Cherubs Magazine - Autumn Edition 2019

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Autumn 2019 • Issue 6



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Adapted from the bestselling books by


Based on the books by Kes Gray and Jim Field. Published by Hachette Children’s Group


Contents Autumn 2019 • Issue 6

Take a nice deep breath in, out... and breath normally. It’s over, the summer break has finished and I don’t know about you all but it’s going to take a little time trying to get into some sort of routine. Autumn for me almost feels like a new year in a bizarre sort of way. I almost prefer it as January isn’t as pretty as September, don’t you think? The children are back at school and into the next chapters of their little lives and we as parents feel all refreshed (sort of) after the holidays and ready to take on the world – well, by world I mean household chores and everyday life! In fact, Cherubs has a lovely little offer on page 33 that may give you five more minutes of peace… check it out. This season, enjoy dressing the kids up in ridiculous halloween costumes – that you’ll laugh about one day when they’re older and don’t want to know. Enjoy the sky being lit up with pretty colours on Guy Fawkes night and make sure you eat lots of hot dogs and yummy toffee apples. Before you know it, the Christmas (yes, I said it) list will be well and truly on the way and the shops will be playing those fabulous tunes we long to hear. Before any of the madness happens, get yourselves into one of our beautiful parks in London, crunch some leaves, play conkers and take a deep breath of fresh air – and like I always say, stand back and take in every moment.

6 18 32 46 50

Education 12 Let’s read 16 MC Grammar is in the house Health & Wellbeing 28 Daddy & Dad 30 Lifestyle changes to improve fertility Lifestyle 38 10 Top Tips for New Parents! 42 Halloween with Parentville Travel 47 The stylish weekend road trip 48 The Seychelles is perfect for families Autumn Activities 56 Outdoor autumn days for busy kids 64 Kids and bikes - where to Start

I would like to wish everyone starting a new school chapter all the luck in the world – parents, hold it together (I know I definitely won’t). Embrace every moment and trust that your children will be in safe hands. Our dedicated teachers of the world deserve medals, their job is tough and they deal with not 1 but 30-plus children everyday – trust that they will do their best to aid our little cherubs along the long education path. Thank you universe for the Autumn season. May it be colourful, fresh and full of all things wonderful for you and your family to enjoy. I dedicate this edition to my dear friend Meli, whose smile was more beautiful than all the colours Autumn could offer. Until next season my lovely readers…

Sevim x


Publisher & Editor: Sevim Safer Style Editor: Antonia Sanchez-Toomey Health & Fitness Editor: Mary Huckle Yoga and Movement Therapist: Cathy Underwood Healthy Food Columnist: Christianna Karaolis Lifestyle Blogger: Jason Suttie Make up Column: Elena Lazarou Travel Expert: Eda Ayyildiz Cake Artist: Stevie Georgiou Designer: Chris Webb Printers: The Roma Group, 3 Drakes, Enfield Front Cover Photo: ©Pv Productions




To advertise in our next issue email or call 0203 978 7332 While we take every care to ensure details are correct the publisher will take no responsibility for errors or omissions. Readers are advised to check information published with individual advertisers and take legal advice where appropriate before entering into any transactions. Where prices or dates are quoted they are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change. Unless specifically stated the publisher does not endorse any product or service appearing in the magazine. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the prior permission of the publisher.

Follow us on social media for regular updates @CherubsMagazine




How do you hold on while letting go? We are used to being intimately involved in every aspect of our children’s lives. We have hovered like helicopters watching, warning and actively guiding them. However, as they grow up, it’s time to stand back to allow them to face their new experiences not quite alone, but just ahead of us. Why would we want to do this? How on earth can we keep them safe if we are not right there with them? By preparing them, we teach them that fear is not something to be feared; that it’s okay to make mistakes; and that through these experiences they grow, gain confidence and learn resilience. We teach them to think independently, to self-regulate their emotions and find their own solutions. If we don’t do this, we create fearful children who are afraid to take risks. Children need daily reasonable risk taking in order to develop into strong capable adults. How do we prepare them? Firstly talk about some of the emotions that you and they maybe experiencing: fear about the

future, sadness and the excitement about the changes. By talking about our own experiences of challenging experiences at a similar age, we show them that these obstacles are not unique and can be overcome. We can talk about how life may feel like it’s constantly changing, there are some constants: our love for them and that we will be there to help them. Allow them to take reasonable risks. You may feel terrified as you watch them negotiate some rocks on a beach. But if you are present, encouraging them to persist and verbally consoling them, you are showing them that they may experience some bumps and scratches but they will still achieve their goals. Rehearse! Practice the bus route or the walking route they are going to take. Let them tell you when to cross the road and which way to look. Preparing them by teaching them life skills: cooking, laundry and ironing and how to shop economically

–builds confidence and self esteem. Help your child find their own voice. Read the paper together and discuss what you have read. This encourages critical thinking. It is also important to have regular activities such as games nights, going to the park together, having a date with each child individually, that will help all of you when the teenage years are upon you. These activities create memories filled with laughter. When they are pushing you away, they will sustain you as parents. They will remind your children that you are not the enemy and that you do love them. Most of all as we let our children go, we need faith and patience that we have taught them well and that in letting them go, they will come back to us as strong capable freethinking adults. Feelgood Treatments T: 07515 561514

To advertise email or call 0203 978 7332

By Sunayana Clark

Keble Prep Winchmore Hill

Bringing together all areas of learning providing boys with a solid foundation to


Tel: 020 8360 3359


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01/03/2019 09:51

Winchmore Hill

Keble Prep is a school with a long tradition of doing just what its name says, preparing boys for their next school. At Keble we understand the importance of strong foundations, which is why we have a committed Early Years team in Reception. Their aim is to set your son on the right track in his school life, and for our dedicated teaching staff to continue this throughout his Keble career. Studying at Keble is much more than just passing exams, and being part of the school means ensuring the boys here are not only well educated but also develop their skills and talents across a range of areas.

We are able to achieve this due to our small class sizes and the high expectations we have of the boys. We pride ourselves in combining high academic standards with opportunities for boys to achieve in Sport, Music and Drama, as well as enjoying a broad extra-curricular programme.

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Being a standalone school means our boys sit entrance exams to a large array of senior schools for 11+ and 13+, and with great results. This year has proved no exception and we are proud of the success our current Year 6 and Year 8 boys have had in gaining senior school places. In recent years boys have been offered places at selective grammar schools such as Latymer, Dame Alice Owens and Queen Elizabeth Boys, testament to the preparation they have received for the examinations here at Keble. We have also secured places for our boys at many Independent schools at both 11 and 13, including Mill Hill, St Albans, Haberdashers’, Highgate, Haileybury, St Edmunds, St Columba’s, Westminster and City of London. If you are looking for a school where your son can grow, achieve and succeed, then do come along to one of our Open Mornings where you can see for yourself how our approach to learning can benefit your son. Contact Jane Wicks for more information on 0208 360 33359.

12/01/2018 16:26

Choosing the right school for your daughter Choosing a school is one of the most significant decisions that you will make for your daughter and the only way to decide whether a school is right for her is to visit and get a feel for it.

We provide an inspiring and challenging environment through which all pupils are given opportunities to be inquisitive, independent and develop a lifelong love of learning.

“I am extremely pleased with the school and how my daughter is thriving there. Sending her to PGHS was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

“The quality of provision is outstanding. Excellent classroom practice ensures that all children learn rapidly, thrive and succeed.”

“The teachers are very nice and caring and you learn lots of interesting things that even your parents don’t know.”

“The school raises confidence and instils the belief that they can do anything if they are willing to put in the effort.”

At PGHS, small class sizes are the norm and all pupils are treated as individuals. This enables staff to deliver the curriculum and pastoral care in a personalised way.

Be inquisitive and come along to our Open Morning on Saturday 12th October 2019 to learn more about what PGHS can offer your daughter.

“They begin reading, writing and numeracy early on and make it fun! One of the school’s greatest strengths is the specialist teaching my daughter receives.”

“The Nursery is amazing! I would and have recommended it to anyone with a daughter. The team understands each child’s needs, as well as the parent’s needs.”

Outstanding GCSE/IGCSE results in 2019 - 60% graded A*/9/8 and 81% graded A*/9! Number 1 in The Sunday Times national league table for small independent schools

Open Morning - Saturday 12th October 2019 11+Scholarship & Entrance Exam - Saturday 18th January 2020

Palmers Green High School, 104 Hoppers Road, London N21 3LJ Palmers Green High85School, 104 Hoppers Road, London PGHS Nursery, Wellington Road, Enfield, EN1 2PLN21 3LJ 8886 1135 Tel:Tel: 020020 8886 1135

To advertise email or call 0203 978 7332

A leading Independent School in Winchmore Hill for Girls aged 3-16 years

At Palmers Green High School (PGHS), we welcome girls who have the desire and potential to learn in our calm, aspirational and supportive school.

Girls are encouraged to achieve their full academic potential and, through a rich and varied extra-curricular provision, discover who they are.

North Bridge House

Book an open day at or call 020 7428 1520 NURSERY & PRE-PREP HAMPSTEAD



2 - 7 YEARS

7 - 13 YEARS

11 - 16 YEARS

11 - 18 YEARS















Private tutoring in the UK is a multi-billion pound industry, with London the epicentre of this highly lucrative sector. Reports suggest between 40% and 45% of the capital’s children have received tutoring at some stage of their educational journey, meaning we are approaching the point when non-tutored pupils will become the minority. Perhaps, given the industry is largely unregulated, we have reached that point already. However, tutors are only filling a gap in an insatiable market says Jonathan Taylor, Head Teacher at North Bridge House Senior Canonbury in Islington.

competitive and somewhat demoralising system. Feeling compelled to secure places at the ‘best’, most academically selective schools, they turn in hope to expensive tutors. Once a place has been secured, these same parents are subject to the pressure of having to maintain the school’s reputation for academic excellence. Faced with the prospect of their child’s place in Sixth Form being in jeopardy, not to mention the socially ostracising potential of a less than perfect academic record, the parent once again submits to the services of the trusty tutor or, in many cases, several tutors.

The current tutoring epidemic is the inevitable consequence of an academic arms race that shows no signs of abating. It has fostered a negative cycle whereby academic selectivity feeds the tutoring industry, which in turn fuels academic success, which further justifies academic selection. This is repeated ad infinitum. And nowhere more so than in London. Parents eager to give their children the best start in life, are both unwitting victims and necessary contributors to this ever more

This symbiotic relationship between highly selective schools and tutoring agencies is not a sector specific issue; academically selective schools in both the state and independent sectors provide a boon to the industry. This is obvious to all but those who have a vested interest in denying the link. Research last year by John Jerrin and Sam Sims from University College London identified that around 70% of those who received tutoring won a place at a grammar school, compared to just 14% of those who did not.

It is clear who the winners are in the current system, and it isn’t a generation of young people whose emotional and mental wellbeing is under strain like never before. Exams and academically selective schools have always existed; it is merely the stakes that have changed. So when an increasing number of parents are sourcing tutors for their child in preparation for 4+ entrance exams, despite the revelation that three quarters of UK five to 12-year-olds already spend less time outdoors than prison inmates, perhaps we should pause to consider this: if tutoring is always the answer, are we asking the right questions? North Bridge House is very much a mixed ability school, where applicants are assessed as opposed to tested and places are not awarded subject to a pass mark. Instead, the focus is on each child’s potential and how with individualised teaching, outstanding personal development and a wide enrichment programme, they will make above their expected levels of progress.

To advertise email or call 0203 978 7332

North Bridge House Senior School, Canonbury

The Real Cost of Tutoring

12 Education

Let’s Read! By Aimee Hart

Ok, let’s talk about how we can help our little offspring with reading. The English language is one of the most complex languages in the world. We have words that are spelt the same but with different meanings, spelt differently but sound the same and rules that don’t apply most of the time (yes I’m referring to the “i before e except after c” lie – what about words like weird, leisure, either?) We also have a variety of complex sounds that we need to learn so we can move on from the simple CVC (consonent-vowel-consonent) words like cat, dog, pop.

First things first (and most importantly of all)... Early reading and engaging children in reading is one of the most important factors in getting children to read. Having the child sitting with you while you read and point to the words is an easy way to start. Having a bedtime story routine will build their love of storytelling and imagination. There is not real timescale for children learning and each year will build upon previous learning.

Imagine building blocks. If they don’t know the basic sounds they cannot learn the more complex sounds. Children need to learn fairy tales for a reason. The most popular ones make up most other stories and film in today’s society. The premise of these fairy tales have a beginning, characters, setting, a problem, action, a resolution and an ending. If they know these key fairy tales they will be able to comprehend and understand a range of text as their reading progresses. Love reading, get them to love it too!

Becoming aware of phonics! Things I would recommend: Invest yourself in some good quality phonic sound cards. When supporting children with reading the sounds, don’t refer to them by their names, refer to them by their sound. This is hard to write within an article but you need to try and remove any excess sounds and keep it pure. So for “a” instead of “a-y” we just say “a” it’s a shorter sound that isn’t elongated by any extra noises. For “b” “b-uh” becomes “b“. You might think I’ve gone mad. If you want to hear what I’m talking about head

to my highlights on Instagram. Once these initial sounds are secure you can start putting them together to make a range of simple words. Learning all the initial sounds takes time, don’t get frustrated if they don’t remember them instantly (These include all the alphabet sounds plus ch, th, ng, nk, sh). Remember, like I said, avoid referring to them by their alphabet name – this only confuses things and it is much better for children to know their sound first. The sound cards I’ve shown below are nice and fun. One side has the sound the other has a picture representation with a little rhyme to help with letter formation (this is more for writing but no harm in starting early).

• Invest in some magnetic letters for them to play around with and build simple words.

Books Books Books Lots of people have asked me which books to start with and what age to start. Babies – read to them, tone of voice and the rhythm of reading is something they will come to thrive on and feel calm with. Invest in vocabulary books so they are exposed to text.

• Pegs and lolly sticks – cheap to buy and

you can create a range of fun activities on building different words or investigating which sounds would fit in between other sounds ‘c_p’

Toddlers – invest in story books that become longer to increase their stamina to listen to stories. Discuss the stories with them to check they understand (this is known as listening comprehension). Good books to start with include repetition or rhyme. This encourages children to participate in the reading process and they feel part of the story. Ask the children what kind of books they enjoy – dinosaurs, fairies, books about nature – whatever sparks their interest.

Becoming a reader!

Once they have learnt these sound groups and individual sounds they can start putting it all together to read! For example: r-ai-n will blend together nicely!

• Bringing it back to basics – get children to

collect objects from around the house that match a certain sound and put them into different baskets.

• Create

a reading pointer. This will help them to point to the sounds and blend them into a word (who doesn’t love a googly eye).

I love teaching phonics and making phonics fun. It is so important that children are exposed to it as much as possible. Imagine each sound as a domino that forms part of a domino run. If one sound is missing it has an impact on the overall structure. Enjoy learning together because when you hear them read a word and get excited about it, it is literally the most rewarding thing! @hart_at_home

To advertise email or call 0203 978 7332

They then progress to the next ‘set’ or ‘phase’ of sounds that feature more diagraphs (two letters that make one sound). Think of the word tree – this word has 3 sounds t – r – ee “ee” is a new sound. It’s a fun sound. Make it sound like you are whizzing down a slide. This “ee” sound can then be shown in words such as “see“, “bee“, “green” as they are all words they can sound out and break down in order to blend. These all come with a little saying that helps the children to remember them: ay – may I play? oo – poo at the zoo (kids favourite) and many more. I will point out that this is a certain scheme that some school use, there are other versions of phonics schemes that may mean it’s taught slightly differently. I’ve found this to be the most effective when starting off with phonics.

When children reach school age they will begin to read within the schools book band scheme. These are specifically designed to increase in difficulty with the child’s knowledge. The more they read the more their confidence with reading will grow. As a teacher myself the biggest tip I’d give is to read with your child as much as you can. If they don’t feel like reading to you, then read to them. Getting children to read at home can be stressful and I have had numerous conversations with parents on how to make it fun at home. Make it creative! Below are a few little ideas for making reading fun!










The pre-school was established in 2001 is situated in the grounds of Botany Bay Cricket Club and operates Monday – Friday term time only. It is a rural area allowing many opportunities to explore the outdoor environment. There is a very large enclosed car park which allows parents to accompany children into the setting without the worry of parking restrictions. It also allows parents the opportunity to speak to practitioners and network with other parents. There are 2 classrooms these are used almost exclusively by the preschool.

Staff are qualified at Level 2 and 3 and the manager has attained Early Years Professional Status. As well as the E.Y.F.S. we offer a Montessori curriculum and modern language class. The adult child ratio is approx. 1:4 for 2-3 year olds and 1:6 for 3-4 year olds.



There is a small outdoor play area but also extensive grounds which can be used. The pre-school is a secure and happy environment offering a supportive setting where children feel valued and happy as they go about their activities.

All children are eager to learn and gain understanding of their world. The children are encouraged to work at their own pace to fulfill their own needs. We are committed to helping children develop their self-confidence and appreciation of others. The children are encouraged to develop listening skills, where time is taken to listen to the children both in group settings and a one to one basis.


A school for our community

thinking about secondary school options for september 2020? Come and visit us to see what Broomfield can offer your child as they embark on their next step to Secondary School

OPEN EVENING tuesday 8th october 6pm to 8.30pm

OPEN MORNINGS Thursday's - 26th Sept, 17th and 31st Oct 2019 at 9.15am

Head's Talks at 6.15pm and 8pm

#bepartofoursuccess broomfieldschool Enfield


Wilmer Way, Southgate, N14 7HY



is in the house!!! If you don’t know who MC Grammar is, then you need to get to know! He’s an internet sensation, who was flown out to America to be congratulated by the one and only Ellen Degeneres on his contribution to the education system and his influence on our young.

So, Cherubs wanted to know everything about the man behind the bling and he was more than happy to share his story with us.

Thank you so much for this opportunity. So, where do I start? Well, let’s go from the beginning. I am a North London boy, born and raised: from primary school to

Fun Facts Favourite book as a child? I loved The Twits by Roald Dahl. What made you start rapping? It was a combination of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and garage music. Crazy, no? What was your favourite thing to watch as a child? Anything Laurel and Hardy. Legends! What books do you love reading to your daughters? Anything by Oliver Jeffers, Julia Donaldson or Dr Seuss. They all make you think and, most importantly, smile. What is MC GRAMMAR? MC GRAMMAR’s a music resource used by schools to teach grammar. Linked directly to the national curriculum, each song is a teaching objective. The children learn the songs and apply the knowledge to their reading and writing. Bringing the hashtag #SWAGtoSPAG, his songs make learning grammar fun and memorable for all.

Go on then, let’s talk about The Gruffalo. Rapping books has always been a ‘thing’ in our house, but in all honesty I didn’t expect it to go global. But, trust me when I say I am so thankful. Because all of the positive press has acted as a springboard to share my message: I want every child to love books, to love reading, to love learning, to be confident communicators, to never feel misunderstood and above all, achieve their full potential to live their best life. Parents and carers too. If ‘mixing it up’ with music is what it takes – why not? There are no limits with this: nursery rhymes, stories, any school subject or topic – you name it! If MC Grammar is the hook to get kids and their guardians connected with books, that’s all the motivation I need. @mrmcgrammar

To advertise email or call 0203 978 7332

Over to you Mr MC Grammar… “Here me now” (see what we did there?)

Then it was time for my teaching placement. Wow! That feeling: pure magic. Overwhelmed with the limitless potential that sat wide-eyed in front of me during my first class register, I was just so grateful. Those young minds, our future: all impressionable, all interested, all intelligent – it was incredible! From that point on I made a promise: to teach the way they learn. And, MC Grammar was born, along with tons of other fun and engaging resources to empower the children that I worked with. Fast-forward nine years, a national teaching award, the chance to work with

and train educators both nationally and internationally – my resources are now used by over 30,000 children every day all over the world. Oh, did I mention a viral video too?

The world has gone crazy for him, it’s possible that your children have had the privilege of having MC Grammar in their school and we’re so proud to say that he is from North London.

college. Speaking of school, I’ll be honest, school and I had an on/off relationship. In fact, I actually left secondary school with only two GCSES (sorry mum!) I just didn’t get it; I felt disconnected. It wasn’t until I entered the ‘working world’ that I realised and appreciated the importance of a good education. Motivated, I studied for my GCSEs and A levels at the same time, following my success with a postgraduate degree and a PGCE in primary education. The seed was planted.

Health & Wellbeing


Health & Wellbeing

With the solution-focused approach, the opening question is often “If these sessions prove useful to you, what will be different at the end of our work together?” This is a very different question from “what is it that brings you here”? and the question gives the family a chance to discuss what they would like instead of the problem. The focus, if only on the problems will make the issue more overwhelming and can lead to family members blaming each other for their current situation. The process of “offloading” may feel useful at the time, but it does nothing to solve the problem itself. The question above relays the message that things will improve and that it is a joint effort a collaboration between client and practitioner. Our past is important, but we all live in the present and need to find ways of coping and making the situation better for all the family.

Once the best hope of the family is established the practitioner will ask for a detailed description of life when their outcomes are fully met. This involves looking at what the family will be doing and who else would notice. The clients then scale the current situation. The scale runs from 1 to 10, with 10 being when all the best hopes are fully met and 1 is the complete opposite. Wherever the family score themselves they are asked what small thing needs to happen to get them one point further up the scale and what difference this would make to them as a family. The family are in the driving seat and are encouraged to come up with their own solutions to the problem. It is now time for you to practice! This can be done on your own with a friend or the family. Get together and ask the best hope question. As a family asks, “if things are better for us in the near future what would we like to see that is different”? Get everyone to give their ideas and ask, “when this happens what difference will it make to us?” Then ask at least three more times “what else would be different?” The next step would be the detailed description: “Imagine after we sleep tonight we all wake up tomorrow and our best hopes are fully met but we do not know this has

happened because we were asleep. What would be the first sign that this change had happened?” The description will be based on what we would notice about each other that tells us this change has occurred from the time we wake till the time we go to bed. This allows everyone to use their imagination to see life as they would like it to be. If done correctly you will notice people smiling as they see a vision of life without the problem. The next step is the scaling question: “On a scale from 1 to 10, where 10 is our best hopes are fully met and 1 is the complete opposite, where are we on the scale?” This may give various answers, so you can add the numbers together and get an average score for the family as a whole. For scores of 5, 4 and 6 the family score will be 5. The next question will be; “What are you doing already that is useful?” This will highlight what everyone feels is going well and would like to keep doing. Then ask: “What can we do to get to the next point on the scale?” This is where everyone comes up with a small step that will help towards the best hopes. Good Luck! For any questions on what you’ve read or for more information on our services please contact 020 8363 6262 or

To advertise email or call 0203 978 7332

The solution-focused approach is an ‘intervention’ in family work that looks at helping families and individuals discover what strengths they have and how these can be utilised to moving forward. The problems families present us with in our work can be very complex and overwhelming for them. It feels that nothing will change, and they can become stuck without any hope for a better outcome.

From problems to solutions

© Flynt |

20 Health & Wellbeing

Practical tips for healthier eating and drinking when you’re out What do you do if you’re trying to lose weight but you’re a social butterfly?

chew your food well and stop as soon as you feel full. Don’t feel obliged to clear your plate.

Research has shown that those who eat out regularly generally have higher intakes of fat, salt and calories. Studies have also shown that eating with friends can tempt us to overeat and you may also end up eating bigger portions.

Even when you’re out and seeing a menu for the first time, choose the healthier options. Unlike packaged food, foods bought from cafes, restaurants and takeaways don’t have to carry nutritional information, so choosing a healthier option might be difficult.

Just like the all-inclusive holiday, it may feel like great value for money when you get served a big plate, but if you’re trying to eat healthily or lose weight, you probably won’t enjoy it as much.

General rules of thumb

Like most things in life, planning is crucial. Checking out restaurant menus or knowing what sort of food will be on offer at that upcoming family wedding means that you can choose your options before the event. If your mind is resolute, you’ll be less likely to be swayed. When eating out remember to eat slowly,

Opt for dishes that are: grilled, boiled, poached, steamed or stir-fried. Avoid dishes that are battered, scampi for example, or deep fried, like samosas. When it comes to meats, opt for skinless chicken, lean red meats, fish and prawns. Avoid fatty or processed meats like sausages and bacon. Bread options should include wholemeal,

granary, brown, or seedy. Avoid refined white flour varieties. Sourdough and spelt are also good alternatives as they are easier to digest. For dessert opt for fresh fruit, fruit salad or sorbets and try to avoid cake, pudding, fullfat cream, ice cream and sweets. Sauce options should be tomato or vegetable based, and not creamy, butter or cheesebased. Vegetables should be preferably steamed to preserve their nutritional value and served plain, just like salads. Request for any dressings to be served on the side and avoid any that are buttery, creamy or extra oily. Potato salad and coleslaw can be especially laden with mayonnaise. Potatoes should be boiled or baked. Avoid chips, mash, roasted and any creamy type like dauphinoise. If you can’t tell from the menu how a dish

Here are some practical suggestions for making healthier choices at your favourite restaurant.


Avoid creamy curries, such as korma, pasanda or masala. Avoid pilau rice, naan, bhajis, pakoras, chappatis and poppadoms. A healthier Indian meal might consist of oven-cooked tandoori-cooked meat or jalfrezi, Balti, dupiaza or madras with chicken, prawns or vegetables plus plain rice.



As well as choosing healthier options, it’s also important to avoid eating too much. It’s easy to get carried away in the moment and not take notice of how much you’re actually eating. Here are some reminders for you: • Avoid eating bread or other nibbles before your main meal. • Share your starter and/or dessert with a friend. • When ordering a selection of smaller dishes, like tapas or meze, try not to over order. • Wait until you’ve eaten your main course before ordering dessert. You might be full enough. • Try not to have a starter and a dessert with your main course. Have just the main if possible.


Stick to stir-fried or steamed dishes containing chicken, fish or vegetables. Green and red curries contain coconut milk, so try not to eat all the sauce. Steamed rice is preferable.

Fish and chips

Here are some ways you can make this family favourite healthier: • The thicker the chip the less fat it absorbs. • Order a small portion of chips. It should still be large enough to share. • If it’s available, have steamed or breadcrumb coated fish. • Try not to eat all the greasy batter on fish or leave it altogether.

Burgers and kebabs

Choose grilled burgers made from lean meat or fish or try a plant-based vegetarian or

For your sweet choice, there are lots of healthier options you can choose from. Fruit is my first choice. It can be fresh, frozen, tinned or dried. Go for sorbet rather than ice-cream. Avoid fresh cream and chocolate.


Opt for protein-based fillings such as egg, ham, lean meat, fish and low-fat cheeses, plus: • Substitute mayonnaise with chutneys and pickles. • Choose vegetable or salad-based varieties. • Always look at the ingredients and nutritional value of pre-packed sandwiches. Some are very high in calories and fat.

Special Occasions/Events

Just like you shouldn’t go food shopping on an empty stomach, try not to arrive starving or hungry. Have a light healthy meal or snack before leaving home, plus: • Don’t stand or sit near the food table to avoid the temptation to keep nibbling. • If food is being passed around it’s ok to say ‘no’. Don’t eat just to be polite. • Avoid processed, stodgy or starchy foods, like sausage rolls. • Aim to fill at least half your plate with healthier options. Undressed salad and crudites are low calorie and add colour and healthy nutrients to your plate.


Lastly alcohol. This is where there are lots of hidden calories. Generally, clear spirits and white wines contain the least calories. Drinking water chasers with your drinks or lengthening your drink by adding tonic water to your white wine are nice little tricks to help prevent over-drinking. Below are some low-calorie examples but drinking any of the following or any other alcoholic drinks in copious amounts will still add considerably to your calorie count: • • • •

White wine Prosecco Vodka and diet lemonade Slimline gin and tonic.

WITH MARY HUCKLE Mary Huckle is a personal trainer and Pilates instructor from Enfield, North London and is the founder/owner of Breakthrough Fitness. She is married with three children. Her passion for anything health and fitness related has been a lifelong affair. After working in finance for many years she eventually changed her career path in 2003 when she left the world of finance to retrain as a fitness instructor and personal trainer at the YMCA. She is also qualified in prenatal, postnatal and children’s fitness. Instagram @maryhuckle Facebook @breakthroughfitness1 Twitter @mary_huckle

To advertise email or call 0203 978 7332

is cooked, then don’t be afraid to ask. If the waiter or waitress doesn’t know, then the chef most definitely will.

Avoid anything battered or deep fried like chicken balls. Choose steamed or plain rice. Any dish consisting of steamed vegetables and lean protein (chicken, scallops, shrimp, fish, lean beef or tofu) with sauce on the side is a low-calorie choice.


Choose lower-fat toppings on your pizza, such as vegetables, pineapple, fish or prawns. Ask for extra vegetables to increase your daily intake and ask for less cheese. Always go for thin crust rather than deep pan or cheese filled. Opt for a healthier tomato or vegetablebased sauce on pasta, rather than a cream or butter one. If you’re having a starter or a dessert, then you could go for a smaller main meal such as a starter-size pasta with a side salad. Most Italian restaurants serve two sizes of pasta dishes. Rather than the usual garlic bread or focaccia, try bruschetta, which is a light, but tasty ciabatta bread topped with fresh tomatoes and herbs.

vegan burger, and in addition: • Ask for your burger without cheese or mayonnaise. • Ask for extra salad. • Substitute the bun with lettuce leaves. A shish lamb kebab (approx. 230 calories) is healthier than a doner kebab, which could contain approx 1,900 calories!

! n u f y a d h t r i b e v Acti What’s included? • Party room/area • Organised activities • Party host • Invitations and thank you cards • Filled party bags • Party food • Birthday card for the birthday child

Special little extras We can add a number of upgrade options to make your child’s birthday even more special. Please talk to the DL Kids Party Planner for full details.

Did you know we host kids parties here at David Lloyd As the parent/s of the birthday Enfield? child, please ensure you arrange Ourenough DL Kidsadults party planner will to for to be around plan the andpersonal cater for most toiletmagical visits and imaginative party for your child. needs. We cannot provide We offer great activity themed support for the children in this parties that can be tailor made to area and as such, responsible offer your child their dream party. adult supervision is required.

Party prices Party prices are available from reception.

To find out more visit or call 0208 364 5858 and speak to Stefani Castiglione

For the

! r e v e y t r a p t s be

! n u f y a d h t r i b e Activ

Eat Happy Feel Good WITH CHRISTIANNA Christianna is a mum of two and is currently studying nutrition. She loves cooking, making healthy food delicious and passionately believes in having a healthy relationship with food. Follow her @eathappyfeelgood / for more healthy recipes and food inspiration.

Spooky Sausages

Health & Wellbeing


Who doesn’t love Halloween themed food? These sausage mummies are super fun and easy to make. Serve with some veggies and you have a dinner guaranteed to make everyone smile. To make them, all you need is your favourite sausages and a pack of puff pastry. Bake the sausages as per pack instructions but stop cooking 10 minutes before they’re fully cooked. Let them cool. Slice the puff pastry into thin slices and wrap around the cooked sausages. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes till the sausages are cooked through and the pastry is lightly golden. Add some eyes and your yummy mummies are ready. Happy Halloween!

Leftovers Chicken Pie Don’t be put off by the word ‘leftovers’... this pie is so good I have sometimes made more roast chicken than we need just so I can make this the next day. The leftovers I had from our Sunday roast were chicken, peas and carrots. I added some sweet corn and made a quick sauce to bring it together. Popped it all into a pie dish, topped with ready puff pastry, made a little vent and baked for 25 minutes in a preheated oven at 180C. Served with mash and broccoli. Easy dinner win!

Sauce recipe: Ingredients • • • • • • •

1 tbsp butter 1 tbsp flour 1/2 cup semi-skimmed milk 1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 1 cup hot water 1 tsp Dijon mustard 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp finely chopped parsley


• Put the butter and flour in a pan and cook for a few minutes stirring continuously. • Gradually add the milk & keep whisking. • Do the same with the stock. • Add the Dijon, parsley & salt, mix well and the sauce is done. I promise you, everyone will love it!

Snack Dinner Do you ever serve your kids a dinner like this? I used to feel a little guilty if I didn’t cook a ‘proper’ dinner. But if you actually look at this plate... it’s a really well balanced meal. Complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, & protein; plus it’s nourishing, filling and so much fun! What more could we ask for from a dinner? So we now do this quite often, especially if I’m going to cook something for the adults that I know they don’t like very much and that’s ok. Happy kiddies, happy mummy and smiles all round.

Hidden Veg Smoothie Bowl Beef and Orzo Bake This is an absolute family favourite and full of flavour.


• 1kg beef cut into cubes • 2 tbsp olive oil • 1 cup red wine • 1 large white onion chopped • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced • 1 tbsp tomato puree • 1 can chopped tomatoes • 1 veg stock diluted in two cups of water • 3 cups orzo pasta • Warm water (enough to cover the pasta) • Salt and pepper. • Grated halloumi to serve Method

• Brown the beef in 1 tbsp olive oil. Do this in batches, searing on all sides. Take out of the pan and set aside.

• Add the second tbsp oil and cook the onions for 5 minutes. • Add the wine to the pan to deglaze. Make sure you scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan.

• Add the canned tomatoes, tomato pure and stock. Stir through, bring to a simmer, cover and let it cook for an hour.

• Preheat oven to 175C. • Transfer the beef to a baking dish and set aside, add orzo and carrots and add water until the pasta is just covered.

• Cover with foil and cook in the oven for about 25 minutes till all the liquid has been absorbed and the pasta is tender.

• Serve with grated Halloumi cheese.

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Can you guess what hidden vegetable is in this breakfast smoothie bowl? Cauliflower! And I promise you ... my kiddies had no idea! I steam cauliflower florets and freeze them in baggies, ready to use. To make this one I mixed one cup frozen (cooked) cauliflower, two bananas, one cup almond milk and 1/4 cup chia seeds (add more almond milk if you want it a little looser). Blitz till smooth and add maple syrup to taste. Top with berries and you have a delicious veggie-loaded breakfast. If you want to make these little berry flowers, blitz your berries, pour into flower moulds and freeze.

26 Health & Wellbeing - Advertising Feature

Preventing back pain in children It has become more and more apparent that children are experiencing back pain in this generation. But why is this? Are parents simply more aware of back pain now? Or is it because our lifestyles have changed? When I was younger, I spent the majority of the summer on my bike. Whereas I look at kids that come in and see me and the majority of their life is spent in front of a PlayStation, Xbox, iPad or smartphone. These habits can negatively affect our spinal health as when we are born our bones undergo ossification which means that bones are not fully formed into skeletal maturity until 18 to 25 years old, so it is important to develop good habits while young. It is important to establish good habits early as not being mindful of the spine and instead hunching over their mobile phone or wearing a rucksack which is too heavy, can put pressure on their joints and cause

muscle imbalances. Occasionally this can cause the child to experience pain in their back from quite a young age. The good news is that having treatment is usually very quick and often they only need one session in order to resolve the problem. It is important to take notice when your child has pain, as it can be solved very quickly. Anisha’s top tips on how to prevent your child having back pain

1. Try to limit your child using games consoles and tablets to 30 minute blocks, with a break in between. Ensure they are sat in a well supported chair, upright and bring the screen (phones and tablets) up to their face, without looking down into their lap. 2.

Try to ensure they carry a rucksack at school and encourage them to put it on both shoulders.

3. Ensure they wear proper trainers for games that support their feet. Change their shoes as they grow. 4. When doing homework, they should always be at a desk or dinner table (not on their bed or the sofa). 5. Try to get them to do a variety of physical exercises to help the tone of their muscles and their bone density as they are growing.

6. If they experience pain or discomfort for any period of time, see an expert to help and advise accordingly.

Anisha Joshi Director of Woodside Osteopathic Clinic in London and Hitchin. @osteoanisha

Our children’s mental health By Cathy Underwood

• One in eight children have a diagnosable

mental health disorder – roughly three kids in every classroom. • One in six aged 16-24 suffer from depression and anxiety. • Half of mental health problems manifest by the age of 14, with 75% by age 24. • One in five children aged 10-11 are now overweight and a further 14.2% obese. • One in 10 children aged 4-5 are overweight and 12.8% obese.

48% of men and 43% of women in the UK could be obese by 2030.

Socio-economic status, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and exposure to trauma are attributor factors but it is the negative health implications including depression, heart disease, diabetes, eating disorders and attention deficit that impacts the demands of an already struggling NHS.

There is hope! Early intervention is key with good nutrition, exercise and sleep top of the list. Parents are also being urged to provide a safe environment where young children feel safe to talk and express themselves. Tools that help release stress and promote resilience are also encouraged. Yoga has become a popular practice within schools and has been proven to enhance mental and emotional wellbeing. Pupils practicing yoga utilise the tools to help them with self-regulation, mood and behaviour

Try these five techniques to help your children relax... 1. Sitting, place hands together in a prayer position. Close your eyes and take a slow deep breath in and a long steady breath out. Repeat three times. 2. Cat pose – come onto all fours, exhale draw belly in gently, tuck under the tailbone and look towards your belly button. Inhale relax and look up repeat three times. 3. Downward dog – from all fours, curl under your toes and lift knee off the ground. Press heels to the ground and exhale

About Cathy Underwood

plus the breathing techniques aid relaxation and concentration when studying.

Why yoga for children? • Yoga

is non-competitive and helps build great self-esteem. • Good for posture, flexibility, compliments other activities and sports. • Helps to relieve stress and aid focus during study and exam time. • It is inclusive and therefore ideal for all participants regardless of their fitness ability. • Yoga inspires participation.

How to introduce yoga to your children There are lots of fabulous and inspirational yoga teachers out there. However, I’ve found the best way to motivate my two boys, is to practice with them at home. Be sure to keep it very simple and fun, exploring a little yoga sequence or posture every day seems to ensure regular attendance.

slowly. Stay here breathing gently but maybe adding a few ‘woofs’ and wagging your pretend tail! 4. From all fours, sit back onto heels and place head on the ground, arms stretched out along the floor. Stay here for five slow breaths. 5. Lie down on your back and close your eyes. Pretend you are a starfish relaxing on the seabed watching all the pretty fish swimming above you. You feel calm, relaxed and happy inside out. As you watch the fish, you begin to relax your legs and feet, your arms and hands. Your tummy is soft and you can breathe with ease into your chest. Relax your head now and the muscles of your face. All is well. When you feel ready to awaken, count slowly to 20. Open your eyes and stretch.

Cathy is a busy mum of two and the founder of the award-winning Yoga4mums and IMTYoga, specialising in somatic provision for autism and special needs. She has senior teacher trainer status recognised by the Yoga Professional Alliance UK and recently became one of the first Female Founder Ambassadors for the UK, championing women in business. Find out more: visit

To advertise email or call 0203 978 7332

But then it’s not easy being a kid either. Their world is a jungle of distractions and temptations designed to stimulate the senses and entice them back for more. Alarmingly, new research suggests there has been a spike in children’s mental health conditions and a need for life tools is now a national priority.

• The NHS reports that if the rise continues

It’s challenging being a parent these days. There are so many factors to consider when raising a child: what they eat, what they learn, who they play with and whether or not they should even look at a mobile phone... it’s definitely not easy.

Health & Wellbeing


Becoming Daddy & Dad

“Daddy?” “Yes, babe?” “When I’m old like you and Dad, I’m going to adopt a son and live next door.” “Are you, Rich? We’re not that old are we?” “Well, you know like when I’m bald...” “Bald? Anyway, how will you afford the house next door?” “You and Dad can buy it for me.” “Right. Well, how do you adopt a son, Richard?” “Well. First you have to call the police.” “Erm.. not quite!”

if they want childcare experience? But in reality, once I’d pushed ‘dial’ the first call was very easy – a quick chat with a friendly receptionist who took our details and posted out an information pack. Next, there was an informal interview and a home assessment (our house has never been as clean and tidy, as you’ll find out over on our blog – google Daddy & Dad), then a week’s intense training followed by a six-week assessment with a social worker.

I’m Daddy, by the way – more commonly known as Jamie and one half of Daddy & Dad. Five years ago, my fiancé, Tom and I became proud dads to Richard and Lyall, our handsome sons. They’re nine and ten now; at least twice the size they were when we met them but just as lovable and affectionate. We do worry their cuddly predisposition and candid chats might dwindle when they get bigger, so we make the most of it all before embarrassment and teenage sulks take hold!

Secondly, after a little online research Tom and I found there were thousands and proportionately far more sibling groups than individual kids in care waiting for adoptive parents. We knew we eventually wanted two children, so with this in mind our decision was made and we only looked for siblings. So, back to my question to Richard from earlier, “Well, how do you adopt a son, Richard?” Luckily there’s no call to the police, thank goodness! In brief, the process (if only it were brief) started with a phone call to our local adoption agency. Sounds easy, right? Actually the first phone call for us was probably one of the biggest hurdles... Would we be their first gay couple? What if we’re not old enough or too old? What

Next, family finding. It was at this stage we decided we wanted to restrict our search to sibling groups, which incidentally made the search for our sons a little easier as it narrowed the pool of eligible kids down to just a handful. Our social worker emailed Lyall and Richard’s profile to me while I was at work. They’d been in care for a long time and desperately needed a secure, forever home. I messaged Tom and said, “Tom – here’s our boys.” We instantly fell in love. The rest, as they say is history. In total the process took around two years, from the first phone call through to Lyall and Richard ’moving in’, and then a further six months to legally adopt them and get them completely settled into their new school and home life. That might sound like a long time, but in fact it feels like a blur, as though we sat on the fast-forward button and sped through it all. If you are considering adoption, don’t be put off by the time it might take. It really is the most magical thing you’ll ever do. Website: Instagram: @daddyanddad

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When we talk about adoption, people often ask, “If adoption is such hard work, why would you adopt two children at the same time?”

When children are placed with their ‘forever family’, as mentioned, they are disorientated. It’s a very scary, uncertain time for them. When Lyall and Rich joined us, they depended on each other for comfort and familiarity. It was a huge relief for each of them to have each other to navigate the experience with.

Next up, the Adoption Panel. An esteemed panel interviewed us to decide whether or not we would make suitable parents to adopted children. We were approved, phew!

Adoption is a marvellous thing. It’s equally magical as it is inexplicably hard and emotional. Essentially, an adopter becomes a parent overnight, usually with very little preparation or childcare experience. Additionally, children in the care system arrive with baggage. However sorted they appear on face value, every child in foster care has, at best, experienced the trauma of being removed from their birth family. Worst still, the majority of children in care will have seen and experienced some pretty horrible things before being rescued and placed in temporary foster care. Lyall and Rich were no exception – they had a very turbulent start to their little lives. When they were placed with us (or, ‘moved in’ as they affectionately describe it), for at least the first couple of weeks they were very homesick and disorientated. But, with hard work, open conversation and a good routine they quickly bonded with me and Tom and we haven’t looked back.

Well, firstly, the idea that parenting two children is twice as difficult as one child is a misconception. Yes, there are added logistics (I’ll never forget the first time both boys ran off in opposite directions in Sainsbury’s) and of course there are the inevitable squabbles. Relentless squabbles, actually. But, there are so many advantages to adopting a sibling group. For starters, comfort.

The six-week assessment was an emotional experience for Tom and I; quite a private couple back then, we were expected to talk openly about our relationship, finances and our own traumas. After a little while our assessment meetings at home became quite therapeutic, almost liberating. We learned new things about each other and talked about strengths we didn’t realise we had.

Lifestyle changes to improve fertility

Health & Wellbeing - Advertising Feature


Dr Larisa Corda is an obstetrician and gynaecologist and is one of the UK’s leading Fertility experts. For more details please visit

The best approach to getting pregnant starts with lifestyle, and embarking on this even before you think you want to be pregnant is important. So, here are the top changes I advise for anyone looking to have a baby, and which cover the main pillars of the conception plan, whether you’re out to maximise your natural fertility or improve the chances of any treatment you may be needing to help you to conceive. Eat well. This means looking at your diet as a whole and eliminating foods that have been influenced by hormones, by pesticides, by added preservatives and chemicals and

foods that are rich in sugar. All of the above can have serious and harmful effects on your own body but can also influence the health of your baby through the process of epigenetics. What you eat can literally leave a transgenerational genetic footprint on your children, and also their children. This is why your diet is one of the most important aspects of fertile health. You want to be eating food in its cleanest most nutritious state possible, which means buying organic where you can and having a predominantly plant based diet. Exercise to help boost the circulation to your

reproductive organs and also to help you maintain a healthy body and mind. Exercise can also help to reduce stress but too much or being over vigorous can do the opposite, so be mindful and aim for what is realistic and achievable for you. This will also help you to keep weight within the normal range that is vital for fertility and helps to reduce the chance of miscarriage. Reduce stress and keep caffeine (which is a stress activator) to a minimum or avoid it altogether. Though there is no proven association between stress and impaired fertility (this is very difficult to prove due to

minimise alcohol or avoid it altogether. All of these can affect your hormone health, but also lead to developmental problems in the baby. Alcohol can lower libido, cause damage to sperm and the liver. The liver is the main organ in the body responsible for deactivating toxins. If the liver is preoccupied or overburdened with processing alcohol or other damaging substances, then it can’t do one of its other major jobs, which is to clean up any toxins or hormones made in the body that need to be deactivated. Otherwise, these also start to have harmful side effects on your fertility.

You absolutely need to stop smoking (even e-cigarettes, though the evidence for this is not yet uncovered) as this can cause damage the lining of the womb, the eggs and sperm, but also adversely affect the health of your child, not to mention cause all sorts of complications in your pregnancy. You also need to stop any recreational or unnecessary medicinal drugs (consult with your doctor on this beforehand) and

If you have been on a long term contraceptive, in particular the oral contraceptive pill, be aware that they may cause deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals that your body requires for optimum fertility, which is even more reason to eat nutritiously and take a good multi vitamin supplement. In addition, the oral contraceptive pill can cause imbalances in a range of different hormones, that can take some time to

Get yourself on a good multivitamin supplement a few months before you start to try but remember that this is not an alternative to a good diet, the two must go hand in hand. For men, a supplement rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, E, selenium, zinc and garlic can support healthy sperm. Women should look towards a vitamin supplement that delivers the required dose of folic acid, iodine and vitamin D and a range of other vitamins and minerals required for conception and a healthy pregnancy. Omega 3 is also important for both men and women as it influences the development of the baby’s brain and IQ. Appreciate the moment you’re in and don’t compare or only focus on the negative of not having yet got your baby. So many people I see lose confidence over this and start to feel worthless in the process of trying, but what many forget is that the time they spend trying is never wasted. It is always an opportunity to improve your health for the sake of your fertility, but also for the sake of your future baby. This is the time to be making that investment in your physical but also mental wellbeing that will serve you well, not just on your baby-making journey but in the future too.

To advertise email or call 0203 978 7332

Be mindful of the toxic elements influencing our environment, from the water we drink, to the toxins found in cleaning products, to the make up we put on our skin, to the plastic we use to cover our food in. Whether we absorb the toxins via the gut or the skin, or in some cases inhale around the house, the combined surface area of these organs is massive, and whatever is absorbed can get into our blood stream and end up being harmful to our hormones that control fertility, as well as the eggs and sperm. There are so many pollutants that we cannot avoid being exposed to when we step outside, but we need to be focusing on the environment we can control inside our homes, and what we put into and on to our bodies. Always try and use products in their most natural state because again, much like with food, the repercussions are not just on our own bodies and health, but on our babies’ health and their development. Some recent studies have also shown toxins influencing sperm DNA which can be passed on to offspring and have been linked to obesity and other health issues in the child.

On the theme of immunity, there is growing recognition of the importance of the microbiome within our bodies and how important this is to our overall health as well as fertility and your baby’s immunity. Take a probiotic supplement and consider eating more fermented foods to help. Your gut is often referred to as your second brain, because so many substances made in the brain are also made in the gut, including serotonin. We need this to help enhance our overall sense of wellbeing, so the microbiome is important for this too.

Have sex often and throughout your cycle. Too many people become too preoccupied with the fertile window which can make sex a militaristic operation rather than a pleasure! Sperm can survive in the reproductive tract for several days, and recent studies are suggesting that the conventional advice of abstaining for a few days in between is perhaps wrong and that actually sperm performance may improve with regular even daily intercourse. So be spontaneous and remember to enjoy sex – orgasm may be helpful in aiding fertilisation too.

so many other so called confounding factors) there is a wealth of literature to point to the problem of too much stress and activation of the sympathetic or fight or flight response, leading to raised cortisol levels and a permanent state of high alert. This can then start to create an imbalance in your fertility hormones, but can also affect other organs in your body, leading to high blood pressure, problems with sleep, lowered libido and resorting to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as eating too much sugar, drinking alcohol or smoking. Invest in daily rituals that bring you comfort and joy, such as meditation, yoga, mindfulness, being outdoors in nature, or spending time with close friends.

Focus on sleeping well and ensuring your bedroom becomes a sanctuary that is conducive to sleep. This means clearing out the clutter, not using any electrical devices such as TVs and mobile phones before bed time, and ensuring the room is dark enough to allow you to get the crucial seven to eight hours sleep a night that most of us need to be able to function well. Sleep not only helps to combat stress, and improve libido, but it’s vital to processing unnecessary and harmful substances in the body that are made each day, and also boosts immunity, something else that’s really important when it comes to fertility. In addition, good quality sleep can help with weight loss.

regulate and return to their optimum state. Though the pill may cause a short term dip in fertility, long term it’s reassuring to know that it has not been shown to impact on this. If you are looking towards pregnancy soon, try to consider alternative more natural means of contraception that you can discuss with your doctor, such as natural cycle monitoring, which will also encourage you to understand your own body better and its pattern of behaviour.




Your evening skincare routine in 5 mins or under By Ioanna Charalambous

Owner of Blush Beauty Salons, Oakwood. 020 8363 3734. Official Elemis Stockists. Insta- @blush_beautysalons, FB- Blush Oakwood No one can be bothered to stand in front of their bathroom mirror at night and do a really long-winded skincare routine. If they say they do, they are lying. The last thing you want to do after work and putting the kids to bed is a 100-step skincare routine. So, let’s make it simple for you, here are a few simple steps to target all the areas you need to reach, using either: 1. An anti-ageing routine (recommended for 25 and overs) or 2. A Nourishing Glow Routine (suitable for all skin types).

Anti-ageing in 5 steps

Pro-Collagen Marine Oil Moisturise, Nourish & Hydrate your face. Massage 3-4 drops into face and neck then leave for a few moments.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Overnight Matrix Cream* A wrinkle smoothing night cream, designed to work wonders overnight. Apply a pea-sized amount, warm through with your hands and then onto the face and neck.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment Anti-wrinkle Eye serum – targets fine lines and wrinkles. 1-2 drops on ring fingers and lightly pat around the eye contours.






Nourishing Glow Routine in 5 steps

Elemis Superfood Facial Wash Mix a pea-sized amount into the palms of your hands, add water and gently massage over the face, rinse off & pat dry.

Elemis Superfood Kefir Tea Mist Spritz 2 to 3 sprays and leave for 1-2 mins to dry.

Superfood Facial Oil Massage 3-4 drops into the face and neck.

Elemis Superfood Night Cream* Using a peasized amount, work into the face and neck.

Peptide 4 Eye Recovery Cream Simply apply 1-2 drops on your ring fingers and lightly pat around the eye contours. This is great for dark circles.






*Remember to apply in an upwards direction with stroking, sweeping movements.

£10 OFF


£5 OFF

YOUR NEXT FACIAL BOOKING (must be used by December 14th 2019)

Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers, gift vouchers or any other promotions. This permits one facial per person per month

To advertise email or call 0203 978 7332

Elemis Rehydrating Ginseng Toner Spritz this rehydrating toner over face with 2-3 sprays and wait a minute or so to absorb.

Elemis Pro- Collagen Cleansing Balm Grab a pea-sized amount, massage into face and neck, add a little water until it goes milky and then remove with a warm, damp cotton cloth.

Autumn Beauty with Elena @els_makeup_box

Hello my beautifuls! Autumn season is well upon us and we all want to look our best – especially on the school run first thing in the morning. I have put together a few of my favourite tried and tested makeup products to give you that all important fresh look. Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Colour Who doesn’t love beautiful, soft matte finish lips? Introducing stunna lip paint by Fenty Beauty. With just one swipe of the brush, create juicy kissable lips in seconds.

Soapbrows Kit Groomed eyebrows are an incredibly important feature which frame the entirety of the face. Drop a few droplets of water onto the product, grab your spoolie and comb through the brows. Allow to set and voila! Fluffy and tamed brows.




West Barn Co.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Now the brows are nicely groomed, fill them in with the award winning brow wizz by Anastasia Beverly Hills.




Cult Beauty

All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation One of my favourite foundations, which I use on all clients including brides, has got to be Nars All Day Luminous Weightless foundation. Suits all skin types and skin tones.



Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eye Shadow Palette The Hall of Fame eyeshadow palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills is an absolute must. Contains 14 highly pigmented metallic, neutral, warm and peachy shades to suit all skin tones.


Cult Beauty

Follow Elena’s makeup tutorials every Sunday on her Instagram page @els_makeup_box




BACK TO SCHOOL ALL by MAMA is the world’s first marketplace and community for parents running a business alongside raising a family. Our customers can shop gifts for all the family, knowing that every gift is lovingly made by Mums and Dads.

Personalised Pencil Case with Icon £6.50

Personalised Unicorn Lunch Bag £12.00

Children’s Small Book Box (4-7 Years Old) £49.99

First Day At School Card £2.80

First Day At School Personalised Card £5.75

My Box of Positivity £10.50

My Little Book of Worries £7.99

OZ and Fox Phonics Years Subscription £9.99

Personalised Rugby Boot Bag £12.00

Personalised Post From Panda Reception Reading Scheme 3-month Subscription £37.99

Personalised Unicorn Water Bottle £11.00

Science Explorer Activity Box £23.99

Canvas Pencil Case £6.50

Children’s Grammar Notebook £8.50

To advertise email or call 0203 978 7332

Personalised Glitter Keyring £8.00

Personalised Drawstring Bag £8.50

The Autumn Edit

We’ve got you covered from school run to office WITH ANTONIA

Antonia Sanchez-Toomey is the founder of Tinker Tailor, lifestyle store and online destination For daily inspiration follow her Instagram: @tinkertailoronline

Casual yet


Margot Leopard Scarf A flash of neon pink will brighten up grey days.



Wear w either l ith ook

Voila Logo Sweatshirt A versatile top that you can wear with everything from midi skirts to jeans.





Coast Waterproof Jacket The practical school run coat - lightweight and waterproof with pockets and a hood that will leave you hands-free to keep hold of your little darlings during the school run.



Striped Trainers Go-faster stripes for busy mums.

Mint Velvet Zipped Casual Jacket, Pale Khaki The safari jacket - a perennial favorite in khaki which isn’t everyone’s idea of a neutral colour but goes with absolutely everything.




John Lewis

Work it


Black Stitched Leather Biker Carry on wearing your floaty summer dresses through autumn and simply add a bit of warmth with this design classic.

Structured wool coat We all need a neutral wool coat in our lives, it goes with most things and looks fabulous and elegant.




Mint Velvet

Discreet but chic accessories Neptune Necklace Gold Mineral Earrings Gold


Tutti & Co

Kate Classic Trouser A well-cut pair of trousers are worth their weight in gold.



Wear w either l ith ook

Essential Tote Back to school and only a multi-tasking bag will do.


Aspinal of London

Renee Flats A pair of smart flats will take you from the school run straight to the office.



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10 Top Tips for New Parents!



By Sevim Safer @twobabiesonepram

It’s safe to say that every single person in your life will start offering you advice as soon as you post your baby scan on Insta. I have to hold my hands up and say that I’m also guilty of this at times, however, as a parent, I think it’s important we cast our minds back to when we were on that particular stepping stone and leave the parents to be alone. They should really come with a sign that says “Only give advice if asked!” A number of times I was told where to place my nipple when breastfeeding, how to cocoon my child so they sleep better, thousands of routines to help them sleep at night, don’t use this washing powder, don’t use this or that brand as it contains cancer chemicals, this is a better buggy, this is the best nappy… you get my drift. That doesn’t even come close to half of the advice that was thrown my way, in fact, I believe there was a time that I went into denial because of all these people and stopped enjoying my pregnancy. Here are my top tips, learnt when my two popped out.

1. There is no ‘Parent of the Year’ award. It’s not a competition (even though at times it

feels like one). When you’re dealing with one problem, trust me, someone else is going through another. No one is perfect!

2. Go with the flow. If every child came with

you don’t defrost the freezer (I remember a close friend of mine actually doing that) you sleep... sleep, sleep, sleep! Otherwise, you’ll be moody!

a manual we would all have a pretty perfect life! But they don’t, and every child is different just like you’re different to your partner. Whichever way the wind blows you, just tie up your hair and walk in that direction.

6. You know the saying “wallet, phone, keys”

3. Ignore all advice from people who have children aged three and up… they don’t even remember what they made for dinner the night before, let alone what sleep routine they used after childbirth.

7. Make time for a hot cup of tea. When you get your cuppa don’t take a picture and put it up on your Instagram captioned “mummy/daddy time!” By the time you’ve photographed it, put a filter on it, captioned it, hashtagged it, posted it and then liked other people’s pictures... your tea has gone cold and the baby is awake. Do you get my drift? Just drink it.

4. If someone says the words “Do you need help?” You say “yes please!” Even if it’s a person you can’t stand, grab the help with two hands, show them where the bottles are and hop back into bed. It’s the only time you can get away with it and anyway after month three people forget you have a child and go about their lives again. 5. This brings me to an important tip – sleep!

Sleep whenever you can. If your child sleeps

that men use when they walk out of the door? As a parent, yours now needs to be “muslin, baby wipes, nappies, child!”

8. Eat! 9. Remember you’re doing amazingly well and no one taught you how to be a parent.

10. Every parent wings it… you’re not alone!

15% OFF

QUOTE: ZIBI15 Offer valid 1 September - 1st November. See website for details.


Spooky Meringues So its that time of year to get spooky... and what better way to incorporate a bit of Halloween than into your food. With one simple mix of meringue batter, I have created three types of different spooky creations for you to make and eat at Halloween. Perfect for a Halloween party, a children’s decorating party game, or just general sweet treats to have around the home at this time. Either way, these little meringue creations are delicious.

Step by step...



Step 1 (pic 2) Separate the egg white from the yoke, making sure not to leak any yoke into the egg whites. You may need approx 3 large egg whites to reach 120g. Do not waste any egg whites, if your egg whites reach a total which is more than 120g, than just add the additional sugar. Step 2 (pic 3) Add the sugar to the bowl, double the amount to the egg whites. And give it a good mix with a spatula. Step 3 (pic 4) Put your bowl over a Bain-Marie and allow the water to softly boil so that the heat melts the sugar and egg whites. Do not let the bowl touch the water as this will cook the sugar and crystallise it. After a few minutes, lift out a small amount of the melted sugar and egg whites on your spatula and take a little bit between your finger and thumb and rub together, if you cannot feel the sugar grains, then the mixture is ready. If you can still feel some sugar grains then leave the bowl over the Bain-Marie for a while longer checking every minute. Step 4 (pic 5) Whip your egg and sugar mixture on a high speed for approximately eight minutes using a stand alone mixer or a handheld whisk. The whipped egg white should be white and fluffy. The standard test is to hold the bowl upside down and if the meringue is ready it won’t fall out of the bowl. Step 5 (pic 6) After the meringue has been whipped, you can add your flavouring, which can be anything you like, as long as it is not an excessive amount of liquid. For this recipe, add the desiccated coconut and vanilla bean paste and mix it in with your spatula. Once you’ve done this, spoon the mixture into two piping bags. Cut small holes in your piping bag, one larger than the other. The piping bag with the larger hole will be to pipe your ghosts and eyeball balls, and should be approx 1.5cm in diameter.

The other piping bag will have a smaller hole approximately 0.5cm in diameter and this will be for piping the more delicate spider webs. Step 6 (pic 7) Ghost – Start by piping a blob onto your baking mat, then slightly lift up and immediately pipe another blog on top, and repeat, so that your ghosts have three small parts to its body. It will grow in the oven slightly, so space them out when piping. Step 7 (pics 8 & 9) Spider webs – use the smaller tip piping bag and start by piping a vertical line approx 5-7cm or however large you may want your webs, then pipe a line across horizontally in the middle. Add two more lines diagonally meeting the middle of cross, so that you have a shape like the image. Then pipe the centre of your web, by joining the lines together in a circular shape. Lastly, pipe the outside of the web lines, joining the points of the straight lines together. Eyeballs – pipe small round flat blobs onto your mat and try to flatten any peaks which are created. *Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes on 150 degrees. Once the meringues are ready, they should lift off of the baking mat easily and without any meringue sticking to the surface. If this happens, put them back in the oven for another 5/10 minutes and regularly check back to see if they are ready. All ovens are different, so timings and heat will vary. Decoration Prepare your royal icing – you can buy tubs of royal icing which is very thick, so you will need to add a tiny bit of water to loosen it up. If you’re using a powdered royal icing mixture, then you will need to add water also, but do this gradually as the powder disintegrates very quickly and you’ll find you have to add more powder to thicken up the royal icing. Colour the royal icing, ideally using a gel colouring. Tou want a dark black for the spiders and a deep red for the eyeballs.


Photo credit: Jenny Duce

Stevie’s Pantry offers bespoke cakes, french macarons, biscuits and healthy treats. As a busy mum of three Stevie still finds time to create masterpieces from her very own kitchen and we were surprised to learn that this lovely North London mama taught herself all she needed to know. Follow this yummy mummy to see what amazing creations she produces while juggling mum life. Instagram, Facebook & Youtube @steviespantry

Step 8 (pic 10) Ghosts - cut a small hole in the black royal icing piping bag, and pipe two small round balls for the eyes. Then pipe an oval shape for the mouth. Leave to dry. Make sure the consistency is on the firmer side, so that the royal icing doesn’t drip down. Step 9 (pic 11) Spider webs – choose a part of the web which has enough room to pipe a small spider and again use a royal icing consistency slightly firm so that it is easier to pipe and the spider holds its shape. In order to get the spider legs, try using a cocktail stick to pull the royal icing into shape. Step 10 (pics 12 & 13) Eye Balls – use the red royal icing and pipe a little blob on top of the round meringues. Then add small lines around the bottom sides of the eye ball, to mimic veins. Finally, add a small black dot in the middle of the red blob at the top. Leave to dry. These are so much fun to do, get your children involved and let them make their own versions of these creations, you can’t go wrong with a Halloween theme – the scarier looking the better. Enjoy! Check out my Instagram and YouTube channel for other Halloween ideas and tutorials.














Ingredients... (pic 1)

• basic meringue consists of 1 part egg white and 2 parts white caster sugar • 120g egg white • 240g white caster sugar • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste.

Tools... • stand-alone mixer with the whisk attachment, or a handheld whisk • bowl • spatula • piping bags • black & red royal icing. To advertise email or call 0203 978 7332

Parentville Spooks it up this Halloween!



ParentVille Parties is an online market for children’s parties. Planning a child’s party can be daunting, whether it is finding a venue, entertainer, caterer, ordering party bags, decorations, buying a delicious cake, or even hiring a photographer for the day. ParentVille Parties are here to make planning a kid’s dream party fun and stress free. Get in touch with our party planning service or browse and shop ParentVille’s curated collection and find everything you need for your children’s party.

Party Styling from £350.00

Halloween Bat Cups from £6.95

Halloween Surprise Balls from £12.00

Halloween Witch Party Bag from £11.00

Scary Monster Faces Biscuit Kit £12.99

Balloon Installation from £225.00

Crafty Party Bags from £4.00

Grazing Platters £150.00

Halloween Biscuits from £4.25

Halloween Biscuits from £5.00

Party Styling from £350.00

Party Styling from £450.00

Skulls, Crossbones Party Kit from £34.50

Sugar Skull Plates from £5.75

Sweet and Sour Candy Mix from £6.99

Personalised Glow In The Dark Bags from £5.00

Personalised Halloween Party Decoration Pack from £7.50

Immersive Party Entertainment £385.00

Personalised Sweet Treat Pots from £4.50

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Why SPYN Events would be beneficial for you

Patricia Georgiou, a local Mum from Hertfordshire, founded the School of Aphrodite in 2019 as part of Spyn Events, her start-up family-run events business.

When Patricia set up Spyn Events with her husband in 2017, she realised early on that she would need someone with solid events experience to run the events. “That’s when I thought about Evie”, Patricia reflects. “Evie had been organising large corporate events for years, and was on maternity leave contemplating her future. I thought that we

could craft a flexible part-time role for her as a new mum, which would also suit us during our start-up phase. The role could grow as we grow.” Spyn Events work with local businesses, partnering with them and supporting them wherever possible. To date they have partnered with a cartoonist, a colour stylist and a modern calligrapher, and have plans to work with a nutritionist, florist and rising chef. Finally, Spyn Events is living proof that it is never too late to start your own business. Patricia started the business when she was turning 50 with her kids growing up and at university. “It has been hugely scary, and I’ve had to learn things I never thought I was capable of, including social media! But it has been so rewarding – I no longer worry about my brain turning to jelly, it’s always switched on!”

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lks a l t nts a ic ve r p To nd e you p e a n t s o or do

The School of Aphrodite

. . . personal development . . . calligraphy . . . nutrition . . . flower arranging . . . personal styling . . . cultural cuisine spynevents

“I wanted to bring topical talks and activities to women on their doorstep in their local communities. Too often you have to go into Central London to find stimulation – that can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive. As mums, we all have such exceptionally busy lives juggling young or elderly family responsibilities, and often with additional work commitments (let’s explode this myth of ‘stay at home mums’). We all need a little oasis – we’re still interested and interesting. The School of Aphrodite is for all of you Aphrodites out there!”

spyn events




The stylish weekend road trip you thought was impossible with kids by Neve Faulkner

Always searching for the hidden gems and least touristy spots, we drove past Nice and on to a bay called Villefranche-sur-Mer which is a charming seaside village between Nice and Monaco. In fact, Villefranchesur-Mer is reputed to be one of the five most beautiful bays in the world. It really is a jaw droppingly gorgeous fishing village surrounded by terracotta houses cascading

down the hillside towards the sparkling clear sea. The warm orange and sandy colours are juxtaposed with the bright and vibrant bougainvillea climbing the cobbled walls. This pretty little village is so authentic and charming, with boats bobbing on the bay, crystal clear waters and a complete feeling of calm. It’s a wonderful spot for children to paddle and splash around in the warm Mediterranean Sea. The bay is small and contained, which makes a safe and stressfree spot. If you have older children, there is the chance to take them kayaking, which is a lovely way to bond and relax while admiring the scenery. Moving on through the Riviera we drove to La Tête de Chien, meaning ’Dog’s Head’ which is the highest point on the Grande Corniche road and overlooks Monaco. Here is another place for magnificent views. While looking over the glamour of Monaco we ate our local focaccia, which we picked up on the way. Here, it is possible for adventurous souls to do some abseiling, so if you have older children that want to post that perfect picture on Instagram #livingtheirbestlife this is the place. After a full first day we were ready to head back to our gorgeous hotel Le Mas de Pierre for a relaxing evening in the Scent Garden, followed by an exquisite dinner al fresco. The hotel is so peaceful and stylish but also caters for children. It has a spectacular pool with incredible views of the French Alps all equipped with children’s floats and a funky wooden ice cream cart for some sweet treats after lunch. There is also a Kids Club keeping the little ones entertained during the summer months of July and August with various games and activities for three to 12-year-olds. The next day we ventured to Col de Vence, which is a steep climb up the twisting mountain roads with an incredible backdrop. Before the ascent we drove through Vence

village which looks somewhat like a movie set. It has incredible hilltop houses, with flowers blooming at the windows, washing lines hung between buildings and shops and restaurants that look like they are from another era. It is a truly magical place; we had to stop the car to take some photos (and buy lollies). After many twists and turns on the way to the top of the mountains, while singing “She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes”, we wound our way up to an enormous plateau where we had a glorious picnic with incredible views. It’s an absolute cracker of a location where you find yourself having a bit of a ‘pinch yourself’ moment. After being refuelled and refreshed with some Rosé wine (not the driver), we were finally ready to head back to the airport after an amazing two days of fun and freedom with the family. It certainly is possible to enjoy an exciting road trip with children across the French Riviera. It was stylish, it was fun and, above all, it was easy! Neve Faulkner is a journlaist, follow her on @neve_faulkner

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After picking up our hire car and attempting some badly spoken French (I plead guilty), we drove along the stunning coastal route to our first stop. The drive was about 50 minutes but went very quickly with two sleeping children in the back. Hurrah!

As a family we love adventure and really like to make the most of our weekends. We are spontaneous. We like freedom. We love packing up and getting out there, exploring the world, even if we only have two days to do it. There are lots of places in the UK that we drive to but this time we went a little further to explore the beautiful French Riviera. After an easy short flight of only an hour and a half (perfect with kids) we stepped off the plane in to the warm, sweet smelling air of Nice.

The Seychelles is perfect for families – here’s why

Travel - Advertising Feature


Once a playground for the rich and famous, the Seychelles has never been more popular, attracting a record number of visitors in recent years. Part of that increased appeal is down to families, who have recognised the region as a great holiday destination more often. Perhaps you’ve never considered the Seychelles as a place to jet off to with the kids, but you should – and we’re about to lay out a few reasons why.

It’s more accessible and affordable than ever before A region that sits more than 5,000 miles away from the UK in the middle of the Indian Ocean may not sound particularly accessible, but with British Airways flying direct from London Heathrow in around just 10 hours twice a week, reaching the Seychelles is easier than ever. Alternatively, flying from Manchester to the Seychelles can take just under 14 hours with a two-hour stopover in Dubai. The long-haul flight needn’t deal a hefty blow to the rest of your holiday budget either with a wide range of airlines – including Emirates, Etihad and Qatar – also flying to the island nation.

No jet lag Flying long-haul doesn’t always mean you’ll be jet lagged at the other end, and the Seychelles are only four hours ahead of GMT, so the family fun can begin as soon as you touch down. British Airways’ flights to the Seychelles use Boeing 787-900 Dreamliners that promise superb customer comfort with spacious seats and bigger windows, along with higher cabin pressure and humidity to ensure you get to your destination more refreshed.

Great accommodation options The Seychelles are made up of 115 islands, and even though the vast majority of them

are completely uninhabited, families won’t struggle to find an amazing hotel or resort in this region. One prime example is the fivestar beachfront Constance Ephelia Resort, which sits within 120 hectares of land with luxuriant and rare vegetation on two of the most beautiful beaches on the island of Mahé – the biggest island in the Seychelles. Here, every one of the 300-plus suites and villas feature Apple Mac mini entertainment systems loaded with more than 300 films, whilst some come with their own private pool and personal gym. The Constance Kids Club is a great place for guests aged four to 11 who are up for adventure and are prepared to be pampered. Youngsters will be entertained with pizza and ice-cream-making theme days, arts & crafts classes, open play areas, computers for gaming and internet access, a swimming pool and tag games. Meanwhile, adults can unwind in the soothing thermal pool at U Spa – the Indian Ocean’s largest wellness facility – and there are also unique amenities such as a zip line, rock climbing wall, giant tortoise enclosure and PADI-certified diving in the marine life-rich waters of Port Launay Marine National Park. Another great accommodation option is Constance Lemuria, which reopened after a full renovation in November 2016 with spacious, elegant suites and villas offering an exclusive view and complete comfort. Fine food, customised spa treatments, the only 18-hole golf course in the Seychelles, and the same fun-packed Constance Kids Club are also a given. Elsewhere in the Seychelles, there’s the Six Senses Zil Pasyon, which comprises 30 pool villas on the private island of Félicité, and Hilton Seychelles Labriz – an award-winning eco-friendly resort within a Marine National Park set on 2.5km of stunning, white sand beach,framed by towering forest-clad mountains. Here, you can venture deep into tropical jungles and meet 125-year-old giant tortoises with the resort’s own resident naturalist.

Go island-hopping You’ll probably struggle to find a good reason to leave your chosen resort in the Seychelles, but family explorers can indulge in a spot of island-hopping. Starting from Mahé, you can fly to Praslin – the Seychelles’ second-largest island – in 15 minutes or sail across on an hour-long catamaran ferry ride. The mainland may have more than 65 beaches but Praslin’s gorgeous Anse Lazio, Anse Georgette and Cote d’Or are sure to impress too. La Digue, with its amazing Anse Source d’Argent beach, is also worth checking out. The sister islands of Grande Soeur and Petite Soeur have avoided any form of development and are deemed to be the best preserved and unspoilt islands in the Seychelles. They’re home to a nesting sea turtle population and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Unlimited possibilities Maybe you’re not bothered about hauling your family off the island, that’s fine – there’s still tons for you to fill your days. The region’s clear blue waters make for ideal swimming and snorkelling conditions, or you could go horse riding along the shore of Mahé’s spectacular Grand Anse. Families staying on Praslin can visit Vallée de Mai – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the famous Coco-de-Mer palm tree and the endangered Black Parrot. Don’t worry about covering everything in a single week because you and your family can stay for up to a month without obtaining a visa. Contact Eda Ayyildiz Travel Counsellor today and enjoy exclusive access to benefits such as full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your stay.

With the promise that all your holiday plans are in the safest possible hands. Remember how easy it used to be to go on holiday? When someone else took care of everything? At Travel Counsellors we believe this is the only way to sell travel – it’s such a personal thing that everybody deserves their very own personal expert. At Travel Counsellors we’re all about you. So if you’re looking for a holiday to remember, contact me today. Travel, tailor-made for you, with care.

Eda Ayyildiz Travel Counsellor 020 3393 5460

Autumn Activities


Autumn Activities

Top things to do this autumn with our favourites! We’ve rounded up our most loved, local #instaparents to bring you the best things to do in your area.

HERTFORDSHIRE You can always rely on Aimee to give us a low down on the best things to do in Hertfordshire. We’re sure you will find our gorgeous girl at every event listed.

Hertfordshire Food Festival Hertford Town Centre 11-13 Oct 16:00-late Head to the county town of Hertfordshire

Peppa Pig – Best Day Ever!

Pumpkin Festival @ Willows Farm Stanborough Park, Stanborough Road, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6DF 19 Oct-3 Nov 10:00-17:00 Are you all set for half-term? Spend a magical day at Willow’s Farm Pumpkin Festival that has been extended to coincide with all local schools’ half-term dates. Daily competitions with fabulous prizes for the best Halloween themed fancy dress, and for the best carved pumpkin. Spellbinding daily programme is

Justin Fletcher LIVE Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 27 Oct 11:00 & 14:00 performances Come and see CBeebies superstar and children’s favourite Justin Fletcher live on stage in an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza. Justin Live is a fun show for all the family packed full of popular interactive song and dance routines, comedy, and some custard pies too! Famous for his appearances in hit programmes including Something Special, Justin’s House and Gigglebiz, triple BAFTA Award winning Justin is bringing his very own spectacular show to our theatre this autumn. £22-£24 each. Wizard Presents… I Believe In Unicorns Hemel Hempstead Library, The Forum, Marlowes, HP1 1DN 30 Oct 15:00-16:00 This intimate show is set in a library full of books that hold more than stories with their pages. It is a tale of the power of books, and the bravery of a young boy called Tomas. Tomas loves playing in the mountains and hates reading and school, but his world is turned upside down the day he meets the Unicorn Lady in his local library Price: Adults £7, children £5. Peppa Pig – Best Day Ever! The Gordon Craig Theatre, Lytton Way, Stevenage, SG1 1LZ 26-27 Oct Performance times 10:00, 13:00, 16:00 on both days With the car packed, they are ready for their road-trip full of adventures. From roadworks to royalty, castles to caves and ice-creams to muddy puddles – there is something for all of the family and their friends to enjoy, including Miss Rabbit, Danny Dog, Gerald The Giraffe and more. Prepare for the brand new Peppa Pig live show packed full of songs, games and laughter, it really is the best day ever for Peppa Pig fans! Price: Prices vary – adult (£17-£19), under16s (£15-£17). Family bundles available. Continued overleaf...

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Cloud 9 Francis Combe Academy, Horseshoe Lane, Watford WD25 7HW Open Weekends and School holidays 10:00-16:00 An amazing one-hour experience of inflatables combining the fun and challenge of Ninja Warrior, Gladiators and Total Wipeout. A brilliant indoor family-filled activity centre. Minimum height of 1m applies. Price: £10 admission. More information on booking on their website.

Apple Day Tewin Orchard, 1 Upper Green, Tewin, Welwyn AL6 0LX 6 Oct 12:00-16:00 An afternoon event for all the family and packed with children’s activities. There will be apples for sale along with apple juice, preserves, tea, coffee and cake. Experts will be on hand to identify varieties of apple and provide advice on fruit tree care. We will be providing guided walks around the orchard and traditional craft demonstrations. Free entry.

packed with arts and crafts, the Pumpkin Olympics and magic shows with some spectacular spooky pumpkin tricks. Adult £22 (£18 online), child £23 (£19 online). Under-2s and members go free.

Aimee Hart @hart_at_home

for a three-day food and drink festival. Event highlights include the Hertford Castle Beer & World Food Festival, street food markets, café, bar and restaurant activities, samples, events and promotions, and cookery demonstrations. Free but donations welcome.

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ENFIELD Kat loves Enfield in the autumn season, it’s extremely picturesque and there’s lots of wonderful things to do.

Kat @the_enfield_explorer

Apple day! Forty Hall Farm Forty Hall Farm, Forty Hill, EN2 9HA 13 Oct 11:00-16:00 A jam packed day of apple-y fun and frolics! Adults £5, children £2.

Autumn Activities


Charity Ball in aid of The Nightingale The Coach House at Forty Hall, Forty Hill, EN2 9HA 20 Sep 19:00-00:00 An evening of entertainment and fundraising to support anyone affected by cancer in the borough of enfield. Tickets are £49.50pp, tables are for up to 10 people. The Mayor’s Charity Fun Run Forty hall estate, Forty Hill, EN2 9HA 29 Sep 10:00 The Mayor of Enfield’s Charity Fun run returns in 2019 to Forty Hall Estate featuring the traditional 10K, 3K run for our young people and a new 5K run. Entries will close at mid-day on Friday 27 September. Entry is £15 per adult and £8 per child. The Enfield Choirs Showcase Enfield Baptist Church, Cecil Road EN2 28 Sep 18:30 Eight choirs and a dance crew all showcasing their best to raise funds for The Nightingale Adults £12, children £6.

Dash Goes Pop The Dugdale Centre, Dugdale Centre, 39 London Road, EN2 6DS 14 Oct 19:45.

HARINGEY Lot’s of fun things to do with our yummy mummy Karen this autumn. Make sure you get these dates in your diary.

Karen @n4mummy

Little Dinosaurs Alexander Palace, N22 Open 7 days a week Mon-Fri 9:00-17:30, Sat and Sun 10:0018:00 They are sometimes closed for parties so it’s a good idea to check their Facebook page for up to date information. Great indoor and outdoor soft play with a good cafe. Age: babies - nine years. Under one: £1, over one: £4.95. Zippos Circus Finsbury Park, N4 15-20 Oct Zippos Circus is back with a nationwide Big Top tour “The Magnificent Top Hat” with acrobats, aerialists, amazing contortionists, clever comics and daredevil motorcyclists! Prices from £7.50. Mini Flippers at Flip Out Brent Cross NW2 Monday-Friday 9:00-15:00 (excludes half terms, school holidays, weekends and bank holidays). An amazing trampoline park where your little ones can bounce non stop! Price: 1st flipper £9.95, 2nd child £5.95 Parent/guardian flips for free with under-fives.

Zippos Circus

Parkland Walk Local Nature Reserve It follows the course of the disused railway line that ran from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Place. Open all hours. A great safe place for little ones to scooter, walk or ride their bikes. Free. The Secret Garden Pickled Pepper Books, N8 12 & 19 Oct Frances Hodgson Burnett’s timeless tale about Mary Lennox who is orphaned in India, and relocates to a large country house in Yorkshire. Age: four-plus Running time 60 minutes Price: £8.50. Pinocchio Jackson Lane Theatre, N6 22-26 Oct With puppets and circus skills Nearly There Yet Theatre Company reimagine this muchloved story. Age: three-plus Running time 60 minutes Tickets: £12.95.

Open air cinema: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again! Lee Valley White Water Centre, Station Road, Waltham Cross EN9 1AB 14 Sep 19:30 If you want to hear it loud and sing it proud, head to Lee Valley White Water Centre to watch Here We Go Again. Fancy dress welcome! £10 per person. Meet the maker: Join Handcrafted Candles Tinker Tailor, 13 Queen Anne’s Parade, bush hill park, EN1 2QB 10 Oct 19:00-21:00 Meet the fabulous maker of join candles and enjoy an evening of fun, networking and exclusive offers. Free. Beasts of London

Marvel Universe LIVE! The O2 Get up close to your favourite superheroes with Marvel Universe Live! at The O2. Marvel’s The Avengers, Spider-Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange join forces in an epic battle against a line-up of evil villains for the Wand of Watoomb. Suitable for fans of all ages From £29.14 per ticket.

BARNET Stephanie is really looking forward to taking her little one to these events... why don’t you join her too?

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4


Max @struggleofthejuggle

London Jazz Festival Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX 15-24 Nov Various times Featuring world-class artists and emerging stars, the incredible talent and atmosphere is a wonderful thing to be immersed in. If you have children that struggle with focus in music (like mine) and you want to do it, then this is the place to inspire them. In fact, it will inspire anyone to become a musician. In particular, they have a session on 15 November called “Jazz for Toddlers” with tickets starting from £5. Mostly free, some events ticketed. Beasts of London Museum of London, 150 London Wall, Barbican Until 5 Jan Discover how animals, from lions and elephants, horses, rats and pigeons, have shaped the city and its beastly history, from the Roman era through medieval London and right up to the present day. Ticket prices: child £4-£5, adult £8-£9.

Stephens House and Gardens - Halloween Spooktacular

Halloween Spooktacular Stephens House and Gardens 27 Oct 4:30-19:00 An evening of Halloween fun including a spine-tingling spooky basement tour, creepy garden ghost hunt, beastly bouncing, ghoulish games, cunning crafts, terrifying tattoos, fire juggling and more. Age: all ages Price: £9 per person. Barnet and Harrow Fireworks display – Celebration of Culture Byron Park, Harrow 2 Nov 12:00-21:00 The event will include, full size fun fair, world food arena, fully licensed bar marquee, a family zone, cultural entertainment, DJs & more. All ages Entry is free until 3pm then charges apply. Galaxy Rock Magnets Chipping Barnet Library 7 Sep 10:30-11:30 Transform ordinary rocks and make them into glistening galaxy rock magnets! Age: five-plus £3 per child. Messy Play Session The Painted Pot 188 High Street, EN5 5SZ Monday to Friday term time 10:30-12:00 Arts and craft activities for toddler Age: 18 months to five years £6 per child. The Scarecrow’s Wedding Finchley Arts Depot 20-22 Sep Various times Age: three-plus From £9.

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The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 Ambassadors Theatre, West St, London WC2H 9ND 1 Sep-12 Oct Various times There is so much going on when we return from the summer holidays that it can all be a bit much. Take a well needed break and reminisce about your childhood with a play based on the struggles of adolescence in the 80s. Despite the time frame, it will strike a chord with the modern child, and it is wonderfully entertaining. Prices vary but you can get tickets under £30pp.

Stephanie @barnet_mum

London never disappoints, there’s always something exciting going on and Max lets us know her favs.

Raver Tots Halloween Party 2-4 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NU 19 Oct 14:00-16:00 I love raver tots. Parents walk around with a babies strapped to their chests, beers in hand and no-one bats an eyelid. There are so many fun things to do for the kids, not just the dancing, and it’s a great environment to go a little bit wild… in a mature and safe way, of course. With a Halloween theme, it’s a great way to get into the autumn spirit. Entry: £8 for all.

Photo credi: Emma O’Brian

Autumn Walks With summer behind us, the Pooches & Prams team share their favourite autumnal walks that tick all the boxes.

Autumn Activities


Being outdoors is great for the health of all the family and our simple five-step checklist makes it as easy as possible to leave the house and get out and about with nature.

house is pram friendly. The woodland walk is to an extent but you do have to turn around and walk back on yourself at some point. Toilets: By the cafe. Extra notes: There is a farm shop which is dog friendly and sells lovely produce.There is also a farm with animals which allows dogs in on leads but it is seasonal so check it is on before you go.

Not only do these beautiful North London parks meet all of the above requirements, which makes it nice and easy for families with dogs, but they also offer other things to do near/in the park which can turn a walk into a fun-filled family day out. We know how full on it can be sometimes keeping everyone entertained when you’re out and about, and ‘parenting logistics’ although often a pain to think about, do help in making the day run smoothly and in turn keep everyone happy. Here are our top four:

2. Trent Park Free parking: We park in the Cockfosters entrance which has two large car parks. Cafe: Right by the car park, and dogs are allowed in the outside area. Playground: At the back of the cafe. Pram friendly: There is a path walk which runs up to a second cafe again with dogfriendly seating outside. Toilets: By the car park. Extra notes: The Cock Inn is nearby and dog friendly in the bar and garden, great for a pre/post walk lunch.

1. Grovelands Park Free parking: We park near The Broadwalk entrance which has a reasonable amount of free street parking. Cafe: Good coffee, and dogs are allowed inside and outside. Playground: Big playground for younger and older children. Pram friendly: Lovely path walk around the lake. The woods aren’t pram friendly but great for older children to run around. Toilets: At the back of the cafe. Extra notes: Take food to feed the ducks on the lake.

3. Forty Hall Free parking: Large car park with plenty of spaces. Cafe: Lovely cafe serving homemade food that is dog friendly inside and outside. Playground: In the opposite direction to the house, you can do a woodland walk which has a playground area (slightly hidden in the woods). Pram friendly: The garden walk around the

4. Alexandra Palace Free parking: There are a few car parks but we suggest the one just off South Terrace. Cafe: There are a few cafes around the park but for good basics and being dog friendly we tend to go to Grove Cafe. Playground: The playground is also in the direction of the boating lake just off The Avenue. Pram friendly: There are stairs at the front of Alexandra Palace itself but pathways either side leading down to the park. Toilets: There are a few toilets dotted around inside Alexandra Palace building with plenty of people to ask for directions. Extra notes: Alexandra Palace Farmers Market is held most Sundays at the Muswell Hill entrance. @poochesandprams A place that celebrates parents, pooches and little ones - run by mums @milkitmama and @victoriafrend


Why Choose us?

We run Sports sessions throughout the boroughs of Enfield and Barnet in Rugby and Football for Children aged 18 months to 11.

• • • •

We also partner with numerous nurseries and schools in the area delivering Tennis, Yoga, Gymnastics, Dance, Football and Rugby as well as our ActivKids programme.

What’s Important to us?

is revolutionizing the way toddlers and children are introduced to sport throughout the UK.

We would love to meet you little one at one of our weekend or weekday development Centers currently running out of St Ignatius College, Southgate School, St Andrews Parish Centre and Bush HIll Park Primary School. We are also still looking to partner with further schools and nurseries in the area.

• • • • • •

FA Qualified Coaches Early Years Trained Coaches Montessori Teaching Methods Practice at Home Booklets and Nursery/Curriculum Pathway booklets to monitor and track progression

Our children’s health and happiness Our children’s Confidence Our children’s fun and entertainment Our children’s sporting development Our parents experience Recruiting , retaining and promoting World Class Sports Entertainers - Not just Coaches

Find us on Facebook: sports4kids Cockfosters & Southgate & Sport4Kids Enfield To book a free taster at any of our venues you can do so at

Outdoor autumn days for busy kids with our friends at Bibetta Everybody gets super excited when it’s summertime. We all wake up happier, days last longer, and social media becomes a mass of fun in the garden, park or beach.

onto paper in an autumnal collage. This is particularly good for younger children who may find more prescriptive art to be a little trickier, and who love making a mess.

to protect your child and their clothes whilst eating and drinking. There is nothing worse than having to change wet and mucky clothes whilst out on an adventure.

What happens then as back to school looms, and children are faced with the prospect of spending more time inside than outdoors?

For children with more advanced motor skills, try leaf and bark rubbing with wax crayons, or painting the underside of leaves and pressing down onto paper to printing the structure of the veins.

Wildlife watch

The good news is that in recent years, we’ve been experiencing very mild autumns too. In fact, sometimes, autumn days can be sunnier than the ones we are all hoping for during the summer.

Autumn Activities


The great outdoors Kids can usually get away with a thinner coat or hoodie, and often still be wearing shorts right up to half term holidays if they are lucky! Even if they need to wrap up a little though, heading out of the house is good for burning off excess energy instead of bouncing off the walls inside and getting the Vitamin D we all need to keep us healthy. The change of seasons is an exciting time for learning, and nature is an endless classroom.

Leaves and trees Leaves are changing colour and dropping, the patterns of wildlife are changing, and there are lots of activities for children to get involved with. Nothing sums autumn up quite like piles of multi-coloured leaves, just right for kicking, crunching and throwing around! Take your children outside on a nature walk and gather a collection of treasures to create an autumn picture. They will love looking at all of the different shapes and colours of the leaves or acorn shells, and sticking them

Conkers Remember those epic conker battles you used to have in the school playground? Go on a hunt for a conker tree and see how many conkers your children can collect. Ask them to look out for the biggest, smallest, shiniest, or doublers, and closed and open cases. Explain to them how they grow and fall, and take them home for good oldfashioned conker competitions! If art is more their thing, grab the craft box and make conker creatures such as caterpillars or spiders.

Autumn adventures Cooler days are perfect for blowing off the cobwebs when they’ve been stuck in nursery or school all week. Why not head to your local nature reserve or country park for an autumn adventure? Lots of bike paths and nature trails that are open all year around, and are often quieter on less sunny days. Make it more interesting by finding out if there are any activities running that your children can take part in, such as treasure hunts or geocaching. Pop on the all-in-one coverall, pack a spare change of clothes, and dig the wellies out just in case of muddy puddles. Pack up a picnic or head to a café to squeeze a hot chocolate to warm up as the perfect ending to all the fun. Remember

The change of seasons can make us all sleepier, which is exactly what is happening to a lot of nature. Explain to your children the process of how animals ‘stock up’ for winter, collecting nuts and seeds, and which animals hibernate throughout the colder months. You could even make some bird feeders or put some nuts out to give them a head start. Download a spotting list of animals they might see in the garden, and set up a watching station. From here, whatever the weather, they can safely watch the wildlife and tick them off as they go. Keep the theme of wildlife going with their clothes and accessories, pick things with animals on so you can talk about them or use them to get your child involved in your outdoor play session. Whatever you choose to do, more time exploring what the season has to offer and less screen time will do your children the world of good. Spotting list available at:

27 Nov - 11 Jan

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Autumn Activities - Advertising Feature


Your child wants to become a footballer? Here’s how you can help

By Ali Mustafa - Pro Elite Football Academy So, your child is dreaming of becoming a footballer. Whether they simply want to brush up their skills to play really well for fun or on a school team, or they have serious ambitions for a professional life in the sport, the beautiful game is about a whole lot more than sporting skills. Footie involves elegant dribbling, brilliant penalty shooting and intelligent, effective tackling. It’s a multi-faceted thing. But there’s a lot you can do, as a parent, to boost your child’s chances of success and improve their enjoyment of the game, and you don’t need to be an expert in football or a skilled footballer yourself. Here’s what you need to know.

How to prepare your child for a lifelong love of football Great communication skills are an important advantage in football, just as they are in every team sport. Being in a team is all about effective communication, providing your fellow players with the valuable information they need to make the best on and off-ball decisions under pressure, in a split second. The finest teams in the world got where they are thanks to exceptional inteam communications skills. In fact, it’s such a dramatic, free-flowing game that good communication can make all the difference, transforming possession into a goal. Your job as a parent? To set an example and

actually teach your child what it means to communicate well. There’s some excellent advice here Teamwork is another desirable attribute for footballers of every age. Some people are natural team players, others are naturally more independent and can struggle to work well in teams. Mastering the art of teamwork will help your child succeed at school and throughout their lives. It hones their essential social skills, things like patience, empathy, communication, respect and trust for their fellow humans, compromise and tolerance, and also boosts their confidence. As a parent you can encourage team-working skills at home. Can you form a team to do the washing up and make it a fun activity? Things like problem-solving tasks, group play with other children, group reading, group music, and playing other team sports all help develop good teamwork skills in youngsters. A healthy lifestyle is a must for every child, especially when they want to play sports and do it well. And it’s something that is almost completely under your control as a parent, something you can make certain of, at least when they’re at home. A healthy lifestyle involves getting enough sleep – more sleep than you might imagine, actually – small children need as much as 12 hours a night and teens, like adults, need eight to nine hours. These days a meat-free diet is widely understood to be the healthiest of all, and

freshly cooked food is always best, including lots of fruit, veg, and water instead of fizzy drinks. Exercise, the pillar of good health, is absolutely essential – the more they get, the better. Enrolling your child on a regular football coaching for kids class is a good way to help them lead a healthier lifestyle. Positive football imagery is a great thing, revealing to your child the way the world’s best players behave, perform and act, whether their team wins or loses. Head for YouTube and line up a load of positive football clips for them to enjoy, and watch them along with your child. It’s a brilliantly simple way to breed good habits, reveal the complexities of the game and the way the players handle themselves, and show them the dizzy heights of brilliance they can achieve if they work hard enough. Last but not least professional support means a great deal, so make sure you send your child off for lessons with your local kids football coaching service. Your child will learn from their fellow team mates, learn from the coach, and absorb the game fully, focusing on improving their play, their attitude, and their enjoyment. Do all of the above and you’ll prepare your child for a lifetime’s love of the beautiful game, able to learn the skills they need to play well, interact with others well, and either win or lose just as gracefully.

Four inexpensive ways to spend time with your grandchildren With Christina @basket.of.treasures

As a grandmother myself, I know that the most precious thing we can give to our grandchildren is time. Time to enjoy their company, listen to their very important conversations, show them the world around them, and create little curious people who are eager to explore, experiment and learn. Here are four easy, inexpensive activities you can do at home which are not only fun, but will also extend children’s learning without them even realising.


Clothes Pegs Autumn Activities

These are great for small manipulative skills and pincer grasp. Any activity that strengthens the muscles in the hand, arm and shoulder will really help with early writing and pencil control. These can be pegged onto anything – a bowl, a tub, a cup, just see what you can find. This can be extended to hanging clothes in the garden together when the weather is fine.


Treasure Baskets These are perfect for babies and young toddlers. The more experiences children have, the more their brain develops. Babies can start learning and making connections from a very early age. With a treasure basket, they can explore the contents using all their senses, especially by putting things in their mouths. In this way they can explore textures and also stimulate their mouth and tongue muscles that are important for speech development. Treasure Baskets can follow different themes e.g. a beach basket, bath time basket, kitchen basket – the list is endless. We all have things at home that babies and young children would be excited by: metal spoons, wooden utensils, small pots, a sponge, bangles, just gather some items and give them to your child to explore. Remember to check that everything is safe for babies to put in their mouth and stay with the child at all times.

This is a great activity for hand eye coordination, promoting small motor skills and concentration You can use a colander for threading ribbons or pipe cleaners, which is much more exciting and environmentally friendly than your basic threading plastic cotton reels. (I always choose activities that use natural materials, or items that can be re-used or have been recycled). For those young children who always put everything in their mouths, what could be better than threading cheerios onto dried spaghetti?

Shaving Foam Children love messy play, and surprisingly, this is a really easy one to clean up. Messy play is perfect as a sensory experience, allowing children to feel different textures, and smells and it helps increase their confidence. Add some fresh herbs or petals from the garden or food colouring to extend the activity further. Just squirt out shaving foam into a container and let them play. I’ve used a cat litter tray here for my container – obviously a new one – which is inexpensive and just the right size for lots of messy play activities. It works outside or even indoors as it cleans up really quickly with just a mop and water or a quick wipe and it leaves the room smelling lovely.

Creative Courage for Life At Stagecoach Hertford and Ware, we believe in encouraging your child’s unique personality to blossom, while helping them develop life skills through performing arts.

Autumn Activities - Advertising Feature


Confidence has always been at the centre of Stagecoach’s ethos, and our classes also benefit social skills, motor skills, spacial awareness, speech, discipline, concentration, communication, and self-esteem. Some of our students will find that performing is definitely for them and take their training further, just like Emma Watson and Jamie Bell, who both started their acting careers at Stagecoach. Most however will

enjoy it for the rewarding hobby that it is, and begin to reap the benefits as they get older.

What people say about us... “Stagecoach definitely gave me confidence for life. I have no problem standing up to talk in front of people I don’t know. Some of my happiest childhood memories were at Stagecoach and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done!” Anna, Masters Degree student “I started Stagecoach at the age of four. Stagecoach helped to make me more confident as I knew I would not be negatively judged in

the environment, and I made friends for life. It’s an experience I wouldn’t change for the world.” Megan, Marketing Manager “My daughter has been attending for a year and a half, and has enjoyed every second of it! We have seen a huge improvement in her social skills.” Lynda, Stagecoach Parent Our register is now open for autumn trials. Laura McHugh Principal, Stagecoach Hertford & Ware 07474 08 25 71


Whatever they choose to do, give them the tools to do it with confidence.

students accepted from four years old

Life skills through Performing Arts at Stagecoach Hertford & Ware 07474 08 25 71

Kids & Bikes –Where to Start

Autumn Activities


with Jason Suttie

For most children, learning how to ride a bike is a rite of passage. And you could say teaching them to ride is the same for us parents. It’s one of those skills that, even if we no longer ride or even own a bike, we are almost obligated to pass on. Probably like hunting or gathering food was passed down through the generations in prehistoric times. Children gain so much from learning to ride, it’s good for exercise, physical coordination and also mental health. And the freedom that comes from being able to ride a bike as a child is like no other. Bikes were a huge part of growing up for me. I remember from an early age being strapped into mum’s bike to visit friends. As I got older I would ride to school and then after school I’d head back

out to ride some more. I also joined the local cycling club and raced road bikes for a couple of seasons. Last year I bought myself a mountain bike after 15 years without one. My son had already learnt to ride at this point, and we’ve had so much fun riding together. Just last weekend we strapped our bikes to the car, threw our camping gear in the back and went away on a little adventure in Hertfordshire. So how do you impart this knowledge to your children and help them master two wheels?

Start When They’re Ready The main thing to remember when teaching your child to ride is that it’s easiest when they’re ready. And this will be different for

every child. Most of the time this is between the ages of three and five. At this age they’re more likely to have the coordination and concentration to do what it takes to learn to ride. After five, children also become a lot more cautious and this might stop them feeling comfortable on a bike.

Finding Space To get started you’ll need space. A wide flat open space where there aren’t too many obstacles like play equipment, garden beds and people. Tennis courts can be a good option. Although riding on grass might be appealing to give them a soft landing, it’s harder to ride on and often less smooth, so the bike will be harder to control. If you’re worried about them doing damage

to themselves buy some knee and elbow pads. You can pick these up for under £10 on Amazon, they’ll also come in handy when they want to learn to skateboard!

Safety First

It’s All About Balance

And They’re Off Step 1. Stand at one end of the open space with your legs either side of the rear wheel and their feet on the pedals and let them feel what happens to the bike as they turn the handlebars, moving their weight from side to side. Although most of the time they’ll do it

From this point it’s just about repetition and positive reinforcement. I still remember the grin on my son’s face the first time he took off on his own. It changed when he faceplanted into the tennis court fence, but he recovered quickly and got back on. If they don’t pick it up straight away, just keep giving them the opportunity to try, if they start to get distressed then they may not be ready, or they just need a break.

Get Yourself A Bike I’ve had so much fun riding with Sebastian and it can be a real encouragement for your kids to see you riding too. If you don’t already have a bike one way to get a new one is through the Cycle to Work Scheme. This scheme can save you 25% to 39% on a new bike.

Which Bike? When spending money on a bike the compromise will often be between weight and price. A lighter bike is

Top Tips Sizing Up

Get Tooled Up

I see so many kids struggling on a bike that’s the wrong size for them. The correct size and correctly setup bike for you child will mean: • When they’re standing over the bike there is a 1in to 3in clearance. • When seated, the balls of their feet touch the ground on both sides, ideally not flat footed. • With their foot on the pedal in the 6 o’clock position their knee will be a little bit bent. • When they are holding the handlebars, their arms are mostly straight out in front with a small bend at the elbow. This might vary a little with preference and bike style but I’d suggest starting them off more upright to begin with. The handlebars should also be far enough away that it doesn’t hit their body when they turn.

Even if you had the bike set up correctly at your bike shop, it’s handy to have some tools so you can adjust the bike as your child grows of if things become loose. I’d recommend having: • 3,4,5 and 6mm Allen (Hex) Keys • Adjustable shifter (wrench) • Pedal spanner – if you want to remove the pedals.

To advertise email or call 0203 978 7332

We took the approach of getting Sebastian on a balance bike when he was quite young. Having one of these taught him how to balance on two wheels, steer and stop himself – a skill that he’s still working on much to my despair. So, when it came time for him to step up to a pedal bike he was halfway there. To help the transition, when we bought his first proper bike, I took the pedals off. As with everything to do with children there are lots of opinions, but this worked for us. He got used to the larger frame and riding position and also started to use his hand brakes. Once your child is ready, you’ve found a space, and you have the right-sized bike with pedals on, you’re all set.

generally easier to ride, but will usually be more expensive. Some newer bikes also have better geometry which makes them easier to ride. As nice as it is to buy a shiny new bike for their very first bike (and I love shiny new bikes), you can find some great bikes second-hand too. Sebastian is now on his third, second-hand bike. If you do buy second hand get it serviced at a local bike shop just to check everything is running correctly and it’s safe. A great alternative to buying a bike outright is The Bike Club. They allow you to pay for a bike monthly and exchange it as your child grows. If you use the code ‘CHERUBS1’ at checkout you’ll get one month of hire for free. Instagram

On the topic of safety, it should go without saying that your child should always wear a properly fitting helmet. My son also now insists on wearing gloves. I think this is partly because I wear gloves, but it’s saved his hands on more than one occasion when he’s taken a corner too fast.

instinctively, lean the bike over far enough so they drop their foot to the ground. This will be useful when they need to stop. Step 2. Let them push off with the pedal, while keeping them steady with your hands on their back. It’s much better to support your child’s body than it is to hold the bike, especially the handlebars, as they need to get used to how the bike moves with their weight. Also bending over to hold onto the seat is a killer for your back. Step 3. With some momentum they should now be riding. Focus, and looking ahead is the biggest challenge now. There is a big tendency to not look where they’re going. It’s also quite common for kids to pedal the wrong way sometimes. Step 4. You might need to help them stop for a little while, but after that get them to practice stopping with their brakes. You can help them get the feel for brakes by pulling them on while wheeling the bike. Too hard and it can throw them off, too soft and they don’t slow down.

Back to School Recommendations

Recommended by Pickled Pepper Books Pickled Pepper Books is a specialist interactive children’s bookshop located in North London. In the week they host pre-school activities and after school run Young Illustrators and a lively book group. Most weekends you can meet an author or illustrator, experience some theatre or come along to a story time. Drop in for a great recommendation from one of their friendly booksellers or order any book in print for the next day in store, via email or over the phone.

Starting School

by Janet and Allan Alhberg 3-5 years

does – from breakfast to bedtime. Meet her classmates too and try to spot what each friend is up to in every lesson throughout the book. This is another reassuring introduction to school and would look great on any child’s bookshelf too.

Molly Rogers to the Rescue by Cornelia Funke

Autumn Activities


Splash Day

Whether your child is excited or nervous about starting school or maybe both, this modern classic has helped many children ease into their first day, week and year of primary school. It’s the perfect way to prepare young children for this milestone and works well to start conversations about the first year.

Going to School by Rose Blake 3-8 years

by Nick Sharratt 5-8 years These two books are in a series called Little Gems. They are perfect first-chapter books for developing readers and also have a dyslexia friendly layout, typeface and paper stock. In Molly Rogers, Captain Firebeard is destroying beautiful Monkey Skull Island in the search for lost treasure. But he didn’t count on brave pirate Molly coming to the rescue. Molly may be small, but she’s also smart and fierce, so can she outwit the pirate captain and his crew? Splash Day is perfect for children working their way through a reading scheme ready for a water fight! The children in the story have got their trunks and wetsuits, wellies and rubber rings at the ready. Even the teachers are going to join in. Let’s see what happens when Mrs Thistle blows her whistle!

a new treasure for his rock collection. He pockets the jewel and immediately a curse falls upon the group. And so the ridiculous adventure begins where Julius fights for his life as the Egyptians come to unravel the truth and realize that he is not quite what they thought he was.

Professor Astro Cat’s Star Gazing

by Dominic Wallman and Ben Newman 3-99 years

Julius Zebra Entangled with the Egyptians

Rose Blake has created the perfect picture book for the modern parent and child starting school. Her bright, colourful illustrations and detail make the introduction to school a pleasure. Spend the day at school with a little girl and join her in everything she

by Gary Northfield 6-11 years If you would like a laugh out loud read for a young Egyptologist you can’t go wrong with this Julius Zebra madcap adventure. Julius is shipwrecked on the shores of Egypt and mistaken for a Horse God! Soon he and his friends are living it up in Alexandria; having lavish parties thrown in their honour and getting a tour of the Pyramids. It can’t last though as his friend Felix is unable to resist

Get the kids fired up about their space topic with this new addition to the bestselling science series. We learn all about the stars in our universe, including our own sun. From scientific discoveries to the constellations dreamed up by humans centuries ago, Ben Newman’s illustrations bring these fascinating facts to life for readers young and old. | 10 Middle Lane, Crouch End, London N8 8PL | 020 3632 0823

N.B. Shows from 26th Oct - 3rd Nov only.

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