Bettys Cookery School has recently re-opened post-pandemic, and I was lucky enough to be invited down to try out & review their “Icing on the Cake” day, so that I could tell you all about it.
I have never been to an event at Bettys Cookery School before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. My initial thoughts were that the price seems quite high, however I can honestly say, after my day there, I came away feeling like it was actually brilliant value for money. I am already thinking about when I can treat myself again, and maybe book another course or masterclass with a few friends.
So, why did I enjoy it so much? Allow me to tell you all about it…
Firstly, the booking info and arrival instructions were great. I had to fill in a few basic health & safety questions so that Bettys were informed that I was fit & well- (all important in this post-pandemic world). There is a dedicated carpark at the Cookery School and I spotted an EV charging point and a disabled parking spot in close proximity to the door.
I was warmly welcomed on arrival into Bettys Cookery School and shown the lockers (free- you don’t need a coin) and the loos (try not to leave your coat there like I did at the end of the day!)
Next, I was signed in & shown to my seat in the lovely welcome/ cafe area to enjoy a light breakfast of pain au chocolate (delicious obvs!) and tea or coffee. At this point we were also introduced to the 3 dedicated staff who would be looking after us during the day, including our wonderful chef/ teacher Jenny.
After breakfast we were taken into the state-of-the-art kitchen area, and we all sat ‘bake-off” style in front of the demonstration counter. There were 8 of us taking part in the course, however I understand that they can accommodate up to 12 students in the room. It was fantastic to bump into two familiar faces, Lucy & Victoria (AKA Harrogate Mama & The Harrogate Girl) The format of the day ensured that we had plenty of time to chat & catch up, as we progressed with our cakes.
The format of the day would be the same throughout. Jenny would spend 15-30 minutes demonstrating a specific skill, she would give us a series of “top tips” and then we would go away to our work stations and we would do it ourselves.
This format worked incredibly well, so that all of the teaching was done in bite-sized chunks and never felt too overwhelming. Throughout the day Jenny wandered around the room to see how we were getting on & would give further help & advice where required.
Each workstation was fully prepped for us, with ingredients & equipment all measured out & ready for us to use. It probably sounds incredibly cheesy but it fells like you’re on bake-off or master chef and one of the best bits is that there’s no washing up! The wonderful Bettys staff take care of all of that for you!
Prior to lunch we managed to dye our sugar paste icing, roll it out so that we could cut & mould our flower decorations. Next we moved on to prepping our Madira sponge cakes (baked by Bettys) by rubbing off the crust and then layering the two halves with jam & buttercream icing. The next stage was adding butter cream icing to the outside services and levelling it off, before popping it into the fridge to set. We also made a start on dusting our flowers & leaves with a powdery luster, to make them look more realistic.
We broke off for lunch at around 1pm and were treated to a delicious feast of warm salmon fillet salad with new potatoes & a gorgeous herby vinaigrette. This was followed by more Bettys deliciousness in the form of a cheese cake and then coffee or tea to finish. To my surprise (& delight!) lunch also included wine!
Back to our stations after lunch, we moved on the marzipan & fondant icing then finally assembling them and piping the icing.
Throughout the day we were chatting & encouraging each other and the whole session felt friendly & inclusive. It was a wonderfully relaxing way to spend the day & it felt like such a tonic to be really mindful about one task- a rarity in my fast paced life!
It is no exaggeration to say that I was blown away by the quality of my own creation as well as the cakes made by everyone else on the course. The cake was a wonderful souvenir for the day & tasted as good as it looked!
I can highly recommend the Bettys Cookery School– as well as “The Icing on the Cake” day, they run a wide variety of days courses & masterclasses including bread making, pastry & Elegant Entertaining (Making a 3-course dinner party menu)
Reviewed May 2022
Disclaimer- I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the “Icing on the Cake” day for free, however the opinions here are my own. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending the Cookery School- I was genuinely blown away & can’t wait to go back! Sal x
My experience at Urban Circus has been nothing but great! I love it there because its really active, enjoyable, engaging and there is so many wonderful people. when I first came I was with my best friend Martha but I was still a bit nervous because I had never done anything like this and I was sure we would be behind everyone but it turns out as soon as we came in we felt so welcome because the staff there and other kids are so nice and friendly. (Phew!)
When you first get there you put your shoes, socks, bags and other accessories in a nice room where there is comfy sofas to wait on. There is also clothes that you can look at and buy with the logos on. Then you go in to a medium room with poles, hoops and aerial hammocks. Every session you use the poles but depending on which day it is will decide if you use either the hoops or aerial hammocks as well. When you come in to the class you will take off your shoes and socks so you have better grip (stud earrings are ok, but I don’t recommend loose necklaces, dangly earrings or bracelets etc..)
For me personally I think the best things to wear are tight or semi loose tops and tight leggings. I wouldn’t recommend vests or really baggy clothes because you need tight ones so that you can move around. I also strongly recommend that you wear shorts under your leggings, it may not be the most fashionable but it will help you loads with grip. Personally I prefer shorter shorts because you use your thighs for grip.
Every lesson is jam packed full with new and exciting tricks and I have loved them all. A great thing about it is that the teachers are so friendly and supportive. If you’re are struggling they will always help you and make sure you are comfortable and that you feel safe. Even if you think you cant do it, they are always there to encourage you and find new moves that you can do instead.
The instructors (depending on your age) will treat you as adults and make sure you are cooled down at the end and so you feel proud of yourself and that you feel like you have really achieved something.
If you’re interested to find out about Urban Circus head over to their website here.
Reviewed July 2021
*Disclosure – this review was written by Mini(ish) Mumbler Tilly . We had full permission from Urban Circus! All classes were paid for.
On Friday morning I ventured out for my first class with Rafferty my two year old and Trillium who is now six weeks old. Having attended Baby Beats with Raffy, when he was a baby, I was excited to get back to it and it certainly didn’t disappoint. It was even better than I remembered! The classes are held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings for 0-3 year olds in the purpose built Enchantica’s workshop found at Beech Avenue Business Park.
Everything is very Covid safe. Suzie greeted us at the entrance (with space to park your pram)where we sanitised hands, removed our shoes and were shown to our mat which were all socially distanced. Every child had their own bag of instruments and resources for the class.
From the moment it started until it finished it was none stop action, music and engagement. Every week is a different theme and our class theme was pirates, a real favourite with Raffy. Suzie makes a massive effort to incorporate the children’s names into the songs and she’s helped along the way by her lovely friend (puppet) Beatie. Suzie’s enthusiasm and amazing singing voice are just fantastic and you just can’t help getting involved, we were singing along throughout the session.
The great thing about being in the workshop are the fantastic lights and surround sound which make the class a sensory explosion. We really enjoyed the yoga aspect of the class too as it just makes it that bit different and encourages the children to be active and move in different ways.
As for Miss Trilli she had a feed and slept through her first ever class but I know it is something she will enjoy in the coming weeks and months. This is a great thirty minute class that caters well for the different age range. It’s also a great one to attend if you have more than one child as it’s a lovely safe space and very relaxed. A big thumbs up for our experience and we can’t wait to go back and have more fun soon.
Reviewed May 2021
*Disclosure – this review was written by Mumbler Volunteer Nic. The review was entirely voluntary and not endorsed by Baby Beats in any way, although permission was sought from the course leader beforehand.*
I was so excited to start Baby May Massage back in June and the classes certainly lived up to expectations. The classes provide a real opportunity to take a little bit of time out for you and your baby so you can really focus on each other in a relaxed and peaceful environment.
The classes are taught by the fantastic Kate Felgate. Kate is really warm and friendly and made everyone feel so comfortable right away. Every week you learn the different moves for a different body area to massage and gradually build it up until you complete a full massage during the last class. As well as massage their is sensory time, yoga and songs. Miss Trilli particularly loved the bubbles and disco lights time.
The best part for me is that it’s all about going at your own pace so if baby needs to feed or falls asleep it’s absolutely fine. Kate is on hand to fill in any gaps and offers good advice for helping baby with things like constipation.
Held in the yoga studio on Hornbeam park it’s a fantastic location, with handy parking, changing facilities and also gives you the opportunity to have a post class coffee in Indulge Cafe with the other mums and baby’s. I met a fantastic group of ladies and we have formed a lovely support network.
The classes are aimed at babies from six weeks to to pre-crawling. Some of the mums on the course had done it previously with older children. This in itself speaks volumes about just how fantastic Baby May massage, led by Kate is.
In summary if you are expecting a baby or are looking for a new class to try from September definitely get this one booked. Kate also offers the Little Wrigglers class for baby’s from five months so if you missed out on baby massage last half-term get signed up for this, you definitely won’t regret it!
The next 7 week courses start 7th September, Little Wrigglers at 11am and Baby Massage and Yoga at 12pm.
Reviewed June 2021
*Disclosure – this review was written by Mumbler Volunteer Nic. The review was entirely voluntary and not endorsed by Baby May in any way, although permission was sought from the course leader beforehand.*
Having always loved Børn of the Forest holiday and pre-school sessions with Cici and Bran I was so excited to go back today with Raffy and Trilli. It was even better than I remembered!
Vikki, the Chief of Play, is so wonderfully warm and welcoming that instantly you feel comfortable in her presence. The main idea behind Børn of the Forest is a classroom without walls. A place where children can explore, experiment, imagine and create. A place where children have space, freedom and time. Where adults and children can play and learn together. There are no expectations and it is all very child led with so many activities and experiences to engage with.
Towards the start of the session we gathered together for the welcome song and story under the shelter. The story was all about Dandelions which nicely linked the theme of the session altogether. Again there was no expectation to sit and listen and the children are free to go off and explore. Raffy was keen to hear the story and to also engage in the Dandelion related tasks which included some Japanese art – making flags using natural materials. He loved being supervised using the hammer to help use the Dandelions to make natural patterns. The dandelion homemade play doh went down a treat too and he enjoyed making pizzas from it. It clearly looked good enough to eat as I had to stop Miss T from having a try!
The pre-school session is 90 minutes long giving you plenty of time to explore the Forest and all the session has to offer. I love the versatility that Born of the Forest offers as you can book for occasional sessions, make a block booking at a discounted rate and there is also sibling discount available too.
When you think of a Forest school you often think mud kitchen. The Børn of the Forest mud kitchen is AMAZING! So big with so much equipment and of course which pre-schoolers don’t love mud and water and potion making?!
If you can tear your little one away from the mud kitchen they can enjoy making mud art on easels, setting up ramps for trucks, chilling out in the hammocks, exploring the fairy homes and bird hive, creating water chutes from tubes, building the tallest towers from wooden blocks and searching for and identifying mini beasts. If you’ve any time left after that you can explore the Forest too and we loved having a walk over the mini bridges and spending time amongst the Blue Bells which were absolutely fabulous. There’s also, what Raffy called a little stage which he loved walking across, a tree swing and rakes and brushes to have a go of too. Raffy loves an implement and his chosen one today was a leaf picker. He enjoyed using that to help pick up the crunchy leaves and ‘tidying the Forest’ as he put it.
Børn of the Forest is not just for pre-schooler’s but also has Holiday and After School Club from the age of 5, Home Education sessions, Therapeutic Forest sessions from age 4 to young adults, parties seasonal events, and mens woods for wellbeing. It truly offers opportunities for all.
So the verdict from Raffy and Trilli? Well the smiling faces say it all and they can’t wait to go back. If you’ve not tried Born of the Forest before we’d definitely recommend giving it a go.
Reviewed April 2022 by Mumbler Champion Nic, Raffy and Trilli
Disclosure: We were gifted our class at Børn of the Forest however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account. Phew, we really enjoyed it! (otherwise that could have been awks!)
There’s no doubt that the advantages of learning outdoors are endless. Being outdoors allows children to express themselves easily and its this sense of freedom which is fantastic for a child’s development, both mentally and physically. The increasingly popular concept of outdoor playgroups and forest schools reflects a growing desire to get our children outside more and to embrace the learning potential that being free to roam represents.
Busy Birds is an outdoor class, which gives children the opportunity to explore and learn from the natural environment around them. With around fifteen interesting, well thought out activity stations, my two-year-old had plenty to do in the hour that the class runs for. I really like the ethos of this group; how children can learn to interact with the elements around them, which will help them to start to learn about the world we live in. The activity stations are very child-centered and include building, imaginative play, small-world play, role-play, foraging, mark-making, music, sensory and reading. Considering the wide range of activities available, it is clear that this group will appeal to a broad age range (from 4 months to 6 years as specified on their website). Wrap up warm as classes will run whatever the weather (within reason!) but as we are in North Yorkshire after all, a spot of rain is to be expected, so we came prepared with our wellies and waterproofs.
We were greeted warmly by Grace, one of the leaders of Busy Birds. It was obvious from our first meeting that she is extremely passionate about nurturing little ones in the outdoor setting; and has done an excellent job in creating such a fun, loosely-structured learning space that provide young people with an endless amount of learning opportunities. I also found it really enjoyable; it was an absolute pleasure being a part of this class, watching my toddler explore some activities he hasn’t experienced before and seeing his reaction and expression to the sensory activities (like squelching in the mud and splashing in the water!)
I really admired the design of the group; they seem to have this just right. There is a brief introduction and a welcome song, then the children are given free-play time at the activity stations, before the session closes with circle time with a story, song, drink and healthy snack. Along with the wide range of activity stations, the course leader guides a nature craft activity – my little one loves crafting (like his mama!) so he did make a bee-line for this. None of the stations are compulsory, but it is fantastic to have so much choice without it feeling overwhelming at all. Grace describes the activities as “open-ended”, meaning while the activities are planned, little ones will often find something that interests them more like a fallen branch or a puddle, which the activity can then be adapted to. It really is amazing when you unpick the amount of learning and development opportunities there are just from some “simple” outdoor activities!
We joined the class at Yolk Farm, Minskip which is fantastic venue. We said hello to the resident pigs, goats and alpacas before and after our Busy Birds session and also made the most of our time there by visiting the Yolk Farm restaurant for brunch which was a real treat and very child friendly. Busy Birds also run sessions at Stockeld Park, Wetherby.
I think it goes without saying that I would definitely recommend Busy Birds. Children are naturally “free-range” learners, developing by observing and exploring the environment around them and Busy Birds offer just the right balance of structure and open-ended opportunities.
Reviewed April 2022 by Mumbler Champion Elfie and Rowan
Disclosure: We were gifted our class at Busy Birds however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account. Phew, we really enjoyed it! (otherwise that could have been awks!
Last week, on the hottest day of the year we were kindly invited along to review Harrogate Tipple’s Gin School Experience. Drinking Gin in the sunshine, what’s not to like – we immediately said yes and off we went! The experience is all based in Ripley, there is plenty of parking, but you’re advised to leave the car at home! The number 36 bus runs right through Ripley to Harrogate.
Check out our hilarious Instagram Reel from the day here.
The Gin School Experience runs for approx 3 hours. Its £125 per person, so ideal for a special occasion. We were there with a mother and daughter celebrating the daughter’s birthday.
Once the tour is over we walked over to their Gin School, which is located within Ripley Castle. You enter via a secret door from their shop next door. To say we were getting serious Harry Potter vibes was an understatement. We were served the most delicious, and rather large, Gin and Tonics over the next few hours . I think we had 3 or 4 G&Ts over the course of the afternoon, but my memory is a little fuzzy! We also got to taste their Rum too – which was delicious. You get the most gorgeous canapés throughout the afternoon too, all prepared by a local chef.
At the Gin School you get to create a personal recipe for your very own gin. Choosing from over 80 dried and over 60 seasonal fresh botanicals, with Andrea on hand to provide you with his expert advice! The fresh botanicals are all grown on site in the castle gardens. We spent about 30 minutes here – tasting and smelling all the delicious herbs, picking any that took our fancy.
We all then headed back to the school to make our very own gin – using our own unique blend of dried and fresh botanicals, as well as Harrogate Tipples own blend (a gin isn’t a gin without junipers!) . We each had our own copper still, again lots of Harry Potter vibes/ chemistry lesson flash backs. It was great fun, and by this point it was fair to say we were a little sozzled! It took about 40 minutes for our own gin to be distilled – we all got a little try. You have to name you gin, Harrogate Tipple will keep your recipe safe and if you ever want to reorder some they’ll make it for you! They had a couple come and do the tour who then asked ordered 12 more bottles to be served at their wedding. Sally named hers Mumbler’s Ruin and I fell in love with all the different types of sage in the gardens so called mine Sage Advice. You then get to bottle up your gin and take it home, along with a lovely little hand santizer.
We really did have an awesome afternoon – Ripley is just gorgeous and the beautiful setting really added to the experience, as did all the staff we met – you can really tell they all have a real passion for what they do. We appreciate it’s not a cheap experience, but we do think it’s the perfect gift/experience for a really special occasion.
Reviewed June 2022
Disclosure: We were gifted our Gin School Experience, however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account. Phew, we really enjoyed it! (otherwise that could have been awks!)
I was so excited to return to Hartbeeps with Miss Trillium. Having attended the classes with Branagan, as baby in 2016 and then again with Rafferty in 2019, when we were offered a place I jumped at it. Having grown incredibly popular over the passed few years, from attending our very first class, it was very easy to see why and it certainly didn’t disappoint!
If you are looking for a baby class to attend then I would look no further than Hartbeeps. Get your name down today!
Reviewed Jan 2022
*Disclosure – this review was written by Mumbler Volunteer Nic. The review was entirely voluntary and not endorsed by Hartbeeps in any way, although permission was sought from the course leader beforehand.*
Such a lovely start to our day on Thursday as we joined LinGo Explore, led by Caroline. This is a language class with a difference ‘Learn French in your welly boots!’ And whilst we didn’t need our wellies today we truly enjoyed our morning of outdoor exploration and learning.
LinGo Explore is a Pre-school outdoor language class delivered by Caroline who is a trained and experienced language teacher. It’s all done outsides with a different location and theme each week.
The special language classes are for children from 18 months to 4 years old. The groups are a minimum of six pre-schoolers so you get a really personal experience.
The theme of the class we attended was all to do with the story of the three little pigs. This is a real favourite of Rafferty’s. We started with a lovely welcome song in French and then the children chose a pair of binoculars and a basket. Fully equipped we headed out on a hunt for piggies around Valley Gardens. As we walked and collected the children were spoken to in both French and English. What was great was that the children pointed out things they could see on route and Caroline explained what they were seeing in French. After collecting and counting our pigs, in French, the children loved having a hot chocolate and doing some biscuit decoration. Caroline had made biscuits and brought pink icing to decorate the biscuits with. Raffy especially loved this part and Trilli helped with the biscuit eating too! The three little pigs story was then read to the children in French and then they had fun singing a song about the big bad wolf with a puppet. The class ended with a lovely goodbye song and by the end of the class Raffy was even saying some words in French!
We really enjoyed this class because it was well paced, full of variety and fun. Caroline is really welcoming and had a fantastic rapport with the children. There are two LinGo Exolore classes every Thursday in Harrogate the first at 9.30 and the second at 10.30 and they last for 45 minutes. If your child enjoys being outside, want to try something a bit different and have great fun then LinGo Explore is definitely worth a try.
Each lesson is 45 minutes long and it is£8.50 per child per session, for more details contact Caroline Jackson on 07841 167141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed May 2022 by Mumbler Champion Nic and Raffy
Disclosure: We were gifted our class at LinGo Explore however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account. Phew, we really enjoyed it! (otherwise that could have been awks!)
Recently, I had the lucky opportunity to attend a Musicality Kids class. I’ve been on the lookout for an inspiring, innovative class that my music-loving 14-month-old and I could attend regularly at a convenient time and place – and this class ticked all the boxes.
Hannah does a fabulous job of running the class solo; she brings light, enthusiasm and excitement to the class and has a natural manner with children and adults alike. It is clear that she has a real passion for music and wants to share it with the world! You can learn about her backstory and read about her passion for music on her website and on the Musicality Kids Facebook page.
I love the ethos of this group; I felt very comfortable and although we still had to adhere to the government Covid-19 guidance, it felt informal and friendly which was just right for the type of group Hannah is offering. She says “I’d love one of my Musicality Kids to confidently pick which instrument they’d like to learn when they’re a bit older by knowing what it sounds like, what you can do with it and what doors it will open for them”. I love that booking is flexible; although you have to pay for a block of 6 classes (£36), you can use the class passes at your leisure (i.e. you don’t have to commit to every consecutive week) which I found to be a real plus.
There were clearly marked spaces (socially distanced) in the hall and next to it, a canvas bag containing a selection of musical instruments and props. Everything felt very safe – there were hand sanitisers dotted around and we were asked to wear a face covering when moving around the room. All props were sanitised prior to use. We attended the mixed class (babies/toddlers/pre-school) at St Marks Church which was held in a hall up a flight of stairs. There was a room downstairs allocated for parking the buggy.
Every week has a different theme, this week was ‘seasons. As we travelled through each season, Hannah introduced the babies and children to a different musical sound/tempo/volume/genre which provided a fully immersive experience. Rowan was captivated! Some of the activities involved not only musical instruments but props too such as bubbles (always a winner), sparkly/shiny wands and woolly “snowballs”. Rowan loved all the activities, and the time (40 minutes) was just right. Overall, a great experience and we’re both looking forward to going back again soon.
What we loved about the class:
– Flexi-pass booking system, allows flexibility to attend when it’s convenient for you. There is also a discount for 2 siblings which is a great plus for those with more than one little!
– Hannah offers a “free trial” before booking, just get in contact with her directly to organise this – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!
– There are two different classes available depending on age, which is well designed in accordance with developmental need and attention span etc.
– Informal, friendly and welcoming atmosphere
Reviewed May 2021
*Disclosure – this review was written by Mumbler Volunteer Elfie. The review was entirely voluntary and not endorsed by Musicality Kids in any way, although permission was sought from the course leader beforehand.*
We are fast becoming #fitnessinfluencers here at Harrogate Mumbler. Something I never thought I’d say! But as we’re getting older we’re valuing me time a little bit more – and wanting to get a little bit healthier. I guess after over a decade (for some of us) of motherhood – it’s time to start putting us first!
We were kindly invited along to OneWellness in Harrogate – who put on a special Pilates class for us – run by the lovely Sam – better known to us at Harrogate Mumbler as Oobermama. If you’d like to know more about Sam – watch this space #fitnessinfluencer Nic will be reviewing her specialist one to one classes very soon!
OneWellness Harrogate is a wellbeing and fitness club offering mind and body workouts. The last thing it looks like, or feels like is a gym! I felt more like I was at a spa! Which is exactly the vibe this tired 40something Mumma needed. It’s like an oasis of calm right in the centre of Harrogate. They have a huge fully equipped gym space – the light just floods the room, as well as a beautiful studio.
Our class was an Introduction to Pilates class run by Sam. It was the first time for most of us – Sam went round the room and got an indication of our experience and tailored the class accordingly. She was just brilliant, at points we were doing pretty intensive exercises but she had us so wrapped up in conversation we didn’t even notice! Yes that’s right – I was able to hold a conversation and do exercises at the same time! It’s amazing how less something hurts when you’re distracted!
We came away from that class feeling invigorated and with a new friend! Thanks for having us Sam – we loved it, and you!
Here’s what the other #fitnessinfluencers thought:
“Incredibly knowledgable. As a PT I feel qualified to be able to say her experience and ability to take on a class was second to none” Jen
“Class was amazing! I had fun, felt at ease and the instruction was really clear. I’m definitely still feeling the class benefits 2 days on!” Zoe
“I really enjoyed the class and left feeling energised with a spring in my step! And the best thing was I didn’t ache lots the next day, just enough to know I’d done something!” Evie
“Sam made me feel so comfortable and was able to suit my needs. Loved how I used muscles I didn’t even know existed! Definitely want to do more classes” Nic
“The centre was welcoming, bright and relaxed, all the staff were incredibly friendly and Sam, who led the session was really knowledgeable. She took the time to understand each of our own experiences with Pilates, then tailored the session appropriately.” Sally
OneWellness Club – Harrogate is a Wellbeing and Fitness Members Club located in the heart of the town with a beautiful, dedicated Yoga, Barre and Pilates studio, light and spacious gym and wellbeing space. Our team of Personal Trainers, Physios and Instructors deliver both gym and studio based classes and appointments. Find out more about their membership and class packs here. If you are interested in one of their classes, you can even try them for free!
If you’re interested in seeing what OneWellness Club Harrogate has to offer, why not join them on Saturday 2nd April for their Festival of Wellbeing.
Reviewed March 2022
Disclosure: We were gifted our class at OneWellness Harrogate however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account. Phew, we really enjoyed it! (otherwise that could have been awks!
I’m very familiar with the desire to get back into shape after having a baby, and after four relatively close together, I perhaps know more than most that wanting to find your figure again whilst at the same time just living everyday life and the juggle that brings, can he much harder than you imagine it will be.
My body has never been what it was before Cici (my eldest), and nor do I ever expect it to be, but after my first three babies I managed to lose the weight and feel fairly happy with where I was at body wise. Along comes baby number four and a combination of being pregnant through Covid, not walking and getting out as much as well as over indulging way too much meant I put on more weight than ever before so when Trilli turned 9 months and the “9 months pregnant 9 months to work it off” clearly hadn’t worked it was time to do something about it.
Healthier diet, tick! More exercise, tick! Smaller tummy, nope! Something wasn’t quite right and I wasn’t sure what to do. I had a lot of excess skin and whatever exercise I tried – squats, walking, resistance bands etc I still looked about five months pregnant. I decided I needed to do something about my core and whilst in the midst of Pilates and Yoga class research I was invited to review a Pilates class with Sam from Oobermama.
Sam is a PT, Pilates teacher and also one of a handful of senior Hypopressives trainers in the U.K. Her focus is on rehab and in particular on the pelvic floor. Whether you are pregnant or post-natal, suffering from an abdominal separation (Diastasis), bladder or postural issues or simply just searching for those elusive core muscles, Sam aims to give you the tools you’ll need.
Fortunately for me this is where fate really intervened. I had thought for a while that I may have a diastasis recti, the medical term for a tummy gap , a really common post natal condition. About two out three post natal mums will have some degree of separation of their stomach muscles. It is a widening of the two sets of rectus abdominus muscles (six pack). When I went along to the class with Sam the first thing she did was check my abs for this gap and what she found was a four finger gap with a depth down to the second knuckle.
I can’t tell you the relief of having someone confirm that there was actually an issue and it wasn’t in my head and that I could work to do something about it. But also I was nervous. The gap seemed so big, would I be able to close it and get close to my fitness and body goals?
The very next week I went along for a one to one with Sam at her house for an initial assessment. Sitting on an exercise ball in front of the mirror I cried at what I saw. Poor posture and a body that just didn’t feel like mine. Having Sam there saying there is something you can do, I can help you and we will do this together restored some confidence and belief in myself. That day I had my first introduction to Hypopressives and I can tell you I’ve not looked back.
Hypopressives is a breathing and postural technique that uses the whole body to activate the deep core muscles, improve posture and release mysofascial tension. Crucially, it also teaches the pelvic floor to match pressure from above. Sam started me off very slowly ensuring that I adopted the correct positions and avoided making anything worse and to also to help build new muscle memory. As I have very little core strength, my whole posture needed improving. With Sam’s programme, it’s very much designed to fit around the individual. I have a short programme of exercise to complete every day and I check in with Sam, in-person, once a fortnight. Sam also offers weekly online classes as well as an in-person ones, so I’ve definitely felt supported along the way.
Nearly 12 weeks into the programme and I can’t believe the improvements I’ve had. Firstly just looking at my tummy it’s so much smaller but also the gap has closed. Already, my gap has reduced by over half, both in width and depth. But more than that, because I can see the positive impact it is having it’s really upped my motivation to be more active and eat more healthily too. My overall aim is to be fit for forty and I’ve still got time to hit my goal and it now feels so much more realistic and achievable. I can’t thank Sam enough for all that she has helped me to achieve so far and I’m excited to see even more incredible results in the next few weeks to come.
So if you are like I was, wanting to kick start reclaiming your body after childbirth be it 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years or even more, then don’t hesitate to contact Sam and give her programme a go. You’ll be so glad you did.
We also asked Sam to comment on Nic’s progress:
“I think from my point of view – aside from the obvious physical changes – it’s the psychological ones you see in Nic. A mum who had disconnected from her body because she didn’t recognise it any more is not uncommon, but then watching her reconnect with it is so rewarding. I think it is illustrated clearly in these two pics of Nic, where she’s noticeably taller in the second and not so dejected.”
Find out more about Obermama.
Sam will be running a new Mums and Tums class at OneWellness studios from July, for more details visit their website.
Reviewed March – June 2022
Disclosure: Nic was gifted these sessions with Sam, however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account. Phew, we really enjoyed it! (otherwise that could have been awks!)
What a fantastic start to our Friday morning! Raffy, Trilli and myself were invited down to the brand new Pop up Play Playgroup held at Crimple Hall in what used to be the cafe area. Having been a mum since 2014 I’ve frequented my fair share of play groups but I have to say this one was up there as one of my favourites. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but when we walked in my little twos eye literally lit up by the amazing soft-play activities on offer.
From a soft-play climbing frame, ball pols large and small, sensory toys, balance beam you name it they had it. What I loved the most was how welcoming Lauren and Amber were and how they had created such a fantastic atmosphere. The equipment was scrupulously clean, which is a real thing of mine when it come to soft-play. There was a fab baby section too with play mats, bouncing chairs and a lovely dark area with light up toys for a real sensory experience.
Included in your ticket price is a coffee and cake. The coffee, being at Crimple, is always delicious and I didn’t get a look in the the chocolate brownies with Raffy and Trilli about. Vegan options are catered for too and there’s a lovely seating area with high chairs as well. There is also fruit and squash for the children. The outside space is also available to explore and a brand new bouncy castle with turrets is coming soon too which will be a fantastic edition.
At each session a guest speaker is invited. Today it was Blooming Babies giving out top tips when it comes to choking, which was incredibly useful for everyone as well.
When it came to Raffy and Trilli’s favourite activity I’d have to say it was the ball pools. Trilli wandered away whilst I was getting my shoes on and yes, you guessed it, she was back in the ball pool having a fine old time. I’m definitely keen to go back and if you fancy trying this too check out Pop up play on Facebook or message Lauren directly to book your space. The team are looking to increase the play group too to more days of the week so if you can’t do Fridays look out for extra dates coming soon!!
Their next playgroup will be on 29th July- 9.30am-11am / 11.30am – 1pm. It’s £10 (including coffee and cake), £5 each for additional siblings.
Why not stay for lunch – a lunch menu will be given to any bookings so they can pre order and the food be ready in the food hall at 1pm.
Reviewed June 2022
Disclosure: Mumbler Volunteer Nic and her littlest Raffy and Trilli were gifted their session at Pop up Play, however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account. Phew, we really enjoyed it! (otherwise that could have been awks!)
Typically, as my maternity leave ended, the world started opening up again – which included baby classes and groups. As I was preparing to go back to work, I was on the lookout for a local baby group/class that my Mum would be able to take Rowan to. Although we are fortunate that in Harrogate most places are accessible on foot, ideally, I was looking for something in our local area (Bilton), and as if by magic, an advert for Songbugs came up on my Facebook news feed!
I’d not heard of the classes before, but they sounded perfect for my music-loving thirteen-month-old. For such a young age he does bop and bounce along to beats and will always choose to play with his musical instruments; he must have inherited the musical gene from his Daddy! When I mentioned it to my Mum (a retired nursery nurse), she was so excited to take her first Grandchild to a class; not just to be able to relive some of the activities she did at nursery, but also for her own sanity to get out of the house and socialise! It was also important to me that Rowan continued to be involved in some classes for his own physical, cognitive and emotional development.
Songbugs Singalong describe themselves as “Children’s TV but live in HD” which is absolutely what they offer. Dani is an enthusiastic, energetic leader who engages with the children well and is able to capture their attention naturally – Rowan looks at her with such fascination (or perhaps it’s the puppet!). It’s great to see a leader who is clearly passionate about what she does. Dani’s background is in live performance and production shows and this shapes the whole backbone of the SongBugs product. With a wealth of experience performing live and delivering children’s concepts too; it is clear to see her passion in entertaining and engaging young children and adults alike! Songbugs offer three different groups which are classified by age: Bumble Bops (“3 months to moving”), Bumble Bounce (“toddling to 2 years”) and Bumble Beats (“2 years to pre-school age”). Rowan attends the “Bumble Bounce” class.
The classes provide a good mix of musical and sensory activities. A range of musical instruments and sensory items are provided in an individual bag for your little one’s own personal use throughout the class. Dani uses puppets which provide great engagement for the little ones and good repetition throughout classes so they become familiar.
Dani provides full reassurance at the start of every session that all items have been sanitised in accordance with national covid-19 guidance and ensures that everyone is PPE compliant (wearing a facemask) and sanitises their hands on entry into the building. Face masks are required when moving about the centre but don’t need to be worn when you’re sat in your individual space (which are all socially distanced). I felt very safe and reassured that all the correct guidance was been followed which is so important to keep ourselves and everyone else safe.
Overall we have really enjoyed the Songbugs experience to date, and my Mum has signed up for more classes, which speaks for itself. The classes have now become part of our Wednesday routine, and Rowan’s little face lights up when the building is in sight, as he’s learned to recognise what’s coming and looks forward to his little bop on the floor mats!
I would not hesitate to recommend Songbugs to anyone who is looking to introduce their little one into music, and it’s the perfect class to spend some one-on-one bonding time with them whilst having lots of fun!
What we loved about the class:
· Rowan is gaining confidence – he is engaged and is able to concentrate on songs and listen to beats
· Online booking system via their website – convenient and easy to use
· Flexible booking offered by a week-by-week basis is really useful rather than booking a term if you prefer this option (I found this a really helpful option financially but also the level of commitment is up to you)
· Classes are run on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays (x2) and Fridays across Harrogate, Knaresborough and Boroughbridge which offer great options throughout the week
· There are three different classes available depending on age, which is well designed in accordance with developmental need and attention span etc.
The only real negative I found was that the class names confusing and it wasn’t obvious which class I needed to book without having to look it up elsewhere on the site beforehand.
Reviewed May 2021
*Disclosure – this review was written by Elfie Astbury with information and thoughts on the class added by her Mum, Elfriede Goulé. The review was entirely voluntary and not endorsed by Songbugs in any way, although permission was sought from the course leader beforehand.*
Reviewed June 2021
*Disclosure – this review was written by Mumbler Volunteer Anna, owner of the wonderful Mabie Makes. The review was entirely voluntary and not endorsed by SummerBell Dance Academy in any way, although permission was sought from the course leader beforehand.*
Having been fortunate enough to try the Birds class at The Little Gym Harrogate with Miss Trilli back in March I was super excited for Raffy to try the Funny Bugs class last week. I was a little nervous at first as this class is one where the children go into the gym with the teachers and the parents watch through a glass wall. Well I needn’t have worried at all. Teacher Simon made Raffy feel so very welcome that he went straight inside and was engaged from the offset.
The first few minutes of the class are given over for exploration of the equipment. Raffy absolutely went for it and was so excited. The class are then brought together and both teacher Simon, the class leader, and his fellow teacher Holly did the class introductory song with little bells. Then it was straight into the warm up activity with hoops. There was a real emphasis on good manners and please and thank yous. Following instructions was also key throughout the class and it was amazing to see how well all the children responded.
The class was then split into two groups with a different activity for each. The key theme was working on hands and feet in preparation for the next skill up, monkey jumps for cartwheels and pushing up for front support for rolls. Halfway through the class the groups swopped over so they were able to have a go on all of the equipment. There was also reference to numbers throughout the class too so the children were learning on multiple levels.
Whilst the class is going on the parents and carers have a lovely space to sit with tables and access to hot drinks. There is also a little play area so if you have a toddler in tow you can keep them amused or likewise older children have space to do homework whilst you wait.
At the end of the class both groups came back together and completed a warm down activity. All children received a sticker for taking part and then were calmly led back to the parents. There were of happy smiling faces which was just wonderful to see. And the overall verdict a huge thumbs up for Raffy. He keeps asking when he can go back so we will definitely be looking at booking him onto a class and even perhaps some of the summer camps as children can attend from the age of three. Thank you Little Gym for having us back. We will hopefully see you again very soon.
Book your classes at The Little Gym here.
Reviewed May 2022 by Mumbler Champion Nic and Raffy
Disclosure: We were gifted our class at The Little Gym however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account. Phew, we really enjoyed it! (otherwise that could have been awks!)
Over the last couple of week Miss Trillium and I have been having new adventures down at The Little Gym. Having used their holiday camps for Cici and Bran last year, and been to parties here, I was very excited to try out the Little Birds classes aimed at babies from 10 to 18 months. The fantastic thing about the Little Gym is that they cover a really wide age range within their programme of classes from 4 months right up to 12 years old.
At the Little Gym the team pride themselves on three dimensional learning and the benefits include ‘Get moving’ for Muscle control, coordination and motor skill. ‘Brain boost’ including colour recognition, language development, number and letter recognition and Life skills – independence, sharing and cooperation. Every class offers a range of different activities including some set weekly ones that help your child grow familiar with the routines and develop in confidence.
When we arrived at the class we received a lovely warm welcome from Sam our teacher and each week the parents introduced their baby’s to the group with their name, age and what they were most enjoying that week. This was a really lovely start and helped to encourage the parents to chat too.
The class is a real sensory experience offering the 3 key Bs that Trillium and I just love – Bells, Balls and Bubbles!! The babies had chance to explore the gym at their own pace which they all loved doing. It’s a really safe and clean environment too with a wide range of equipment to try and a Little Gym song to transition between each section of the lesson.
Every week the babies are introduced to three key skills from balancing activities on the beam to backwards rolls and climbing challenges. Each activity is really fun and designed to help babies use different parts of their bodies. Sam was brilliant giving each baby one to one time and instruction to parents.
Should you arrive early to class or need time to draw breath afterwards there is a fantastic waiting area. This area offers free tea and coffee for parents as well as high chairs for the obligatory snacks and a toy and book area to keep the little ones busy. Also a good thing to note is that there is plenty of parking. This is always key for me when driving the big family bus. It’s also just over the road from Harlow Carr too so if you wanted to carve out an activity for the day this is a great thing to combine your class with.
So the final verdict… a BIG thumbs up from Trillium and me. We can’t wait to go again. If you fancy trying out a Little Gym class in March you can for FREE! Just complete their booking form online with the class you would like to try out and then go and give it a go. We have very kindly been invited to go and try out the Funny Bugs/Giggle Worms with Raffy so look out for my review of that too, coming soon!
If you’d like to try Little Gym for FREE why not come to our next Mumbler Meet up:
Reviewed March 2022
*Disclosure – this review was written by our Mumbler Champion Nic, who took along her youngest daughter, Trilli . Mumbler was lucky enough to receive this for free however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account.
We’ve been working with Urban Circus for a while now – our biggest Mini-mumbler Tilly is a big fan, and whenever we post about Urban Circus online we get such a positive response from you guys! So when Natalie Aka Captain Circus invited us down for a private Mumbler party we bit her hand off!
Urban Circus offers alternative fitness classes in Ripon & Harrogate, open to all! They pride themselves on offering fun, addictive and rewarding classes you will look forward to each week! Based across 2 venues, offering 40+ exciting, alternative classes including, but not limited to, Pole, Aerial Hoop, Aerial Hammock and Children’s Classes! These classes are open to EVERYONE – all ages, shapes, sizes and genders! Their wonderful instructor team are experienced, insured, qualified and continually trained to ensure the highest quality of instruction and with your safety as our number 1 priority. Instructors are first aid certified and those working with our younger students are also DBS checked.
As well as classes, which you can find here. Urban Circus also offer parties, and that’s what we reviewed! There were 7 adults, and of course our little Mumbler mascot Baby Trilli (10 months). The class was about 1.5 hours long, and we were able to try out the pole, aerial hammock and aerial hoop. Seven worked perfectly – we all had our own pole, as did Natalie, and then when it came to the aerial hoop and hammock we had one to use between two. Believe me – you needed the break when your partner was taking their go!
Everything and everyone at Urban Circus is really chilled out and relaxed. They’d set up a play area for Trilli, which kept her amused for the whole class! We started up with a warm up – which was hilarious, fun and actually really hard! We all had quite a sweat on once we’d finished, but I can totally understand why it was necessary. What I loved about Urban Circus was that, apart from the warm up, nothing seemed like a work out. It was all good fun, yes a bit of huffing and puffing now and then – but I certainly didn’t feel like I was doing actual exercise. It wasn’t until the next day, that I realised that that had probably been the best work out of my life! EVERY muscle in my body ached, muscles I didn’t even know existed. I’m no gym bunny, so to do something that was such good fun, and didn’t seem like a work out at the time is a big big sell to me!
First up was the pole dancing -harder than it looks! I thought this would be the easiest of the three but I think we all found it the hardest. We couldn’t quite master the sexiness of the moves! But what a laugh – it was such good fun, spinning around, giving our best Beyonce impressions! Some of us even managed to get quite far up the pole! Not me – I think I managed half an inch of the floor at one point!
We then moved onto aerial hoop. This was my favourite! I thought this was the opposite of the pole – it looked almost impossible, but with a little help and words of encouragement from Natalie was actually quite easy! I have zero upper body strength – so when I realised we had to get ourselves up on the hoop – there was no little step ladder on hand, I had kind of ruled myself out. But if I can do it – anyone can – a bit of a pep talk from Natalie and she soon had me hanging upside down, and even sitting in the hoop. Even if I do say so myself, I looked like I knew what I was doing! I was by far the worse in the group – some of the others in the party were amazing! Fancy getting to your 40s and finally realising your sport is aerial fitness! By this point in the class the arm aching was starting to set in – so having that break whilst your partner took a go was much needed!
We then moved onto the Ariel Hammock – this was probably easier than the hoop, but there was a lot of hanging upside down on this one. Given I get dizzy getting out of bed, this wasn’t for me! I managed a good old swing though! The rest of the team loved it! When Natalie showed us how to do it – there was a lot of gasps and wows. It looked amazing, but difficult – there was no way we’d be able to pull off some of the moves she did – and look as good as she did! But boy was I wrong, everyone that had a go could do it – and looked pretty amazing too!
Time went by so quickly, but at the same time I was amazed at how much we’d managed to fit in. Natalie was such an awesome teacher – we all had an absolute ball. We all came away with massive grins on our faces, a bit of a spring in our step and we all felt massively empowered! It really is amazing what our bodies can do! We felt it the next day (and the day after that) but it was so worth it!
We couldn’t recommend Urban Circus enough – I’ve already signed by daughter up for some classes, and a few of the ladies who rocked at the aerial hammock and hoop have signed up for courses too!
Thanks for having us Urban Circus – it was AWESOME!
CHILDREN’S BIRTHDAY PARTIES! HEN OR STAG DO! ADULT BIRTHDAYS ! GIRLS NIGHT OUT! DRAG-YOUR-FRIENDS-TO-CLASS-TO-SEE-WHAT-IT’S-REALLY-ABOUT!
Whatever the occasion , Urban Circus can make it one to remember!
Parties are available Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings, and can last 1-2 hours. We offer various types of parties, which can be tailored to your specific needs. These can include mixed disciplines for our children’s parties, and either pole, aerial hoop or aerial hammock for our adult classes. Adult parties can be ran as ‘intro classes’ covering a range of beginner friendly moves sure to leave you sweaty, or as dance classes where beginner movements are combined for more of a fun, flirty feel. If booking for more than one hour, more than once discipline can be selected.
Parties are £15 per person for 1 hour or £25 for 2 hours, with a minimum of 6 per party. The studio space is also available after the party for food / drinks/ party games for unto an hour. Please note, although adult parties are perfect for nights out, please save any drinking until after your session! Alcohol and aerial do not mix well and if any party members are thought to be under the influence, they will not be allowed to participate but may still be charged.
Disclosure: Mumbler was lucky enough to try out Urban Circus for free however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account. Phew, we really enjoyed it! (otherwise that could have been awks!
Did you know that World of Their Own is not just for parties? During school term-time their day time Play and Dine experiences are aimed at pre-schoolers, toddlers and crawlers. Our Mumbler Champion Elfie and her little boy Rowan went along to one of these experiences.
When we were offered a chance to visit World of Their Own (WOTO) I was so excited – never mind my little one! I had heard such positive things about this place – the only fully immersive Wild West themed play village of its kind. At 2 and a half years old, my little ‘Outlaw’ is only just dipping his toe in to the world of pretend play, but from the moment we entered it was clear there is so much more that WOTO offers; for children and grown-up’s too!
We were greeted by Crista, who owns WOTO with her husband Lee. What an amazing team they are. Their love and dedication to their business is palpable, and they offer such a personalised experience to each and every child, taking the time to talk to the little ones and immersing themselves in the whole experience. I was amazed when I learnt that ‘Sheriff’ Lee, Crista’s husband designed and created the whole thing – what an achievement! Lee’s meticulous attention to detail did not go unnoticed – strategically placed props and perfectly painted murals along with hidden tunnels and passageways is just an absolute triumph. I cannot praise this couple highly enough for the experience that they bring to both the children and adults alike.
It was our first time not only at WOTO, but in anything like this of its kind, and so my little one did take some time to “warm up”. Crista showed us to our table (which was ours for the duration of our session) and we took the opportunity to explore our new surroundings. The actual play space is not huge, which is a positive thing, as it allows the children to explore freely but we as adults needn’t worry as we can see them playing.
One of the first things I noticed were the smiles on faces – both little ones and the grown up’s too! In fact, I over-heard a parent saying to their partner “this is great, I feel like a kid again!”, and I could certainly relate to that. There was a time when we were dressing up our dolly’s or playing cops and robbers, and seeing and experiencing the children’s imaginative play was really evocative of my childhood (and quite clearly others too!). There is a wealth of research out there to support that imaginative play helps support our little one’s creative and emotional development but also important skills such as negotiating, sharing and problem solving. And at WOTO there are so many opportunities for this! A firm favourite was the Wild West Bank and the jail – not to mention feeding the ponies in the barn and riding them! He also loved trying his luck at Tin Can Alley and exploring the spooky gold mine.
In addition to the Wild West experience, there is a fairy tale ice cream parlour upstairs, which offers fantastic photo opportunities for budding princesses, knights and dragons. The fancy dress is good quality and there is so much choice! Again, the upstairs area is meticulously detailed – from the breath-taking hand-painted fairy tale castle mural on the wall, to the storybooks and ‘glass’ slipper decorations.
Included in the Play and Dine experience was a choice from the Little Outlaws menu (we went for the cheesy toast – yum!) and a drink. Hot and soft drinks are available for the adults, as well as a selection of light meals on the menu, which are all very reasonably priced. I think WOTO offers fantastic value for money – at just £14.95 for a 2.5 hour Play and Dine session with so much to get involved in; it really is a unique and inspirational place. I think my little Outlaw has learnt a new favourite word: “YEEEHAH”, as he has been repeating it all day!
To find out more, and to book your experience visit World of Their Own.
Reviewed June 2022 by Mumbler Champion Elfie and Rowan
Disclosure: We were gifted this experience by WOTO, however we pinky promised to only write a truthful account. Phew, we really enjoyed it! (otherwise that could have been awks!)