Bubbly, Bertie and Boob Cake… It’s the Secret Art Launch Party!

Tickets are now available for the launch party of the inaugural Secret Art Basingstoke on 19th July at 7pm at Desklodge in Belvedere House, Basingview – come join us!

Thanks to the kind people at Desklodge who have donated their space for the evening, we’ll be drinking bubbly and catching the first sneaky peak at the entire postcard collection before anyone else in this see-it-to-believe-it space; there’s a beach, a Zen room – there’s even a Narnia Wonderland hidden behind a wardrobe!

We’ve also got a few delicious extras (aside from the delicious canapes);

Special Guest Bertie Carvel

We’re very excited to have Bertie Carvel with us to kick off our charity auction! Bertie has twice won the Laurence Olivier Award: for his performances as Miss Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical and Rupert Murdoch in Ink. On television, he is known for playing Jonathan Strange in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and as Simon, the cheating husband, in Doctor Foster.

Charity Auction

We’ve got tons of fabulous lots, including top price Warhorse tickets, photo shoots with award winning Studio 1314 and Basingstoke’s very own Cristina Barton, miniature portraits by Jocelyn Lawman and a family pass to The New Forest Wildlife Park. Check the website for details of all the lots as they come in.

Art Demonstrations – Watch local artist Fatima Pantoja (from the ‘Sitting with Jane’ project) demonstrating her portraiture skills, and then sit for a quick portrait!

Live Music – Pianist Thomas Barfoot will keep us entertained all evening.

Boob cake – It wouldn’t be an NCT event without it! Cakes by Chris has created a boobilicious cake – each boob a different flavour!

Goodie bags – For the first 20 guests through the door.

Early Bird ticket £5 (prosecco and canapes on arrival)
General Admission £10 (prosecco and canapes on arrival)
Corporate ticket £100 (6 seats at dedicated table, canapes and bottle of prosecco)

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Review 2018: The Fairy ClothesMother

My recent Wardrobe Refresh session with Victoria was SOO AWESOME but not only that, she’s also very kindly offering a very generous discount to NHM Readers! See below.

If you are stuck for presents for anyone or feel you need a BOOST yourself, I HIGHLY recommend as you can read below.

Review 2018: The Fairy ClothesMother

About

Victoria messaged me and asked me if I would like to have a Wardrobe ReFresh in exchange for a review and I thought I’d give it a go as I had nothing left to lose and could definitely use the help.

She used to run the store in Vintage Treasures, a boutique specialising in vintage and vintage inspired clothing, on Church Street, in Basingstoke so she knows what she is talking about!

I’ll be honest, I was NOT looking forward to Victoria coming round to help me de-clutter my wardrobe.  In my head I had visions of Trinny and Suannah (I’m showing my age now!) and GokWan DECIMATING my wardrobe.

My focus for the past few years has been on getting Miss NHM well again and as part of this I have completely neglected my body and my wardrobe reflects this.

I’ve written before about having a uniform as I don’t have time to think in the mornings or the night before as I prefer to spend my time and energy on other things. If you’ve been reading NHM for a while you’ll know that I am allergic to most man made materials, particularly polyester.

Trying to shop for clothes these days, that don’t have polyester or lycra in is very, very, VERY frustrating. There are certain shops that I know I can shop in that have 100% cotton and I tend to stick to those as I know that they aren’t going to cause me any issues.

Although this does mean that I’ve been in a bit of a clothing rut. I hate clothes shopping at the best of times and then having to double check every single label well… it’s depressing and I don’t have the motivation for it.

So the thought of Victoria coming round and telling me that I needed to go shopping for more clothes….I wasn’t looking forward to it….

Before we met

A couple of weeks before our appointment Victoria sent me a document with several questions asking me things like my hair and eye colour, what my current style is and what my dream look would be.

The document also asked me about my shopping habits and I think she could probably work out from there that I was going to be a total pain in the butt!!! (facepalm!)

Victoria also asked me to send some pictures of my face and my body, so she could see what she would be working with.

The Wardrobe Refresh Appointment

Victoria came round to my house one lunchtime, but just after I’d had a filling. So I was feeling a bit miserable, my face was all numb and I was really not in the mood for the appointment.

However, I haven’t laughed so much in AGES!!! Victoria spent about 15 minutes with me talking through my answers to the questions she’d sent me and I felt SOOOO at ease! You can immediately tell that Victoria’s main aim is to make you feel much better at the end of the appointment than you do at the beginning.

She asked me to write three words down describing how I was feeling right then about my clothes and those words were pretty depressing.

Victoria then talked through my colours and told me that I’m an “Autumn”. I had my colours done years ago and I already knew I was an Autumn and had told Victoria this in my answers but it was really, really good to go through which colours suit me again. Even though I have a colour wallet from when my colours were done when I was 18 years old, I wasn’t sure if they would still be the colours to suit me.

Victoria then briefly talked through which styles suit me best which was quite enlightening.

We then just got stuck in to my wardrobe.

I have quite a small wardrobe but it turns out that I have LOADS of clothes hidden away and even some in Miss NHM’s wardrobe that I had completely forgotten about.

We went through EVERY SINGLE ITEM of clothing in my cupboard and it was… AWESOME!!!

Victoria gave me permission (well, she didn’t actually give me permission but it felt like it!) to get rid of clothes that I’ve been hanging onto for years that I shouldn’t have been.

I read the Life Changing magic of Tidying three years ago (WOW, how time flies!) and even though there were clothes that I had purged then, there were some items that I still had an emotional attachment too that needed to be got rid of.

We went through everything and sorted them into three piles: keep, sell, recycle. It was SUCH an uplifting experience!!! Not at all what I expected.

Normally I’m quite self concious about my body, but I was just stripping off and getting stuck in and Victoria was brilliant. She echoed many things that I’d said in my head about some outfits, except she said it out loud. Hearing someone else say lots and lots of really positive things about my wardrobe was just amazing!

I realised that I do have lots and lots of beautiful dresses that I just don’t wear that I really ought too!

I felt absolutely AMAZING after the appointment. Victoria asked me to update my three words again, about how I was feeling, and it was like they were written by another person!

She advised me to start wearing more colours and notice the compliments that start rolling in and you know what, she was absolutely right! I’ve had LOADS of comments about what I’ve been wearing recently since my Wardrobe ReFresh.

Victoria also suggested making adjustments to certain items of my clothing and has recommended a local seamstress who can do this for me. I only actually need to buy ONE ITEM of clothing for my wardrobe! I expected that I would probably have to buy at least 4 or 5 new items but with modifications to my current clothes and that one item of clothing, it’s going to make such a difference!

Victoria is even going to find me the items that I need online and send the links over to me so I can just buy them directly. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!!!

Victoria says that that with her BOOST Style ethos:

“My mission is to have you with a wardrobe of clothes that are working for your body shape, not against you, in the correct seasonal colour palette and reflect your lifestyle and personality. Most of all I want you to feel empowered to be you! After all, you are the best person to do YOU!”

By the end of the appointment I was literally jumping with joy. I had freed up lots of space in my wardrobe, I’ve got a pile of clothes to sell on ebay so I can use that money to buy my extra item of clothing and it felt really good to “let go” of some clothes that I’d been hanging on to for years.

I couldn’t stop hugging the poor girl before she left as she’d made me feel so happy!!

After Care

A couple of days later, Victoria sent me a document which covered everything we had discussed. This was called “Louise style file” and it’s absolutely FANTASTIC!!!!

I cannot stop raving about this document! It’s absolutely bloody brilliant!

I love that the document has my body shape analysis and explains what body shape I am and also has a wonderful list of Do’s and Don’t’s for my body shape, which is going to make it sooooo much easier to shop with now! The document even includes pictures of styles that are mentioned, so if you don’t know what bootcut trousers look like, there is a picture to show you.

I also really liked that there is explanation of my colour analysis with suggestions of colours for me to wear.

There is also a section which highlights the key pieces that I should add to my wardrobe (very delighted it’s only 1 so I don’t have to spend much! lol).

Victoria also sent me a private style board on Pinterest. I love, love, LOVE the private style boardt. It’s absolutely brilliant and has lots and lots of suggestions of outfits that will suit me. My style for swim wear, formal wear and even some pictorial examples of which make up colours suit me best!

Absolutely perfect!!

Other Services

Victoria also offers a “Virtual Shopping Session”: “This is a digital file the she sends to you containing links to all of the items mentioned above, you can them order those that you feel suit and when they arrive you have a session via Skype for Victoria to check the fit and style, helping you decide which to keep and which, if any, to return. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe for a new season, holiday or special event without having to leave home!

I will soooo be taking her up on this “virtual shopping session” when I have a wedding to go too as she literally picks out the items for you and sends you the online links so all you have to do is order them. AMAZING!

Discount for NHM Readers

Victoria is very kindly offering NHM Readers a discount code -(NHM25) giving you a 25% discount on the “Wardrobe ReFresh” session.

Please quote this code when getting in touch with Victoria.

Rating out of 5

Twenty Five Hundred out of 5, as Miss NHM says. This was one of the best ways that I’ve spent two hours in a very long time. Victoria is absolutely lovely and a very positive person who made me feel sooooo much better about my wardrobe and also myself.

The appointment is very good value for money and having now had the appointment I would happily pay double for another one (don’t tell Victoria that, obviously! facepalm). I will actually be saving money in the long run, because instead of ordering clothes and finding out that they don’t fit me properly which means I don’t wear them often, I will know EXACTLY what to buy and won’t be wasting any money anymore.

Victoria really is a Fairy ClothesMother and I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend her services!!

You can find out more about The Fairy ClothesMother at: https://www.facebook.com/FairyClothesMother/

or at her website: https://givingyouaboost.wixsite.com/hello

Disclaimer: This post is a review of the Wardrobe ReFresh by The Fairy Clothesmother. The Wardrobe Refresh service was supplied free of charge for the purposes of this 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: HAIRaffair Basingstoke

I recently received a message on facebook from Aideen, asking me if I would like to have my hair done in exchange for a review on NorthHantsMum.

I jumped at the chance! 😀

(There is a special offer for NHM Readers at the bottom of this post :-D)

HAIRaffair Basingstoke

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not a “girly girl” but I do take an interest in how I look. I haven’t had my hair cut in a salon in over 10 years as I have always found hairdressers to be very intimidating places, especially as I’m not into fashion.

It turned out that at a recent fundraising raffle I had won a voucher to get my hair cut but hadn’t realised it that it was with Aideen. I actually gave the voucher to a friend who needed pampering more than me, so when Aideen got in contact it clicked that I’d given away my voucher!!!! lol.

I explained to Aideen that I wasn’t really a girly girl and she was absolutely lovely about it. I did know that I wanted my hair to be coloured but I didn’t want her to be anymore out of pocket, especially as she’d been so generous with her raffle donation.

I explained that I just wanted a trim and colour and we agreed that I would cover the cost of the colouring and she would cut my hair in exchange for this review.

About

Aideen decided on her career path when she was traveling around Australia for a year after studying at college and university. She’s always loved playing with hair but at the time she thought that she would end up in a different career. Then she saw that lots of fellow travellers cutting hair and making money flexibly and it confirmed her career decision.

Once back from Australia she worked and trained at Arc in Basingstoke town centre and then progressed to a salon in Odiham where she was assistant manager and senior stylist. Then a couple of years ago, after her son was born, she decided to convert a room in her house to her salon and she hasn’t looked back!

We had a chat when I arrived and Aideen chose the best colour for me based on what I’d told her.

Aideen then applied the foils to my hair whilst we continued chatting.

Once the foils came out, Aideen washing my hair in her fancy hair sink and gave me a lovely mini head massage.

Then Aideen cut my hair and layered it a bit. I didn’t realise how long my hair was as she cut off about 4 inches and it was still really long! lol.

We basically didn’t stop talking for the whole two hours!!! It was really lovely to chat to her and she’s a great listener.

She did a fantastic job with my hair and blow dried it straight as my hair normally has a bit of a kink about it.

I came out of Aideen’s salon literally bouncing. There is literally nothing like having 1.5 hours of being pampered and coming out with a fab new hair colour and hairstyle!

My FAB new hair!!!

When I got home Mr NHM said “something’s different…” which is high praise in our household! lol.

Miss NHM kept telling me how beautiful I looked. She’s not used to me having my hair down.

I felt amazing for the rest of the weekend with my fab new hair!

Tips

Aideen normally works only on Saturdays but if you are desperate, she can fit you in at other times.

Facilities

Aideen’s studio is attached to her house but it’s fab because you literally have it ALL TO YOURSELF!!! She only has one to two people at a time so you have her full concentration.

Baby Facilities

Babies are very welcome at Aideen’s studio.

The perk of Aideen only having one client at a time means that you can take your baby along as there is room for a baby car seat.

If you let her know in advance that you are taking a baby with you, she said she will allow extra time in case you need to focus on your baby at any point. How fab is that!

Aideen is very understanding as she has two small children of her own.

Parking

Is free and on the drive and streets near Aideen’s house.

Prices

Prices are what you would expect for an independent hairstylist with her own studio.

For example, a cut, style and finish is £35.

Rating out of 5

Aideen did SUCH an AWESOME job! I absolutely love it!!! My hair looked amazing.

I will easily give her 5 out of 5 because she made me feel so welcome and really looked after me.

I love the colour and the cut was a really good cut. It was such a luxury to have my hair washed AND dried.

If you need a new haircut and are looking for some pampering at the same time, I highly recommend visiting Aideen’s salon!

Aideen can be reach on 07808316933 for any bookings. She also has a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HAIRaffairbasingstoke/

Aideen is also very kindly offering NHM Readers a first time discount £5 off cut and £15 off colour and cut booked together.

Thank you Aideen!!!!!!

Disclaimer: This post is a review of HairAffair Hairdressing. My experience 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!

NHM Readers recommend: Pottery painting with children

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook where can you do pottery painting with children in the local area. (Thank you very much to everyone who responded and to Shona for putting this post together!!)

This is what they came back with, in no particular order!

NHM Readers Recommend Pottery Painting Venues to take children

Pots2Paint

Units 9&10, Viables Craft Centre, The Harrow Way, Basingstoke, RG22 4BJ

Open Tuesday to Saturday between 10.30am and 5.30pm

Please also see the NHM Review about Pots2Paint.

Pots to Doodle Do

The Old Village Shop, Church Lane, Cliddesden, Basingstoke, RG25 2JQ

Open during term time Thursday to Saturday 10am to 4pm. During school holidays, open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm

Please also see the NHM Review about Pots to Doodle Do.

The Ceramics Cafe  

Unit 2, Coronation Road, Basingstoke, RG21 4HA

Only open on Saturdays between 10am and 5.30pm

Just Ceramics

Unit 3, The Old Stables, Oakhanger Farm Business Park, Oakhanger, GU35 9JA

Open Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday’s 11am – 4pm.

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Date Night: At the Planetarium

I’m not sure when I found out that Winchester Planetarium does Adult Only shows (not as dodgy as it sounds :-D) but I’ve been itching for Mr NHM and I to go on one for Date Night for at least a year.

In July 2015 we finally got to go for our regular Date Night and it was AWESOME!!!!!

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but it was a REALLY interesting experience.

Mr NHM and I held hands all the way through but I also learnt LOADS of things about the universe that I really should know!

When we went the show started at 7pm. We rocked up and waited in the lobby with everyone else.

There were refreshments in the lobby if you weren’t organised enough to take them with you, which I thought was a great idea.

You could go into the planetarium 15 minutes before the show so we went in and got some great seats, in the middle of the planetarium.

I hadn’t realised that it’s actually a “live” show, so someone talks you through everything you are seeing. We were shown which stars to look out for in the night sky for this time of year, which was really cool.

We then, literally, had a tour of the universe. Breathtaking and mindblowing are the two words that come to mind.

It was absolutely fascinating and made me realise just how small and insignificant we are. I also came to realise how much we still don’t know about our universe and how the experts are discovering new things about the universe EVERY DAY!

When we went in July 2015 we were four days away from the New Horizonsinterplanetary space probe achieving it’s mission of taking pictures of Pluto. It is the first spacecraft to explore the dwarf planet. Yup, this thing has been on it’s mission to Pluto for NINE YEARS and this was the first time we would get clear pictures of Pluto. I was gobsmacked at this.

At the end of the show you can ask questions and I asked a question about how is it possible in all of those kids planet sets you can buy, that Pluto is a certain colour, (yes, sometimes I’m not the brightest, but I thought it was a great question!)  if we have never actually taken a picture of it and we don’t actually know, why is it always depicted as it is?

I was told that it was based on all of the information that we knew about Pluto including it’s gases, etc. But these were the first ever close up pictures of Pluto and we got to see them in the Planetarium when they were only a few hours old!?!??!?!!? This totally blew my mind.

I enjoyed this far more than the cinema because we talked about it ALL the way home.

It was a great bonding experience for Mr NHM and I and we are really looking forward to going again.

So, if you are looking for something a little bit different to do on Date Night, this comes HIGHLY recommended 😀.

Oh and they also do a regular Singles Night which includes curry!??!?! What a cool way to meet your future partner 😀.

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,Google+,Facebook PageFacebook Profile, LinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Babysitting in Basingstoke

Stephanie added a great comment to my recent Monday Night Date Nights post, asking if I had any suggestions about babysitting options.

I’ve had a draft post about babysitting for over 2.5 years! I just had no idea where to start. So I thought I better get on and get this post published!

I put out a plea on NHM on FB asking for suggestions. There are a LOT of people who are looking for babysitters or who would like to be in a babysitting circle.

So, in an attempt to help people, I’ve created a FB Group for Babysitting in Basingstoke:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1394036670818903/

This is for parents and for qualified babysitters to make contact.

It is also a place where people can put up their comments about wanting to be in a babysitting circle.

I have no idea if this will work but at least it’s a start.

Please add anyone else to the group who you think would be interested. There is such a demand for babysitting in the area, that I can’t believe someone hasn’t jumped on this business opportunity already!!

For those who are interested in creating a babysitting circle, why not organise a family catch up so that groups of families meet so you know whether you feel comfortable leaving your child with other people.

Good luck!!!

Disclaimer: I would also like to add a disclaimer that I take no responsibility at all for via this Babysitting FB Group. I’m just putting people in touch with other people. It’s your responsibility to vet people, etc.

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,Google+,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Date Afternoon Ideas in Winter

In the run up to Christmas you might not have time to have Date Nights, but you may be able to squeeze in a “Date Afternoon”. We are planning to have one in between Christmas and New Year, when Miss NHM is  in nursery.

I feel dreadfully guilty about it, but she loves nursery and Mr NHM and I get to spend some quality time together remembering what it’s like to just be the two of us!

I posted up about Date Night Ideas a few months ago and you can read my suggestions HERE. In the same manner, Date “Afternoons” are also a big deal in our house.

On our Wedding Anniversary we both took half a day off from work,  left our little one in nursery, and went to lunch and then an afternoon cinema showing. It’s cheaper all round, much emptier and you often have the cinema to yourself (assuming it’s not school holidays! lol).

Mr NHM recently sorted us out a Gourmet Society card. I think it cost us £20 a year, but we made the money back within the first couple of times of using it.

We often go out for lunch as Mr NHM works strange shift hours. Sometimes, the only time we can sit down together in a week  is over lunch. Some of our favourites:

  • Spruce Goose (love the value of the daytime menu)
  • The Portsmouth Arms
  • Nando’s (his choice)
  • Wagamama’s (my choice)

As already mentioned we also go to the cinema on the odd occasion during the day and we plan to go bowling one day as it’s also cheaper during the day.

Although this isn’t so appropriate for the weather at the moment, we love a good picnic. One of the best “Date’s” we ever went on was a picnic in February. There was snow on the ground but we had an awesome afternoon.

Do you have any suggestions for other Afternoon Dates?

Related Posts

Babysitting in Basingstoke

8 “Cheap” Restaurants in Basingstoke (Meal for 2 for under £15)

Date Night Ideas for Autumn

Reasonably Priced Afternoon Tea’s

Great Picnic spots in Basingstoke

Date Night Ideas for Autumn

Do you have Date Nights with your partner?

We started going on Date Nights about a year ago. My little one was old enough to be babysat by a grandparent or trusted babysitter, so we thought we ought to make some specific time to spend together. Otherwise, the evenings just tended to roll into one another.

Date Nights have become even more important now my husband works shifts, as our evenings together are even more limited.

Date Night/Afternoon is a big thing in our house. I really look forward to Date Nights. It’s fun to plan what we are going to do and how we are going to spend this precious time together, out of the house, just the two of us, not as parents or as employee’s, but as a couple.

I’m putting together a list of Date Afternoon ideas too, so look out for that over the next few weeks.

If you always go out to dinner together – this list is a little bit more than that…

Some Date Night Ideas

Go Ice Skating

Party Night at Planet Ice, Leisure Park

Yes, this is pitched at people half my age and younger, but we went recently and had such a giggle.

Be warned that Planet Ice have changed the hire skates ice hockey skates, so I’m not as good as I used to be! Plus, after half an hour, we were toast! lol.

We did have a lot of fun though.

Go to a dancing session

There are lots and lots of dance classes for adults. These are just a selection of some I’ve found or been too over the years:

Jive Dancing Clubs – Basingstoke

Salsa – Basingstoke

Ballroom and Latin American – Basingstoke and Camberley

Go to an Ice Hockey match

Basingstoke Bison have an ice hockey match nearly every weekend at Planet Ice, in the Leisure Park. For more details, click HERE.

Go on an Owl Walk

The Hawk Conservancy is doing some “Owl by Moonlight” Walk in the evening times. For more details click HERE.

This looks really romantic and I’m hoping Mr NHM reads this post and takes the hint! :-D.

Go for a Spa evening

This doesn’t have to be just for girlies! lol

Below are just a few of the local Spa’s. I’m hoping to do a post on local Spa’s very soon…

Nirvana Spa – Wokingham

Hampshire Centre court Hotel – Basingstoke

Donnington Valley Spa – Newbury (I went here recently and it was FAB! Totally recommend the Afternoon tea package)

Go to a Roller Disco!

There is a Roller Disco in Newbury every Saturday evening at Northcroft Leisure Centre.

I’m itching to go to one of these events. We have some friends who go nearly every weekend to the Roller Disco. I remember fondly, the Roller Disco that used to be at the Sports Centre in town. Again, I realise I’m showing my age! lol :-D.

Go to the Planetarium

Intech Science Centre in Winchester hosts “Adults only” evenings.

What could be more romantic than watching the stars together :-D.

Go Sky Diving

I couldn’t really not mention the new Sky Diving facilities in the Leisure Park. This looks AWESOME and I’m hoping that I’m not too much of a woos to try it out! lol.

I hope some of these suggestions give you some inspiration. If you have any other ideas, please let me know as I’m always looking for something a bit different to do on our nights out together. Thanks!