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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Review 2019: Stonehenge

Stonehenge, one of the wonders of the ancient world, a place of religious significance for some, a place of magic and mystery but, if you grew up locally, chances are you see it as that place you get stuck in traffic when going on holiday to Cornwall or Devon. Having been stuck there a few times themselves my children asked “Can we actually go in there one day?” so in Summer 2018 we did.

We pre-booked our tickets on their website, plus parking. The site is managed by English Heritage and the surrounding land is owned by National Trust England so those with these memberships can get in for free, (Free entry is not available to those with National Trust Scotland membership). Prices are quite high for those without membership (Details here) so it may be worth looking at getting it if you wish to visit. Walk in prices are higher so pre-booking is advised.

A short walk from the car park brought us to an impressive, modern visitor centre. From here we got a ticket to the bus that brings you to the Henge, you can walk but it was a really hot day. Whilst on the bus I felt a bit guilty, surrounded by people who had travelled thousands of miles to see the stones and I‘d never been bothered to pop in on the many occasions I had driven past. As we got off the bus the stones were very impressive but after a few initial wows my 7 year old and 4 year old were over them pretty quickly and almost had to be forced to walk the whole way around. We made our way back to the visitor centre and they quickly went from bored children, underwhelmed by one of the world’s most iconic sights, to children completely in love with the display of how those who built the Henges (there are lots of them, many within walking distance) used to live. Brought to life by the volunteers who give talks, the displays include replicas of the housing the builders lived in. The museum also makes use of different kinds of technology to really get them engaged with the history. Also, being surrounded by fields and several walks, there is plenty of room for children to work off excess energy.

We ate at the restaurant which was busy but manageable, even in August, and we found tables easily. The food was good but the price was what you would expect for a global tourist attraction, this goes for the gift shop too although there were some very cool items. All other facilities were really good. Pushchairs would be fine although at busier times you would struggle to take a pushchair on the bus so bring a sling or be prepared to walk.

We went on a sunny day but it would be doable on a day with some rain. I would recommend this as a day out for children, be prepared to spend more time in the visitor area than at the stones, but at just under £50 for a family ticket it is pricey so I would consider putting £50 towards one of the memberships that lets you in for free.

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Baby Sleep the Night

Having trouble getting your baby / toddler to sleep? Let me help you as I have been there too.

I am currently working towards finalising my certification and am offering a 2 week package which usually would cost £250 for £50 in exchange for an honest review of my service and a testimonial if you’re happy with the results at the end of our time together.

It is worth mentioning that I do not use the ‘ cry it out ‘ method, which many frazzled parents may possibly have tried and found not successful in the past. I use a very gentle approach taught to me by one of the leading baby sleep consultants in the UK which allows you to be there every step of the way to help provide comfort to your little one whilst they learn this new and important skill. I am incredibly passionate about sleep having suffered sleep deprivation with my own children and I know that healthy sleep habits mean healthy happy children.

If you know of anyone who this may help, please pass on my details or share to your entire address book!

www.babysleepthenight.com

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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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NHM Readers Recommend: Toddler and Baby Groups in Romsey

An NHM Reader recently contacted me asking if the NHM Community might be able to help: “I live in Romsey and I’m feeling a bit isolated. There are very few toddler and baby groups. Given your role, I wondered whether you have any connections in that area?” 

Thank you for all of your replies, 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: Toddler and Baby Groups in Romsey

Rebecca said “There’s a lovely coffee shop in Romsey called asante…They don’t do toddler groups but may stop you feeling isolated.”

Luan said “What about contacting RCS as they run all sorts of things. Not sure if groups based any more but worth a try”

Jennifer said “I’d suggest: signing up to Southampton NCT Facebook group and Southampton baby and toddler forum. Loads of great suggestions all over the area. Breastfeeders should get to bosom pals- Thursday morning meets in a room upstairs in the Baptist church and is a friendly place for a chat. The library does a couple of activities I think (and is generally a warm and comfortable place to be). I think I heard murmurs of an abbotswood based buggyfit class….Also thinking: I think there’s still a play cafe at the academy studios and I saw another one is opening up on the base point estate near the luzborough pub.”

Claire said “Toddler Sense runs in Romsey on a Monday”

Claudia said “Trina runs Jolly Babies & Music with Mummy classes in Romsey.”

Leah said “There’s frankies fun factory there – like Playdays but bigger!”

Rachel said “The abbey has a toddler group which was always nice. Lovely toddler group in Awbridge village called the ark. The library does some singing/story stuff for little ones which was really good.”

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