Baby and Toddler Groups Open over Summer


art for childrenOne of the things that used to be a problem over the summer holidays was the closure of your regular groups. Six weeks with pre-schoolers without any structure can be difficult to fill. Fortunately in Portsmouth at least, there are plenty of groups which will carry on throughout the holidays – although some of them may be on  a reduced timetable.  I’ve started this blog post as a list and as and when I find any more I shall add to it – so keep checking back. I won’t add the days and times to the blog as the schedules vary so instead I’ve added links to their own sites and you can check directly with them. If you know of a class I haven’t added – drop me a line at

Jiggy Wrigglers - All Portsmouth Groups  (except for the last two weeks in August)Portchester, Rowner, Lee on the Solent, Stubbington (check their facebook page for up-dates).

Little Steps Gym - check their facebook page for regular up-dates.

Mini Makers, Aspex Gallery – Wednesdays 11 am £3

Play Southsea Groups – Will be running as normal except the last two weeks of August – Aileen may be able to run a couple in those two weeks but check the page for up-dates.

The Surestart Summer Holiday timetables are out – here are the links for the various areas:

Locality A – Northern Parade & Stamshaw CC, Paulsgrove CC, Portsdown & Drayton & Farlington CC

Locality B – Buckland Children’s Centre, Fratton & Landport Children’s Centres, North End & Willows Children’s Centres

Locality C – Somerstown & Portsea Children’s Centre, Milton, Baffins & Cumberland Children’s Centre, Southsea & Brambles Children’s Centre

Child Health Clinics - Link to the child health clinics.

Breastfeeding Support - Link to BfN facebook page and a list of groups taking place over summer.

Posted in General, What's On, What's on in the Holidays? | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Cosham Park gets new play equipment

DSC_0060Work started today on building the new play equipment in Cosham Park, following vandalism on the old climbing frame during the May half term. It should be finished just in time for the summer holiday.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Southsea Library!

Southsea_Library_0873_rdax_300x200Southsea Library celebrates its 3rd birthday this year and to celebrate, a Teddy Bear’s picnic will be held on the 29th July, from 12 noon – 1 pm.  Take your children along to listen to bear stories and make a bear face in the library.  You’ll need to take along their favourite furry friend, a blanket and a packed lunch.  Each child attending will receive a free booklet.

Opened 3 years ago by bestselling author Kate Mosse, the library is built on the old Woolworths shop site in Palmerston Road .  The library hosts regular talks and adult courses including digital photography and IT courses and a craft group on the 2nd Monday of every month.

Teddy Bear's PicnicFor children, the library offers regular events, including RhymeTime for toddlers and babies on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 am – 10.30 am, and Storytime on Mondays from 2 pm – 2.30 pm.  There will be Summer Holiday activities on the 29th July, 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th August (10 am – 12 noon); no need to book, just drop in.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nominations needed for Midwife of the Year Award

Logo-2014-WEBThe Best of Health Awards 2014 has extended its nomination deadline to Friday, August 8th.  One of the categories is Midwife of the Year Award and it would be great to get some more nominations in.

Therefore, if you think your midwife is worthy of some recognition, please email your name, the name of your midwife and a detailed reason to explain why you have put them forward.

It’s free to enter and a shortlist is printed in the paper, which in itself is a great way to say thank you. You can email your nomination to  The Awards Ceremony will take place on the 17th October 2o14 at the Guildhall.


Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brand New Mini Makers Sessions for Under 5s

MiniMakers-copyMini Makers, aspex’s workshops for toddlers and under 5s, are back at the earlier time of 11 am – 12 noon from the 23rd July for just £3 per session.  Your little ones will work with you and our Participation Team in fun sessions on Wednesday mornings throughout the year, freeing up their creativity and taking inspiration from our exhibitions and books provided by Portsmouth Libraries.  There will also be offers for participants in the Café Bar.

aspex_logoWorkshops are on Wednesdays from 11 am – 12 noon.  The £3 fee is payable on arrival, no booking necessary, just drop in.  If you have any questions you can call aspex on 023 9277 8080 or email

You can find aspex behind Loch Fyne in Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays.

I can personally recommend these sessions having taken my son recently - plenty of room to work, lots of materials and mixed media to work with and lots of great ideas from the participation team. Well worth trying out if you have an under 5 and you prefer messy sessions to be anywhere but at home!

Older children can book up for the Summer Art Club sessions aimed at 8-13 year olds and don’t forget the regular See! Make! Do! sessions on the second Saturday of each month at 11 am.


Posted in News, What's on - Wednesdays | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#portsmouthsafari – What’s that all about?

A few days ago, I found myself, camera in hand, trying to get a new picture for the Mumsnet Portsmouth homepage. Instead of taking my usual walk, I took a left instead of a right and discovered a place I’d never seen before.  Stuck on our own personal railway tracks, stopping at home, work and school it’s all too easy to stop seeing the beautiful and unique city in which we live.

I’ve made myself a promise. I’m going to become a tourist again this year, and start looking again at Portsmouth, with fresh eyes.  And when I see something beautiful, unique or just plain interesting, I’m going to post a photograph on the blog with the hashtag #portsmouthsafari. Feel free to post your pictures of Portsmouth on the Mumsnet Portsmouth facebook page or tweet them @MNPortsmouth.


Posted in #portsmouthsafari | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Southsea Beach #portsmouthsafari


Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hayling Island Books Recommend Children’s Books

It’s Independent Booksellers Week from the 28th June – 5th July, part of the Books Are My Bag campaign seeking to celebrate independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland.  To mark the occasion we asked award winning Hayling Island Books to recommend some great children’s books for you.


Monkey and MeMonkey and Me - Angela Muss

One of a lovely series by Child’s Play.  Put your index finger into the monkey head puppet and start telling stories.

Baby Sees – Birthday – Chez Pictall

Created with the help of mothers and babies, this series uses high contract images that babies find stimulating to help eye and brain development.

Little Bear’s Bedtime – Jane Hissey

A soft pillowy cloth book featuring Jane Hissey’s wonderful illustrations as Little Bear gets ready for bed.

Pre School

crayonHappy Birthday Hugless DouglasDavid Melling

The fifth in this best selling series. Douglas is very excited about his birthday surprise.

Crayon - Simon Rickerty Return of the crazy characters which first appeared in Monkey Nut.

Meet the Parents - Peter Bently and Sara Olgivie.  Funny and affectionate look at all the things your parents do for you!


Ages 5-8

Jolley RogersAlice Through the Looking Glass.  Gloriously illustrated retelling from Emma Chichester Clark of this enduring classic.

The Jolley-Rogers and The Ghostley Galleon - Jonny Duddle  Every full moon a ghostly ship is seen off the coast of Dull on Sea.  A swashbuckling tale from the award winning Jonny Duddle.

First Book of Nature - Nicola Davies and Mark Hearld  From beachcombing to stargazing this is a lovely reminder of the wonders of the natural world on our doorstep.

Ages 8-13

warpHero - Sarah Lean  Story about a little dog with the heart of a lion from best selling author of A Dog Called Homeless.

WarpEoin Colfer The first book in a new series from the best selling Artemis Fowl author.  Featuring a Victorian orphan who is hurled into the 21st century.

Destination Earth – Ali Sparkes  The latest book by  Southampton based Blue Peter Award winning Ali Sparkes, with an Isle of Wight setting for a visit by an alien and an unwelcome stowaway.

Teenage/Young Adult

More Than ThisMore than this – Patrick Ness Stunning and provocative new novel from Patrick Ness about life and afterlife.

Looking for Alaska – John Green This was the debut novel from John Green who went on to write the international bestseller The Fault in our Stars.

Flashes -  Tim O’Rourke – New detective series with teenage psychic helping solve crimes before they happen.

Hayling Island Books are one of the last remaining independent bookshops in the area and were named South of England Bookshop of the Year 2009 and were finalists in the 2011 Parliamentary Best Small Shops Awards.  Offering a next day ordering service and rare and out of print booksearch service, the shop also offers greetings cards and educational toys and games.  They have also been chosen to sell signed copies of Michael Palin’s latest book ‘Travelling to Work: Diaries 1988-1998′ in the foyer of Kings Theatre when he appears as part of his one man tour across the country on the 19th September 2014.

Posted in General | 1 Comment

Oh, Just the School Starting Age Issue. . .

Local Editor:

Interesting article on the school starting age for those of us with summer born children.

Originally posted on London-on-Toast:

Excerpted from the University of Cambridge article “School Starting Age: the Evidence“:

Earlier this month the “Too Much, Too Soon” campaign made headlines with a letter calling for a change to the start age for formal learning in schools. Here, one of the signatories, Cambridge researcher David Whitebread, from the Faculty of Education, explains why children may need more time to develop before their formal education begins in earnest.

In the interests of children’s academic achievements and their emotional well-being, the UK government should take this evidence seriously

- David Whitebread


“Back to School”. Homepage banner image by Woodley Wonderworks via Flickr Credit: Nick Page from Flickr .

In England children now start formal schooling, and the formal teaching of literacy and numeracy at the age of four. However, the UK’s Department of Education states clearly that compulsory school age is five.  Children born in the summer…

View original 1,098 more words

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Armed Forces Day, Portsmouth Festivities and Weekend Events

Portsmouth FestivitiesPortsmouth Festivities continue over this weekend, with the event closing on Sunday 29th June. There are lots of events on, too many for me to list here, which are not so child and family orientated, so if you are interested in seeing what is available do have a look at the Portsmouth Festivities site.


Included in the family friendly events on this weekend, are the Planet Walk, The Sea Show, Pirate Adventure and a Family Concert by the Galliard Ensemble.

The Rose in JuneThe Rose in June will be holding their annual Charity Folk & Beer Festival from tomorrow, with a selection of Real Ales, Morris Dancing on Saturday and Sunday, BBQ and bouncy castle for the children.

Gosport Discovery Centre will  be holding a Rainbow Fish Story Time Special on Saturday, or you can find National Insect Week activities at the Natural History Museum between 12 noon and 4 pm. Both are free.

Trinity Pre-School in Fareham will be holding a Summer Fayre on Saturday from 10 am – 12 noon or alternatively there is a June Fayre being held at Landport Adventure Playground from 12 noon – 4 pm. Mill Hill Primary School in Waterlooville will be holding their Sizzling Summer Fair on Saturday with facepainting by Rainbow Rachel who has some lovely new Frozen designs on offer. St Josephs in Havant have a carboot sale and summer fair on from 12 noon – 3pm or there is a an NSPCC Summer Fayre on at St Swithuns Church in Waverley Road, Portsmouth from 2 pm.

Commemorating WW1 is A Letter Home, a play about Peter and George, friendship, conflict and sacrifice. Playing at 11.30 am and 2 pm, Saturday 28th at the Groundlings Theatre, this is suitable for children aged 7+, with an hours workshop after each performance and post-show discussion.

Southsea Skate Park will be holding a roller disco on Saturday evening, skate hire available.

armed forces day tea partySunday is Armed Forces Day and you can join in the celebrations at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with a Vintage Tea Party, meet veterans, enjoy a catwalk show showcasing the Royal Navy over 100 years. There will also be live music and a Charleston workshop and family activities throughout the day. The event is free and staged in the area outside HMS Victory.

Over at Action Stations there will be fire fighting demonstrations, mine clearing demonstrations and a chance to handle military weapons. This is a free event with a valid attraction ticket.

Admission is free for the day at the D Day Museum and there will be military vehicles on display, a chance to meet vetarans and a large model ship display. Pompey Para’s will be parading in front of the Royal Marines Museum from 10 am on Sunday.

On at the Kings Theatre is ‘Dance Like No-one’s Watching’ by Timestep School of Dance (Saturday) and Stagecoach Live at Southsea by Stagecoach Theatre Arts (Sunday).

There’s a choice of drumming workshops on Sunday with a Drum Circle with Richard Parker at Butser Ancient Farm or Drum Jam at Groundlings Theatre.  If you’d rather sit and listen to music instead, then Live at the Bandstand continues this Sunday with a blues theme with Big Bloater & The Limits plus support.

If you want to travel further afield then Portsmouth Train Station is Station of the Month which means discounted tickets this weekend - follow this link for more information.

If you find these weekend round ups for activities suitable for families and children useful, don’t forget to follow the blog by email, and visit the Mumsnet Portsmouth site which is being up-dated constantly. If you are running an event or know of one I haven’t added, please do add it to the site, anyone can add a listing.

Posted in General, What's on this weekend? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment