Luxury For ALL The Family at The Four Seasons Hampshire

Sixteen years ago in a “previous life”, I found myself “living the dream” spending a 3 night business trip at the stunning Four Seasons Hotel on the beautiful island of Nevis in the West Indies.

Nevis

That was my first introduction to the incredible Four Seasons experience and one I’ll never forget.

Fast forward to today and I am now very fortunate to have the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire as one of my top clients! Not quite the same tropical sandy setting but equally as stunning and possibly even more beautiful, set in spectacular English countryside in a quiet village called Dogmersfield just off the M3 near Fleet.

The hotel is a majestic 300 year old Georgian Manor Estate set in 500 acres that boasts visits by both Henry VI and Henry VIII.  Providing the ultimate in luxury it is, as you would expect, a popular destination for those seeking a special few days away from the rat race.

Four Seasons General

The hotel particularly stands out for me as I have rarely found a venue of this stature that welcomes families with small children so warmly. As a parent who likes to treat myself to the finer things in life every so often, I have become very frustrated over the last 10 years trying to find pubs, restaurants and hotels that offer luxury and opulence whilst still welcoming families with open arms. The Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire has quite simply nailed it!

Allow me to introduce you to “Kids for All Seasons”.

The hotel offers this exclusive “club” for their shorter guests!  On arrival, each child receives a personal invitation to participate in the fun packed Kids For All Seasons activity schedule, the hotel’s meticulously organised children’s programme.

“It’s definitely true that happy children make happy parents, so we aim to please the whole family by keeping the children entertained with a full range of activities to suit even the most discerning little guests!” Sam Kirby, Concierge.

The Kids for All Seasons Cottage is a wonderfully vibrant play zone set in it’s own charming building in the grounds, a short stroll from the main hotel. KFAS Inside

It is complimentary and available to all little guests aged 3 to 10 years. Under 3s are also welcomed when accompanied by a parent/guardian. Over 10s have their own games room upstairs with pool table, table tennis and wii station!

It is an Aladdin’s cave for the little ones. Run by the very lovely Nicole and a team of brilliant helpers (who the children all adore) the facility offers a wealth of toys; never-ending arts and crafts as well as films and video games.

Nicole Arts and Crafts

Even the children’s toilet is totally cool!!!

Taps

We have been providing our professional team of top class face painters to the hotel for 3 years now and love every booking.   As well as enjoying working with Nicole in the cottage we have also joined the wider team for family days, Halloween Parties; Christmas and New Year celebrations and of course their annual Terry Fox Fun Run raising funds for Cancer Research.

“Fascinating Faces is always a hit with our Kids for All Seasons and the school holidays wouldn’t be the same without Claire’s team’s colourful creations”

Sam Kirby, Concierge

Last Spring they also opened a brand new equestrian centre on site that offers “own a pony days” and riding lessons for children as well as a petting zoo during peak periods. The hotel also boasts a magical outdoor playground beside the cottage with a climbing wall, a rope bridge, covered slide and swings.

Outdoor Fun

Also recently opened, is the Highwire Adventure experience – check out this awesome video.

In summary, the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire is a quintessentially English Utopia for families – there is so much more on offer than what I have managed to cover today – you can read more in this lovely review by a recent guest

http://familyholidays.fourseasons.com/family-holidays-hampshire-uk/

or better still book your family in now!!

http://www.fourseasons.com/hampshire/

(February half term, the Easter break and May Bank Holiday weekends are key dates coming up on the calendar so book soon if you’d like to experience this wonderful hotel and all it has to offer.)

The next dates you can find Fascinating Faces there working our magic with our paint and glitter are Saturday 14th and Saturday 21st February from 1.30pm – 4.30pm.

Fascinating Faces

And it’s not just for little kids either … big kids can have fun too!

Friday Favourites – TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE … OR IS IT?

I have to admit to occasionally being a little cynical of grandiose declarations on websites and marketing material claiming to be  “the best in town”; “can’t be beaten on price”; “market leading provider”; “match any price” etc etc.

What I look for when engaging a supplier of any variety are personal references, referrals and testimonials.

In turn, this is also hugely important to me when promoting my own company.  I take tremendous pride in the service we offer; exceeding our customers’ expectations is our aim and it is so rewarding to receive wonderful feedback.

This week I wanted to share with you some of our most heart-warming comments and what I believe was behind the generous and kind words.

Everyone had a wonderful time, and I must say your contribution to the day was a highlight for most of the children. They all said it was really good because they could choose what they wanted to have done themselves! 

d23242bbd44a84ba6b26522c821f8a61In the words of the children, “you were great!”

Thanks again”

Sandra Wells, Send

This is one of the reasons we choose not to use photo boards when we work; we encourage children to use their imaginations and tell us how they want to be painted and we love the challenge and variety this gives us with our art.

“I just wanted to say what a fantastic job you made of my twins’ faces thank you! They looked amazing! They also loved the photographs and I wondered whether you could possibly email copies to me please as I would like to get them made up into mini canvasses for their bedrooms?”

Alison Tysoe, West Byfleet

Montage

Whenever possible I try to take photos of all the children I paint at parties and then put together a montage  for the birthday child as a memento of their special day!  It’s a lovely way of capturing the freshly painted artwork for the parents before smudges, chocolate and sometimes a few tears wipe it away!

“Just a little note to say a HUGE BIG thank you for making our daughter’s party so special. We all had such a brilliant time and it was down to you getting the adults involved and interacting with kids in such a wonderful way. I never thought a face painting party could be so much fun. I really appreciate the time you gave us and for staying on longer so that my husband could join in the fun.”

Alison, Blackwater

The children LOVE it when the adults muck in with the party shenanigans too.  Whenever time permits, we will always encourage and entice the parents to get involved too even if it’s just a sprinkling of glitter!

“Thank you so much for all your hard work on Friday. Your face painting was truly amazing and I would not hesitate to recommend you or ask you to come and work at another of our functions. I had no idea we were going to be quite that busy. By the end of it we had had the busiest day since we opened 18 months ago – beating even Christmas eve!

John Taylor, The Richard Onslow, Cranleigh

This was some lovely feedback following a booking at the fabulous Richard Onslow pub in the beautiful village of Cranleigh.

With a background in corporate marketing and event management we pride ourselves in helping companies promote their events wherever possible and hope we manage to increase their exposure and footfall.

On this occasion, we were booked for a special Royal Wedding celebration – the sun shone down; the pub was heaving and my queue was endless!  FANTASTIC!

DSC05859

“You are a terrific artist and everyone was asking where I had found you.

Thank you Claire for your patience and understanding with the guests and when I heard you had not worked with special needs before, I found this absolutely amazing and I cannot thank you enough. I know family and friends loved having the painting done as well.

A thousand thanks would never be enough.”

Val, Ron, Claire-Marie, Daniel and Ben, Hindhead

This particular party will always be in my heart.  It was a special lady’s 30th birthday celebrations and was my first booking working with special needs children and adults.  Most of my beautiful models that day were unable to talk but the wonderment in their eyes when they looked in the mirror melted my heart.  I am so grateful to Val and Ron for inviting me to be party of Claire-Marie’s special celebration.

And just one more to finish on …

“Your painting is more awesome than awesome!!!!”

Bella (aged7), East Horsley

Awesome Pic

Thank you Bella for warming my soul and melting my heart with that comment.

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Please remember to take the time to say thank you to people and companies who have delighted you with their service.  So many people are swift to complain at the slightest error but slow to show their appreciation.  It means the world to any customer-facing business and is worth more than any bottom line figure any day.  

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You can read more of our treasured testimonials on our website here.

Friday Favourites – BITS and BLOGS!

A little detour from all things painty and glittery this week!

I wanted to share with you a few of my favourite websites and blogs.  There are some real gems out there and I love discovering new and inspiring sites.  I’m just going to focus on four this week …. saving some others for a future Friday Favourite Special!

It goes without saying that I’m very proud of my own site www.fascinatingfaces.co.uk cleverly created by the geniuses at Bright Five in York and winner of a Bronze Award in both the 2012 and 2013 Mumpreneur UK Awards.

Fasc Face Website

I gave them a very limited budget but a free reign on the design and they nailed it (and a logo) in one go.  Their own website is having a fabulous revamp right now but you can meet the team and read their musings on their blog.  http://brightfive.com/blog

Moving on to less biased favourites …

FABULOUS FAMILIES

Last August, through the wonders of Facebook, and having been totally enraptured by a photo of the cutest bunny missing its owner,  I discovered a heart warming blog called Family Days, Tried and Tested.  Deborah and her family had found this sad lost soul on Baggy Point beach in North Devon and were doing their best to reunite him with his owner.

Bunny

Click here for more photos of Bunny’s adventures in Wales.

29,871 shares and a little over 24 hours later and his heart-broken owner was traced to Aylesbury and bunny was very quickly and safely posted home!  It captured my heart (and several thousand others) and I’ve been an avid follower of their posts ever since!

It follows the magical adventures of a Welsh family of 6 children ranging in age from 1 to 20!  They embrace the outdoor life come rain or shine and are always up to something new and exciting.

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Each adventure is punctuated with exquisite photographs that capture the magical innocence of childhood.  Like me; they love to document their life with these images and I find them a constant source of inspiration for ideas to do with my own daughter.   I highly recommend liking their Facebook page as I find it the easiest way to keep up with their news!

Take a peek at some of Deborah’s endearing photos – I’m sure you’ll be hooked in no time too!

Family 2

FANTASTIC PHOTOS!

Whilst on the subject of photography, I had to include the fabulous Sarah Aires in this article.

Sarah1

I am extremely lucky to work with several incredible photographers, all of whom have been or will be featured in my blogs at some point!  It would be a crime to keep their talents to myself and a chosen few!

Sarah is a hugely talented photographer; an inspiring teacher and, actually, just a rather lovely, beautiful person who I’m blessed to now call a friend.  Her personality, love and warmth are evident in her work and you can see the results in her website and blog.  I was totally smitten with her site when it launched.  So memorable and unique; it encapsulates the concept of photography being seen as beautiful, timeless artwork on the walls of your home.  (I love clicking on the tassel and changing the wallpaper! Go on … have a go … you know you want to!! www.sarahairesphotography.co.uk)

Sarah Aires Weddings

Sarah is an amazing all-round photographer but I particularly adore the way she captures so much love and joyousness in her work with families, at engagement shoots and at weddings.

Sarah Aires Children

COURAGEOUS KIDS

As I said, I’m just looking at a few favourites today and my final fave is the rather marvellous “Smiley Coach” – LISA PARKES!

I first met Lisa at a Fabulous Women Networking evening at the Radisson Edwardian Blu hotel in Guildford.  A perfect example of paths crossing at the right moment – we didn’t actually get an opportunity to connect until saying goodbye at the ticket machine in the car park late that night!  A fleeting chat that led to some welcomed support, opportunities and friendship.

LISA1

Lisa is a “life coach”.  A phrase I use hesitantly as I know it sadly turns a lot of people off but please hold back your preconceptions, open your minds and hear me out!  Lisa is the SMILEY COACH!  Her forte is supporting and guiding children of all ages through the quagmire of early life.  I have first hand experience of Lisa’s skills and can honestly say she has a magical bond with children.   Having attended several of her workshops and some 1:1 sesssions, my rather anxious 9 year old daughter refers to Lisa as “the lady who takes my worries away”.  Says it all really, doesn’t it?!

Lisa runs wonderful half day confidence workshops  covering topics that are particularly pertinent to young children – “get your worries out”; “get your angries out”; “friendship know-how” and “back to school preparation”.  Often craft based; restricted to small numbers and fabulous value – they are a wonderful tool to help children cope with the stresses of modern day life.

LISA

For more focused support, Lisa offers 1:1 coaching at her welcoming consulting rooms in Weybridge.   Also, coming very shortly, Lisa is teaming up with Judi Craddock of Peppermint Style to offer a programme of coaching focusing on helping young teens with their body image.

Life can be tough for us adults in this modern world; imagine how tricky it can be for our children to find the right stepping stones to guide them through.  Lisa and her colleagues are there to help parents and children navigate their way!

That’s all for this week!  I hope you love these as much as I do and I’d love to hear your feedback.  Have a great weekend!