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Birmingham   and Solihull


Birmingham   and Solihull

Covering Ladywood, Smethwick, Edgbaston, Small Heath, Kings Heath, Selly Oak, Bourneville, Shirley, Castle Bromwich, Balsall Heath, Hall Green, Olton, Chelmsley Wood.

Testing times for START THEpupils YEAR WITH FAMILY FUN FOR EVERYONE! Children’s Read our features inside for parties information on fun activities at a region near you! Mums mean business Need additional income? Join Jamie Oliver’s direct-sales business, Jamie at Home. Passionate about gorgeous clothes for your perfect maternity wardrobe

www. bumpaliciousmaternity

Tel: 07766 714926

Start earning now! No prior experience required. Or host a Jamie at Home party! To join the team or book your party please call Heather on 07809 749430

Contents In this Issue... 3 Clubs and



4 News 5 Holiday



Mean 6 Mums Business


8 Testing Times

10 Children’s


ello and welcome to the May/June edition of Families Birmingham and Solihull. My hopes are high that we will have a long, hot summer - whatever the long range weather forecasters say – but, come rain or shine, we have plenty of activities to keep you busy. Check out our What’s On and Out and About guide. This issue we also take a look at school tests and how to help children get the best out of themselves for SATs, 11 plus or entrance exams. Delve into our children’s party feature for some cool ideas for birthdays; or if you fancy a better work-life balance, read about our entrepreneurial mums who took the plunge and changed their lifestyle. And now that Easter is done and dusted, it’s really time to book some summer holiday camps for the children so we give you a round up of some of the best in Birmingham and Solihull. Always delighted to get your feedback,so keep the comments coming to or via our website

Wendy Flynn , Editor



13 Edgbaston

Priory Club

14 What’s On 16 Nannies

Families Birmingham & Solihull P.O. Box 6204 Stourbridge, DY8 9DN. Front page picture by photo artist Abby Wilkes. Abby won the West Midlands Master Photographer Award for her work with children two years in a row. She specialises in photographing children and families creating art from life’s special moments. Contact Abby for more information: 07966 867306.


...we have dedication to education






ENGLISH LANGUAGES 58 or email please call 0121 454 28 For more information info@academicexcell ase call or email: ple you To find a class near www.aca MOB 07543 668261 | TEL 0121 454 2858 |


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Next Issue:

Advertisers: book your space now for our July/August school holidays issue. Call 0758 352 6056 or e-mail before Monday, August 1. Design:

Printed by: Bishops Printers, Portsmouth, Hants Copyright Families Birmingham and Solihull, Jan 2011 We take care preparing this magazine but the publisher and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers, nor for the accuracy of the contents nor its consequence.

Clubs & Classes Creative play The Creation Station has come to Sutton Coldfield and Streetly. Sue Morrow-Jones is running Creation Station activities for pre-schoolers at The Methodist Church Hall in Sutton Coldfield on Monday mornings; the Scout Hall in Streetly on Thursday mornings; and Aldridge and Shenstone on Wednesdays and Fridays. Creation Station is all about inspiring the imagination and having fun through creative arts and crafts and, because it’s developed in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage, it’s educational too. Sue, a mum of two children who are both in secondary school, says: “I loved the idea of the Creation Station because when my two children were young I looked for something like this and couldn’t find it. It’s fantastic that the children can learn while they’re having messy art time! To find out more about the Creation Station session for preschoolers or for the May half term holiday activites, log on to or call Sue on 0844 854 9089.

Tennis for tots to teens Set your child off on a journey to become the next Andy Murray or Venus Williams with some tennis coaching at Edgbaston Priory Club. Even if they never make it to Centre Court, they will have a lot of fun and make a lot of friends along the way. All coaches are LTA qualified and the club is confident they can teach anyone to play. Starting with mini-tots for ages 3-5 with a fun introduction to athletic skills and co-ordination, the tennis programme moves through stages to Junior Tennis coaching aged 11, which can be enjoyed by anyone from serious to social players. Coaching is available Monday to Saturday during term time and weekdays during holiday time. For more information contact Sue. or call 0121 440 2492.

Trial Molly Music for babies Molly Music is offering free trials of their Molly Pups classes for parents with babies from birth to 12 months. Helen Bodfish has been running Molly Music classes for parents and toddlers in Knowle, Shirley and Hobs Moat, but she is just introducing the Molly Pups class for the youngest age group. The Molly Pups classes last for half an hour and engage babies with a blend of gentle stimulation using nursery rhymes, lullabies and colourful props. The new classes will run at 11am at Knowle United Reform Church on Mondays; Want your children Shirley Community Church to learn how to cook on Tuesdays and Hobs Moat the fun way? United Reform Church on Thursdays. To book your We run cooking parties, workshops and clubs. free trial call Helen on 07954 If you would like to join us 163759 or email in getting children

New baby signing classes Lisa Mathias, who has been running baby signing classes at Banners Gate Community

excited about cooking, knowledgeable about ingredients, whilst having fun then get in touch.

Hall, Sutton Coldfield, on Mondays, has just added two new classes to her programme – one at the Sutton Coldfield Methodist Church on Monday afternoon, and a second at the Deanery Children’s Centre in Walmley on Tuesdays. The classes help develop communication skills in babies from 6 months upwards through structured singing and signing. To find out more or to join the class contact Lisa on 07851 627 651 or e-mail

Funky Feet Funky Feet is running a new after-school dance class on Fridays for children aged 4 and over. It already runs classes for tiny tots (2yrs +) at Dorridge Village Hall, Grange Road, on Friday mornings, and it is now introducing a new class at 4pm for primary age children. The classes are a mix of fun dance games and energetic Fun classes that help children street dance routines to communicate with confidence for boys and girls up to Social confidence the age of 11. To find Listening and attention out more call Abbie Sharing and turn-taking on 0845 680 3865 or Vocabulary building Pre-literacy skills e-mail westmidlands@ For children from 12 months to five years. funkyfeetunlimited. Classes in Solihull, Knowle & Surrounding Area Contact Antoinette on 07817 079875

Nothing is more rewarding than watching a child learning new skills, keeping fit and loving every minute of it! That’s why more and more parents are bringing their children along to our training sessions. APPROVED FOOTBALL TRAINING FOR KIDS FROM 2 YEARS TO 7TH BIRTHDAY

N substitute Call 0121 744 9730

email © 2011. Wilcook Ltd Issue 3



Watersports – Junior Academy Learn to windsurf, canoe or kayak right in the heart of Birmingham at Edgbaston Reservoir.

Edgbaston Watersports run a Junior Academy every Sunday between April and November where young people from 6 to 16 can try their hand at all the watersports. The morning sessions (10am to 12.30pm) are spent on paddlesports with wind-surfing and sailing coaching in the afternoon session (1.30pm-4pm).

Big Brum for Brummies

Be a tourist for the day and let your children get to know their city on an opentopped Big Brum Buz tour. Even if you have lived in the city all your life, you are likely to be surprised by how much you never knew! Catch the bus at the corner of Colmore Row and Waterloo Street, next to the Council House, on Saturday mornings or most Sundays at 10.30am; 12.30pm or 2.30pm.

Tracy Beaker author talks to young bookworms Keen young readers will get a chance to see Tracy Beaker author Jacqueline Wilson when she comes to Birmingham for the Young Readers Festival. And Spot, Kipper and Maisie Mouse will also be putting in guest appearances for tiny tots. The city-wide Festival runs from May 21 to June 4 with activities for families and schools and something for every age group. Check out full details on youngreaders or www.facebook. com/youngreaders.


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There is no need to book in advance – you can just turn up for the sessions and get paddling or set sail under the watchful eye of fully qualified instructors. A 2.5 hour Junior Academy session costs £15. Check out, too, the Watersports school holiday activities running at the May half term and throughout the summer. To find out more, call Edgbaston Watersports 0845 310 0280 or email

Full steam ahead for vintage rail weekend Head to Tyseley on June 25 and 26 to give the children a ride on a good old-fashioned steam train. Rocket, Princess Elizabeth, Oliver Cromwell and L94 (the very last steam train in service with London Transport) will be steaming towards the Vintage Trains base at Tyseley for the Summer Steam Open weekend. At least 8 engines will be on show and giving rides along the 1/3 mile rail track in the Vintage Rail yard from 10am5pm. It’s an action-packed day with lots to see and do but for the children the most magical part of the visit will be seeing the working engines up close, and getting the chance to ride on an awesome steam train. A ticket for a family of 4 costs £20 and all rides are free except for a £1 supplement to ride on Rocket, a replica of the first modern steam engine built in 1829, which is visiting from the National Rail Museum in York. To find out more telephone 0121 708 4965 or log on to

Summer   camps

Sport Academies

at Saint Martins School, Solihull Launched this Easter for 6-15 yearolds and now taking bookings for their summer academies. This multi-sport camp with specialist sports coaches prides itself on being a little bit different with the range of sports on offer including some the kids won’t have tried before. Summer schools on week of 18-22 July; 25-29 July; and 1-5 August. Call 0844 335 8217 to book or log on to

Summer Schools

Now that Easter has come and gone it’s time to start planning for summer. Whether you are a busy working mum who needs to combine a fun summer school with childcare – or you just want to make sure the kids are busy and stimulated during the long summer break, we look at some of the best on offer.

Young Film Makers

– at Birmingham Hippodrome Check out this new summer school at Birmingham Hippodrome for 8-16 year olds who want to learn about movie-making and get a chance to star in their own production. A fun course which runs from July 2529 or August 1-5. The course usually costs £135 but there is a discount for Families readers who pay £120. Call 0870 383 0082 or book online at quoting “offer code YFM 1102”

Edgbaston Priory Club Kids Camp

Anyone for tennis? Or would the children prefer to make a splash this holiday? Let them try both at Edgbaston Priory Kids Club where they can have an action-packed fun holiday. The 130 year old club has 29 tennis courts, 10 squash courts, indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools and fantastic grounds. As well as tennis and swimming, children can enjoy squash coaching, football, multi-sports activities, and dance. The children get to choose their day. To find out more or to book call 0121 440 2492 or log on to

Could you be the next Andy Murray or Venus Williams?

Edgbaston Water Sports Cool off at this summer school at Edgbaston Reservoir which offers courses in canoeing and kayaking or sailing (ages 10-16), and a range of multi watersports activities for 6-10 year olds. A breakfast club is available new this year. To book call 0845 310 0280 or e-mail

Supercamps Multi Activity Edgbaston and Mad About Sports

Priory Club

Multi-Activity Camps running this summer at King Edward VI High School forschool Girls (forholiday girls and boys aged 4-14) and Higholds School for Girls sport camps forEdgbaston 6 - 15 year (for girls only aged 3-14). Mad About Sports available at both venues for children aged 8-14. Visit or call 01235 83222 to book. school holiday sport camps for 6 - 15 year olds

SOLIHULL AT SAINT MARTIN’S SOLIHULL SCHOOL HOLIDAY SPORTS CAMPS FOR 6 -15 YEAR OLDS AT AT SAINT MARTIN’S SAINT MARTIN’S SCHOOL, BRUETON AV, SOLIHULL, B91 3EN school holiday sport camps for 6 - 15 year olds Days run 9am – 3pm. “Extra Time” available 8.30am – 4.30pm Combining multi-sports and expert coaching. Summer: 18th-22nd July | 25th-29th July | 1st-5th Aug CONTACT US: 0844 335 8217 WWW.SPORTACADEMIES.COM

Edgbaston Priory Club offers tennis courses and coaching for ages from 3 upwards, and to all levels. Come learn, have fun, improve your game, join a team and make some friends.

Monday to Saturday during term time Weekdays in holiday time in our Kids Camp. Keep fit and have fun! For more information contact or call 0121 440 2492 Issue 3


Work and family

Mums mean


o you want to achieve a better work-life balance without the 9-5 grind?

In our last issue we featured Natalie Heeley from Forever Living products who managed to do just that and, judging by the reaction from readers, it obviously struck a chord. So this issue we are featuring a selection of mums who took the plunge and went into business – setting up on their own – or taking on a franchise. And we also highlight some opportunities available to you if you want to run your own flexible business that fits with family life.

Working from home with ‘Jamie at home’ Two years ago Heather Beverley was a full time mum to James and Oliver wondering what she was going to do when her youngest started school. Today she is a Senior Team Manager with Jamie at home supporting her own team, three Team Leaders and about 60 consultants. And she does it all while working from home. “Having been a stay-at-home mum I knew I didn’t want to go back to full time work because I wanted to be there for the children. Then someone told me about the Jamie at home direct sales business and it was perfect because I knew I would be able to carry on being a mum while still earning fantastic money. School holidays are never a problem and when I go out to “work” it is usually in the evening when my partner is home.” Jamie at home offers contemporary designer ranges of kitchen and dining ware. Heather says: “It costs just £100 to start up and there is no tie-in so there is no risk. For £100, you get £400 worth of products to show at a party – and if you find you don’t like it, you can walk away.


“It helps if you are an outgoing personality, and you are self employed so you have to be self motivated. But you are part of a team so you are never alone. “A consultant doing two ‘average’ parties a week earns between £500/£600 a month, however the earnings potential is much higher.” Call Heather for a chat on 07809 749430 to find out more about joining the team or hosting a Jamie at home party.

Bumpalicious glamour for mums-to-be Moseley mum and former lawyer Amanda Rees has just launched online maternity shop Bumpalicious Maternity, stocking chic maternity wear which you won’t find on the High Street.

If a rewarding job with true security that provides you with the work/life balance, flexibility and control over your own destiny sounds appealing – contact Natalie Heeley today. You can work part time, around your existing work or family commitments and there is no financial investment. Find out how Natalie’s children can always be her priority – working part-time hours to suit her family commitments – you too could change your life.

Contact Natalie for a FREE information pack on

01905 820411or email: 6 

Issue 3

Amanda worked as a commercial real estate lawyer for years, before deciding she wanted a lifestyle that fitted in better with being a mum to Grace, 8, and Neave, 4. “When I was pregnant with Neave I recognised there was a gap in the market for stylish maternity wear pitched somewhere between the high street brands and very expensive designer maternity wear. I think mums should be able to revel in being pregnant without compromising on style or glamour – and that’s what Bumpalicious Maternity is all about,” she says. The online store stocks fashionable clothing from everyday casual leisure wear to special occasion dresses, including office wear; swimwear and holiday clothing; and even nightwear. It features UK labels such as Crave Maternity and Fun Mum but is also sourcing clothes from Europe - the German brand Belly Button - and even from the Australian range Ripe. Designs are hip and stylish but the prices are very reasonable. Check out Bumpalicious on

Work and family

business Hard Work in Maths and English Pays Off As any mum will know, it is a challenge to manage a busy household with three children and keep down a full time job. But add to that a mix of co-founding an entrepreneurial business and winning three awards and this is exactly what Anita Dhunna has achieved. Key Stages Online is a tutoring service which helps children aged between 8 and 11 improve their maths and English skills. It was founded by Anita and her husband Aron in 2004, the aim being to ensure children are ready for secondary school and selection tests used in grammar and independent schools. Anita and KSOL have grown from a small locally-based organisation to a nationally recognised provider of educational material. Commenting on the success of KSOL Anita said: “There is flexibility when you are working in your own business, but it is certainly not a 9 to 5 job. There is a lot of hard work involved in moving a business forward and sometimes it feels like 24/7.” “Juggling a family and a business isn’t always easy but the children have seen the business grow from small beginnings and they know that hard work pays off in the end.” That’s a good message too for children as they work on their core skills in Maths and English! To find out more about KSOL call 0121 244 8605.

A dramatic way to earn a living – Theatrebugs

Drama, Music and Dance for Under 7s Bring the magic of Theatrebugs to your area!

Theatrebugs are on the move. The established London-based drama club especially for 3-7 year olds launched their Theatrebugs franchise in October and are looking for new franchisees across the country. So, if you want to add a bit of drama to your life and start your own business, act now to find out more. Theatrebugs facilitate after school clubs, Under 5s clubs, holiday workshops, magical birthday parties, private lessons and “aweinspiring” classes for young children in nurseries and infant schools. Theatrebugs co-founder Paula O Donohue says: “If you love dance, drama, music and children, this is a fun business to run. It is hard work but you can be your own boss, choose your own hours and earn good money being creative.” A limited number of reduced franchise fees are available for pilot franchisees. Call Paula or Kristyanne on 0207 350 2995 for further information.

“Theatrebugs covers every aspect of the curriculum....there are six areas of learning and Theatrebugs covers every one of them” Denise Crawford, Chair of Preschool Learning Alliance, Lambeth

Franchise opportunities; Be your own boss, choose your hours and earn a great income with ongoing support from Bug HQ! 02073502995

Inspirational opportunity – Creation Station Are you are looking for an inspirational opportunity which fits in with family life? The Creation Station – the UK’s leading arts and crafts franchise that is all about inspiring the imagination – is recruiting new franchisees in Birmingham and Solihull. Managing Director Sarah Cressall says: “Due to phenomenal demand for our classes, parties and events we are looking for friendly mums who want to run their own fun and rewarding business. Our network of successful franchisees state that the training and on-going support is excellent.” The Creation Station runs activities which fire children’s imagination through arts and crafts and play. Franchisees run toddler art classes for pre-schoolers; after-school and holiday arts and crafts sessions for 5-11 year olds and they host ‘arty parties’ tailored for any pre-school or primary age child. To find out more call Call Nicki on 0845 050 8743 or visit Issue 3



Testing times for pupil’s


ove them or loathe them, SATs tests have been controversial since they were first introduced for 7-year-olds in 1991.

Previous generations of pupils have faced SATs tests at 7, 11 and 14 (tests at 14 have now been scrapped) before heading into three years of external exams with GCSE’s at 16, AS levels at 17 and A-levels at 18, earning them the dubious distinction of being among the most tested pupils in the world. No other country in the western world is as focused as the English on testing primary age pupils and producing school league tables, according to a 2008 study. The rationale behind the tests and the league tables are to hold schools accountable and to drive standards up by giving parents the power to choose schools based on their performance. Many parents do indeed use SATs tests results to judge a school, scouring the performance tables produced annually by the Department for Education to see which school is the ‘top’ in their area. The tables include other factors like value added scores - which looks at the schools’ impact in raising a pupils’ achievement beyond the expected level, taking into account the ‘baseline assessment’ of a pupil on entering the school. But the reality is that most parents hone in on raw SATs results. This puts pressure on schools to make sure all pupils reach, or indeed outperform, the expected ‘level 2’ at aged 7, and ‘level 4’ at age 11 so they can secure a good place in the league table. No one would argue about the need for schools to be accountable or the need to have high expectations for all pupils, but the unintended outcome of SATs and league tables is that many schools have felt under pressure to ‘teach to the test’ and are drilling pupils to do well in the exam. That pressure in turn filters down to the pupils. Education Secretary Michael Gove has now ordered an independent review of SATs for 11-year-olds in response to concerns that the system is flawed and is damaging rather than enhancing children’s education. But while the system is likely to be changed for future years, the 2011 SATS tests for year 6 pupils will still go ahead on the week of May 9.

So what are the DO’s and DON’Ts to make sure your child takes it all in their stride? • Don’t let your child pick up on any anxieties YOU have about the tests • Don’t abandon all their usual after school activities in test week • Don’t try last minute cramming or overdo the practice papers at home.

On the other hand:

• Do make sure they get to bed on time and are fully rested (not always easy with lighter evenings) • Do reassure them you will be happy as long as they try their best • Do plan a fun and relaxing treat they can look forward to post-SATs.

Trial 11 plus helps beat exam nerves Is your child taking the 11 plus exam for grammar school in November or an entrance test for an independent school? If so experiencing a trial test in a live exam setting will help steady their nerves when it comes to the real deal. The tutor service KSOL – Keystages On Line – is running a mock exam in Shirley on May 21 for prospective grammar and independent school candidates which is open to any child in year 5. The exam gives children the chance to have a go at doing a test in an unfamiliar location surrounded by children from many other primary schools. It should help to make the real event a far less scary prospect and minimise the chance of nerves getting the better of your child on the day of their actual exam. KSOL runs a free seminar for parents of pupils attending the mock exam and after the papers have been marked they also give parents detailed written feedback about their child’s performance in the exam and where they are relative to others who will be taking the 11 plus along with them. KSOL director Aron Dhunna says: “We break down the exams and identify the areas in which a child is making mistakes and we suggest techniques they can use to improve their skill set. It is a fantastic way to prepare children for an exam and to identify strengths and any areas of weakness.” The exam costs £40 for KSOL members or £45 for non members, and for a small additional fee of £10 KSOL can arrange for parents and pupils to have a one-to-one feedback session with a tutor at one of their centres. There are three centres in Birmingham in Shirley, Handsworth and Sutton Coldfield.

Norfolk House Nursery

3 Norfolk Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3PS Tel. 0121 452 1485

Norfolk House Nursery is a day nursery for children aged between 3 months & 4 years

Norfolk House School

4 Norfolk Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3PS Tel. 0121 454 7021

Norfolk House School is an independent preparatory school for children aged between 3 & 11 years.


Issue 3

Norfolk House Nursery For


11+ Mock Exam 21st May 2011 *Photo taken from February 2010 trial exam

Build confidence and prepare your child for the 11+ exam Covers Maths, English, Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning Benchmark your child and highlight their areas of weakness.

Limited now to avoid disappointment

11+ Online Tuition for Yr4 & Yr5 Children Award winning courses for children in Years 4 & 5 covering all topics for the 11+ entrance exam

Daily online tests (Mon-Fri) Feedback and progress reports from your allocated tutor Inspiring rewards programme

Call us now

Or log on at

0121 244 8605

Families B'ham & Solihull 130x87 May_Layout 1 30/03/2011 12:58 Page 1

Creating the perfect co-educational environment. The Priory Priority. An independent school developing and supporting the talents of boys and girls from 6 months to 16 years.

further details about the mock exam or tutoring service call KSOL on 0121 244 8605

In celebration of our impressive ISI report, we are awarding 10 scholarships to pupils who will be entering year 9 in September 2011.

Where every child succeeds

For more details or to book a personal tour call 0121 440 4103 or visit

Sir Harry's Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2UR

Priory School

Open Morning Saturday 14th May. 10am -12noon. Issue 3


Party Special

Bright ideas fo


ID SOMEONE SAY party? Yes, I’m afraid so.

One thing’s as sure as eggs is eggs - your child WILL have another birthday in the next year. It’s Families to the rescue we’ve put on our party hats to find the best around to ensure your ‘do’ is one they’ll talk about, until at least next year...

Children can cook and Wilcook For a birthday party with a difference call in Midlands children’s cookery specialist Helen Wilcock who has all the ingredients for a fantastic – and tasty – children’s party in your own home. Helen, an experienced caterer and restaurant manager, set up Wilcook last year and now runs regular cookery clubs for children as well as offering kids cookery parties. After a quick pre-party phone call to discuss an ideal menu – Italian, Mexican or British – you can sit back on the day while your party guests don chefs’ hats and aprons and get cooking along with Head Chef Helen.

Skiing, Climbing, Kayaking, Tobogganing Jungle Challenge and much more….. Party Package includes:  Adventurous Activity with an ACTIVITY Instructor & all equipment BIRTHDAY PARTIES  Party Room Hire GREAT VALUE FOR MONEY AND  Invitations & Thankyou notes FANTASTIC FUN!  Free gift for Birthday girl or boy For further details please call 0121 772 5111 or visit our website now!!

Ackers Adventure, Birmingham B11 2PY · 0121 772 5111



Cookery party, pirate & princess party, mini makeover party, arts & crafts party, jungle party.



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“We provide the party invites, bring along all the cooking utensils and ingredients, and provide the party bags and thank you cards. It’s a stress-free, hassle-free party for parents and children love it,” says Helen. “We banish mum or dad from the kitchen so they can relax while the children make all their own food – with the pizza they roll their own pizzas and add their favourite toppings; and they also make their dessert and decorate cupcakes for their party bags. “It’s great fun and the children really do enjoy the cooking. Of course the best bit for parents is that we do ALL the tidying and cleaning up, leaving their kitchen exactly as we found it. “ A Wilcook party costs from £100 for 6 children to £190 for up to 12 children. For further information or to book a party call Helen on 0779 235 7312.

The pick of the parties - from pirates to princesses

Funky Monkeys children’s play centre at Fort Dunlop has just launched a super term-time party offer with daytime or after school parties costing just £60 for ten children. And if your guest list is longer, it costs just £5 extra per child. For this you get the pick of the parties and - with themes from pirates to princesses - there is a dream day on offer for every birthday boy or girl. You can choose from mini makeovers; or take part in a treasure hunt with pirates and princesses. Then again, you could opt for an arts and crafts party or pizzamaking party or have

Party Special

or birthdays a teddy bears picnic theme for tiny tots. The offer price is all inclusive so you get the party invites, playtime in the jungle-themed play structure, an experienced party host to run the themed activities and a private room with healthy buffet food and fun-themed tableware for the party tea. To find out more or book a party call Funky Monkeys on 0121 748 3137.

For kids with a passion for fashion

If your daughter has a passion for fashion and likes to pretend to sashay down the catwalk, consider booking them a Wannabe model party. The birthday girl aged 6 and above and up to 14 friends can enjoy a stylish party hosted by fashion model Jeanne Frith and former Miss Great Britain Tiffany Stanford who will give them a glimpse into the world of modeling. The party can take place in your own home or another venue booked by you. All party guests will have their make-up professionally applied and their hair styled before taking part in a professional fashion shoot, and they will be given an A4 print to take home as a memento. A catwalk and mini fashion show can also be included in the party plan, and party games can be organised for younger guests. Teen parties (maximum of 8) include beauty routines and demonstrations. Call Jeanne on 0759 399 1960 to find out more.

Jungle challenge

Crawl through tunnels; climb over a rope bridge; master the balance beams and swing on a Zip wire. Active children will relish a Jungle Challenge birthday party at Ackers Adventure where the party guests work as a team to negotiate an obstacle course built in the forested area of the site. The Jungle Challenge is proving to be one of the most popular of the party packages on offer at this outdoor adventure site, but there is also a choice of canoeing, kayaking, climbing & abseiling, skiing, archery or tobogganing parties, to name but a few. The parties are suitable for ages 5 and over and cost from ÂŁ110 for up to 10 children. This includes an hour and a half of your chosen party activity with the hire of a party room for one hour afterwards, where you can bring your own food or use recommended caterers. For further information telephone 0121 772 5111 or log on to

Turn to page 12 I ssue 3


Party Special

Birthdays ideas Funky Feet dance parties

Funky Feet are one of the UK’s leading children’s entertainers with a team of trained dance teachers. They provide an excellent mix of fun dance games and energetic street dance routines for boys and girls aged 2-11 years old at birthday parties, weddings, end of term parties and other special events. Funky Feet come to a venue of your choice, include your favourite songs and take the stress out of organising a birthday party for your little ones. “I just wanted to let you know that my daughter had a ball at her party!! The teacher was fantastic with the kids. We had a mix of boys and girls and they all loved it. All the parents have said that the kids were raving about it. To see them having so much fun was great. I will be in touch in the future!!”, said a happy mum.

Not just bouncy castles!

Having an indoor or garden party and want to hire some bouncy castles, inflatable slides, sumo suits or soft play equipment? Or want something a little bit different? Halesowen Bouncy Castles operate in West Midlands and Worcestershire and have all you could need to make a party fizz. From themed bouncy castles to indoor bowling alleys and children’s obstacle courses, there is something for every child (or child at heart). Check out some children’s party favourites - the bungee run, and the gladiator joust. For younger children hire the ball pool and some soft play equipment which can be used indoors or outside. Call Paul on 07931 558 493 or log on to www. halesowenbouncycastles. com

A funky and engaging birthday party with street dance, action games Adult/Family and Childrens and disco routines will be a winner with all age groups. Call Funky Feet on 0845 680 3865 for further information or e-mail westmidlands@

Bouncy Castle and Play Equipment hire

All your party needs catered for!

Slides, Assault Course Themed Bouncys, Castles, Family & Toddler inflatables

Ideal for r indoor & outdoo use. Softplay equipment and ballpools also available

07931 558 493

Clubs & Classes Directory BABY SIGNING

TINYTALK BABY SIGNING Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield From 0 to 2 years Telephone: 07851 627 651


DIZZY DANCERS Various ages and SEN welcome Based in Highgate, Birmingham. 01527 870889


MASQUERADE MUSICAL THEATRE Youth Theatre Group, Age 6+ St Thomas’ Church, Garretts Green Lane, Sheldon, B26 2SA

Telephone: 0121 722 3761


Issue 3


Sutton Coldfield

Drama, Dance & Singing in commercial and musical theatre styles Call Lynn: 01283 814 092

The Rock Project (Solihull) 7-16 yr olds (2 Hour Sessions) GUITAR, BASS or DRUM lessons. Tel: 0845 226 3318

or email:

RIALTO DANCE ACADEMY Salsa, Belly-dance, Cheerleading Waltz, Jive, Street, Break-dance 1 Shirley Rd, Acocks Green B27 7XU Call 07725 000 732 or find us online

1-to-1 drum tuition, City Centre location Rock School grades 1-8. Ages 4 upwards. Tel: 0121 503 5849

THEATRETRAIN SOLIHULL Dancing, Acting & Singing

DUBARRIE SCHOOL OF DANCE Ballet, Tap and Jazz age 2 ½ + Branches in Yardley and Shirley Telephone: 0121 744 1422

To advertise here call 0758 352 6056


Classes for 6-18 years Call Sara on 01675 443540




GENIE PRIVATE TUTORS CENTRES Run By Teachers For Children • Experienced Teacher for your child • Qualified CRB Checked Teachers • English & Maths • Entrance Exams & GCSEs • Primary & Secondary Edgbaston & Harborne 0121 456 4406 Hollywood 01564 822 882

Club Open Days

Edgbaston Priory Club – Open days


he 130 year old Edgbaston Priory Club – home to the AEGON Classic tennis tournament - is holding its annual open day on Sunday May 15, and a tennis open day on June 5.

Edgbaston Priory Club is one of the country’s most prestigious racquet and leisure members’ clubs, offering unrivalled facilities. It has 29 tennis courts, 10 squash courts, a heated indoor and outdoor swimming pool (open all year round), Technogym equipped fitness facilities; and a bar, restaurant and private function suite. There is a comprehensive programme of coaching courses for juniors and adults in tennis, squash and racketball, not to mention swimming courses and personal lifestyle trainers.

A highlight of the year for tennis fans is the AEGON Classic tournament (6th to 12th June) when the world’s top female tennis players battle it out to lift the Maud Watson Trophy. To mark the beginning of this year’s tournament, Edgbaston Priory Club is holding a tennis open day on Sunday 5th June where you can see top tennis players in action, tour the club’s amazing facilities and try your hand at some tennis yourselves. Please contact Andrea Brown, Membership Manager, on 0121 440 2492 or visit to make an appointment for the open days. For more information and ticket prices visit

Grasshoppers Day Nurseries

Day Nursery Schools Quality Pre-School Education and Care • Ages 3 months to 5 years • Small group sizes • Open 8.00am to 6.00pm • Mature qualified staff • Home cooked meals • Ofsted approved 106 Wake Green Road Moseley, B13 9PZ. Tel: 0121-449-3673

• CCTV and Door-entry security • Grant Funding processed • Teachers specializing in Music, Dance & French (subject to availability) 19 Woodland Road, Northfield, B31 2HU. Tel: 0121-475-8416

Loving, caring and quality childcare in homely settings

Erdington - 0121 384 8096 Edgbaston - 0121 455 6026 Open 7.00am – 6.15pm Harborne - 0121 427 5040 Open 7.30am – 6.15pm Issue 3 1



Thoroughly Modern Millie

Musical set in 1920’s – Millie sets out to marry a wealthy man but the plot thickens as she falls for another Venue: Solihull Arts Complex Dates: June 21-25 Time: 7.30pm Tickets: £10-£14 Box office: 0121 704 6962

Growing, Growing, Gone

The story of Jack and the Beanstalk with magic tricks, original music, silly puppets and a rather cross giant Venue: Birmingham Library Theatre, Paradise Place, Birmingham B3 3HQ Date: May 7 Time: 11.30am and 2pm Age: 3-7 years (and parents) Tickets: Adults: £7.50; child £4.50; babe in arms £1.50 Box office: 0121 236 4455

Hello Dolly

All American musical comedy presented by Solihull Theatre Company Venue: Solihull Arts Complex, Homer Road, Solihull, B91 3RG Date: May 10-14 Time: 7.30pm Tickets: £14 (£13) Box office: 0121 704 6962

Olly Murs

Former X-Factor contestant in concert Venue: NIA, King Edwards Road, Birmingham, B1 2AA Date: May 15 Tickets: £26.50 Box office: 0844 338 8000

Rip, Fold, Scrunch

Inspired by the creative play of children, Half Moon’s new show combines theatre, dance, live music – and paper creations that are made and dismantled before your eyes. A resource pack for parents with follow-up activities can be downloaded from Half Moon’s website. Venue: MAC Arts, Canon Hill Park, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B12 9QH Date: May 29 Time: 11am and 2.30pm Tickets: £8.00 and £6.00 Age range: 2-5 years Box office: 0121 446 3232


Issue 3

Make your own watering can (June 5); Make your own musical instrument with recycled materials (June12); pond dipping (June 19) and Clay modelling (June 26) Venue: Botanical Gardens, Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, B15 3TR Time: 1pm-4pm Tickets: Some activites free with entry to garden; supplement of £1 for others. Entry prices are £7.50 adults; children 5 plus £4.75; under 5 free; family ticket £22.00 Tel: 0121 454 1860

Boat Trips Not So Grimm Tales

A handful of princesses; a whirlwind of witches and one weally, weally wicked wolf feature in this laugh-a-minute show with all your favourite fairytale characters. Venue: Solihull Arts Complex, Homer Road, Solihull, B91 3RG Date: June 3 Time: 2.30pm Age: 4+ Tickets: £6 Box office: 0121 704 6962

Britain’s Got Talent Live

From Here to There

Featuring romance, and favourite rock n’roll tracks – such as Bobby’s Girl, Three Steps to Heaven and Let’s Twist Again Venue: Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, Birmingham, B5 4TB Date: June 27- July 2 Tickets: from £12.50-£30.00 Box office: 0844 338 5000

From Tell Tale Hearts - who make theatre exclusively for children – a story about bridges; building them up and knocking them down; magic bridges and bridges that tell stories of greedy trolls and hungry goats Venue: The Library Theatre, Paradise Place, Birmingham, B3 3HQ Date: June 4 Times: 11.30am and 2pm Tickets: £7.50 adults; £4.50 children; £1.50 babe in arms Box office: 0121 236 4455

The Wiggles

Featuring acrobats, gymnasts and dancers - join Sam, Jeff, Anthony, Murray and their Wiggly friends Dorothy the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus, Wags the Dog, Captain Feathersword and the Wiggly dancers for a lively show Venue: New Alexandra Theatre, Station Street, Birmingham, B5 4DS Date: June 2 Time: 1pm and 4pm Tickets: £20.75 Box office: 0844 847 2302

TV talent contest live on stage Venue: NIA, King Edwards Road, Birmingham B1 2AA Date: June 25 Tickets: £35 Box office: 0844 338 8000

Dreamboats and Petticoats, The Musical

Horrible Histories – Awful Egyptians/Ruthless Romans

Learn some foul and fascinating facts of death and decay with the meanest mummies in Egypt. Venue: Alexandra Theatre, Station Street, Birmingham, B5 4DS Date: June 28 - July 2 Times: Various Tickets: £15.25 to £19.50 Box office: 0844 847 2302

OUT AND ABOUT Big Brum Buz Tour

The Wiz

A rhythm and blues musical version of the Wizard of Oz Venue: New Alexandra Theatre, Station Street, Birmingham, B5 4DS Dates and times: June 10-18. All evening performances 7.30pm except June 14 at 7pm. Matinee performances on June 16 and 18 at 2pm. No evening shows on these dates. Tickets: £12-£28.50 Box office: 0844 847 2302

Be a tourist for the day and get to know your city with an open top bus tour. Venue: Departs from corner of Colmore Row and Waterloo Street, Victoria Square, Dates: Weekends from April 30-Sept. 25 Times: 10.30am; 12.30pm and 2.30pm Tickets: £12 adults; £5 children; £20 family ticket (up to 3 children aged 5-15) Tel: 0121 427 2555

Botanical Gardens Family activities

Every Sunday, a range of craft-activities with a green theme – Make your own pond dipper and bug catcher, (May 1); Create your own garden sculptures of caterpillars and other beasties (May 8); Painting Outdoors, (May 15); using printing techniques (May 22); create and laminate a door hanging and book mark (May 29);

Boat trips into historic Limestone caverns Venue: Dudley Canal Tunnel and Limestone Mines A4123 Birmingham New Road, Dudley Date: Daily Time: 10am until 5pm (last boat 4pm) Tickets: Family 4 £17.90 Family 5 £22.00 Adult £5.50 Child £4.55 Seniors £4.95 (School Holiday earlybird specials available with a saving of 20% off normal admission price) Tel: 01384 236275

Down on the Farm

Summer fun at the farm for all the family Venue: Umberslade Farm Park, Butts Lane, Tanworth in Arden, B94 5AE Date: Daily Time: 10am-5pm Tickets: Weekdays – adults £6.25; children £5.95; under 2’s free. Weekends – adults £6.50; children £6.25; under 2’s free.

Drayton Manor Theme Park

Home to the UK’s first Ben 10 themed rollercoaster, Thomas Land™, some of the scariest rides around, a 4D Cinema and zoo. Venue: Drayton Manor Theme Park, near Tamworth, Staffordshire, B78 3TW Date: 30th April – 2nd May Time: Opens 9.30am with rides from 10.30am to 5pm/6pm

Things That Go Bump! (in the museum at night)

Twilight tours for children to find out what really comes to life when the Museum closes Venue: Avoncroft Museum, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, B60 4JR Date: May 13 Time: 7.30pm-9.00pm Age: 7+ Tickets: Adults £7.70; Seniors £6.60; Children £4.00 and families £19.80 Tel: 01527 831 363

Spring Fling

Almost a year on since Winterbourne House opened to the public, it is celebrating Spring in style with this jampacked event. Craft, food and gift stalls selling local wares will fill the garden, and a host of activities will be on offer for visitors to enjoy the Spring weather outdoors. Venue: Winterbourne House and Garden Date: May 14 Time: see website for details Tickets: entry charges apply Tel no: 0121 414 3003

Family Fun Days

Explore the gardens of Packwood House with Diggory Dog and discover the secrets of the house on this family trail Venue: Packwood House, Packwood Lane, Lapworth, B94 6AT Date: From May 28 – June 5 Time: 11am-4.30pm Tickets: admission charge and £1 per trail Tel: 01564 782024

The Edwardians

Find out about life pre-first World War and see how a generation was changed by Flanders Venue: Avoncroft Museum, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, B60 4JR Date: May 29 and 30 Tickets: adults £7.70; seniors £6.60; children £4.00 and families £19.80 Tel: 01527 831 363

Birmingham, Edgbaston, B15 2TS Time: 11am-1 pm and 2-4pm Tickets: £8 per child. For more information and to book places please contact 0121 414 7335 or

Secret Agent Days – World War 1

Learn everything you need to know to become a secret agent like the spies of the first World War at Avoncroft activity day Venue: Avoncroft Museum, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, B60 4JR Date: June 1 and 2 Tickets: adults £7.70; seniors £6.60; children £4.00 and families £19.80 Tel: 01527 831 363

Art Play and Art workshops

A range of half term art activities. Art Play for 2-5 year olds and workshops for older children including: Pop Art Now; Create Superhero; Comics and Cartoons; Family pottery day; Shadow Attack light projection; Venue: Mac Arts, Canon Hill Park, B12 9QH Date: May 30-June3 For full details check website Tel: 0121 446 3232

Ackers Family Activity Week

Adventurous Activity Sessions for Families Venue: Ackers Adventure Date: May 30 - June 3 Time: 10am-5pm Age group: 7yrs+ Tickets: TBC Ackers Adventures, Golden Hilock Road, B10 0DQ Pre booking is essential – please visit website for further details. Tel: 0121 772 5711

Mysterious Hands and Adventures on the Nile

Take a plaster cast from a model of the Barber’s 800-year-old arm reliquary and then decorate with precious stones (May 31) and Build a boat at the Barber to help you on your exciting journey towards the Egyptian afterlife (June 1) Venue: The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of


Tel: 0121 427 2555 / 078051 15998

Tudor Living History

A fun and interactive Tudor weekend, meet the Tudor musicians, learn dance steps from the Lord and Lady, watch the servants at work, help the herbalist make beauty treatments and try your hand at Tudor writing. Venue: Tamworth Castle, The Holloway, Ladybank, Staffordshire B79 9NA Date: May 29 and 30 Time: 11.30am-4.45pm. Last admission 4pm. Tel: 01827 709629, or 01827 709581

What’s On

Wartime Weekend

Be transported back in time to the 1940’s. Discover life on the home front, watch soldiers train for battle and in action on the battlefield. Talks include: “Fashion on a Ration” Venue: Avoncroft Museum, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, B60 4JR Date: June 18 and 19 Tickets: adults £7.70; seniors £6.60; children £4.00 and families £19.80 Tel: 01527 831 363

BIRMINGHAM BUS TOURS 2011 Dates: every Saturday & most Sundays from 30th April to 25th September 2011 Meeting point: corner of Colmore Row & Waterloo Street, Victoria Square Tour times: 10.30, 12.30, 2.30 THE BIG BRUM BUZ IS AVAILABLE FOR PRIVATE HIRE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR


Community Open Day

Visit the Barber on Community Open Day and enjoy dance, storytelling and art making throughout the day Venue: The Barber Insitute of Fine Arts (and the Edgbaston campus of the University of Birmingham) Date: June 19 Time: 11am – 4pm Tickets: FREE

Summer Steam Open Weekend It’s full steam ahead for a Vintage Trains family fun weekend. At least 8 vintage trains will be in steam and giving rides at their Tyseley Base. Venue: Vintage Trains, 670 Warwick Road, Tyseley, Birmingham B11 2HL Date: June 25 and 26 Time: 10am-5pm Tickets: £20 for a family of 4. All rides free except Rocket Replica - £1 supplement applies.

Issue 3



When the person you need is Nanny..


usy working mums like the reassurance and reliability of having a nanny – and nannies are very cost effective too. Jayne Dainty, MD of West Midlands nanny agency, Tinies, looks after more than 400 nannies on her books, and she and her team are kept very busy finding the perfect childcare solution for Tinies’ families. “Nannies become such a treasured part of a family, so we work hard to get the perfect match,” says Jayne. The advantage of a nanny is that children never have to miss a playdate and can still join clubs or classes even though Mum is at work. And it works for parents, too, who appreciate the flexibility a nanny offers and love knowing that their children are being looked after by a professional in their own home, even when they are ill. As well as providing full and part-time nannies for working mums, Tinies also provides nannies to organise crèche facilities at weddings, for corporate functions and at council-run events. The agency also offers “wrap around care” which is much in demand with parents looking for an after-school nanny service.

Tel: 01922 682 232 Established in 1975, Tinies is the leading childcare recruitment and nanny agency in the country

We are the only agency that can help with: •Nannies •Creche services •Maternity nannies •Babysitting •Mothers’ Help •Emergency childcare •Event nannies

Families Birmingham and Solihull May/June 2011  

Families Birmingham and Solihull magazine for May/June 2011

Families Birmingham and Solihull May/June 2011  

Families Birmingham and Solihull magazine for May/June 2011