NHM Readers Recommend: Family Friendly Wedding Venues

I recently asked the NHM Community if they could help with a question I had received: “We are looking for a family friendly venue for a wedding breakfast in March. Just lunch or possibly lunch and dinner. Somewhere in Hampshire. Possibly a hotel where we can all stay but there’s only 15 of us so I would like it to feel special. Thank you!”

Many thanks for all of your responses, 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: Family Friendly Wedding Venues

Rachael saidWellington on the reading road”

Charlotte saidSecond the Wellington arms got married there and highly recommend it”

Aimee saidBarton’s Mill….they have lovely accommodation now too”

Helena saidHighfield park is lovely. They have a private dining room for groups too.”

Wendy said Oakley Hall, Four seasons dogmersfield, Tylney Hall. Also the old Mill in Aldermaston, technically not Hampshire but almost.”

Erin asked “ Lizzy what was that lovely place we went for afternoon tea?”

          Lizzy repliedWarbrook House

Kirsten saidThe Mill House restaurant and hotel, Swallowfield. I got married there and they have 12 hotel rooms. Very homely and family friendly”

Sasha saidHoliday inn basingstoke is amazing, had a small wedding (21) there and incredible wedding breakfast

Sue saidEsseborne manor

Siobhan said The Hoddington Arms. They have a lovely barn that will be perfect for a small wedding breakt”

Lainey saidWe got married in a small hotel called The Lismoyne Hotel in Fleet.”

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Action for Happiness – Exploring What Matters Course

March 20th was the International Day of Happiness. Sounds a bit trite? Well, the national mental health and wellbeing charity, Action for Happiness, is doing its bit to help people find happiness, break isolation and build social cohesion – despite life’s difficulties. Take a look at the BBC’s coverage of AfH on the day.

Locally, AfH will be running a new course called Exploring What Matters to help people discover how to live a happier and kinder life. Evaluation surveys from over 1,000 previous course attendees have showed significant improvements in both the personal wellbeing (+20% Life Satisfaction; +13% Mental Wellbeing) and also in the pro-social behaviour (+9% Compassion; +16% Trust) of the course participants, and we could all use a bit of that.

Jasmine Hodge-Lake came to the course having suffered for over a decade with chronic pain which left her unable to work. She describes how it helped her:

“I wouldn’t be where I am now without Action for Happiness and that course. I found there were things I could do that would make a big difference and started to feel hopeful about the future. I still have bad days and life certainly isn’t perfect. But it has really helped me so much. Now I’m trying to be the change that I want to see.”

The course is based on groups of up to 24 people exploring “big questions” together each week. The questions/themes for the 8 sessions are as follows:

  1. What really matters in life?
  2. What actually makes us happy?
  3. Can we find peace of mind?
  4. How should we treat others?
  5. What makes for great relationships?
  6. Can we be happier at work?
  7. Can we build happier communities?
  8. How can we create a happier world?

Each weekly session follows the same structured format, which includes:

  • Tuning In. Starting each session with short mindfulness and gratitude exercises to create a calm and positive atmosphere and to encourage friendly connections.
  • Expert View. Watching a short video relating to the theme, including talks by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Richard Layard, Karen Armstrong, Ed Diener and Brene Brown.
  • Personal View. Reflecting on personal experiences relating to that week’s theme.
  • Did You Know? Learning interesting new ideas based on the latest research.
  • Group Discussion. Having an in-depth discussion in small groups of 3-4 people.
  • Action. Committing to a personal action to take based on what has been discussed.

Participants are asked to make a donation of £90 to attend. However, there is a genuine pay-what-you-can offer if that is too much – no questions, no embarrassment so that the course remains open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. On the other hand, Participants who are able to donate more help to ensure the course is available for those who have less.

The course will take place at The Viables Community Centre every Thursday for 8 weeks, starting on 2nd May. Please get your tickets now from Eventbrite.

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Local Dad is a record breaking beatboxer and is bringing his family theatre show to Basingstoke

Local dad Simon Shlomo Kahn, professionally known as SK Shlomo, grew up in Buckinghamshire and now lives in Hook with his wife and two young children.

His breathtaking vocal skills gained him early recognition as a world record breaking beatboxer and world looping champion, and he has worked with superstar fans like Ed Sheeran, Lily Allen, Rudimental and Bjork.

“Beatboxing is the art of creating unbelievably rich music using nothing but your voice” says Shlomo. “Beatboxers can create the sound of a full orchestra or electronic track – the drums, the keyboards, the basslines, all performed using nothing but a mouth and a mic.

“It’s an amazingly empowering way for people from all walks of life to express themselves and I love teaching people how simple it is to make vocal rhythms”

SK Shlomo is bringing his family theatre show “Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids” to Basingstoke Anvil this Easter on April 16th, where everyone young and old can become one of his superstar sidekicks in a world of funny sounds, brilliant noises and cool music.

“Hook is a great place for families. We’ve made lots of lovely friends here on the school and nursery run who keep asking me to bring my kids show to a local theatre so we are finally doing it! The Anvil is a great venue and I’m really excited to share my love of music with the next generation of music makers. My own boys are excited they can finally come to a show too but I know the parents will have just as much fun!”

Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure For Kids is currently on tour and is at Basingstoke Anvil on April 16th 2019
Find out more: skshlomo.com/kids
Book tickets now: anvilarts.org.uk or Box Office: 01256 844244

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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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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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Chalk Ridge Christmas Fayre – 1st December 2018

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Santas, Pantos and Other Christmas 2018 events

Thank you very much to W for putting together today’s post on NHM! She’s done an awesome job!

Santas, Pantos and Other Christmas 2018 events

I know, I know it’s too soon but the kids are back at school, Strictly and the X Factor have started and several places are now taking bookings for Santa visits/experiences.  If you need a weekend slot or you want to take advantage of early bird discounts the next few weeks are the best time to book.

Below are some of the local places to visit Santa, plus several other Christmas experiences that you may wish to book or put in the diary now.  With school holidays starting late this year demand for weekend slots for Santa will be high so book early.

Experiences with a Santa Visit

More of the Good Stuff – Dummer.  Now taking bookings for Breakfast or Tea with Santa

Wyevale Garden Centre – Sherfield on Loddon.  Tickets are now on sale for Santa’s Grotto.  They also normally do Breakfast or tea with Santa, keep an eye on their website for details.

Millers Ark – Nr Hook.  Lots of Christmas events including a Santa’s Grotto, Carols in the Barn and a Nativity with real animals.

4 Kingdoms – Headley.  Now taking bookings for their Christmas experience.

Finkley Down Farm – Andover.  Booking now open.

Basingstoke Canal – Mychett.  Booking opens 1st Oct.  Bookings by phone or in person.

Watercress Line – Alresford/Alton.  Book now for the Santa Special.

Marwell – Winchester.  Tickets on sale from September 17th.

Winchester Science Centre – Winchester.  Bookings now open for their Santa experience.

Paultons Park – Ower.  Tickets now on sale.

Lapland UK – Windsor.  Tickets now on sale

Legoland – Windsor.  Christmas tickets now on sale, discount for early booking.

Santa Grottos

Festival Place – Basingstoke.  Details TBC.  This is normally the cheapest Santa in the area.  No Booking required.

Henry Street Garden Centre –Arborfield.  Booking normally opens in October, weekends book up very fast.

Dobbies Garden Centre – Shinfield.  Book via website.

Redfields Garden Centre – Church Crookham.  Details yet to be released.  Normlly book instore or by phone 01252 624444.

Other Christmas Events

Festival Place Lights Switch On – Basingstoke.  Date TBC.

The Malls – Basingstoke.  Date TBC.  The Lights switch on is normally the start of a host of Christmas events in the Malls.  See their website for details.

Festival Place Santa Parade – Basingstoke.  TBC.

Milestones Christmas Market – Basingstoke.  8th – 9th Dec

Basingstoke Festive Fun Run – Memorial Park Basingtoke.  Dec 16th.  Please check website for times.

Lantern Procession – Newbury.  Dec 16th.  Join in or just admire and soak up the atmosphere as the candle-lit procession travels along Northbrook Street to the Market Place

Winchester Cathedral – Nov 17th – Jan 2nd.  Check out the cathedral website for all the events at Winchester Cathedral including the Christmas Market and the Ice Rink.

Theatre

The Magical Christmas Toy Shop – Proteus Basingstoke.  Dec 14th – 24th.  Interactive Christmas performance, Santa normally makes an appearance.  Early bird discount until September 30th.  For pre-school children (although most infants love it too).

Reindeer on the Roof – Central Studio Basingstoke.  Dec 14th.  Suitable for the whole family.

A Christmas Carol  – More of the Good Stuff, Dummer.  Dec 16th A production for Children.

Santa’s Christmas Party – The Haymarket Basingstoke.  Dec 7th – 9th ages 2 -7

Santa’s Christmas Party – Theatre Royal Winchester.  Dec 17th.  All ages

Pantos

Snow White – The Anvil Basingstoke.  Dec 13th – Jan 6th.  All ages

Aladdin – The Hexagon Reading.  Dec 8th – Jan 6th.  All ages.  With Justin Fletcher.

Beauty & The Beast– Theatre Royal Winchester.  Dec 1st – Jan 6st.  All ages

Jack & The Beanstalk – Corn Exchange Newbury.  Nov 30st – Jan 6th.  All ages

Dick Whittington – Mayflower Southampton.  Dec 15th – Jan 6th.  All ages.

And one for the Grown Ups

The Scummy Mummies Christmas Show – Theatre Royal Winchester.  Dec 13th  Ages 18+

Please let us know of any events you feel should be added to

For details of loads of other events follow Louise Nhm Smith on facebook and look up events.

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Review 2018: CarFest South

Thank you very much to R for today’s NHM Secret Review!!!

Review 2018: CarFest South

Wow.  Our day at CarFest was certainly one to remember!  Ha ha. I will explain…

CarFest doesn’t do anything half-heartedly.  It gives 100% to the atmosphere, to the entertainment, to the food, to the music, to the cars and to the fundraising.  It really is impressive. Unfortunately, on our day visit, the weather also decided to give 100%… 100% rain!!! All day.  From start to finish. It rained. And rained. And rained some more. It was relentless.

Now you would think, with all the problems that the weather was creating, that the event would be a washout.  However, I am pleased to report that it definitely wasn’t getting the better of this very British affair. We had an amazing time at CarFest and, weirdly, the crazy torrential rain made the whole experience even more unforgettable!

Top Tip:  Be prepared for all weather conditions (take suncream, hats, layers, waterproofs, picnic blankets/chairs, umbrella, etc) as this is largely an outdoor event.

About

CarFest South is a fantastic weekend of family fun, awesome cars, delicious food and great music.  It was founded by Chris Evans and raises money for BBC Children in Need.

It takes place over the August bank holiday weekend each year.

It is located on Laverstoke Park Farm, near Overton in Hampshire, clearly signposted from Basingstoke.  We didn’t encounter any issues with traffic or queuing at all.

There is plenty of parking onsite.  

Top Tip:  Please note that it is a long uphill walk from the car parks so choose suitable comfortable footwear.  Also make a note of which car park you are in to make it easier to find when you return in the dark!

Since its start in 2012, CarFest has raised £10.5 million for BBC Children in Need!  The purchasing of CarFest tickets, adding to the collection buckets, buying merchandise from the Pudsey shop and getting raffle tickets, all contribute to this wonderful charity helping disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

What’s On

The weekend is jam-packed with family-friendly entertainment.  I couldn’t possibly include everything in this review but here is a quick overview to give you an idea of what’s on:

Family
Farm Olympics, Steam Fair & Rides, Car-nival Parade, Kids’ Theatre, Inflatables, Kids’ Driving School and so much more.

Cars
Race track, Cartopia & Wall of Death, Vintage Village, Motorshow and Pudsey Bear Dream Rides.

Music
Wigwam Stage with performances from new and unsigned acts.
Main stage – headline acts this year included James Bay, Paloma Faith, Clean Bandit and Status Quo.

Food
Food Fair, Kitchen Stage (with live cooking demos from celebrity chefs) and caterers/cafes/food stalls galore!

Top Tip:  Find out what’s on and where from the Daily Planners.  Plan ahead and schedule your day so that you don’t miss out on any of your favourite activities, acts or displays. Some of the children’s activities, such as milkshake making and biscuit decorating, require booking a timeslot.

Top Tip:  The use of ear protection for young children is recommended at CarFest due to the loud cars and music performances.  These can be collected from the Organiser’s Office.

Facilities

  • Toilets and Baby Change
  • First Aid
  • Lost Child Point
  • CarFest encourages the use of reusable bottles to help protect the environment so there are drinking water points across the site.
  • Public Wi-Fi (all proceeds from Wi-Fi connections donated to Children in Need – £1 for 1 day, £3 for full weekend access)
  • Cash Machines (NB withdrawal charges apply)
  • Information Points
  • Electric Scooter & Wheelchair hire

The following must NOT be brought onto the festival site:

  • Dogs (except assistance dogs)
  • Alcohol, Glass, BBQs.

Exhibitors

All the wonderful folk volunteering and working there must have been so wet and cold but it didn’t dampen their spirits at all.  Everyone was so kind, helpful and enthusiastic.

This was particularly true of one stand “Milk & More” who kindly welcomed us to shelter from the rain for a while.  It was very interesting to learn about their service and sample some of their products. Milk & More source milk and other fresh produce from Britain’s farms and deliver them to doorsteps nationwide.  

They are passionate about encouraging people to eat well and live sustainably and it was inspiring to hear their story. I love the idea of waking up to fresh milk from a glass bottle. They were even providing the weekend’s campers with lovely fresh tasty breakfast hampers!  Their website is definitely worth a look.

https://www.milkandmore.co.uk/

Highlights

Chris Evans himself injected so much energy and fun into the weekend’s events.  He is very much present and actively involved in everything that’s going on. He is clearly passionate about CarFest and about the Children in Need charity and it was great to see him compere the evening’s entertainment and interact with all the performers.  

Tickets

http://www.carfest.org/ticket-information

Tickets for CarFest South in August go on sale in the previous November.

Prices vary depending on the number of days you wish to visit and whether or not you will be camping.  A 1-day family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) for the Friday this year was £143.

Children under the age of 6 can enter free of charge but you must order them a ticket.

Top Tip:  CarFest tickets are in high demand each year and can prove tricky to get your hands on.  You will need to set your alarm, be prepared and get online in plenty of time. If possible, use various devices and get friends and family on the case too!  Keep pressing refresh to see the latest information.

Rating

My rating of CarFest has to be 5 out of 5!!!  We really hope to return to this fantastic family event again next year.  We will also be hoping for a bit more luck with regards to the weather.

Reminder of Top Tips

    • CarFest tickets are in high demand each year and can prove tricky to get your hands on.  You will need to set your alarm, be prepared and get online in plenty of time. If possible, use various devices and get friends and family on the case too!  Keep pressing refresh to see the latest information.
    • It is a long uphill walk from the car parks so choose suitable comfortable footwear.  
    • Make a note of which car park you are in to make it easier to find when you return in the dark!
    • Find out what’s on and where from the Daily Planners.  Plan ahead and schedule your day so that you don’t miss out on any of your favourite activities, acts or displays. Some of the children’s activities, such as milkshake making and biscuit decorating, require booking a timeslot.
    • The use of ear protection for young children is recommended at CarFest due to the loud cars and music performances.  These can be collected from the Organiser’s Office.
    • Take picnic food and snacks with you to save some money as purchasing food onsite can be pricey.
    • Be prepared for all weather conditions (take suncream, hats, layers, waterproofs, picnic blankets/chairs, umbrella, etc) as this is largely an outdoor event.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of 2018 CarFest South in conjunction with MilkandMore. The 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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Secret Art Basingstoke is GO!

Something pretty amazing happened last Thursday in Basingstoke. Maybe you heard about it. Maybe you were there. Maybe you saw the Facebook Lives and thought “Man, I WISH I was there”. Well, yes, you should have been there. Because it was AWESOME!  

The Secret Art Basingstoke launch at Desklodge on Thursday night was epic, and you can check out all the gory details via the latest Secret Art Basingstoke blog. But in the meantime…

Today (Tuesday 24th) is the first opportunity for you to visit all four venues in our Secret Art Basingstoke trail. Grab the kids and head for Proteus Creation Space, The Discovery Centre, THAT Gallery and Willis Museum to see over 200 incredible pieces of artwork.

Each piece is the size of a postcard, and everything has been donated by artists, illustrators, tattooists and celebrities…even an MP! And if you grab one of our flyers (available at Proteus, Discovery Centre, Willis Museum and Festival Place Customer Lounge), you can also take part in The Junior Secret Art Basingstoke Scavenger Hunt; use the map to find the venues and tick off the eight hidden postcards as you find them.

Want more? Book onto one of our workshops being held over the next two weeks, designed to give your budding artists an introduction into a variety of art techniques.

Choose a 30 or 45 minute workshop in ceramics, illustration, collage, balloon manipulation or portraiture…or sign up for them all!

All workshops are Pay-What-You-Can, with a suggested donation of £3 per child. Head to the Secret Art Basingstoke website for details of all the workshops and how to book.

More? OK, how about our Junior Secret Art Basingstoke competition? Finding all our fantastic pieces of postcard sized art will hopefully get your little ones all fired up to create their own masterpieces, and we’d love to see them!

Let them loose on the blank space at the back of the Secret Art Basingstoke booklet, or use your own materials at home. There’s no brief in terms of subject or medium, so let their creativity go wild!

Upload to the Secret Art Basingstoke Facebook page with #secretartkids and they’ll be entered into the competition to win some beautiful books donated by Pan Macmillan Publishers.

Seriously? More? How about the culmination of all the canvassing, collating, fundraising, engaging, displaying, donating etc…Sale Day! If you’ve got your eye on one or more of our pictorial perfections, head to Proteus Creation Space on Saturday 4th August, when all postcards will be on sale for £20 each.

Not only will you be able to purchase a beautiful piece of original art, you’ll also finally find out who created it! The big secret behind Secret Art Basingstoke being, of course, the artists themselves.

All the artwork has been signed on the back, not the front, but when you purchase your piece you’ll be given the identity of your creator.

It could be a local artist (Hampshire is a goldmine of creativity), someone who hails from abroad (we’ve had submissions from as far away as Indonesia), a published illustrator, or perhaps a celebrity from TV and film. It really is anybody’s guess!

Doors will be opened at 10am at Proteus Creation Space by The Deputy Mayor, Cllr Diane Taylor. You might want to get there early, as it’s first come, first served; there’s even been talk of folks camping out the night before to grab a prime spot in the queue!

There will be no pre-selling of postcards, so if you’re unable to come on the day but still want a card, nominate yourself a proxy buyer (preferably one with sharp elbows).

Ok. I think that’s it. Phew.

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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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