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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NHM Readers Recommend: Best Places to Visit Santa with a One-Year-Old

In November 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “Where are the best places to visit Santa in the Basingstoke area for a 1 year old? I’ve seen loads of places advertised but don’t know where is recommended?”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

NHM Readers Recommend: Best Places to Visit Santa with a One-Year-Old

Wendy said, “Proteus would be well worth a visit at that age, then I would just do festival place for the present and photo op, your looking at £10 minimum for almost all other Santa’s.

Charlotte said, “4 kingdoms is always brill have taken my son since he was a baby and now he’s 4.”

Samantha said, “We took our 9 month old last Christmas to the Santa in Festival Place. Did the job and you didn’t pay for all the other bits. On reflection, perfect for the age but probably once they hit 18 months plus you’d be looking for a bit more of an ‘experience’.”

Mary said, “At Proteus the show is interactive and sensory, made especially for little ones. You move around the space so little ones aren’t expected to sit still for long stretches. Here’s a link: http://www.proteustheatre.com/whats-on/the-magical-christmas-toy-shop Santa will feature but it’s very gentle and not a one on one grotto experience.”

Joanna said, “Active tots is good but is just outside of Basingstoke.”

Becky said, “We went to Miller’s Ark. Our little one was a little young at 8 months but the doggie there made her day!”

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Warren Tots: What’s on in December 2018

Hatch Warren Community Centre

Sessions run from 9.15-10.30 & 10.45-12

£3.50 per family (adult plus 2 children, additional children £1)

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NHM Readers Recommend: Professionals For Toddler Sleep Issues

In October 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “I have a friend who is struggling to get any sleep with her toddler who only sleeps for 3 hrs each night! I am sure I read on your site somewhere about a sleep nanny or someone like that who may be able to help?” Can anyone recommend a sleep nanny?”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Professionals For Toddler Sleep Issues

Jenny said, “Care it out sleep consultant is a fb page I follow.”

Amy said, “We worked with a lady at Baby Sleep The Night who was wonderful! My 6 m/o was waking every couple of hours and not napping. In 10 days he was sleeping through the night and napping really well. I cannot recommend her highly enough and it honestly saved us from breaking point.”

Wendy said, “…get her to speak to a GP as it could be a sign of other health issues.”

Allison suggested, Kelly-Lauren Warner, who replied:  ” Little Well-Beings child sleep, behaviour and nutrition solutions Please let me know if your reader would like more information. Always best to get it checked out at the GP first.”

Hayley suggested, Tiffany-Jayne Lee, who replied: “I’m a qualified sleep consultant feel free to PM Me.”

Charlotte said,”Victoria Murphy May be helpful for u.”

Kelly Smith said, “If she wants some help…I really don’t mind talking to her.”

Laura said, “There’s a really good book called The Gentle Sleep book if she’s looking for a solution that doesn’t involve lots of tears. You can get it from the library.”

Leanne also suggested The Gentle Sleep book, “I second this. It also helps separate what is normal behaviour from real problems…It helped me realise it was all within the realms of ‘normal’ which was a relief.”

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Kingsclere Village Bunnies Under 5’s Group 2018

We meet weekly at the Village club in Kingsclere where the children have fun playing and experimenting with different toys and activities in a relaxed environment, with a cuppa and chit chat for the parents, grandparents and helpers.

Each week a different art or craft activity is available for children to enjoy. Different toy stations are laid out around the hall and Village Bunnies provide the children with a snack before rounding off the morning with a sing-song. There is a garden with outdoor ride-ons, slides, for those sunnier outdoors days and lots to do indoors on rainy days and through the winter.

You do not need to have had your baby to join us – come along to as many sessions as you want to before his or her arrival. Once your baby is here, we have a protected baby area with bouncy chairs, rugs and baby toys for them to use.

We are here every Tuesday morning 9am – 11am. The first session is free so you can try us on for size and after that sessions cost just £1 for bumps and unweaned babies, £2 for first child (including snack donated by Swan Street Stores) and 50p for additional children.

Kingsclere Bunnies is run by a committee of volunteers and always on the lookout for new members, find us on Facebook to find out more!  

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AlphaBetty Adventures: Christmas 2018 Sessions

Dear Mummies,

I am just getting in touch to let you know that I have released the dates and times for my Christmas sessions. I will be running a the following sessions in December. Please get in touch by email if you would like to book a place as spaces are limited. For more information is on the facebook page.

Gruffalo Session

Anna Wrapping Paper

5th December Frozen session 2.15 – 3.15pm @ Oakridge Hall for All £10 for 2-5 year olds

5th December Frozen session 3.30 – 4.30pm @ Oakridge Hall for All £10 for 3-10 year olds

Olaf Marshmallow Making

19th December Gruffalo’s child 1.30 – 2.30pm @ Oakridge Hall for All £7.50 for 2-5 year olds.

I look forward to seeing some of you there.
Lee-Anne
alphabetty_adventures@hotmail.com

Making Gruffalo Faces

Mixing Forest Colours

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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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Bramley Toddler Group 0-5 Club

Bramley Toddler Group is a small, friendly group who meet every Tuesday from 10.15-11.45 during term time at The Clift Meadow Pavilion in Minchens Lane. There is a lovely mixture of mums, dads, grandmas and children aged from just a few weeks old up to 4 years old. Everyone is welcome and it’s always great to meet new people. As well as the children having a great time playing with all the toys, it’s a brilliant opportunity for the adults to socialise and chat over a cuppa!

We have a big selection of toys and equipment from dolls to trains, to slides and seesaws, a play kitchen and a massive collection of dressing up costumes. We have loads of baby toys and baby mats and bouncers so that the babies can also play safely and join in the fun.

As well as the usual play activities, we regularly have guest activities such as pottery painting, Usborne Books and a photographer, along with crafts such as cookie decorating and painting. We always have story time each week and the children can spend a few minutes enjoying a biscuit and drink while sitting and listening to the story.

We run as a small voluntary committee of mums and grandmas and we are always looking for new people to come on board. The main thing we need help with us opening up and setting up all the toys at the start of a session, and putting everything away again at the end.

You can keep up to date by joining the Bramley Toddler 0-5 Facebook group.

Tuesday 10.15-11.45 (Term Time only)
The Clift Meadow Pavilion, Minchens Lane, Bramley. RG26 5BH

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