Things To Do (Differently) In Southampton This April

 

📅Abstract Painting and Mixed Media Workshop

Southampton City Art Gallery | 15th April 2017, 11:00am – 4:00pm
Admission Type: Paid

Abstract Painting and Mixed Media Workshop
Sat 15 April
11am-4pm
£34 / Pre-book
Be inspired by the abstract works on display in the gallery and work with artist Abi Kremer to develop your own expressive techniques. Media used will be inks, acrylic paint and collage – please bring an object that has meaning for you as a starting point. Materials will be provided but feel free to bring your own brushes and pallet knife.
How to book
By phone: 023 8083 4536
In person:  Visit the reception desk at any of our venues.

Website Address: http://www.southampton.gov.uk/libraries-museums/art-gallery/activities-adults.aspx

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📅Gerry Cottle’s Circus

Hoglands Park | 28th April 2017 – 7th May 2017
Admission Type: Paid

Gerry Cottle’s Circus

28 April – 7 May
Hoglands Park, Southampton

ROLL UP, ROLL UP: New for 2017, Gerry Cottle is back with his sensational WOW Circus – a high-energy family show featuring a new generation of vibrant young performers.

Fun filled, wild, wonderful and out of this world, WOW Circus brings together amazing international acts with an infectious soundtrack and the latest lights and technology with dazzling and delightful energy – family entertainment for the modern age all within a climate controlled Big Top.

Gerry calls upon his 50 years in circus to provide an awe-inspiring line-up of the worlds greatest acts in circus, comedy and magic for LIVE entertainment to thrill and astonish all ages.
Home-grown UK talent includes The WOW STARS, a troupe of 10 hugely talented young performers led by Sarah Cottle & Ellen Ramsay who will astound with their unbelievable daredevil acts high in the roof of the big top, on unicycles, roller skates and juggling on the back of quad bikes as they roar around the stage & even on a MOTOR BIKE ON THE HIGH WIRE.
Amazing acts in the air including:
The Sky High Motorbike – upside down on the High Wire Duo Roma – Two Guys – You won’t believe your eyes
From Mexico Gordon Marquez – Madcap Juggler (There’s no walls round him!)
From Russia – The Veslovski – Whip Cracking Cossacks
From Africa – The Tanzanian Tornadoes
The Truly International Fire Finale – Rocking Around the World

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‘Exciting Escapes’ listed as the #1 ‘Fun Thing to do’ in Southampton.

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You may not have heard of Escape Rooms yet but, according to the Financial Times recently, their growth in the UK is nothing short of  ‘phenomenal’. Small teams of friends, families, and work colleagues pay to enter themed rooms and have 60 minutes to Escape, Complete the Mission, or a myriad of other objectives all with the clock ticking down.

‘Exciting Escapes’ launched in Southampton three months ago and has already made it to the #1 ‘Fun Thing to Do’ in Southampton. Alongside social games at evenings and weekends, they’ve been especially focused on running corporate team building events during the week, with a capacity to date for teams of up to 24 people.

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Chainska Bassika Reggae Carnival, The Stage Door, Southampton

Chainska Brassika's Reggae Carnival

On April 8th, Fiesta Bombarda and Chainska Brassika will be hitting The Stage Door in Southampton for a huge reggae carnival.

ChainSka Brassika are a 9 piece ska-fuelled, energetic reggae and dub band from South East London. Their lively old-school ska sound combines with the skank of today’s bass culture and commands any audience get up and dance.

Over the summer of 2013, following the release of their first single ‘This I Know’, ChainSka appeared at major UK festivals such as Glastonbury, Bestival, Secret Garden Party, One Love and Boomtown Fair and supported the likes of The Skatalities, The Abyssinians and Californian reggae band Rebelution on their UK tour. The band are now to tour the UK to promote their forthcoming ‘Unwind E.P’ set to be released 21st December 2013.

Click link above for tickets and exclusive discount for Town or Country guests.

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📅Easter Fair

Southampton Common | 13th April 2017 – 23rd April 2017
Admission Type: Paid

Easter Fair: Thursday 13 – Monday 23 April 2017

The Easter Fair will feature many exciting rides as well as the traditional Bank Holiday market on the Monday.

Opening Times: 
1pm – 9.30pm
Bank Holiday Easter Monday 10am – 9.30pm

Don’t miss CRAZY PRICES on THURSDAYS where rides are just £1 (please note this discount does not apply to the Oxygen Ride)

 *****

Ben Glover

Serviced Accommodation v’s B&B

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If you are a  contractor you may be used to touring the various bed & breakfast facilities across the country. They are very handy for that last minute job and of course the breakfast is always handy. The trouble is you never know what you are letting yourself in for or what you will get once you step inside. There is an alternative.

We all like value for money whether buying clothes, food or even a car. The same can be said when it comes to finding the right place to stay. B&B’s have their place but did you know that when it comes to serviced accommodation you can more for your money?

B&B

  • Communal lounge
  • Checking Out Time Limit
  • Location
  • Pay per person
  • Mini Bar
  • Cleaning Facilities extra
  • Wifi extra
  • Disabled facilities

Serviced Accommodation

  • Minimum of X2 double bedrooms with en-suite, separate bathroom facilities. Luxury bed linen supplied.
  • A fully equipped kitchen for cooking all meals including breakfast. We offer various food packs including Breakfast and can fill your fridge up prior to arrival.
  • A living space with comfortable sofas, entertainments systems with Freeview and dining area, perfect for a get together.
  • Checking out time limit that can be changed just by making one phone call to us. And if you need to stay longer we can sort this out for you.
  • Many of our serviced properties are located within reach of decent transport links and city centres.
  • Pay per property. So doubling up saves you money.
  • Our exclusive Discount Card offers money off restaurants, bars and even gyms within our property portfolio. Entertaining? Bring home the wine…
  • Cleaning and housekeeping service all included in the price. All properties are equipped with washing machines so get the washing done before you get home.
  • Our Wifi is fast and free. Bring your laptop…
  • We have properties that cater for all your needs

It makes sense to share an entire property with a work mate, saving money, giving better value and having peace of mind with us working to your schedule with no restrictions.

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CLICK HERE for our properties to suit your needs.

Ben Glover

Emojis at work – :) or :(

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Emojis have become part of our life since the invention of the smart phone. In fact, if you think about it just putting this ‘:)’ on our old Nokia 3310 was pretty much the start of this craze. Short text was the thing that was often used way before an entire keyboard was available at our finger tips.

But what may be fun and informal when communicating with friends may not be such a good idea at the workplace. Let’s face it would you send the company director a smiley face after they asked you for a full report on that sales fail? Probably not.

Formal Rules

To stay professional formalities are often key to keeping your nose clean and progressing in your career. You never know how the person on the other end of the communication will take it. Getting on the nerves of a fellow superior colleague will often lead to awkwardness in the workplace and no-one really wants that, it is just not worth the bad career move. TV news readers don’t ever do the news in t-shirt and jeans, a business that requires a forward stance approach needs to be represented correctly.

And it is not just your co-workers. For those who have a customer business relationship should consider the language in which you come across, remember you are representing your company. For example, a relationship which may have started well with a client buying your product but then turns sour after a failure for whatever reason could somewhat give the wrong impression. Think about it, if there is a complaint made and you reply with a thumbs up emoticon that really is the catalyst to further investigation. Often a reply with just a ‘?’ can be as powerful as a 500 word email. Keep it formal from the start.

Team Bonding

Many companies that have teams in place have the use of a messaging groups such as What’s App in order to keep communication close. Often these groups are seen as ‘what goes on here stays on here’ thus creating a ‘release’ to any frustration that may arise at work. Emojis have often been helpful in this informal environment. It is always worth reviewing the message before you hit the send button, you can’t always please everybody and even though a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ may have been made for confidentiality once typed and sent it cannot be erased!

Messaging Groups

I have a family What’s App group that is good communication as many of us are located across the UK and often do not see each other. With my parents not on Facebook (and goodness knows we’ve tried) sharing family news and photos are often exchanged. It came as quite a shock when she started to use emojis in reply, often replacing a kiss with a ‘heart’. It was a nice thing and I often wait to see what what mother has found on her emoji keyboard next. And there bears my point: informally and at co-worker level often these are a good thing, a way to ‘break up the norm’, you just need to gauge the situation/relationship first.

I often feel if the emoji has been sent first in communication it is, nine times out of ten OK to reply with one. Not all team leaders are as strict as others and often want a relaxed but professional approach to keep everyone happy. In the right context, using emoji demonstrates you understand current communication trends—while also conveying emotions in a way that words sometimes can’t. For example, using a ‘clapping hands’ symbol to congratulate a colleague on a good deal would be less of an impact that that of a yellow face poking it’s tongue out or worse with Pound signs in their eyes.

In reality emojis are fun, but they can also make or break you. Use them but use them wisely.

Ben Glover

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‘Relationships’ at work can save you money. Get with a colleague. 

 

Relationships at work. They can be tricky. Although they can actually come in handy, especially when you are staying with us.

Have a think about the budget a company/organisation spends on business trips with overnight stays. Sometimes these nights turn into weeks and months. With serviced accommodation it makes sense to stay in one of our luxury properties.

At What Cost?

Each one of our properties range from 3 storey town houses to multi bedroom apartments. Your budget will instantly gain value for money as you pay PER property and not per person. That’s the kitchen (fully equipped), entertainment (TV/radio),  and en-suite facilities ALL included in the one price.

Think about it. A hotel room is just a room, often lacking in storage, noisy corridors and a kettle that is often the same size as a mug. Our accommodation is situated in affluent and desirable areas keeping noise pollution to a minimum. Sharing a serviced apartment is cost effective and good for business. Multiple hotel rooms are not good for the budget.

A Property with Benefits

Each Town or Country property in our portfolio is fully serviced by our Housekeeping team that will work to your schedule. So if you do not want to be disturbed we won’t. Checking out is flexible and extending your stay is a simple process. No stress.

Fast free Wifi is at your disposal ready to be soaked up by any laptop, tablet and smartphone, beneficial for meetings and preparing that all important presentation.

You will have plenty of time to relax in your own bedroom and not have to fight for the bathroom with many properties containing en-suites (you may have to toss a coin to see who gets that one).

Staying in one of our marina properties (Port Solent or Ocean Village) creates a relaxing vibe to the end of the day, especially when taking advantage of chilling out on the balcony when the weather is good.

Cooking for Two?

Not only will our fully equipped kitchens cater for the culinary chef in you but it will save a stack of money when it comes to dining expenses. We can stock up your fridge with a selection of food packs ready for your arrival.

Fancy getting out of the house? We have though about that too. Our exclusive Discount Card offers a vast range of bars/restaurants to choose from and again keeping the accounts department happy.

You can finally get together with a colleague in a ‘relationship’ your boss would approve of.

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Property Focus: Port Solent

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If an idealistic location and stunning views of historical waters is what you like to wake up to Port Solent is the location just for you. A few miles out of the city of Portsmouth you would think you were on a holiday abroad. The marina itself is not just home to boat storage but spacious properties with parking and good links to the M27/M275.

The development was built on reclaimed land in 1980, originally a waste refuge site – thankfully no evidence of this today! A multi screen cinema and boutique shops were inserted to provide a first class community as well as personal gym/swimming pool in the apartment complex on the east side of the marina. The marina layout has proved so popular many similar styled complexes have been replicated abroad including Portomasso Marina, Malta.

Who would benefit?

Town or Country is proud to have many town house serviced properties within the vicinity that have proved very popular since joining our portfolio, mainly with business professionals taking advantage of the space and facilities within range. During the summer months sailors who wish for a base to reside near their boats have enjoyed a serviced house with secure parking.

Our properties come with a good size garden ideal for the family to enjoy.

What facilities could I expect?

Port Solent has some of the south’s most unique boutique shops offering something different that the high street. The multi screen cinema is a popular choice with it’s neighbour David Lloyd Health Club keeping your fitness levels up.

An exquisite choice of eateries ranging from Mexican to Italian and with many bars within range makes this area a good choice for relaxing or entertaining. Take full advantage of saving money at restaurants/bars with our exclusive Town Or Country Discount Card.

For those who wish to use the marina (operated by Premier Marinas) they offer a choice of berths for your vessel,  with access easily gained to the Solent and Isle Of Wight. You can find more details via their website.

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A typical bedroom from a Port Solent property.

How Will Town Or Country Look After me?

It is our job to make sure you have a home away from home. Each property is serviced by our Housekeeping team with a 24 hour call out service should you require any additional help. All details are emailed to you well in advance with a meet and greet available to welcome you. Fresh linen is supplied daily (if required) and we will work to your timetable not our’s. Find out more about how we go the extra mile here.

Port Solent is the perfect location for those who wish to work within the Portsmouth area with excellent links to motorway and public transport within reach to Brighton, London and Southampton.

History: South Western House

Did you know many of our serviced houses and apartments are steeped in history? Each week check out a property you could be staying in.

South Western House

We hold a little soft spot for this gorgeous contemporary building. Standing grand at the edge of Southampton docks our Grade II listed former hotel not only is home to our stunning serviced apartments but standing the test of time through history.

At the peak of Victorian high life buildings such as this were being erected at the end of railway lines, the terminus during the golden age of steam. SWH bears similar DNA to that of London’s Charring Cross station. With Southampton the gateway to transatlantic crossings it was clear the dock terminus station needed a monument that would attract big business through the city.

John Norton of London was awarded the contract to develop what originally was the Imperial hotel opening before it was finished in 1867. After bankruptcy the development was taken over by LSWR Company, completed, and renamed the South Western Hotel in 1871. Shortly after the town council took over the deeds turning this elegant structure into a mental health asylum.

Six stories high and with the upper two floors in the mansard roof the construction is of brick there are stunning elaborate window surrounds and portholes paying homage to the seafaring theme of the city. Many guests comment on the entrance concourse that reeks pillars of marble and granite with many images sculpted across the high ceiling.

SWH house was the final stop for passengers who were to embark across the Atlantic on the Titanic. Indeed part of the building was closed for filming for the 1997 classic film Titanic in which we see the original lift and dome glass ceiling used.

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After WW2 British Railways moved in before the shipping line Cunard created an office complex there. The BBC’s 30 year association with South Western House started in 1961. The original news programme ‘South at Six’ was presented by Martin Muncaster. It was later renamed ‘South Today’, with long serving anchor-man Bruce Parker. Great events within the docks were witnessed and reported from the building; the 1966 Seaman’s strike; the final sailing of the Queen Mary in 1967; and ships departing and arriving back from the Falklands war. With Southampton Terminus falling to the axe of Dr Beeching in his attempt to ‘save the railway’ developers moved in on precious land that already was becoming scarce in the city.

In 1997, after falling into devastating neglect, a property developer converted SWH into luxury apartments. The railway lines have since been dug up (all accept a single line into the docks for freight and specials) but the terminus building with it’s platform still stands. Now a car park for guests many of the original features can still be located and seen.

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Our modern spacious Imperial serviced properties come in a variety of layouts, including duplex that are popular with those who wish to relax after a long day. The Grand Cafe is the latest to attach itself below the apartments making sure that this magnificent building stays true to the history and grand design that it was purposely built for.

Historical Properties: Canute Chambers

Did you know many of our serviced houses and apartments are steeped in history? Each week check out a property you could be staying in.

Canute Chambers

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Southampton is not only a great hub for business, it is also perfect for visiting various other buildings and places that make up history, including the Titanic story.

Canute Chambers is a beautiful red-brick building standing on Canute Road in Southampton. It grandly sits within view of the South Western Hotel (South Western House) and a short walk from Dock Gate 4; this led the way to the White Star Dock. The property itself was the HQ for the Liverpool-based White Star Line, owners of the RMS Titanic. Although operating as the administration for the company it provided ticket sales and assisted with customer enquiries about travel aboard the White Star Line fleet.

Constructed in 1893 the White Star Line took over the deeds in 1907. White Star Line vacated the building in 1931 and it was then occupied by the United States Line until 1969.

It was here breaking news was relayed of the Titanic’s tragic end and where anxious relatives searched for news of their loved ones. Outside the office names of those who survived were placed on a scroll. Frustratingly for those waiting some names were incorrectly transcribed and scrambled and only later were these corrected as the list of survivors was updated.canute-old-1

Canute Chambers is a red-brick building in the Dutch Renaissance style. The two-storey main block has a large brick-faced attic cross-gable facing on to Canute Road. The ground-floor is of red-brick with Portland stone banding. The main block has two large arched windows with prominent keystones, set beneath a cornice and Portland stone frieze.

 

Double doors set beneath three-arched windows executed in Portland stone, with a grand porch projecting inside on entry, topped with a scrolled pediment. The building is fronted by railings either side of two brick piers. The western-pier carries a commemorative plaque unveiled at noon on 15 April 2002, the 90th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The inscription on the plaque reads:

This building housed the offices ofthe White Star shipping company,owners of RMS Titanic which sank onApril 15th 1912 after striking an icebergoff Newfoundland on her maiden voyage

It was here that hundres of local peoplewaited for news of their loved ones

549 Southampton people died in the disaster

Today the building still stands proud after an extensive modernisation programme and plays host to some of our most desired service apartments. Step inside and see for yourself HERE

Ben Glover

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A typical Canute Studio apartment

No More Resolutions – Promise?

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New Year’s resolutions are always hollow. The cliches are out and we all are made to feel bad. At the time the promises we make ourselves seem wonderful at the time; four weeks later down the line they are buried under into heap as big as a recycling bin full of wrapping paper.

Committing to little goals weekly are better. As we hurtle onto a new year make these your’s.

Have a clear out

Scroll through your mobile phone. You will be surprised about the amount of clutter there is on it. Take out the pictures you do not need, delete the texts/emails that mean nothing and get rid of the sings you just don’t play anymore. Having a ‘light’ phone means a light mind. It is like changing the bed sheets, always better when fresh.

How many of your friends on Facebook do you actually know? Delete them and keep the ones that you do.

Hit the gym, but only if you want too

Straight after Christmas we hit a storm of DVDs (who still buys them?) and truck loads of gym offers telling us how bad we have been after enjoying ourselves. Yes, being fit and healthy is important but do it when you want to. While 30 minutes of exercise maybe the the target guide line it is not always that easy; work, family etc.

Avoid a monthly Direct Debit gym membership unless you are serious. Look for those gyms that do a pay as you go session or why not try various boot camps in your area that are not just fun but engaging and you make new friends. Tough Mudder competitions across the UK will certainly put a smile on your face as well as the mud.

Experiment

When you are in the same old routine is it easy to forget that there is a world out there just waiting to be discovered. Find a map, take a pin, shut your eyes and see where you could end up. OK, maybe the inner Arctic circle could be a logistic issue but the point is go somewhere new. Travel somewhere new, if only for the weekend. It could be as simple as trying out a new coffee shop a few miles from your house.

Family & Friends – Funerals are good

The only ‘F’ words you will need in your life. There were frequent occasions in my life where I only got to see my family and friends at funerals. After the third one in a year something had to seriously change in my life. As you get older we all worry about the outcome, the key is to make the most of now. Call that friend you have not spoken to for ages, meet for coffee with that person who has constantly said on Facebook, ‘We should meet soon!’. Don’t just write it – do it. Funerals can be a sad moment in our life, they can also be seen as a way of acquaintance, renewal and contact.

Study

There seems to be a point in life (around the 30 year mark) where you suddenly feel like a change. Perhaps the career path you are in has gone as far as you can go and it is time to move on. There is nothing wrong with that, it is how we make the next step out of our comfort zone that counts. For example the Open University give opportunities for distance learning, thus working around your own busy schedule. That feeling of completing that course – how good will it be.

Perhaps something as simple as doing a ‘barista’ course will not only give you something to take on but also appreciate good coffee. Try out a mechanics course so you can actually fix the car!

In essence this week promise yourself this: de-clutter, experiment, challenge yourself daily, eat & drink well, get out of your comfort zone. Life has just begun…

Ben Glover

Christmas In A Serviced Property

Looking to have a good old fashioned family Christmas? Or maybe the oven has broken down our your home is for some reason out of action. A serviced apartment or house could be your saving grace…

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For what is supposed to be a peaceful time of the year can sometimes be the total opposite. Christmas comes with many challenges: the food preparations, who will sit where, who is coming and will I need to get the extra chairs and wallpaper pasting table out of the garage? Perhaps dining out is expensive? If all this is sounding familiar then a serviced property could be for you…and here is why.

Property Choice

At Town or Country we pride ourselves on luxury living, from studio apartments to town houses, whatever the size of your family gathering we can cater for you. With many homes located within the city centre and a selection on the outskirts you will not be too far from essential transport links.

Each property comes with linen for all bedrooms, towels and toiletries – all included in the price. And we don’t stop at Christmas – our Housekeeping team will be on  call should you need them.

Don’t forget you pay PER property and not per person. That’s right, an entire property all to yourselves.

Cooking Space 

Every kitchen is fully equipped. What does this mean? As well as the white goods and oven there are saucepans, the cutlery and everything you need to make that special dinner we all know and love. What’s more with a bit of notice we can deliver the food and fill your fridge ready for your arrival.

Then once ready set the generous sized dining table, sit down and enjoy. After stack up the dishwasher, relax on the comfy sofa just in time for the Queen’s speech. (Yes, the dishwasher tablets are free on arrival!).

Entertainment – Charades or a movie?

With a vast choice of Freeview channels to watch there will always be something for the family to enjoy on our modern widescreen TVs. Our fast FREE WiFi is perfect for streaming from your new laptop or tablet, that’s if you have been good enough from Santa…

If you fancy walking of that Christmas dinner your accommodation is lucky enough to be within some great spots such as Ocean Village marina, Port Solent, Hill Head or even the New Forest.

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A typical cooking space

The Day After The Big Day

For some the best day of the year – the sales. Located within major city centres and shopping malls you will not be to far from the bargains of the year this Boxing Day. To the vast expanse that is West Quay, Southampton to the outlets of Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth there is always a good selection on tap near you. And if they are too busy for you why not take in the tranquillity of Port Solent or Whiteley Shopping centre, Fareham. As a guest you will receive an exclusive Discount Card for you to use at many outlets and restaurants (if you are still hungry).

Parking

Although limited and subject to conditions secure parking is available. If extra spaces are required we can help find a parking space located near your choice of serviced property.

We take the stress out of Christmas with great offers on selected properties! We wish you a very happy one and a superb New Year.

All properties are subject to terms and conditions – see our website for more details.

Ben Glover

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