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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NEW!! Historical NorthHantsMum Posts: An Index

You know those moments when you wake up in the middle of the night, sit bolt up right and say “TaDa!!! Why didn’t I think of that before!!!”?

I had one of those moments last night. 

I need to make it easier and quicker for people to find things that they are looking for on NHM and realised in the early hours of this morning that I need some kind of index. 

So I’ve started working on an index for NHM on the website, so you can see all of the posts that have been published. The index will be ordered by year because this is the simplest way. 

I was told a few years ago that this was a rubbish thing to do, but I’ve realised that it’s actually very much needed as there are SOOO many posts on NHM now it’s become really unwieldy.

Hopefully the index will help you find things quickly. 

If you search on the Menu for “About NorthHantsMum” and then look for “Historical Posts” they will be listed here. You can see the picture of what it looks like on a tablet, ipad, laptop or PC below. 

You can also find the list of historical posts here: Historical Posts 

(If you subscribe to the website and you get this post as an email, don’t forget to KEEP this email so you can find the information easily again ;-))

I only started working on the index today so I’m going to be working on updating this over Christmas. I will let you know when I have finished it. 

It’s REALLY enlightening to see the kinds of things that have been covered on NHM since I started in June 2011. A couple of years ago I deleted about 400 posts which were mainly timely events or small businesses which no longer exist, but it’s really interesting to see how NorthHantsMum has developed. 

Hopefully the index will make it a bit easier for you to find things quickly!!

I’d love to hear your feedback! Thanks! 

NHM Readers Recommend: Board Games for Older Children

In December 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “Do the NHM Community have any board game recommendations for toddlers, 5-8 year olds and tweens? I’d like to get one for Christmas each year but want something that we will actually play more than once.”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order. All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

NHM Readers Recommend: Board Games for Older Children

Lian said, “Articulate kids is good for the older ones and adults to play”

Wendy said, “I like games that have as few parts as possible so crocodile dentist and toilet trouble are our favourites, also any of the pie faces games. We use them at birthday parties and there’s always a queue.”

Joy said, “Rondo! Friends bought it for us, ours are between 9 & 16, we’ve been enjoying it for the past 2 years!”

Ruth said, “…anything in the brainbox range – covers a wide age range, quick and simple to play for as long or as little as interest lasts, and really interesting at the same time!”

Jason said, “Payday. Love it with my 6 and 10 year old.”

Lisa said, “My 7&9 yo have been playing ‘Ticket to Ride, Europe’ for a couple of years…we also love ‘Survive’ & Catan our three favourites. All great for kids up to adults”

Rachel said, “Hungry hippos is great for my two. They were 3 and 5 last Christmas and has the added bonus that they can play it themselves with no help. I’ve bought a lot of orchard games before but am finding the old favourites are much more suitable and are getting a lot more use.”

Lisa said, “Exploding Kittens for the middle age bracket.

Rachael said, “Who am I, popping pirate, piranhas, spot the difference cards.”

Sue said, “Bugs in the kitchen.”

Helena said, “Ufo alarm is fab, easy, funny and not many parts!”

Rachael said, “Hullabaloo not a board game but loved by all. 
Orchard games are loved by 3 years up. Crash bang wallop is fabulous”

Libby said, “Exploding kittens!”

Emma said, “Ours love battleships because it’s different every time they play and it gets very competitive!”

Claire said, “Ours love Dobble.”

Emma said, “Code names is a great game.”

Alison said, “UNO is a good card game that covers a range of ages.”

Liz said, “Looping Louie is good for young to mid age range.”

Ruza said, “Operation, tummy ache, Mmmm!”

Sam said,”Orchard games are great for toddlers. We’ve got about 5 of them!”

Helen said, “Snakes and ladders, twister, hungry hippos, frustration, tick tack toe.”

Angela said, “Can’t recommend Smelly Wellies Orchard Games highly enough for a preschooler. My son loves it, we play many times a day  (And if you want variety you can use the two sets of wellies to play pairs)”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Christmas Church Services 2018

In December 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “Can you ask readers for dates for Christingles, nativity and Christmas carols in various churches around Basingstoke?”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order. All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

NHM Readers Recommend: Christmas Church Services 2018

Hannah said, “There’s a live nativity on 23rd December at buckskin church.”

Helensaid, “Christ the king church 24th Dec I think…Christingle.”

Julie said, “St Mary’s Eastrop (near Eastrop Park) Christingle and Christmas Carol Extravaganza are particularly aimed at children and families!”

Rebecca said, “Christ Church Chineham: 

Monday 10th December – Messy Church Christingle (3:45pm)
Sunday 16th December – Carol Service (6pm)
Monday 24th December (4pm) – Crib Service
Tuesday 25th December – Christmas Day Service (10am)

Kathryn said, “Basingstoke Baptist Church are having a living nativity on Saturday 22nd 4-6pm food and live animals etc. https://www.facebook.com/events/2161563667427465/?ti=clManage

Sophie said, “Starlight carols on the 9th of Dec at Hope community church, Sarum Hill centre, 5pm.”

Sammy said, “Gateway Church, Queen Mary College.”

Rebecca said, “There is a carol service featuring Sounds of Hope Choir at All Saints this Friday (7:45pm).”

Sarah said, “Carols in beggarwood Park/cafe in the park 20th December at I believe 6pm.”

Rebecca said, “Not strictly a carol concert, but we’re doing a Christmas concert of singing students with audience participation in some songs lunchtime Sat 15th Dec at St James’s Church, Bramley in aid of Oliver Warner.”

Sue said, “All Saints Church at top of town, Basingstoke.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Best Places to Visit Santa with a One-Year-Old

In November 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “Where are the best places to visit Santa in the Basingstoke area for a 1 year old? I’ve seen loads of places advertised but don’t know where is recommended?”

Thank you for all your responses, they are 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.

All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

NHM Readers Recommend: Best Places to Visit Santa with a One-Year-Old

Wendy said, “Proteus would be well worth a visit at that age, then I would just do festival place for the present and photo op, your looking at £10 minimum for almost all other Santa’s.

Charlotte said, “4 kingdoms is always brill have taken my son since he was a baby and now he’s 4.”

Samantha said, “We took our 9 month old last Christmas to the Santa in Festival Place. Did the job and you didn’t pay for all the other bits. On reflection, perfect for the age but probably once they hit 18 months plus you’d be looking for a bit more of an ‘experience’.”

Mary said, “At Proteus the show is interactive and sensory, made especially for little ones. You move around the space so little ones aren’t expected to sit still for long stretches. Here’s a link: http://www.proteustheatre.com/whats-on/the-magical-christmas-toy-shop Santa will feature but it’s very gentle and not a one on one grotto experience.”

Joanna said, “Active tots is good but is just outside of Basingstoke.”

Becky said, “We went to Miller’s Ark. Our little one was a little young at 8 months but the doggie there made her day!”

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Kids Bee Happy Sand Art 2018

I came across Kids Bee Happy Sand Art a couple of months ago and given my children love Sand Art I thought I would sign up to sell the fabulous products.

And given my ‘day job’ is all about relaxation I thought I would see if I could use the Sand Art in a class and I’ve developed ‘And Relax’…..

I’m always on the look out for other ways to engage children with relaxation that’s different to my usual Relax Kids courses as not all children want to attend a 4 week course and sometimes it’s nice to do something a bit different while encouraging relaxation. If this is popular I will look at making it a regular feature in my timetable.

In the hour long session we will be doing:

  • Sand Art (one A4 sand art print per child)
  • Mindful Colouring
  • Learning some breathing techniques
  • Meditation/Visualisation

My aim is that children will come away feeling relaxed and having experienced some different techniques to help them relax.

I haven’t put an age range on this session simply because children will be working at their own pace.  Some younger children may need support with the Sand Art and other parts of the session so I will be encouraging the parents of younger children to stay for the session.

I’m running a session on Sunday 20 January from 9.15am-10.15am in Brighton Hill, Basingstoke.  The cost is £7.50 per child. Spaces are limited to 12 children.   Please get in touch for booking details.

Sand Art Take Home Packs

I have Sand Art Take Home Packs available ranging from small oval size up to A4 size with various prices depending on print size – if you are interested in finding out more please do check out Kids Bee Happy Sand Art with Kath (on Facebook) or contact me (details below).

Sand Art Parties

If your children love Sand Art then why not consider a Sand Art party – all children will go away with their own masterpiece!

Would you like Sand Art at your event?

If you are running an event and want to engage the children then please considering bringing Sand Art to your event, again please contact me (details below).

Kath Routledge

Facebook: Kids Bee Happy Sand Art with Kath

Mobile: 07989 476533

Email: rkbasingstoke@yahoo.co.uk

 

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Warren Tots: What’s on in December 2018

Hatch Warren Community Centre

Sessions run from 9.15-10.30 & 10.45-12

£3.50 per family (adult plus 2 children, additional children £1)

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NHM Readers Recommend: Quick Healthier Alternatives to McDonald’s

In November 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “Recommendations for healthier alternatives to McDonald’s (cheap and quick) for when you can’t be bothered to cook (such as when you’re other half isn’t eating at home) but it’s not at occasion, jacket potato type places along the lines of M&S cafe”

As always, thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.

All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

NHM Readers Recommend: Quick Healthier Alternatives to McDonald’s

Costa

Mary said, “Costa drive through have hot food now like macaroni cheese. It’s still about a million calories but it feels healthier than McDonald’s.”

Sainsbury’s Cafe

Hannah said “Sainsbury’s cafe is nice, has a good variety and is relatively cheap.”

Yvette said, “Sainsbury’s”

Charlie also said Sainsbury’s cafe, “…I love the staff and people are really chatty unlike some coffee shop chains.”

Louise said, “We do Sainsburys cafe at Hatch Warren quite a bit too, mainly because the chips are GF and Miss NHM loves ‘Ham, egg, chips and peas’.”

Lucy said, “…when I asked if the chips were gluten free they told me no. I said how last time I was there they were but they were adamant they weren’t and refused to check. I was gutted, and sat and watched the rest of the family eat…not good when I was heavily pregnant and hormonal. I bet they are but I happened to go on a day the staff didn’t want to check!”

Jenni said, “I was in Sainsbury’s today, it’s convenient but I always find the service shocking & today was no exception unfortunately.”

Subway

Katie said, “Subway is always a fave, and if it’s warm, even better!! A lot more filling than you’d think.”

Louise said, “…the last two times I was in a local Subway they were so grubby!!!”

Wendy said, “We’ve found we can’t trust subway, they have a really lax attitude to allergies and being American they have egg in all kinds of stuff it isn’t normally in.”

Ellie said, “I used to work in subway and depends who is working on how clean it is. I ran a tight ship when I was in charge but overall they only care about profit and not about anything else.”

Vanessa said, “The Subway in Brighton Hill is lovely.”

Morrison’s Cafe

Hannah said, “Morrison’s is also nice….and do feed the kids free on certain days after school.”

Hayley said, “Morrison’s cafe… kids eat free after 3pm weekdays…”

Debra said, “Only problem with Morrisons is the toilets are nowhere near the restaurant which is a pain with kids!!”

Cesca said, “Morrisons cafe is always a winner for us, kids eat free after 3 per adult meal and there’s a little play area! But I also get the cardboard boxes like the happy meal boxes or home bargains do a basket and I do my kids a home made version of McDonald’s!”

Yvette said, “Morrisons…”

Cafe Giardinio

Susie said, “Cafe Giardinio up opposite Iceland do paninis, jacket potatoes, pasta dishes.”

Shabby Gourmet

Marion said, “Shabby Gourmet! Home cooked meals, with no additives or preservatives, using only the freshest ingredients, and cooked with as much love as, if not more than, you’d cook yourself for your own family. What could possibly be better?!!…Old Barn Stores in North Waltham stock us, plus The Village Shop in Upton Grey, and Premier Stores in Old Basing. You can also pop over to Cliddesden to collect directly from the kitchen. This is the website – www.theshabbygourmet.com

Louise said, “…and they come frozen and most are gluten free!! I have a few in my freezer for emergencies.”

Elisa asked, “Are any of the vegetarian options also vegan friendly?”

Marion replied, “Yep! It’s not a meat-free kitchen, though. I’m actually massively inspired by vegetarian and vegan food at the moment, as I’m writing a vegetarian day course, cookery course. It’s one of my most requested courses, so I think I’d better do it. Vegetarian is inspiring me and vegan is just that little (big!) step further. I’m finding it really exciting.”

Costco

Amanda said, “If you have a costco card and are near a costco £1.50 for a jacket potato! If you’re wanting quick and easy at home batch cooking is the way forward for easy and healthy.”

Louise said, “We do Costco too as they can’t go too wrong with a jacket potato and cheese!”

Waitrose

Ruza said, “Waitrose café has good priced children’s meals…”

Yvette said, “Waitrose cafe!”

Festival Street Kitchen

Ruza also said, “…I like the festival place kitchen.”

Pizza Hut

Hayley also said, “…Pizza Hut restaurant, the ice cream factory is s big hit with my son.”

Pret A Manger

Linda said, “My fave place is Pret Manger opposite the Sports Centre. A little on the pricey side but really healthy and so yummy.”

Asda

Yvette also said,”… Asda.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Professionals For Toddler Sleep Issues

In October 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “I have a friend who is struggling to get any sleep with her toddler who only sleeps for 3 hrs each night! I am sure I read on your site somewhere about a sleep nanny or someone like that who may be able to help?” Can anyone recommend a sleep nanny?”

Thank you for all your responses, they are 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: Professionals For Toddler Sleep Issues

Jenny said, “Care it out sleep consultant is a fb page I follow.”

Amy said, “We worked with a lady at Baby Sleep The Night who was wonderful! My 6 m/o was waking every couple of hours and not napping. In 10 days he was sleeping through the night and napping really well. I cannot recommend her highly enough and it honestly saved us from breaking point.”

Wendy said, “…get her to speak to a GP as it could be a sign of other health issues.”

Allison suggested, Kelly-Lauren Warner, who replied:  ” Little Well-Beings child sleep, behaviour and nutrition solutions Please let me know if your reader would like more information. Always best to get it checked out at the GP first.”

Hayley suggested, Tiffany-Jayne Lee, who replied: “I’m a qualified sleep consultant feel free to PM Me.”

Charlotte said,”Victoria Murphy May be helpful for u.”

Kelly Smith said, “If she wants some help…I really don’t mind talking to her.”

Laura said, “There’s a really good book called The Gentle Sleep book if she’s looking for a solution that doesn’t involve lots of tears. You can get it from the library.”

Leanne also suggested The Gentle Sleep book, “I second this. It also helps separate what is normal behaviour from real problems…It helped me realise it was all within the realms of ‘normal’ which was a relief.”

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