Celebrate Christmas with Festival Place

Christmas is now just around the corner and, once again, Festival Place has lots of exciting activities planned to delight and entertain the whole family.

The season officially commences on Thursday 16th November with the ever-popular Christmas Light Switch-on, hosted this year by Matt and Michelle from Heart Breakfast. The evening will feature live entertainment from The Halo Glow Show – an explosive visual stage act featuring virtuoso circus artists; the Wonderful West End cast performing songs from The Lion King, plus the stars of the Anvil’s production of Peter Pan. Santa and his elves will carry out the ceremonial pushing of the ‘on’ button to light up Festival Place and visitors will also be able to enjoy a firework display and see the shopping centre’s brand new Christmas decorations.

Santa’s Woodland Walk and Grotto will be in centre from Saturday 18th November to 24th December, where kids can not only come to meet Santa but also have fun with some augmented reality dancing penguins, an animatronic Christmas tree and Rudolph’s Naughty or Nice-o-meter! Visits cost £4.50, including a free gift, and some dates can be booked in advance here: http://www.bookfatherchristmas.co.uk/festivalplace

The famous Santa Parade will return on Sunday 3rd December at 12pm with Santa leading a whole host of Christmassy characters on a march from Porchester Square to Festival Square, sharing Christmas cheer with shoppers along the way.

With over 200 big brands and plenty of restaurants and cafés to choose from, it’s easy to make this year’s Christmas shopping a fantastic family day out.

Further activities are yet to be announced so keep an eye on the Festival Place website at www.festivalplace.co.uk/events or find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Santas, Pantos and Other Christmas events

Thank you very much to Wendy, one of the NHM Awesome Support Team, for putting this awesome post together!!!!

Santas, Pantos and Other Christmas events

The fireworks have stopped, the John Lewis advert is out and the countdown to Christmas has begun. Below are some of the local places to visit Santa plus several other Christmas experiences that you may wish to put in the diary or book now including Christmas plays and Pantos.  With school holidays starting late this year demand for weekend slots for Santa will be high so book early.

Santa Grottos

Festival Place – Basingstoke. £4.50 per child. Lots of availability and probably the cheapest Santa visit locally.

Henry Street Garden Centre –Arborfield. £9.99 per child, £2 per adult. Weekends and inset days are already fully booked but there are a few after school slots left and plenty of options for those not in school yet.

Dobbies Garden Centre – Shinfield. £9.95 per child. Good availability, including weekends and Christmas Eve.

Redfields Garden Centre – Church Crookham. £6 per child. Book instore or by phone 01252 624444

Experiences with a Santa Visit

Please click on the links for further details about these experiences.

Wyevale Garden Centre – Sherfield on Loddon. A few dates left for Breakfast or tea with Santa.

Millers Ark – Nr Hook. Lots of Christmas events including a Santa’s Grotto, Carols in the Barn and a Nativity with real animals.

4 Kingdoms – Headley. Still availability for their Christmas experience.

Finkley Down Farm – Andover. Limited availabilty for weekends. Lots of choice for week days.

Basingstoke Canal – Mychett. This has already sold out for this year.

Watercress Line – Alresford/Alton. Lots of dates still available, including weekends.

Marwell – Winchester. Some weekend tickets still left. Lots of availability for week days.

Winchester Science Centre – Winchester. Still lots of availability, includes SEN sessions.

Paultons Park – Ower. Lots of dates still available.

Lapland UK – Windsor. Lots of dates still available.

Other Christmas Events

The Malls – Basingstoke. Events start with Christmas light switch on Nov 17th  at 6.30pm.  Check their website for various other events in the run up to Christmas .

Festival Place Santa Parade – Basingstoke. Dec 3rd at 12pm.  Santa arrives at Festival Place.

Basingstoke Festive Fun Run – Memorial Park Basingstoke. Dec 10th. Please check website for times.

Basingstoke Festive Fun Run – Memorial Park Basingtoke. Dec 10th. Please check website for times.

Lantern Procession – Newbury. Dec 10th from 4pm. Join in or just admire and soak up the atmosphere as the candle-lit procession travels along Northbrook Street to the Market Place

The Vyne – Basingstoke. It’s the last chance to go up on the roof at The Vyne and, like most other National Trust properties, there’s a Christmas Trail.

Theatre

A Christmas Carol – Proteus Basingstoke. Nov 25th – 26th. Performance for children age 6+

How Many Sleeps ‘Til Christmas – Proteus Basingstoke. Dec 14th – 24th. Interactive Christmas performance, Santa normally makes an appearance. Tickets are selling fast. For pre-school children (although most under 9s love it too)

Santa in Love – Central Studio Basingstoke. Dec 15th. For children age 2-5.

The Night Before Christmas – The Haymarket Basingstoke. Dec 8th – 10th ages 2 and over

Santa’s Christmas Wish – Theatre Royal Winchester. Dec 18th. All ages

Pantos

Peter Pan – The Anvil Basingstoke. Dec 14th – Jan 7th. All ages

Peter Pan – The Hexagon Reading. Dec 9th – Jan 7th. All ages. With Justin Fletcher.

Peter Pan – Theatre Royal Winchester. Dec 5th – Jan 1st. All ages

Beauty & The Beast – Corn Exchange Newbury. Dec 1st – Jan 7th. All ages

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Mayflower Southampton. Dec 15th – Jan 7th. All ages. With Craig Revel-Horwood & The Chuckle Brothers.

Please let us know of any events you feel should be added by emailing the details to NorthHantsMum@gmail.com. Thanks!

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Sylvanian Families shop at St Mary Bourne Fair – 17 November 2017

Delighted to say the Sylvanian Families Shop will be having a stand at the St Mary Bourne Gift Fair this Friday 17 November

St Mary Bourne Village Hall, Andover, SP11 6BE

#SylvanianFamilies #SylvanianShop #Christmas #GiftFair #ChristmasFair #PerfectPresents #FestiveBargain

Lots of special offers and bargains so come and pick up a Christmas goody or too for the young Sylvanian fan in your life!

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Advent Calendar Ideas for 2017

I’ve collated these from previous posts on NHM but please add your suggestions in the comments on the NorthHantsMum FB Page and I will add them into this post. Thanks!!

Advent Calendar Ideas for 2017

Make a Christmas tree decoration

Build a Christmas item like a Lego Christmas tree, Santa sleigh, snowman, etc or with playdoh.

Make a paper chain

Go see the Christmas lights or a street that has lots of decorations. Festival Place, The Oracle, Farnham and Winchester have good local ones.

Do some Christmas baking

December 5th is Saint Nicholas Day, so do someone a good deed in his spirit. The French bake gingerbread as a tradition.

December 21st is winter solstice so take time out from all those Pre- Christmas do’s and celebrate at home by cosying up with loved Ones.

Attend Hook Christmas Cracker (Saturday 2nd December 2017)

Make a Christmas card

Play a board game

Christmas Nature Walk – Take a walk to your local park or woods and collect pine cones and see if you can spot a robin or some holly. Check out Nature Detectives to see what you can find.

Visit your local garden centre to see The Christmas decorations

Write a letter to Father Christmas. Use stickers for younger children

Go to a local school Christmas Fayre and pick up some fabulous bespoke Christmas presents.

Make Christmas Gloop (put in a couple of baubles and some glitter) ????

Put together A personalised video message for your child from Santa (and it’s free!) (this is AWESOME!) and play it to your child.

Visit a local library and find some nice Christmas stories, e.g. Father Christmas needs a wee!

Make a bird feeder

Have a Christmas boogie. When the music stops, do a christmas movement. Roll like a bauble, chickle like santa, twirl like a snowflake

Eat dinner by candlelight.(We use the electronic version of candles as I’m banned from using real candles since I set fire to my bedroom when I was 14 years old. Don’t ask!)

Have a Christmas sing song round the piano. All use instruments like jingle bells or triangle

Learn about Christmas in another country

Read Christmas books whilst snuggled under blankets

Go ice skating at the local ice skating rink

Play Christmas charades

Go see a local pantomime

Christmas dressing up

Go Christmas Caroling (even if it’s just to Grandparents!)

Give something back, make a donation.

Make jolly jars. Take an old jam jar and decorate with stickers or glass pens and then fill with sweets and treats to give to loved ones

Hand deliver some Christmas cards to neighbours

Print off some Christmas puzzles, word searches, colour pages.

Tell some of our favourite Christmas jokes

Do a Christmas jigsaw puzzle

A lovely activity to do on Christmas eve is to have a special Christmas box with new pyjamas, a Christmas DVD and snacks that your children can unwrap and enjoy while they wait for father christmas

Watch the Santa Fun Run in Eastrop Park. Is there one on this year?

Buy and decorate your Christmas Tree

Write a letter to Santa – find out about the NSPCC version or send one via Royal Mail

Listen to Christmas Music (there are normally dedicated satellite channels for music and films at Christmas!) or you can download your favourites from i-Tunes.

Have an indoor snowball fight with scrunched up paper

From today the word “Christmas” is jinxed – every time you say “Christmas” you have to sing Jingle Bells – this can run all day or all month

Put Christmas decorations up in your bedroom

Send Christmas cards

Make Christmas crackers from old toilet rolls!

Watch a Christmas movie. Which are your favourites?

Visit Santa’s Grotto at Festival Place and take a ride on the train

Sing the 12 Days of Christmas without saying Christmas.

Drive round looking for houses with Christmas lights.

Have a super duper Hot Chocolate – make your own at home with flake, marshmallows, squirty cream, etc or nip out to your favourite cafe.

Catch a ride on the Santa Bus.

Dress up as a Christmas character all day or wear a Christmas Jumper

Make a Christmas collage

Build and decorate a gingerbread house

Jazz up a chocolate Swiss roll for an instant Yule log

Christmas i-spy – make a list of Christmas items to spot then go for a walk and tick things off your list.

Track Santa’s progress around the world on the Norad website

Thank you very much to Heidi W for her suggestions in 2014!!!!

1. Put up tree and outside lights

2. Santa train ride in town centre

3. Christmas books by candle light

4. Christmas snap cards, make paperchains

5. Write Christmas cards

6. New Christmas jigsaw

7. Watch a Christmas DVD

8. Go and see a Christmas show either at the Anvil or the Haymarket.

9. Paper crafts (angels, snowflakes etc)

10. Lion’s Santa tour stops outisde our house – with glowsticks

11. Paper/foam wreaths

12. Sticker activity books

13. Make your own Christmas badge kit

14. Check out a local museum (Milestones or the Willis Museum) for their Christmas activities with little ones

15. Childrens Carol service at church

16. Do a Christmas Craft together – e.g.  foam Christmas tree kit, make Christmas crackers, Christmas baubles.

17. Christmas books

18. Stencils/sticker craft

19. Nativity Play scene set

20.TBC

21. Winter Ice Art or go and see the Christmas Ice Rink either at Winchester Cathederal or if they have one in Festival Place

22. Make Christmas biscuits

23. Visit Santa’s Wonderland at Paultons Park

24. Open your Christmas Eve box together (New PJ’s!!!)

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Review 2017: Little Play Town

Thank you VERY much to the NHM Secret Writer who wrote this review!!

Review 2017: Little Play Town

I was really excited when I saw that Little Play Town was opening in Odiham. We’ve been to Little Street in Frimley before and really enjoyed it. Little Play Town looked similar, focusing on role play with the play space divided into different themes, but it is much closer to us in Basingstoke – bonus! It opened early October and I visited with my 2 year old a few weeks later. We had a brilliant time!! There were serious tears from my little one when it was time to leave. We can’t wait to go again.

The play space is quite large and includes a building site, hairdressers, vets, firestation, race track, café, play kitchen and more. The space is immaculate and the toys are really high quality. As my friend said to me ‘the toys are the ones I would buy for my child if I had an unlimited budget’. It feels like a high quality, clean, safe place for little people to play. My son enjoyed exploring each play area and an hour and half seemed about the right amount of time for him to play with everything without getting bored.

Tips

Little Play Town run 4 x 1.5 hour sessions throughout the day 7 days a week so you book online (or just turn up and hope there’s space) for the session that you want to go to. At the end of the session everyone leaves giving the staff time to tidy everything up and get it ready for the next group. This means that at the start of each session everything is tidy and in the right place.

I wasn’t sure what age it would be appropriate for but I think I will take my 5 year old next time. I’m pretty sure he’d still really enjoy it. I would guess up to around age 7 would be ok.

There are no shoes allowed inside and adults and children all need to wear socks.

Little Play Town is upstairs and there’s no lift. You can store a pushchair upstairs but you’d need to be able to collapse it and carry it up.

Food

There’s a small café with a soft play space for pre-walkers. The café has good quality drinks and snacks, including some child-friendly healthier options. The café is next to the play space but you can’t see all of it from the café so with younger children you wouldn’t be able to sit in the café whilst they played.

Baby facilities

There are two toilets and a baby change area that is large and clean.

Parking

There are two pay and display carparks in Odiham that are within easy walking distance. Spaces on the street are free for 2 hours so if you can get one these are ideal. We went for the 9:30 session and on-street parking was easy. I can imagine it might be harder later on in the day or at the weekend.

It took me a while to find exactly where it is. The entrance is on the side of the building down the small driveway that goes down the side of the Bel and Dragon from the high street.

Prices

£5.95 for 1 child aged 1-7 years with one adult. £3.50 for an extra adult. £1 for a child under 1 year. If you only have a child under 1 you’d need to pay £1 for them and £3.50 for you.

Other info

Little Play Town also do children’s parties and are starting a children’s yoga class. More details on their webpage (www.littleplaytown.co.uk.

Rating

5 out of 5 – we loved it!!

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Classes to do with a baby

Thank you very much to Shona for putting this post together!!!

Classes to do with a baby

NCT Coffee groups

Basingstoke NCT runs coffee groups that meet regularly to support parents-to be and parents. Anyone is welcome, you don’t have to be a member of NCT and is open from pregnancy right up to pre-school age. Opportunities to meet other people and talk to them about their experiences and make new friends.

No fee to attend, there is a collection towards the work the NCT do.

NCT

NCT Early Days

This is a group that meets in a supportive, relaxed and friendly atmosphere to openly talk about life as a mum. You can discuss challenges, tips and the reality over the expectations you had/have. You will meet other parents, make friends and gain support and tips. Courses run over 4-6 weekly sessions for new mums. They are aimed at new mums with babies under 6months. There is a fee for this course – enquire via link below.

NCT Early Days

Little Tots Poppins

This is an Art and Messy session followed by Music and Movement.You don’t register, just pop in. The sessions are run on Thursday mornings from 9.30am to 11am and costs £3 per session. The sessions are term time only.

Little Tots Stoney Heath, White Lion Court, Hollybush Farm, Stoney Heath, Ramsdell, Tadley, RG26 5SL. 01256851398

Little Tots Poppins

Little Munchkins Baby

These are Baby Massage and Baby Yoga classes which help you to feel relaxed, happy and confident with your baby. Baby massage helps build bonds and will help you become more in tune and confident with your baby’s needs. The course is taught in 5 weekly session (1 hour long each session). Suitable from birth. It runs on a Tuesday from 11am to 12pm at Tadley Community Centre.

Little Munchkins Baby

Baby Sensory

These are nationwide so have a look online for your local session as there are quite a few in Basingstoke. They offer a musical world of sensory experiences for both parents and children. There are light shows, bells, bubbles, puppets and signing to name but a few of the activities. The class is split into three phases so there is a free play session in the middle where you can play with the toys and activities set out and sit and talk to other mums and dads. Sessions run term time only and the course is £70 per term you wish to take up.

Baby Sensory

Tots Play

This is a 6 week course suitable from birth to 6 months. You learn fun ways to play and communicate with your baby using massage, music, signing and is also a great way to meet other mums. The class runs from 11.20am to 12.20pm and you must book in advance.

Tots Play

Barn Tots

This is a friendly play session from birth to pre-school. They meet at Viables Community Centre on Tuesdays from 10am to 12pm and Thursdays from 9.45am to 11.45am. It is term time only. There are different toys each week and a great soft play area for babies. There is singing and storytime and music and movement too. It costs £2 per session and includes refreshments for adults and a cold drink, fruit and biscuits for the children.

Active Mums

This is an hour long class which starts with a warm up walk which moves up to a power walk. There are exercises throughout the class to strengthen and tone. The route is suitable for any buggy and it’s a great session to get some exercise and meet other mums. The classes run at 11am on a Monday and Wednesday at Basing Wood. It is all year round and no booking is required. 1 session is £4 or you can book 10 sessions online for £35.

Active Mums

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NHM Readers: Local places for Preloved items

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if anyone could recommend the best places to take second hand items. (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

These were the responses I received. They are in no particular order.

NHM Readers Recommend Local Places for Preloved Items

Spotlight Centre

Wendy said: Spotlight Centre. If you ask they can pass them onto those in need.  

Penny said: Spotlight have links with social services and can pass them on but please state that they are to be passed on.

Spotlight UK

Christ Church, Chineham

Vicki said: If you take them to Christ Church, Chineham we have contact that we can pass them onto one of which is a charity that helps trafficked individuals and has safe houses and refuges amongst its range of support.

Christ Church

Besom

Abigail said: Besom have taken loads of my baby clothes and baby items (and other stuff like kitchen goods and bed sheets etc) and they have gone to the women’s refuge. They come and collect and all the stuff goes to people in need rather than just charity and you even get a thank you letter in the post which was a surprise.

Besom

Basingstoke Voluntary Action

I have also suggested Basingstoke Voluntary action.

BVA

Community Furniture Project

You can donate unwanted furniture here.

CFP

National Childbirth Trust – Nearly New Sales

You could register to be a seller at the regular Nearly New Sales around the area throughout the year if you want to make a few pennies back.

NCT Nearly New Sales

North Hants Hospital Children’s Ward

Kathryn has advised that good quality toys (except soft toys) and books/complete board games can be donated to the hospital by being left with the ward clerks that wear purple shirts on Charlie’s ward or outpatients.

Emma also said that the children’s wards, CDU and children’s A&E room make use of toys that can be easily sterilised. Some wards may also accept clothing and nappies as they run short.

Little Hampshire

Katie said you can give good quality branded clothes to Little Hampshire and they will sell them for you and take a cut.
Little Hampshire

Basingstoke PCC

Michelle said that you can donate baby and toddler items to The Baby Clothing and Equipment Service. They accept good quality clothing (ages 0-2) and equipment such as cots, prams, stair gates, baby baths and high chairs.   
Baby Clothing and Equipment Service

Frimley Park Hospital

Desiree said that Frimley Park hospital are in need of toys (not soft toys) for their children’s A&E and F1 wards

Popley Little People

Run by Melrose Community Centre (a registered charity), Popley Little People always welcome donations of clean, working pre-school toys.

Popley Little People

As every, you can always take any unwanted items to any charity shop to see them put to good use and sold for a good cause!

Is there anywhere else you would recommend?

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When should you buy your child their first shoes?

When should you buy your child their first shoes?

Buying shoes for babies is such a minefield, it can be hard to know what to do. Here we will share some of the information we have found useful and you can make your own decisions.

Baby’s feet are still soft and not fully formed so it’s important that they wear supportive shoes which give them space for them to grow.

Toddlers don’t have a visable arch like adults and older children so they can look flat footed.

It’s common for children to walk with feet that turn inwards as their leg and ankle bones are developing. They normally align properly by 7 years old but check with GP if you are concerned.

Clarks

Clarks offer shoes from pre-walking. They are ‘specially’ designed to add protection . They are lightweight and flexible with seamless interiors that don’t rub. There are also whole and half sizes and a choice of widths. They then offer first shoes which have padded ankle supports and protection for the toes and still offer whole sizes as well as half sizes and different widths. Clarks also offer a free fit check after 6-8 weeks too.

With a bit of digging around the Clarks website, you can see that they even say “It is best to allow your child to go barefoot when possible in the early stages of walking to allow feet to breath and feel the floor”

http://www.clarks.co.uk/yourfeet/kidsfoothealth/factsforparents

The College of Podiatry

Here the advice is quite different to Clarks. They suggest that once a child has taken a few steps unaided, they are then ready for shoes. They suggest ensuring shoes have the following features:

  • Close cropped soles to prevent tripping
  • Room for movement and growth
  • Soft leather uppers for cool comfortable feet
  • Lightweight, flexible sole to aid walking development
  • Whole and half sizes in a choice of widths
  • Fully adjustable fastenings
  • Padded ankle for protection and support.

http://www.scpod.org/foot-health/for-parents/baby-first-shoes/

Made for Mums

Made for Mums says that when babies are born their feet and legs are curved having spent a long time cramped growing in the womb. As they grow their feet straighten out and you must make sure socks/shoes don’t cramp their feet so they can grow straight. They say that the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists say toddlers shouldn’t wear proper shoes until they can walk well (approximately 6 weeks of walking). They recommend places such as Clarks, Next and Start-rite.

http://www.madeformums.com/baby/buying-your-babys-first-shoes/33297.html

Baby Centre

Baby Centre says that you don’t need to buy babies their first shoes until they are walking confidently on their own and to only put them in shoes when they are walking outside. They say that walking barefoot around the house enables better balance and coordination and allows feet to develop naturally.

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/x1047721/when-should-i-buy-my-baby-her-first-pair-of-shoes

What are your experiences of buying shoes? Any recommendations of places locally to get children’s feet measured and/or buy shoes? Let me know!

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Activity: Drop & Shop @ Playdays – Saturday 2nd December 2017

Date: Saturday 2nd December

Time: 11:00 – 15:00

Venue: Playdays Indoor Play Centre, 2 Stewart Rd, Basingstoke RG24 8NF

Cost: £24* per child

LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE

Age Range: 5-11

* Price Includes:

  • Entrance Fee @ £5.25

  • Hot and Cold Buffet Lunch and Unlimited Squash @ £8.95

  • Less Than £10 = Full Supervision in a Safe Environment

During this play-based session there will be numerous led and free-choice activities in the private, self-contained, upstairs party room, including:

  • Arts & Crafts

  • Boardgames

  • Toys

  • Puzzles

  • Dressing Up

  • Books & Magazines

  • Art & Crafts

  • Video Games

No visit to Playdays would be complete without plenty of time spent downstairs in the fabulous soft-play area too!

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Basingstones

This is such a brilliant idea!! Well done Rachel for setting this up!!!!

Basingstones

Whilst being away for a few days with the family, we came across a fab craze in Dorset which I think our children here in Basingstoke and Hants will absolutely love.

I have set up a facebook group called Basingstones.

 

Everyone can join in the fun, young and old, and anyone in between. You just paint a stone, write ‘Basingstones’ on it and hide it somewhere. Perhaps in one of our lovely parks here in Basingstoke, by a bench, under a tree, anywhere you like. The idea is that someone will find your stone and smile. It may even brighten their day! Hopefully they will post a photo on our facebook group page so we can all see how far our stones travel. Then our Basingstone finder can either re-hide the stone, or keep it and replace it with a new stone.

You can paint the stone however you wish, perhaps with a pretty pattern, a fun cartoon character, an inspirational quote or an artistic design, for example. Sharpie pens, permanent markers, nail polish, paints and varnish all work really well.

It is encouraging us as a family to get outdoors, be creative and spread some joy.  It has certainly kept us busy and entertained this half term break and without damaging the bank balance.

I hope everyone loves the concept as much we do and gets involved and has some fun.

Enjoy! x

https://m.facebook.com/groups/476782099372115

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