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

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

About

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.

Food

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!

Drinks

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

The Bar

Service

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.

Child-friendliness

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.

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: FlipOut Basingstoke

Thank you to S for today’s NHM Review!

Review 2018: FlipOut Basingstoke

I visited FlipOut last Saturday( just before the half-term) as part of NHM community. I was there with my 3 year old son and husband for 1 hour between 11am and 12pm. It was quite easy to buy tickets once you are there, they also offer online pre-booking which has a separate queue. However the entrance is quite narrow which can make it busy during peak time, so be prepared well in advance.

All sessions are timed and they start every half hour. Once you bought the tickets you are then asked to go to the briefing room where they show a 5 mins safety video of do’s and dont’s.

I really liked the graffiti artwork. It was beautifully used throughout the whole of Flip Out which made the place very colourful. My first reaction once I got into the park was “It was enormous”, they have over 50 trampolines of different sizes. They have lots of different areas to cater all age groups.  

The park has :

  • Main trampoline jumping area
  • 28 ft Ninja slide ( for teens/adults)
  • Foam pit.
  • Total wipeout( Kids loved it )
  • Climbing walls
  • And lots more ( I didn’t get to go into the teens/adults area )

The main park is for all age group but a few areas are height restricted which means under 6s weren’t allowed. They have a special trampoline area with FlipOut’s signature car in the middle. Kids loved jumping from and on to the car. Foam pit and total wipeout was my son’s favourite of the day. Unfortunately we didn’t use much of the teen/adults section but by the look of it I was sure they were all having lots of fun. It was a busy day with lots of toddlers, kids, teens and adults thought it didn’t look over-crowded.

Safety team:
They had a good number of safety team staff members spread all over the park. They had a keen eye on the jumping area to avoid double jumping. They are also very interactive and lively.

Baby Softplay area:
They also have a separate baby soft play area on the other side of the cafe which is small but good size for 1 and 2 year old babies when you have other kids to jumping on the trampolines.

Prices and Sessions:
All sessions are on hourly basis. You can either buy 1 hour session or add another hour for half price.
Standard jump ( 1hr) : £9.95 (2hr):  £14.95
Under 6: £5.95

You can buy FlipOut socks for £2 or they allow other parks socks as well.

Facilities and Activities

Lockers:
They have a huge locker area which works with a pound coin. The locker sizes are quite small so I had a tough time shoving my big bag into it. They are good size for shoes and coats though!

Cafe and viewing area:
There is a cafe in the mezzanine floor above to the main jumping floor with seating area. It is gallery styled and got a view to the jumping area, it allows parents to enjoy a coffee while keeping an eye on their kids.  The menu is a standard one which caters for all ages. The cafe seating area seemed to be always full and was quite a task to get a seat.

Toilets with baby changing area

Toddler Time:
Every weekday between 9am-11am  there is a dedicated toddler session in the park. Parents with under 5s can find this time appropriate as you don’t want older kids to run around at the same time.

Fit Classes :

They offer a structured Flip Fit class led by qualified fitness instructors on Wednesday 7pm. It is a pay as you go class and also you can buy 6 session for the price of 5.

Kids and adults party:

They offer different party packages according to your need which also includes exclusive room and arena hire

Overall experience

It looks awesome and is an excellent place for a trampoline park. Fun place and lots to do for all age group. 3 and above would enjoy their time in FlipOut. If you have only small babies then I would ask you to get an idea of what FlipOut is as it could be disappointing for a few who expected it to have big soft play areas. I really liked FlipOut and would go again.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Flipout Basingstoke. The session was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. S was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are her 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: Studio 1314

I reviewed Studio 1314 on NorthHantsMum in 2016 when they were just starting out.

You may have seen their Lemon Face promotion (which will be starting again in April 2018) on Facebook, which has been hugely popular.

Click on the pictures themselves to see them in detail

I LOVED the pictures that they did for our family in 2016. Absolutely loved them. You can even see one of them at the top of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook. So when Wayne invited me back to review the studio, to see what had changed, I LEAPED at the chance.

Wayne and Lucy are also very kindly offering a Special Offer just for NHM Readers, which is listed at the bottom of this post.

About

The team at Studio 1314 believe in the personal touch, not just in their pictures, but also in the way that they conduct their business.

Once you have made a booking you receive a very professional confirmation email which confirms your booking and provides a link to a slideshow of some of their pictures, a link to a Pinterest board which is a great source of inspiration.

The email also has a really useful section about what to bring to the photo shoot and which clothes would work best.

I really love that they encourage accessorising and personal items as these make the photos even more meaningful.

A few weeks before our photo shoot, Wayne phoned me and we had a really good chat about what to expect and what to bring for the photo shoot. I love that Wayne was interested in what I wanted to get from the photo shoot as well and that he had some great ideas of what to bring along.

The photoshoot

Having been to several family photo shoots since Miss NHM was born(which I am extremely grateful for!) we kind of know what to expect.

However, it’s always a NIGHTMARE the morning of the photo shoot. Trying to get everyone mobilised and in the car and not forget any of our outfits. Mr NHM nearly forgot his outfit this time (facepalm).

When we arrived at the studio (about 15 minutes drive from Hatch Warren) we were all quite harassed as there had been a couple of “discussions” in the car on the way there.

It was sooooo nice to just arrive at the studio and plonk ourselves on the lovely squishy sofa’s.

Wayne was very welcoming and let us catch our breath before looking through the outfits that we had brought with us. He gave us advice on which outfits he thought would photograph the best.

The photoshoot lasted 90 minutes and that time just FLEW by. Miss NHM absolutely loved being the centre of attention (no comment) when Wayne took lots of pictures of her. We also had several family photo’s taken which are just awesome.

I really loved that when Miss NHM was “doing her thing” (total poser. I blame her father!!!) we could just sit and watch on the lovely sofa. It was so nice to see someone else entertaining Miss NHM and to be able to just sit back and enjoy it.

Wayne was very patient with Miss NHM and he made her giggle lots. She’s very photogenic (yes, I am a bit biased) but she can also be VERY stubborn if she doesn’t want to do anything but Wayne had no problem at all with getting her to do the things he needed too, to ensure that the pictures are perfect.

(No, that isn’t Miss NHM. Lol!)

It’s brilliant that the studio is split into several areas. Miss NHM is getting to that age where she’s conscious about her body and doesn’t want to undress in front of someone else, so it was really useful having the dressing area to change in but still be able to talk to Wayne and Mr NHM.

On our way home, I asked Mr NHM if he enjoyed the photo shoot and he said that he did because it was very relaxed and fun. (I often drag him along to these kinds of things and he’s not often that enthusiastic but that previous sentence is high praise from him!!)

Miss NHM talked for the WHOLE 20 minutes that it took us to get home, about how she liked “the man who was really funny” and she liked having her picture taken. So high praise from her too! Lol.

A couple of weeks later we went back to the studio to see the final pictures in the viewing room. This is a lovely big room with a large TV screen, another fab sofa and an area with toys for little ones to play with. It was awesome to see the pictures on a big screen and we are soooo pleased with them!!!

Special Offer for NHM Readers

Wayne and Lucy are also very kindly offering a very special offer for NHM Readers. (Thank you very much!!!)

The first 10 people to contact the team at Studio 1314 and book before May 2018 will receive a Free family photoshoot, a mounted 7×5 inch prints of their choice and a digital file of the same image.

This would normally have a value of £150.

This offer is ONLY open to the first 10 people who book and ONLY available to NorthHantsMum Readers. Yay!

Tips

Make sure you read through the confirmation email and have a look at the pinterest board and the video.

Plan the outfits that you are going to take with you at least a few days before.

Make sure you have everything ready to go the night before your photo shoot so you don’t have a frantic morning like we did!!!!

Food

Wayne has a lovely stash of biscuits and a very wide range of drinks, including tango orange!!

They even had gluten free biscuits available for Miss NHM, which I thought was such a lovely touch!

Facilities

I think Studio 1314 are the only family photography studio in Basingstoke.

The studio itself has a large area where pictures are taken with a couple of sofa’s on where you can sit and watch what’s happening.

There is a separate viewing room which has a very large flat screen TV where you can review pictures and has an area for toys for toddlers and little ones. The sofa is fab in here too! lol.

There is a toilet within the studio and changing area.

Baby Facilities

The team at Studio 1314 are parents so they TOTALLY get what it’s like having children. They even have a baby changing mat available for you to use!

Parking

Is free, ample and next to the studio.

Prices

Please see the website for more details.

Rating out of 5

Definitely 5 out of 5. It’s clear that Wayne is very passionate about what he’s does and ensuring that the customer gets what they want.

Final Thoughts

We LOVE the photo’s that Wayne and Lucy take. Absolutely love them and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have another photoshoot with them.

Contact details

www.studio1314.co.uk

www.facebook.com/studio1314

www.instagram.com/studio1314

Wedding Page: www.waynekahnphotography.co.uk

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Studio1314. The photoshoot 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.

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: Family Bootcamp

Thank you very much to Rachel for today’s NHM Review post!!

Family Bootcamp

When your life revolves around children, family commitments, work and everything else that we have going on, it is difficult to find the time to exercise.  I have often been spotted taking a skipping rope or hula hoop to the park so I can grab the odd few minutes, while the kids are distracted playing, to sneak in a quick workout.  So when I had the opportunity to review a Family Bootcamp for NHM, I (quite literally) jumped at the chance

About

Family Bootcamp is a series of exercise classes which involve circuit training, a mixture of cardio and resistance work, team games and challenges.  It allows you to exercise and have fun as a family. And we did just that!

I attended the Sunday Family Bootcamp class with my son (age 10). He looked a little apprehensive actually as we arrived and whispered to me “Mum, have the others in the class all been doing this a long time? Is it ok that we haven’t been before?” He needn’t have worried. Sarah, the instructor, was very welcoming and showed us to the studio where we met the other families who were all absolutely lovely. We woke to a lot of snow that morning so I was surprised to see a fairly busy class considering (about 8 others). Obviously a testament to Sarah’s fab class – everyone wanted to be there!

We started with some team games to warm up. Everyone at different levels of fitness, age, ability but everyone moving and having fun. It really didn’t matter that we were newbies as we felt part of the group straight away.

The game of dodgeball was my son’s favourite. I really enjoyed the individual exercises (squats, lunges, skipping, etc) which we did at opposite ends of the studio facing our partners, swapping over at regular intervals. We even got to have a go on the bikes in the next studio – challenging but brilliant.


Sarah’s energy, passion and patience make the class what it is. She explains everything really well, demonstrates, takes part herself, and is always aware of everything that is happening and where she might be needed. Her class is well-planned and the music is fab.  Sarah’s energy is infectious and you can’t help but feel uplifted. We were sweaty but super smiley!

The class is 50 mins with a warm up and cool down, abs and a stretch. The time flies.

Suitable for children age 8 – 14 approx.

Tips

Wear comfy sportswear type clothing that you can move around in easily.

Take a water bottle (don’t worry if you forget though, there is a water fountain in the studio).

Location

Family Bootcamp takes place at Basingstoke Sports Centre in town.
Facilities are therefore great.
Easy to get to. Central.
Parking for town or Festival Place (prices apply).

Value for money

Family Bootcamp:  Sundays 11:10-12:00. 15th April to 27th May (7 week course). £17.50 per person for the whole course.

Please note – Basingstoke Sports Centre members receive 10% off.

Sarah also runs the following:

Family Pedal:  Saturdays 12:10-12:40. 21st April to 26th May (6 week course). £12 per person for the whole course.

Junior Bootcamp (term time):  Thursdays or Fridays 16:25-17:25. 19th/20th April to 24th/25th May. £22.80 per person.
Junior Bootcamp taster sessions also run on Thursdays and Fridays in the school holidays. 11:15-12:15.  £3.80 per person per session.

Rating

5 out of 5!

I love that I got to spend a bit of time with my son – grinning at each other, laughing, high-fiving, all whilst exercising.

Sarah’s main aim of her classes is to make fitness fun, accessible and engaging and she certainly achieves that.  

Getting fit, happy and spending time together – win win! Thank you Sarah.

Further info

Check out Sarah’s Facebook pages:

Www.facebook.com/insideoutkid

Www.facebook.com/insideoutresults

Disclaimer: This post is a review of InsideOut’s Family Bootcamp classes. The class was 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.

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: Riverside Bowl, Andover

Thank you very much to today’s NHM Secret Writer for today’s post and to Juliet for formatting this on wordpress!

Riverside Bowl, Andover

Riverside bowl is a bowling alley, arcade and glow in the dark golf centre.

They have 8 lanes of ten pin bowling, various arcade games and 10 crazy golf holes based around the world (London, New York, China etc).

They also have function rooms and a bar/diner.

Tips

Riverside bowl is on the high street in Andover, next to Wilko. You have to go up 3-4 flights of stairs but there is a lift if you struggle with stairs (wheelchair/pushchair etc).

Food

There is a 90’s style diner and bar serving freshly prepared burgers/hot dogs and chips.

Food was as you’d expect in this sort of venue; not haute cuisine but edible and presented in a fun way (in baskets).

They also have an extensive milkshake menu (chocolate, butterscotch, jelly baby and caramel to name a few). I’ve given up chocolate for Lent so I went for butterscotch and it was very nice

Facilities

Male/female and disabled toilets available. Clean and perfectly usable. I didn’t use them but hubby did and said they had hot and cold running water and were perfectly adequate.

Parking

There is no specific parking for Riverside. We parked in the Chantry Shopping centre as we had a meander through Andover before going to the venue as we were early.

Parking is charged Mon-Sat up to 4pm and is free on a Sunday. This is probably the next place to park for Riverside as it is a 3 minute walk from the car park.

Prices

We paid £15.50 for three of us (2 adults, one child) to play golf. We paid £25 to eat burger and chips each (child meal was £5.50 and included a drink). My milkshake was £3.20 and probably about same size as a cooler drink from Costa/Starbucks).

We also paid £17 for a game of bowling – we haven’t done this for a long time so not sure if this is average price or not.

Rating out of 5

I would give it 3.5 out of 5. It was nice enough but for what it is I thought the price was a little bit steep.

The bowling lane broke down while we were on it and we had to be moved. The golf I was a little disappointed in as the way the holes are set up, it’s pretty impossible to get a hole in one. You have to get the ball through a structure and it has quite a slope to get up.

I think the next hole we played was done in four or five shots and this was hubby who is a dab hand compared to me and LO.

We also had a family behind us in the golf who let their son start playing while we were still on the hole.

There is no staff actively monitoring this section (there are CCTV cameras).

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: Giraffe, Festival Place

Thank you very much to Lottie for today’s NHM Review post!!

Lottie and Louise (NHM) were invited along to try out Giraffe’s new menu and set up. We had a BRILLIANT evening and thank you VERY much to the Giraffe team for making our evening so lovely!

Giraffe, Festival Place

Giraffe in Festival Place, Basingstoke has recently had a bit of a makeover with new decor and a new set up where you now go up to order your food and pay when you order. Recently, we were lucky enough to attend a tasting session at the new and improved Giraffe, where we got to try samples of meat and vegetarian dishes from the new menu.

Drinks

There is a large range of drinks to choose from on the menu including beer, wine, soft drinks, smoothies and cocktails. We were both driving, so we opted to try the ‘Homemade Lemonade’ (which is one of the unlimited soft drinks to choose from) and a mango and ginger ‘Nix and Kix’. I really enjoyed the lemonade and would definitely order it again.

Food

Nibbles and Appetisers

First up, we were given the ‘Roasted Harrisa Nuts’ and ‘Lovely Olives’ from the nibbles section of the menu. I don’t usually eat nuts but thought I would give them a try and was pleasantly surprised, I really liked them!

Then we tried some of Giraffe’s appetisers. We tried the ‘Salt and Pepper Squid’ (Louise: My FAVOURITE!!),

‘Edemame Beans’,

‘Karaage Chicken’

and ‘Garlic Flatbread’.

Being vegetarian, the ‘Garlic Flatbread’ was my favourite and would make a perfect sharing starter before your main course.

Mains

The mains part of the menu is broken up in to different sections:

‘Bowls for the soul’ This is range of bowls of food including curries, rice dishes, tagines and more. We got to sample the ‘Katsu Chicken Curry’,

the ‘Malaysian Laksa’ with tofu and prawns and the ‘Spiced Aubergine Tagine’, which was my favourite dish of the night! The tagine is a combination of charred aubergine, beans and lentils, and is served with cous cous, toasted flatbread and yoghurt. There is also a lamb version for those who prefer a ‘meatier’ option.

‘Big n Beautiful Burgers’
Giraffes burgers are served in a soft bun with mixed leaves and a tomato slice, and they all come with skin-on fries. We got to try the Burger Bacon Cheese Stack and the ‘Halloumi and Falafel’ burger. Both were delicious, the sauce on the Burger Bacon Cheese stack was very tasty and anything that includes halloumi is good in my eyes!
 
‘Seriously Special Salads’

From the salad section of the menu we got to try the vegan ‘Super Freekah’ salad. Made up of butternut squash, roasted peppers, lentils, freeka and topped with yogurt it makes a lovely healthy option.

‘Flatbreads’
In addition to the ‘Garlic Flatbread’ starter, Giraffe’s menu has a range of flatbreads that you can also have as a main course. We got to sample the ‘Classic Margherita’ which was very tasty.

The other flatbreads include ‘Mexican Chicken and Chorizo’ and ‘Spicy Pulled Pork’.

Sides

There are a variety of tasty sides available on the menu, including ‘Sweet Potato Fries’, ‘Creamy Slaw’ and ‘Chipotle Creamed Corn’.

Desserts

When it comes to deserts, Giraffe now offer ‘Unlimited Frozen Yoghurt’. We tried vanilla flavour and it was really good. We were also lucky enough to sample the delicious ‘Churros’.

Churros are Spanish doughnuts, coated in cinnamon sugar and served with a chocolate dipping sauce.

We didn’t get to try the breakfasts that they offer but they look yummy!!!

Decor, Ambience and Facilities

With lots of wood, soft orange lighting and colourful furnishings there is a lovely warm and relaxed feeling in Giraffe. There’s music playing in the background which is loud enough for you to hear and enjoy, but not so loud that it disturbs your conversation. 
 
The new layout includes a counter for you to pay at and  a section in the middle for self service of the unlimited drinks and frozen yoghurt. All the facilities were very clean and well looked after.

Value for Money

With the majority of starters and deserts costing around the £5 mark and main courses roughly £10, I think Giraffe is great value for money. The Kids menu offers a huge range of meals – one of the biggest I’ve seen since having a child!
Kids Meal
You can even get a great deal of a main, desert and drink for £6.50. At weekends, they offer a free kids meal per full price adult main purchase! They also do a number of special offers, such as selected breakfasts for £5, 50% Flatbreads on Fridays and 2 for 1 on cocktails. 
 

Having been to Giraffe in the past, I have always noticed the warm atmosphere and great variety on the menu. I was delighted to see this was still the case following the recent revamp and the changes to how you order your food.

Thank you to Giraffe for having us, I will certainly be back soon!

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Giraffe Basingstoke in conjunction with Festival Place. Our meal was 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.

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: Pop Up Play Village UK (Basingstoke)

Pop Up Play Village UK (Basingstoke)

I had only been to a play village on two occasions before with my toddlers, it was a whole new level of excitement for them (which made leaving interesting!) I was always keen to go more often but, being located that little further afield, it just never happened. So when I heard about a pop up play village coming to Basingstoke, I pretty much booked there and then. I wasn’t sure what a pop up version would be like, but I was very keen to find out.

I have to say, I was really impressed. To see my toddlers role-playing is heart-warming, and makes me really appreciate just how much they are taking in nowadays. I am so pleased that something like this is available locally, and we will definitely be visiting again!

About

To quote their website, Pop Up Play Village is “a portable play village that features a supermarket, builders yard, library, hospital, baby nursery, vets and cafe. On our event days, we also feature an art studio where children can get creative by choosing a craft to decorate and take home.” The sessions are aimed from birth to 8 years old and they are offered at various locations in the Basingstoke area. They can also be hired for events such as children’s parties.

The session that we visited was at the Beggarwood Community Centre, next to Beggarwood Park. The hall had been laid out in the different sections listed above, with a clothes rack offering various different dress up. There were large colourful signs indicating the different areas and an impressive selection of accessories in each, all in very good condition. The team kept making sure items made it back to their correct places so the experience continued throughout the session. There was also a cafe available offering a good selection of hot and cold drinks, snacks and healthy snacks for the children.

My toddlers had an incredible time and pretty much tried everything, there were many protests on leaving. I have been trying to find new places to take the boys for a while as they have more or less outgrown play groups and get bored easily, but by the end of this session they were still going strong. Brilliant!

Tips

Make sure you book in advance on the Pop Up Play Village Website.

It is a shoes off environment for children and adults alike, so make sure you bring socks.

Food

There is a cafe selling hot, cold drinks and snacks.

Facilities

Dependent on location. At Beggarwood Community Centre there are toilets and baby changing facilities on site.

Parking

Dependent on location. At Beggarwood Community Centre there is a small car park available for users of the centre as well as a larger car park at Beggarwood shops, adjacent to the centre.

Locations

Please check the Pop Up Play Village UK (Basingstoke) Facebook page for locations and upcoming events.

Rating out of 5

I would have to give it a 5 out of 5. My toddlers enjoyed every minute of it!

For further information visit their Facebook page on Pop Up Play Village UK (Basingstoke) or Pop Up Play Village Website

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Review 2018: Poundfit with Vicky

Vicky’s a very good friend of mine so I was intrigued when she recently started her Poundfit classes.

Being a good friend of hers, she obviously took full advantage of knowing that I’m NorthHantsMum and asked me to review her classes :-D.

Poundfit with Vicky

Poundfit is a combination cardio and strength class with “constant simulated drumming”. You follow a dance routine whilst hitting with drum sticks.

Vicky is uber friendly, although I might be biased as she is a friend of mine! lol. She was very excited that I came to class and was very bubbly and made sure that all of the ladies felt welcomed.

When we arrived the room was set up with mats and drum sticks.

Once she switched the lights on I felt like I was back to my clubbing days! lol.

The routines were very straight forward and easy to follow and you do as much or as little as you can. I was very nervous at first because it’s been a while since I’ve done a “proper” exercise class.

But I kept up without any issues and although some of the exercises were a bit too much for my poor thighs I was still able to follow the routine and still pound my drum sticks. I think after only a few more classes my thighs would be much better than they currently are!!

The class is 45 minutes long with a warm up and cool down but it goes really fast!

It was BRILLIANT!!! I loved it!!!  Although I wasn’t as sweaty as I thought I would be, so maybe I’m not as unfit as I originally thought! lol.

It’s a great way of relieving any stress and tension at the same time as getting fit. I can see why it’s a little bit addictive!!!

Tips

Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting sweaty or leaping around in.

Take a water bottle and a mini towel to wipe the sweat off with.

Parking

Is free at all of the venues

Prices

You can find out more details about Poundfit with Vicky at her facebook page: Poundfitwithvicky

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Review 2018: Cafe in the Park, Beggarwood

Thank you to Juliet for today’s Review!!

Cafe in the Park, Beggarwood

Cafe in the Park

I was so excited to hear that there would be a new cafe opening up in Beggarwood. I am a serious lover of coffee and cake and was through the doors on opening day, and I was not disappointed.

To date, I have found lots of cafes in Basingstoke that cater for young children, but only one where it has entertained my toddlers long enough for me to actually drink a whole cup of hot coffee before the whining or tantrums start. Until now that is. Cafe in the Park seems to be aimed at all, and this includes those families with young children.

About

The cafe is based at the new Beggarwood Community Centre, at the top of Beggarwood Park with big glass windows offering fabulous views over the park. The Community Centre has already started filling with activities, including Kids Kan Dance and Pop Up Play Village, but check the Facebook page of Hatch Warren Community Centre (who are running both centres) for more information and classes.

Cafe in the Park is run by a lovely group of people who seem really excited at the new opportunity and are actively seeking ways to adapt the cafe to suit the community. This includes holding a Dog Walkers’ Forum in March to discuss how to make the cafe more accessible to dog walkers. The part which interests me the most though, for obvious reasons, is what they have made available to occupy young children.

As you enter the community centre, there is a table in the entrance area with colouring books and crayons, and a few tables and chairs close by. There is a good selection of toys in the cafe area and our toddlers delighted in going back and forth, exchanging toys for new ones. In fact we were ready to leave way before they were, not something that happens often.

As an added bonus, I returned during the week and the main hall (which will going forward be closed off and hired out to local groups and for parties) was open with crafts available for the children. There was play dough, card making and colouring, and lots of toys laid out on tables. Sadly (for me) this will not normally be available. They are, however, hoping to open this area up again during the school holidays, if possible, and have the crafts available once again. This is an awesome idea and I really hope it happens, especially as the vast majority of playgroups and similar groups for little ones close during the holidays. When I left today the main hall was full of kids playing, so there is definitely a need. In the meantime, they will be looking to have a craft available on the table in the entrance hall during term time.

Food

There is a really good selection of hot and cold drinks, cakes and cookies, with prosecco and wine also available (so tempting!) I was also really impressed with the prices of the coffees and cakes.

There are gluten and dairy free options available. I was advised that all cakes are made fresh and they are open to cater for any dietary requirements, so make sure you mention if you have any.

I feel I need to make a separate comment about how good the cake was (and yes, I tried a few, just to be sure).

Take-away hot drinks are available and they hope to have ice creams on sale for when the warmer weather comes.

There are also free dog biscuits, however, dogs are not permitted in the cafe but there is a dog station outside.

Facilities

There are toilets and baby change facilities at the community centre and high chairs are available in the cafe.

Parking

There is a small car park to the front of the centre with additional parking available at the Beggarwood shops’ car park, next to the centre.

Opening Hours

The cafe will be open Wednesdays to Fridays, 9am-11am and 3pm-5pm, and weekends 9am-12noon.

Rating out of 5

5 out of 5. I have had some amazing visits to Cafe in the Park so far. We’ve been as a family, with friends, and a quiet visit with just me and one of our boys. Each visit has been brilliant, we are definitely going to be regulars.

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Review 2018: Prosecco-Dough workshop – Messy play fun for adults!

Thank you very much to today’s NHM Secret Writer for today’s post and THANK YOU very much to Louise at Messy Monsters Basingstoke for our free tickets in exchange for this NorthHantsMum review!

Prosecco-Dough – messy play fun for adults!

I was lucky enough to attend Messy Monsters Basingstoke’s first adults messy play workshop.

The aim of the workshop was to show the group of mums attending how to make quick and simple messy play activities to do with their children. The activities shown to us were suitable from really small little ones up to adults (it is very satisfying to sit and play with rainbow rice and chocolate play dough!).

On arrival at the workshop, which was held at Popley Fields Community Centre, I was greeted by the lovely Lou who runs Messy Monsters sessions for children and now adults. I took my seat at the table and waiting for me was a bottle of prosecco, some chocolates and biscuits as well as an interesting assortment of items including flour, cocoa powder and food colouring.

First of all Lou took us through the steps to make taste safe slime. I’ve seen so many make your own slime tutorials but as my daughter is still quite young I’ve been wary of letting her have it to play with so finding a way to make it taste safe just in case she did sneak a bit into her mouth was ideal!

After making the taste safe slime we went on to make rainbow rice and, with all the options we had for food colouring, we ended up with some lovely colours.

We then had a short break to refill on tea or coffee or crack open the mini bottle of prosecco everyone was given.

Taste safe play dough was next on the agenda with 2 different types to make and the additional option to add some prosecco to the dough! We made a traditional coloured play dough with a choice of lemon or peppermint scent (which we had also used with the rice!) And then a chocolate scented dough. The doughs were so simple to make and only use things you probably already have around the house. As with all the items we made, they only take a few minutes to do!

After the play dough fun (kneading the dough was very therapeutic!) We made sensory bottles with coloured water and various little knick knacks which would be interesting for small people to look at.

With everything we made there was a choice of colours and the option to add glitter!

I’d recommend taking a note book and pen so you can quickly jot the recipes down and wear clothes you don’t mind getting a bit mucky as I ended up a bit flour-y!! You get to bring home everything you make so it’s worth taking a bag along with you to make carrying your packs of messy goodies back to the car a bit easier.

I’ve come away from the workshop feeling much more knowledgeable about messy play and ready to have some messy fun with my daughter!

You can find out more details about these classes at: https://www.facebook.com/messymonstersbasingstoke/

Disclaimer: This post is a review of the Prosecco Dough Messy Play Basingstoke Workshop. Our class place was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. We were not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are the NHM Secret Writers own

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