25 Live – The Anvil Celebrates its 25th Birthday

The Anvil concert hall celebrates its 25th birthday this year.  Basingstoke’s key arts venue is renowned as one of the top five concert halls in the country and has a great reputation in Hampshire and beyond, as well as internationally.

The Anvil was built by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and opened in May 1994.  It has become one of the country’s leading venues, putting Basingstoke on the map and bringing to the town audiences from all over England.  With seating which sweeps from the stalls to the circle without a break, audiences have a great view from wherever they sit; there is an intimate feel no matter how far from the stage you are.

The Anvil is highly thought of by both audiences and performers alike.  The last survey undertaken showed a 96% audience satisfaction rating for the third year running, and people who first came to The Anvil as children in 1994 are now bringing their own children to the venue.  The Anvil is also a favourite venue for artists and those giving enthusiastic compliments range from Dara O’Briain to Sir Simon Rattle.

The Anvil is run by Anvil Arts, a not-for-profit trust.  As well as the performance programme, Anvil Arts works in the community taking musicians into mainstream and special schools, residential homes and hospitals.  Every year more than 30,000 children perform on its stages.

The Anvil will be marking this special anniversary on Friday 3 May with a spectacular birthday concert performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra.  Jonathan Mayes, the orchestra’s Concert Director, said “The Philharmonia is delighted to have a long-standing relationship with The Anvil as Orchestra in Partnership.  Since our first performance in Basingstoke in May 1994, the same month that the hall opened, we have continued to bring many of the world’s great conductors and soloists to Basingstoke.  Our players love performing in The Anvil’s outstanding acoustics and we are thrilled to be participating in the 25th anniversary celebrations. Here’s to the next 25 years!

The programme will feature Sheku Kanneh-Mason performing Elgar’s Cello Concerto, and the world premiere of Breathing Space, a new commission by highly-rated British composer Samantha Fernando.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason – credit Lars Borges
Samantha Fernando

Speaking about the piece, Samantha said “The Anvil was the place I saw some of my first orchestral concerts as a child so it is particularly meaningful to be writing a piece for a performance there“.

Over the last 25 years, The Anvil has helped to transform the image of Basingstoke.  With the continued support of its audiences, funders and artistic partners, the next 25 years look set to be even more exciting and successful.

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Proteus’ Autumn/Winter 2018 Season

Thurs 4th October – Monday 24th December 2018

at PROTEUS CREATION SPACE (and other selected venues)

  • A celebration of super women, telling powerful stories made and performed by remarkable artists
  • Premiere of Proteus’ new solo satire, I’m Super, Thanks, by acclaimed writer and director Mary Swan
  • Showcasing brand-new work, by cutting-edge artists from the world of cabaret, comedy and circus, never seen before in the borough, as part of our programme of Basingstoke Firsts
  • Scratch Built Productions in association with Proteus presents two enchanting family shows, inviting families to enjoy Christmas with Proteus

Season commences Thursday 4th October.
Bar open from 7pm season introduction and performance from 7.30pm

Proteus has always celebrated remarkable women; from Hattie Jacques to Edith Cavell, Bette Davis to Jane Austen, and we felt it was high time we devoted a whole season to them. Our new programme of Basingstoke Firsts shows will bring you contemporary circus in the shape of Ellie Dubois’ brilliant and empowering all-female No Show, the experience of transgender women in the poignant comedy Hayley and Me and Proteus’ own new show I’m Super, Thanks, a satirical comedy looking at the ups and downs of life married to a superhero. Often we are told that the absence of women on and behind the stage and screen is due to a shortage of female writers, directors, or comediennes – this season seeks to prove that theory is false!

As the days get shorter and the nights darker, it seems appropriate that The Proteans, our adult community theatre workshop company, will reprise their immersive theatre experience Come With Me If You Want To Live; this time working with a revised narrative that stays true to the original inspiration of the high-concept horror movies of the 70s. The cast will include our eldest youth theatre groups, Basingstoke Youth Theatre and Proteus Young Company.

The end of November marks the start of our much-loved family work as we premiere our winter family touring show Hansel and Gretel as well as the return of our much-loved in-house Christmas show for under 5s, introducing the very youngest members of the family to the magic of theatre!

No Show cast, credit Chris Hoyle

Award-winning performer and performance maker Ellie Dubois took the Edinburgh Fringe by storm in 2017 and is now bringing No Show (20 Oct) to Basingstoke; putting female strength, power and skill centre stage. In this production, which reveals what lies hidden beneath the showmanship of circus, we [as the audience] are allowed the opportunity to see behind the flawless smiles and perfect execution to reveal the wobbles, pain, and the real cost of aiming for perfection.

Come With Me If You Want To Live

At the beginning of November, we reveal an innovative collaboration between The Proteans, Basingstoke Youth Theatre and Proteus Young Company, intriguingly titled Come With Me If You Want To Live (1&2 Nov). This immersive horror experience will appeal to fans of Buzzfeed’s Unsolved and the audience become part of the action as they are taken on an unnerving journey into darkness.

Hayley and Me

We are delighted to welcome transgender performer, activist, theatre and cabaret maker Kate O’Donnell to Basingstoke later in November with her solo show, Hayley and Me (22 Nov). This cabaret/ performance brings the classic Coronation Street character Hayley Cropper back into the limelight, as Kate explores parallels between the character’s storylines and her own journey. This performance is programmed just five days after Transgender Awareness Week and, as such, we are thrilled that Kate will also host a post-show Q&A, offering an opportunity for audiences to further discuss the themes in the show.

For 2018, winter family touring show Hansel and Gretel (30 Nov-14 Dec) will be a collaboration with Scratch Built Productions – featuring a highly original and enchanting set, magical puppets and toetapping folk songs, fused with Proteus’ thought-provoking storytelling, physical theatre and longstanding reputation for creating unique and beautiful family shows. In this wonderful retelling of a classic fairytale, Hansel and Gretel encounter not just the wicked witch but a spiteful sugar-plum fairy and singing gingerbread men to name but a few. A show aimed at children aged 6+ and their families, this is a journey into the deep dark woods that all the family can enjoy together.

Magical Christmas Toy Shop – cast of last year’s show

You know the festive season has truly arrived in when our annual in-house Christmas show The Magical Christmas Toy Shop (14-24 Dec) opens. Once again, Scratch Built Productions in association with Proteus bring their trademark mix of interactive storytelling, puppetry, music and sensory elements to this brand new show, transforming the Creation Space into an immersive walkthrough adventure. Offering something a little different from a traditional Christmas show or panto, children are encouraged to explore, play, create and interact with the colourful characters they meet along the way.

“We look forward to this every year – it has become part of our Christmas tradition.” Audience member, How Many Sleeps ‘til Christmas, 2017

No longer Basingstoke’s best-kept secret, the experience is as much of a Christmas tradition as mince pies and mulled wine for many a local family!

Tickets are available at www.proteustheatre.com/whats-on for this season of truly unique performances which invites audiences of all ages to immerse themselves and become as much a part of the theatre experience as the artists performing!

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Grand Winter Ball, November 17th 2018 – for Just4children in aid of Archie

An amazing evening, music, magic, a Britain’s Got Talent finalist performance, dinner, a photobooth, holiday prizes, incredible raffle, signed Saints memorabilia and so so much more!

Hotel discount available for those who wish to stay.


Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Bubbly, Bertie and Boob Cake… It’s the Secret Art Launch Party!

Tickets are now available for the launch party of the inaugural Secret Art Basingstoke on 19th July at 7pm at Desklodge in Belvedere House, Basingview – come join us!

Thanks to the kind people at Desklodge who have donated their space for the evening, we’ll be drinking bubbly and catching the first sneaky peak at the entire postcard collection before anyone else in this see-it-to-believe-it space; there’s a beach, a Zen room – there’s even a Narnia Wonderland hidden behind a wardrobe!

We’ve also got a few delicious extras (aside from the delicious canapes);

Special Guest Bertie Carvel

We’re very excited to have Bertie Carvel with us to kick off our charity auction! Bertie has twice won the Laurence Olivier Award: for his performances as Miss Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical and Rupert Murdoch in Ink. On television, he is known for playing Jonathan Strange in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and as Simon, the cheating husband, in Doctor Foster.

Charity Auction

We’ve got tons of fabulous lots, including top price Warhorse tickets, photo shoots with award winning Studio 1314 and Basingstoke’s very own Cristina Barton, miniature portraits by Jocelyn Lawman and a family pass to The New Forest Wildlife Park. Check the website for details of all the lots as they come in.

Art Demonstrations – Watch local artist Fatima Pantoja (from the ‘Sitting with Jane’ project) demonstrating her portraiture skills, and then sit for a quick portrait!

Live Music – Pianist Thomas Barfoot will keep us entertained all evening.

Boob cake – It wouldn’t be an NCT event without it! Cakes by Chris has created a boobilicious cake – each boob a different flavour!

Goodie bags – For the first 20 guests through the door.

Early Bird ticket £5 (prosecco and canapes on arrival)
General Admission £10 (prosecco and canapes on arrival)
Corporate ticket £100 (6 seats at dedicated table, canapes and bottle of prosecco)

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Proteus ‘Summer of Love’ – Chance to Win Tickets for NHM Readers

Hi I’m Mary and I work for Proteus – a professional theatre company who make and tour their own productions and also run the Proteus Creation Space – just beyond the top of town (situated in front of Fairfield’s school and on the corner opposite St Mary’s Church and the Bounty Inn).

Many NHM readers may have previously visited the Creation Space to attend one of our hugely popular winter family shows or the in-house Christmas Show (including last year’s A Christmas Carol and How Many Sleeps ‘til Christmas), to visit the on-site café, or attend one of the many classes hosted in the building.

However, you may not immediately think of us when you have your ‘adult hat on’ as a destination for your next date night or night out with friends, and we want to change that!

This summer Proteus have brought together a series of performances from outstanding artists which we are calling the ‘Summer of Love’.

Each of the shows explore the theme of love in its many different guises – with shows that span comedy, circus, Shakespeare, dance, theatre and acrobatics!

We thought that each show would make a perfect date night for time-poor parents who are looking to do something a bit different, without straying too far from home. Instead of the usual trip to the local chain restaurant or cinema, why not come and experience a really exciting piece of performance with your partner, or best friends – literally on your doorstep?

We are so excited to be bringing award-winning and internationally acclaimed artists to Basingstoke – but without the West End price tag, and have deliberately kept ticket pricing really affordable. With tickets costing no more than £10 and many at just £5, we hope this will tempt people to try something new. Our beautiful café bar is also open before and after the performances, so you can make a night of it!

The Summer of Love season kicked off last Thursday with a hilarious one-woman show ‘It Started with Jason Donovan’ and here is some of the feedback:

“I wish it could have gone on!”
“I laughed so much I cried!”
“Good for the soul.”

You can see the trailer here: https://youtu.be/QyR5cCjbtw0

Win Tickets!

We would love to offer one lucky NHM reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to the performance of your choice.

All you have to do is like the North Hants Mum Facebook post and tag the person you would like to bring with you on your perfect #datenight by 4pm Thursday 21st June 2018.

Below are details of all the performances that make up the Summer of Love season and we really hope to welcome you and your ‘date’ to the Creation Space soon!

Details of Performances

Binaural Dinner Date – ZU:UK

The Tea Bar, London Street, Basingstoke, RG22 4NX
Thursday 21st June, 2.30pm, 6pm, 7.30pm, 9pm

Part interactive performance, part dating agency, BINAURAL DINNER DATE invites you to get to know another person (and perhaps yourself) a little better. For both individuals looking for love, or existing couples who want to enjoy a very different dating experience together.
‘an earnest social experiment into attraction, making connections and what we expect of relationships in these high-stakes, swipe-addicted times.’  TIME OUT
Tickets: £10

Revolution – Basingstoke Youth Theatre in association with Little Soldier Productions

Central Studio, QMC, Cliddesden Road, Basingstoke, RG21 3HF
Saturday 30th June, 7pm

Little Soldier and Basingstoke Youth Theatre have created an original show about the one and only thing that makes the world go round: LOVE. Expect honey-coated candy-floss moments, bombastic musical numbers, intimate confessions and heartfelt performances. This brand-new performance is a first time collaboration between some of Basingstoke’s most gifted young performers and one of the UK’s most exciting theatre companies.
‘These clowns know exactly what they are doing.’ GUARDIAN on Little Soldier
Tickets: £5

THE BAND – Levantes Dance Theatre

Proteus Creation Space, Council Road, Basingstoke, RG21 3DH
Friday 7th July, 7.30pm

Sandy & Bruno met in the seventies. She was fame hungry, he was doomed to follow her. As one hit wonders, this is a story of their big come-back. With striking aesthetics and a rousing soundtrack, THE BAND is a quirky, humorous display of desperate ambition and blind affection told through awe-inspiring dance, theatre and circus.
‘…funny on the surface, but heart-wrenching underneath… The Band is a committed piece of story-telling that uses multiple forms, making it hard to bracket, and easy to love.’ THE CIRCUS DIARIES
Tickets: £5

Knot – Nikki & JD

Proteus Creation Space, Council Road, Basingstoke, RG21 3DH
Thursday 2nd August , 7.30pm

“What I said….it was the truth…it just wasn’t the whole truth…”
Two acrobats meet.  They fall in love and dream of the future.  But beneath the surface, there lies a truth that threatens to undermine their bond. Heart-breaking yet humorous, Knot is the story of a very modern affair told sensitively through breath-taking acrobatics and dance.
Knot has been created in collaboration with award-winning choreographer, Ben Duke of Lost Dog Dance Company.
‘‘a show of great complexity and breathtakingly-effortless acrobatic skill’REVIEWS HUB
Tickets: £5

Tickets are available at www.proteustheatre.com/summer for this wonderful and varied season of performances, which aims to invoke the nostalgia and absurdity of first love and to celebrate the many different kinds of love that make the world go round!

If you’d like more information, or to buy tickets, please go to our website www.proteustheatre.com/summer

If you’d like to keep up to date with our latest news and events, find us at the following:

Facebook – facebook.com/proteuscreation
Twitter – @proteuscreation
Instagram – @proteustheatre
Or sign up to our e-newsletter – www.proteustheatre.com/newsletter-sign-up

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Review 2018: The Fairy ClothesMother

My recent Wardrobe Refresh session with Victoria was SOO AWESOME but not only that, she’s also very kindly offering a very generous discount to NHM Readers! See below.

If you are stuck for presents for anyone or feel you need a BOOST yourself, I HIGHLY recommend as you can read below.

Review 2018: The Fairy ClothesMother


Victoria messaged me and asked me if I would like to have a Wardrobe ReFresh in exchange for a review and I thought I’d give it a go as I had nothing left to lose and could definitely use the help.

She used to run the store in Vintage Treasures, a boutique specialising in vintage and vintage inspired clothing, on Church Street, in Basingstoke so she knows what she is talking about!

I’ll be honest, I was NOT looking forward to Victoria coming round to help me de-clutter my wardrobe.  In my head I had visions of Trinny and Suannah (I’m showing my age now!) and GokWan DECIMATING my wardrobe.

My focus for the past few years has been on getting Miss NHM well again and as part of this I have completely neglected my body and my wardrobe reflects this.

I’ve written before about having a uniform as I don’t have time to think in the mornings or the night before as I prefer to spend my time and energy on other things. If you’ve been reading NHM for a while you’ll know that I am allergic to most man made materials, particularly polyester.

Trying to shop for clothes these days, that don’t have polyester or lycra in is very, very, VERY frustrating. There are certain shops that I know I can shop in that have 100% cotton and I tend to stick to those as I know that they aren’t going to cause me any issues.

Although this does mean that I’ve been in a bit of a clothing rut. I hate clothes shopping at the best of times and then having to double check every single label well… it’s depressing and I don’t have the motivation for it.

So the thought of Victoria coming round and telling me that I needed to go shopping for more clothes….I wasn’t looking forward to it….

Before we met

A couple of weeks before our appointment Victoria sent me a document with several questions asking me things like my hair and eye colour, what my current style is and what my dream look would be.

The document also asked me about my shopping habits and I think she could probably work out from there that I was going to be a total pain in the butt!!! (facepalm!)

Victoria also asked me to send some pictures of my face and my body, so she could see what she would be working with.

The Wardrobe Refresh Appointment

Victoria came round to my house one lunchtime, but just after I’d had a filling. So I was feeling a bit miserable, my face was all numb and I was really not in the mood for the appointment.

However, I haven’t laughed so much in AGES!!! Victoria spent about 15 minutes with me talking through my answers to the questions she’d sent me and I felt SOOOO at ease! You can immediately tell that Victoria’s main aim is to make you feel much better at the end of the appointment than you do at the beginning.

She asked me to write three words down describing how I was feeling right then about my clothes and those words were pretty depressing.

Victoria then talked through my colours and told me that I’m an “Autumn”. I had my colours done years ago and I already knew I was an Autumn and had told Victoria this in my answers but it was really, really good to go through which colours suit me again. Even though I have a colour wallet from when my colours were done when I was 18 years old, I wasn’t sure if they would still be the colours to suit me.

Victoria then briefly talked through which styles suit me best which was quite enlightening.

We then just got stuck in to my wardrobe.

I have quite a small wardrobe but it turns out that I have LOADS of clothes hidden away and even some in Miss NHM’s wardrobe that I had completely forgotten about.

We went through EVERY SINGLE ITEM of clothing in my cupboard and it was… AWESOME!!!

Victoria gave me permission (well, she didn’t actually give me permission but it felt like it!) to get rid of clothes that I’ve been hanging onto for years that I shouldn’t have been.

I read the Life Changing magic of Tidying three years ago (WOW, how time flies!) and even though there were clothes that I had purged then, there were some items that I still had an emotional attachment too that needed to be got rid of.

We went through everything and sorted them into three piles: keep, sell, recycle. It was SUCH an uplifting experience!!! Not at all what I expected.

Normally I’m quite self concious about my body, but I was just stripping off and getting stuck in and Victoria was brilliant. She echoed many things that I’d said in my head about some outfits, except she said it out loud. Hearing someone else say lots and lots of really positive things about my wardrobe was just amazing!

I realised that I do have lots and lots of beautiful dresses that I just don’t wear that I really ought too!

I felt absolutely AMAZING after the appointment. Victoria asked me to update my three words again, about how I was feeling, and it was like they were written by another person!

She advised me to start wearing more colours and notice the compliments that start rolling in and you know what, she was absolutely right! I’ve had LOADS of comments about what I’ve been wearing recently since my Wardrobe ReFresh.

Victoria also suggested making adjustments to certain items of my clothing and has recommended a local seamstress who can do this for me. I only actually need to buy ONE ITEM of clothing for my wardrobe! I expected that I would probably have to buy at least 4 or 5 new items but with modifications to my current clothes and that one item of clothing, it’s going to make such a difference!

Victoria is even going to find me the items that I need online and send the links over to me so I can just buy them directly. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!!!

Victoria says that that with her BOOST Style ethos:

“My mission is to have you with a wardrobe of clothes that are working for your body shape, not against you, in the correct seasonal colour palette and reflect your lifestyle and personality. Most of all I want you to feel empowered to be you! After all, you are the best person to do YOU!”

By the end of the appointment I was literally jumping with joy. I had freed up lots of space in my wardrobe, I’ve got a pile of clothes to sell on ebay so I can use that money to buy my extra item of clothing and it felt really good to “let go” of some clothes that I’d been hanging on to for years.

I couldn’t stop hugging the poor girl before she left as she’d made me feel so happy!!

After Care

A couple of days later, Victoria sent me a document which covered everything we had discussed. This was called “Louise style file” and it’s absolutely FANTASTIC!!!!

I cannot stop raving about this document! It’s absolutely bloody brilliant!

I love that the document has my body shape analysis and explains what body shape I am and also has a wonderful list of Do’s and Don’t’s for my body shape, which is going to make it sooooo much easier to shop with now! The document even includes pictures of styles that are mentioned, so if you don’t know what bootcut trousers look like, there is a picture to show you.

I also really liked that there is explanation of my colour analysis with suggestions of colours for me to wear.

There is also a section which highlights the key pieces that I should add to my wardrobe (very delighted it’s only 1 so I don’t have to spend much! lol).

Victoria also sent me a private style board on Pinterest. I love, love, LOVE the private style boardt. It’s absolutely brilliant and has lots and lots of suggestions of outfits that will suit me. My style for swim wear, formal wear and even some pictorial examples of which make up colours suit me best!

Absolutely perfect!!

Other Services

Victoria also offers a “Virtual Shopping Session”: “This is a digital file the she sends to you containing links to all of the items mentioned above, you can them order those that you feel suit and when they arrive you have a session via Skype for Victoria to check the fit and style, helping you decide which to keep and which, if any, to return. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe for a new season, holiday or special event without having to leave home!

I will soooo be taking her up on this “virtual shopping session” when I have a wedding to go too as she literally picks out the items for you and sends you the online links so all you have to do is order them. AMAZING!

Discount for NHM Readers

Victoria is very kindly offering NHM Readers a discount code -(NHM25) giving you a 25% discount on the “Wardrobe ReFresh” session.

Please quote this code when getting in touch with Victoria.

Rating out of 5

Twenty Five Hundred out of 5, as Miss NHM says. This was one of the best ways that I’ve spent two hours in a very long time. Victoria is absolutely lovely and a very positive person who made me feel sooooo much better about my wardrobe and also myself.

The appointment is very good value for money and having now had the appointment I would happily pay double for another one (don’t tell Victoria that, obviously! facepalm). I will actually be saving money in the long run, because instead of ordering clothes and finding out that they don’t fit me properly which means I don’t wear them often, I will know EXACTLY what to buy and won’t be wasting any money anymore.

Victoria really is a Fairy ClothesMother and I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend her services!!

You can find out more about The Fairy ClothesMother at: https://www.facebook.com/FairyClothesMother/

or at her website: https://givingyouaboost.wixsite.com/hello

Disclaimer: This post is a review of the Wardrobe ReFresh by The Fairy Clothesmother. The Wardrobe Refresh service was supplied free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Review 2018: HAIRaffair Basingstoke

I recently received a message on facebook from Aideen, asking me if I would like to have my hair done in exchange for a review on NorthHantsMum.

I jumped at the chance! 😀

(There is a special offer for NHM Readers at the bottom of this post :-D)

HAIRaffair Basingstoke

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not a “girly girl” but I do take an interest in how I look. I haven’t had my hair cut in a salon in over 10 years as I have always found hairdressers to be very intimidating places, especially as I’m not into fashion.

It turned out that at a recent fundraising raffle I had won a voucher to get my hair cut but hadn’t realised it that it was with Aideen. I actually gave the voucher to a friend who needed pampering more than me, so when Aideen got in contact it clicked that I’d given away my voucher!!!! lol.

I explained to Aideen that I wasn’t really a girly girl and she was absolutely lovely about it. I did know that I wanted my hair to be coloured but I didn’t want her to be anymore out of pocket, especially as she’d been so generous with her raffle donation.

I explained that I just wanted a trim and colour and we agreed that I would cover the cost of the colouring and she would cut my hair in exchange for this review.


Aideen decided on her career path when she was traveling around Australia for a year after studying at college and university. She’s always loved playing with hair but at the time she thought that she would end up in a different career. Then she saw that lots of fellow travellers cutting hair and making money flexibly and it confirmed her career decision.

Once back from Australia she worked and trained at Arc in Basingstoke town centre and then progressed to a salon in Odiham where she was assistant manager and senior stylist. Then a couple of years ago, after her son was born, she decided to convert a room in her house to her salon and she hasn’t looked back!

We had a chat when I arrived and Aideen chose the best colour for me based on what I’d told her.

Aideen then applied the foils to my hair whilst we continued chatting.

Once the foils came out, Aideen washing my hair in her fancy hair sink and gave me a lovely mini head massage.

Then Aideen cut my hair and layered it a bit. I didn’t realise how long my hair was as she cut off about 4 inches and it was still really long! lol.

We basically didn’t stop talking for the whole two hours!!! It was really lovely to chat to her and she’s a great listener.

She did a fantastic job with my hair and blow dried it straight as my hair normally has a bit of a kink about it.

I came out of Aideen’s salon literally bouncing. There is literally nothing like having 1.5 hours of being pampered and coming out with a fab new hair colour and hairstyle!

My FAB new hair!!!

When I got home Mr NHM said “something’s different…” which is high praise in our household! lol.

Miss NHM kept telling me how beautiful I looked. She’s not used to me having my hair down.

I felt amazing for the rest of the weekend with my fab new hair!


Aideen normally works only on Saturdays but if you are desperate, she can fit you in at other times.


Aideen’s studio is attached to her house but it’s fab because you literally have it ALL TO YOURSELF!!! She only has one to two people at a time so you have her full concentration.

Baby Facilities

Babies are very welcome at Aideen’s studio.

The perk of Aideen only having one client at a time means that you can take your baby along as there is room for a baby car seat.

If you let her know in advance that you are taking a baby with you, she said she will allow extra time in case you need to focus on your baby at any point. How fab is that!

Aideen is very understanding as she has two small children of her own.


Is free and on the drive and streets near Aideen’s house.


Prices are what you would expect for an independent hairstylist with her own studio.

For example, a cut, style and finish is £35.

Rating out of 5

Aideen did SUCH an AWESOME job! I absolutely love it!!! My hair looked amazing.

I will easily give her 5 out of 5 because she made me feel so welcome and really looked after me.

I love the colour and the cut was a really good cut. It was such a luxury to have my hair washed AND dried.

If you need a new haircut and are looking for some pampering at the same time, I highly recommend visiting Aideen’s salon!

Aideen can be reach on 07808316933 for any bookings. She also has a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HAIRaffairbasingstoke/

Aideen is also very kindly offering NHM Readers a first time discount £5 off cut and £15 off colour and cut booked together.

Thank you Aideen!!!!!!

Disclaimer: This post is a review of HairAffair Hairdressing. My experience was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

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Review 2018: Hart House Gastropub & Coffee Shop

Thank you very much to Hayley, one of the NHM Secret Reviewers, who has done a fab job!!

Hart House Gastropub & Coffee Shop, Fleet


Hart House

Address:              335-337 Fleet Road, Fleet, GU51 3NT

Tel:                       01252 377733

Website:               https://harthousefleet.com/

We were lucky enough to get the chance to review the new Hart House Gastropub & Coffee Shop in Fleet.

Set in the old Ask restaurant (after an extensive and classy makeover) the pub sells itself on being a ‘pub for everyone’ so being a vegan with a coeliac/dairy -free daughter they were going to be tested!

Dining area


Hart House offers:

Pub/restaurant –  open from 9am for breakfast daily. They have several menus, including Breakfast, Children’s, Main (which includes sandwiches, burgers and steaks), Vegan and Sunday Roasts.

Coffee shop – Open from 8am to 5.30pm daily, although we didn’t try this, the cakes they had on the counter looked delicious!

Private Events Space, complete with own bar, sound system and TV screen which is available for private hire.

There is also a patio garden and dogs are welcome in the bar area.

Unfortunately, there is no parking at the pub itself, but being so central there are plenty of car parks nearby.


This was what we really wanted to test!

Having looked at the menu before we went we were really pleased to see that they could cater for all of us. Their menu is very clearly laid out with most dishes being gluten-free already and many adaptable, they also state whether the item is dairy-free or contains nuts.

This is such a big thing for us, more often than not we are presented with a folder of dietary information to sort through before we can order. They also have a separate vegan menu complete with starters and desserts!

We all had starter, main and dessert. My husband had the Black Pudding Scotch Egg to start and has been raving about it since, I can fully recommend the vegan Sweet & Sour Butternut main dish (AMAZING!) and my daughter ate all of, and thoroughly enjoyed, the Chocolate & Pistachio Brownie with Banana Ice Cream which I had intended to share with her!

Having had so many difficult experiences while out for dinner with our daughter it was so refreshing to just enjoy a meal.

Black Pudding Scotch Eggs
Sweet Potato Falalfel

The Tzatziki was so good for this that I made them double check it was vegan, it was and was made fresh!

Lamb steak of the day
Sweet & Sour Butternut Curry
Children’s Meatballs

My daughter had hers with chips rather than pasta.

Chocolate Pistachio Brownie with banana ice cream

We also sampled the vegan panacotta which was very good, and my husband had the sticky toffee pudding – although that didn’t hang around long enough to take a photo!


Hart House has an extensive drinks menu, including cocktails and also holds a half-price prosecco event every Friday from 5pm.

The Bar


At the restaurant the staff were attentive, well versed in the menus and any questions we had were answered quickly, the chef also came out to go through the gluten-free/dairy-free options for our daughter so we’d have no worries.

We did wonder if we were just getting great treatment due to us writing a review, but it became clear throughout our visit that the staff were equally attentive to all the customers.


When we visited there were several other families there with small children, the atmosphere is nice and relaxed, and I think next time we may brave it with our three-year-old as well.

There are baby-changing facilities in the downstairs disabled toilet, and the spaces between tables is big enough to get a pushchair through easily.

Score out of 5

5 out of 5! We really couldn’t fault them at all, we had a very enjoyable visit.

The food was fantastic, the staff are really clued up on specific dietary requirements, the atmosphere is good and it’s great value for money.

If you’re in the area and looking for somewhere to eat, I’d recommend you give them a try. We weren’t disappointed.

We’ll definitely be visiting again soon, I’m keen to try out their Sunday Roast menu (and maybe take a look at the cakes again!)

The cake counter

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Hart House in Fleet. Hayley’s family meal was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. Hayley was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are her own.

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NHM Readers recommend pottery painting with children

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook where can you do pottery painting with children in the local area. (Thank you very much to everyone who responded and to Shona for putting this post together!!)

This is what they came back with, in no particular order!

NHM Readers Recommend Pottery Painting Venues to take children

The Ceramics Cafe  

Unit 2, Coronation Road, Basingstoke, RG21 4HA

Only open on Saturdays between 10am and 5.30pm


Units 9&10, Viables Craft Centre, The Harrow Way, Basingstoke, RG22 4BJ

Open Tuesday to Saturday between 10.30am and 5.30pm

Pots to Doodle Do

The Old Village Shop, Church Lane, Cliddesden, Basingstoke, RG25 2JQ

Open during term time Thursday to Saturday 10am to 4pm. During school holidays, open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm

Just Ceramics

Unit 3, The Old Stables, Oakhanger Farm Business Park, Oakhanger, GU35 9JA

Open Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday’s 11am – 4pm.


2 Stewart Road, Basingstoke, RG24 8NF

Playdays offer pottery parties and also regularly do pottery painting and play sessions for occasions such as Easter, Mother’s Day etc.

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Everything parenthood

Hello 🙂

My name is Sarah Carris and I am a qualified N.N.E.B Nursery Nurse with over 30 years in the childcare industry. I currently am employed as a Nursery Nurse within a Health Visiting Team working for the NHS.

I have extensive knowledge and skills in advising parents on all aspects of parenting. My expertise lies in offering advice and support with issues around settling & sleeping, fussy eating and behaviour management in children under the age of 5 years of age. I am a Mum to three boys of my own.

 Qualified in:

  • Paediatric resuscitation,
  • Safeguarding children
  • Behaviour Management
  • Hold a Current Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)certificate

My Services:

  • Individual 1:1 appointments
  • Group sessions
  • Overnight stays
  • Telephone consultations
  • Babysitting
Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Google+,Facebook PageFacebook Profile, LinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!