Review 2018: Oh no you didn’t!!!! A Review of “Snow White & the Seven Dwarves” at The Anvil

Written by Victoria Kennedy, Thefairyclothesmother.com (thank you VERY much Victoria for the awesome review!!! 

About

Snow white: http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/snow-white

When offered the chance to attend the Christmas Panto at The Anvil, Basingstoke, I jumped at the chance. Many of my fond childhood memories are of attending the local panto! Panto’s are guaranteed family fun! And this one didn’t disappoint! There was plenty of audience participation- from song and dances, sweetie-chucking and water pistols to the traditional panto villain ‘boo’s’ and comedy slapstick of ‘He’s behind you’.

The Anvil Arts centre is an award winning concert hall, with amazing acoustics and an international reputation. The beautiful set design had the children captured from the beginning. With special effects such as indoor pyro- there were plenty of mesmerised faces!

A special mention has to be given to ‘Nurse Dolly’s’ wardrobe (I am a stylist after all! ). She had some absolutely stunning dresses, each unique and I would have loved the opportunity to study each in great detail! Take a look for yourself:

Snow White was played by Dani Harmer, of CBBC fame. She played the character well and her gentle, ‘girl next-door’ manner soon had the audience on side.

The Wicked Queen, played by Kirsty Sparks, was both terrifying and utterly lovable at the same time! The stars of the show, form y 5 year old son, was Muddles, played by Chris Pizzey (Basil Brush’s Mr Stephens). His jokey character got the children on side meaning audience participation was full on! The jokes had the kids roaring with laughter, creating a fantastic atmosphere. There was even a subtle ‘dad joke’ or two!

Personally, I loved the dwarves. Each played to their name sake well, with names carefully adapted so not to gain the wrath of Disney! They were both cheeky and lovable!

The show runs until 6th January with both matinee and evening performances- get your tickets here: http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/your-visit/how-to-book/online-booking-information?ticketing_id=A8PE

http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/your-visit/how-to-book/online-booking-information?ticketing_id=A8PE

Tips

Take ear defenders for children who are bothered by loud noises, as there are a few loud bangs. Also there is (without ruining the surprise) a brief moment involving water & the audience, if this is something that could bother your child ask at the info desk for the timing of the ‘stunt’ so you can be ready!

‘Flashy’ wands and the like are for sale but we took our own from previous events. This was allowed and certainly saved a small fortune as well as reducing our plastic consumption.

Dressing up was encouraged- there were many mini snow whites in the audience!

Food

There is a selection of treats –  sweeties, ice cream, crisps on sale at the venue. However, as a huge cost saver I’d recommend taking your own! The show is 2 hrs 35 min long so a drink will most definitely be needed. There is also a bar available.

Facilities

The Anvil is fully accessible to wheelchair users, and pushchairs. There are facilities for baby changing. The audience was a real mix of ages, so babes-in-arms are certainly welcomed. There is a bar onsite for refreshments.

Parking

The Anvil is easily accessed from any of the town centre car parks and just a 2 min walk from the train & bus station.

Prices

This is my only point of contention. The cost of a family visiting the theatre is becoming massively out of reach for many families. Unfortunately this is something that is happening with the panto too. At £28 per adult and £25 per child – a cost of over £100 for a family of 4 it means a big majority miss out. The Anvil does offer group rates, and discounted tickets to local schools.

Ratingout of 5

4 a great afternoon of family fun, with laughter, cheers, boo’s and song! Plus the most wonderful panto dame costume!!!

All images courtesy of Anvil Arts

Disclaimer: This post is a review of “Snow White Seven Dwarves and the  in conjunction with The Anvil. Victoria’s tickets were 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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Review 2018: Basingstoke Canal Santa Cruise

Thank you very much to W for today’s NHM Secret Review!! She’s done a brilliant job! 

If you would like to be a NHM Secret Reviewer, please get in touch. Thanks! 

Review 2018: BasingstokeCanal Santa Cruise

Helping out with NHM articles that past couple of years I have gained quite a lot of knowledge about local Santa and Christmas experiences and this year I finally got to experience the stuff of local Christmas legend, the Basingstoke Canal Santa Cruise.

About

Each year, in late September/early October the Basingstoke Canal visitor centre opens up early to take bookings for their Santa Cruises. 

Tickets go fast and bookings can only be made in person or by phone so be prepared to spend a lot of time pressing redial. 

One friend did decide to drive there one year to guarantee her spot by booking it in person, but I persevered with the phone and finally got through at around 11am on the first day of booking. 

Their advice is to have a few dates in mind, especially if you want an evening or weekend, and also have the names and ages of children attending ready. 

In 2018 the evening experiences cost £15.50 per person, weekend day times were £15 and weekday day time were £12.  In December 2018 they ran six cruises a day and all but two cruises were sold out. 

Fast forward to a very cold night in mid-December when I arrived at the centre in Mychett, with my four year old and almost eight year old and waited outside for our boat. 

The area outside the centre had been dressed with Christmas lights and we were greeted by a giant inflatable Santa.  

Facilities whilst waiting were basic, access to toilets and a bench to sit on inside an area normally used for changing, so dress for the weather and don’t leave your car too early. 

We boarded the last boat of the day at 7pm.  There are twelve people per cruise, including adults, our cruise had five children on board.  After boarding the boat our guide asked the children to look out for Christmas lights and let her know when they saw them. 

We cruised up the canal for about 10 mins, when we arrived at our jetty and got off the boat everyone was given a torch. 

The guide then asked the children to look out for the red tinsel which would guide them to Santa, we followed the red tinsel through the dark woods until we found Santa’s grotto. 

Santa’s grotto was a yurt, beautifully decorated for Christmas. 

Inside we all sat on hay bales as we waited for Santa to wake up, once he did he chatted with us all as a group first before looking up names in his book and chatting individually to each child for a few minutes. 

He adjusted his chat accordingly to the age and personality of the child and afterwards we sang a few songs, he then gave out gifts to each child, which already had their names on. 

We were in the yurt for about 20 minutes.  After we said goodbye to Santa we used our torches to find the silver tinsel that would guide us back out of the woods and back on to our boat where we opened our gifts, good quality, age appropriate books. 

We then cruised back to the centre where we did some colouring whilst enjoying mince pies or chocolate bars and hot drinks, all included in the price.  We left the centre at around 8.20pm.

Rating out of 5

We do a few Santa and Christmas experiences each year and this was a really lovely event, unlike anything we had done before and perfect for restoring the magic for my doubting older son. 

The boat and the canal centre are practical rather than luxury but the uniqueness of the occasion and the enthusiasm of the guides and Santa, really made this feel special.  None of the children became bored, with each activity taking the right amount of time. 

All the food was branded with allergy information easily available but it would be fine to take your own if you needed to. 

The experience was really good value for money and suitable for all ages, although I think older children would really prefer the after dark cruises. 

Highly recommended. 

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NHM Readers Recommend: Board Games for Older Children

In December 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “Do the NHM Community have any board game recommendations for toddlers, 5-8 year olds and tweens? I’d like to get one for Christmas each year but want something that we will actually play more than once.”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order. All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

NHM Readers Recommend: Board Games for Older Children

Lian said, “Articulate kids is good for the older ones and adults to play”

Wendy said, “I like games that have as few parts as possible so crocodile dentist and toilet trouble are our favourites, also any of the pie faces games. We use them at birthday parties and there’s always a queue.”

Joy said, “Rondo! Friends bought it for us, ours are between 9 & 16, we’ve been enjoying it for the past 2 years!”

Ruth said, “…anything in the brainbox range – covers a wide age range, quick and simple to play for as long or as little as interest lasts, and really interesting at the same time!”

Jason said, “Payday. Love it with my 6 and 10 year old.”

Lisa said, “My 7&9 yo have been playing ‘Ticket to Ride, Europe’ for a couple of years…we also love ‘Survive’ & Catan our three favourites. All great for kids up to adults”

Rachel said, “Hungry hippos is great for my two. They were 3 and 5 last Christmas and has the added bonus that they can play it themselves with no help. I’ve bought a lot of orchard games before but am finding the old favourites are much more suitable and are getting a lot more use.”

Lisa said, “Exploding Kittens for the middle age bracket.

Rachael said, “Who am I, popping pirate, piranhas, spot the difference cards.”

Sue said, “Bugs in the kitchen.”

Helena said, “Ufo alarm is fab, easy, funny and not many parts!”

Rachael said, “Hullabaloo not a board game but loved by all. 
Orchard games are loved by 3 years up. Crash bang wallop is fabulous”

Libby said, “Exploding kittens!”

Emma said, “Ours love battleships because it’s different every time they play and it gets very competitive!”

Claire said, “Ours love Dobble.”

Emma said, “Code names is a great game.”

Alison said, “UNO is a good card game that covers a range of ages.”

Liz said, “Looping Louie is good for young to mid age range.”

Ruza said, “Operation, tummy ache, Mmmm!”

Sam said,”Orchard games are great for toddlers. We’ve got about 5 of them!”

Helen said, “Snakes and ladders, twister, hungry hippos, frustration, tick tack toe.”

Angela said, “Can’t recommend Smelly Wellies Orchard Games highly enough for a preschooler. My son loves it, we play many times a day  (And if you want variety you can use the two sets of wellies to play pairs)”

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Train Like a Jedi, Thursday 25th October 2018

Train Like A Jedi fun fitness class taking place at Basingstoke Sports Centre on Thursday in half term, 11.15-12.15.

Limited spaces so booking is advisable.

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Spotlight UK – October 2018 Half Term Holiday Clubs

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Schools and PTAs in Basingstoke offered free jump sessions at Festival Place

FREE family fun at Festival Place as 10,000 complimentary Flip Out sessions are offered to schools, colleges and PTAs

Schools, colleges and PTAs are being offered free sessions at trampoline park Flip Out at Festival Place, Basingstoke, to help beat the Back to School blues.

Flip Out at Festival Place is giving away 10,000 free children’s jump passes, with each organisation able to claim 100 free tickets. The passes can be used for a one-hour session at any time Monday to Friday during term time, until the end of November.

The initiative from Flip Out underlines Festival Place’s offer as a family shopping and leisure destination.

Paul Murphy, Marketing Director at Flip Out Basingstoke, said: “We know it’s a bit of a struggle to get the kids enthusiastic about going back to school and also getting them to take part in regular exercise. So here at Flip Out we would like to make it a bit more fun and, in the process, give something back to the local school community.”

Neil Churchill, Centre Director at Festival Place, said: “We pride ourselves on offering fun for families and young people and are delighted to support Flip Out as it donates these free passes.

“We hope schools and families will make the most of this offer and stay to enjoy the fantastic range of big brand stores, eateries and leisure facilities that Festival Place has to offer this autumn.”

One pass is permitted per user, who must be aged 18 or under and attending school or college. To take part in a session, a waiver must be completed and Flip Out socks must be purchased and used at £2 a pair. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

To claim the free passes and for full terms and conditions, schools can call Flip Out on 01256 830803.

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Review 2018: CarFest South

Thank you very much to R for today’s NHM Secret Review!!!

Review 2018: CarFest South

Wow.  Our day at CarFest was certainly one to remember!  Ha ha. I will explain…

CarFest doesn’t do anything half-heartedly.  It gives 100% to the atmosphere, to the entertainment, to the food, to the music, to the cars and to the fundraising.  It really is impressive. Unfortunately, on our day visit, the weather also decided to give 100%… 100% rain!!! All day.  From start to finish. It rained. And rained. And rained some more. It was relentless.

Now you would think, with all the problems that the weather was creating, that the event would be a washout.  However, I am pleased to report that it definitely wasn’t getting the better of this very British affair. We had an amazing time at CarFest and, weirdly, the crazy torrential rain made the whole experience even more unforgettable!

Top Tip:  Be prepared for all weather conditions (take suncream, hats, layers, waterproofs, picnic blankets/chairs, umbrella, etc) as this is largely an outdoor event.

About

CarFest South is a fantastic weekend of family fun, awesome cars, delicious food and great music.  It was founded by Chris Evans and raises money for BBC Children in Need.

It takes place over the August bank holiday weekend each year.

It is located on Laverstoke Park Farm, near Overton in Hampshire, clearly signposted from Basingstoke.  We didn’t encounter any issues with traffic or queuing at all.

There is plenty of parking onsite.  

Top Tip:  Please note that it is a long uphill walk from the car parks so choose suitable comfortable footwear.  Also make a note of which car park you are in to make it easier to find when you return in the dark!

Since its start in 2012, CarFest has raised £10.5 million for BBC Children in Need!  The purchasing of CarFest tickets, adding to the collection buckets, buying merchandise from the Pudsey shop and getting raffle tickets, all contribute to this wonderful charity helping disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

What’s On

The weekend is jam-packed with family-friendly entertainment.  I couldn’t possibly include everything in this review but here is a quick overview to give you an idea of what’s on:

Family
Farm Olympics, Steam Fair & Rides, Car-nival Parade, Kids’ Theatre, Inflatables, Kids’ Driving School and so much more.

Cars
Race track, Cartopia & Wall of Death, Vintage Village, Motorshow and Pudsey Bear Dream Rides.

Music
Wigwam Stage with performances from new and unsigned acts.
Main stage – headline acts this year included James Bay, Paloma Faith, Clean Bandit and Status Quo.

Food
Food Fair, Kitchen Stage (with live cooking demos from celebrity chefs) and caterers/cafes/food stalls galore!

Top Tip:  Find out what’s on and where from the Daily Planners.  Plan ahead and schedule your day so that you don’t miss out on any of your favourite activities, acts or displays. Some of the children’s activities, such as milkshake making and biscuit decorating, require booking a timeslot.

Top Tip:  The use of ear protection for young children is recommended at CarFest due to the loud cars and music performances.  These can be collected from the Organiser’s Office.

Facilities

  • Toilets and Baby Change
  • First Aid
  • Lost Child Point
  • CarFest encourages the use of reusable bottles to help protect the environment so there are drinking water points across the site.
  • Public Wi-Fi (all proceeds from Wi-Fi connections donated to Children in Need – £1 for 1 day, £3 for full weekend access)
  • Cash Machines (NB withdrawal charges apply)
  • Information Points
  • Electric Scooter & Wheelchair hire

The following must NOT be brought onto the festival site:

  • Dogs (except assistance dogs)
  • Alcohol, Glass, BBQs.

Exhibitors

All the wonderful folk volunteering and working there must have been so wet and cold but it didn’t dampen their spirits at all.  Everyone was so kind, helpful and enthusiastic.

This was particularly true of one stand “Milk & More” who kindly welcomed us to shelter from the rain for a while.  It was very interesting to learn about their service and sample some of their products. Milk & More source milk and other fresh produce from Britain’s farms and deliver them to doorsteps nationwide.  

They are passionate about encouraging people to eat well and live sustainably and it was inspiring to hear their story. I love the idea of waking up to fresh milk from a glass bottle. They were even providing the weekend’s campers with lovely fresh tasty breakfast hampers!  Their website is definitely worth a look.

https://www.milkandmore.co.uk/

Highlights

Chris Evans himself injected so much energy and fun into the weekend’s events.  He is very much present and actively involved in everything that’s going on. He is clearly passionate about CarFest and about the Children in Need charity and it was great to see him compere the evening’s entertainment and interact with all the performers.  

Tickets

http://www.carfest.org/ticket-information

Tickets for CarFest South in August go on sale in the previous November.

Prices vary depending on the number of days you wish to visit and whether or not you will be camping.  A 1-day family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) for the Friday this year was £143.

Children under the age of 6 can enter free of charge but you must order them a ticket.

Top Tip:  CarFest tickets are in high demand each year and can prove tricky to get your hands on.  You will need to set your alarm, be prepared and get online in plenty of time. If possible, use various devices and get friends and family on the case too!  Keep pressing refresh to see the latest information.

Rating

My rating of CarFest has to be 5 out of 5!!!  We really hope to return to this fantastic family event again next year.  We will also be hoping for a bit more luck with regards to the weather.

Reminder of Top Tips

    • CarFest tickets are in high demand each year and can prove tricky to get your hands on.  You will need to set your alarm, be prepared and get online in plenty of time. If possible, use various devices and get friends and family on the case too!  Keep pressing refresh to see the latest information.
    • It is a long uphill walk from the car parks so choose suitable comfortable footwear.  
    • Make a note of which car park you are in to make it easier to find when you return in the dark!
    • Find out what’s on and where from the Daily Planners.  Plan ahead and schedule your day so that you don’t miss out on any of your favourite activities, acts or displays. Some of the children’s activities, such as milkshake making and biscuit decorating, require booking a timeslot.
    • The use of ear protection for young children is recommended at CarFest due to the loud cars and music performances.  These can be collected from the Organiser’s Office.
    • Take picnic food and snacks with you to save some money as purchasing food onsite can be pricey.
    • Be prepared for all weather conditions (take suncream, hats, layers, waterproofs, picnic blankets/chairs, umbrella, etc) as this is largely an outdoor event.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of 2018 CarFest South in conjunction with MilkandMore. The tickets were 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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Reasons to Be Active in Basingstoke this summer – Friday 17th August

Children of all ages from throughout Hampshire can put their best foot forward to try a new sport as free event, Be Active, will take over Basingstoke town centre on Friday 17 August from 11am until 5pm.

At Be Active, children of all ages from as young as two-years-old will have the opportunity to try their hand at a wide range of sports. The activities on offer will include a Rugby obstacle challenge from Basingstoke RFC, a penalty shootout with Basingstoke Town FC, a 20ft climbing wall, crazy golf and much more.

There will also be arts and crafts, face painting, soft play, inflatable games, roaming entertainers and a deck chair chill out zone, providing something for everyone whilst the children indulge their sporty sides.

The event is being run and organised by Basingstoke Together, which is the face of the Basingstoke Business Improvement District (BID). The BID’s aim is to help Basingstoke town centre to thrive by creating destination events, engaging with consumers and supporting retailers and businesses.

Lucy Boazman, chief executive of Basingstoke Together, said: “The summer holidays are the perfect opportunity to make the most of the great outdoors by trying something new – Be Active is about just that. Children don’t need to have any experience with the sports on offer as the aim of the game is to just have fun and maybe find a hidden passion.

“It is so important for children to get regular exercise and taking part in a sport is a great way to do so. We hope to see lots of children of all ages joining in with Be Active and enjoying the variety of activities and entertainment which will be on offer.”

Be Active will take place throughout the top of town, including Winchester Road, London Street, Wote Street and into Festival Square.

For more information, visit  www.basingstoketogether.co.uk

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‘My Journal – Summer 2018’

Kath (Relax Kids Basingstoke) and Becky (Movin Monkeez) are very excited to tell you about ‘My Journal – Summer 2018’ – a brand new concept! A chance for children to record their summer memories. Encouraging a little fitness, some relaxation, some healthy eating. Encouraging children to think about the things they’ve enjoyed doing, the things they are grateful for and more!

‘My Summer Journal’ is a downloadable printable – around 50 pages. You can print a day at a time, a week at a time or the whole journal.

Accompanied by a Facebook group for the grown ups to share the exercise videos and relaxation ideas so that children can choose what they do. We will also be posting healthy recipes as well.

Kath and Becky are offering NorthHantsMum fans £1 discount off the £7.50 price. So if you are interested in buying the journal for £6.50 please contact Kath Routledge for details – either through Facebook Messenger or rkbasingstoke@yahoo.co.uk

AND everyone who has bought/anyone who buys a copy will be entered into a prize draw to win either a Movin Monkeez cookbook OR a Relax Kids ‘Elevator of Happiness’ CD!

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Fun Activities for the Kids this Summer Break

Basingstoke activities for the kids this summer:

Circus skills, Multi sport, Kite making, Disco&Games, learn2DJ, Balloon Modelling and more!

Drop off workshops or family stay and plays.

Costs: £5 per WORKSHOP if booked before 17th July, £6 per WORKSHOP if block booking two sessions or more or £10 thereafter.

To book, please email info@niknakevents.co.uk

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