Review 2019: Happy Faces Easter Egg Hunt

Thank you very much to Alison for today’s NHM Secret Review! She’s done a brilliant job!!!

Review 2019: Happy Faces Easter Egg Hunt

Today I took my two year old to the Happy Faces Easter Egg Hunt in Sherfield-on-Loddon. It was on from 10am-12pm at a cost of £2.50 per child. We arrived shortly after 10am to find a queue had already formed at the entrance & most parking spaces taken.

The ladies of Happy Faces were all very friendly and welcoming. We were given a bag to collect eggs, a piece of paper with our clues on and a raffle ticket. Then we set off on our hunt.

Thanks to the sudden glorious bank holiday weather we had a lovely little walk finding clues and mini eggs along the way. For someone who doesn’t know Sherfield-on-Loddon that well we managed to follow others and figure out where each clue was hidden. Knowing that we needed to look out for the ladies wearing bunny ears helped! I especially liked the added touch of the Easter bunny (although my son found him slightly scary, lol)

At each stop the children were allowed two mini eggs for their bags. The distance covered was just enough for young legs and the gap between clues was just right to keep them interested. We had a lovely time and especially enjoyed visiting the ducks.

We worked our way back round to Happy Faces where we exchanged our raffle ticket for a large Easter egg (enough chocolate for any child). After this we had a lovely time exploring the garden, which was much bigger than I had expected.

Inside Happy Faces were many different stalls etc all helping to raise money. There were lots of amazing looking cakes for sale too.

At £2.50 I thought it was great value and my son thoroughly enjoyed himself. I would definitely do this again. It was very popular so I think getting there early is key!

Happy Faces Playgroup, Sherfield on Loddon

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CHAMPS Academy – Upcoming Courses from April 2019

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Easter Egg Hunt – Friday 12th April, Sherfield Park Community Centre

Charity Easter Egg Hunt for Asthma UK with Bump Into Mums

Our regular Bump Into Mums coffee morning with an Easter twist! We are running an egg hunt for the little ones, £3 per child and all participants will receive an easter egg. One of our mums is running the London Marathon in April for Asthma UK and all proceeds from this event will go towards that.

Please contact the community centre or Kate or Michelle to book your tickets in advance, thanks 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/events/2341046062844567/

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Snow!!! House Bound Things to do

If you’re going a bit stir crazy in the house and can’t face taking everyone out in the snow again because it means tonnes of coats, socks, boots, etc. that you need to dry after (no, just me? :-D), these are some historical posts from NHM that might be useful today.

Older children will also find some of these fun, as sensory activities don’t have an age limit.

What suggestions do you have?

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Review 2019: Proteus Creation Space – Christmas Toy Shop

Thank you very much to today’s NHM Secret Reviewer. She’s done a fab job!

Review 2019: Proteus Creation Space – Christmas Toy Shop

After being told about the Christmas show at Proteus Creation Space numerous times when my firstborn was young (but never getting a chance to attend), I finally booked a space for my youngest and I to see the Christmas Toy Shop.

Unfortunately, after years of living on the outskirts of Basingstoke, I am still hopeless at navigating around but Proteus was really easy to find using Googlemaps. There was parking at the venue and also plenty of spaces along the surrounding roads. It is also very close to the short stay car park by ‘old town’.

We arrived a minute or two before the show started so didn’t get to fully scope out the facilities. Most people were waiting in a small cafe style area, indicating there are options to get a drink and/or piece of cake etc. We were running a little too late to sample anything.

The show itself was lovely. The number of people in the room was just right and enough to let the performers engage well with everyone. It was very immersive for the young ones (mine being 2.5yrs old), with activities for them to get involved in along the way. During the show we moved into three different rooms which stopped any little ones from getting restless and kept a sense of excitement going.

If you have young toddlers and are looking for something a little different at Christmas, I would definitely recommend Proteus Creation Space. It wasn’t too loud or too busy (which some places can be at that time of year) and it let the children take part in the experience too.

I would give it a 5/5 rating.

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The Band of HM Royal Marines Concert at the Anvil – 27th Jan 2019

The Rotary Club of Basingstoke Deane presents at the Anvil, Basingstoke:

The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines
 
Sun 27 Jan, 3pm
 
 

For some years Basingstoke Deane Rotary has been privileged to host The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. The concert will provide a wonderful two and a half hours of toe tapping, flag waving and ‘sing a long’ opportunities for great entertainment.

The music is mixed with great variety and previously has contained music from the movies, swing band, comedic pieces, popular classical songs often used on TV adverts and some good old-fashioned Patriotic tunes known by all generations.

The majestic full Concert Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, the Royal Corps of Drummers and special guests The Chelsea Pensioners, will again make this a very special event.  

A great opportunity to treat yourself and wash away the January blues.

All tickets are available through the Anvil booking office http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/whats-on/band-of-the-royal-marines

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Review 2018: Oh no you didn’t!!!! A Review of “Snow White & the Seven Dwarves” at The Anvil

Written by Victoria Kennedy, Thefairyclothesmother.com (thank you VERY much Victoria for the awesome review!!! 

About

Snow white: http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/snow-white

When offered the chance to attend the Christmas Panto at The Anvil, Basingstoke, I jumped at the chance. Many of my fond childhood memories are of attending the local panto! Panto’s are guaranteed family fun! And this one didn’t disappoint! There was plenty of audience participation- from song and dances, sweetie-chucking and water pistols to the traditional panto villain ‘boo’s’ and comedy slapstick of ‘He’s behind you’.

The Anvil Arts centre is an award winning concert hall, with amazing acoustics and an international reputation. The beautiful set design had the children captured from the beginning. With special effects such as indoor pyro- there were plenty of mesmerised faces!

A special mention has to be given to ‘Nurse Dolly’s’ wardrobe (I am a stylist after all! ). She had some absolutely stunning dresses, each unique and I would have loved the opportunity to study each in great detail! Take a look for yourself:

Snow White was played by Dani Harmer, of CBBC fame. She played the character well and her gentle, ‘girl next-door’ manner soon had the audience on side.

The Wicked Queen, played by Kirsty Sparks, was both terrifying and utterly lovable at the same time! The stars of the show, form y 5 year old son, was Muddles, played by Chris Pizzey (Basil Brush’s Mr Stephens). His jokey character got the children on side meaning audience participation was full on! The jokes had the kids roaring with laughter, creating a fantastic atmosphere. There was even a subtle ‘dad joke’ or two!

Personally, I loved the dwarves. Each played to their name sake well, with names carefully adapted so not to gain the wrath of Disney! They were both cheeky and lovable!

The show runs until 6th January with both matinee and evening performances- get your tickets here: http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/your-visit/how-to-book/online-booking-information?ticketing_id=A8PE

http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/your-visit/how-to-book/online-booking-information?ticketing_id=A8PE

Tips

Take ear defenders for children who are bothered by loud noises, as there are a few loud bangs. Also there is (without ruining the surprise) a brief moment involving water & the audience, if this is something that could bother your child ask at the info desk for the timing of the ‘stunt’ so you can be ready!

‘Flashy’ wands and the like are for sale but we took our own from previous events. This was allowed and certainly saved a small fortune as well as reducing our plastic consumption.

Dressing up was encouraged- there were many mini snow whites in the audience!

Food

There is a selection of treats –  sweeties, ice cream, crisps on sale at the venue. However, as a huge cost saver I’d recommend taking your own! The show is 2 hrs 35 min long so a drink will most definitely be needed. There is also a bar available.

Facilities

The Anvil is fully accessible to wheelchair users, and pushchairs. There are facilities for baby changing. The audience was a real mix of ages, so babes-in-arms are certainly welcomed. There is a bar onsite for refreshments.

Parking

The Anvil is easily accessed from any of the town centre car parks and just a 2 min walk from the train & bus station.

Prices

This is my only point of contention. The cost of a family visiting the theatre is becoming massively out of reach for many families. Unfortunately this is something that is happening with the panto too. At £28 per adult and £25 per child – a cost of over £100 for a family of 4 it means a big majority miss out. The Anvil does offer group rates, and discounted tickets to local schools.

Ratingout of 5

4 a great afternoon of family fun, with laughter, cheers, boo’s and song! Plus the most wonderful panto dame costume!!!

All images courtesy of Anvil Arts

Disclaimer: This post is a review of “Snow White Seven Dwarves and the  in conjunction with The Anvil. Victoria’s tickets were supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. We were not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are our own.

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Review 2018: Basingstoke Canal Santa Cruise

Thank you very much to W for today’s NHM Secret Review!! She’s done a brilliant job! 

If you would like to be a NHM Secret Reviewer, please get in touch. Thanks! 

Review 2018: BasingstokeCanal Santa Cruise

Helping out with NHM articles that past couple of years I have gained quite a lot of knowledge about local Santa and Christmas experiences and this year I finally got to experience the stuff of local Christmas legend, the Basingstoke Canal Santa Cruise.

About

Each year, in late September/early October the Basingstoke Canal visitor centre opens up early to take bookings for their Santa Cruises. 

Tickets go fast and bookings can only be made in person or by phone so be prepared to spend a lot of time pressing redial. 

One friend did decide to drive there one year to guarantee her spot by booking it in person, but I persevered with the phone and finally got through at around 11am on the first day of booking. 

Their advice is to have a few dates in mind, especially if you want an evening or weekend, and also have the names and ages of children attending ready. 

In 2018 the evening experiences cost £15.50 per person, weekend day times were £15 and weekday day time were £12.  In December 2018 they ran six cruises a day and all but two cruises were sold out. 

Fast forward to a very cold night in mid-December when I arrived at the centre in Mychett, with my four year old and almost eight year old and waited outside for our boat. 

The area outside the centre had been dressed with Christmas lights and we were greeted by a giant inflatable Santa.  

Facilities whilst waiting were basic, access to toilets and a bench to sit on inside an area normally used for changing, so dress for the weather and don’t leave your car too early. 

We boarded the last boat of the day at 7pm.  There are twelve people per cruise, including adults, our cruise had five children on board.  After boarding the boat our guide asked the children to look out for Christmas lights and let her know when they saw them. 

We cruised up the canal for about 10 mins, when we arrived at our jetty and got off the boat everyone was given a torch. 

The guide then asked the children to look out for the red tinsel which would guide them to Santa, we followed the red tinsel through the dark woods until we found Santa’s grotto. 

Santa’s grotto was a yurt, beautifully decorated for Christmas. 

Inside we all sat on hay bales as we waited for Santa to wake up, once he did he chatted with us all as a group first before looking up names in his book and chatting individually to each child for a few minutes. 

He adjusted his chat accordingly to the age and personality of the child and afterwards we sang a few songs, he then gave out gifts to each child, which already had their names on. 

We were in the yurt for about 20 minutes.  After we said goodbye to Santa we used our torches to find the silver tinsel that would guide us back out of the woods and back on to our boat where we opened our gifts, good quality, age appropriate books. 

We then cruised back to the centre where we did some colouring whilst enjoying mince pies or chocolate bars and hot drinks, all included in the price.  We left the centre at around 8.20pm.

Rating out of 5

We do a few Santa and Christmas experiences each year and this was a really lovely event, unlike anything we had done before and perfect for restoring the magic for my doubting older son. 

The boat and the canal centre are practical rather than luxury but the uniqueness of the occasion and the enthusiasm of the guides and Santa, really made this feel special.  None of the children became bored, with each activity taking the right amount of time. 

All the food was branded with allergy information easily available but it would be fine to take your own if you needed to. 

The experience was really good value for money and suitable for all ages, although I think older children would really prefer the after dark cruises. 

Highly recommended. 

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