Drama Tots

Is your little one due to start school in September? That time beforehand is one that you want to savour, making special memories along the way. The perfect chance to create those memories awaits you at Drama Tots.

Classes are designed for 18 months-3yr olds Rising Stars and 3-5yr olds Bright Stars. Younger siblings are always welcome as well.

At Drama Tots our programme harnesses imaginations, we use repetition to encourage listening skills and allow expression and confidence to grow. Our classes are nurturing and offer the chance to build friendships along the way. 

The summer term of Drama Tots commences from Thursday the 25th April and runs until July with a half term break in May. A 3wk trial package costs £12 and allows time to have a good overview of the programme. 

We find that children pick up the actions to the songs really quickly and enjoy the weekly familiarity of the class structure. 

Every week we go on a new adventure and explore these with a variety of traditional nursery rhymes, original music, instruments, props and puppets. 

The programme is designed with the EYFS learning goals in mind so there is an educational thought process behind everything we do, of course delivered in a fun and interactive way. 

My name is Kate and I run the Basingstoke branch of Drama Tots. My background was in professional theatre, graduating with an honours degree in musical theatre from GSA. 

I subsequently worked in children’s theatre as well as walk about character work at various locations around the U.K. both on and off stilts!

I have taught music and drama classes to preschoolers in London before having my own children. Seeing their imaginations in use every day has been amazing and I’m passionate that drama and imaginary play has a huge benefit for children of all ages and is a powerful way of learning to express yourself. 

Our current timetable of classes is as follows:


St Mary’s parish room Old Basing

⭐️Rising Stars 

9.40-10.20 18mnth-3yr olds

⭐️Bright Stars

10.30-11.15 3- school age


Lychpit village hall 

⭐️Rising Stars 

9.40-10.20 18mnths-3yr olds

⭐️Bright Stars

10.30-11.15 3-school age

The Drama Tots programme is also designed to be delivered in a nursery or preschool setting, the benefits of having an enrichment activity are extensive.

I have received some excellent feedback regarding the sessions and how well engaged the children were. The programme works alongside the EYFS learning goals and can be used for many observations. 

To find out more and to book a trial please see our website- www.dramatots.co.uk 

Find me on 

Facebook- Drama Tots Basingstoke 

Instagram @dramatotsbasingstoke 

Or email me- kate@dramatots.co.uk 

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Messy Monkey Makers

Hi my name is Kerry and I am the owner of Messy Monkey Makers in Basingstoke, some of you may remember it previously being called Messy Monsters!  I bought and took over the business in April of this year and since then I have been busy rebranding and putting lots of new exciting messy play classes, it’s all been very exciting.

So more about Messy Monkey Makers, my classes are fun, exciting, sensory and messy exploration classes for age 6 months to 5 years!

Our classes offer your little monkey an environment to explore their imagination, concentration and freedom of expression in a fun, safe and non-restricted environment.  We can offer them the chance to explore using resources such as sand, water, slime, paint, playdough and much more! This enables them to understand how things feel, smell, sound, taste all which can support their development.

At Messy Monkey Makers it’s not about the finished product, it’s about the process. We do not make things that are perfect we make things that are squidgy, squelchy, crafty, creative, splodgy, sparkly and most of all messy. Our aim is to empower children of all ages and ability through creativity.

Mess without the stress!

Classes run during term time on a Tuesday and Friday starting at 10:30am and are ran out of Popley Fields Community Centre.  I also run special events once a month on a Sunday and also have events during the school holidays.

Drop in’s are available for £6 but need to be booked in advance and are subject to availability.

For more information or to get booked on please go to www.messymonkeymakers.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/messymonkeymakers/
Instagram @messymonkeymakers
Or via email kerry@messymonkeymakers.com

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Drama Tots Basingstoke

Hi, my name is Kate and I run Drama Tots Basingstoke, an award winning preschool activity for 18mnth-4 yr olds. Having trained professionally in musical theatre, I have worked extensively with children, both in a theatrical and teaching capacity.

Our classes use original music, props, puppets and our imaginations to take you and your little ones on new and exciting adventures each week. Having been designed with the EYFS curriculum in mind, many of our activities have educational benefits as well as being lots of fun. Our nurturing environment means that our classes help to bring confidence to shyer children as well as harnessing the creative sides of those who are already more extrovert.

Classes start back from Monday the 10th September and run on a weekly basis during term time. We offer 3 week trial packages for £12 which give you a good overview of what it is all about.

I will also be doing a taster session at Playdays soft-play on Tuesday the 18th September at 10am, (normal entrance fee applies) where you can take part in a class and have time in the soft play as well.

For more information and to book a trial please see our website: www.dramatots.co.uk
Facebook page – Drama Tots Basingstoke
Instagram- @dramatotsbasingstoke
or contact me: kate@dramatots.co.uk

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Glamping in Devon: The Best of Both Worlds

Do you like the idea of camping – being at one with nature and in the outdoors – but dread the idea of sleeping on the floor and trekking across the field to the toilet block in the middle of the night? Or perhaps you had a bad experience as a child and vowed never to go again? If any of these thoughts sound familiar maybe you should think about trying glamping – AKA glamorous camping.

We have just launched Valleyside Escapes; a luxury family-friendly glampsite in the historic village of Bickleigh-on-Exe in Devon. We have three safari-style tents which sleep up to six. There is a king-sized bedroom, a twin bedroom and an enclosed cabin bed which can sleep two children, or adults! At the back of the tent, accessible by both bedrooms, is a bathroom ‘pod’ containing a walk-in shower, toilet and sink – so no getting spooked if you need the toilet in the middle of the night! The beds are comfy and made with premium quality bedding – you may feel like you’re in a hotel room – but just remember the walls are canvas so you may need to bring some ear plugs if any of your friends or family snore!

In the living area there is a small kitchen with fridge freezer and gas hob – so you won’t need to wait hours for the camp fire to start before you have a tea or coffee in the morning, and if you don’t want to have a BBQ every night you can also whip up a quick bowl of pasta. There is also a lounge area for putting your feet up and chilling out.

The best bit though is the outside – a veranda overlooking the beautiful Exe valley countryside with rolling patchwork hills and you can even see a vineyard! It’s a great backdrop to enjoy a family meal together or just sip on an ice cold beer or wine and take in the scenery. For the children there is a play area with swing, slide and various balancing beams and tyres to keep them amused, for a little while at least. The whole family can join in playing the various garden games that are also provided and really make the most of the space and being together.

There is also nature on your doorstep…we have sheep grazing in our Orchard and in our lower pasture, you will see and hear all sorts of different bird song including pheasants and peacocks and the odd fox or rabbit may drop by as well.

If you want to get out and about locally there is a pub and bistro within 200 metres and even more within a short drive – a night off cooking is definitely in order. There is also the Devon Railway Centre a two-minute walk away, with train rides, model railways, play areas including a soft play, ball and sand pit! There are numerous other attractions in both north and south Devon that can be reached from Valleyside Escapes that make it a very accessible and convenient base.

If you have never been glamping then now is definitely the time to give it a go – embrace being outdoors with the added comforts of home. We hope guests will leave Valleyside Escapes relaxed and with some special holiday memories to cherish forever.

As this is our first season we are offering discounted rates.  Further information and booking can be found on our website: www.valleysideescapes.co.uk or give us a call on 01884 855538 and you can also follow us on facebook, Instagram and twitter.

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Hampshire Doulas

What is a doula and why would you want one on your birth or postnatal team?

If you heard of something you could take into labour with you that would make you

  • More likely to give birth vaginally with neither ventouse nor forceps nor caesarean
  • Less likely to use pain medications or to have a caesarean birth
  • More likely to be satisfied with your experience
  • More likely to have a shorter labour
  • Less likely to have postpartum depression
  • Your baby could be less likely to have low five-minute Apgar scores (the score used when babies’ health and well-being are assessed at birth and shortly afterwards).

Would you want to give it a try?

According to reviews of research the type of support doulas supply has been shown to do all these things.

You’re probably wondering what exactly do doulas do that can have all these potential benefits? I asked a couple of your local doulas what they bring to your birth team.

Alex and Desiree both work in North Hampshire. As they talk about becoming doulas and what they love about being doulas I hope you will see that the benefits are so wide ranging even for times when that “more likely to” in the research doesn’t turn out to be definitely will. Perhaps we should add to the list, in our experience having a doula on your team will make you more likely to realise how amazing and wonderful you truly are.

Alex with clients

How did you hear about doulas or first start thinking it might be for you?

Alex: Unknowingly, I have doulaed for many years. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” sits very closely to me as this is how I started my Doula journey. Then a woman in my village, who I offered support to, asked me if I knew of any doulas in our area. The seed was planted as I supported her and decided to start my Doula journey officially.

Within 2 weeks of deciding to go for it I signed up for my Doula training course and within less than a year I became too busy to continue my long standing medical career. And I love what I do!

Desiree: I heard about Doula’s through my sister as she chose to have a Doula support them through their birth. I was very naive and found it odd and rather ‘hippy’. My sister had the most amazing support from her doula.

Then when was pregnant and began planning my birth I knew I wanted a Doula present and having had a long labour my doula was consistent throughout. It really sealed my desire to be able to offer that same continuity of care, calming presence and support that I received to other women and their partners.

What’s your favourite thing about being a Doula?

Desiree: It’s such a privilege for me to share such an intimate, life changing experience with a woman. Seeing her grow, her strength and her ability to birth regardless of what kind of birth – I truly value that. I love seeing women flourish as they step into motherhood, whether it’s the first time or third time.

Alex: The variety of women and couples I meet and being part of their pregnancy, birth and beyond. I feel extremely privileged being a doula. Seeing women making their own informed choices whatever situation they find themselves in. And then seeing women feeling empowered and those lush newborn baby cuddles at my first postnatal meeting.

What are your top tips for planning a positive birth?

Alex: Gather information, know about your choices, trust your body and your instincts. Never take “no” for an answer unless all resources and options explored. Hire a Doula!

Desiree: Birth is a wonderful journey that can sometimes be smooth and straightforward or it may be windy and long. Birth can be like a picnic – you may have 4 seasons in one day.  As much as we can plan, there are unforeseen events that can happen. Whilst it’s great to have a plan, it’s important to know what your options are and know that you have choices. Having a birth plan in place can help. Being prepared for all eventualities puts you in a far stronger position afterwards to feel you retained some choice and control in what happened. Understanding our hormones and our environment plays a huge part in how our bodies relax and function during the birthing process.

Do you have any top tips for new parents?

Desiree: Listen to yourself. Family and friends have the best intentions when they feel they need to ‘offer’ their advice, however there is so much conflicting advice it becomes an information overload. Do what you feel is best for you and your child. Everything your baby needs you already have.

Alex: Restrict visitors, take your time, enjoy getting to know each other, accept help (meals, house chores, childcare for older siblings). Be aware of the 4th trimester. Be gentle on yourself and never compare yourself with other new mums! Sleep when your baby sleeps during the day, even if it’s a cat nap here and there. Get support from a postnatal Doula and don’t feel afraid to ask for help!

Now you’ve had the chance to get to know a couple of our local doulas a little bit. If you decide to include a doula as part of your birth team you will get to know her really well in the antenatal sessions you have together. More importantly, she will get to know you and how she can support you and the rest of your birth team the best way for you. If you’ve got more questions you might like to check out our frequently asked questions page http://www.hampshiredoulas.co.uk/frequently-asked-questions/ and always feel free to get in touch and ask more questions if you don’t find yours is answered there.

hampshiredoulas.co.uk hampshiredoulas@gmail.com facebook.com/hampshiredoulas

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Eley Designs

Hello, my name is Louise Eley, I own and run Eley Designs, a Design & Branding Studio based in Oakley, Hampshire.


We specialise in branding and creating designs for all aspects of a business including, logo’s, business & personal stationery, direct mail, flyers, leaflets, posters, brochures, books, social media and advertising.

I’m very passionate about Graphic Design and I have been very fortunate to follow my passion and make it my career.

Having graduated in Graphic Design, I’ve worked within the design industry for over 10 years. After the birth of my first child, I took the opportunity to set up my own design business and ran it whilst bringing up my young family. This has allowed me to continue to help clients, keep up my creative skills and build my portfolio. I’m spending more time on my business now my children are getting older (very quickly it seems).


Understanding my clients business or individual needs and being able to make their ideas come to life, is what I enjoy most. At Eley Designs, we want you to be part of the design process as much as we are and have fun whilst working on a project together.

To date I have worked with many clients ranging from software developers to beauticians. The variation in projects makes my job very creative and exciting.

If you are a business that needs to update your current branding, or a start up business that requires a brand or you just require graphics / designs for marketing purposes, then Eley Designs can help.

Please take a look at:

Website: www.eleydesigns.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eleydesigns

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EleyDesigns

Instagram: https://instagram.com/eley_designs/

Tell us about your next project, we’d love to help you!

We look forward to hearing from you,

Louise Eley