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Maidenhead - Windsor - Marlow - Ascot - Slough - Egham

Party Fun! YES, YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL! Successful ‘business mum’ is seeking 5 working partners to work part-time from home, alongside & without compromising family commitments or current career. If you have a supervisory, managerial, sales, marketing, recruitment or self-employed background, or you wish to develop an extraordinary lifestyle, please call Diana Page 01235 533 362

Where your little ones blossom into independent confident learners

• Poppies is owned by two qualified childcare practitioners with over 30 years’ experience. • We carefully select our dedicated childcare team who provide an outstanding level of care to children aged birth to five years. • Children are cared for in beautiful settings, a home away from home. • Excellent Parent Carer Partnerships • Freshly cooked organic food. • Large safe and secure nursery garden. “I will always be most grateful for the most wonderful settings you have created and for meeting my children’s appropriate needs. Thank you and well done. Poppies will always hold a special place for me and as I watch my children progress I know where it all began.” K.H. (parent) Poppies Day Nursery Furlong Road Bourne End Bucks SL8 5AE Tel: 01628 521522

Poppies Day Nursery Crown Road Marlow Bucks SL7 2QG Tel: 01628 487772


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News & Information Education News Clubs & Classes News Get Ready to Party Brand New You! Health Home Education Time Out Competitions Holidays Ed’s Reading Room Bumps ‘n Babes Mums Who Mean Business Classified Ads

PO Box 3902, Maidenhead, SL60 1AD web: tel: 01628 627586 fax: 08717 146 305 (calls cost 10p/min) e-mail: editor: Claire Winter circulation: 19,000 next issue: March/April 2011 featuring: Under-5s due out: March 1 copy/advertising deadline: February 1

Cover picture from

Telephone: 01628 627 586

APPY NEW YEAR ! As we welcome in a new decade, we get time to reflect on what is really important to us, and plan for the coming year. I have come up with my own three point F-plan (don’t worry, nothing to do with the 1980s uber-fiber diet). It goes like this: 1. spend more time with my FAMILY, 2. catch up with FRIENDS and 3. have more FUN. If you too are feeling in need of some inspiration then turn to our health special (pages 14 -16), where you’ll find advice from a life coach on how to make meaningful change in your life, a revolutionary new skin treatment and some great nutrition advice. Do you have the post-Christmas blues? Then why not start planning a summer holiday? We have some great ideas (pages 26 to 27).You could even win a week in Devon in a luxury cottage on our great competitions page (page 25). For those who want to extend the party season, we have our fabulous party special (pages 8 to 13), where you can find all the advice and party people you need to have a fantastic celebration now or at any time of the year. Wishing you a happy, peaceful and fulfilling 2011.


LOCAL HOME-START VOLUNTEERS NEEDED NOW the children are back at school, would you like to use your parenting experience to help a struggling family? If so, you could find volunteering for Home-Start really rewarding. Home-Start Slough run 40-hour courses twice a year which help prepare you to be carefully matched to a local family. Families need your help for lots of reasons like isolation, postnatal depression, multiple births or just because they are young and inexperienced. A local mother found Home-Start helped her immensely. “I had Chloe when the twins were still toddlers. The twins were going through the ‘terrible twos’ stage, the baby needed constant attention and I was exhausted. Some days I didn’t even get dressed. I knew I should take them out but somehow I never made it through the door. People thought I was coping, but most nights I cried myself to sleep thinking I was failing as a mum. My Health Visitor said it was probably postnatal depression and recommended I get help from Home-Start as well as seeing my GP. “The first time I met my Home-Start volunteer, Kate, I was really nervous but she just sat and listened to me. It doesn’t sound much, does it? But it made the world of difference. Kate has encouraged me to take the children to the park, get a routine going and just allows me to enjoy their childhood rather than being quite so stressed and overwhelmed. I can honestly say having a Home-Start volunteer is the best decision I have ever made.” Volunteers encourage, listen and offer practical support. They become a trusted friend and mentor of the family to help them move forward. If you are a parent or have parenting experience and have 2-3 hours to spare a week, why not volunteer? The next preparation course starts at the beginning of February.To find out more or ask for an application pack please call Home-Start Slough on 01628 661029.


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Photograph by David Kjaer

News & Info WATCH THOSE BIRDS GET involved with the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch this January. The survey takes place over the weekend of 29 and 30, when hundreds of thousands of people can be found with pen and paper in hand, checking out the birds visiting their gardens. Why not take the time to record all of the birds that visit your garden and join in the world's biggest wildlife survey? You could even help smash the RSPB’s record of half a million participants - after all, the more results they receive, the clearer the picture they’ll get of what's happening to our garden birds in the UK. Find out more at

PROTECT YOUR KIDS ON THE INTERNET ‘SAFE’, the new social networking safety programme for primary schools, is launched this winter by DigitalME. Backed by Childnet International, ‘Safe’ is designed to support primary school pupils in learning the essential skills to enjoy social networking, whilst remaining safe online. With children sharing content online and joining social networks at an increasingly younger age, there is a greater need to ensure primary aged pupils are equipped with the knowledge to understand potential risks and the skills to manage their digital footprint. DigitalME recognises that whilst the Internet is an infinitely powerful tool, it also presents risks. Lucinda Fell, Childnet International Policy and Communications Manager, says, "'Safe' embraces the positive opportunities afforded by the Internet, encouraging young people when sharing on the web to ask Who? What? Where? These are important messages for primary pupils to consider." The programme is free to schools and optional, paid for training, certificates, badges and other resources support the programme further. To find out more visit

NEW OWNER FOR CHALFONT NANNIES JOANNE WHITE is the proud new owner of Chalfont Nannies. She took over the business in June last year and has 17 years of experience working with children. Joanne is NNEB and ADDCE qualified and has also worked as a nursery manager. She says: “I have worked as a nanny for 11 years, so I know what clients and nannies want from an agency. I am also trained in Child Protection, Health and Safety, Hi Scope Learning and Paedriatic First Aid.” “I am the mother of two young children as well, and know how important it is to get the right childcare in place for your child.” Chalfont Nannies covers Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire and Middlesex. For more information go to or call 07900 212577 or 01753 825449.

Beehive Pre-school - Open 9.00am to 3.00pm. - Excellent Ofsted. - Front and Rear Garden. - Own premises and car park. - Close to Magnet Leisure Centre. - Children from 2yrs 3 months. - Up to 15 hrs free for over 3’s. - Registered Charity.

The Hut, Holmanleaze, Maidenhead, SL6 8AW Registered Charity No : 1029550

Tel : 01628 777243


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News & Info



REMIND yourself that Spring is on the way by visiting the snowdrop displays at Cliveden this February half-term. Children in particular love the ‘miniature’ nature of snowdrops, which should be at their peak during this time. The snowdrop displays in these magnificent Grade 1 gardens have been a popular feature of the estate for many years. In 2010, 10,000 more bulbs were planted, and this year, visitors can follow a circular trail through the grounds. The ongoing project to reveal the magnificent five acre Parterre as it would have appeared during its Victorian heyday sees the borders filled with a mass of blue and pink forget-me-nots, white, yellow and blue pansies, yellow, white, pink and red tulips, and yellow and white narcissi. The gardens are opening on 19 February, so that families can enjoy the best of Cliveden’s early spring colour during the half term.

me&I was founded by two Swedish mums in 2004 and they are now looking for UK sales representatives. Their clothes represent Swedish design at its best – high quality, funky colours and cool prints and they are really comfortable to wear. All the clothes are tried and tested by a panel of children for both comfort and looks. With me&I, clothes shopping for the kids is a relaxed affair. A me&i representative will come to you and showcase the clothes so you and your friends can get a really good look and feel. If you are thinking about returning to work or just want to change to a job that fits round your family, take a look at the company’s website as they are currently looking for people to join them as self-employed me&i representatives. Go to or call 07725 030821.

BPAS FINALLY BANNED FROM BABY BOTTLES THE European Commission has just announced a ban on the use of bisphenol-A (BPA) plastics in baby bottles, which will come into effect during 2011. The controversial chemical is still currently used in some baby bottles sold in the UK, although many brands have stopped using it.There is evidence to suggest it can interfere with healthy growth and body functions, mimicking the effect of the hormone oestrogen in the body, to which babies are particularly vulnerable. “We have been calling for a UK ban on selling baby bottles containing bisphenol-A plastics for several years,” says Belinda Phipps of the NCT, “and are thrilled their

import and sale will soon be outlawed across the EU.” She adds, “we would now like to see BPA plastics banned in other products, as the chemical is also used in the linings of some formula tins and baby food containers.” Watch this space …

Slough Gymnastics Club A British Gymnastics club providing:  Opportunities to achieve in a happy, safe environment.  British Gymnastics badge scheme and development programs.  Classes for all ... age 2 - 102!! See our moves online and come and visit our dedicated facility ... email: Tel 01753 257 588 Tel 07916 143594

Telephone: 01628 627 586


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CLAIRES COURT SCHOOLS, Maidenhead. Independent Day Schools for boys and girls. Ridgeway boys 4-11yrs Maidenhead Thicket; Claires Court boys 11 – 16 yrs, Ray Mill Road East; The College, (co-ed nursery – 3-5yrs, girls – 4-16yrs, and co-ed sixth form – 16-18yrs) 1 College Avenue. Open mornings at all sites Tuesday 25 January, Wednesday 9 February and Thursday 17 March. 9.30am-12noon (nursery from 9.30am-11.30am). Senior Girls’ and Sixth Form Open Evening Wednesday 9 February. 6.30pm to 8.30pm. 01628 411472; ETON END PREPARATORY DAY SCHOOL, 35 Eton Road, Datchet. Boys aged 3-7 yrs and girls aged 3-11yrs. Open Day, Saturday 9 March. 01753 541075; HERRIES SCHOOL, Dean Lane, Cookham Dean. Co-ed preparatory school and nursery, 3-11yrs. Open Mornings Wednesday 26 January, Wednesday 16 February and Wednesday 30 March. Starting with a talk by the headmistress at 9:30am, followed by a tour around our school. Tel: 01628 483350; HIGHFIELD SCHOOL, West Road, Maidenhead. Independent girls’ school, 2½-11yrs. Saturday 5 March, 10.00am-12noon and Wednesday 16 March 9.30am to 11.30am. 01628 624918; MEADOWBROOK MONTESSORI SCHOOL, Warfield, Bracknell, 5-12yrs. Saturday 5 February, 10.30am. 01344 890 869. WINBURY SCHOOL, Hibbert Road, Bray, Maidenhead. Independent co-ed pre-preparatory, 2½-8yrs. Open mornings Tuesday 8 February, Tuesday 29 March, 9.30-12.00pm, Saturday 2 April 10.00-12.30pm. 01628 627412; Please ring the school to check the Open Day or Evening is still going ahead.

FREE SCHOOL FOR MARLOW? A WELL respected professional theatre production company is proposing to set up a creative educational secondary school, ‘The Jam Academy’, in Marlow under the government’s ‘free school’ initiative. Jo Noel-Hartley and her husband Mark Hartley run the Jam Theatre Company which has worked closely with Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School for the last five years and currently has over 200 students studying with them part-time every week. Jo, says they are both passionate about the idea. “Considering the selective education system in Bucks, and the oversubscribed schools locally, we believe that Marlow needs another school.The unique thing about Jam is the ethos and passion behind it, and the personal investment into human beings, and any parent who has a child currently on our courses recognises that. Mark and I have a combined experience of nearly 40 years in education, including writing teaching resources, being Heads of Department, turning failing departments around, being examiners and consultants for the Specialist Schools Academic Trust and high-level business training.We have a chance to expand our Jam ethos to create a different approach to educating our young people in learning the wider curriculum.The Jam Academy is not a Performing Arts School or ‘Fame’ Academy. Our professional work may be within the theatre and music industries, but we want to bring our business minds and passions to education to create a school like no other.” They are in the process of applying for funding and hope to set up the school by September 2011 but would need sponsorship to get started before the government funding per student would arrive.They are currently collecting information via a general online survey to measure interest for a new school, which will be used in support of their application.The survey and more information can be found at

LOCAL SCHOOL HOLDS ONLINE AUCTION TO RAISE FUNDS A SCHOOL in Maidenhead is the first in the country to raise funds using a free auction website where 100% of the winning bid goes to good causes. Parents of pupils at White Waltham C of E Primary School have joined a private, online bid2donate Group set up by the school. Through the bid2donate website, parents add details of items they’d like to donate to the auction, and other parents then place bids online. Winning bidders paid for and collected the item they won at the school’s Christmas Fayre in December, the day after all the auctions ended. In total £215.19 was raised for the school. Brendon Hunt, a Cox Green resident and developer of, says: “I came up with the idea for and trialled it at my company in London. We have held three auctions in the past year raising over £600 for cancer charities. The auctions created a great buzz in the office with plenty of friendly outbidding, which meant more money being raised for charity. My two children attend White Waltham C of E Primary School, and I approached the PTA with the idea of holding a bid2donate auction to help raise funds for the school rebuilding project.” Companies and clubs can use to raise funds for local or national good causes or charities, whilst schools and community groups can use the website to add a new and exciting element to their existing fundraising programme.

FAMILIES MATTER! Become a Home-Start volunteer and help local parents build better lives for their children

Home-Start Slough

If you are a parent or grandparent, and have a couple of hours to spare each week, then why not volunteer your experience to help someone else? We will train and support you throughout. Our next course starts on the 9th February so please contact us on 01628 661029 or email Local Patron: Fiona Mactaggart MP


FAMILIES Thames Valley East

Charity Number: 1054713



GO UNDER THE SEA WITH PERFORM THIS term, Perform children will not just be having fun acting, singing and dancing each week, they’ll also be exploring a magical world Under the Sea. This theme guarantees a world of fun and adventure, with many interesting sea characters along the way. Any interested 4-8 year old can try out the classes by attending a Free Trial Session. Classes Run on Tuesdays in Windsor, Wednesdays in Warfield, Thursdays in Marlow, Saturdays in Maidenhead, Eton and Virginia Water. 0845 400 1282.

SLOUGH GYMNASTICS CLUB IS OPEN TO ALL SLOUGH Gymnastics Club is looking for new members. It is a British Gymnastics Club that caters for all ages and abilities in a fun, safe, friendly atmosphere. It is newly located on the Slough Trading Estate in a dedicated facility that opened in October last year. With a Women's Artistic squad established, they are offering Gymnastic classes following the British Gymnastics badge scheme, where all children have the opportunity to achieve. They also offer pre-school classes (with or without parent); teaching basic motor skills, balance, co-ordination and spatial awareness. Their members benefit from being part of a community non-profit club, receiving quality gymnastic instruction from British Gymnastics qualified coaches, in the knowledge that the club is investing back into its members and its equipment. You can see them in action on their website: or on YouTube. To find out more call the Club Secretary, Ros Elgar on 07916 143594 or email

THE ONE BUG YOUR KIDS SHOULD CATCH YOGABUGS has arrived in Henley and Marlow. The yoga classes are for children aged 2 ½ to 7 years old. Each session will be a fun adventure and make them stronger, happier and healthier. They will also learn breathing, relaxation and visualisation techniques, which will help improve their concentration and help them feel more confident. The classes are taught by Jaime Brodie, a professional entertainer and experienced yoga practitioner. She says, “YogaBugs isn’t dependent on a child’s ability but works with their instincts to play, move and learn. Over time, you will notice real improvements in your child’s abilities to relax and listen.” Classes run in Henley at the Green Room, Kenton Theatre every Wednesday from 4pm and 4.30pm. In Marlow at The Pugin Rooms, St Peter’s Church every Thursday from 4pm and 4.30pm and Fridays from 12.30pm and 1pm. Sessions are 30 minutes and cost £4.50 when booked as a package of ten. Please arrive 5-10 minutes prior to the class start time. To find out more or to sign your little bug(s) up for a free taster call Jaime on 08458997247 or email

Telephone: 01628 627 586

Clubs & Classes News ANDREAS JINGLES WITH SUCCESS JO JINGLES children’s music and movement teacher Andreas Alkiviades has been awarded the title ‘Franchisee Newcomer of the Year Award’ for his outstanding achievement with his business at the company’s Annual National Conference. Andreas, who previously worked in IT and banking first experienced Jo Jingles when he took his daughter Eleni along to classes. Having started his franchise in July 2008 he hasn’t looked back. He now has over 150 young babies and children, aged from 3 months to 5 years, attending his fun music, singing and movement classes in the local area. Gill Thomas, Founder and Managing Director of Jo Jingles Limited (pictured above with Andreas) says: “Andreas has progressively developed his business during what most people will agree has been challenging market conditions, particularly during the last year. His professionalism, enthusiasm and determination have enabled him to swiftly build up a very successful business and we are thrilled he is part of the Jo Jingles network”. Andreas has been involved with music from a very young age and released a successful Greek single and appeared on Cypriot TV. He says, “I am thrilled to be part of an organisation that prides itself in promoting the benefits of music to children and I encourage you to experience the same for yourself.You will be amazed by the results. Thousands of children all over the UK cannot be wrong.” For details on your nearest Jo Jingles class in Windsor, Maidenhead, Burnham, Twyford and Henley-on-Thames contact Andreas on 05603 258601 or visit

Academy of English Quality individual and small group tuition in Slough/Windsor/Bucks SATS/GCSE/AS/A LEVEL ESOL – all Cambridge examinations Including business/academic/general English IELTS and university preparation Tel: 07725300061 e-mail:

Blossom Ballet Pre-school dance for 18 months - 5 years

Blossom Ballet offers a

new way to learn through exciting movement classes derived from imaginative play, providing a sound foundation for dance, education and social needs. Inspirational pictures, props and instruments are used but most importantly, Blossom Ballet is about having lots of fun and making new friends. Classes in Windsor throughout the week and in Bracknell on Monday mornings Free taster class for all new pupils Contact Miss Lucy to reserve a space 07813084283 For pupils over 5 years, please contact

Fun and friendly singing groups for 0-5 year olds and their parents or carers. We have a singer and musician at each group to create exciting live music. Children and parents love the action songs, rhymes, knee-bouncers, dances, percussion instruments, story songs and colouring pictures. There is ½ hour after the session for coffee and a chat. All sessions are drop-in Maidenhead, Marlow & High Wycombe Tel: 01628-671146 or 639878 Twyford: Tel. 01628-825315 Windsor: Tel. 01628-671146 Burnham Tel: 01628-605091 For further information visit


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It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to… What to put in the party bags? Who to invite? What theme to have? Where to have it? And just how badly can it go wrong? Organising your children’s parties can seem far from fun, but it needn’t be that way, says Kate Nicolle. he word party fills the extroverts among us with a flurry of excitement and anticipation. Now put the word ‘children’s’ in front of it and it’s a whole different ball game. I have a fond memory of my son’s first birthday. I was so delighted to have made it through my first year of parenthood fairly unscathed – my son was cuddly and all smiles, and my husband and I were still speaking. I had managed to decorate the garden with bunting, fill it with friends and family and rustle up some cupcakes and bubbly. All in all, I really enjoyed celebrating our first year of family life and when I look back at the photos they capture the moments beautifully. Fast forward a couple of years and the party photos show a different story.Things become a great deal more complicated, the stress levels get ramped up a few notches and there’s


little you can do about it, unless you make yourself super-unpopular with your child and ban parties. It becomes one of those bittersweet experiences. You have to grapple with so many things… Party bags (whose bloomin’ idea were they? I’d like a word with them) – what do you put in them? Then there’s the horrible scenario of trying to stop yourself from wanting to cause physical harm to the child that demands you give them their party bag that minute, or the equally grim moment when your own child empties one in front of the host, complaining about the disappointing content. Excruciating… Food – do you go for the e-number-rich, high-sugar menu which, let’s face it, is what parties are all about? First you have to go and buy it all, then you have to watch the children shun the homemade sandwiches that you’ve carefully prepared and stuff themselves with cheesy puffs and party rings. And then witness them tear the place apart like a herd of Tasmanian devils with fireworks up their bottoms. To invite or not to invite is the worst bit. It goes without saying your child will want to invite all the badly behaved children that you don’t really like. And of course you will always upset someone by not inviting them and feel horribly uncomfortable when they invite your child to their party. Should parents stay or go? You then have to decide if you’re going to suggest parents drop their children off and don’t stay, or if they’re old enough and staying is no longer necessary. Of course getting to the ‘drop and scarper’ stage is great when you can do that and go for a quiet coffee. It is, however, not so fabulous when it’s your child’s party and you then have to police the ‘fireworks up the bottom’ behaviour. When you consider the above it makes

you wonder why you agree to throw a party … ever. But there is a very simple reason – well two actually, the second being lots of presents. The first is how excited your child will be for weeks beforehand just thinking about it. The look on their little faces when all their friends are there making a fuss of them, sitting at the head of the party table, delighted to have reached their next birthday, is priceless.You may rather run down the high street naked than have to host a child’s party more than once, but your child will genuinely love you for it. Having acknowledged the challenges a child’s party brings, here comes the helpful bit ... how to survive the experience without calling a therapist. l Be firm.You are in charge! Always get the children to sit on the floor, legs crossed when you need to calm things down. It’s the best way to get their attention. Explain to the children what the timetable for the party is, managing expectation is key. Make clear the behaviour you’re expecting from them and be positive, i.e. ‘if we all do as we’re asked, we will all have a lovely time’. l Don’t be over ambitious. A child’s party doesn’t need to go on all afternoon, two hours is plenty of time. Also be realistic about how many children to invite. If you invite too many your nerves will be shredded and less confident children will find the whole atmosphere very intimidating. l If parents aren’t staying at the party make sure you have their mobile number before they race out of the door.Two hours can be a long time for a child who is upset and wants to go home. l Take a spare pair of pants and jeans, there’s always one little one that is having such a wonderful time they

Play sessions for under-5s at the Phoenix Gymnastics Club Have fun in this fully equipped gym with your kids. Sessions Monday: 10.30-11.30 Tuesday to Friday: 9.30 -10.30 & 11.00–12.00 Tuesday & Thursday: 1.00-2.00pm Cost just £3.50 per child (must be accompanied by adult)

Refreshments available Phoenix Gymnastics Club Unit 1, Water Oakley Farm, Maidenhead Road, Windsor Tel:01628 778881


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forget to go to the loo. If younger children are attending, you can always ask parents to take their child to the toilet when they arrive so you are not going back and forth to the loo. l Ditch the party bags. Send them home with a little paper bag of flower bulbs to plant at home. Cheap, easy and much better than a load of plastic rubbish. Or strike a deal with your local book shop to bulk buy at a discount a little book for each child. I couldn’t write this article without mentioning the shy child at parties. Introverted, shy children can really struggle with going to parties. In the early days, if your child wants to stand by the door, holding onto your leg watching the mayhem from afar, please let them. If you can, try to resist extracting them from you and attempting to get them to sit with the other children in front of Mr Magoo. Just because they’re not in the thick of it doesn’t mean they’re not enjoying things.They will eventually warm up to joining in but in their own time, trying to push them into it is embarrassing for them and rarely has any positive effect. Brace yourselves, make the best of it and savour the look on your child’s face when the chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ begins and remember to have fun! Kate works as a parenting consultant at Kidology and troubleshoots all manner of parenting issues during workshops or private consultations. Email Kate at or call for a free chat on 0784 6400498.

5 TOP PARTY IDEAS! Need some inspiration? How about … Get crafty Buy some plain wooden photo frames from a pound shop or Ikea. Let the children decorate them using paints, glitter, feathers, anything you can think of. Take a photo of each child while they’re busy and print off on the computer (or ask your partner to run round to Snappy Snaps and they’ll print within an hour). At the end of the party, each child can put the photo in their frame and take it home – party bag sorted! A tea party with a difference How about a Mad Hatter’s tea party? Hold it in the garden and ask everyone to wear a funny hat, or let the guests make some first. Then serve lots of miniature cakes, sandwiches and nibbly bits, all washed down with squash or milk served from a tea pot into mini tea cups. A sleepover with style If you’re feeling brave, let your child invite a small select number of friends for an ‘X-Factor sleepover’ party. When the guests arrive, ask them to choose a character (the over enthusiastic, the pleading, the downright awful, etc), plan their look and rehearse their song, plus come up with a group dance for the finale. Hopefully they’ll be nice and tired by the end of it! Wink murder for the new millennium Choose a murder mystery from the internet, download it and print out (costs about £20). Detailed instructions are provided along with timings. The children dress up and act in character. Food can be laid out for the kids to graze on or you can break to eat. Fed up of musical bumps? How about doughnut-eating competitions – thread ring doughnuts onto string/a washing line at the correct height and eat without using your hands; chocolate-eating competitions – using only a knife and fork; and the Mummy game – teams use loo-roll to wrap a child to create the best-wrapped Egyptian Mummy. Or for really little ones, put some bubble wrap down and ask them to jump on it, the first to burst all the bubbles is the winner, a great way to get rid of some energy!



FOR CHILDREN AGED BETWEEN 3 & 9 Party Package includes: l 2 supervisors l Inflatable track l Four Cub Karts l Suitable for indoors or outdoors l FREE Bouncy Castle with every Booking

NEW WATER WALKERS PARTIES! Why not try our NEW Water Walkers party package? You can literally walk on water! A great new way to have fun in a pool.

Hire includes free local delivery, set up, collection and insurance.

NEW GO KIDS PONY! The ultimate birthday present! Different to traditional rocking horses, Go Kids Pony allows your child to ride wherever they want, making them feel just like they are on a real horse. Suitable for ages 3 to 8 years

Call Shane on 07794420429 or email or visit For Bouncy Castles go to For Go Kids Ponies go to Telephone: 01628 627 586


FAMILIES Thames Valley East


Families has got all the ingredients you need to cook up the perfect party. Great entertainers, unusual venues, every size and shape of Bouncy Castle and brilliant themes to suit all ages and budgets. Your kids can walk on water, make their own fashion designs, be a popstar for the day and party in a real night club, so what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone! Please mention you saw them in Families and enjoy the celebrations. Compiled by Sheila Schilling

All about fun!

The ultimate experience in children’s entertainment for 2-13 years

★ Interactive party games★ Hi-energy action rhymes ★ Multi-coloured parachute ★ Assault course ★ Mini indoor football ★ Limbo dancing ★ Fairies and pirates dressing-up adventure ★ Sweets, stickers and prizes galore! ★ Disco parties ★ Going Home Presents

BAR INDIGO. Kids can party in style at Windsor’s premier night club. The club is available to hire for kids’ parties age 7 to 13. It is available Saturday and Sunday afternoons and early evenings. 01753 842332. BASIL AND CREW. Mobile Farm (Formerly Basil’s Barnyard Buddies) brings a mini mobile farmyard to your home or venue, complete with fencing, hutches and an assortment of animals, such as goats, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks, chickens and Shetland ponies for your party, involving pet handling, feeding and grooming. They also offer educational and fun school visits, nursing homes, special needs, fêtes and fun days. 01628 821145 or 07721 422554. BRAY LAKE WATERSPORTS. Two hours of fun on the water for 8-15 year olds. Canoeing, dinghy sailing and windsurfing. Parents can hire the BBQ or hold a picnic outdoors, or inside the clubhouse for the meal. 01628 638860. BIG ON BOUNCING. Hire a wide range of bouncy castles, slides, Go Karts, softplay, sumo suits and Splat Wars. Indoor and outdoor hire. Free delivery, set-up and collection and free cancellation in bad weather. 01628 410736/07926 751243.

For further information contact Maxine Tel: 020 8573 6288 Mob: 07814 605175

BOUNCY CASTLES FOR HIRE. A friendly reliable company offering bouncy castles and bouncy slides for hire. Their range of equipment is ideal for all occasions from children’s parties, birthdays, celebrations to family get togethers. All their castles are cleaned and checked for safe operation before and after every hire. 07903 940 168. BUMP & BOUNCE. Bouncy Castles for all occasions. Bump & Bounce have 15 years of experience and take great pride in offering safe, affordable fun all year round. Hire includes free local delivery, set-up,

collection and insurance.To book call 077944 20429 or email CHARTER LEISURE CENTRE. Now runs Cheeky Charlie Birthday Parties, with four options: Bouncy Castle (bouncing and games); Charlie’s Sports Party (choose one or two from options including: football, uni-hockey, rounders, athletics, parachute, relays, basketball and netball);Trampolining/Archery/Fencing (with fun and games, supervised by qualified coach). Prices include an hour of activity, 30 minutes in the party tea room, invitations, photo and gift voucher. 01344 628686. CHEEKY CHARLIES. One hour in the soft play area, followed by use of a private room, with a party host and a visit from Cheeky Charlie. Two options: Exclusive Hire for up to 30 children. Cost: £105 weekdays/£120 weekends and Cheeky Time, during public opening times for up to 20 children. Cost: weekdays, £3.55-£4.55 per child, weekends, £4.05-£5.05. Maximum age: 10. Magnet Leisure Centre, Maidenhead. 01628 685338. CORAL REEF. Water Walkers party (6pm Saturdays and Sundays). WaterWalkerz balls are giant inflatable clear balls that you get in and run or walk in to propel yourself across the pool. Cost: £11.50 per person for up to 25 people. Giant water slides can be included for an extra £57.50. Normal party package. Two hours in the pool followed by a hot meal in the Coconut Grove Restaurant. Cost: £9.50 per child. Minimum: 8 kids. 01344 862525. COURT GARDEN LEISURE COMPLEX. Pool, Football, Bouncy Castle and Trampolining parties are available with food options available. 01628 405200. LPL BOUNCY CASTLES. Bouncy castles of various sizes for all ages, indoors and outdoors, plus large inflatable slides, Sumo suits, ball pits, penalty shoot out, assault course. Can also offer pony rides. 07767 630 559. CREATION STATION. Allow your children to enjoy fun creative activities, without any stress or mess for you. All the children are inspired to create at least two original art pieces to take home and their art parties all include; painting, modelling, making, sculpting, crafting... plus music and dancing are provided too! 0845 303 9448, CHUCKLE PARTIES. Non-stop party fun for children aged 2-13 in your home or venue. Options include: party games, high energy action rhymes, parachute, giant floating ball, pom poms, limbo dancing,

★★★★★★★★★★★★ Bouncy Castle Hire A Family Business based in Wooburn Green, Bucks.

WE CAN PROVIDE SOMETHING FOR ALL OCCASIONS. ★ Indoor/Outdoor ★ Small/Large ★ Back Gardens ★ Schools ★ Fêtes ★ Weddings ★ Christenings ★ Birthdays All inflatables have been tested and have certificates All electrical equipment is PAP tested

07903 940168



FAMILIES Thames Valley East



fairies/pirates and jungle dressing-up adventure, fashion show. Super heroes, Disney Themed Parties, indoor football, assault courses and disco parties. 020 8573 6288. 0781 4605175. DANCE PARTY. Fun-filled and action-packed Singing, Dance and Drama parties adapted to suit all ages. Themes include: Mamma Mia, Perfect Popstar, Princess & Pirates, Fairytale Adventures, High School Musical, Grease and many more. All Parties are run by West End performers. To book your child’s next party call Mairi on 01628 635594/07885 150034 or visit FIZZY BUBBLES. Soap making parties for children aged 8+. Guests can choose to make three items, such as, Soap, Lip Balm or Bath Bombs, the full choice is on their website. They also provide the invites and the party bags. On the party day they send two party hosts to your venue to help your guests make and decorate their products. They also run Jewellery parties for children 6+, for those who fancy making a beaded masterpiece instead. For more details call Lynn on 07748 645161 or go to EGHAM LEISURE CENTRE. Party options: Bouncy Castle and Mixed Games (ages 5-8), Bouncy Castle and Mixed Sports (ages 7-10) or a Football Party (ages 5-10). Soft Play Party (ages 2-8). Cost: £160 for up to 15 children. Extra children £9.70 each, up to 20. All parties include one-hour of activity and 45-minutes party tea with hot/cold buffet. 01784 437695. EVREHAM SPORTS CENTRE. Offers three party packages, which are two-hours long, involving an hour of activity and an hour for a party tea. Options: Football, Bouncy Castle, Trampolining or Soft Play for children aged 5+. Single activity is £85, two activities £110, three activities £135. 01753 672610. IFASHIONDESIGN PARTY. Have a unique party where guests get to make their own fashion designs to take home and wear. Parties include: party leaders, games, competitions, invitations, fashion item to make and party bags to take it home in. Party goers can design and create their own bag, top or jewellery. 07980 706574 FLUTTERBY PARTIES. Tailored to suit the wishes of boys and girls of all ages. 2 hours of fun with 3 party hosts. Traditional games, catwalks, dance shows, karaoke and prizes. They also do face painting, temporary tattoos, hair colour sprays and much, much more. Dressing up box for under-5’s! Call Zowie on 07812 440297; FUNKY FACES for parties and corporate events. Professional make-up artist Jenny provides face-painting for children aged 3yrs+, glitter tattoos and mini-makeovers for older children. Covers Bucks, Berks and surrounding areas. Contact by email: or phone 07976 671309. GIGGLES PARTY AND FANCY DRESS SHOP supply Party Decorations, themed table to partyware. Balloons for all occasions, venue decor available to suit everyone’s tastes and budgets. Party Bag Fillers. Adults and children’s fancy dress to buy and hire, wigs, hats and much, much more. Hire them for your children’s party and have air brush tattooing instead of face painting. Contact 01628 530923 for more details go to or check out their Facebook page.

Telephone: 01628 627 586

GORGEOUS GIRL PARTIES do fun party make-overs for girls aged 4-16. They have a range of fabulous party ideas for girls. From Disney Princess to High School Musical or a firm favourite, The Traditional Makeover. There is something for everyone. Please browse their website to find the perfect party package or call 08453 390 1010. GO KIDS. Fun Go-Kart parties for children aged between 3 & 9. Party Package includes: two supervisors, Inflatable track, Four battery powered Cub Karts. Suitable for indoors or outdoors. FREE Bouncy Castle with every Booking. New Water Walker parties! Why not try the new Water Walkers party package They are large transparent balls that are inflated and launched onto water. Adventurers are zipped inside the ball allowing them to walk, run, roll, flip and spin on the water – without getting wet! Water Walkers are a great new way to have fun in a pool. Please call Shane on 07794420429 or email or visit GO KIDS PONY. The ultimate birthday present. Go Kids Pony is a giant leap in the evolution of riding horses! Instead of traditional rocking horses, a Go Kids Pony allows your child to ride wherever they want, making them feel just like they are on a real horse. Suitable for age 3 to 8 years. They have easy steering handle bars and beautifully crafted plush skin. The horses are perfect for indoor or outdoor use and help develop balance coordination and strength. Visit: or call 07794420429 GENEVIEVE THE GALLERY. Paint-a-plate parties for all ages.You can also bring your own drinks and food. 01784 430516. HAPPY CAKES delicious cakes lovingly homemade to order, with organic and fairtrade ingredients. Perfect for parties, celebrations or a special teatime treat. Sensible prices and free local delivery. Visit our website, email or call us on 07949 449216. JO JINGLES. The pre-school music classes, run one-hour parties for under-5s involving instruments, action songs, music and movement, and musical party games (Pass the Parcel, Musical Statues, etc). 05603 258601 (Maidenhead, Windsor and Burnham) 01344 484473 (Ascot and Bracknell). 01494 814174 (Marlow Bottom, Beaconsfield and High Wycombe – this branch also offers music parties for 6-7 year olds). JUMPING JACKS. Windsor-based Kathryn Firth sets up her mobile soft play area at the venue of your choice. Suitable for up to 20 children under 6. It requires an area 6 metres square. Kathryn is now offering a 10m2 inflatable domed tent with a solid floor for hire, which allows you to hold a party under shelter in the garden. 10% discount for advantage card holders. 07968 093 480.


Music with Mummy Themed, fun music classes for children aged up to 5 years in small groups Jolly Babies – specially designed for babies under one year Jackie @ Windsor: 01344 301954 Caroline @ Ascot: 01753 850772 Emma @ Maidenhead: 07966 197035 Alison @ Langley, Datchet & Iver: 01753 540949

FAMILIES Thames Valley East


LONGRIDGE. An outdoor activity centre on the Thames that provides action-packed parties with water themes. Parties can include any of Longridge water/land activities, such as raft building, climbing, giant orbs, boat trips, go karts, bell boats and kayaking. Call 01628 483252 or email For a full list of Longridge activities visit the website

LANGLEY LEISURE CENTRE. Parties for over 8’s on Saturday evenings, comprising 2 hours of fun, with the use of a large water inflatable, floats and flume for up to 35 people. Cost: £180. 0845 146 1781. THE LOOK OUT DISCOVERY CENTRE. The centre runs two hour parties (10-20 children) for 5-12 year olds. Party goers get to visit the Hands-on Science and Nature exhibition with a member of staff. The parties can be catered or self catered. Cost per head: £11.95(hot meal), £11.30 (cold meal) or £6.95 (self-catering).Go to for more information or phone 01344 354400.

LITTLE KICKERS. The pre-school soccer club runs one-hour football parties with two coaches for up to 16 children. The price of £130 (1-10 children) or £150 (11-18 children) includes football coaching, party games, medals and a trophy for the birthday boy/girl. For parties in Maidenhead, Marlow, Henley, call 01628 526584 and in Windsor, Slough and Ascot, call Emma on 01993 851550. MAD ACADEMY. High-energy music and dance parties for children aged 1-5. Songs, dances, games and props, such as parachute, hoops and pom poms, plus fantastic music, and run by a party leader experienced in pre-school music classes. Many repeat customers. (The grown ups always have fun too!). Cost: from £115. Emma 0118 979 2695 (Maidenhead/Marlow/Twyford/Henley) or Nikki 0118 978 8221 (Ascot/Farnham Common/Burnham/ Sunningdale/ Windsor). MAGNET LEISURE CENTRE. NEW Water Walkers Party for over-6’s, Max 12 children (£120 public session, £190 private session). Football Party, indoor football for over-6s (£85 Adv Card/£90); Multi-Sports Party, over 6's (£85 Adv Card/£90); Trampolining Party, over 6s (£90 Adv/£100); Inflatable Obstacle Course, for over-6s, (£90 Adv/£100). Norbert’s Bouncy Kennel, over 5s, (£85 Adv/£100). Splash Party, over 5s. Saturdays & Sundays, £1.50 per child/adult. Also, Roller Disco Parties when they are on (£90 Adv/£100), max 15 children. Also, Premium Parties: Charlie’s Galleon Adventure, soft play area in the pool plus two party hosts, over 3’s, max 30 children.(£150); Go Kids Karting Party, 3-9yrs, max 15 children. (£250), includes: 4 karts, 2 party hosts; Go Kids Party and Charlie’s Galleon Adventure, 3-9yrs, max 24 children, (£300), includes: 4 karts, galleon bouncer, water soft play area, 3 party hosts; EXCLUSIVE Roller Disco Party, disco lights, stewards and skate hire, over-5s, max 40 children, (£200). 01628 685333/685335. MONTEM LEISURE CENTRE. Party packages include: the Big Challenge (inflatable assault course), A football party, and swimming parties (on Sundays) £6 per


FAMILIES Thames Valley East

child (no food), or £11 (hot food). £15 for party coach. Absolutely Ten Pin, bowling party, £12 per child (min 10) and the birthday child goes free. Absolutely Ice, two hour ice skating party, £6 per child (no food), £11 per child (with food), party coach £10 per hour. Absolutely Combat, a live gaming experience, £150 (up to 12) , £200 (up to 20). Absolutely Karting, karting parties for children as young as six. Cost, ranges from £247 to £742.50. 08450 262 466. MARY POPPINS ENTERTAINMENTS. Jean Purdy, based in Stoke Poges, offers a variety of children’s parties for all ages, appearing in various guises, including Winnie the Rainbow Witch. One of the few female members of the Magic Circle, Jean offers Puppet Parade, the new puppet show and party for all ages, as well as a Hogwarts magic show, fire-eating, mini-disco, ventriloquism and balloon modelling. 01753 663374. MEL’S MAGICAL PARTIES. Mel can offer a magic show, or full 2hr party package, with Magic, Juggling, Live rabbit games, balloon modelling. Or for something different are Fun Circus Skills Workshops, good for all ages, (even adults!) with Juggling, Plate Spinning, Diabolos, stilts, or a unicycle! Parties to suit ages 3yrs upwards. 01992 552026. MINI MAKEOVERS. Makeover parties for 5 to 15 year olds. Choose your style of party – Glittery Princess, Hannah Montana, Pop stars/Celebs, then let their talented teams of stylists transform you! Teen parties include mini manicures and fabulous hair styles. Music, magazines and lovely accessories included. Pink Limousine also available. 0208 398 0107. MUSIC FUN PARTIES. Burnham-based Ekta Kaur Ross offers affordable, colourful and loud parties with lots of singing and jumping around. Ideal for younger children. Everything can be adjusted to the child’s needs and space available. Other options available, face-painting, art & craft, party bags, complete party responsibility, etc. 07939 233098 or email THE NOVELLO THEATRE. You can buy tickets for a show (50p per seat discount for bookings of 15+) If you book the Autograph Hunter Package (£2.50 extra per child) meet the actors afterwards and cut your birthday cake at the theatre.You can also bring your own party box teas. 01344 ODDS FARM PARK. Party with the Animals! An Odds Farm Park Party includes virtually everything ... all you have to do is bring the cake & the kids! Including farm entry, hire of a fully decorated Party Room, special Party Invites, free Animal Masks and fun Badges, all the Party Food, a free Family Ticket for the birthday child and also take-home Party Bags. There’s so much included for £14.95 per child (and each child can bring one free adult too). 01628 520188. POPSTAR PARTIES.These high energy parties include music, lights & choreographed dance routines, games, taught by an enthusiastic and qualified Dance Instructor. Dance Props such as Ribbons, Pom Poms, Glitter Microphones & Hats, Bubble Machine & complimentary invitations. They offer a variety of parties: – Street Dance, Popstar Party, Mamma Mia – ABBA, Hannah Montana, High School Musical and Grease ‘themed’ or a combination to suit you. Email or call 01753 538 525, 10% discount on party bookings for 2011 if confirmed before the 1st of February! PERFORM PARTIES. Theme based entertainment for 1 to 12 year olds. Perform Parties are high energy, fun and totally infectious and kids just can’t resist joining in all the activities. Based around a colourful theme and involving lots of lively games, we use the power of children’s imaginations to get everyone involved. Party Leaders arrive in costume as the character of the chosen theme whether that’s a mermaid, pirate, superhero, cheerleader or popstar. With thrilling music and imaginative storytelling, they’ll take your child on an exhilarating journey into their favourite fantasy land. Themes include: Superheroes, Fairy Tale Forest, Mamma Mia, High School Musical, Ghost Hunters, Mermaids and Pirates and many more! Phone 0845 400 4000 to book! RACING CHALLENGE. They are the UK’s only 4 seater racing simulator that comes to you! Race your friends around Grand Prix circuits in linked racing car simulators based on Ferrari 355. Racing Challenge brings you competitive entertainment that will amaze, thrill and excite everyone from 7 to over 70. Weatherproof and heated. Call Trevor on 01494 438108/07985 213036 or email


SIMA’S ACTION KIDS. Entertainer Sima Stannage runs three types of children’s parties. All party types are structured, fun, fast-paced and set to music, using toys, props and music appropriate to the age group. For under-6s: singing, dancing, party games, action stories and rhymes. For under-11s: dance parties with funky routines, silly dances, limbo dancing, singing and games. For 8-11 year olds, Sima’s Disco-Bop & Karaoke parties, a mix of dancing and party games, disco lights, karaoke machine and screen, which includes all the High School Musicals, Hannah Montana, Mamma Mia, Michael Jackson and Fame etc. She also provides party bags and face painting as additional extras. 07956 993439. (5% discount for readers who mention this offer in Families. Offer ends March 31, 2011) STAGECOACH PARTIES. Stagecoach are now offering parties, any occasion for children aged 4-16 years. Highly professional themed parties with all the staff fully insured, trained and CRB checked. Guaranteed to provide the best service and a stress free occasion. For High Wycombe and Marlow call 01494 533203 and for Bracknell North call 0845 055 6382. SPLAT COOKING PARTIES. Splat party organisers help children cook their own lunch or tea. Utensils and ingredients, aprons, chef’s hats and party bags provided. 0870 766 8290. SQUIRTY WIRTY. Offers comedy magic (member of the Magic Circle), balloons, puppets, games, live rabbit and dove. 01582 762606. TEDDY BEAR’S PICNIC. Teddy bear-themed parties for children aged 3-10 at your home or venue. Options include teddy bear’s hospital, magic show, games, teddy bear hunt, best dressed teddy competition. For older children they can also include: Giant Connect 4, Giant Jenga, Giant Draughts and Snakes & Ladders. Marquees available for hire. Children’s tables and chairs provided free of charge if required. Indoor or open air events contact Poz 07836 605032 / 01379 688222 or email THE CHOCOLATE SOURCE. Have fun learning the art of the chocolatier at our unique chocolate parties (for children and grown-ups). They’ll bring their chocolate factory to your chosen venue and participants take home everything they make. 01494 817517 or e-mail, TWINKLE TOTS. Fun birthday ballet parties for 2 to 10 year olds. Get the opportunity to dance with professional ballerinas. Ballerina turns up at your party in a pink tutu. Themed parties tailored to your child’s desires. Ballet themed party bags and even pointe shoe pinata’s! Boys Peter Pan and Pirates parties also available. Call 07828 857061 or email Go online to look at testimonials and photos from previous customers: WAYNE WONDER. Wayne has developed a unique approach to family entertainment which keeps grown ups and children wanting more and more. Wayne Wonder’s shows combine original action games, circus skills, amazing balloon art and mystifying illusions. Wayne Wonder knows how much time organising a party takes, so with every party package Wayne provides FREE party bags and invites. Wayne can also advise you on how to make the most of a party to best suit the age and interests of the children. Book early to avoid disappointment. 0800 6126 260. WINDSOR LEISURE CENTRE. Cheeky Charlies parties - all involving one hour of activity and 30 minutes in a Party Tea Room. Includes a playleader or coach and invitations. Under-7s, sole use of Play Zone, max 25 children (cost: £100 weekdays, £120 weekend). For under-5s, shared use of the PlayZone, max 15 children, (cost: £75, weekends.) Sports Parties for 6-12 years: choose from: - Uni Hockey, Football, Kwik Cricket, Rounders, Relay Races and Athletics, and, for over-8s, Netball or Basketball (cost: £100 for up to 15 children, £120 for up to 25). Over-7s, Trampoline Parties (cost: £100 for up to 8 children, £120 for up to 16). For children aged 4-7, there are Bouncy Castle parties ( £100 for up to 15 children, £120 for up to 25). Buffet food can be provided at £4.50 per head (hot) and £4.20 per head (cold). If you are self-catering, room hire is £25. Also, Wave Parties for over-8s, fun swim and hot meal. Cost: £8.30 per head for up to 15 children. The Pool is also available for exclusive hire on weekend evenings between 6.30-8.30pm. 01753 778577.


Telephone: 01628 627 586


FAMILIES Thames Valley East


Brand New You! Ringing in the


We all make resolutions in January that we don’t keep, so Families has enlisted the help of life coach Steve Woolland, who has some tips on making positive changes to your life that will last longer than just one day.

Bellydancing lessons with

Rachel for all ages and levels in Crowthorne, Maidenhead, Windsor and Twyford.

Call Rachel on 07858 480 814 Photo by Maani Vadgama

t’s New Year’s resolution time again when we all rush out to join a gym, give up chocolate or just tell ourselves that we will at some point lose weight, get fit or find that new job. The question is, if we are so convinced that we need to be a better person or are worth more than our current situation, how does January 1st change anything? Accepting change is not easy and not always enjoyable. Most people thrive on routines and dislike being out of their ‘comfort zone’. If you can accept how you feel about change, you are part way to accepting that making positive changes in your life will require a new approach. So how do we put ourselves at the forefront of change and feel like we are in control? To understand more about managing change we can look at people who are great leaders of change, people who create environments where change is inevitable. Recent research into the make-up of inspirational leaders found that they are prepared to bend rules and look at new solutions, they love pressure and they are prepared to take risks and even fail. Lord Sugar was quoted in February 2005 as saying that the ipod would be “dead, finished, gone, kaput” by Christmas! How wrong was he? To want to change you have to identify what the issues are and if there are any limitations. This does not mean that you have to change everything that you consider to be a weakness. There are plenty of examples of leaders who have a perceived weakness, but who did not let it stop them. Richard Branson is dyslexic and did badly at school, but is incredibly successful.You have to believe in your own potential to achieve and not let limiting beliefs stop you. Change is never a straightforward process and the main lesson we can learn from looking at great leaders is their perseverance. Ultimately everybody has the choice to make changes in their life. The big question is: ‘What is stopping you?’


YOUR PLAN FOR CHANGE If you have decided that something needs to change and agree that change is always happening and that you are the only person who can do this for yourself, here is a five point plan for you to consider: 1. Decide exactly what you don’t like about your situation. 2. Decide exactly what you would like instead. 3. Define this goal as precisely as you can. Ask yourself: – How will I know when I have achieved this? When will this happen? What will I be doing differently? What will I get from this? 4. Set small, manageable goals that work on a daily basis to contribute to your main aim. For example – if your goal is to run a marathon in July, you may decide: “to set my alarm thirty minutes earlier every other day and run to work!” 5. Check in with yourself. Keep your goals on display, regularly check your progress and even change goals that aren’t working (change is always happening!). Make sure that your goals have motivation from external sources. For instance, arrange to meet a friend at the gym, so you are not just letting yourself down if you don’t turn up. Steve Woolland is a personal and business coach, helping individuals and teams to manage the process of change and set effective goals that make a real difference. For more information call 07587 176599 or email


FAMILIES Thames Valley East



Swimming Against the Tide?

Brand New You!

Are you suffering the post-Christmas blues with that familiar feeling of over-indulgence? Daunted by the prospect of New Year weather or simply feeling tired and lacking in motivation? Nutritionist Julia Charles from The Harrison Clinic in Reading tells us how to really ‘kick-start’ 2011 with a Brand New You energy boost. t is easier than you may think to boost your energy levels and feel brighter, lighter and more refreshed during what can be a long mid-winter! Just a few simple steps can have you looking great and feeling fantastic. Whether you are looking to simply boost energy levels, improve your winter mood, or to lose those few unwanted pounds. Drink 2 litres of still water daily: This is very obvious for some, but the healing powers of water are often underestimated. Hydration alone improves concentration, digestion, nutrient absorption, short-term memory, hormonal balance and energy levels to mention but a few. Only eat when you feel hungry: Again, this sounds obvious and yet how often do we tend to eat a meal or snack because it is lunch time or supper time rather than listening to our bodies to identify that we are actually hungry? To eat only when we really do feel that ‘hungry wolf’ feeling is to eat at the perfect time for our body. The hunger sensation indicates that digestive enzymes are present and your system is ready to process foods optimally. We often mistake thirst for hunger, so it is worth drinking water whenever you feel hungry and then seeing if you really are hungry 30 minutes later! Always eat breakfast: ‘Breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince, dine like a Pauper….’ There was more than a grain of truth in this ancient proverb. Unfortunately, so many people are so busy that breakfast is skipped. It is so important to start the day with a healthy breakfast, literally ‘breaking the fast’ from many hours’ sleep. Without it we are compromising concentration levels, encouraging irritability and low blood sugar levels which can lead to craving unnecessary sugary and starchy snacks later in the morning.You don’t have to eat a great amount of food; perhaps some Greek yoghurt with nuts, seeds and a drizzle of Agave Syrup, boiled eggs and soldiers or a bowl of porridge with blueberries to beat the winter chill. Try to eat warm, cooked foods during the winter months: Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests that too many ‘cold, damp foods’ in ‘cold, damp weather’ can create an imbalance in the body. With this in mind, try to eat an abundance of colourful, cooked veggies which are seasonally available. Think casseroles, stews and soups. Warming foods can take the pressure off the digestive system thereby allowing the body more energy to manage other important processes. Reduce your consumption of processed foods: Especially sugary snacks, caffeine and fizzy drinks. These foods put a huge strain on the digestive system, liver and adrenals leading to unnecessary energy slumps. Take some gentle exercise and fresh air: Walking seems to be a highly-underrated form of exercise these days. It is more important than ever to embrace the few hours of daylight we have during the coming months and taking a brisk walk in the fresh air has huge benefits to our general health and wellbeing. Keep saturated fats in check: In the Western World we tend to over-indulge in processed foods and animal fats leading to an ‘overfed’ yet ‘under-nourished’ population. Try to eat ‘beneficial’ fats from wild fish (especially salmon), flax seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables and herbs. Did you know that oregano, along with steamed broccoli and cauliflower, is extremely rich in omega 3? Herbs can also boost serotonin levels – very important during winter when many can suffer from seasonal affective disorders. So, winter does not have to be the ‘dreaded’ season at all. There are so many wonderful elements to embrace during this time, particularly if we can feel more energetic and positively motivated. By following the steps above, hibernation may be the furthest thing


Telephone: 01628 627 586

from your mind; the feelings of celebration could easily propel you into spring with an abundance of health and enthusiasm! For more information on intolerance testing, nutritional healing and tailor-made programmes for all of the family, contact Julia Charles at the Harrison Clinic on 0118 976 2253 or visit


FAMILIES Thames Valley East


Brand New You!

Shedding light on a new anti-aging treatment

It’s natural as a mum to put our families’ needs before our own: school runs, work, shopping, washing, cooking .... the list is endless and life flies by at an astounding pace. Before you know it, your beautiful babies are growing up and you look in the mirror and realise that you’ve grown older too. That fresh face that could ‘get up and go’ after sleepless nights in your twenties is suddenly looking dull and ‘fine lines’ are looking distinctly deeper. Most of the overpriced moisturisers, eye creams, or anti-aging serum I’ve used never actually do what they promise (and I’ve tried most of them!). By Leah Parr. o after ten years of being a mum to two boys and making sure that everyone else in my house was looked after, I decided it was time for me to treat myself to something that would genuinely make me look and feel better. I made an appointment to visit Dr Susanna Hayter at My Beauty Doctor, which is located at The Marlow Club, for a Variable Pulsed Light (VPLTM) Skin Rejuvenation. Variable Pulsed Light (VPLTM) is a treatment at the forefront of the non-surgical medical and cosmetic industry. Unlike other pulsed light devices available, My Beauty Doctor’s machine delivers a sequence of rapid, controlled pulses of light energy to the skin and can be used at different strengths to deliver skin rejuvenation, hair removal or acne treatment. It is incredibly safe as the system uses light pulses, and does not contain any UVA or UVB, so cannot cause skin cancer. I was given a thorough consultation to ensure that I was suitable for the treatment. This involves discussing your skin type and colour, sensitivity, any medical issues that may be relevant and a skin patch test. We also discussed what I wanted to achieve from the treatment and what I could realistically expect; elimination of thread veins, reduction in lines, wrinkles and visible signs of sun damage, and fresher, smoother


skin. Susanna explained that I would probably need a series of three sessions, six weeks apart, to get the required results for my skin type and age and gave me advice on how to care for my skin after VPL. The treatment involved a gel being applied to my face and the light then pulsed onto the skin area being treated, using a specialised hand probe. This targets cells deep within the skin’s surface and they respond by producing more collagen. I found it completely painless; although the sensation has been likened to the ping of an elastic band against the skin. We concentrated on fine lines and broken veins. The session lasted approximately 25 minutes and I had no redness or swelling and carried on with my day without any discomfort. My skin looks dewy and feels softer already, and my thread veins have almost disappeared, so I’m thrilled and can’t wait to see the full results. Like most people veering rapidly towards their forties, I don’t want to look twenty one again; I just want to have fresher, brighter skin with a few less lines if possible. Anything that means I can do the morning school run without needing to get up extra early to put on full make-up is money well spent as far as I am concerned! Susanna is a fully qualified and practising

An example of VPL treatment before and after

GP who specialises in aesthetic medicine. She has been running a cosmetic clinic in the Marlow area for the last five years and has developed a wealth of knowledge in this field. As well as being a GP partner in Cookham, Susanna runs My Beauty Doctor and is a mum to two boys under five years old. So she understands only too well what it’s like to be a busy mum! She genuinely cares about her patients and gets good results. Clients feel reassured because they are in the safe hands of a qualified and experienced doctor and get a highly personalised service.

Treatments offered at My Beauty Doctor: • Botox and Dermal Fillers for facial lines and wrinkles • Botox for hyperhidrosis (excess sweating) • Chemical Peels • Mesotherapy – both anti-aging and body contouring treatments (including cellulite and stretch marks and assisting weight loss) Variable Pulsed Light (VPLTM) therapy for the following conditions: • Thread veins, spider naevi • Fine lines, wrinkles and visible pores – total rejuvenation of face, décolletage and hands • Unwanted facial and body hair • Sun/liver and age spots, as well as other unwanted areas of pigmentation • Acne and acne scarring • Rosacea • Wart removal • Pseudofolliculitis barbae (beard rash in men) Also available at My Beauty Doctor ... Obagi Medical System • Number 1 USA prescription strength skin care range Please contact Dr Susanna Hayter (MB BS BSc) at My Beauty Doctor on 07917 718986 or email Go to for further information


FAMILIES Thames Valley East



Happy teeth


Justina Torrado of Elite Dental Clinic explains how interceptive orthodontics can help your children have a winning smile.

s well as teaching your children how to clean and look after their teeth, it’s important to be looking out for other habits that might affect their development. Some things to look out for are more obvious than others (thumb sucking or a reluctance to give up their dummy, early signs of crooked teeth) but it’s equally important to pay attention if your child seems to struggle to breathe through their nose, or if you catch them with their mouth open and breathing through their mouth; if they suffer from re-occurring ear infections or headaches; or if they have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and have a tendency to snore. Over time, particular breathing and other oral habits will result in unwanted or abnormal development of their teeth and bite, which will also affect the development of their face. As well as detracting from children’s appearance, under-developed dental arches, mal-positioned jaws and crooked teeth are harder to keep clean and are at risk of being lost early due to tooth decay and periodontal disease.


How interceptive orthodontics can help Interceptive orthodontics is a recent concept popular in the USA and Australia

Telephone: 01628 627 586

that treats orthopaedic and orthodontic problems early (around seven to 12) to take advantage of growth. This in turn results in early alignment of teeth, fewer or no teeth extractions, better facial profiles and beautiful broad smiles – prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. Traditional orthodontics treats later, with more extractions of teeth, resulting in narrower smiles. Before all the permanent teeth have made their way into the dental arch, it may be possible to help teeth erupt (emerge through the gums) into the proper positions. For example, sometimes a child’s dental arch is too small to accommodate all of their teeth. If we take an interceptive approach with the relevant appliances, we can guide their growth. Once the arch is the proper size there’s a better chance that the adult teeth will emerge naturally where they should, avoiding the need to extract teeth to align these properly. The purpose of interceptive orthodontics is to eliminate or reduce the severity of developing dental problems in children. It can help in all sorts of ways: to influence growth of the jaws in a positive manner; improve the width of the dental arches; reduce the need to extract permanent teeth; reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery; lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth; correct harmful oral habits; reduce appearance consciousness; simplify and shorten treatment time for definitive orthodontic treatment; reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth; improve speech development; guide permanent teeth into


more favourable positions; improve lip closure; and preserve or gain space for erupting permanent teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists recommend that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems, or no later than seven (an ideal time to evaluate your child and determine what orthodontic treatment, if any, may be needed). Children grow faster at some stages than at others, so it’s important to time treatments for the ages when the child is mature enough to cooperate with treatment and also when the bone is growing most rapidly. The optimum age for beginning treatment depends upon the specific problem that needs to be corrected; no two cases are ever alike and each case should be assessed and addressed independently. Although we can enhance a smile at any age, in the majority of cases earlier childhood treatment to correct these would have made it so much easier to treat. The objective of contemporary orthodontics is a well-proportioned face, as well as an aesthetic and stable dentition. Early diagnosis and corrective treatment of irregular growth can help improve not just the appearance, but most importantly the function of the mouth and surrounding structures – creating beautiful smiles, beautiful faces and teeth that will last a lifetime. To find out more, contact the Elite Dental Clinic in Gerrards Cross or Marlow, 01753 279 726 or 01628 487 350,

FAMILIES Thames Valley East




If you or your partner is considering a vasectomy, it is now a quick and relatively painless procedure. There is a friendly local service running in Maidenhead offering modern and high quality vasectomies, using the latest techniques. hames Valley Vasectomy Services started in 2002 and Dr Kittel (left) has carried out over 2000 vasectomies since then. No-scalpel vasectomy is an easy and straightforward type of vasectomy, which is tissue protective, low in trauma and in the very large majority of patients completely painless. Recovery times are low and after resting over the weekend most patients are able to go back to work on Monday, following the procedure on a Friday.


Is it painful? A lot of men are very anxious before the procedure; many have thought about it for years, occasionally even decades. They cannot believe how easy it was once they walk out. After an animated chat about their last summer holidays some cannot even believe it is over! Historically, jokingly referred to as “two housebricks”, vasectomy was carried out via two larger incisions. This involved scalpels, sutures, tying and pain afterwards. In the old days as a junior doctor, Dr Kittel often witnessed men with scrotums full of blood, walking like “John Wayne” after a vasectomy. Doctors who are properly trained and certified in no-scalpel vasectomy, ensure this is now a real rarity. How is the procedure done? The term no-scalpel vasectomy is better described as a “keyhole” vasectomy. Indeed there is no scalpel involved; only a laserlike instrument. Dr Kittel has reduced the


FAMILIES Thames Valley East

opening to 4mm. This means he does not need to stitch a patient, providing increased tissue protection and therefore reduced pain and side effects. No-scalpel vasectomy is available on the NHS in some areas and otherwise relatively inexpensive when carried out privately, certainly much cheaper than another child. Prices vary with different providers but be wary of very cheap providers because there may be shortcuts in clinical care and provision. Hygiene is very important, because of the risk of contracting MRSA and other multi-resistant infections. At the clinic, Dr Kittel is always fully dressed in a surgeon’s gown with face mask, cap and sterile gloves. The equipment is single-use and sterilised by a reputable CSSD department. How effective is vasectomy? Overall, vasectomy is considered one of the safest contraception methods known to man (and woman). Early failure rates are about 1 in 200 procedures. Unlike female sterilisation, men can be tested to check that the procedure has worked. Once a patient has been certified sterile the chance of fathering a child drops to about 1 in 2000 or less. Compared with that, the chance of female sterilisation failure is 1.8 in 100 women over 10 years (CREST study,, higher even than the coil (1.4 in 100 women over 10 years) and the IUS / Mirena (1.1 in 100 women over 10 years). The pill has 10-30 failures in 10 years.


Condoms and natural contraceptive methods depend largely on the user and generally rank even lower than the pill. For more information call 0845 2255 775 or go For general information about family planning go to



The Risks To Children’s Health from Mobile Phones Have you heard that mobile phones carry health risks, and that children are at an even greater risk than adults? By Pat Hemingway R Devra Davis, environmental and public health specialist, research scientist and grandmother, could not believe this, but what she found out alarmed her so much that she wrote a book, Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family (2010). She writes that: “Contrary to the firmly held beliefs of many respected authorities, invisible radio frequency radiation can alter living cells and create the same types of damage that we know increase the risk of cancer and neurological disease. Neither the danger nor the safety of cell phones is yet certain. How we manage that uncertainty could avert a global public health catastrophe ... children are growing up in a sea of radio frequency radiation that did not exist even five years ago.” My own concerns about cell phone radiation and other forms of digital pulsed microwave radiation had been aroused a few years ago when I began seeing an increasing number of children showing symptoms after exposure to mobile phones, mast radiation or wireless radiation. These included hyperactive behaviour which reverted to normal when the children were away from the irradiated environment, skin rashes and eczemas that did not improve with treatment, night terrors and mood swings, lowered immunity in previously healthy children, and sudden nose-bleeds. A major concern about mobile phones has always been that radiation can penetrate deep into a child’s skull because it is so much thinner and smaller than an adult’s. Standards for phones are set for a large, thick-skulled man, although half of the world’s four billion cell phones are used by people under twenty. The SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) printed on the box relates simply to the phone’s capacity to heat tissue, as manufacturers and standard setters initially refused to believe that there could be any other detrimental effect from radio frequency radiation. This is strange, as our bodies run on electrical currents which are easily disrupted by pulsed frequencies, as has been demonstrated in a study by Dr Magda Havas and colleagues, showing heart arrhythmias triggered by DECT (cordless) phones. ( In the digital age. this poses new health risks depending on a person’s susceptibility, the density and intensity of the radiation and the length of time they are exposed to it. Children are certainly more susceptible because they are still growing and their neural circuitry will not be fully formed until they reach their early twenties. Until then, they need protection from anything that could interfere with their brains’ development. In France, this research has led to the decision to ban children in primary school from using mobile phones, and discouraging mobile phone advertising aimed at children. They are also removing wireless communication systems from public places such as libraries and hospitals, after workers complained of feeling ill at work.


The Bioinitiative Report in 2007 was the work of a group of eminent, international scientists, who examined existing research into the health effects of electromagnetic radiation, and especially its impact on the immune system, behaviour, childhood cancers, breast cancer and brain tumours. This epic work concluded that the safety standards for exposure need to be revised downwards. Dr Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute was being cautious when in 2008 he drafted a memo to staff, warning of the dangers of mobile phones, and urging them to limit their use because of the risk of cancer. Top of his list of precautions is that children should use mobiles only for emergencies, in recognition of the fact that their growing brain tissue is likely to be more sensitive to the electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones. Alasdair Philips from Powerwatch, an independent group that investigates the safety of mobile phones, revealed that safety advice was generally to be found only in the small print. Manuals for the Blackberry (The Torch), for example, warn users to “use hands-free operation if available and keep the device at least 25mm from your body (including the abdomen of pregnant women and the lower abdomen of teenagers)” when it is switched on. Dr Davis’s advice is to never carry a live mobile phone next to your body and always use a headset.You can see her video for teenagers on her website, or check out the guidance from a group of concerned parents who have looked closely at the science on, which includes:  Keeping calls short or sending texts  Replacing wireless equipment with non-wireless  Changing to a low-radiation or analogue baby monitor  Turning all wireless equipment off at night, in the car and when near pregnant women or children.

Patty Hemingway (RMANM) is a family homeopath, with a special interest in electromagnetic radiation sickness

Useful Websites - how to use phones safely - news and science for children and their parents. – for Bioinitiative Report - the latest research, clearly explained – support to people with symptoms of electrosensitivity Books Radiation Rescue: 4 steps to safeguard your family from the other inconvenient truth – the health hazards of wireless technology. Kerry Crofton, 2009 Disconnect: The Truth about Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide it, and How to Protect Your Family. Dr Devra Davis, 2010

Telephone: 01628 627 586


FAMILIES Thames Valley East


Home Education To home-school or not ...

With all the talk of catchment areas, failing schools, academies and free schools, many parents don’t realizes that there is another alternative – teaching your child yourself at home. Could this be for you? By Amanda Dean

any parents are surprised to learn that whilst education is compulsory, school is not. The law states that you have to provide your school-age children with “an efficient and full-time education” but that education does not have to involve attending a school. You, as a parent, are entitled to educate your child in the way you deem fit. Home education is perfectly legal in all parts of the UK and you don’t need to be a teacher, have any particular qualifications or any special equipment – you don’t even need to follow the National Curriculum. Although there is no definitive data available, the government estimates that anywhere from 50,000 to 150,000 UK children are currently taught at home. Parents may take the decision to home educate for any number of reasons, the most common being: distance or access to their local school; dissatisfaction with the system; bullying; philosophical or ideological views; and religious or cultural beliefs. Many children with special educational needs are also successfully home educated, although if your child is statemented and is currently attending a special school you will have to be able to demonstrate that you can provide for their needs. Home education is obviously a big commitment and responsibility and not a decision to be taken lightly. The main consideration, of course, is whether it is in the best interests of your child. You should


also bear in mind the costs – for many families it means one partner giving up full-time employment (although many do manage to successfully combine home education with part-time work, or working from home). It is unlikely you will receive any financial or educational support, so budget for a computer, books, stationery, educational visits and exams, as well as extra-curricular activities. There are no rules or regulations about how or what you need to teach your child. You don’t have to have a fixed routine or do a particular number of hours a week. Some parents follow a set timetable similar to traditional schools, whilst others simply let their children explore and be led by their interests and curiosity. The internet provides a wealth of information and ideas for subject and lesson planning, for example the BBC learning and National Curriculum websites are useful resources. Parents do not need to register or obtain approval from their local authority to educate their children at home. If your child has not yet been enrolled in school, you don’t need to advise anybody of your intention to home educate. If your son or daughter is already attending school then you need to give the Head Teacher written notice of your intention to withdraw them. Your Local Authority’s legal duty is concerned only with children who don’t appear to be receiving a suitable education. Some (Windsor & Maidenhead, for example) do ask that you register with them and accept a home visit. Others may ask you to provide evidence that your child is receiving a suitable education at home. How you provide this evidence is up to you – it could be through a written report, a meeting (with or without your child) samples of work, or a home visit.

There are a number of national support organizations for home educators such as Education Otherwise who offer advice, monthly newsletters, and lists of local home educators and their interests. Online Home Education Forums bring together home educating families to provide mutual support and advice. Grassroots home education support groups are also becoming increasingly common and in the Thames Valley East area there are, for example, three local Yahoo Groups (Berkshire, South Bucks and Oxfordshire Home Educators), with nearly 1,000 members between them who provide support and arrange trips and get-togethers. If you find the thought of full-time home education too daunting, it may be possible to arrange flexi-schooling (a combination of home and school education) at your local school. Oxford Montessori School, for example, offers ‘Home School Partnerships’ or ‘Part Home Education’, providing workshops for home educated students and classes in subjects that are more difficult to teach at home such as Art, Science and Design & Technology. The Thames Valley area also boasts one of the UK’s only dedicated flexi-schools (the Heroes Centre in Twyford), which provides home educated children with a regular drop-in facility, as well as offering a flexi-schooling option where children can choose to attend on a flexible basis up to four times a week. So, whilst it isn’t for everyone, if you feel the traditional school system doesn’t suit your child, home education or flexi-schooling does offer a viable and increasingly popular alternative.There is plenty of support available and the red tape is not nearly as daunting as one might expect. It is also worth remembering that, as your children’s needs change at different ages and stages, if you do choose to home educate or flexi-school, your child can always return to full-time schooling at a later date. For more information visit: BBC Learning The National Curriculum Education Otherwise Home Education Forums Berkshire Yahoo Group berkshirehomeeducators Other Local Yahoo Groups activities Heroes Centre


FAMILIES Thames Valley East



Time Out

Compiled by Trynke Casale

Laura’s Star, South Hill Park – January 14

Treasure Island, Bourne End Community Centre – January 22, 23, 29

Snowdrop Walk, Waltham Place – January 29


Thursday January 13 to Friday January 16 and Wednesday January 19 to Saturday January 22. ALADDIN by the Quince Players at the Cordes Hall, High Street, Sunninghill. Tickets: £8. 01344 874200; Thursday January 13 to Saturday January 15.THE CHINESE STATE CIRCUS come to the Wycombe Swan, St Mary Street, High Wycombe. 7.30pm, also at 2.30pm on Wednesday. Precision acrobatics, Shaolin martial arts, circus skills, Peking Opera characters, physical theatre and drama choreographed to an original music score. Tickets: £15-£27, concessions £3 off, family £80. 01494 512000; Friday January 14. TABLE TOP SALE with the Friends of Iver Schools Association at the Iver Village Junior School, High Street, Iver. 2.30pm. All proceeds to Iver Village Infant and Junior Schools. To book a table please call Celia on 07842143601. Friday January 14. LAURA’S STAR in the Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell. 1.30pm. Based on the original works written and illustrated by Klaus Baumgart. For ages: 3-7. A story about friendship. Tickets: adults £10.50, children £8.50, family £29. 01344 484123; Saturday January 15. TRUE OR FALSE? Morning walk at the Burnham Beeches, Hawthorn Lane, Farnham Common. Fun walk for all the family around Burnham Beeches. Discover some of the less well known history and stories and, most importantly, work out when we’re pulling your leg. Booking required. 01753 647358; Thursday January 20 to Saturday January 22. ALICE IN WONDERLAND at the Kenton Theatre, New Street, Henley. 7.15pm. Colourful story with song, dance and some slapstick for all the family. Join the Tea Party and perhaps take some sweets home. Tickets: adults £12, children £10. 01491 575698; Saturday January 22, Sunday January 23 and Saturday January 29. TREASURE ISLAND, a panto by the Forum Players, Bourne End Community Centre,

Wakeman Road, Bourne End. Performances at 2.30pm, also at 6.30pm on both Saturdays. Tickets: adults £8, concessions £6, family £25; for sale at Bourne End Library, or via Saturday January 22 to Sunday May 1.THE BRAIN DRAIN SHOW at the Look Out Discovery Centre, Nine Mile Ride, Bracknell. Shows during weekends and daily in school holidays, at 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3.15pm. Find out how the human brain works, including memory, imagination, and optical illusions. Test your reactions with special brain games. Cost: £1.85 per person. 01344 354400; Sunday January 23. BOLD AS BRASS RUBBINGS at the Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue, High Wycombe. 2-4pm. Free, drop-in activities. Choose from a wide range of replica brasses and produce a beautiful brass rubbing to take home. Instruction given in brass rubbing techniques and all materials provided. 01494 421 895; Sunday January 23. PONTYPANDY ROCKS – FIREMAN SAM comes to The Hexagon, Queen’s Walk, Reading. 1pm and 3.30pm. Pontypandy hosts its first ever music festival. Brand new live show with a suprise guest star and lots about to go wrong. Will Sam save the day? Tickets: children £11, adults £13, family £44. 0118 9606060; (Also at the Wycombe Swan on Sunday January 30.) Wednesday January 26 to Saturday January 29. ROBIN HOOD, a panto by the Richings Players at Iver Village Hall, High Street, Iver. 7.45pm, Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets via 01753 651876 or Thursday January 27 to Saturday January 29. TOM THUMB, a panto by the Wraysbury Players at the Wraysbury Village Hall, The Green, Wraysbury. 7.30pm, Saturday matinee at 2pm. Saturday January 29. SNOWDROP WALK at Waltham Place, Church Hill, White Waltham. Meet at 2pm. Cost: adults £6, children £3, includes refreshments. Booking essential. 01628 825517;

Thursday January 6 to Sunday January 9. ALADDIN, a panto by the Marlow Entertainers, at the Shelley Theatre, Court Garden, Pound Lane, Marlow. Evening and matinee performances. All tickets £5, available from the Marlow Tourist Information Centre. 01628 477992; Saturday January 8. WALK 4 LIFE WALK in Langley Park with the Hillingdon Ramblers. Four-mile leisurely walk through the park, starting at 10am from the car park in Billet Lane, off the A412. 01753 547301; Saturday January 8. WINDSOR EMPORIUM in the Parish Hall, All Saints Church, Frances Road, Windsor. 10am-5pm. New, monthly fair selling ceramics, textile art, wall art, paintings, felted bags, furniture, antiques, photographic art. Homemade refreshments served all day. 07900 285919 or 07771 580152. Sunday January 9. CINDERELLA at the Kenton Theatre, New Street, Henley. 2pm and 7.30pm. Presented by Ballet Theatre UK. A new production of the classic ballet, Cinderella, everyone’s favourite rags-to-riches story. Tickets: adults £16, children £12. 01491 575698; Sunday January 9. ECO-AEROBICS – BURN OFF THAT CHRISTMAS PUD! Meet at the Turf Hill Car Park, Guildford Road, Lightwater, Surrey. 1-3.3pm. Free family event. Conservation work on the endangered heathland of Turf Hill, clearing the invading pine saplings that threaten to smother the heather. Hot drinks provided. Tools and gloves supplied. 01276 707100; Wednesday January 12. IT’S A BRAY DAY, five-mile walk led by the South East Berks Ramblers, starting at 10am from the Braywick Park car park, Hibbert Road, Maidenhead. Gentle Thamesside walk with good walking surfaces. 01344 421002;

The Windsor Club Day Nursery & Crèche at The Windsor Club Helston Lane, Windsor. SL4 5AP Independent Day Nursery from 3 months – 5 years Ofsted approved, grant funding available for 3 years+ We offer music, french, gym, ballet, cooking and ball skills as well as freshly prepared meals and a large enclosed garden. A friendly and secure environment open Monday – Friday 8am – 6pm

01753 855543 Telephone: 01628 627 586


FAMILIES Thames Valley East


Time Out

Photograph: David Kjaer

Fireman Sam, Wycombe Swan – January 30

Photograph: Ben Hall

Big Garden Birdwatch, in your own garden – January 29 and 30

Saturday January 29 and Sunday January 30. BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH in your own garden or local park. For a handy bird ID sheet, go to

LOCAL EVENTS: Saturday January 29. WILD ONES: BIG PARK BIRDWATCH at Lily Hill Park, Lily Hill Road, Bracknell. 10am–12noon. Family walk and craft activity: Guided tour with the RSPB discovering more about the colours and calls of our park birds and make a bird feeder to take home. Cost: £2 voluntary donation to RSPB. Meet in the North Car Park. Booking required. 01344 354441; Saturday January 29. BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH at Braywick Park Nature Reserve, Hibbert Road, Maidenhead. 10am-12noon. Bird-watching walk through Braywick Park Nature Reserve with RBWM Rangers and the RSPB. Bring binoculars if you have them. Donations welcome. 01628 673069; Saturday January 29 and Sunday January 30. RSPB BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH at the River and Rowing Museum, Mill Meadows, Henley. 10am-4pm (drop in any time). Lots of fun wildlife-related activities, including badge making, bird-shaped blow darts, animal masks and garden bird fat feeders to put up in your garden. Free with Museum admission. 50% Discount on admission prices for RSPB members. 01491 415600;


FAMILIES Thames Valley East

Chinese New Year, Maidenhead Town Centre – February 5

Sunday January 30. FIREMAN SAM – PONTYPANDY ROCKS! At the Wycombe Swan, St Mary Street, High Wycombe. 1pm and 3.30pm. Tickets: adults £13.50, children £11.50, family £48. 01494 512000; Sunday January 30. STEVE BACKSHALL’S WILD AND LIVE’ TOUR at the Hexagon, Queen’s Walk, Reading. 2pm. Wildly popular TV wildlife presenter Steve Backshall shares facts and anecdotes about his adventures, accompanied by a selection of weird and wonderful animals. Interactive fun for all the family. Tickets: adults £17, children £12. 0118 9606060; Monday January 31 to Wednesday February 2.THE RUSSIAN STATE BALLET AND ORCHESTRA OF SIBERIA at the Wycombe Swan, St Mary Street, High Wycombe. Performing Romeo and Juliet on Monday, Swan Lake on Tuesday, and Sleeping Beauty on Wednesday. 7.30pm all days, also 2.30pm on Wednesday. Tickets: £18-£32, concessions £3 off. 01494 512000;

FEBRUARY Some time in February. (Date and time dependent on weather and temperature). TOAD PATROL at Popes Meadow, St Marks Road, Binfield. Sign up now and witness the spectacle of huge numbers of toads on a risky journey to the ponds of their birth. Join volunteers to ensure they reach their destination. For adults and kids. Booking required (you will be contacted with date and time). 01344 354441; Tuesday February 1 to Saturday February 5. SLEEPING BEAUTY with the Vienna Festival Ballet at the Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, Windsor. Performances at 7.30pm, also at 2.30pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Tickets: ranging from £11-£33. 01753 853888; Thursday February 3. CHINESE NEW YEAR. Celebrate the new year of the Rabbit. Celebrations in Maidenhead on Saturday February 5. Chinese lantern making in the Nicholson Centre from 11-3pm for all the children. Lion and dragon dance starting at 1pm from top of Maidenhead High Street near the statue. 01628 796128. Friday February 4 and Saturday February 5. ROBINSON CRUSOE, a pantomime by the Windlesham Drama Group at the Windlesham Club and Theatre, Kennel Lane, Windlesham. Friday at 7.30pm, Saturday at 2.30pm and 6.30pm. Tickets: adults £6, children £3. 01276 472870; Saturday February 5. THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER by the Banyan Theatre Company at Norden Farm, Altwood Road, Maidenhead. 11am and 3pm. Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story brought to life with puppets, especially for ages 3-8. Tickets: £6.50, family £22. 01628 788997; Sunday February 6. MARLOW COUNTRY FAYRE, in Dean Street car park, Marlow. Craft and farmers’ market with gourmet food, artisan stalls, and specialist guest stallholders. Held every first Sunday of the month. (Also on March 6). 0795 266 3581. Sunday February 6. SCRUB AND SPUDS at Lightwater Country Park, Heathland Visitor Centre, Lightwater, Surrey. 12-4pm. Free family event. Afternoon of scrub-bashing in the woodlands of Lightwater Country Park and enjoy baked potatoes from the bonfire afterwards. Spuds, butter, salt and pepper provided. Tools and gloves too. 01276 707100; From Friday February 11.WEEKLY WILDFLOWER,WILDLIFE AND WOODLAND GUIDED TOURS around Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Reading. 1.30am. Led by the Reading and District Natural History Society. The park’s gardens open again for the year. Enjoy super views and beautiful snowdrop- and other spring-bulb displays. 0118 9843040; Saturday February 12 and Sunday February 13. CREATE A VALENTINE’S CARD at the Colne Valley Park Visitor Centre, Denham Court Drive, Denham. Create a homemade Valentine’s gift for friends, families and loved ones. Arts and crafts workshop with homemade cakes and refreshments. All materials provided. 01895 832662; Sunday February 13. A WILD LIFE EXPOSED WITH CHRIS PACKHAM at the Kenton Theatre, New Street, Henley. 3pm and 7.30pm. Television presenter, wildlife expert and photographer Chris Packham tells some wild wildlife stories with pictures and irreverent humour for all the family. Tickets: adults £14 (matinee), £18 (evening), family £32. 01491 575698; Monday February 14 to Monday February 21. NATIONAL NEST BOX WEEK organised by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). Find out how to make your own nest box and lots more. Saturday February 19. ‘IS’ CHILDREN’S BOOK SIGNING at Waterstone’s Bookshop, Peascod Street, Windsor. From 10am. Derek Webb will be signing copies of his children’s book ‘Is’, about a girl who believes she is Isambard Kingdom Brunel reincarnated. Plus demos of what makes iron ships float and how an arch bridge works. Free. 0843 290 8673; Saturday February 19. BABY AND CHILDREN’S MARKET in the Bulmershe Leisure Centre, Woodlands Avenue, Woodley, Reading. 2-4pm. Buy (or sell) nearly new furniture, buggies, toys, clothes, books, activity toys and lots more. Entry: £1. Free parking. 07881 641614;



Time Out

Weekly Wildflower, Wildlife and Woodland guided tours, Basildon Park – from Feb 11

Peter and the Wolf, South Hill Park – February 21

Daily from Saturday February 19 to Sunday February 27. SPRING SNOWDROP TRAIL at Cliveden, Taplow. 10am-4pm. Collect a free family fun map from the Information Centre in the main car park and enjoy a self-guided trail through Cliveden’s magic carpet of snowdrops. 01628 605069; Saturday February 19 to Sunday February 27. NEW ORIENTEERING TRAIL at Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Reading. 10am-4pm. Explore the parkland by following a new orienteering trail with a treasure theme, leading to an edible gold reward. Suitable for both old and young. Enjoy half-term family activities throughout the week. 0118 9843040; From Saturday February 19.WELLINGTON COUNTRY PARK opens again for the new season. Odiham Road, Riseley, Reading. Daily from 9.30am– 4.30pm. 01189 326444, Sunday February 20,Wednesday February 23 and Sunday February 27. HALF-TERM STEAM UPS at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton Road Station, Quainton, near Aylesbury. 01296) 655720; Monday February 21. PETER AND THE WOLF in the Studio Theatre, South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell. 10am. The classic story retold by the Clydebuilt Puppet Theatre and with specially composed music by Douglas Kerr. Tickets: adults £10.50, children £5.50. 01344 484123;; Monday February 21 to Friday February 25. HALF-TERM HOLIDAY WORKSHOPS at South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell. Monday: MAKE YOUR OWN VINTAGE ACCESSORIES for ages 11-16. 10.30am. Materials included, but feel free to bring your own favourite treasures – ribbons/buttons/old jewellery. Tuesday and Wednesday: POTTER’S WHEEL – two-hour morning and afternoon workshops. 10am and 2pm. For ages 6-11. Learn how to throw a pot on the wheel, using air dry clay. Thursday and Friday: ART FACTORY workshops at 10am. For ages 4-11. With South Hill Park’s in-house set designer using clay, collage, drawing and sculpture. Dress for mess. Cost for all workshops: £15.50 per child (£13.50 for members).Thursday and Friday: ANIMATION SKILLS 1 and 2 – Walk-Run Motion and Characters. For ages 11-15. All day workshops from 10am. Cost: £35, book both for £70. 01344 484123; Monday February 21 to Friday February 25. DESIGN A DREAM CATCHER, half-term craft activities in the California Dreaming Cafe, California Country Park, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham. 10am-4pm. Make and decorate a dream catcher for your bedroom. Cost: £2.50 per child. 0118 9735519; Monday February 21 to Friday February 25. HALF-TERM ACTIVITIES (including car rides) at Brooklands Museum, Brooklands Road, Weybridge, Surrey.Visit the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit in Brooklands, birthplace of British motorsport and aviation, and the home of Concorde. 01932 857381; Tuesday February 22. BUILD A BIRD BOX at the Burnham Beeches, Hawthorn Lane, Farnham Common. Build a bird box in National Nest Box Week (14-21 February). Cost: £5 to cover the cost of materials. This is a popular event so book early. 01753 647358; Tuesday February 22. PUPPET MAKING at Dinton Pastures Country Park, Davis Street, Hurst. Sessions at 11am and 2pm. Design and make your own hand puppet. Cost: £4 per child. Booking essential. 0118 9342016; Tuesday February 22. ELMER at the Kenton Theatre, New Street, Henley. 11am and 2pm. New musical adaptation of David McKee’s ELMER THE ELEPHANT written for 4–7 year olds and their parents, told with puppets, original music and beautiful scenery. Tickets: adults £8, family £28. 01491 575698; Tuesday February 22. FOLDED FEATHER – SUITCASE CIRCUS at South Street Theatre, South Street, Reading. 2pm. Meet Wobulous Discombobulous, the anarchic sock as he presents a line up of the most unlikely of performers including the world’s only acrobatic potato sack, the hypnotic tie snake Windsor Knot, and many more. Tickets: £7. 0118 9606060; Tuesday February 22 and Wednesday February 23. THE WAY BACK HOME by Big Wooden Horse Theatre Company at Norden Farm, Altwood Road, Maidenhead. 11am and 3pm. An inter-galactic tale of adventure, based on the picture book by Oliver North. Suitable for ages 3+. Tickets: £6.50, family £22. 01628 788997; Tuesday February 22 and Wednesday February 23. HALF-TERM WORKSHOPS at the River and Rowing Museum, Mill Meadows, Henley. 10.30am-12.30pm. WEARABLE MAPS on Tuesday, for ages 7-11. Design your own map and paint it on a t-shirt using fabric inks. WIND CHIMES IN THE WILLOWS on Wednesday. Make a wind chime with junk materials, and paint an Indian Thunderbird on a wooden plaque. Booking essential. Cost: £8.50. 01491 415605; Tuesday February 22 and Wednesday February 23. HOW TO TURN YOUR TEACHER PURPLE, at theRoald Dahl Museum, High Street, Great Missenden. Tuesday at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm, Wednesday only at 11am. For ages 6+. Meet utterly mad poet and guitarist James Carter, performing poems from his brand new science-poetry anthology HOW TO TURN YOUR TEACHER PURPLE! Make up your very own scientific poems too. Cost: £2 per person. 01494 892192;

Telephone: 01628 627 586

Exploring Armour, Windsor Castle – February 22 to 26

Tuesday February 22 and Thursday February 24. EXPLORING SCULPTURE, family workshops at the Royal Academy of Art, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. 10.15am-1pm. Discover modern sculpture in a workshop comprising an interactive slide talk, a visit to the Modern British Sculpture Exhibition and a hands-on session. Booking essential. Free with exhibition ticket. For ages 6+. Booking form available online. 020 73005995; Tuesday February 22, Thursday February 24 and Friday February 25. HALF-TERM WORKSHOPS at the Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue, High Wycombe. Sessions starting at 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm, by timed ticket on the day. Cost: £2. Tuesday: Perfect Planes.The science of flight, hands-on activities and learn how to make the perfect paper plane. Thursday: Flicker and Flash! Investigate electricity and make pictures that light up and flash at the flick of a switch. Friday: Rotten Romans Workshops. Session times 11am-12pm, 1-2pm or 2.30-3.30pm. Free. Have fun with Roman numerals and create your own Roman cartoon strip. Led by Explore Learning for ages 7+. 01494 421895; Tuesday February 22 to Saturday February 26. EXPLORING ARMOUR – half-term family activities at Windsor Castle.11am–3pm. Explore the Castle's armour collection, then make some armour yourself in the Moat Room. Handling and try-it-on sessions every day at 12noon. Book a place on the day. 020 7766 7304; Tuesday February 22 to Saturday February 26. SUMMER HOLIDAY, with the Songtime Theatre Academy at the Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, Windsor. Performances at 7.30pm, also at 2.30pm on Wednesday and Saturday. Adaptation of the 1963 Cliff Richard comedy Summer Holiday. Tickets: £11-£33. 01753 853888;


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Time Out

Beauty and the Beast, South Hill Park – March 1 to 5

Wake up to Spring, Cliveden – from March 1

Goodnight Mister Tom, Wycombe Swan – March 1 to 5

Wednesday February 23. FOSSILS, FEATHERS AND FURRY THINGS! At Flackwell Heath Library, Chapel Road, Flackwell Heath. 2.30-4pm. Wycombe Museum staff are bringing a selection of fascinating natural objects to observe, plus create your own furry or feathery piece of art. Free. 01494 421895; Wednesday February 23 and Thursday February 24. FAMILY ACTIVITIES at the Slough Museum, High Street, Slough. 11.30am-1pm. Free arts and crafts activities for all the family. 01753 526422; Wednesday February 23 and Friday February 25. WICKED WEDNESDAY AND FREAKY FRIDAY at the Hell Fire Caves, West Wycombe. 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Courtyard games, face painting, spooky fancy dress competitions and more for ages 5-10. Booking required. Cost: £7.50 per child. 01494 533739; Wednesday February 23 to Friday February 25. CAM MOTION – HALF-TERM FAMILY ACTIVITY DAYS at the REME Museum of Technology, Isaac Newton Road, Arborfield, Reading. 11am-3.30pm. Drop in activities, no booking necessary. Suitable for age 5-12. 0118 976 3375; Thursday February 24.WILD ONES: LANTERNS AND LEAVES at Sandhurst Community Hall, Yorktown Road, Sandhurst. 10am–12pm. Collect natural materials from the outdoors and create winter lanterns, tree medallions and bay leaf puppets. For ages 5-11. Cost: £3.50 for materials. Booking required. 01344 354441; Thursday February 24. PIRATES OF THE THAMES at the River and Rowing Museum, Mill Meadows, Henley. 10.30am-4pm (drop in any time). Search for buried treasure, make a model pirate ship and a parrot for your shoulder. Plus lots more timber-shivering activities. Dress as a pirate and get in free. Free with admission. 01491 415600; Thursday February 24 and Friday February 25. FINDING ALICE, at Norden Farm, Altwood Road, Maidenhead. 11am and 3pm. Miriam is reading a book, but is suddenly sucked into Wonderland. She must find the pages of the book which are scattered across Wonderland. Interactive adventure. Suitable for ages 3+. Tickets: £6.50, family £22. 01628 788997; Wednesday February 24 and Thursday February 25. THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF AND OTHER FURRY TALES at South Street, Reading. 11.30am and 2pm. Storyteller and puppet-maker Andy Lawrence unfolds a beatiful show full of fun,

laughter, exciting music and lots of fantastic stories. For ages 3+. Tickets: £7. 0118 9606060; Thursday February 24 to Sunday February 27. THE LION,THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE at the Wycombe Swan, St Mary Street, High Wycombe. 7.30pm, Sunday only at 2.30pm. Wycombe Swan Youth Theatre present a musical version of the classic story. Tickets: adults £13, concessions £11. 01494 512000; Saturday February 26. IDENTIFYING TREES IN WINTER, walk through the Burnham Beeches, Hawthorn Lane, Farnham Common. Get to know some of the common species and one or two more unusual specimens found within Burnham Beeches. Booking required. 01753 647358; Sunday February 27. MAGIC MUSIC – A Funharmonics Family Concert at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London. 11.30am. The London Philharmonic Orchestra perform pieces about wizards and magicians such as The Magic Orchestra, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Orpheus in the Underworld and music from the Harry Potter films. Presented by Cbeebies’ Chris Jarvis. Tickets: £4-£14. 020 78404242; Sunday February 27 and Monday February 28. WE’RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT at The Hexagon, Queen’s Walk, Reading. Sunday at 1.30pm and 4.30pm, Monday at 10.30am. Michael Rosen’s award-winning book brought to the stage. Catchy songs, interactive scenes and plenty of hands-on adventure - plus a few special surprises. For ages 3+. Tickets: £10, schools and nursery groups £8.50 plus 1 in 10 free. 0118 9606060; Monday February 28 to Saturday March 5. SPIRIT OF THE DANCE at the Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, Windsor. 8pm, also at 2.30pm on Thursday and at 4.45pm on Saturday. One of the greatest dance shows ever. Tickets: £11-£33. 01753 853888; From Tuesday March 1. WAKE UP TO SPRING – Tuesday Tours at Cliveden, Taplow. 2-3.15pm. Free guided walks provided by Cliveden gardeners. 01628 605069, (Also on other Tuesdays in March.) Tuesday March 1 to Saturday March 5. DISNEY’S THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at the Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Ringmead, Bracknell. 7.45pm, also at 3pm on Saturday. Amateur production by Starmaker

Youth Theatre, based in Reading. Tickets: £9-£17, from 0118 978 9238; or 01344 484123; Tuesday March 1 to Saturday March 5. GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM at the Wycombe Swan, St Mary Street, High Wycombe. 7pm, Wednesday also at 1pm, Saturday also at 2.30pm. Michelle Magorian’s heartwrenching Goodnight Mister Tom is brought to life with this new stage adaptation starring Oliver Ford Davis. Tickets: £13-£18, children £3 off, family £50. 01494 512000;

MAIDENHEAD AND WINDSOR RHYMETIME (songs and rhymes) and STORY TIME (stories and crafts) DATES for January, February and March 2011 (term time only). Maidenhead Library: Rhymetime – every Thursday at 10am and 11am. Storytime – every Tuesday at 10.30am. Windsor Library: Rhymetime – every Monday at 10am and 11am. Storytime – every Friday at 10am. Cox Green Library: Rhymetime – on Wednesdays January 19, February 16 and March 16 at 10.30am. Storytime – Wednesdays January 5, February 2, and March 2 at 10.30am. Eton Wick Library: Rhymetime – on Wednesdays January 19, February 16 and March 16 at 10.30am. Storytime - Wednesdays January 5, February 2 and March 2 at 10.30am. Cookham Library: Rhymetime – on Wednesdays January 19, February 16 and March 16 at 2.30pm. Storytime – on Wednesdays January 5, February 2, and March 2 at 2.15pm. Datchet Library: Rhymetime – on Wednesdays January 12, February 9 and March 9 at 10am. Storytime - on Wednesdays January 26 and March 23 at 10am. Ascot Durning Library: Rhymetime – on Wednesdays January 12, February 9 and March 9 at 2.15pm. Storytime – on Wednesdays January 26 and March 23 at 2.15pm (at 10.30am from February 11).


FUN + SAFE + CHALLENGING Classes for Children walking to 3 years plus. Enjoy participating with your child in our safe indoor environment with its exciting up-to-date play equpment, based within the Altwood School, Maidenhead. Every day at 10am from Wednesday to Saturday. Our programme has been developed through more than 25 years’ experience with young children and their parents. Gymtots will enable your child to gain confidence by expanding their physical ability, coordination and social skills, with your involvement and under the guidance of our experienced staff. Our advanced class for 3 to 4 years plus, without parent participation, on Wednesdays at 3pm, is more structured and builds upon the earlier classes. Telephone


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07 957 223 124 for details E-mail:






One lucky reader will win a week's family holiday at Libbear Barton. This prize is for a holiday in Moley's Place cottage and is strictly subject to availability at time of booking during the months of February, March and November 2011. Set in forty acres of the beautiful rolling hills of rural North Devon, Libbear Barton is a small country estate, consisting of a lovely Georgian Farmhouse and three separate cosy cottages. Open all year round, Libbear Barton is privately owned and run by a welcoming family-friendly team. There are wonderful onsite facilities including an indoor heated pool, sauna, well equipped gym, outdoor play area, indoor soft play area and games room. There is a fishing lake and delightful woodlands walk - and wildlife everywhere! Libbear Barton provides all the equipment needed for your babies and toddlers – toys, cots, highchairs, playpens, changing mats, stair gates, sterilizing equipment, child-friendly cutlery, plates, cups and buggies. Libbear Barton is close to all the family attractions in North Devon and only 30 minutes from some of the most loveliest beaches on the North Devon and Cornwall coast. The gorgeous 5★ Georgian Farmhouse sleeps up to 14 people in seven bedrooms and has three separate reception rooms, each with open log fires. There is a homely farmhouse kitchen, with an Aga. It's just perfect for family celebrations, special birthdays and wedding anniversaries. Two of the three cosy cottages each sleep 8, whilst Badger’s House sleeps 9 and each have their own garden, plus large BBQ, trampoline, sand pit and garden furniture. With additional picnic tables dotted around the grounds, outdoor eating is very popular. There is also a large fishing lake, perfect for fly fishing. You need go no further than the local village for an excellent pub, which welcomes children. To find our more go to or call 07918090081.


NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION to get fit? Short of time? This issue you can win a course of ten classes at Strong Vibes Power Plate studio in Windsor. Each twenty-five minute class on the famous machines is said to be equal to several hours’ conventional exercise and who has time for that? The Daily Telegraph said using the machine was ‘twice as good at fighting fat as traditional workouts’. The prize can be used for regular group classes or for “Bring the Babe” post-natal classes with a specialist post-natal trainer – it’s how celebrity Mums get their figures back so quickly! Power Plate is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness and the classes, with a maximum of five people, are always with an instructor who takes the group through a range of exercises – like you’d do at the gym, but for just 60 seconds each. As well as toning everything up really fast, there are lots of health benefits of using Power Plate, like improved circulation and bone density. Strong Vibes opens seven days a week and has up to twenty classes a day with times to suit everyone. Find out more about Strong Vibes Power Plate Studio Windsor by visiting or call 01753 858357 TO ENTER the Strong Vibes competition, just visit Closing date January 20 2011.

TO ENTER the Libbear Barton competition, just visit Closing date January 20 2011.

Telephone: 01628 627 586


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Family Holidays Holiday 2011!

We all need a holiday, but how are we going to manage it in the harsh new economic climate of the coming year? Joanna Moorhead shares some ideas on how to make it work – whatever your budget (and even if you’ve no budget whatsoever!) t’s that time of the year when our thoughts invariably turn, as we shiver in grey, cold Britain, to warmer climes and sun-kissed beaches. The kind of places we hope to end up in a few months’ time, when it’s summer once again and we’re getting away from it all for those magical two weeks we call our annual holiday. Of course holidays with kids are always tricky ... and one of the trickiest aspects of all is financing them. This year more than usual, finding the money to pay for a holiday is, for thousands of families, going to be harder than ever. But chin up – we’re not giving up! There are still ways to do it ... and for those who do have some money to spend, the bargains are likely to be hotter than ever.


family. Top tips from seasoned swappers are to find a family that’s as much like yours as possible, to ask lots of questions and look at lots of photos of the place you’re going to. Also, don’t rule out swaps with friends or relatives – these can be easier to organise, and you can top and tail them with some together-time with your mates as you overlap at one or both homes. The NCT run a house swapping scheme that’s ideal for families.Visit to find out more. Photo: Courtesy of Seychelles Tourist Board

HOLIDAY FOR FREE Yes, you really can go on holiday without spending any money at all on your accommodation. Here are just some of the ways of achieving a cost-free break.

Wildcamping: ain’t for everyone, but those who love ‘real’ camping say they really, really adore it. What it means is camping in the remote wilds – not on campsites (where you have to pay), but in the absolute back of beyond, where there’s no infrastructure at all. The downside, of course, is that it’s

Houseswap: The world falls into two camps on houseswapping. There are those who swear by it, who’ve stayed in the best villas around the world because of it; and there are those who can’t think of anything worse than having to leave their house pristine for another family when they go away, and who fear being palmed off with some tenement hovel while its owners live it up in their luxury pad. The truth about houseswapping is that it IS hard work ... you might not be paying for your accommodation, but you need to go to a lot of trouble beforehand to make sure you a) have the perfect swap and b) that your own house is properly organised for the incoming

usually illegal (unless you have the landowner’s permission) but if you’re headed to Scotland you’re in luck, since the right to camp on hill land is now enshrined in public-access law. For more information see

Work for your keep: Working holidays, in fact, aren’t usually free – but they are very, very cheap. The National Trust, for example, has holidays from £90 a week including food and hostel-type accommodation. No previous experience is necessary, as you’ll be led by trained volunteer leaders and staff. The trust says it’s a great opportunity for families, especially those with older children, to spend time together as a family ... you’ll be involved in ‘team activities’ and you’ll be helping to improve the environment. Children must be at least eight years old. For more information, see

HOLIDAY FOR MORE If you’re going to spend a bit of money this year, you’re in luck because there will be plenty of choice – and you should be able to get somewhere that gives you excellent value for money, given that many families will be looking for a cheaper option.

Shop around: Tell travel companies about deals you’ve been offered by competitors and see whether they’re prepared to throw more into your deal, or to cut the cost. Make clear from the start that you’re looking for a holiday that’s pricey but also offers great value. For example, Aztec Villas has wonderful villas in Cyprus that give you everything you’re ever going to need on a family – Lakesbury 5-person tent


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Family Holidays put you off. Imagine sitting back watching a big gang of children all happily entertaining themselves, whilst you enjoy some adult company and a nice bottle of Chianti; hitting the local boutiques with fellow shopaholics rather than a grumpy husband and children; and lots of noisy games of cricket on the beach.You’ll have someone to share the chores with, potential babysitters on hand Whinfell Forest Center Parcs and may even find some time to relax. But first you need to find some accommodation that suits everyone.

holiday. The resort of Penera has everything on your doorstep – cafes, restaurants, beach, water park – so although they’re not a cheap option, you won’t necessarily need to hire a car. Plus, the company makes sure the villas are stocked with all the clobber families with young kids need but don’t want to have to lug around...pushchairs, DVDs, toys, balls, inflatables, Wii games. Prices are around £1,100 (not including flights) for a villa sleeping eight in August. For more information, see

Go somewhere unfashionable: For 2011 for example, Mexico isn’t looking like the hottest holiday destination – but I was there last summer with my family for a fortnight, and though Mexico is a country with problems, those problems are light years away from your all-inclusive hotel on the Yucatan peninsula. We stayed at Club Med in Cancun, which was superlative – it’s got the best position on the Cancun holiday strip, it’s well away from the business of the town, the food is delicious and even our older children enjoyed the teen hang-out called, oddly, Carwash. Plus watersports, children’s clubs and childcare, pretty views, a great beach. For us, Mexico was a family holiday of a lifetime and it wasn’t a let-down – and given that the Yucatan is packed with all-inclusive hotels, and that it’s not had a great press of late, it should be a great place to get a lot more for your (considerable) outlay in summer 2011. For more information, see

HOLIDAY WITH FRIENDS When it works, a holiday spent with other families can be fantastic, but when it doesn’t, things can go spectacularly wrong. Clare from Woodley remembers the time she ended up physically attacking her (now former) best friend after a traumatic week in the South of France! But don’t let that

Telephone: 01628 627 586

Having your own space Sit down together and decide whether you really can cope with sharing one large property. You may decide that each family would rather have their own separate accommodation, but be together on the same site. Center Parcs holiday villages are ideal for this with their self-contained lodges set in acres of beautiful countryside. And you don’t need to stay in the UK – they also have sites in France, Germany, Belgium and Holland – and the good news is that these are significantly cheaper than their British counterparts. Find out more at European camp sites are another good option offering a range of accommodation from basic tents to top-of-the range lodges with air-con and dishwashers. Have a look at Canvas Holidays and Keycamp, for some ideas, but if possible travel outside of school summer holidays – prices can be surprisingly high even for a humble tent. Do a price check before booking as many companies offer the same sites and prices do vary.

that allows you to rent a whole youth hostel for your exclusive use.Venues range from a small 10-bed farmhouse to a Victorian mansion which can accommodate nearly 100 people. These often unique properties, in stunning locations, have catering facilities and many have dormitories – great fun for older kids. See for more details. Or how about a Georgian farmhouse that sleeps 14 in Devon? Libbear Barton also have three other cottages that sleep eight, so they can accommodate lots of families. There is a indoor swimming pool, sauna, games room and well equipped gym. There's also a well stocked fishing lake and delightful woodland walk. Plus each cottage contains all the equipment needed for babies and toddlers. To find out more go to At the other end of the scale take a look at for something really special (with a price tag to match)! From rambling Victorian rectories to fancy chateaux in the Dordogne, this website features only properties that can sleep more than 12 people and which offer real luxury – designer kitchens, four-poster bedrooms, open fires, home cinemas, huge gardens and infinity pools. The Wow House Company offers similar luxury, although it does cater for smaller groups too.Visit for more details.

Sharing with others This can make your outlay a lot cheaper, because the costs will be divided between you. Look for bargains like La Blanchere in the Vendee region of France – it’s a four-bed farmhouse set in a two-acre garden with a games barn and an above-ground swimming pool. It’s available for just £700 a week in high season – so for two families sharing, that’s quite a bargain. For more information, see The YHA run an ‘Escape To’ programme


Center Parcs

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Ed’s Reading Room Hi kids, parents, grandparents, teachers – and book lovers everywhere! I’m Ed and here is my New Year book selection for you to enjoy. The books are all available online from Ed’s Reading Room at Ed’s Reading Room is an exciting free online book and story club for primary children in homes and schools at Each month, recently published books are selected as Ed’s Books of the Month for Owlets (age 5-7) and Owls (over 7s). On the website, there are fun literacy activities to accompany each book, including wordsearches, quizzes, poetry and reviews, and there are new original stories in Edtime Stories. There are lots of other fun online activities, complementary to the curriculum, in Ed’s Imaginarium. Check out Ed’s Archive for Ed’s Books of the Month from previous months.

For Ages 5 to 7 years

Bella Donna: Coven Road

The Spoon of Doom

Ben’s Birthdays by Elizabeth Hawkins (Tamarind Books £5.99)

ED SAYS: ‘Ben can’t wait for his next birthday. Everybody seems to have had more birthdays than he has had. Then one day Ben meets a snail and looks after it very carefully. This small creature has magical powers and grants Ben a special wish. This is Ben’s chance to enjoy more birthdays. But is a birthday every day really as good as it sounds at first? ‘Here is a delightful story by a writer who really understands the mind of a child. It is a lovely book for young readers to enjoy on their own or reading together.’

For Ages 7 years plus

by Sam Hay (A & C Black £4.99)

ED SAYS: ‘Albert Grub lives with his parents who are both entomologists, or bug-botherers as Albert calls them. His life is full of slugs and snails, beetles and worms. How he wishes his parents were more like other parents! One day his father inherits a porridge factory. The family has no idea how much their lives are going to change. ‘This is a super book for newly confident readers. The story is great fun with its quirky characters, and it presents lots of food for thought.’

Sundered Lands: Trundle’s Quest

by Ruth Symes (Piccadilly Press £5.99)

ED SAYS: ‘Isabella has two dreams in her life. She has always wanted to be a witch and she longs for a Forever Family to take her away from the children’s home where she lives. However no one seems quite right for her…until she meets Lilith. But with obstacles still standing in her way, will Bella Donna’s dreams come true? ‘This is a wonderfully written book that is at the same time hilarious and very moving. Girls and boys alike will find it hard to put down.’

by Allan Frewin Jones & Gary Chalk (Hodder Children’s Books £4.99)

ED SAYS: ‘Trundle Boldoak is off on an adventure in faraway places. He and Esmeralda Lightfoot are seeking the six lost crowns of the Badger Lords of Old, scattered throughout the Sundered Lands, in the hope of reuniting the broken world. But will Trundle be able to succeed in his formidable quest? ‘This book is a real page-turner with fantastic characters. If you enjoy it as much as I did you can look forward to more titles in the Sundered Lands series.’

Ed’s Reading Room is part of, a DTI award-winning website. It was created by Maggie Humphreys, a teacher of more than 25 years, and Les Snowdon, who together are authors of several books on fitness walking and healthy eating. You are very welcome to contact Maggie on 01753 730019 or by email at about the website or about Ed on the Web Spelling Bees in schools. WRAPAROUND CHILDCARE

Childcare Wrapped Around Your Needs Open From 5am-11pm

We are open seven days a week, offer fixed and flexible childcare and pick-up/drop-offs from designated areas

17 William Street, Windsor, SL4 1BB For more information call:

01753 853155 Email us at:


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Bumps ‘n’ Babes

Fertility problems in women and men can have both medical and hormonal reasons. Some couples, though, are told all is well physically, even after extensive tests. Perhaps the state of your mind can also affect the physical working of the body? Jeanette Wallis, a reflexologist and NLP practitioner from Maidenhead who has been working with couples who have fertility problems for twenty years, definitely believes it can. he sees many couples who have had secondary fertility disappointment; couples who conceived their first born without problems and planned an age gap of about two years before trying for a second child, but have no luck conceiving again.They have no known medical reasons for not being successful. Jeanette calls them ‘the silent voices’: “Why silent? Because all the mums they meet in their pre-natal classes are all having their second children.They are obviously happy for them, but are also holding resentful feelings and are not able to express them. Possibly their relationship with their partner is suffering with the stress of the disappointing situation. People are constantly asking: ‘When are you going to have another one?’.” Jeanette believes the mind does affect the physical working of the body and tries to give couples a way to change the way they think, thereby instigating a subtle physical shift in the body so that they can achieve a pregnancy naturally. Reflexology, according to Jeanette, is an effective treatment in that respect. Reflexology uses the reflex points in the feet that determine the physical imbalances in the body. By working on these points, a reflexologist can kick-start the body into working more efficiently. It assists in pinpointing where the imbalances are and corrects them. “Patients usually notice a difference after one treatment,” Jeanette finds. “The feedback I get is very positive. Women become more aware of ovulation, more aware of their natural cycle – generally they just begin to feel more in control of their body rather than feeling their body is constantly letting them down.”



Jeanette is also an NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) practitioner. She helps people to change the way they think and see things and believes this can help women with fertility issues too. “I rarely see anyone who is laid back about getting pregnant. I had one patient who insisted she was OK about having had many miscarriages. After five minutes, she spent the rest of the hour crying. I realise there are often medical reasons why people miscarry but she really believed that her body would always let her down, as it constantly did. In her case, changing that belief seemed to have a dramatic effect. I am happy to say she is fine now and has a healthy baby boy.” Each person is unique and individual in their thinking, and in their physical conditions too. Often women will tell Jeanette about their birth experiences. Again, most women first-time round encounter difficulties, long labour times, intervention, or poor after-care; sometimes their babies needed extra care or they suffered with post-natal depression. Jeanette believes strongly that there is a connection to the trauma of their first birth and the fact they can’t conceive again: in some way their experiences might be holding their bodies back. The couple themselves are key in the process too. “Most are just not having fun. Bringing up a child is not easy and most couples just don’t give enough time to each other, time for being intimate is pressured. I sometimes ask how often they have sex and

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I am sure you can guess that it isn’t that often. I do believe that once you start to feel physically and emotionally better, you are more able to see the bigger picture. The changes my patients encounter definitely make the difference that is needed to help towards a happy outcome. How many times do you read about couples who, after many attempts at IVF or who finally adopt a child, suddenly fall pregnant naturally? There has to be something in the way the mind works.” As food for thought, Jeanette tells the story of one client who was trying to conceive her second child. She was progressing very well with the treatment until her husband’s sperm test came back. It was a very poor result. Instead of dealing with the bad news directly, Jeanette started asking questions about the new house they were moving into and which room they had planned for the new baby. The client was shocked at her avoidance of the matter, but described the house anyway. As the client was leaving, Jeanette told her: “You only need one good sperm and you never know – getting pregnant can be just good luck in some cases”. She conceived that cycle. For more information on Jeanette Wallis and her practice, go to or contact her via email: or by telephone: 01628 633475/07973 779853.

Telephone: 01628 627 586JANUARY /


Mums Who Mean Business by Trynke Casale LITTLE HANDS AND FEET CAPTURED FOREVER IN CLAY hildren grow up so quickly and it is important for parents to be able to have a special keepsake of just how small they really were. Children also love to be able to see how tiny their little hands and feet were, especially when a new sibling arrives. You can try and make your own prints, but even better, and longer lasting, are clay casts of your child’s hand and feet, finished to a high standard and mounted in a handmade, hardwood frame, which will stay on the wall long after the children have left home. This is just what Baby Prints Oxford does, an independent local business run by mother of two, Karen Gent, based in Whitney, near Oxford. Karen set up the business five years ago whilst pregnant with her second daughter, and it has gone from strength to strength ever since. Karen found that “there just wasn’t anyone locally that offered a high quality product. There seemed to be a lot of pottery painted products on the market, but nothing with a contemporary look and feel.” She started running the business from home, but now Karen also takes prints at the Nursery Shop in Abingdon and Bump & Baby in Marlow. Karen generally takes appointments in advance and this often dictates the times when she will be in the shop, but she is usually in Abingdon on the last Saturday of the month between 10am and 3pm, and in Marlow on the Saturday before that between 11am and 2pm. Karen has become an expert at getting the perfect print of your little one, no matter the age or size. She says: “I have taken prints of very tiny babies that are only a few hours old, right up to a 15-year-old. It is never too late to have a cast taken of your child. Some adults even have hand casts too!” The process is straightforward and completely painless for your child. An impression is taken in soft clay, which is then taken away and a mould created. A cast is taken from the mould, and then artistically coloured to highlight all of the tiny wrinkles and creases. The cast is finally mounted and framed in a beautiful handmade, hardwood frame. The finished product is ready in around three weeks. For further information, please contact Karen at Baby Prints Oxford on 01993 700431 or visit the website Baby Prints Oxford is not part of a franchise. Baby Prints Oxford will be at the Nursery Shop on Saturday January 29 and at Bump and Baby on Saturday January 22.


ORCHARD Academy of Dance & Theatre Arts


Est. 1981 – Principal: Jean Orchard L.I.S.T.D.


Street Dance & Musical Theatre Ballet ~ Tap ~ Modern Theatre Dance ~ Adult Tap Classes Outstanding Exam Results and Spectacular Shows

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COLOURFUL CLOTHES BY RASPBERRY RED aspberry Red is a children’s clothes retailer owned by mum of two, Lise Austen, from Winkfield Row, Bracknell. Having started the business a year-and-a-half ago by selling colourful, fun and comfy kids’ clothes at house parties and fairs, Lise has now launched a new Raspberry Red website, selling the same fun, practical and often organic clothes for boys and girls from birth to eight years online. Lise started the company in August 2009 after spending 12 years in the IT industry working in a variety of business development and marketing roles, followed by a few years spent looking after her young family. “During my time at home with the girls I developed a genuine love of good quality, well designed children’s clothes. The break-away from the corporate world gave me the opportunity to start afresh and do something I am really passionate about, enabling me to work flexibly and be there for my daughters, yet still use my business experience.” When Lise started the business, she had one daughter at nursery and one at home full time. She wanted to start small and grow the business in stages. “For the first year, I sold the clothes at house parties and fairs. With my oldest now at school and youngest at nursery nine hours a week, in October 2010 I moved to stage two of my business plan and launched an online website,” Clothes are sourced from suppliers whose design and manufacturing ethics meet the same criteria Lise uses for buying her own children’s clothes. The clothes need to be practical, and allow the kids to move freely, whether they are running around at the park or having fun at a party. The clothes have to be versatile: summer dresses, for example, that can be used as a tunic when too short or worn over long-sleeved tops in the winter. Raspberry Red’s clothes are also manufactured ethically and are preferably made from organic materials. Lise especially likes chosing clothes that are beautifully designed and have something that makes them stand out, whether it be the fact that they are eye-catching, have a major ‘cute’-factor about them or are just simply gorgeous. Brands currently stocked include: Albetta, Green Baby, Helen Gordon, Keedo, Kitekids, Organics for Kids, and Pili Pala. Raspberry Red clothes are available to buy online at or can be booked for house parties, fairs and toddler groups. Contact Lise at or on 07827 470873.




Classifieds CRAFTING QUEEN INSPIRED TO START OWN BUSINESS elen Slaney from Taplow has always loved crafting and has been making her own greetings cards for fun for a long time. She made her own wedding stationery in 2001 and started making invites for her friends’ weddings. One thing led to another. It was in fact a friend’s wedding at Chatsworth House and the compliments of the event organiser there, that gave her the confidence to set up as a business. Helen had a busy job working for Aer Lingus at Heathrow, but after the birth of her first son in 2004 she took a year off and started Helen Slaney Designs as a part-time venture shortly afterwards. After the birth of her second son in 2007 she went full-time, working around the children with the help of her husband, who works shifts. Wedding stationery is still her biggest market, followed by new baby cards and Christening cards. This year, after several years of attending local wedding fairs, she has started going to craft fairs, broadening her repertoire to Christmas cards and children’s greeting cards and striking out into new stationery territory, with lots of ideas for cards and designs. Helen has a couple of cast-iron presses which she uses to cut her own cards into shape, to give her cards a different edge in a crowded market and to make sure she doesn’t have to rely on suppliers. All her cards are finished by hand. She has also invested in an old lead letter printing press and has great plans for using it on her stationery, having signed up for an old-fashioned letter press course in London early next year. “I love this job”, Helen says, “It is great fun. I love crafting and being creative, and I can be with my children.” But it’s not always been plain sailing. She remembers a day a while ago when she had an order for wedding invites to finish. She had spent all day painstakingly cutting out dozens of purple butterflies, when later that evening she found her son covered from head to toe in glue and purple butterflies. She now sensibly has a studio at the top of her house, which is out of bounds for the children, and has learned how to organise her time and supplies more efficiently. She met photographer Tara Taylor, a mum herself, at a wedding fair (“a great place for networking and learning how to do things!”), and Tara now helps Helen out with the quality photography needed for a good website. Two local ladies also help her with big orders from time to time on a casual basis. For more information on Helen Slaney Designs, visit her website on or contact her on 01628 616269; email:


Mary Poppins Entertainments NOW WITH AMAZING ANIMAL PUPPETS As seen on Paul O’Grady Show.

For ages 3-103 Tel: 01753 663374 or 0781 1084 325

Pregnancy Yoga & Mummy and Baby Yoga Relax, boost energy, ease aches & pains, prepare for birth, connect with your baby, rebuild core strength safely Call Jennie on 07954 578 439 or email

Does your child need help with Reading, English, Maths, 11+ preparation? Experienced teacher, ex-Head, offers tuition to ages 6 -14, Burnham, Taplow, Slough, Farnhams, Maidenhead area. Christine Shaw 01628 663411 Maternity Wear Online


Affordable and fashionable, stylish and elegant maternity wear for all occasions. Email Tel: 07940 925 521

Soap and Jewellery making Parties for Children Email:

07748 - 645161 POPULAR FAMILY SOFT PLAY AND BOUNCY CASTLE BUSINESS FOR SALE. Great opportunity for expansion and franchising. Sale includes Van, Website and all equipment for £15K. Please call Kathryn on 07968 093480

Homemade cakes lovingly baked with organic & fairtrade ingredients gift-wrapped and delivered FREE locally.

Perfect as a present or to enjoy with family and friends. Birthday cakes, brownies, cute fairy cakes, traybakes, celebration cakes and vintage cakestands.

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FAMILIES Thames Valley East



FAMILIES Thames Valley East



Families Thames Valley East Jan-Feb 2011  

Families Thames Valley East magazine Jan-Feb 2011 issue

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