Proteus Creation Space!

Hello NHM followers, my name is Mary and funnily enough I’m one of three Marys that now work for Proteus Creation Space. We really should have one of those awful signs above the door that’s says, “You don’t have to be called Mary to work here, but it helps!”

I’m really excited to have the opportunity to write a guest post for the NHM blog as when I tell people I work for Proteus Creation Space, all too often the response is, ‘what’s that/where’s that etc?’, and in my job as the new Marketing Manager I’m making it my mission to, (over time!) change that.

What is/ who are/ where is Proteus Creation Space?

I started my journey with Proteus little over two years ago after moving to Basingstoke from London and stumbled across the Proteus Theatre Company moving into the building formerly occupied by Fairfields Art Centre. Located on Council Road, opposite the All Saints Church, Proteus Creation Space is a dynamic, creative arts hub in the heart of Basingstoke.

During my pregnancy and maternity leave (I’m mum to a little bundle of fun, just over one, called Alex!) I became a regular customer at Aristology Cafe, which resides in the building, often taking in the local art exhibitions in the gallery space, frequenting the cool vintage market and taking my little boy along to the annual in-house Christmas Show for under-5s.

What struck me was how many friends I have made in the past two years just by popping in now and then, the friendliness of everyone who works, uses and generally ‘hangs out’ in the place and the fact that no-one bats an eyelid when little ones decide to have a total meltdown.

For mums it’s a real gem in amongst the chain coffee shops that make up the majority of the town centre, offering something quirky and individual. Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding friendly, baby changing facilities and an ever expanding programme of regular classes for babies, toddlers and children.

I guess that’s why I decided to apply to work for Proteus, as it really is a beacon of culture and creativity in Basingstoke and as it played a part in my positive experience as a new mum, I wanted to be part of its ongoing success (and hopefully other mums will have a similar experience)


On a bigger scale however Proteus Creation Space provides a real community resource offering an extensive programme of classes, workshops, events (from Burlesque nights,  to Vintage Fairs!) and exhibitions, along with in-house Theatre Productions we also provide a space for emerging and established performing artists to come and develop and then showcase their work to Basingstoke audiences.

The best way to find out what is going on is to pop into the Creation Space

I have listed some key events and classes for families at the end of the post.

Who are Proteus Theatre Company?

Resident in the Creation Space in Basingstoke, Proteus is a national touring theatre company that has been supporting the diverse communities across Hampshire and Berkshire for more than thirty years. From rural villages to socially excluded young people, it creates amazing experiences, promotes and advances education and enriches lives through the performing arts.  The company produces a minimum of three touring productions each year and the Winter Family Show is always a highlight.

Proteus also runs a successful Youth Theatre and an adult participatory theatre group (The Proteans) who put on an annual Summer Shakespeare production as well as other projects throughout the year.

Proteus runs a number of projects for those with additional needs, both within the Creation Space and throughout the wider community. One such example would be ‘Artistic’, an art based group that runs on Saturday mornings for children over 8 who feature on the autistic spectrum. All this work is charitable and absolutely vital, but the core funding we receive from local authorities only covers our basic costs, leaving very little to go towards the projects or improvements to facilities. We are therefore keen to work in partnership with local organisations or businesses to ensure these projects are sustainable for the future.

This really is only a snapshot of the many diverse projects and community events that Proteus provide and I have already managed to write an essay! (Did you know that Proteus created the Basingstoke Festival Carnival and have been one of the key organisations running all the exciting events for the Festival?)

I hope you will pop into see us soon!

Up and Coming Family Events

Baby and Mummy Yoga Tuesdays at 10:45 Contact Contact Kati Krivnak: 07450 226719 |

Vintage, Handmade and Artisan Fair Sunday 13th September  (11am-3pm)

Stories from Space – Interactive Story-telling with puppetry.  Saturday 26th Sept (10am, ages 4+)

Puppet-Making Workshop – Make your own creature from space. Satuday 26th Sept (2pm, ages 8+)

Little Red and The Wolves – Winter Family Show for ages 5 and Up. Thurs 17th  Nov (7pm),  Fri 18thNov (7pm) Sat 20th Nov(2pm), Wed 24th Nov (7pm for those with additional needs)


Plus performances in local community spaces.

Look out for our in-house Christmas Show for Under-5’s – we will be able to tell you all about this when our new brochure is ready at the end of September.

Contact : Proteus Creation Space, Council Road, Basingstoke, RG21 3DH 01256 321621

Facebook: ProteusCreationSpace

Twitter: @ProteusCreation

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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:





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

We look forward to hearing from you,

Louise Eley

Ideal Imaging Photography: Don’t just think outside of the Box; GO outside of it

I’m very fortunate to be able to start this guest blog with a friendly hello to many of my existing local customers. 2014 was a truly amazing year during which I met so many wonderful families that I feel rewarded on a daily basis in my chosen career. Your support has been incredible and I would like to publicly thank you for putting your trust in me and my camera to provide you with lasting memories from your lifestyle photography shoots.

For those of you who I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting, a warm welcome to Ideal Imaging.  Based in Old Basing, Hampshire, I specialise in family lifestyle and newborn portraits, along with wedding photography. Despite being my bread and butter, photography is my passion. I love what I do and that is reflected in my excitement over each and every couple or family that I work with. In fact, in my spare time, I enjoy … more photography – this time in the form of landscape photography. I’m always learning and have recently returned from an unbelievably satisfying week of one-on-one instruction in Italy with one of the top landscape photographers.

I believe that my love of landscapes enhances my ability to spot a great shot in a lifestyle shoot and this is one of the reasons that I take my camera and my creativity outside of the traditional studio setting to bring out the best in people. Don’t get me wrong, studio photography has a place. But it is a very different scenario to a lifestyle shoot.  To put this in to context, imagine that a studio photo shoot is about spending two hours trying to get one ‘perfect shot’ whereas a lifestyle shoot is about spending two hours capturing lots of great, candid images of everyone thoroughly enjoying themselves and therefore at their very best and ‘just being’.

Ask yourself the question; what do you love to do as a family? I’d be willing to bet that it isn’t the former scenario described above.  I’m a parent too; I understand the pressures of creating that perfect photo. The constraints of both time and space in a studio setting simply do not lend themselves to you (the collective you) being yourselves. Worries about children ‘warming’ to the photographer, ‘performing’ for the camera and generally being on their best behaviour mean that this is not conducive to creating a relaxed collection of memories to look back on. This is why I don’t just think outside of the box with my photography, I go outside of it.

With my old-fashioned approach to customer service I spend time getting to know you before I take a single photograph.  I want you to feel inspired to break free from the accepted norms.  I’ll encourage you to wrap up warm on a crisp, frosty morning and head to the beach for an invigorating walk, or to think of the warmth of spring and imagine running through a dreamy bluebell wood. You might prefer to consider a late afternoon frolic in the sunshine with the family dog or to feel the rush of the wind kicking up the autumn leaves and the glorious autumnal colour palette that season delivers. Whatever the time of year, we can work with the weather to provide you with a collection of stunning portraits that come alive with the personalities of each individual featured in the shot.

We’re programmed from a very early age to ‘smile for the camera’. I can give you a guarantee that you will never hear me give that instruction during my time with you. Not because I like to capture the enigmatic Mona Lisa pose, but because it just isn’t necessary as you’ll be doing the things you love, all with the bonus of having an expert photographer on hand to facilitate and capture the enjoyment that comes naturally to your family.

With my local knowledge, I have immediate access to many beautiful locations including Tylney Hall in Rotherwick, The Elvetham Hotel in Hook and The Vyne in Sherborne St John. All of these locations are steeped in history and make a spectacular backdrop to your personal portfolio. But lifestyle photography is all about you and if you prefer another location, or even your own back garden, we can tailor the session to suit you.

Without the constraints of time or the fixed limitations of four walls, we’re able to include more of what you love, and who you love. Bring the whole family along. In the past year alone I’ve worked with groups of up to 18 people covering the entire family tree. From newborns to great grandparents and every member of the family in between; including the person who is usually nominated as the family photographer!

Whether you’re looking for a piece of wall art to display, a timeless album to showcase your entire shoot or mounted prints and digital images of the highest quality, my flair for design and creativity guides you through the experience seamlessly to create unique galleries to last a lifetime.

After the shoot, a lot of my clients choose to stay and play a while longer.  After all, they’re simply having fun with the family! For me, giving you a fantastic experience is only half the job done and I set to work on creating a professional slideshow.  This is usually within about a week or two, for your review in the comfort of your own home. No trekking off to another studio and feeling the pressure of a sales pitch. The photographs that we’ve created together will speak for themselves allowing you to make relaxed decisions about how you’d like to remember your time with me!  I firmly believe that your images should be presented at their very best so that you can cherish and adore them for years to come. I work very closely with a couple of leading labs to bring you the finest selection of products, all made from the highest quality materials that will last in your family for generations to come.

As a thank you to you for taking the time to understand a little bit more about my approach to lifestyle photography, I have a special offer for all NHM readers. It’s for a Spring time themed family lifestyle portraits session in the grounds of Tylney Hall Hotel. A summary of what’s included appears below but for all the information, FAQ’s and to secure your package please go to:

I wish you all a very happy 2015 and hope to meet you in the coming months.

All the best,

Alistair Jones, Ideal Imaging

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Sleepless nights because your little one kicks off the bed covers?

Then you need a fidgetbum!

Hi Mums,

My name’s Mel and I’m a mum of two girls – Hannah (10 years) and Amelia (5 years).

When my girls made the move from cot to toddler bed, we’d have to endure sleepless nights when they kicked off their bed covers. Sometimes, during particularly adventurous dreams, they may have even rolled out of bed. The girls would become cold and call out or cry. Not good for them, and not definitely good for mummy and daddy. Sound familiar?

We tried the different options on the market, but nothing worked quite how we wanted it. Bed guards kept them in the bed, but didn’t solve the ‘bed covers’ issues. Duvet Clips restricted movement and didn’t solve the ‘rolling out’ problem. The only other options was folding covers widthways across the bed to ‘tuck them in’ – but this restricted movement as well.

That’s when I came up with the idea of fidgetbum (

Fidgetbum is a stretchy length of fabric, and goes under the mattress, round and over the top of the duvet, and then zips up. Keeping the duvet on the child, and the child in the bed.

Because of its stretchy nature, it still allows for the little one to move freely. In my daughters words “Its like someone cuddling me all night”.

I used my first (homemade) fidgetbum for three years. It guaranteed a snug and safe nights sleep for my daughters.

In January of this year, I launched fidgetbum as a business. We manufacture in the UK and have two sizes – for toddler bed and for single bed.

We’ve been delighted with the response. So far we have 600 likes on facebook and some great customer testimonials.

The fidgetbum is made from a lovely 100% cotton material – which is really soft to the touch. It folds neatly into its own fidgetbag – ideal for packing and taking on holidays and sleepovers.

To learn more about fidgetbum and see it in action – visit us at:

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(Check out the very special offer at the bottom of this post!!) 

01 Pink Banner

My name is Liane and I am Mummy to two brilliant, lively little boys, one just turned one and the other starts school in September.  I first came across Smallprint when my husband bought me a pendant with my then 6 month old’s handprint for my birthday.

I loved it so much I promptly burst into tears and rarely take it off.

My necklace now has two little handprints and when the opportunity came up to make keepsake jewellery for others, that they could treasure as much as I treasure mine, I jumped at the chance.

The timing was perfect as I was just approaching the end of my maternity leave and facing the anxious dilemma of returning to full time work when all I really wanted to do was be more of a hands-on-mum.  Smallprint has met our family’s need perfectly.

I now get to fully indulge in my creative side, keep my career ticking over, spend much more time with my boys and meet lots of amazing, friendly people.

Smallprint are the original silver keepsake company, starting in Bristol in 2010, and we specialise offering a highly personal service capturing a precious moment in time forever in fine silver, making jewellery touched by someone you love


All my items are handmade, by me. I lovingly craft each perfect piece of jewellery for you and your family to carry with you forever.

In addition to hands and feet, I can take their drawings of Mummy or Daddy


their first signatures



and even little kisses and make pendants, cufflinks, bracelet charms, keyrings and more.

They make wonderful gifts, beautifully packaged, perfect for birthdays, Christmas, christenings, mother’s day and father’s day and especially gifts for grandma’s and grandad’s.

Our Scribes range offers a more grown-up celebration of the family, very popular with Dad’s.


For something truly unique Smallprint bubbles offer a delightful new addition to the many ways in which you can wear your handprint jewellery.


If you would like to have an item made you can arrange a private appointment in your own home or visit me at my home studio. You can also find me at one of the local events where I will be taking prints and showcasing my items.

I aim to be as flexible as I can because I know just how challenging it can be trying to coordinate anything with small children.

To celebrate my leap into the wonderful world of Smallprint I am offering, for one month, a free fingerprint charm to anyone who books a Smallprint party between 26th July and 22nd August.

The school holidays are here and what better time to get some friends together for a Smallprint party?  This is on top of your usual hostess discount of up to 25% off anything you order.The more friends you invite, the more you could save, so why not spread the Smallprint love!

For more information or details of my events please visit the Smallprint website or follow me on Facebook

I look forward to meeting you soon.


Liane x

Tot Cross Buns

Tot Cross Buns is a brand new cookery class for children aged from 2 years old to preschool.

I’m Allison, the face behind Tot Cross Buns.  My childhood memories consist of having great fun in the kitchen with my Dad, concocting all sorts of recipes and making a mess!

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This gave me confidence with cooking and I have never been afraid to try new foods or add my own twist to a recipe.

I love cooking in the kitchen with my little girl and she loves being involved every step of the way!

I believe every little person should have fun cooking, tasting and exploring food, having the confidence to try new things.

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The aim of the class is to introduce children to food through taste, smell and touch, whilst having fun and enjoying themselves.  It is also a great way to spend some quality time with Mum, Dad or Grandparents!

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We cook a wide range of recipes from muffins and scones to pizza, quiche and lots more.  We also have a fun activity whilst our goodies are baking.  Activities can include food exploring and tasting, food related games and we also get creative!

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Classes are relaxed and friendly, with just 6 children per class!

My classes are run as a 5 week course and last 45 minutes per session – although I would ask that you allow an hour.

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I am currently able to offer classes on a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon starting at 2.00pm and I also run a class on a Friday morning at 10.00am.

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The venue is Cross House in Bramley.  I am also hoping to offer other venues in the near future.

I am CRB/DBS checked, with a food hygiene certificate and first aid qualification.

If you would like to come and join us or for more information, please contact me via Facebook:, the website or your can always email me at


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Relax Kids!

Relax Kids Picture

Relax Kids

Hi, I’m Kath and have recently qualified as a Relax Kids Coach and am just setting up in Basingstoke and NorthHantsMum kindly offered to give me some space in her weekly blog to promote the sessions I’m running.

We are all guilty, I’m sure, of rushing from one appointment to the next; from breakfast to school; from school to after school playdate; from dinner to bath to bed … you get the picture.

We just don’t build in time to relax anymore, particularly as there is so much around us to distract us – tv, ipad, playstation – the list is endless.

Relax Kids is all about helping children learn basic relaxation skills, to help them become aware of their feelings and emotions and learn techniques to manage these feelings and emotions, to develop concentration skills, to improve behaviour, promote positive self-image and self-esteem in children and to improve their performance at school

A Relax Kids class follows 7 steps – dance, games, stretches, massage, breathing exercises, affirmations (positive statements) and visualisations. So in a nutshell, taking children from high energy games (eg stamping and shouting like angry giants) to relaxing on the floor (and listening to stories).

I love the whole concept of Relax Kids and when I did the course I did wonder whether it would be possible in a room of 4 year olds to take them from high energy games to relaxing on the floor and it was pretty amazing when I did my first class and it happened!

I will be running two separate classes – 3-4 years (preschool age) – where parents will need to stay and find their own inner child as I’d like adult participation!!! and 4-6 (infant school age) where you can leave your child for the hour.

You can find more details about the class at my facebook page:

I can also be contacted via email ( for further queries.

Hope to see you soon.



Dillydaff hand draws bespoke designs for the ultimate in personalised and unique gifts.

I started doodling about 8 months ago on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

My doodles quickly progressed from paper onto baby grows and tote bags as unique gifts from family and friends. I then upload my images onto instagram and I received lots of likes.My “followers” started to increase and my designs became more evolved and colourful.

I started a dillydaff Facebook page and things have really started to take off. People love that I can hand draw each design making them all unique and tailored to individuals requirements.

As well as having orders from the UK, dillydaff has supplied orders to both Australia and the USA. 8 months on and I’m ready to take my work to the next level.

I have designed logos for a child’s yoga class in Guildford and I’ve recently been approached to do some wall artwork for a store that will be opening in Guildford very soon.

I’d like to get the name dillydaff out to local people. Feel free to follow me on Facebook and instagram for all my latest designs.

I am happy to personalise babygrows, t-shirts, bags, pillowcases or any other items you would like! Just contact me via my facebook page and i’ll be happy to take your design brief.

I use 100% cotton for the baby grows,t-shirts’s and bags. The fabric inks I use are heat treated, fix fast and will not transfer. The garments wash incredibly well with no fading of the designs.

I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Best wishes


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Chris Kimber aka Ozzy Wizzpop

How to do party games a lot better!

Children love nothing more than playing party games when it comes to birthday parties. Conventional wisdom would say to choose the games the children are familiar with and enjoy.

What if I told you that there’s an improved way to play these games, but with far more fun for the children? As a professional children’s entertainer, it’s my job to maximise enjoyment for all so here’s my party game secrets.

Most games involve elimination with the last child remaining the winner. This is a bad idea. First of all it leads to the possibility of those eliminated to run around chaotically causing havoc. Secondly the children get bored and upset when eliminated. Instead of eliminating children decide who was the best at the end of the game.

For example, with musical bumps you explain that you are looking for the fastest boy and the fastest girl. After a few minutes pick the winners, no one is left waiting at the sides and all remain participating. This also works well to pick children who haven’t yet won anything.

From experience children love musical statues. Here’s how I make it even better. Instead of freezing, they have to assume the pose of a popular character. Peppa Pig uses a fist for her snout, a finger for her tail, bends her knees and oinks like a pig (naturally). Even the boys enjoy this.

I choose the best boy pig and best girl pig. Other characters I get them to impersonate are Spider-Man, Batman, a plate of wobbly jelly and I get them to pull their funniest face.

By far my most popular game is guess the theme tune. It’s quite easy to set up. Most modern  phones have a dictaphone app. Record the theme tune from YouTube with this app, hook your phone up to a dock system and you have the makings of a fun game.

If you have an iPhone this is very simple and if you don’t own a docking system more than likely a friend will. I’m not sure how this works with android devices though I imagine it wouldn’t be tricky with their popularity.  Some stereos have an audio in socket so you just need to buy a cheap lead from Maplins and your good to go.

Happy party gaming!

Basing Tutor’s

For this week’s Guest Post I am making an exception and including a Guest post that will be relevant to older children.

I believe that it’s important that children have the right educational support when, and if, they need it.

Basing Tutor’s

Louise has very kindly given me an opportunity to introduce Basing Tutors to you all.

You will have seen much discussion and comment on Private Tuition in recent months and as someone who has been tutoring for fifteen years I have been surprised at the attention it is currently receiving and any suggestion that it is something new.

I, and my small team of Tutors, have been working with local children of all ages for many years responding to needs ranging from assistance with early literacy and numeracy, SATs, independant school entrance exams, GSCE’s and on to A’ levels.

Basing Tutors provides local tutors for local people. We are a specialist service providing tuition in a range of subjects for all ages.

We are based in Old Basing and focus on an area in a 10 mile radius of Basingstoke. People like the fact that we are local, caring and professional.

Subjects taught include English, Maths, Science, French, Spanish, German, History, Psychology, English as a Second Language and many more. Age from 5 yrs to Adult.

Basing Tutors aim is to keep our tutoring service personal and local. This means that we can get to know our tutors and our clients and build a reputation for real quality and service.

One to one tuition is specifically designed for each pupil and:

  • Supports school work
  • Offers SATS booster sessions
  • Works at the pupil’s pace
  • Will accelerate progress
  • Puts the pupil at the centre of the learning
  • Increases self esteem and confidence
  • Makes learning fun
  • Gets results

As reading is an essential skill, Basing Tutors also has a specialist Reading Therapist with years of experience using our unique Sounds Good Reading Program to get children reading.

Our experience shows us that, once they are reading well, they excel in all the other subjects too. A comprehensive diagnostic reading and comprehension assessment will help you make an informed decision about your child’s reading.

Learning must be fun and fun is at the heart of what we do at Basing Tutors. It is our job to find a way to help your child in a learning style that suits your child.

The benefits of face-to-face tuition on a one-to-one basis have been proven in studies time and time again.

Tuition is personal, focused and targeted to meet the individual needs of the student. The objectives of each Basing Tutor are set by the specific needs of each individual learner.

When you contact us, we will have a chat about your needs so that we can assign the perfect tutor for you.

The tutor will call you to arrange a meeting before you decide to go ahead. This meeting is free of charge as it is important to us that everyone is happy.

Email us on or call Jan on 01256-470948

Read what others say about us and meet us on

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 onTwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!