Sling Fit Mama is a post natal fitness class for mums combining toning, strengthening and movement, all done while wearing their baby in a sling. It’s aimed at mums who want the benefit of a lovely bonding class with their baby…but also want something for themselves.
It’s run by Laura Banks, a mum of 3 and fully qualified pre and post natal exercise instructor, dance teacher and a babywearing peer support worker.
When Laura invited me along to see what she does at the class I was keen to find out more. The first challenge was that I don’t have a baby! But Laura said I could do the class without as it will still be effective and I do have a 3 year old who has a baby dolly who she likes to take out in her sling, so we both went along and joined in.
The class is at 9.30am at Welton Memorial Hall, a nice space with lots of parking too. There were some lovely mums there with their babies who were all very welcoming and chatty before the class got started. Laura then checked everyone’s slings and babies positions and off we went!
The first section was aerobic movement which I really enjoyed, nothing too complicated and easy to do with the sling on. We then used a resistance band to do some strengthening exercises and finally some stretching.
Laura explained that the class will help to strengthen all the muscles weakened by pregnancy and childbirth and the classes are carefully structured to have your baby in a sling throughout the duration. All the ladies wore their babies throughout the hour (although the novelty wore off for my daughter who abandoned her baby doll and just danced around then had some snacks!). Not only did the other mums have an extra weight for the workout but they could steal a quick kiss whenever they liked! All the babies in the slings were very good and seemed to enjoy it too, the movement lulled a few to sleep and the rest were all very happy nestled in with their mums. The mobile babies came out for the stretching section at the end and played with each other.
There is obviously no guilt (or childcare costs) of leaving your baby to do some exercise, you can actually do something for ‘You’ that benefits you both. I really wish this class had been around when I had my baby as I would definitely done Sling Fit Mama.
Classes run on Wednesdays 9.30am at Welton Memorial Hall. Classes are also starting in Beverley in February, Tuesdays 1pm at The Arts Garage 2 Studio, Tokenspire Business Park. For more information or to book visit their website here, check out their facebook page here or email Laura on email@example.com.
Laura also runs a fantastic dance school in at South Hunsely in Welton, LBDA (Laura Banks Dance Academy). A few of my pre-schoolers friends go and rave about it! You can find out more about LBDA on Mumbler here.
Please note Sling Fit classes are not running currently, please contact Laura to find out when they restart.
(NB this blog is Advertorial Content)
Little Scribblers was set up by local Hull mum Sarah. She sells a huge range of bespoke and personalised wax crayons, as well as having a mobile soft play which she hires out for children’s birthday parties and other special events.
I met her at a craft fair and was instantly drawn to her bright and colourful stall of all sorts of wax crayons. My children were also drawn to it like a magnet and wanted to have a good look at everything she had. There were lots of shouts of ‘I want that one!’ from both of my children so I let them choose one thing each. I also stocked up on lots of packs of crayons for birthday presents as I think these make really unusual but useful presents. She has a lot of seasonal items too and with Christmas coming up these will make great children’s Christmas presents.
We were completely spoilt for choice just from what Sarah had with her on the stall but eventually my son chose some Lego Star Wars figures and my daughter chose a pot of different coloured owls. Sarah also does personalised crayons to the design of your choice and she can do letters to spell out children’s names.
When we got home both of my children wanted to colour in and draw with their new crayons straight away. My daughter is 3 and does a lot of colouring but my son who’s 6 wouldn’t usually want to colour or draw so I was really pleased that this purchase had inspired him to be a bit more creative than normal. I was really impressed with the quality of the crayons, despite being relatively small and odd shapes my children found them easy to hold and use and the colours they produced were really good. They did a lot of colouring and the crayons didn’t seem to wear down much.
I think these crayons are an excellent idea, they’re fun and unique and have really encouraged my children to draw and colour more. I’ll definitely be buying more, both for my children and for others as presents.
You can also find more information on there about hiring her soft play and the other fantastic craft items she sells.
Sarah also has a range of her Little Scribblers crayons stocked in Pearls Place Cafe, Hallgate, Cottingham.
Let Loose is the new family attraction in Beverley, located next to Beverley Garden Centre on the Woodmansey Road between Beverley and Hull. They opened recently and I was delighted to be asked to go and have a look around with my 2 little ones.
It’s a real hidden gem. You can’t see much from the road but as you pull up the driveway my children’s first impressions were ‘Wow! Is that where we’re going!?’ There is a (very!) high rope course set up around the site and a lower ropes course underneath, plus a giant air bag that you can jump onto, the Big Leap, or drop down a huge slide onto, the Super Slide. There’s a great outdoor play area and an indoor dome which has a good sized soft play and inflatables, as well as some of the ropes course. Owner Beatrice explained to me that the idea was to have somewhere that all the family can do activities, where grown ups can play too alongside their children, so that’s exactly what we did.
We got started on the the low ropes course. The low ropes have a minimum age requirement of 7 and a minimum height of 1.2 metres, with an exception for ages 5-6 that if they meet the height requirement they can take part if they are accompanied by an adult. So my 1.3 metre 6 year old went up, accompanied by me! We had a very good, thorough safety briefing and were taken straight up by Ed. He showed us how to clip on and get around, he was really enthusiastic and when we’d got used to it he started showing my son a few extra fun ways of doing each obstacle. All of the low ropes course is inside the dome so my 3 year old watched with my husband from the soft play beneath and cheered us on. My son went round lots of times and had a great time, we had to bribe him down with a hot chocolate and cake!
We all then played inside in the dome’s soft play area and inflatable then went outside to the play area. It’s a beautiful area, the outdoor equipment is very well designed and incorporates recycled and sustainably sourced materials. The turf at the site used to be Arsenal football clubs pitch! There is a fort, lots of log structures to climb and a large sandpit. My 3 year old loved the sand and wouldn’t come out even when it started to rain.
After enough stalling it was time to tackle the high ropes. High ropes have a height requirement of 1.4 metres and minimum age of 10 years, so it looked like mummy was testing this one out! My mum was visiting for the weekend and had come along too so she looked after my children in the outdoor play area while me and my husband braved the high ropes together. It was quite scary, especially at first, but I got into the swing of it and tried to not look down. The team were excellent, we were shown how to use the course and were very securely attached so any slip and we would just hang in our harnesses. Except for a small wobble when I got completely tangled up, I got around the course and felt a huge sense of achievement. It was a really great activity to do with my husband, it would make a great ‘date day’ or birthday gift, as we encouraged each other around and had fun together without the kids. I also scored major ‘cool mum’ points with my 6 year old who was very impressed that I’d gone up.
Feeling brave we all then took turns on the giant airbag jump, which is a lot higher up than it looks when you’re on the platform waiting to go! Only daddy braved the slide drop.
There is also a fantastic cafe. We went in it for lunch and, as the food was so good and reasonably priced, we went back for snacks later.
We had a fabulous day and ended up spending over 4 hours there doing various activities and just playing. There’s a minimal charge to go in and just use the soft play and outdoor play area of £3 for 1-5 years, £5 for 5-16 years, £2 for adults and 0-1 years are free. This is included if you book any of the activities available (high ropes, low ropes or big leap and super slides). It’s a great attraction to have in our area, to do the ropes course as a family activity or just to go in and use it as a place to meet friends. It makes a great alternative meet up place rather than a traditional soft play or playground, and its in a handy location for both Hull, Beverley and surrounding areas. My husband also said it’s one of the best places he’s ever taken the kids so we’ll certainly be back soon.
So overall a big thumbs up for Let Loose!
Its open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am term time and every day in school holidays (times and days may change though so do call ahead to check before going). As well as going to do the activities with your children, or just having a play date, they also run children’s parties and do group bookings for grown ups, such as corporate events.
I’d heard a lot about Williams Den over the last 6 months, lots of parents at playgroups and classes I’ve chatted to in our area have been discussing what it was going to be and when it was going to open. The new attraction, on the road between North and South Cave, opened its doors last month so I was very keen to go and find out more.
I thought I’d better wait for school holidays and take my 6 year old along with my 3 year old or I wouldn’t have been very popular! I also used it as a good location to meet up with my friend Emily from York (who runs the York Mumbler) and her 2 and 4 year old children.
The concept is a play area like no other I’ve been to, it’s all about embracing play, with dens and plenty of sensory experiences to use your imagination with. I’d heard there was a lot to do outside as well as inside and the forecast was looking bad, but we packed our waterproofs and decided to brave it.
It’s very well set up for indoor play and while it rained we spent a good couple of hours inside to begin with. There is a huge ‘treehouse’ style indoor play area (The Den) with steps, bridges, ropes, fireman poles, a slide and even some fabulous musical chairs. There was also a little ‘river’ water play area (which today was a sand river) and a large sandpit area too. There was also a large room with soft materials to build dens with where we spent a lot of time.
I was most impressed by how safe I felt it was, some of the tree’s are a challenging climb for my 6 year old and there were some parts where I couldn’t completely see them all the time, but the environment and atmosphere felt very secure. There were lots of staff constantly walking about checking on children and if any of them did get lost they were finding their parents. The system to get in was brilliant, each child got a wristband and you put the parent/carers phone number on it so any problems and they would call you.
When we went outside space and the views are the first thing that you notice, it’s beautiful. It’s all built very in-keeping with the surroundings, all from very good quality, natural materials. There are loads of mounds (mountains and molehills) that have been created to give the ‘rolling hills’ feel… makes brilliant simple play for the kids to run up and roll down plus they’ve put some cool tunnels through some so the adventure continues. My 6 year old loved a huge climbing frame made from tree branches, and my 3 year old spent most of her time in the tunnels and at the mud kitchen making ‘mud mash’.
You can see a map of the whole area here.
We had lunch at ‘The Kitchen Table’ and we were hugely impressed by the quality of it, You can see the menu here but we thought it was really good value for what we got. The kids pizzas were wood fired and delicious, one small kids pizza easily fed both of mine (and my 6 year old his very hard to fill!) and at £5 I thought it was a good value lunch. The staff were super helpful, especially with getting people tables during the lunchtime rush.
Outside and attached to The Kitchen Table there is a little enclosed outside space with benches and a play area. You can enter the Kitchen Table and this play area without entering the den so there is no charge if you just want to come here with little ones. There are some things for kids to play with including some stacking bricks and cool spinny seat things, which all our kids loved.
Overall I would HIGHLY recommend a visit to Williams Den and I feel really lucky that this has been built in our area, I haven’t been anywhere quite like it before. It wasn’t cheap to get in, and I have heard a lot of negative comments about the price, but it did feel it was completely unique and can be a full day out (we arrived at 10.30 and left at 4.30 and could have stayed longer). The staff were excellent and went the extra mile, my son lost me at one point and they were fantastic. He was on the zip wire and I was in the tunnels with my 3 year old when it started to rain, he couldn’t see me so went inside thinking I’d gone to shelter but we were playing in the rain. He got upset, a staff member approached him and brought him out to look for me and find me, he said they had really looked after him. They were also constantly cleaning! Despite kids playing in mud outside and running inside, all of the inside area looked immaculate.
It was an ideal place to meet my friend from York, and she is going to meet me there again and bring her kids pyjamas and stay later (it closes at 7pm Thurs – Sat) so drive back when its sleep time.
Here are my top tips to get the most from the day:
William’s Den is open every day (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day)
Sunday to Wednesday – 9:30am – 5:00pm
Thursday to Saturday – 9:30am – 7:00pm
Under 3 yrs = £3
3-17 years = £9.50
Adult = £8
Concessions = £6
Carers = Free
Annual Passes Available
Find William’s Den at Wold Hill, North Cave, HU15 2LS. More details on their WEBSITE here.
Rock Up, the new indoor climbing and soft play in St Stephen’s, is running specific Toddler Climb sessions for under 5s only on Monday, Friday and Sunday mornings. My new Mumbler Assistant Sinead went along to their Sunday morning session to check it out and see what it was all about……
I had two very excited children this morning and admittedly one excited mummy to go to Rock Up!! The new climbing and soft play in St Stephens centre runs specific sessions just for under 5s so we went along to try out their new tots session on a Sunday morning.
My youngest, James, is 18 months and was thrilled to get straight into the soft play. My eldest, Jasmine, is 3 and when we first arrived she didn’t want to do any rock climbing (typical threenager!) but really enjoyed watching others and soon came round to trying it herself. It was an ideal first venture in though as there were no older children and it was pretty quiet to allow them to get used to it and find their feet. The staff were all extremely helpful, friendly and welcoming and really helped an encouraged her to get going.
The place itself is very new and extremely clean and was safe for children of all ages. It has a great family friendly feel, it’s all very well enclosed and I felt particularly reassured by the a entrance gate that can only be opened by a member of staff, particularly useful for my little escape artists!
The soft play area is excellent for young adventurous, independent children, but also safe enough to let young ones explore on their own. Both of my children really enjoyed it and I felt relaxed that I could see them and they could do everything safely.
Overall me and the children thoroughly enjoyed our time at Rock Up and will most definitely be going again, I’d highly recommended the tots session for younger children and older ones would enjoy the general sessions. I am seriously considering having Jasmines 4th birthday party there as they also offer party packages.
Find Rock Up at St Stephens (on the Leisure Terrace upstairs), 110 Ferensway, Hull, HU2 8LN.
Toddler Climbing sessions for the ‘Under 5’s’ run on Mondays and Fridays 9am – 10.30am during term time and Sundays 9am – 10am.
Toddler Climb sessions are the perfect opportunity for your pre-schoolers to enjoy some of the older kids fun! These slower paced sessions, allow your Under 5’s the chance to try out any of our climbs. And when they’ve had enough they can head over to soft play. All for £6 (£8 on Sundays which is bookable online). It’s an informal climbing session – so if you’re doing the school run with an older sibling, there’s no rush to be with us at 9am prompt – although the climbing needs to take place before 10.30am (or 10am on a Sunday.) Your entrance fee covers a session lasting an hour and a half.
We recommend that Toddlers should be able to walk and weigh a minimum of 22lbs to take part.
For more info and booking visit their website here or call 01482 968000.
A visit to Rock Up includes free parking at St Stephens after 5.30pm, up to 4 hours half price parking on weekdays and Saturdays and a fixed £2 charge on Sundays.
This week I had the pleasure of getting fully relaxed and recharged at a Yogabellies class. Pam Medhurst runs our local Yogabellies and she invited me along to see what one of her classes was like. I have a few friends who have done Yogabellies in pregnancy and Yogaballies Mum & Baby with their newborns and raved about them so I was keen to see what they were all about.
Now before I go any further, this is not a Mumbler exclusive or announcement, I am completely not pregnant! But Pam said I’d enjoy the class anyway and to be honest it was the most relaxing thing I’ve done in the last 2 years since my 2nd baby arrived, so I was really glad she asked me along.
Pam holds classes in Hull on Monday evenings at Amiyoga on Princes Avenue Hull and on Tuesday evenings at Neals Yard on Beverley’s Saturday Market. Also from 1st March she is starting new classes on Wednesdays at Brough Methodist Church. I went along to her Beverley Yogabellies class this week where I was welcomed by Pam and 8 lovely ladies of various stages of pregnancy, from 19 weeks to 37 weeks.
The venue is great; it’s a room above the Neals Yard shop that you access from a side door, very cosy and relaxing with free parking outside on the Saturday Market car park (it’s free after 6pm and the class is 6.30-7.45pm). Pam provides mats and lovely fleecy blankets and pillows for relaxation time at the end so I just had to turn up in my leggings. It started with everyone introducing themselves and talking about their pregnancy experiences, then we did some breathing techniques to use in labour. We then went into some yoga positions and moves that were adapted for a bump and completely safe to do, despite my lack of bump these were really good stretches and I enjoyed learning the different techniques. We ended with a relaxation session where Pam read a short passage about the experience of birth and we all laid still relaxing under our blankets.
Pam was very knowledgeable and she covered a lot of useful ante natal info during the class. There are Yogabellies classes across the country but Pam was recently voted their Teacher of the Year, so we’re very lucky to have her running our sessions!
There were some first time mums and also a lot of 2nd/3rd timers too as this is a great way to just spend some ‘you time’ and think about the baby you’re going to have without any distractions. I can’t remember a time that I’ve spent an hour and a half just focusing on me and relaxing since having children and it was so refreshing! Earlier that day I’d done the school run, kids tea, taken my son to gymnastics, raced home and handed the baton to my husband and driven to the class. I arrived tired and a bit stressed out but I left feeling totally calm and energised. Pam also talked during the session about using the techniques with children you already have so I am going to employ some breathing and quiet sitting with my stroppy toddler!
I really wished I’d known about these classes during my pregnancies, I can see how the session can really help if you’re suffering from pregnancy aches and pains and how it would prepare you for birth, I think if I’d known some of the breathing and techniques Pam talked about I might have had better labours! It was also a great way to meet other pregnant women and make friends before baby arrives, Pam holds reunions and meet ups for ladies after their births so you can keep in touch.
That’s enough from me and my ‘non-pregnant’ pregnancy yoga class, I asked a lady who was doing the class to summarise her experience. Kate from Skirlaugh is 26 weeks with her 2nd baby and doing Yogabellies now (and did so previously with her first baby)…….
I began Yoga Bellies when 20 weeks pregnant with my daughter and attended class for 16 weeks which took me to 5 days before her arrival. I found that Pam prepared me for labour with breathing techniques and birthing positions, and the other yoga positions we practised helped with any aches and pains along the way. Working full time in a busy job, I always secretly looked forward to the relaxation session at the end of every class. Pam’s class was friendly and welcoming and, having never tried yoga previously, Pam made me feel totally at ease. At home, I fell asleep to the relaxation and positive affirmations for birth CD from my pack on a daily basis.
Fortunately, I had a natural labour with only gas and air. Both my husband and I are convinced that the reason the midwife said I had ‘hypnobirthed’ was due to the fact I used the breathing techniques and my preferred birthing position learnt at Yoga Bellies (to help gravity) whilst listening to the Yoga Bellies music for birth.
My daughter and I attended Pam’s Mummy and Baby Yoga class when she was 6 months old which again I’d recommend and, 3 years later, I am attending Yoga Bellies as am pregnant with my second child and couldn’t imagine going through labour without Pam’s help! This time around there is the added bonus of homemade ginger cookies at the end of each session!
Footy Tots are new football classes in Hull, Anlaby and Brough suitable for children aged from 1 (or walking) to 5 years. I have a football mad 2 year old so I was thrilled when they asked me to go along and review one of their classes.
I always find Saturday mornings a bit difficult with my toddler. I have a 6 year old son who plays for a football team on a Saturday morning so my 2 year old daughter usually has a huge tantrum when he sets off because she wants to play football too. Footy Tots have classes at Winifred Holtby on a Saturday morning so this was an ideal one for me to take her to try out.
The times are split by age: 9.00 – 9.45 ages 1-2 yrs, 10.00 – 11.00 ages 2-3 yrs, 11.00 – 12.00 ages 4-5 yrs so we went along to the 10am class. Although the majority are boys there are some girls at the classes. All classes are indoors and this was in the sports hall at the school.
Sarah runs the classes and set them up last year to try and get more children into football from an early age. She has always coached football and also coaches the Hull City Women’s team so is very experienced and knows her stuff. She developed the program herself so its completely unique and each class is specific to that age group to develop both physical and mental agility.
We started with a warm up, some running and jumping then stretching and then got straight into some simple skills. What I really liked was that it was an interactive session for the parents and children, Sarah showed us all a skill then we each helped our children to learn and practice it. I’ve been to football classes in the past with my son where the parents sit around the edge, I liked being involved with the class as I felt I was doing something with my daughter and learning things we could do together at home. We did a few more skills with other equipment such as skittles and domes and then ended with some penalty kicks. It was also a good workout! I was quite out of breath a few times so it was good to know my daughter had had a good run around and done something really active.
The hour long session flew by and my daughter didn’t want to stop at the end. She was a bit shy at first but Sarah was so encouraging and brilliant with all the children. It was a huge hit and my daughter, she hasn’t stopped talking about it since and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a football class for their child.
Sarah also runs classes in Hull at Victoria Dock Village Hall on Tuesdays, in Brough on Fridays and in Anlaby at Hull Collegiate School on Sundays.