, it’s worth getting there early, a good 30 minutes before the sale opens to get some of the larger items such as cots, prams, high chairs and moses baskets. The good thing is that if something large was to take your fancy you can pay, get a receipt and leave your items in the holding area, and return once you’ve finished shopping in the second hall.
When mummy enters the second hall it’s a hive of activity, people whizzing around everywhere, there is a little bit of jostling at the toy tables, people grabbing and bagging, but it’s all part of the experience…it’s like the NEXT Sale, you aren’t going to grab a bargain unless you get stuck in.
A great thing about the autumn sale is that they have a fancy dress clothes rail, which is perfect for finding fancy dress costumes and we pick up some Pom Pom and a little monster costume for £2.50 and £1.50 respectively. Another bottle neck is the shoe area, a lot of parents make their way to that area first. It’s a great idea that everything is sectioned together as it helps buyers to find similar items all in one place.
Mummy loves the fact that she can browse without having the pressure to buy and people looking over her shoulder. She picks stuff up and puts things back down, it’s great that before the payment tables there is a quiet area with tables that parents can pre-sort and double check their goods and that they are happy with their purchases and put things back if they don’t want them.
There is enough friendly volunteers to help and we are helped by Emily, Pat and Tracy who all seem like they are enjoying themselves too. It must be very rewarding helping a charity such as the NCT.
All in all a good day at the office for mummy. It’s the best children’s market she’s been too and much busier that the other Children’s Baby Markets that are around. The prices are competitive with other sellers and very realistic and reasonable, that’s why items fly off the shelves. My mummy informs me that 70% of toys that I play with have come from these NCT Nearly new sales… Perfect. Well worth a visit. To find a local sale near you visit the NCT website and find your branch.
In the end my mummy bought me 5 books ranging from The Gruffalo to Peace at Last, a fancy dress costume and Pom Poms, Happyland characters and a house, a WOW Aeroplane, a Fishers Price tractor and farm animals, a Playdoh Set Rucksack, some clothes, a shopping food basket with cool plastic fruit and veg and some Christmas presents which are a surprise. Ooooo exciting 🙂
Love Bella Xx