Half-term fun at Anvil Arts Basingstoke

Anvil Arts has some great shows during half-term.  The stage adaptation of Zog, based on the book by Julia Donaldson, will be at The Haymarket on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 May.

Photo Credit: Helen Maybanks

Large in size, and keen in nature, Zog is eager to win a golden star at Madam Dragon’s school, where dragons learn all the things that dragons need to know.  Zog tries so very hard, perhaps too hard, and he bumps, burns and roars his way through years one, two and three. Luckily, the plucky Princess Pearl patches him up ready to face his biggest challenge yet… a duel with Gadabout the Great!

The production features an original folk score performed live by the actors and colourful puppets which come to life on stage.

Black Magic

On Friday 31 May, kids, tweens, teens and adults alike can enjoy the energetic tribute Black Magic – The Little Mix Show at The Anvil.

Following in the footsteps of the award-winning girl band Little Mix, the show includes lots of added extras including dance competitions, free giveaways and even a meet and greet with the girls after the show.

Featuring the chart topping hits including the most recent releases from the Glory Days album plus Black Magic, Power, No More Sad Songs, Wings, Shoutout to My Ex and even a few covers from their time on X Factor.

For more information, and tickets, call the Anvil Arts box office on 01256 844244, or visit anvilarts.org.uk

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Play Yoga

‘If the children are happy, then we’re happy!’ – a phrase widely used by parents! As a mum of two daughters myself, I am a total advocate of this! However, in more recent years, the importance of good mental health in children has come to the forefront of the news and media.

I have worked for over 20 years in the childcare and education sector, ranging from nurseries, to primary schools, to working closely with children with Special Educational Needs. I feel that there is no greater reward than working with children. But, as any parent will tell you, it is also one of the hardest jobs in the world. In the past few years there has been significant change in our society, causing more and more children great anxiety, and an inability to cope with their emotions so well. Research has shown that if the concept of wellbeing can be introduced at an early age, it will provide the child with the strategies to cope with life at a later age.

Play Yoga is a preschool class (2 ½ to 5 years old), dedicated to promoting healthy children, with happy minds. All classes are designed as an introduction to Yoga and Wellbeing. The sessions are all devised by myself, using techniques and experience from my childcare background.

All sessions use props, games and songs to help us to learn such things as breathing techniques, calm down strategies, and mindfulness activities that help us to calm ourselves in moments of high energy and anxiety. Yoga moves are introduced to the group, with the help of Buddy Bear. This is not always a ‘calm’ time, but a great introduction to the concept of Yoga for future use. Creative time plays a huge part in our sessions too. If children are allowed to be creative and express themselves now, they will be more confident at expressing themselves in years to come.

Each session ends with a time for ‘reflection’, which encourages children to talk about what they have enjoyed about the session, thus increasing their confidence and giving them security that they are being listened to and valued by others.

Some weeks are themed to suit the time of the year or even the interests of the children. One of our group last term was keen to show off some dinosaur yoga moves that he had created at home! Our Mother’s Day session included baking a pretend cake for our Mummies, and using our breathing techniques ‘to blow out the candles’. We practised some partner poses with our grown-ups, followed up by decorating some biscuits for our Mummies!

Finally, for our mindfulness activity, we cuddled up with our grown-ups under a blanket to play a listening game. We listened to short and long sounds, noticing when the sound actually finished, encouraging the children to take note of the sounds around us in everyday life.

Play Yoga is preparing to roll out our new Monday sessions from 3rd June to 22nd July 2019. We will be at Viables Community Centre, Basingstoke, starting at 10am. I am a small, independent, local business which started operating in February 2019, and I am keen to meet lots of children and their parents.

If you are interested in joining us, a trial session is £4.50. If you wish to continue then your space can be booked for the remainder of the half term at a rate of £6 per session.

Please take a look at my Facebook page – http://Facebook.com/AlisonPlay.Yoga or feel free to email me with any queries at Play.Yoga@yahoo.com. (You can message me also directly through Facebook.)

Thank you for taking the time out to read my post.

Alison

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Coloured Whispers

Hi, I am Iulia, mother of two and owner of Coloured Whispers – a re-invention of the typical flower arrangement business, i.e. unusual flower arrangements and table centrepieces that last up to 10 years.

What sets these arrangements apart from the live and artificial ones is not only the unique melange of natural elements, but also their longevity; lack of maintenance required; the fact that they are dust-free and they absorb all the moisture in the room. We use only natural, organic elements throughout the whole process – including packaging. Every piece that we create is a unique hybrid – made up of real, preserved flowers along with Iceland reindeer moss.

We are definitely not the typical high-street florists but more of a shabby chic, boutique type of business. We cater to anyone who wants to offer a special, long-lasting gift; pubs; restaurants; coffee shops; wedding suppliers and offices.

https://www.facebook.com/colouredwhispers/

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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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LinguaTastic Languages for Babies and Toddlers

I was absolutely gutted that I didn’t find out about the Baby and Toddler Linguatastic classes until it was too late for Miss NHM.

However, we enrolled her in German with Linguatastic when she started in YR and she thoroughly enjoyed it (Linguatastic do language classes for all ages).

Unfortunately because of her health issues, her energy levels couldn’t cope with it at the time but I still rate the LinguaTastic classes highly!

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NHM Readers: Places in the area to see bluebells

In April 2018 I asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook “It’s “bluebell season” now and I’m putting together a post for places in the area to see bluebells. What are your recommendations? (You can find directions to Micheldever bluebell woods on NorthHantsMum).”

Thank you for your responses, which are listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend places in the area to see bluebells

Catherine said “Beech Village Bluebell Wood

Helen said “The woods next to The Vyne have lots of beautiful bluebells”

Claire said “The Vyne

Lisa said “Some out in Bulls Bushes, Oakley. Was there yesterday”

Emma said “The Bramley Frith is stunning.”

Sarah said “Bramley woods”

Stephanie said “Micheldever forest is stunning for them”

Lisa said “Michaeldever Woods”

Hayley said “Micheldever”

Alistair said “Micheldever Woods!!

Shirley said “Manydown woods

Liane said “Bowdown woods near Greenham Common is spectacular!”

Alison said “If you don’t mind going further afield then Cliveden (National Trust) has a bluebell trail. We went weekend before last.”

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Review 2019: Thula Mama, Relax and sing whilst enjoying the soothing therapy of salt!

Review 2019: Thula Mama

Thula Mama is a unique and relaxing activity where mums with babies can enjoy singing together in a group whilst cuddling their babies and generally having a lovely time.  There are groups all over the country, but Basingstoke’s offering stands out from the rest in its venue – The Salt Lounge is Basingstoke’s first salt therapy space and is conveniently located close to Festival Place just off Wote street.  It offers treatments that can help alleviate breathing difficulties such as asthma as well as soothing skin conditions such as eczema.

At my first session it was a small enough group to not feel overwhelmed.  Rebecca, who organises it, was super friendly and we were offered tea and biscuits in lovely reusable mugs with lids (to prevent accidents from little grabbing hands!).  We relaxed in the waiting area and chatted for a while, before heading into the therapy room for our singing session.

The therapy room is a soothing white cave of tranquility.  There are comfortable reclining chairs with low arms and footstools, perfect for feeding baby.  You can choose to go barefoot, or with protection over your shoes, and the salt on the floor feels lovely between your toes.  There are mats and toys laid out on the floor for the babies to play, and the lighting is slightly dimmed for relaxation.

The songs at Thula Mama are simple, easy to learn traditional songs from around the world.  The words are written on a flip chart and the tunes can be picked up after hearing the song once.  We sang each through several times, adding in harmonies as we went, and I felt a real sense of achievement from learning some lovely-sounding music and enjoying singing it in less than 5 minutes!  There are no auditions, and no worrying about having any previous experience of singing – it’s all about joining in and having fun with other mums!

Facilities-wise the venue has everything you need – there are lockers for you to leave valuables if you wish, prams can be left in the waiting area where there is always a member of staff present, and the disabled toilet has a changing table too.  There are a couple of steps into the building, but there is always someone to help get prams in if needed.

I left my first session feeling both physically and emotionally refreshed.  My little one and I both had colds at the time, and I’m sure the salt therapy helped us feel better, and it was such a nice change to do something calming and relaxing with babies (although we are all for the sensory play and bright colours and loud noises of other baby groups too!).  I have since been back every week for the past couple of months and treat it as my weekly retreat!

I give Thula Mama 5 out of 5!  At £10 per week it’s really reasonable, especially considering you get a salt therapy session for free!  The first session is free for you to come along and try, so what are you waiting for?  Get in touch on the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/ThulaMamaBasingstoke

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