NHM Readers Recommend: Best Places to See Christmas Lights

In 2017 a NHM Reader asked “Can you ask the group where best place to drive to see lots of Christmas lights as our road only has two including us”. 

Obviously these may not be the same in following years but they give you some ideas to investigate.

Thank you for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Best Places to See Christmas Lights

Brackley Way

Rachael said “Brackley Road does an amazing one”

Wendy said “We drive to Brackley Way”

Helen said “Brackley Way are awesome. Done to raise funds for charity and he gives out chocolate to the kids as well.”

Sandhya said “South ham, being a bit biased here… lovely one in brackley way. We went there to see it today.”

Sue said “Brackley Way. They raise money for charity every year. It’s awesome”

Collette said “…brackley way”

Gabriel Park

Wendy said “…Gabriel Park”

Sherfield Park, head towards Sherfield Park Community Centre

Joanna said “Sherfield Park is usually good”

Natasha said “I second Sherfield park!”

Wendy said “…and Sherfield park”

Michelle said “Sherfield Park definitely – they do “Light up sherfield park” so there is a competition, weekend of 16th/17th is the judging weekend”

Louise Nhm said “We went out last year during the judging competition and it was AWESOME!!! Videos of Father Christmas from one window to another, real snow spray and some amazing Christmas displays! Highly recommended!”

Homesteads

Helen said “…Otherwise Homesteads residents usually have lots of nice lights to look at.”

The Clarke Estate, near Elmwood Parade shops

Lianne said “The Clarke Estate usually has quite a lot of houses all done up”

Buckland Avenue

Collette said “Buckland avenue”

Oakley

Collette said “…Oakley!”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Daytime Carol Services

I had a question last year from an NHM Reader which may be useful this year too: “Do you know what daytime carol services are being put on in the area this year? 6:30pm seems to be normal but that’s a bit late really.”

Many thanks to the NHM Community for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend daytime carol services

Naomi said:

I don’t know about carol services generally, but Winchester cathedral has a fab crib service on Christmas Eve, it’s usually mid-afternoon and children can go dressed up as an angel, shepherd or other nativity character. It’s lovely.”

Heidi said:

Sherborne St John church has a children’s carol service at 4pm ish one Sunday before Christmas but I’m not sure what date yet…”

Rebecca said:

“There will be a carol service at Christ Church Chineham. There will also be a crib service on Christmas Eve.

Rebecca also recommended Christingle at St Gabriel’s at 5pm

Kath said:

Brighton Hill church near Asda used to do a Christingle service mid afternoon I think, and possible Oakridge Methodist church might do an early service

Gillian said:

“The Crib Service at Christ Church on Christmas Eve is at 4.30 pm”

Caroline said:

St michaels church in town centre has a lunchtime carol service usually in the week leading up to Christmas and also a children’s nativity story service (with dress up) at 5pm on Christmas Eve.

Allison said:

St Mary’s, Eastrop usually has a Christmas Carol Extravaganza for children on Christmas Eve at around 4pm and a 10am Christingle service earlier in December. Website is updated regularly http://www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/upcoming-events/

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NHM Readers Recommend: Favorite Christmas Movies

Last year, I asked the NHM Readers “What are your favorite Christmas movies for young children?” 

The responses are listed below, in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend: Favorite Christmas Movies

Santa Clause the Movie

Claire S said “Santa Claus the Movie in our house.”

Honor said “Santa Claus”

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Diana said “Muppets Christmas Carol”

Rebecca said “Muppets Christmas Carol!”

Sarah said “Muppets Christmas Carol, for children young and old!”

Sue said “Muppets Christmas carol”

Helen J said “Traditionally I watch A Muppets Christmas Carol every year on Xmas Eve….I will be introducing this to my 2 year old”

Arthur Christmas

Claire K said “Arthur Christmas on Netflix at the minute!”

Helen B said “My son’s is Arthur Christmas”

Vicky H said “Arthur Christmas”

Kelly said “Arthur Christmas”

Sue said “and Arthur Christmas”

Kate said “Arthur Christmas”

The Polar Express

Carolyn said “‘The Polar Express’! ….it gets played all year round in our house!”

Ruza said “Polar Express”

Honor said “or polar express”

Miracle on 34th Street

Helen B said “My daughter is miracle on 34th street”

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Jessica “Nightmare before christmas”

Elf

Vicky M said “Elf”

Jo said “Elf!!!!!”

The Snowman and the Snowdog

Wendy said “Snowman and the snowdog

Ghostbusters II

Wendy said “and my 3 year olds favourite Ghostbusters 2”

The Great Escape

Susan said “Great Escape!!!”

Saving Santa

Sian said “My 5 year olds favourite last year was Saving Santa. Looks like it’s going to be the favourite this year to”

Home Alone

Lisette said “Home alone”

Rise of the Guardians

Kate said “Rise of the guardians”

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NHM Readers Recommend their Favorite Father Christmas Visits

In 2017 I asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook “which Father Christmas “visit” would you recommend that you’ve been to this year and why would you recommend it?”

Many thanks for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers Recommend their favorite Father Christmas visits

Marie said:

4 Kingdoms Adventure Park is good but it gets more expensive every year (you do get a lot for your money though).

Finkley Down Farm is good alternative that is a bit cheaper.

Helena said:

We’re going to 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park for the third year running. So much for the money and the 2hr Christmas experience is different every year.

Paultons Park is very good but the same every year and very expensive for a family. The whole park is open but most of the best rides are shut. They’re both by booked ticket only.

Kelly said:

Breakfast with Santa at Wyevale Garden Centre is really good! We’re going for the second year running. Would highly recommend”

Rachel said:

If they just want to see Santa Conkers Garden Centre is good

Vicky said:

We’re doing brekkie with santa next week at Sherfield on Loddon Garden Centre

Personally I’d avoid santa in Festival Place there’s no magic or mystery as he’s in full view! Saw a preschool girl open up a pressie, was a cheap looking very small book!

Leah said:

Unfortunately I’ve booked my 2 to do to Festival Place this year. The train has gone & for £4.50 each child it doesn’t seem like there’s much for them this year (a walk round the icy forest, a snowball fight with the elves (!) & a visit to Santa. I’m quite disappointed tbh & think I’ll avoid after this year.

Wendy said:

We’re off to Henry Street tomorrow to see the real one…they have the best Santa’s.

Then we do the 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park one just before Christmas, they feed their elves sugar and E numbers all year round then let them out to do the Santa experiences.

Hannah said:

We love Conkers Garden Centre, the guy always remembers my boys, and you get private space away from others to sit and chat to him. Someone did say the grotto wasn’t there this year though so maybe call ahead and check.

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NHM Readers Recommend: Where to get a Real Christmas Tree

Good Afternoon Everyone! I’ve had a great question (in 2017) from a NHM Reader: “We are looking forward to our first Christmas in Basingstoke and I wondered if you could tell me where I could get a real Christmas tree from?” TIA!

NHM Readers recommend: where to get a real Christmas tree

Stacey said:

West Green Fruits in Hartley Wintney do the best trees around in my opinion!”

Emma said:

I agree with Stacey! West Green Fruits – and it’s a nice experience too in their barn with a small selection of Decs to look at too”

Aimee said:

West green fruits!! Absolutely gorgeous trees and the Christmas barn is lovely!!”

Allyson said:

https://www.facebook.com/burcotfarmtrees/

Lisa H said:

We got ours last year from there. Def recommend.” https://www.facebook.com/burcotfarmtrees/

Lisa W said:

Elm Park Garden centre on the A340 just north of Basingstoke towards Tadley”

Skye said:

Yep this” Elm Park Garden centre

Rachel E said:

Burcot Farm has lovely trees. So many sizes to choose from and reasonably priced to.”

Rachel W said:

Elm Park Garden centre every time”

Lisa R said:

There’s a ‘pop up’, outdoor Christmas tree sales place down Roman Road each year – not sure when they start to set up from. I’ve not used them but go past them on the way to work!”

Hayley said:

The one on Roman rd as mentioned above … cheap and good quality – last well!”

Rebekah said:

Last year we decided to try Moles garden centre in Sherfield-on-Loddon. My husband bought it without seeing it out of the net. I was like why?!! But then we opened it and it was perfection! The best tree we’ve ever had.”

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The Warren Pre-School – Special Offer for November 2018

*Special Offer*
The Warren Pre-school is offering free Pre-school Taster sessions available during November.

For further details or to book a place contact the Manager on 01635 268516, 07527680196 or email thewarrenpreschool@hotmail.com.

Alternatively message us via our website (thewarrenpreschool.wixsite.com/childcare) or Facebook page (www.facebook.com/The-Warren-Pre-school-107945489317428).

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Children’s parade to light up Festival Place as it launches season of festive fun in Basingstoke’s “most magical Christmas ever!”

A spectacular light-up children’s parade will launch six weeks of non-stop festive fun at Festival Place, Basingstoke, in what promises to be the town’s most magical Christmas shopping season ever.

The town centre shopping and leisure destination has pulled out all the stops this year to prepare a full programme of events, competitions and attractions that will keep visitors in the Christmas spirit throughout November and December.

The most wonderful time of the year begins on the evening of Friday, November 16, with a parade and dance display featuring local schoolchildren alongside an array of magical woodland characters, including Squirrel Nancy Nutkins, Deer Darlington, Anka The Snow Hare, and many more! Not forgetting Snow White, from the Anvil!

The procession, starting at 6pm, will use the latest lighting technology to put shoppers at the heart of the event. The stunning switch-on finale will take place at 6.30pm.

Visitors to the launch event will each be issued with a band that illuminates. Ten lucky people will have their band change colour and will win a £100 shopping voucher for Festival Place.

After the parade, shoppers are invited to spend the evening exploring Festival Place’s huge range of top-brand retailers, leisure facilities and restaurants.

The parade is only the beginning, as a variety of festive events fill a fun-packed calendar throughout the shopping season.

Visitors will be able to try their hands at The Snowball Throwball competition, become a Stealthy Elfy in a laser mission, get hands-on with the latest children’s gifts at the Toy Lab, take time out in calming Christmas wreath-making workshops, get their pressies wrapped for a donation to St Michael’s Hospice, and get gift tips from the centre’s very own Fairy Gift Mother. Visitors will, of course, be able to visit Santa in his traditional Grotto on the second floor, which will be Destination Christmas. All the activities will be free for visitors.

Neil Churchill, Centre Director at Festival Place, said: “This is my first Christmas at Festival Place, and the first since a huge refurbishment which has transformed the centre.

“We wanted to do something spectacular this year to celebrate the changes, launching with an action-packed event that families will love, and then continuing throughout the season with the biggest and best programme of events and activities that Festival Place has ever seen.

“We’re really excited to capture that Christmassy feeling and the excitement that comes with seeking out special presents for loved ones in a magical, welcoming environment that has something for everyone.

“The whole Festival Place team are already feeling festive and can’t wait to welcome the thousands of visitors who will experience Basingstoke’s most magical Christmas ever this November and December.”

For the first Christmas shopping season, visitors will enjoy the benefits of Festival Place’s newly-refurbished car park with improvements including wider spaces, lights to alert drivers to free spaces, and more payment machines. And watch out – there are even rumours that Santa himself may be parking there during the festive period!

The full line-up of events and activities:

November 16 – Christmas Launch (6pm)

Join woodland friends, Nancy Nutkins, Deer Darlington, Anka the Snow Hare and Snow White in the magical parade through the forest to help wake up Snowy the Wishmas Owl and kickstart the season. The parade will end in Porchester Square and culminate in a grand finale of dance, lighting up a giant animatronic installation.

November 16 to December 24 – Snowball throwball

Visitors will be invited to test their aim at Snowball Throwball! On your marks, get set, throw! Throw some magic at Snowball Throwball!

November 16 to December 24 – Gift Guide Live

Stuck for gift ideas? Gift Guide Live is here to help with your gifting needs. Hosted by everyone’s favourite Fairy Gift Mother on November 17 and 18, get inspiration and treat your loved ones to what they really want this Christmas.

November 24 and 25 – Cracker Station

Get crafty and join our elves at the Christmas Cracker Making Station! Fill your crackers with giggles, jokes and wishes to set your Christmas off with a bang! Super festive fun for all ages. Sponsored by Basingstoke Together.

December 1 and 2 – The Toy Lab

Try out the latest toys, gadgets and Christmas must-haves for little (and big) kids. All elf approved, of course!

December 8 to 22: Stealthy Elfy

Do you have what it takes to be a Stealthy Elfy? Get the presents under the tree without being caught to climb the leaderboard in this interactive laser game. Will you win?

Various dates between November 16 and December 16: Flower Therapy

Need a break from Christmas Shopping? Head over to the Hampshire Flower Studio for mindfulness wreath making. Learn a new skill and natter away in this adult only space – with no outside distractions! Tea and cake provided. Make sure to book your slot at the Customer Lounge.

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December (Led by Basingstoke BID on December 20) : The Happy Wrappy Place

Rubbish at wrapping? Need an extra pair of hands for those tricky presents? The Happy Wrappy Team are here to help! Festive Services are here to help! Get all wrapped up with Festive Services in aid of St Michael’s Hospice.

November 15 to December 24 – Santa’s Grotto

Come and visit our fabulous, festive grotto and meet a very special person indeed. A truly magical Christmas experience for all the family, open throughout November and December!

For further updates on Christmas at Festival Place visit www.festivalplace.co.uk/Christmas or find details on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Oliver’s Fight Against Neuroblastoma

Who is Oliver?

Oliver was only 2 years old when his family were delivered life shattering news. He was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma just weeks before his third birthday and what has since followed, has changed Oliver and his family’s lives forever.

To be told that your child is suffering from a life-threatening disease is an experience no parent should have to face. Heartbreakingly, after Oliver and his family had the relief of being told that he was in remission and cancer free in May 2017, he subsequently suffered a relapse in January 2018. Having already seen their brave little boy endure the horrors of cancer, the treatment it entails and all the dreadful side effects, this was a devastating blow.

Now 5 years old, Oliver’s parents are seeking to create a community to help follow their journey and support in any way they can to help see their beautiful little boy free from this terrible disease once and for all. His most recent rounds of chemotherapy have been going well and he is responding really well. Living in the Basingstoke area, Oliver’s parents, Jo and Matt, are aiming to raise the funds required to access treatments abroad that aren’t available on the NHS, which could be the key to him making a full recovery.

How can the NorthHantsMum community help?

The NorthHantsMum community have proven themselves to be caring, kind and supportive through all manner of different causes. We would really love to see as many of you as possible take a moment to like and follow Oliver’s Facebook page. If you have an extra moment, giving the page a share will also help to spread the message further.

Oliver’s parents will be posting regular updates on fundraisers and local events taking place to help them to reach the goal to get him to the States and any contribution that can be made will be gratefully received.

Perhaps you work for a local business who are looking for a charity to support? Maybe you know of businesses who could make a donation that could be used to raise funds for this very important cause. As the saying goes, every little helps!

https://www.facebook.com/OliversfightagainstNeuroblastoma/

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Review 2018: Gymfinity

Thank you very much to S for today’s NHM Review! She’s done a fab job!!!

Review 2018: Gymfinity

About

Gymfinity is a kids activity centre.

They say: “Gymfinity Kids is the one-stop destination for active classes for kids. From budding gymnasts to natural born ninjas, all skill levels are welcome to join the fun!”.

They host all types of gymnastic classes, holiday camps, baby balance, Ninja Zone and parties.

There are several types of gymnastic classes ranging from beginners, intermediate to advanced and team gymnastics.

Ninja Zone was: ” designed to help children channel their boundless energy into something productive.

This fun and energetic class combines a mix of martial arts, freestyle movement and gymnastics. Every one-hour session includes warm-ups, games and rotations adapted to each child’s ability, plus a fun obstacle course. As their skill and ability grows, each child will advance through the different levels.”

Baby Balance sessions are: “”30 minutes of FREE sensory play for babies aged 3 months +. These are parent-led sessions where you can spend quality time with your little one, while catching up with other parents too!”

There are lots more details about each of the classes at the following link: https://www.gymfinitykids.com/locations/farnborough/activities/#gymnastics.

They have branches in Farnborough, Colchester, Reading and Leeds. I visited the Farnborough branch with my 8 year old son.

Every child has a free trial prior to signing up; this means that the child and parent gets to see if the facilities work for them, and it also gives the coaches a chance to assess the child’s ability and place them in the correct group for their ability.

Every coach is trained by a regional trainer regularly which means that they are all trained to the same standard. They also train coaches on the floor during classes so they receive on-the-job training.

Tips

Gymfinity is based on the upper floor of the Meads Shopping centre (above Sainsbury’s). I would advise you get to your session in plenty of time to get a parking space and pay for your ticket.

Food/drink

There is a vending machine and a hot drinks machine in the gym. These are usual vending prices.

Facilities

There is plenty of seating so you can watch your child during the class. There are a couple of tables. There are male and female toilets and disabled toilet with nappy changing facilities. They are very clean and well maintained.

There are two party rooms, both with disco lights which are very cool. I was told their unicorn themed party is very popular.

The gym itself has loads of equipment including balance beams, trampolines, assault course (with timer), vaulting horse, climbing wall as well as two slides which end in a massive foam pit.

Baby facilities

There are changing facilities in the disabled toilets

Parking

There is a car park which costs £2 for two hours. This can be refunded if you spend £5 in Sainsbury’s.

Prices

The trial session is free but if you decide you want to go ahead with classes these are prices as follows;

Pre-schoolers (up to 4.5): 25.95 a month with £30 annual membership fee
Recreational (4.5-16 years): 34.62 a month with £30 annual membership fee
Additional child: same monthly price but just £5 annual membership fee

Classes run daily and at weekends. At the end of each class children receive any awards and certificates they have earned.

Rating out of 5

5/5. Gymfinity is honestly amazing; it is well air conditioned without being chilly, light and airy. The gym itself is bright and colourful and very inviting to children (I was very tempted to dive headfirst into the foam pit after my son!)

The coaches are fantastic, really encouraging to the children and willing to throw themselves into the activity (my son certainly put his instructor through her paces). There are plenty of coaches on the floor who can help those children who need it and there is a maximum of 10 children per class.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Gymfinity Farnborough. Our session was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. We were not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are our own.

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Baby & Me Time

Baby & Me Time offers fun and informal baby massage classes in Basingstoke in a warm, calm and relaxed environment. Take the opportunity to relax and bond with your baby whilst also meeting other parents.

We follow the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) curriculum and over 5 weeks you will learn a full body massage routine for your baby.  We will also cover benefits of massage, use of oils, alternatives to massage, a gas and colic routine and adaptations for the growing child to enable you to continue massaging your child for many years to come.

You will benefit from support and guidance from an experienced instructor trained by the IAIM who have been training instructors for over 30 years and last year celebrated their 20th anniversary in the UK.

Our next course starts on Thursday 15th November at Hatch Warren Community Centre. Please contact us for more information or to book onto the course.

Website: https://www.babyandmetime.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/babyandmetime

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