Get the Kids Off Their Phones and into the Garden

How gardening can help you feel good

While a bit of weeding and pruning might not seem like the most energetic of activities, studies show that gardening goes beyond providing a good workout, as it can also be therapeutic and reduce anxiety as well as physical pain.

Research has shown that prolonged light exercise, such as gardening, can burn more calories than a gym session, in spite of feeling much easier to do. This physical exercise, in combination with spending time outdoors being creative and productive, can also improve mood and self-esteem. Amazingly, images and recordings of natural environments alone have been proven to reduce feelings of pain and even improve healing times in hospital wards.

The therapeutic value of gardening is becoming more and more recognised, according to the Royal Horticultural Society, which promoted the positive impact of horticulture and green spaces at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show, with two Chelsea gardens pledged to NHS patients.

Garden tweaks to improve wellbeing

Aside from green-fingered tasks, there a few tweaks that can make your outdoor space reach its full wellbeing potential:

  • Create space to sit in
    It’s really important to find a place in your garden to enjoy its beauty and serenity. You can choose garden furniture to reflect your taste, making it an elegant and useful part of your living space. Whether it’s with al-fresco meals at a dining set, basking in the glorious sun on a lounger or enjoying some tranquillity with a good book on an outdoor sofa, take the time to relax in your outdoor space.
  • Grow from seed
    Grow plants from seed either on your own or as a fun way to get children to experience the joys of gardening. The enjoyment you get is timeless, and people of all ages will not grow tired of seeing their seedlings germinate and then grow on in the garden.
  • Try your hand at growing fruit and veg
    There’s nothing more exciting and rewarding than nurturing tasty fruit and vegetables to put on the kitchen table. Buying vegetable seeds and planting them with your children is an affordable and easy activity for the school holidays and teaches them how food is grown.
  • Fill your garden with plants that welcome wildlife
    By growing flora that attracts bees and butterflies, your garden will become a hive of activity. Plants from the Lamiaceae family, including lavender, rosemary and sage are best as they’re also low maintenance and easy to keep.

For more useful advice, have a look at these handy tips on creating a feel-good garden from RHS award-winning designer Matt Keightley.

The health benefits

Whether you have a lifetime of gardening experience or are just getting started, we’ve created a handy visual guide. From the physical health benefits to improved mental wellbeing, our guide covers the benefits of outdoor living across all age groups.


Research Project with Creches and Childcare Professionals

Freedom are providing support for this invaluable research with creches and childcare professionals. We are trying to help the project by informing families in Portsmouth and Southampton about the milestones this project requires.

Please also feel free to call us on 0800 0851444 if you have any questions.

Research with creches and childcare professionals

Childcare Vouchers Scheme to be Extended

Scheme Extended by 6 Months

Plans to end the Government’s Childcare Vouchers scheme will be delayed by six months, ministers have announced.

Childcare Vouchers scheme The scheme – which is operated through employers and allows you to pay for childcare from your pre-tax salary – was supposed to close to new entrants on 5 April this year.

But in a debate in the House of Commons yesterday, Education Secretary Damian Hinds made the concession to extend the scheme by six months.

Childcare vouchers are being replaced by an alternative system called Tax-Free Childcare, but this scheme has suffered a succession of problems, including website issues.

The exact date on which the Childcare Vouchers scheme will now close to new applicants has not been announced yet, but it’s expected it’ll be around October.

For full info on how the scheme works, and the pros and cons, see our Childcare Vouchers guide.

What are Childcare Vouchers?

Childcare vouchers can save many parents with kids aged up to 15 (16 if they’re disabled) over £1,000 a year on childcare as they allow you to pay for childcare out of your pre-tax and national insurance income.

They are only available through your employer, but lots of companies sign up to the scheme. The vouchers can be used to pay for childcare Including Ofsted registered Flexi Nannies. and Ofsted Registered recruited nannies.

How to Apply for Childcare Vouchers

What are childcare vouchers?

The process will vary depending on who you work for. Yet in short, you need to:

  • Ask your HR department if they offer childcare vouchers.
  • If they do, you’ll need to complete a salary sacrifice agreement. Your employer will help you do this. If you’re on basic-rate tax, it works something like this…You give up £1,000 of PRE-TAX salary in exchange for £1,000 of childcare vouchers. As you would have paid tax and National Insurance on that salary though, it would only have been worth £700ish in your pocket. So by exchanging salary for vouchers, you’re about £300 better off. 
  • After your application has been submitted to your employer, it will reduce your salary in the next payroll by the requested amount and arrange for vouchers to be provided to you.

Wedding Day Childcare

Wedding season is fast approaching and Freedom Childcare will be out and about at a variety of locations showcasing our Wedding Day Childcare Services.

Wedding fair stand - Freedom Childcare

Whether you are booking for this year or in the future we would be delighted to discuss your plans and how our bespoke Childcare packages can enhance your special day. Sandra generally attends the wedding fair as she has worked for Freedom for the past 12 years she can help with any questions you may have.  We recently attended a wedding fair at the Concord Club in Eastleigh who offer a variety of wedding packages.

All of our Wedding clients tell us that although childcare was an additional expenses they hadn’t considered it was really worth while and ensured the children were entertained and kept untimely interruptions throughout critical parts of the day to a minimum.

“Just a quick email to let you know how delighted we were with your staff at our wedding! They were amazing! Kayleigh was so professional and the girls took to her straight away! She was better than my expectations of a nanny. Thank you and thank you to your team”

“Thank you for organising Ann Colwill to babysit our 4 year old son on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd April.  We were so pleased with Ann.  She arrived promptly and immediately took over our son.  She was prepared for the evening and how she would entertain him.  She immediately engaged him and quickly built a rapport, so much so, he didn’t even look up when we said goodbye as we left!  It was so lovely for us to be able to enjoy our evenings out, knowing he was in such good hands.”

Whether you need a babysitter, nannies a creche or a combination of all three we can help!

Craft Bags – Creative Fun for Children

Freedom Childcare have developed Craft Bags that are a great addition to creches for weddings or events. The bags are designed for 5-12 year olds and have everything needed for the creation.

The children love them and parents quite like them also! The craft bags are made from 100% natural materials and are fully recyclable.

Throughout the year we attend several events to promote the business and the bags can be bought as a stand alone item. With our hotel partners they are stocking them to keep children entertained during their stay.

If you would like a craft bag please call 0800 0851444 and we will post one out to you, they cost £5 each plus postage and packaging.

New Year – New Wedding

Weddings are such fantastic event for the whole family however if you have children attending you do need to consider what they will be doing whilst the adults are catching up, drinking, listening to speeches etc. Weddings are about families fusing creating a day everyone can enjoy is the secret. Providing childcare in the form of Nannies, Babysitters or a mobile creche can alleviate anxious parents, bored children and compromised expectations.

Creating this any day of the year is a challenge we embrace, and time and time again create a bespoke package that meets and exceeds everyone’s expectations—doing this on an annually epic evening such as New Year’s Eve adds an additional dynamic –I am proud to say our Team were again sensational!

Wedding Day creche

Wedding Creche and Babysitting

Rhinefield House – 31 December 2017

Hi Fran,

I just wanted to send an email saying thank you to you and your staff (especially Emma) for their amazing work and efforts on our wedding on New Year’s Eve. The did a fantastic job, all the parents were so happy that the kids were having such fun and were entertained throughout the day and looked after at night.

My sister especially loved the creche for her kids and I know that Floyd would have stayed in there all day if he could! All the kids benefitted, as well as the parents. My sister really appreciated the contact via text and updates on how the kids were doing, she said it put her mind at ease for the whole day. It just let the parents enjoy the day that little bit more knowing the kids were in safe hands and having a great time.

Please pass on all our compliments to your staff, we cannot fault them and so glad we made the decision to have Emma and the team come along. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the creche in full swing, which was probably a good thing as I may have ended up in there for hours with the kids! But from what I did see, and from all the praises the parents are singing, the service was second to none.


Thank you so much again, you were invaluable.
All the best,



Create a Comfy, Portable, Pillow Bed

Create a Comfy, Portable, Pillow Bed

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a portable bed for your children with this great idea. Just sew four pillow cases together, insert the pillows and you have a bed for all purposes. Fold in the top pillow to raise your child’s head.

This pillow bed is also easy to keep clean as the pillows just slip out and the covers can go in the washing machine. Great for travelling and sleepovers!

Foosball game

DIY Shoebox Football Game

If you are looking for a game to create and play with your children I have something different to offer you. You can make and play this game because it is a simple DIY project your children can do with you. So, what am I talking about? Foosball.

To make a foosball game for your kids you will need  1 shoebox, 4 plastic straws,  10 clothes pegs, ruler, scissors or utility knife, glue, clear tape and last but not least; 1 ping-pong ball (for the game!):

DIY Foosball materials  20171105_161408  20171105_161458

DIY mini foosball game

As you can see everything you need for this game you already have at home. So, let’s start crafting!

  1. Grab that shoebox you found and measure it so you know what you are dealing with. The box will be a foosball field and first thing we must do are the holes in both sides of the box. Make 4 holes on each side of the box and make sure they are equally distant from one another. Those are holes for the rods you will make later. Now, we have to make the goals. Goals are also holes but make them bigger. Put them in the middle of the shorter side and make them big enough for the ball to go through.
  2. We are done with the box. You can go make rods while kids can color the box just the way they want it.
  3. The rods are simple to make. You have to have 4 rods because you have 4 holes for the rods. Rods will be our plastic straws which you can fill with wooden dowels so they don’t bend. Also, if you have two colored straws, divide them into two teams.
  4. The last but not least are the foosball players. Clothespins are our foosball players and they will make our foosball game so entertaining. You can color the players in the same colors of the straws so you can easily determine which player works for your team. Glue the players to the straws and let them rest for the glue to start working.

20171105_161807 20171105_161742

After a little work, your job is done. Now, let the shoebox and the players dry and after that, the game can begin! Enjoy your own DIY foosball game!

Author bio:

Mark is a foosball player who loves foosball so much he made a blog about it. On his blog, which he called the Foosball Zone you can read more about foosball, including reviews of famous foosball table brands like Tornado foosball table.

Long Term, Live In Nanny Needed?

Do you dream of finding a long term live in nanny who will stay with your family for years to come, helping to raise all of your children?

We’ve put together 7 top tips to help you encourage your live-in nanny to stay with your family long-term.

the ultimate long term live in nanny . . . Mary Poppins - image thanks to

Respect Your Nanny’s Free Time

It’s important to respect your nanny’s free time. Since most live in nannies work longer hours than the average work week, when it is time for your nanny to take a break or to take her day off, it’s important that you allow her the time she needs to rest and relax.

Appreciate What Your Nanny Does

Everyone loves to feel appreciated, and your nanny is no different. Tell her how thankful you are for the fantastic care she gives to your children. Including your nanny in things like Christmas and remembering her birthday will also go a long way to making her feel like a part of the family.

Stick to Your Original Agreement

To prevent your live in nanny feeling overworked, we’d recommend that you try your best to stick to the original job description and agreement. We understand that circumstances change, but it’s still important to communicate your changing needs with your nanny and to add any agreed changes to the nanny contract.

Don’t Undermine Your Nanny’s Decisions

Just as you do whilst caring for your children, your nanny will need to make decisions that concern your children’s behaviour every day. If you show your nanny that you support her decisions and trust her judgement, it’ll help her feel more confident in her job.

Be Understanding and Flexible

Work together on issues and be flexible towards each other’s needs; the key to a happy working relationship with your nanny is compromise.

Pay a Competitive Wage with Good Benefits

Most live in nannies won’t see their rate of pay as the number one priority. However, it’s still important to offer a competitive rate that will allow your nanny to afford her lifestyle. Regular, well-deserved, pay raises can also go a long way to making your nanny feel appreciated.

Make Your Nanny Feel Comfortable in Your Home

If you and everyone in your household get along well with your nanny and you include your live-in nanny in things like family mealtimes, etc, you’ll find that your nanny is much more comfortable in your home. This will foster a deeper connection between your family and your nanny that will make for a happy, long-term working relationship.

Whilst doing all of the above will go a long way to encouraging your nanny to stay with your family long-term, the two most important things for any nanny are that she loves her job and the children in her care. If your nanny thoroughly enjoys what she does, it’ll help get her through any tough days and forge a bond with your family that will last for many years to come.

Park Children’s Centre Creche in Aldershot

Freedom Childcare are running a crèche starting in September 2017 at the Park Children’s Centre in Aldershot so parents can attend a 12 week course from 12.15 -2.45 on Thursdays. The course is aimed at parents who need help with:

  •  Managing Money and Universal Credit
  • Understanding Tenancies
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Cyber Safety
  • Who can help them to manage their mental health?
  • And so much more.

For more Information click HERE to register for the course please complete an application form HERE or for more information Call freedom on 01590 678739 or email

Park Children’s Centre
Park Primary School
Gloucester Road
Aldershot GU11 3SL

Tel: 01252 338607