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Edition 12 • July/August 2011


The local magazine for families with children 0-12 years


In this issue >Bring on Summer – 11 pages of great ideas for things to do and places to visit >Local news >Competitions, giveaways and offers

Covering: Poynton, Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, Knutsford, Prestbury, Macclesfield, Congleton, Holmes Chapel, Sandbach, Northwich, Winsford, Crewe, Nantwich and surrounding areas

Locally speaking

Inclusion in our locally speaking section is always FREE get in touch:

Cheshire’s budding new artists

Welcome It seems like every year we live in hope that THIS year will be the one to remember – long, hot, cloud free, care free days... and every year we end up having to wait for next year. But no matter what the weather does, we’re determined to get out there and enjoy some of the amazing attractions that are on our doorstep. Putting together this issue’s Summertime special (see page 14) really brought home to us just how much Cheshire has to offer for families – and not all of it exorbitantly priced either.

The seventh annual Cheshire Nursery Art completion was hosted recently by Terra Nova School near Jodrell Bank. This year the theme was ‘Aliens Love Underpants’ based on the popular children’s book and a record 649 paintings from 23 nurseries were submitted for judging. The winners were presented with their awards at Terra Nova School at a fun-filled family morning, which involved an ‘Alien Trail’ treasure hunt, face painting,

Jed inspires Kilimanjaro climb

We’ve got some great, simple ideas for you to keep the kids entertained, as well as a pretty comprehensive list of local attractions, summer camps, suggestions for some slightly different activities AND a full list of what’s on over the summer in the area too. All in all, a real bumper edition that we hope will see you survive the next two months and reach September relatively sane and ready to face the new school year! Try to grab some “me-time” if you can – and happy holidays!

Caryl Hall

Jayne Keep

In this issue 02: 04: 06: 08:

Locally speaking News Education Parents’ place

Next issue: September/October 2011. Circulation: 18,000 copies of Families Cheshire are available through nurseries, schools, libraries, selected shops and other points throughout Cheshire. If you would like free copies for your organisation, please let us know. Contact details: Families Cheshire, PO Box 581, Macclesfield, SK10 9FN Tel: 01625 801 801 Editorial: Advertising/artwork: Events, diary dates, out & about: Cover photograph by: teneight, Fence House, 84 Buxton Road, Macclesfield SK10 1JS. Tel: 01625 500 488

12: Health & fitness 14: Summertime special 22: What’s on

Design: Through Creative, The Old School, Byron Street, Macclesfield SK11 7QA. Tel: 01625 500 939 Print: Bishops Printers, Walton Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO6 1TR Tel: 023 9233 4900 Families Cheshire is part of the Families group, established in 1990 and headed by Families South West. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under license. We take every care preparing the magazine, but the publishers and distributors can’t be held responsible for the claims of advertisers, the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequences.

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Spacehopper races, a craft table and the presentation itself. Best Overall Winner with a prize of £250, sponsored by Jackson-Stops & Staff, was awarded to Emily Domville from Chrysalis Day Nursery for her wonderful interpretation of an alien dressed in underpants. Prizes were also awarded to the Most Promising Artist (Isaac Richards from Poppies Red Cross Day Nursery), Best Age Two (Olivia Egerton-Brookes from Apples & Pears Day Nursery), The Best Age Three (Gemma Staples from Oaklands Dean Nursery), Best Age Four Prize (Joanna Tookey from Kids Unlimited Tytherington) and Most Creative Nursery (Hilltop Day Nursery). Congratulations to all!

Jed Hunter, a 10 year old pupil from The Marlborough School in Tytherington, has inspired his cousin Rebecca (Bex) Fox and her good friend Rebecca (Becs) O’Neil, both from Manchester, to reach new heights. The girls have just reached the summit of Kilimanjaro (the highest point on the African continent) to raise awareness for Whizz-Kids, and to raise money towards a new motorised wheelchair for Jed. The girls thrive on a challenge, and were looking for a ‘once in a lifetime’ activity that would test them both physically and mentally. Becs says: “After meeting Jed, I could think of no better person to be doing this for. He is a really special, intelligent boy and knowing

that we are helping in a small way to raise money for his independence is great... it was his little face that got us to the summit! Jed is an ambassador for Whizz-Kidz, and we wanted to recognise the great support they have given to Jed and his family.” Whizz-Kidz provides disabled children and young people with vital mobility equipment, opportunities to meet and have fun, and training to help them gain skills and look forward to a bright future. Their wheelchair skills training programme, for young wheelchair users up to the age of 18, is just one of the ways they offer sustained support to young disabled people on their life journey. It is open to both Whizz-Kidz beneficiaries and those that received their equipment from elsewhere. There are an estimated 70,000 disabled children in the UK who are waiting for the right wheelchair. To find out more about this charity and to see how you can help raise funds, visit If you’d like to contribute to Jed’s wheelchair fund, please visit

Northwich NCT wins Gold Northwich NCT is celebrating after its popular Nearly New Sales received a special Gold Standard award. The accolade, presented by the NCT charity nationally, recognises the mid Cheshire branch’s Nearly New Sales as among the best in the UK, both in terms of providing a valuable service for new and expectant parents and achieving fantastic fundraising success for the NCT charity.

Cath Bickerton, Northwich NCT Sale Co-ordinator says: “We are grateful for the effort that all our volunteers put into making Nearly New Sales such a success, and are thrilled to have achieved the NCT’s Gold Standard award. The team has worked so hard to provide this valuable service for local parents, giving them the opportunity to find some great bargains and this award is great news for them”.

Locally speaking Calling all Mountain’s, Snowdon’s And Everest’s Everyone knows about Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble and all the other inhabitants of Bedrock, but Awesome Walls Climbing Centre is now searching for the next generation of ‘rock’ stars. They want to hear from any kids under the age of 14 with suitably climbing inspired surnames. Maybe you are a Mountain, Everest, Rock, Peak or Summit – Awesome Walls wants to hear from you. All entrants will then be put into a draw

to win a free children’s birthday party at the Awesome Walls Climbing Centre at Liverpool, Stockport or Stoke-on-Trent for them and up to 20 of their friends. Awesome Walls Birthday Parties give the kids a chance to learn something new and burn off energy while they are having fun. At Liverpool and Stockport, they can try out the lower bouldering walls before advancing to the huge walls that stretch up to 17.5 metres. Awesome Walls Stoke is

England’s largest bouldering centre with over 900 square metres of bouldering to keep everyone entertained. The friendly and fully qualified instructors, who are all CRB checked, are on hand to teach techniques and make sure everyone is getting involved. The winner of the competition and their friends will all receive a certificate at the end of the party to take home and show off their bravery at conquering the walls and proving their head for heights.

Plus, Awesome Walls will decorate the party room for the lucky winner and supply a birthday cake so everyone can celebrate after their climbing session. To enter the competition, just email with your full name, age and contact details. The winner will be selected at the end of July 2011. Proof of all names will need to be provided to claim the prize.

Help for Carers in Cheshire If you provide unpaid support to family or friends (caring for a relative, partner, child or friend who is ill, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems), then Cheshire Carers Centre can provide you with information, advice and support. All Local Authorities are required to keep a record of children who have a disability in their area; Cheshire East & Cheshire West and Chester Councils commission Cheshire Carers Centre to manage the Database project. By registering with the project you will receive regular newsletters and e-news updates on local and national services and events, automatic invitations to any free events such as Parent Carer Leisure Days, Family Fun Days and other opportunities to keep in touch with other parent carers and appropriate organisations. No details of any individual are ever shared or disclosed. The project currently also delivers free music enabling workshops and also manages the Cheshire East

Disabled Children’s Toy Library – which is a mobile service operating drop in sessions across Cheshire East enabling parents and carers to join the library and borrow toys. Carers can also access services such as drop in coffee mornings, relaxation vouchers, support groups, training sessions, benefits advice, carers fund grants, West Cheshire Carers Emergency Support Service, lunch clubs, male carers support, Personal Budgets Project and there are also opportunities for volunteering. To find out more about Cheshires Disabled Children’s Database please contact The Database Office 01606 828151 ext 8 or email For more details about the services offered by Cheshire Carers Centre please call 0800 085 0307 (Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm).

New Private Nursery in Northwich The Private Nursery is looking forward to opening its doors for the first time in Northwich in July. Nursery manager Kathy Macleod will be working alongside an excellent qualified staff team to deliver the Early Years Foundation stage curriculum throughout the nursery to children aged 0 – 5 years. They offer a friendly, homely atmosphere with spacious rooms, home cooked food, and convenient opening/ closing hours – 7am to 6.30 pm. For more information, contact Kathy or deputy manager Siobhan, on 01606 76644. | Families Cheshire 3

News Arts + Crafts + Fun = SPLAT

SPLAT CREATIVE delivers fun-packed, tailor-made Craft and Games Parties for children of all ages. The secret to SPLAT’s on-going success is that their events are carefully planned to ensure that all children are actively occupied from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave. The SPLAT team also run creative workshops at major community events meaning they are highly experienced in working with large numbers of children. Parties can vary enormously depending

on the specific tastes and ages of the children. For the younger children (0 – 5 years) the focus is very much on hands-on, messy play with clay, dough, sponge and glue. Older children (5 – 11) can choose to decorate T-shirts, porcelain figures or photo frames, make jewellery and door hangers. There’s also a ‘GAMES GALORE’ option where children can just let off steam whilst enjoying a range of popular party games such as Relay, Ladders, Treasure Hunts, Egg and Spoon and Caterpillar Races. The SPLAT team also specialises in ‘Big Art’ Projects such as murals and community events for local authorities and voluntary groups as well as schools and clubs. To discuss a personalised wish-list for your child’s party, call Vicky on 01477 532119 or visit

Leading baby and childrenswear brand now online in the UK! Polarn O.Pyret of Sweden already has 15 outlets in the UK and Ireland, but now they’re online too. Offering smart, functional, bright, playful and durable clothes, over 30% of the range is organic. The brand prides itself on providing unisex colours and patterns that can be handed down easily from child to child.


Baby changing with style and versatility

The Babymule Baby Changing Bag is a cleverly designed product that rolls three bags into one. Local mum Claire Fuller created it out of frustration for the limitations she found in other bags on the market. The Babymule converts from messenger bag to backpack or clips onto the buggy handles. With six separate pockets there is a home for everything. Editor Jayne Keep tested it out. “Logan and I found life on the go much easier thanks to the well thought out design. The front pocket with insulated bottle warmer is in a perfect place; Logan wants his milk,

SPECIAL FAMILIES CHESHIRE OFFER Get £5 off your Babymule order when you quote families online at This offer is available until 31 August.

Fire Rescue Rory lands in town

Get 10% off your order PLUS free packaging and postage when you quote FMCSH11 online at

Award winning British toy company WOW Toys has just launched Fire Rescue Rory, a trigger-powered Fire Rescue Helicopter with a magnetic pick-up feature! Squeeze his trigger to activate his friction powered rotor, and drop off the magnetic stretcher with the injured boy figure with a simple click of the search light. With no need for batteries, the fun never runs out! When he flew in to the Families office for a visit, the kids were delighted to meet him. With many other toys in the WOW collection already in the toy box he was

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I unzip and there it is. No searching while he cries – simple. The padded changing mat and bag for dirties is behind another zip, all separate from other belongings, feeds etc. The main body of the bag with a 180 degree zip opens wide so I could easily find what I was looking for. With a zipped and a netted pocket belongings were easily organised and kept safe. There’s also a carry bag for nappies and wipes so trips to the toilet mean I can just lift out that section and not have to take the whole bag. This very clever little bag is also a cool bag so can still be used long after the nappy phase is over. Love it! Then there’s my favourite pocket, the little section near the strap just for my keys (I always seem to spend so much of my time routing through bags for them!). Overall a very attractive, easy to use bag that is useful for life with kids not just babies. Highly recommended.” For more information visit

right at home. Lily (aged five) soon had him paired up with the Robin’s Medical Rescue set (an ambulance complete with paramedic and patients) for a full-on emergency situation. Isabella (aged two) was highly amused by the magnetic pick up and trigger action rotor. Then Logan (aged one) was clearly attracted to the sounds and the colours and was quite safe to have a little play despite being under the recommended age as the toy is so tough with no little fiddly pieces. Suitable for ages 18 months and over, Rory is exclusive to Argos and sells for £14.99. WOW Toys are collectible as they can mixed and matched to build fun worlds – find out more at

WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN We’ve got 5 Fire Rescue Rory’s up for grabs. Simply log on to and enter now! The competition closes on Sunday 31 July.

News Oxo Tot’s feeding set – tested by the team Little Logan (aged one) and Isabella (aged two) put OXO Tot’s new four piece feeding set to the test. The set includes a cleverly designed fork & spoon set with generous curved handles with soft, non-slip grips which made it easy for the children to hold and ensured that the cutlery didn’t fall off the plate or bowl when resting between bites. The very clever little flat spot on the handles stopped the set from rolling off the highchair or table (although it didn’t prevent Logan from throwing them on the floor a few times!). The deep spoon head made it easy to scoop, while the fork tines, which have no sharp edges, effectively pierce food without mum fearing for someone’s eye! The versatile training plate brings together two products in one; Logan used it with the brightly coloured removable top ring to help him keep his food on his plate, then with Isabella the ring was removed to make the plate more grown up and flatter. The plate is also weighted for extra stability and the non-slip base

helps to keep it firmly in place (once again, apart from some throwing incidents, which the sturdy plate withstood very well!) Completing the feeding set, the large bowl (360ml) features high-sided straight walls to help little hands scoop from it, guiding food directly onto a fork or spoon. Again the stable, non-slip base prevents tips and spills. The bowl also includes a lid that snaps on to keep leftovers fresh and at their best (very useful for Isabella who tends to have leftovers at most meals). This feeding set gets a big thumbs up from the kids and mum. Well thought out designs that do make a difference. RRP £15.32. Available from John Lewis, Bentalls and Visit for further details.

Please Mr Postman, look and see….

Children love to receive their own letters in the post. They also enjoy cutting, colouring, sticking and gluing. The Little Letter Company has combined these two concepts to produce “Little Letters” – crafts packs that are posted to 3 – 5 year olds each week. For less than the price of a comic, children receive a pack containing everything they need to make a complete craft activity, plus having the

excitement of receiving a brightly coloured envelope in the post addressed to them! Where possible, the packs also include ideas of how the theme of the craft can be extended into further activities during the week. The service provides a cost effective alternative to the overflowing craft box that lurks in many of our homes yet never quite seems to have the things you need, though arguably, the real value lies in the fact that you don’t have to rack your brain for an idea of what to make. Subscriptions start at as little as £1.75 per week, and trial packages are available. Gift subscriptions can also be purchased, which make for a unique gift that lasts well beyond the child’s actual birthday. Details at

Mother’s Instinct Returns to Manchester Last year, Families Cheshire & Manchester were proud to sponsor a fabulous new shopping event – Mother’s Instinct Baby & Toddler Show. Now the show returns for its second year and we are set to join them again. Please do pop down to say hi; we are at The Waterside Hotel in Didsbury (M20 5WZ) on Sunday 11th September from

12 noon until 5pm. Entry is free and open to all. There will be stalls from retailers and from providers such as nurseries, clubs/classes and much more. With special offers and competitions running on some of the stalls, plus entertainment and displays for both the children and the parents it is certainly worth popping in. We hope to see you there! | Families Cheshire 5

Education Stop the back to school nerves – top tips to prepare mums for the big day!

Oxford University Press has found that more than 3 in 4 mums (78%) of pre-school children are ‘anxious’ about their child starting school and nearly 9 in 10 (88%) mums questioned said their child’s emotional happiness – confidence, ability to make friends easily and enjoyment of school – is their greatest concern. Ruth Coppard, leading child and educational psychologist, comments: “What’s clear from the findings is that mums equate their child’s confidence to an ability to settle in. You can’t teach your child confidence, but there are many simple steps parents can take to build familiarity in order to prepare their children for school life.” To help mums feel more excited about this next milestone, the publisher has got together with Ruth Coppard, to create early stage literacy activities to try out over the summer months, to help calm their own nerves, improve confidence and prepare for their little one’s next big step in September. Left to right Encourage any writing to go from left to right and when you read together use your finger to trace under the words from left to right. Rock-a-bye Re-visit popular nursery rhymes. Rhyming skills are thought to underpin reading, so encouraging your child to remember the ‘missing’ word from the end of a line, will help to develop this. Finger fun! If your child wants to write letters, make sure the letters are formed correctly –

left to right, top to bottom. Writing with a finger in sand or on the carpet – something with texture – is a good way to help your child to learn the shapes. Number knowledge Encourage counting while baking together. For example 3 eggs, 4 spoons of sugar etc, counting out items when laying the table, seeing how many strawberries can fit in a bowl, sharing raisins. The important thing is counting 1 to 10. Count steps and railings, numbers on houses, red cars, even grannies on the bus! Story time Get into a daily habit of reading to your child. Sit together and enjoy a book. Praise the telling of the story, not the detailed accuracy. The emphasis is on enjoying books and being comfortable with them. Available to mums on the high street, the Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper series will introduce children to characters that they will go on to experience in school. Knowing these characters will help to provide a feeling of security for the child as they enter the school room and encourage more confidence in reading with their new teacher. The survey and tips were commissioned to re-launch Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper.

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Precise Pronunciation By Tami Reis-Frankfort, Reading Specialist and Director of Phonic Books Do you say ‘SSSS’ or ‘SUH’ for snake? “You don’t say ‘suh’ Mummy! Miss Kay says it should be ‘SSSSS’. We must say it properly.” Another parent stands corrected. This conversation is taking place all over the UK. Children are learning to read with Synthetic Phonics and learning a new way of saying the letter sounds. Whether learning through Jolly Phonics, Letters and Sounds (the DFE programme), or other phonic programmes, a whole new generation is growing up on ‘mmmm’ and ‘nnnnn’ and ‘ssssss’. Children are learning ‘pure sounds’ or ‘precise pronunciation’. This may leave parents somewhat bewildered as they were not taught to read in this way. It is a fact: saying separate sounds in words does not come naturally to us. But in any classroom today you will hear a funny ‘robot talk’: ‘c’ ‘a’ ‘t’ for cat and ‘d’ ‘o’ ‘g’ for dog etc. So why are teachers insisting on teaching the ‘precise pronunciation’ of the sounds of the alphabet? Why is this important? In Synthetic Phonics the letters on the page prompt sounds which are then pushed or ‘blended’ together. In order to recognise a word when you are ‘blending’ sounds together, you need to hear them as they appear in the word. Take the word ‘mat’: the sounds in the word are not ‘muh’ ‘a’ ‘tuh’. If you push the sounds ‘mu’ ‘a’ ‘tuh’ together – you get ‘muhatuh’ (not ‘mat’). The sounds in the words are ‘mmmm’ ‘aaaa’ ‘t’. We need to say the sounds precisely to recognise the word ‘mat’. The reverse process happens when children are taught to spell. First they need to ‘segment’ (isolate) the sounds

in the word and write letters that represent those sounds. Again, if they pronounce them inaccurately they are likely to misspell them. A classic example is when a child spells the word ‘jumper’ as ‘jump’. If they pronounce the letter ‘p’ as ‘puh’ they may think they don’t need to add the ‘er’ at the end of the word. So precise pronunciation is at the very core of Synthetic Phonics. How can parents get to learn precise pronunciation? Where can they hear these new sounds? The best place to look this up is on You Tube. Search ‘Sounds of the English Phonic Code’ and you will be able to hear me say the sounds. This video clip is specifically designed to help parents practice the sounds that children are taught in school. Visit where you can download a free chart with the corresponding spellings for the sounds. You will also see books that your children can read independently and successfully when learning to read with Synthetic Phonics. The best time to do it would be when the kids are in bed – then you won’t have them looking over your shoulder correcting you!

Education Homework help for parents A survey commissioned by a new education service for parents, Educating Together, has revealed that nearly two thirds of the UK’s parents need help with homework for their kids on such basics as maths (65%), English (25%) and Science (11%) from primary school to university. The nationwide survey also revealed parents are increasingly worried about their own children’s behaviour, with topics ranging from eating disorders to self harm. Although confidence by parents in teaching staff remains high in the UK, parents admitted to not knowing anything or little about their child’s educational potential, and feel ill-equipped to find out more, knowing educational resources in schools are already fully stretched. An overwhelming majority of fathers want instant self-help solutions via the internet for down-loadable help available at a time to suit them, while the majority of mothers preferred to speak to someone in confidence about their child’s performance, according to the Educating Together survey.

Following on from the research, two teachers with over 40 years’ experience in teaching between them, have developed the UK’s first live and interactive educational support website ( aimed at parents, offering a one-stop shop for advice on the National Curriculum along with advice on social and behavioural issues, which can impact on parents, children, school and family life. “Parents are navigating an all too often complex educational landscape in trying to understand, and respond to their children’s educational needs at a time when education is in a state of flux, and household budgets are already too stretched to pay for additional individual tuition,” said Lorrae Jaderberg, co-founder of Educating Together. “We have developed a website which is easily accessible and affordable – costing less than a chocolate bar at 30p per day – staffed by professional teaching staff with vast experience in all matters relating to a child’s educational well-being,” she added.

The new website has educational advisors nationwide which parents can rely upon for support and confidential one-to-one advice, seven days a week from 7am until 11pm. It also offers family packages available at only £10 per month which covers subjects on the National Curriculum with downloadable parent advice and children’s activity sheets. Individual child assessments to assess a child’s current levels of achievements and potential, as well as practical advice on how to improve a child’s academic performance, are available at only £50 as a one-off fee for members. If parents can’t afford the new website’s membership fees, there’s a range of valuable and free information available including advisory films and webinars and a ‘Treehouse’ – a fun and safe educational area for children to use – with a resident children’s author, in addition to social media feeds, plus topical news and comment from educational experts, to keep parents abreast of issues that really matter and how they affect them.

The curse of the social sites?

Almost half of parents believe their children would do better in school if they weren’t constantly distracted by social networking sites and other websites, according to new research. The YouGov poll found 62% of parents with kids aged 12 to 17, and 36% of those with children aged six to 11, were worried about slipping grades and a detrimental effect on schoolwork. In an earlier survey of 500 teachers, half said pupils’ fixations on social networking was affecting their ability to concentrate in class. Read the full report at school-grades-suffer-as-socialnetworking-hampers-homework.

Bring fun to WIN WIN WIN One of 5 Back to School education and labelling sets education to fun!

Check out the latest BrainBox Games from the team at Green Board Games, including the new BrainBox Olympian Sports, Reminisce 1990 – 2010 and World History for 2011. Aimed at children aged 3 – 11, the games can be played at home or at school, with teachers using the games to support key areas of the national curriculum from numeracy and literacy to science and history. BrainBox games also won the Green Apple Award last year, so you can rest assured you are buying a product which is made of recycled and ethically sourced materials. Many games are also multi-lingual! They cost from £10 at

We may only be about to start the summer holidays, but before we know it, it’ll be time to get labelling! Easy2Name’s huge variety of Clothes labels (stick on, iron one or sew on), Shoe labels and Bag Tags take the hassle out of labelling and are proven to work in the toughest situations. We’ve got 5 Back to School sets to be given away to Families Cheshire readers. Simply go to our website and enter now! The competition closes on Sunday 31 July. If you’re not one of our winners, you can still get 10% off your order – simply enter Families as your Promotional Code when placing your order online at | Families Cheshire 7

Parents’ place Mums in business Meet two more local mums who have recently launched their own businesses – simply by developing a germ of an idea and following their own passions.

Claire Rocuzzi Antenatal Educator, Doula, Postnatal Supporter

Tell us a bit about yourself. I was born in Coventry and grew up in Northwich; our family moved to South Africa when I was 9 years old. We moved back here in 2009 with my husband, Carlo and our two daughters – Daniella aged seven and Chiara aged four. I have a passion for birth and pregnancy, and a desire to empower women to make informed choices. I qualified as a doula in 2007 and ran my own doula practice for 2 years, before moving back to the UK. Some of my other studies include lactation management as well as some perinatal education modules such as HIV/Aids and Pregnancy, Newborn care and Kangaroo Mother Care, and I am currently completing a Diploma of Higher Education in Adult Education – Antenatal Education at the University of Bedfordshire. What is your business? Better Birthing offers a wide range of services, from antenatal classes to doula support both postnatal and in labour and breastfeeding advice too. It is important to me that all women receive information that they need, when they need it. All in all, the whole childbearing process is a wondrous celebration of all that is woman. My calling is to add to this experience, making it a memorable one by providing emotional support and knowledge to the mother-to-be and partner. How did you get started? When I had my eldest daughter, I was not at all happy with the birth and how it went. I started working at a private baby clinic and the midwife there saw my passion for birthing and suggested I looked at becoming a doula. I made a few calls and that was it – I trained and started up my practice. When we moved to the UK I had to leave that behind and started looking into antenatal education too. So it all started from a passion and a dream and now I am able to do something that I really love and believe in. What does the future hold for the business? My Better Birthing website was launched in May this year and I am

starting with one-on-one and group classes. At the moment it’s all about getting noticed and getting the name out there; I believe that the services I offer will speak for themselves and word of mouth will also bring in more mums-to-be. I do hope that one day Better Birthing will be a well-known name for providing quality, relevant and up to date antenatal information and postnatal support throughout Cheshire and Greater Manchester. What is the best bit about what you do? I love it all but I have to say that the best bit is when a couple mentions how something we chatted about in classes made a difference in their labour. Also seeing them as parents with their newborn babies –that look of happiness and pride on their faces is priceless. Any bad bits? I hate that I have to let go, I really get attached to my antenatal couples and I hate to say goodbye and release them. I do love seeing them years later or on Facebook when their babies are 2 or 3 years old; that makes up for the bad bit. How do you fit work around family life? Both of my girls are at school, so I use that time to get through admin and anything else that needs to be done. But I do have a very supportive husband who helps me around the house and we regularly take family time out where we turn off phones and do family things like picnics or game nights. Most of my face to face client work is done in evenings when my girls are sleeping so that helps, but I do keep an eye on things, as I need to spend time with my hubby too which is also important. What advice would you give to other mums looking to work for themselves? First and foremost to do something that you love! While working for yourself has its perks in that you set the hours and you set the pace, it needs to be something that motivates you. I don’t think I could do anything that was just for the sake of it. Also, you need to set boundaries and make sure that you have time for your children, yourself and your partner. I think that there is a danger of the work taking over, especially if you work based at home. Finally to believe in yourself and to believe in what you do and have fun doing it! Find out more at, or email

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Annabel Beattie Owner – Banana Lane

Tell us a bit about yourself. I’m a 35 year old mother to Freddie aged eight and Matilda aged five. I’m married to Ed and live in Tytherington, Cheshire. I was born and brought up in Cheshire. After studying in Oxford and working in London I returned to my roots in 2000. A couple of years later I married Ed and we started our family. What is your business? Banana Lane is a quality baby and kids brand currently offering cool and funky clothing that stands out from the normal high street labels. It’s based online – – and its whole ethos is about finding new and exciting ideas that offer something distinctive and funky to wear. How did you get started? I met Paul through my husband’s marketing agency and noticed that he was always doodling funky characters. I said to him one day that children would love the characters and that he should do something with them. After an underwhelming online shopping experience trying to buy a gift for my godson I decided that there was a gap in the market for funky, original clothing and I approached Paul to design some t-shirts for me – Banana Lane was born! What does the future hold for the business? Currently the site offers quality clothing and we’ll be adding to the range over the coming months. However, the longer term aim is to add a range of products, including toys, gifts,

shoes, bedding and other items while still retaining the unique and funky spirit. What is the best bit about what you do? Every day is different. I know it’s a cliché but it’s true! I never knew how much was involved in designing something from scratch – the sourcing of the items, the choice of colours, sizes, characters – the list is endless. But it has been an amazing journey and I have really enjoyed every second. Any bad bits? It’s time consuming finding suppliers that are able to deliver the correct goods and making sure that the quality of the items that I put on the website are of a high enough standard. I am a true believer in ‘quality not quantity’ and know that my approach will pay dividends in the long run not just for me but more importantly for my customers. How do you fit work around family life? Juggling is a skill that all mothers have to learn to survive – I just have a few extra balls to try and keep up in the air! Luckily my kids are at an age where they can do a lot of things for themselves and it helps that this kind of business can be worked on anytime of the day. Of course the continued support of my husband is priceless – we make a good team. What advice would you give to other mums looking to work for themselves? If it’s something that you are really interested in and passionate about then give it a go. But be realistic – do your research thoroughly and be honest with yourself regarding the amount of time you’ll need to give up. Be prepared to put in a lot of hard work as owning your own business is not all glitz and glamour. But from my experience it’s well worth the effort. Check out the funky range on

Mediation for divorcing couples Mediation has become the first-tier approach to sorting out disputes between divorcing couples, under new measures that came into force in England and Wales this spring. Ministers hope the measures will dramatically reduce the burden of divorcing couples on already-overworked family courts, and also that they will reduce the emotional and financial cost for couples who are splitting up – many

who do end up in court say later that their battle wasn’t worth putting themselves through, and that mediation would have been a better way. Under the new rules, any couple wanting to use the courts will have to undergo a compulsory mediation session costing up to £140 – and only if mediation is found to be unworkable will they be allowed to proceed to court.

Parents’ place Looking to develop your Personal Style?

Study in Style is a comprehensive Image Consultant Complete Foundation Course that’s ideal for Mums wanting a family-friendly way to return to work. It’s a flexible, affordable, distance learning package that brings a new career as an Image Consultant, Personal Stylist or Personal Shopper closer to thousands of women across the UK. The course is priced at £2,400 (payment plan available) with separate modules offered from just £450. Because the modular DVD-based course can be studied at your own pace in your own time, it’s ideal for Mums at home looking for training that will fit around their busy family life. Course modules include: Personal Shopping; Women’s Style Analysis; Men’s Style Analysis; Colour Analysis; Makeup Application; and Presentation Skills. It also includes a total of 12 month’s free mentoring from image industry expert Gail Morgan. Karen Cross, 42, is a recent graduate. “I found it a tactile, flexible and interactive course and am delighted that I’m working with new clients already. I set up Style Your Image and I’ve been doing clients properly since Christmas 2010 and am really seeing growing demand for my unique service.” Designed to provide all the information and equipment you need to start your own business as an Image Consultant, Fashion Advisor, Personal Stylist or Personal Shopper, the Study in Style course is accredited and audited by The Federation of Image Consultants (TFIC). All training content, equipment and materials are audited by TFIC and the course

meets the standards set by the TFIC/City & Guilds of London, Masters Award in Image Consultancy. Gail Morgan, creator of Study in Style says: “This course has been designed for women who are interested in clothes and fashion but who don’t necessarily want to become fashionistas! Our face to face courses are very popular but we had numerous requests for a home study course. I knew that using just books and photographs wouldn’t be enough, so I transferred the training experience into DVD and created this distance learning programme, so that wherever you are, you will have the opportunity to run your own style business. Following your training you will have the knowledge and appreciate the importance of tact and empathy necessary to help your clients find clothes that suit them, their lifestyle, personality and budget. You will be able to start your own business, doing a fun, interesting job that gives you the flexibility to work around your family commitments.” For more details visit

WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN To win a one-to-one remote image and coaching session worth £200 with image industry expert Gail Morgan, just go to the competition section on our website – – and answer the following question: “Who is the Study in Style training course accredited by?” The competition closes 31 July.

Advertise in Families Cheshire Call Jayne on: 01625 801801 or email | Families Cheshire 9

Parents’ place A dad’s point of view

Bruce Sallan recently celebrated his 100th “A dad’s point of view” column on – no nonsense advice for parents. I find it hard to believe but this is my one hundredth “A Dad’s Point-of-View” column. How best to celebrate this milestone? I’d like to look back at the previous 99 and choose ten strong ideas among them and briefly share them with you. 1. There’s no such thing as quality time. I learned early on in my parenting that the often-quoted notion of “Quality Time” was bunk. The only thing that matters to our children is “Quantity Time” since the only time they will open up is when they are good and ready. You can’t schedule time with your children the way you might with a business appointment and the moments that will surprise you the most are when you least expect it. There is no such thing as quality time, only quantity time. 2. Gratitude About five years ago, I survived a car crash that should have left me dead or worse. A man I greatly respect, Dennis Prager, has often said that the single most important ingredient to happiness

is gratitude. That accident reinforced, very dramatically, his words to me. Too often we are living our lives waiting for that something we think will make us happy rather than counting the blessings right in front of us. 3. My kids aren’t me, in spite of sharing the same DNA I learned a valuable lesson about parenting before I became a parent, when I was a Big Brother to a little girl. We shared nothing in common. I learned to bond with her in spite of our differences and found that experience to be the best prep course for parenting my own two boys, who also turned out to not fully share my interests. Too many parents think that just because their children share their DNA (which of course is not the case in adoption) that their children should share their same interests. All this does is set a pattern of hurt and disappointment for both child and parent. Don’t do this. Support what your child is interested in rather than push him or her to do what you want them to do.

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4. Words that hurt, words that heal The power of words can be as harmful as the power of a fist. With the advent of modern technology, we’ve seen the damage that a simple text can do to a middle school child when something hurtful is spread around about him or her. And, like a leaf blown in the wind, it can’t be retrieved. It is incumbent upon us as parents to teach our children to watch what we say, what we write, and what we text and to model good behaviour in this regard and not gossip and not disparage others with casual disregard. 5. Best friend or best parent The job of being a parent is not being our children’s best friend, yet too many parents confuse the two and try to be their children’s buddy. To achieve this buddy status, they forego being their best parent. That may mean not being strict, not holding high standards, or relaxing them when their children pout or throw a tantrum. Being the best parent you can be may sometimes mean your son or daughter doesn’t like you at a given moment. So what. Being liked isn’t your job. Being their best dad or mom is! 6. Do women need men? A popular feminist slogan of the 1960’s and 1970’s went something like: “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” “We’ve come a long way, baby” is another slogan, I believe, from a cigarette that was marketed to women during the same general era. More bunk. Women need men just as much as men need women. It was foolish to think otherwise back in the hippie days and it’s foolish to think so now. The fact that women now can earn as much and can do what men can do just levels the playing field but doesn’t change our inherent natures. 7. A story of giving One of the blessings of my writing and radio show is meeting people from all over the world. I met a group of children from a girl’s school in Ghana, Africa, through my “A Dad’s Point-of-View” Facebook page. My family began sending them books and soon my readers and radio show listeners were also sending them books, toys, and other things. We all learned the blessings of giving and charity and how when we give, we get so much more than we ever could expect. 8. There are no perfect friends My mother taught me this basic lesson and I kept on forgetting it as I kept on wanting my friends to be perfect. Just like me. Ha! I also saw how my own boys got into spats with their friends over silly and unrealistic expectations of their friends.

My mom always said that if you wanted perfect friends you wouldn’t have any. 9. The family dinner I read somewhere that the children from families that share meals together suffer fewer problems than those that don’t. The family dinner is essential glue for my family and something that belongs as a ritual in every family. As our children grow older and their friendships and extracurricular activities intrude more and more upon their lives, it is easier to allow the family dinner to drift away. We parents must insist on having a family dinner at least once a week, period. 10. Walk a mile in my shoes Empathy is a simple but very important word. How often do we pass a homeless person without a thought or glance? Or hear a friend’s problem and promptly forget about it? Until you really do as the song says and walk a mile in someone’s shoes, you can’t really know what he or she may be going through. Too often we are caught up in our own problems, big or small, to pay attention to someone else’s problems, which I suggest, are usually bigger than ours. A little reflection upon someone else is a good thing to do now and then. It is good for your soul. I hope these short reflections from these columns give you some pause to consider the blessings in your lives, maybe to think what you might do to help a friend or neighbour, or to simply hug a loved one and offer a kind word or thought. For me, it’s on to the next hundred. Article courtesy of Superdads, helping men everywhere make the transition into fatherhood and beyond!!

Parents’ place Be your own boss Today, nearly two-thirds of mums are in work and statistics show that on average, working mums spend more time on childcare each day than working dads. It is not surprising then, that flexible working is a top priority for most parents. With that in mind, many women are considering starting their own business and more and more are discovering the advantages franchising has to offer. For Verity Graham, Co-director of Jabberjacks Franchising Ltd, that was exactly the case when she and her business partner Jackie Johnstone became Franchise Owners of Jabberjacks Leicestershire, a children’s party and pre-school class business. Verity explains “There are few flexible and rewarding careers out there for mums, particularly those that offer part time hours that fit around family life but for us franchising offered two key benefits, firstly we were buying into a business with a proven track record and secondly we got the flexibility we needed to get a work life balance.” Now owners of Jabberjacks Franchising Ltd, they are offering others the same opportunity. Jabberjacks now has franchises operating around the UK with six in the North West area and they are busy looking for other likeminded people to join the Jabberjacks family. Franchising offers security and independence of self-employment, so is ideal for busy mums considering a route into business.

Two North West mums have joined the Jabberjacks family as the company continues to build its growing reputation as an emerging force in franchising and children’s entertainment. Rachel Letts has joined the team as the new franchise owner for the Jabberjacks Crewe, Nantwich and Sandbach while Wendy Rowland is the new franchise owner for the Jabberjacks Chester, Northwich and Winsford. Rachel, who lives in Crewe, used to work as a Marketing Manager and more recently as a personal assistant but also has experience of running her own family business. “After watching one of the Jabberjacks Parties I just knew I had to take up this opportunity to be able to offer parents in my area access to a thoroughly unique and quite amazing party and class service, which fuels children’s imagination whilst maintaining their interest.” she says. “Not only does Jabberjacks provide me with a fun and exhilarating business but it also allows me to spend more valuable time with my family.” Wendy Rowland, who lives in Winsford, previously worked in sales and marketing for a Manchester based music company and has recently been on maternity leave. As she looked to return to work she found the hours for her previous job inflexible and started looking at franchising opportunities; after attending a Jabberjacks session, she signed up to become a franchisee. Wendy says: “Jabberjacks is the allround business package that I had been looking for. As a mum, a job to work

around family life, as a business woman, to broaden my horizons and as a drama teacher, who wanted to return to working with children. The friendly attitude and strong support network along with a proven track record as a successful and profitable business in the children’s sector gives me the confidence to take charge of my own destiny. I’m proud to be part of the Jabberjacks team.” Jackie Johnstone comments: “Many mums find they suffer from a lack of confidence after leaving the job market for so long but that isn’t necessary. You have to take a deep breath and go for it.”

Franchising helps to support that confidence building and learning curve because it provides a tried and tested business model with full training and ongoing support from your franchisor, as well as support from other franchise owners that have already made the transition. Franchising can be like a security blanket, although it is important to realise that it isn’t handholding all the way; you are running your own business and you need to put in the work. For more information please visit or call 01509 413873. | Families Cheshire 11

Health & fitness Feeling the pressure to shape up? to shift the weight they gained as soon as possible. The things that the ‘in shape’ celebrities don’t tell us is the amount that they spend on personal trainers and chefs that specialise in ‘healthy living’; not to mention the fact that many have a lot more spare time to work on losing weight. It isn’t fair for women to pressure themselves into keeping up with celebrities as they have completely different lifestyles. New mothers should only focus on their new baby and keeping themselves healthy, as losing weight gradually, if needed at all, is always the best way to do it.”

With celebrity mothers such as Rachel Stevens and Rachel Zoe frequently being photographed looking back to their pre-pregnancy shape just weeks after child birth, the UK’s leading discount website conducted a study with over 1,400 mothers in a bid to discover their attitudes towards losing their baby weight. The study, conducted by, initially asked the respondents if they wanted to lose the weight that they had gained during their pregnancy, to which the majority, 84%, admitted that they did want to. Mothers taking part were asked, ‘Do you feel pressured by celebrity mothers who have lost their baby weight quickly to do the same?’ More than a third, 34%, of the mothers asked said that they did feel pressured. 24% of the mothers polled admitted that before labour they thought that it would take them ‘6 weeks’ to lose the additional weight that they would gain, whilst 9% had predicted during the early stages of their pregnancy that it would take them just ‘two weeks’ to lose the weight that they would put on during their pregnancy. Mark Pearson, Chairman of, said: “As a nation, we are almost obsessed with keeping an eye on the celebrities we admire, particularly when it comes to their appearance. Most female celebs have released a diet and exercise regime or some kind of ‘secret’ that they have that keeps them in shape, and subsequently it isn’t that surprising that some mothers are feeling pressured

Maddi from Newborn Fitness ( talks us through a few options for getting out of control pants and back into skinny jeans. As Pre & Post Natal Exercise Consultants, her company has helped thousands of women achieve this. Personal Training Personal Training is an option for people who may want to get back into shape in private and with the personal attention and aftercare of a trainer in a one to one setting. The benefits of this are that you can have sessions completely tailored to suit your specific needs, requirements and goals and these can be held wherever you choose, whether at home, outside or in a private studio. Another great thing about this option is that, as a new mum you can work sessions around feeding, sleeping and other activities which may impact upon your available time but which you would rather not rearrange or stop. The number of sessions is dependent upon budget and the beauty of personal training is that you will be given separate work to do at home and have a full range of support outside of sessions. There will also be no need for equipment as everything you need will be brought to your door to make sessions effective, fun and worry free, all you need do is simply be there with a smile and a willingness to work!! Post Natal Exercise Classes These are a very popular choice and usually have 2 options, indoor and outdoor sessions. The beauty of the post natal exercise class is that the sessions can be designed around the needs and requirements of the post natal body and the demands of being a new mum but without the cost of a one to one Trainer and whilst having fun getting fit with other new mums. Benefits of classes are endless; you get programmes to help

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meet your needs, all equipment will be provided during sessions and proper teaching points given to help you exercise on your own safely at home; there is no need for separate childcare as baby comes along; you get committed to a programme taking care of yourself (usually 5 – 6 week bookings at a time) and you get to meet other mums going through exactly the same process at the same time! Gyms You may want to head down to your local gym. This can be a great option but it is important that you speak to a post natal specialist from within the gym or hire the services of someone externally who can advise on and monitor the activity you do at the gym but remotely (i.e. someone who will consult with you in a one to one setting and then devise programmes and schedules for you to do independently whilst at the gym). Maria, personal trainer and coowner of Glo Family in Cheadle says: “Shaping-up after pregnancy and birth is a slow process and patience is required. You will need a six week check and a chat with your doctor to make sure you are ok to begin some gentle exercise. Joints and ligaments will still be relaxed, particularly if you are breast feeding, and you need to take things slowly. Always look for a specialist in post-natal exercise to start your training with, getting the right advice is really important. Not only will starting exercise again make you feel more confident, it will help you stay strong and fit enough to cope with the rigours of motherhood. ” Glo Family offers some great ways to shape up with specialist trainers: Postnatal workout (Mondays 10.30) includes an all over body workout which is safe and effective. The class is led by an highly experienced Postnatal Personal Trainer. On Tuesdays, Postnatal Pilates (Tuesdays 1 – 2 pm) with Physiotherapist Kath Taylor works on strengthening those core muscles and regaining your pre-baby shape and tone. You can bring babies to both classes. Hatha Yoga (Tuesdays 7.30) is another gentle form of exercise which will help your body recuperate and strengthen. For more information visit Emma Dart of Buggyfit ( offers up some safe post-baby abdominal exercises Rectis Abdominus Separation occurs

when the muscles at the front of the tummy separate (sometimes seen by a dark line). In pregnancy EVERYONE’s tummy muscles separate to make room for the baby, and after birth it can take some time for these muscles to re-join. There is no set time for recovery; it varies from person to person and they may never re-join fully, however it’s only a problem if the gap remains a certain width. The abdomen is the area all new Mums want to target first and we think that mammoth amounts of sit-ups will do the trick... NOT NECESSARILY! It’s really important to understand that inappropriate abdominal work will result in doming. Should you not allow the muscles to re-join sufficiently (less than 2 finger gap) then the muscles sitting behind this gap will prolapse (squeeze through) the gap and your tummy will be rounded and not flat. Please avoid crunches, curls and certainly any sit-ups involving twisting until after the 12 week stage. At this point it’s important you understand how the gap in your tummy is doing before you progress. Don’t assume that because you’re past the 12 week post natal stage your gap will be acceptable to commence abdominal exercise – it can take months in some cases. It’s not an area checked by medics and not all sports/fitness professionals carry a postnatal qualification, so would not check either. But don’t panic! You are in the best place at a Buggyfit class, as we all have postnatal training and can work to encourage these muscles back. We won’t antagonize the situation and know which exercises NOT to do! Here’s an abdominal exercise that’s safe for all, immediately after birth: • Whilst standing, sitting or lying down – draw your tummy button back towards your spine. • Keep your shoulders relaxed, don’t let your chest rise, just the tummy button area moves back (it’s the area you’d be looking to suck back if you were getting out of the sea in your bikini or the area you hold in when your trousers are too tight!) • Hold the tummy button back for 30 seconds, then let everything hang out! • Repeat the exercise 4 times, building up to 8 times, progressing to 1 minute holds. • This is much more tiring than it sounds! NOTE – don’t squeeze the bottom cheeks tempting as it may be!

Health & fitness Game, set and match in miniature

As tennis fever hits the country following Wimbledon, the good news is that there are lots of opportunities to play tennis with Tennis Tykes, the unique tennis play and skills programme for boys and girls from 2 years upwards in the Cheshire and South Manchester area. But why play tennis and what are the benefits for your child? The USTA (US Tennis Association) recently engaged the services of a top scientist (Jack L.

Groppel, PhD) who looked at the facts and confirmed that tennis really is the healthiest activity that people can participate in and “a sport for life.” He states that many sports can promote your well-being but that tennis is the best in ensuring great physical, emotional and mental well-being. Tennis players scored higher in vigour, optimism and self-esteem than other athletes (Dr. Joan Finn and colleagues at Southern Connecticut State University). Scientists at the University of Illnois also showed that playing tennis requires alertness and tactical thinking and that it may therefore generate new connections between nerves in the brain thus promoting a lifetime of continuing development of the brain. All this, in addition to the obvious physical benefits, with studies on calorific expenditure going so far as to show that

competitive tennis burns more calories than aerobics or cycling. Caroline Buncall, founder of Tennis Tykes, has seen the positive effects tennis has had on the physical and emotional development of young children through her sessions. The children who come to the weekly sessions start from preschool age and as young as 2 years old and she also runs classes at a number of high quality nursery schools. “We initially look to develop simple ball skills and introduce mini rackets with the children hitting sponge balls over low mini nets. The children find it great fun and we discuss colours and numbers to aid their educational development. The classes develop children’s basic co-ordination skills, gross and fine motor control, agility and balance and at the same time also promote social interaction, develop confidence and language and

listening skills as they participate with their peers. Personal achievement is also rewarded and we build on the skills achieved each week with stickers and charts for every child and suggestions for ball practise to try at home. Andy Murray started playing tennis at the age of 3 with his Mum, Judy, so why not give your child the chance to enjoy the same, great lifelong sport. They may or may not be the next Andy Murray, but the science is clear that playing tennis can only positively benefit your child in a large number of ways. Tennis Tykes classes take place in Bramhall, Didsbury, Hale, Knutsford and Wilmslow. For further information and to book your FREE TASTER LESSON, please log onto or contact Caroline on 07843 342662 /

Women on wheels for fitness and fun New Bollington Health & Leisure classes

Olympic Gold medallist Victoria Pendleton will be taking part in Cycletta, sponsored by Sky Ride, a unique series of women-only, mass participation events, created for women to cycle for fitness and fun in the perfect environment and to inspire more women to take up cycling. Two events are scheduled in 2011; Cycletta North on 2nd October at Tatton Park near Manchester and Cycletta South on the 11th September at Whipsnade Zoo, Beds near London. Thousands of women are expected to take part, inspired by the opportunity to cycle alongside Victoria and take on a new sporting challenge. Cycletta events will take place on a 40km course, a distance specifically designed to provide a fitness challenge, while remaining fun, achievable and accessible. Cyclists of all abilities will be tackling the challenge, from committed enthusiasts looking for a blast on traffic free roads, to women who are eager to regain their confidence back in the saddle. The Cycletta experience will begin from registration, with regular training tips,

equipment and nutrition advice, including personal anecdotes of support from the current Olympic gold medallist. Victoria said: “Cycling has been my passion since I was a child. Through the Cycletta series I want to inspire women to join me and cycle; as a hobby, a sport, a way to get fit and healthy. Whatever the reasoning, cycling can improve your life. I hope Cycletta will bring women together as they take on their own cycling challenge.” Victoria is joined by a dynamic group of Cycletta ambassadors including celebrity Mothers Gabby Logan, and Gail Emms as well as Miranda Hart and Clare Balding who will do their part to encourage and motivate women to take up cycling. Join Victoria and others by visiting

Bollington Health & Leisure is already well known locally for the excellent range of classes it offers and now they are now expanding the list even further to include classes aimed specifically at ladies who are pregnant or who have recently had a baby. Suitable for any stage of pregnancy and post birth, the key aim will be to

improve each mum’s knowledge of safe and effective exercise to help maintain fitness and improve recovery. The classes are some quality ‘me time’ where the focus is not on looking picture perfect but on being fit and well. For more information on the classes please call Bollington Health & Leisure on 01625 574774. | Families Cheshire 13

Summertime special ©GERAS

Fourteen simple but fabulous things to do this summer The sun is out, the school holidays are almost here. What are you going to do – ideally without spending a fortune – in the lovely, long (we hope!) summer ahead? Joanna Moorhead shares her top ideas for how to enjoy the days – and lay down some happy memories. 1. Visit a pick-your-own farm

“That was the best day of my life,” says my daughter Miranda, 12, of our trip a couple of summers ago to a pick-yourown farm. She loved everything about it: choosing which farm to go to beforehand, looking online at what would be in season on our visit, running around picking strawberries when we got there, and making jam and puddings with her fruit when we got home afterwards. There are more than 600 pick-your-own farms across the UK; to find some in your area, see

2. Organise a street party If you enjoyed your Royal Wedding street party – or if you looked on enviously at other people’s parties – why not throw one this summer? It’s a lovely way to spend a summer evening – and if you don’t want to go to the hassle of getting the council to close the road, and you’re lucky enough to have a park or green space nearby, you could always hold it there instead. Simply drop invitations through your neighbours’ doors, and organise a planning meeting. 3. Plant a veggie grow-bag You don’t need any more space than a window-box, or a tiny space in your yard, for a veggie grow-bag – and your kids will love deciding what to plant, sowing the seeds, remembering to water them and then charting their progress from seedling to stomach. Potatoes are an ideal starter veg if you’re new to growing.

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4. Pitch a tent in the garden

5. Stargaze!

Whether your family are regular campers or not, there’s nothing to beat the excitement of a tent pitched in the garden. If you don’t have your own, borrow one from a friend who camps – not too big, ideally, and not too difficult to assemble. Once it’s up, encourage the children to decorate it with all they need for a long, lazy day in the garden – cushions, blankets, books, iPods. And of course, lunch and tea can be picnics under canvas!

Choose a night when the sky is very clear, and there’s no moon. Before you go out, look online or at a book about the constellations, and choose a shape to look for that should be visible at the time of year, and in the area you’re facing (check these before you go). Look out for the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius. If you’re an amateur at stargazing, start with a (relatively) easy constellation to spot, such as the Big Dipper. It might take a while to work things out, but stick with it – and once you’ve identified a constellation, you’ll always find it easy to spot. Always magical.

Summertime special 6. Go cycling

Dust off your helmet, pump up your tyres, and head for a spin through a local park, along a canal bank, or along a cycle track. If you’re not sure what routes are available in your area, check out Or, if you really don’t have any old bikes hanging around that you can crank back into service, why not investigate the possibility of hiring them for a day (or even a week) and exploring your neighbourhood in a whole new way? And if your kids are tiny, invest in a baby seat – my children loved nothing more, as toddlers, than the chance to ride across the common singing nursery rhymes on the front of my bike. 7. Build a den Den-building courses abound (see, and taking your kids on a course can give them ideas for dens for the entire summer. But you don’t need a tutor: den-building is as natural as breathing to most kids. Look for spaces that are especially conducive to dens – woods, of course, are ideal. If you’re confined to the garden, find some props to get them started – a huge cardboard box is perfect. If you’ve not got one to hand, try asking a local builder or large store whether they have any packaging you could have. 8. Go wild swimming...

...or even, if your kids are tiny, wild paddling? Nothing beats the fresh, cool, vibrant feel of wild water on your face or even just between your toes. Some of my happiest summer days as a mother have been spent picnicking, and paddling, and even swimming in the streams and brooks around where my parents lived in west Yorkshire. For ideas of where to go to find wild water near you, see If you’re an abject townie who really can’t get to somewhere with a stream or river, make do with a lido instead –

9. Try sand sculpture

Sand sculpting is bigger than ever before – each summer, the papers groan with photographs of wonderfully-crafted figures, buildings and entire kingdoms on beaches near and far. But it doesn’t have to be a professional art – why not take your children on a beach day out with sculpture in mind? Start with a flotsam and jetsam-collecting session, since this will add plenty of fuel to your ideas, and then set off. If you’re being competitive, give everyone a time limit for the creation of their masterpieces. 10. Organise a rounders match Everyone loves a rounders match (or you can make it cricket). Simply phone a few other families, identify your park or space for the match, choose your day, and pitch up with the bats and balls, the post-markers, and the rugs and picnics for lunch. Make sure the teams are wellbalanced in terms of age, ability etc, and play hard! It’s a wonderfully bonding experience. 11. Row a boat

Summer Festivals

13. Borrow a dog

You might own a dog already, of course, in which case just skip this idea and go take him or her out for a walk instead! But if you’re not a dog-owner, and if you have a child or children, chances are that a dog would be a welcome guest – so why not invite one over, for the day or even for the weekend? We regularly foster two dogs, Rocco and George, while their owners are away: my children love the chance to take them for walks and to bath them and feed them. It’s all the fun without the ties – and without enthusiasm ever waning. To find your dog, just ask around: dog-owners need breaks too. 14. Fly your kite


Everyone has a park with a boating lake somewhere within striking distance, so why not throw caution to the wind and try out the boats? Make sure the kids wear life jackets (which should be available from the hire attendant), and take it in turns to row (so what if you end up going round and round? It’s all part of the fun.). 12. Go fishing Kids love fishing! If you know an adult who enjoys fishing, get your child to chat with them – or go to visit the local riverbank or lake where people fish, and let your child ask the fishing folk questions. If your child seems keen, this might be a good time to invest in a fishing kit – but if you’d like to try it out without a big outlay, or your kids are young, go for a dipping net. And remember that, if you and your child take up ‘proper’ fishing, you’ll need a licence from the Environment Agency (

The sun is out, the sky is blue. There’s a breeze fluttering: and what could be more fun than watching your child’s kite playing on the gentle wind? Kites don’t always fly first time, of course – they take practice. But most homes have at least one kite forgotten in a cupboard – or you can make your own, using dowelling and paper and glue. If you’re really keen, there are even professionals who’ll give you kite-flying lessons in windy spots across the country – see

Thurs 7 – Sun 10 July Stockton Heath Festival – Stockton Heath Four days of live music, comedy, theatre, family entertainment & more. There’s something for everyone. Look out for “The Fantastic Mr Fox”, an open air film show, dance and gymnastic displays, puppet shows, a dog display an arts & crafts market and a farmer’s market. Sat 6 August Cloud9Festival – Love Lane Farm, Sandbach The camping site opens at 8am on Saturday 6th August (for camping ticket holders only – family camping tickets are available). Doors open at 11am, live music starts at 12pm right through till 12am followed for a Silent Disco in the Dance tent till 3am for the diehard youngsters. Food and drink stalls open on both Saturday and Sunday All ages welcome but anyone aged 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult aged 21 or older. Children under 10 go free. Fri 19 – Sun 21 August Just So Festival – Barnswood, Staffordshire The Just So Festival is a boutique, weekend-long festival of creativity aimed at children, young people and their families. On offer is a broad range of musical, theatrical, visual and aural performances, workshops and installations within a safe, natural and magical setting. Every clearing and glade holds a new way to unleash creativity. | Families Cheshire 15

Summertime special Summer Camps & Clubs Little Kickers Summer Camps School’s Out! Give yourself a break and the kids a fun introduction to football, by enrolling them on the five-day Little Kickers summer camp. Run by enthusiastic FAqualified football coaches, who are experts in working with pre-school & primary aged children, their programme will introduce passing, dribbling, attacking, defending and goal keeping in a fun, non-competitive environment – leaving you free to enjoy the sunshine with no need to worry about your Kickers. The summer programme is based on their tried-and-tested approach to football coaching for the under sevens, designed by early years experts, primary school teachers and football coaches – and develops a combination of physical skills, such as balance, coordination and agility, whilst also gently introducing social concepts, such as team-work, turn-taking and sharing. All their coaches are CRB-checked, hold a first aid certificate and – most importantly – are passionate about both working with children and the beautiful game! So if you’re keen to find a gentle introduction to the summer holidays, give them a call today on 01625 326177. Little Kickers summer camp will take place at Knutsford Leisure Centre between 21st and 27th July and will kick off at 8.30, with play ending at 12.30. Maximum class size is 16 children to 3 coaches. Take a look at for more info. Make some wishes come true with Summer Fairy & Hero Camps 2011 For a week in the Summer holidays, camps are running across the country to teach children just how to be fairies and heroes. After the success of the first set of camps in Cheshire last year, Make a Wish Entertainment is coming back to The Ryleys School in Alderley Edge to run them again for 2011. The camps are a fun filled five days of themed activities including making crafts, sports, dance, drama and singing. It really is a fresh take on Summer holiday camps that will give the children some amazing memories to take away with them. Running from 9am to 3pm daily for the week of 15th to 19th August, the camps can be used as a care solution for parents who need to work, or can simply be a fun way to fill a week of the long Summer break. Children as young as three are able to attend and enjoy the fun and frolics. For more information call 01924 281365 or visit

Perfect pony experiences At Cheshire Pony Parties, not only does Amanda create enchanting pony parties for the 2-12 age group but she also hosts wonderful hour long pony experiences for up to 3 children. There’s plenty of pony fun to occupy children during school holidays including NEW pony day and pony care and behaviour sessions where children can be left while parents work/shop/chill! Amanda’s open afternoons are also very popular, with grooming, pony pampering and a pony ride included. Full holiday session dates and details are available in her events diary online at Bespoke activities are available by arrangement on other dates e.g. club/nursery visits, private family visits, one-to-one’s etc. All activities take place in Amanda’s idyllic orchard at the bottom of her garden with her tiny, gentle ponies. “A friend told me you’re wonderful with the children” “It was the most stress-free party I’ve done” “Can I come back every day?” are just some of the comments she has received recently. Every child is treated as an individual and either encouraged or challenged appropriately. All activities must please be booked in advance. For more information please visit or ring Amanda on 01829 219106. Glo Family’s Holiday Diary There’s lots going on down at Glo Family in Cheadle to help keep the children entertained over the Summer holidays. French Holiday Club with La Jolie Ronde Age 3 – 11 10.30 – 12.30 (£5 deposit to reserve place) Wed 6, 13, 20 & 27 July Wed 17, 24 & 31 August Little Superstars unique fun multi sports for little ones Age 21 months to 5 years Tues 2 August 9.45 – 12.30, Mon 15 August 13.30 – 16.15 Thurs 25th August 9.45 – 12.30 Holiday clubs Age 3 – 5 years £10 a session 2½ hour clubs running 2 – 3 times weekly throughout the holidays. Leave your little ones in the care of Tiny NVQ registered staff to be entertained with sports and craft activities. For details of days and times, contact or 0844 800 7380.

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What do school holidays mean to you – lazy sunny days or childcare nightmares?

What are your childcare options during the holidays? A play scheme, asking family or friends for help, taking annual leave or even employing a childminder? Tiny Adventures has another option – their exciting new holiday club is now in operation and running at Macclesfield College with fun activities and lots to do. Primary school children aged 4 to 11 years can attend from 07.30 till 18.00. A crèche is also in operation for children yet to go to school. If you need emergency childcare at short notice in a clean, safe and secure environment, Tiny Adventures can provide this for your child. Thanks to the healthy and nutritious snacks and drinks provided for the children, Tiny Adventures is a winner of the Golden Apple award from Cheshire East Council for a healthy menu plan. Staff are qualified, CRB checked, experienced and a friendly bunch. To help parents save money on Childcare, Tiny Adventures is happy to accept childcare vouchers which can save up to £1,000 a year, and child tax credits can also help to pay for childcare fees. Discounts for full time places and siblings are available; see their website or call 01625 614195 for further details. Get them swimming this summer Looking for a swim course for your children this Summer? Swimabout is offering intensive week long courses in their ‘Swim Academy’. The club aims to get children active and motivated by teaching them new aquatic skills such as rescue, lifesaving and first aid whilst also developing swimming ability. ASA swimming badges and certificates can be achieved through the courses. Swim Academy will run from 1st – 5th August in Handforth & Holmes Chapel. Simon Gustafson, founder of Swimabout, says: “Having worked for many companies over the years I felt

restricted as to what I could do for the children because of the limitations of the company I had been working for and its course content. Being restricted as to what I could teach and not being able to deliver high standard of expertise frustrated me immensely as I knew I could personally give a lot more encouragement and satisfaction to not only the child but the watching parent. The syllabus that I have developed focuses heavily on enjoyment of innovative swim practices as I have seen from experience the success rate of completing any task will increase simply by having a smile on their faces. So the goal of each and every lesson is to motivate and push the children as far as they can go with maximum amount of fun in equal measure. The child will never be aware that its being developed as all they know is that they are having fun but in reality I’m manipulating specificity within the child…” Simon’s style of teaching really stands out from some of the other swim schools around as he views arm bands as swimming prevention rather than teaching aids. Simon says: “Think how nappies restrict movement in the legs and how over the years they have been steadily reduced in size to allow more movement. From the ages of one to four the human brain acts as a sponge, soaking up all information it can to digest and use for itself, learning speech, movement, recognition, understanding… then you plonk some arm bands on a child and ask them to swim! You are basically telling the developing brain – ‘Don’t move!’ I believe this to be harmful.” He added “But this is only true for the teaching of swimming, arm bands are an effective life support and should still be used where or when the situation requires.” Swimabout also run a regular Swim School with weekly term time lessons at various venues on weekdays and weekends. ASA swimming badges and certificates can be achieved through the term. Class sizes are kept small so the teacher can focus on individuals and really instil confidence and build on skills. Or if you are looking for something even more intense, or focused on a particular issue then private sessions can be booked. For more details about the Swimabout way call Simon on 07515 252708 or visit

Summertime special More ideas for holiday clubs and camps: 5-Day Summer Filmmaking School Ages 7 – 16 Monday 25th – Friday 29th July 2011, 9am – 4pm daily in Wilmslow £215 per child (£195 siblings and Saturday members) No previous experience of filmmaking is necessary. or call 0845 533 3763 Kings Camps Ages 4 – 17 Held at The King’s School (Chester), Sandbach School & Cheadle Hulme School Week-long activity camps or individual days with a great range of sports, activites, games and crafts. or call 0845 643 5272 Mad Science Camps Mon 25 – Fri 29 July / Mon 8 – Fri 12 Aug at Gorsey Bank Primary School, Wilmslow Mon 1 – Fri 5 Aug / Mon 15 – Fri 19 Aug at Navigation Primary School, Altrincham Children design, build and test a multitude of science projects and take at least one project home every day. 9.30am – 3.30pm £35 per day, £140 per week (10% sibling discount) /northwest or call 01772 628 844

Activate Sport Ages 5 – 12 Mon 1 – Fri 5 Aug / Mon 8 – Fri 12 Aug(Multi sport/activity) at The King’s School, Macclesfield Mon 25 – Fri 29 July (Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy) at Stockport Grammar School Mon 1 – Fri 5 Aug (Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy) / Tues 30 Aug – Thurs 1 Sept (Matt Dawson Rugby Academy) at Lymm High School 0115 973 1676 Funstations Ages 4 – 14 Thurs 21 July – Wed 31 Aug Offering a variety of activities from sport through dance and drama to arts and crafts in Tytherington and Chester. On-line discounts will be valid until Thursday 14th July. 0161 7180342 Council Run Holiday Camps Try your local leisure centre for holiday camps: Cheshire East Council 0300 123 55 00 / Cheshire West and Chester Council 0300 123 8 123 / The Football Academy Ages 4 – 14 Thurs 14 July – Fri 2 Sept Courses at various venues in Macclesfield 07738 239287 | Families Cheshire 17

Summertime special Something a little different Unleash the Marine in you Battlefield Live is a new, exciting and authentic combat experience to come to Knutsford; using sophisticated infra-red gaming guns it is the most realistic simulation short of joining the military. In fact the guns are so sophisticated that the military use them when training! There is no pain, no paint, no bruises, just adrenaline fuelled fun! Each session lasts a total of two hours and the game is played by dividing the group into two teams who are tactically briefed on live play missions. In each mission the aim is to defeat your enemy whilst protecting your comrades and securing your mission, with unlimited ammunition on offer at no extra cost there is always a lot of fun and loads of shooting! The game is played in an exclusive seven acre woodland which offers the perfect setting for an outdoor combat experience. Everyone playing is fully safety briefed prior to play. Camouflage overalls are provided, just bring your boots! Bookings can be taken from large groups or smaller parties, for smaller groups you will simply be paired up with other smaller groups to ensure your battle maintains its realistic atmosphere. Battlefield Live is suitable for all players from age seven and upwards and is superb fun for the whole family. For more information visit or call 07779 248622.

Get up close and personal with beautiful birds of prey

Simply Falconry is a new family run company providing a wide range of opportunities to get involved with a variety of different owls, falcons and hawks. Over the summer of months they offer lots of way for you and your family to get up close and personal with their birds; including birthday parties, hawk walks, hunting days, meet the birds and family encounters. They are often found out and about over the summer months providing displays at a number of fairs and fetes, most recently at Alderley Edge Carnival where Fidgit, the Barn Owl attracted lots of attention as she was only six weeks old and looked like a large ball of soft white fluff! The local Rainbows will shortly enjoy meeting Otis, the Tropical Screech Owl – he is only about 20cm tall! They have deliberately chosen not to be a centre but to provide a flexible mobile operation allowing them to bring their birds out to you or to meet you at a pre agreed location. As a result they are able to tailor all their activities to meet your own special requirements and can offer you the choice of how you would like to spend your time with the birds. Their aim is to provide everyone with a truly special experience that will stay with them forever! Visit or call 07979 238832 for more information.

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The YoungDrive! Experience Many children are eager to get behind the wheel of a car, and as soon as they reach driving age it isn’t long before they pick up their licence, giving them precious little time to learn the skills necessary to control a car. With YoungDrive! available at Oulton Park in Tarporley, kids from 11 to 17 are able to get into a dual control BMW 1series with a DSA-approved instructor and take their first steps in motoring over a 3 hour lesson (with 40 minutes’ driving time) that covers all the essential aspects of driving.

The course is designed to be fun and exhilarating, and it takes place within the circuit grounds and is therefore free of traffic, making for a safe environment. With no outside distractions, young drivers can quickly gain confidence. YoungDrive! events are held at weekends, making it the ideal treat and a great investment in your children’s driving future. YoungDrive! courses can be booked by calling 0843 453 1000 or by visiting

Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre

The Shire Horse is the largest breed of horse in the world (measure your height against the unique life-size Shire height chart to see just how big they are compared to you and your family) and has a fascinating history that you can learn all about at the centre. The breed almost became extinct after the 2nd World War and is only around today thanks to breeders such as Alistair King who runs the centre with his wife Janet. So what is there to see? Lot’s... with up to 30 horses to meet including Shire Stallions, Mares and Foals, Clydesdales and Miniature Shetland Pony. Then on the farmyard you will find Large Black Pigs, Middle White Pigs, Hebridean Sheep, Hens, Ducks and Turkeys. And on the nature trial you can spot wildlife such as Red Foxes, Red Deer, Otters, Polecats, Birds of Prey and British Finches. Opening Times are 10am – 5pm (last entry 4pm), and they’re open all year round except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Call 01829 760 506 for further information or visit

Got some animal loving kids to amuse through the holidays? Pop over to Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre & Countryside Park for a real treat of a day out. Set in 50 acres of beautiful Cheshire countryside the centre has plenty to offer. The centrepiece is of course the stunning Shire horses. The Cotebrook Shire Horse Stud has been breeding prize winning Shires for over 40 years and they are internationally renowned for their horses.

Summertime special Stay sun safe with a UV Angel Slapping on the suncream can be a battle especially when children don’t understand why it’s necessary. But Families has discovered a fun range of sun jewellery from Yorkshire based UV Angel. These great products, made from sun sensitive beads, change colour to let you know that the UV you’re being exposed to could be damaging your skin. “The idea came after a good friend developed skin cancer,” says Angela Thompson from UV Angel. “When the beads change colour, it makes you think. It reminds you that there’s UV out there and you need to protect yourself.” There’s a wide range of UV Angel products to choose from including bag tags, key rings, necklaces and bracelets. There’s a fun range for children, as well as a more contemporary range for mums. The darker

the beads go, the more UV there is and they act as a great way to prompt not just sun cream application, but also conversation about the dangers of the sun. “Kids cook quickly so it’s a parent’s responsibility to protect them,” says Angela. “If you have a bead on your bag or your body and you see it change colour, ask do the kids need more cream? Do we need to get out of the sun?” Take a look at the full range of UV Angel products at Prices start at £2.50.



Jump into summer…

Enjoy greater peace of mind on your family holiday this summer with new Puddle Jumpers, an innovative swimming aid from water-recreation equipment expert Sevylor®. Perfect for keeping little swimmers safe both in the pool and at the beach, Puddle Jumpers guarantee fun and safety in the water, whilst the range of bright colours and fun designs mean your kids will love wearing them!

Ultracomfortable for your child to wear, Puddle Jumpers feature a no-chaff, soft fabric cover that allows for natural movement and greater freedom, meaning children can swim and explore with maximum confidence. Quick and stress-free for parents, your child can be strapped in safely in seconds thanks to the single adjustable buckle at the rear – no more struggling with an unhappy child at the water’s edge. To find out more about Puddle Jumpers visit

Safety from the sun, for children on the move

Perfect when you’re out and about in the Spring or Summer months, award-winning ProtectiShade® is quick and simple to move from car seat to pushchair and back again, so your child stays shaded from the sun wherever you are.

ProtectiShade is the only 360o sunshade that gives children UPF 50+ protection when travelling in the buggy AND in the car. Plus it’s the only 3-in-1-sunshade that fits child car seats from Group 0 right through to Group 2. Buy it for your newborn and you’ll still be using it on the school run! Truly flexible, ProtectiShade protects from sunlight and glare whilst still allowing good visibility and ventilation. It adapts easily to provide front and side shade and there’s a neat pocket with a detachable drop-down mesh layer that provides 360o shade as and when it’s needed. For local stockists call 01823 323363 or visit RRP £39.99.

Do you know what’s in your children’s ice lolly? The perfect accompaniment to a hot day is a deliciously juicy ice lolly, but if parents knew the truth about what lurks beneath the colourful packaging, they may think twice about giving them to their children. One of the UK’s best-selling ice lollies which accounts for 48% of the kids’ category sales, claims to be ‘made with real fruit juice and no artificial colours... a burst of fruit refreshment.’ In reality, fruit juice only makes up for 8% of the ingredients; the rest is sugary flavoured water with stabiliser, beta carotene and curcumin, used to create the orange colour. Around half of the recommended daily amount of sugar for an adult woman is contained in just one lolly. The best way to ensure children are eating

healthy ice lollies is by either making them yourself with pressed fruit and ice lolly moulds or finding a trustworthy brand. Yummy Lollies! and Real Fruit Frenzy! ice lollies contain nothing but 100% tonguetingling real fruit. Free from additives, colours and preservatives the lollies help children ‘lick their way to 5 a day’ in a fun way. With less than 38 calories per lolly and less than 60 calories per tube they’re good for mums and dads too. Yummy Lollies! and Real Fruit Frenzy! are available nationwide in health food shops, cafés and delis. Yummy Lollies! are also available at selected Waitrose stores (priced at £3.99 for a multipack of 6). /

Advertise in Families Cheshire Call Jayne on: 01625 801801 or email | Families Cheshire 19

Summertime special Arts, Crafts & Reading Crafty ideas to keep little hands busy Gone are the days where a stroll down to the corner shop with a one pound note would secure you an afternoon of peace with the purchase of a quarter of toffees and a comic! So here are The Little Letter Company’s ( top rainy day crafts for those occasions where you really have little more than paper, pens, and general household items available to while away a summer afternoon. Homemade skittles – raid your recycling box for cardboard tubes or plastic tubs and bottles that are easy to clean, and make a set of homemade skittles. Letting go of ‘grown up’ mentality is key – the skittles do not all need to be the same size or shape! Instant fun can be had without decorating them at all, but for those who are more creative, bright poster paints disguise the greyish brown of toilet rolls tubes very nicely! If the thought of

‘messy play’ fills you with dread, simple sleeves can be made for each container simply by wrapping a wide band of paper that the child has decorated around the outside and securing it with some sticky tape. Points can be awarded for knocking down skittles of different sizes... but do remember that little minds tend to expect that “Points make prizes”! Paperchains – an all-time favourite – children love the instant visible impact their paper chain creations have on a room. All you really need is some paper that you can cut into strips, and some sticky tape. Younger children will tire quickly of decorating individual strips, so any paper that already has colours or a pattern on it, such as wallpaper, is ideal. Hang them in the garden and orchestrate a Teddy Bears Picnic. Flags are another favourite, whether they are made with scraps of fabric or a simple sheet of paper that the child has decorated. A bit of sticky tape and a ruler,

drumstick or a garden cane turns a simple rectangle into a swishy flag. Or why not go the whole hog and create a stream of bunting. Just tape the flags to some string or ribbon, and hang indoors or outside depending on the weather. Larder Art – bags of pulses, rice, or pasta are great fun for little hands. Pasta shapes can be painted and threaded onto string to make jewellery. Beans and pulses can be glued onto paper to create mini mosaics. Rice sounds great when sealed in a Tupperware tub to make a noisy shaker! The tub can be decorated with any stickers you may have to hand, or again, a simple paper sleeve for the child to decorate can turn a yoghurt pot into a piece of percussion art. Do take care to supervise children with these edible items though, just in case they notice that dried kidney beans look rather like red jelly beans and decide to give them a try!

Library Reading Challenge This summer, let your children join the greatest show on Earth by joining Circus Stars at their local library! This year’s Summary Reading Challenge aims to get children to read six books from their library during the summer holidays. It’s great fun for kids and doesn’t cost a penny to join. Just head to your local library at the beginning of the holidays to enrol and receive a membership card or pack. The Summer Reading Challenge is designed for children of all ages and reading abilities. They can read any books they like – fact books, stories, joke books, picture books – it’s up to them. Audio books count too! As long as you’re borrowing them from the library, they all count. Everybody who completes the Challenge gets a certificate, and there may be other rewards from your library, too. Just ask them when you join up.

Family Friendly Holiday Planning Planning a holiday that will suit the whole family’s needs can be difficult at the best of times, but planning for someone with learning disabilities adds extra considerations. Will the accommodation cater for their physical needs? Is there a hoist in the bathroom, for example? Is the environment safe and enclosed? Are there sensory issues that may be a problem, like a noisy disco or a brightly-lit restaurant? Do you want a holiday that caters for the whole family or are you trying to encourage independence? Netbuddy ( has launched an interactive holiday info pack, full of useful tips and information on holidays for people with learning disabilities, both in the UK and abroad. The pack includes information about many different types of holiday accommodation, to suit varying budgets, tastes and requirements. More than just a listing, Netbuddy’s info pack is designed to be completely interactive, inviting people to add their own tips and recommendations. The pack also includes tips and ideas on planning for a holiday that have been contributed by family carers. If you’re looking for a family holiday that’s been recommended by other parents, try out these online directories: Recommended family holidays: Away with the kids: Tots to travel: Child friendly: Baby-friendly boltholes: Take the family: Baby and Family Holidays:

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Summertime special More great days out The great outdoors: Macclefield Forest Delamere Forest Go Ape in Delamere Forest or Buxton Crocky Trail, Waverton Tittesworth Water, Leek Marbury Country Park, Northwich Carden Park, Nr Chester Aerial Extreme – Knowsley Safari Park, Trentham Estate, Trafford Centre Pooles Cavern, Buxton Walk on the wild side: Trentham Monkey Forest, Trentham Blue Planet Aquarium, Ellesmere Port Chester Zoo, Chester Bugs of Fun, Stapeley Water Gardens, Gauntlet birds of prey, Knutsford, Knowsley Safari Park Ice cream farms: Blaze Farm, Wildboarclough Cheshire Farm, Tattenhall

Great Budworth Real Dairy Ice Cream Farm Snugbury’s, Nantwich Backford Belles, Acre Farm, Chester Theme parks: Gulliver’s World Alton Towers, Stoke-on-Trent Camelot Theme Park, Chorley Drayton Manor, Tamworth Farms: Tatton Park, Knutsford Stockley Farm, Northwich Lakemore Farm Park, Haslington National Trust: Quarry Bank Mill, Style; Lyme Park, Disley; Dunham Massey, Altrincham English Heritage: Beeston Castle, Nr Tarporley Museums: Nantiwch Museum Weaver Hall Museum, Nantwich Grosvenor Museum, Chester

Stretton Water Mill, Stretton Hatworks, Stockport Congleton Museum Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester People’s History Museum, Manchester Imperial War Museum North Manchester Museum Indoor play centres: Fun4All, Chester & Macclesfield Funsters, Crewe Polar Palace, Winsford Pirates Paradise, Holmes Chapel The 2 Gyms, Winsford Indoor Adventure: Airkix, Trafford Park Awesome Walls, Stockport, Liverpool & Stoke-on-Trent Chill Factore Gulliver’s World Splash Zone North West Face, Warrington Silver Blades Ice Rink, Altrincham

Get creative: Legoland Discovery Centre, Trafford Park Brookside Pottery, Poynton Cheshire Workshops, Burwardsley The Spotty Pig, Chester The Potter’s Barn, Hassall Green Railways: Grosvenor Park Miniature Railway, Chester Churnet Valley Railway, Cheddleton Brookside Garden Centre, Poynton Pettypool Minature Railway, Sandiway Rudyard Lake Mini Steam Railway, Leek Hills Miniature Railway, Knutsford High Legh Railway, Halliwells Brow, Lymm www.cheshire Bridgemere Miniature Railway, Nantwich Waterworks: Anderton Boat Lift, Nortwich River Dee Cruises, Chester National Waterways Museum | Families Cheshire 21

What’s on Activities Fri 1 July – Sat 8 Oct Chester Zoo Dinosaurs at Large! Normal admission prices apply

Mon 4 – Fri 15 July Legoland Discover Centre, Manchester LEGO® Racers events Normal admission prices apply

Sat 9 July Barony Park, Nantwich Nantwich Family Fun Day 10.30am – 5.30pm

Sat 9 July – Sun 24 July Biddulph Grange Garden Scarecrow Trail 10.30am – 5.30pm £1.50 per child, per show (includes free lolly) on 10th & 24th Normal admission charges apply

Sat 9 & Sun 10 July Manchester Airport Runway Visitor Park Aviation & Transport Fair Astbury Meadow Garden Centre, Congleton Potteries & District Koi Show Adults £1.50, Children free Water Tower, City Walls, Chester Tower Power 11am – 4pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in Gulliver’s World Peppa Pig 10.30am – 5pm Normal admission prices apply Dunham Massey Teddy Bear’s Picnic 12pm – 4pm, Free event Normal admission charges apply.

Sun 10 July Bollington Recreation Ground Bolllington Summer Fair 11am – 4pm Wilmslow High School The Wilmslow Show

Sat 16 July The Carrs Park, Wilmslow Living River 10am – 2pm. Adults £5, Children £2 Booking essential Tatton Park Kiddy Cook 10am – 12pm, Age up to 12 years, £22 Grosvenor Museum, Exhibition Gallery One & Newstead Gallery Discover the City Walls 10.30am – 12.30pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in High Legh Garden Centre Teddy Bears Picnic 1pm – 3pm, Adults £3, Children £4.50 Booking essential

These listings are for guidance only – please check before you go to include your upcoming event in our listings, email

Sat 16 & Sun 17 July

Sat 30 & Sun 31 July

Stretton Watermill Tudor Festival 12 noon – 5pm, Free, drop in Tatton Park Rare Breeds Weekend at the Farm Normal farm opening times and prices apply.

Beeston Castle Medieval Clash of Knights 12pm – 5pm Adult £6.00, Child, 5 – 15 years £3.50 Car parking charge applies.

Sun 17 July

Weaver Hall Museum Summer Holidays 2011 “Fake Your Own Museum” 10am – 4pm, Free, drop in

Higher Poynton Station Middlewood Way Open Day 11.30am – 4.30pm, Parking £2 Jubilee Cafeteria, Queens Park, Crewe Joys of your own Bird Box 2pm – 4pm

Sat 23 July Tegg’s Nose Visitor Centre, Macclesfield Tegg’s Nose Bilberry Pick 10am – 1pm Age 5+ (must be accompanied)

Sat 23 & Sun 24 July Blakemere Craft Centre Countryside Fair 10am – 5pm Adults £1, Children (<16) Free

Tues 26 July Grosvenor Museum, Newstead Gallery Portcullises 2pm – 4pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in

Tues 26 July – Mon 29 Aug Tatton Park Summer Activities at the Farm 12pm – 5pm (last entry 4pm) Normal admission charges apply. (Closed Mon except for Bank Holidays)

Wed 27 July Grosvenor Museum, Newstead & Webster Galleries Meet the Romans 2pm – 4pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in Dorfold Hall Park, Nantwich Nantwich Show Anderton Boat Lift Circusology

Wed 27 & Thurs 28 July Weaver Hall Museum Summer Holidays 2011 “Fake Your Own Museum” 10am – 4pm, Free, drop in

Thurs 28 July Grosvenor Museum, Newstead Gallery Top Hats and Parasols 2 – 4pm, Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in

Fri 29 July Anderton Boat Lift Teddy Bear’s Picnic 6pm – 8pm Children (<10) £5.

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Every Wed & Thurs in Aug

Every Wed – Fri in August Little Moreton Hall, Congleton Family Activities 11am

Mon 1 Aug Delamere Forest Minibeast Madness 10.30am – 11.30am / 1.30pm – 2.30pm Children £2

Mon 1 – Fri 5 Aug Quarry Bank Mill Feel the Force 11am – 5pm, Free event Normal admission charges apply

Tues 2 Aug

Dunham Massey Bugs & Beasties Hunt 11am – 4pm (walks at 11am, 1pm & 3pm) Free event Normal admission charges apply Limited places – collect a timed token from the ticket offices on arrival South Park, Macclesfield Mask Making Age 5 – 10 (must be accompanied) Adults FREE, Children £2 Booking and payment in advance essential – placed limited Meriton Road Park, Handforth Meriton Road Park Play Day 2pm – 4pm West Park, Macclesfield Mask Making Age 5 – 10 (must be accompanied) Adults FREE, Children £2 Booking and payment in advance essential – placed limited

Fri 5 Aug Lyme Park Picture This… 12pm – 4.30pm, Free event Normal admission charges apply

Sat 6 Aug

Dunham Massey Family Bat Night 8.30pm – 10.30pm Age 7+, Adults £8, Children (<18) £4 Booking essential

Chester Castle Views in the Castle 11am – 4pm, Free The Carrs Park, Wilmslow Batty about Bats 8.30 – 9.30pm Jacksons’ Brickworks Car Park, Higher Poynton Mad about Moths 9.45pm to 11.15pm Age 11+ (must be accompanied) Tatton Park Kiddy Cook 10am – 12pm, Age up to 12 years, £22 Chester Zoo Elephant & Dinosaur Evening & BBQ Adults £34.95, Children (<16) £24.95

Wed 3 Aug

Sat 6 & Sun 7 Aug

Dunham Massey Storytelling 12pm – 4pm. Free event Normal admission charges apply Grosvenor Museum, Newstead & Webster Galleries Civil War Day 10.30am – 4.40pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in Anderton Boat Lift Circusology

Beeston Castle Medieval Worst Jobs 11am – 5pm Adult £6.00 Child, 5 – 15 years £3.50

Grosvenor Museum, Newstead Gallery Galloping Horses 2 – 4pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in Lyme Park Japanese Kites in the Garden 1pm – 3pm, Free event Normal admission charges apply.

Tues 2 & Wed 3 Aug

Thurs 4 Aug Delamere Forest Woody Workshop 10.30am (all day), £5 per person Grosvenor Museum, Newstead Gallery Narrow Boat Builders 2pm – 4pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in

Sun 7 Aug Tatton Park VW North West Car Show 9am – 5pm (last entry 4pm) Adult £7.50, Children under 16 free The Kingsway Lower School, Cheadle Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop 10am – 12.30pm Table costs £10 Entrance 50p

Mon 8 – Fri 12 Aug Quarry Bank Mill Design-a-day 11am – 5pm, Free event Normal admission charges apply

What’s on

Visit for information on these listings.

Tues 9 Aug Grosvenor Museum Galleries Happy Birthday to the Grosvenor Museum – 125 today! 11am – 4pm Free, drop in Lyme Park Butterflies at Lyme 1pm – 3pm Free event Normal admission charges apply Marbury Country Park, nr Northwich Holiday Pond Dipping Session Contact: Chris Moseley 01606 77741

Wed 10 Aug Dunham Massey Family Bat Night 8.30pm – 10.30pm Age 7+ Adults £8, Children (<18) £4 Booking essential Grosvenor Museum, Newstead Gallery Runic Pendants 2pm – 4pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in Anderton Boat Lift Circusology

Thurs 11 Aug Grosvenor Museum, Newstead Gallery Royalist Badges 2pm – 4pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in Brereton Heath, Brereton Nature Craft for Kids Age 6 – 11 Adults FREE, Children £2 Booking essential Delamere Forest Den Building 10.30am – 12pm / 1.30pm – 3pm Children £2 Marbury Country Park, Nr Northwich Holiday Bug Hunt Contact Dave James 01606 77741

Fri 12 Aug Lyme Park Mary Mary…. 12pm – 4.30pm Free event Normal admission charges apply.

Sat 13 Aug Northwich Memorial Hall Cheshire Baby and Children’s Fair 10am – 1pm Free Entry – donations for The Joshua Tree taken on the door

Sat 13 & Sun 14 Aug Water Tower, City Walls, Chester Tower Power 11am – 4pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in

Gulliver’s World Fireman Sam 10.30am – 5pm Normal admission prices apply Churnet Valley Railway Barney Buffers & Friends Adults £10, Seniors £8 seniors, Children £5, Family £25 (2 adults, 2 children) Verdin Park, Northwich Northwich Medieval Festival 10am – 5pm Adults £7.50, Children (3 – 17) £3, OAPs £6

Sun 14 Aug Tatton Park Fun Dog Show at the Farm 12 noon start £1 entry fee per class plus normal park entry charges. Viking Sunday at the Old Hall 12pm – 5pm (last entry 4pm) Adult £5 Child £3, Family £13 Brereton Heath, Brereton Brilliant Bushcraft 10am – 1pm Adults £5, Children £2 Booking essential

Mon 15 – Fri 19 Aug Quarry Bank Mill Eco Explorers 11am – 5pm Free event Normal admission charges apply

Fri 19 Aug

Sat 20 & Sun 21 Aug

Lyme Park Keeping up Appearances at Lyme 12pm – 4.30pm Free event Normal admission charges apply.

Tatton Park The 24th Tatton Park Classic, Vintage & Sports Car Show 10am – 4pm Adult £7.50, Children under 12 free Beeston Castle Medieval Mounted Skill at Arms 11am – 5pm Adult £6.00 Child (5 – 15) £3.50 Car parking charge applies.

Sat 20 Aug Capesthorne Hall Firework Champions Gates open 5pm, event starts 9pm Pre-booked discounts available

WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN Win a family ticket to see Mr Stink at The Lowry! David Walliams, star of Little Britain, has written the smelliest book of all time – Mr Stink – which is being brought to life on stage for the first time in a fabulously smelly, scratch and sniff production at The Lowry from Tues 2 to Sun 14 August. It’s a funny and thought provoking tale suitable for children aged 7+ and their families. If you would like to win a family ticket to see this brilliant adaptation on Tues 2 August at 7pm, simply go to our website to enter by answering the following question: What date does Mr Stink open at The Lowry? Entries close Friday 22 July. Mr Stink is at The Lowry from Tue 2 to Sun 14 August. You can find out more about the show and book tickets at or call 0843 208 6007.

Tues 16 Aug Grosvenor Museum, Newstead Gallery Medieval Floor Tiles 2pm – 4pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in

Wed 17 Aug Grosvenor Museum, Exhibition Gallery One Watchman’s Tales from the Walls 2pm – 4pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in Churnet Valley Railway Pirates of Consall Bay Anderton Boat Lift Circusology

Thurs 18 Aug Grosvenor Museum, Newstead Gallery Medieval Floor Tiles 2pm – 4pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in Riverside Park Ranger Centre, Macclesfield Nature Crafts for Kids 6 – 11 (must be accompanied) Adults FREE, Children £2 Booking essential Delamere Forest Earthwalk 10.30am – 11.30am /1.30pm – 2.30pm Children £2 | Families Cheshire 23

What’s on Churnet Valley Railway Barney Buffers & Friends Adults £10, Seniors £8 seniors, Children £5, Family £25 (2 adults, 2 children)

Tues 23 Aug NT Yard behind Wizard Restaurant, Alderley Edge Down the Mines! 7pm – 9pm, Age 6+, £8 Booking essential Lyme Park Arty Party 1pm – 3pm, Free event Normal admission charges apply.

Wed 24 Aug Chester Castle & Grosvenor Museum Castle Capers 11am – 4pm, Free, drop in Anderton Boat Lift Circusology

Thurs 25 Aug

Fri 26 Aug

Sun 28 & Mon 29 Aug

Grosvenor Museum, Newstead Gallery Toy Sailing Boats 2pm – 4pm Age 4 – 12 (must be accompanied) Free, drop in Congleton Park Mask Making 10.30am – 12.30am Age 5 – 10 (must be accompanied) Adults FREE, Children £2 Booking essential Sandbach Park Mask Making 10.30am – 12.30am Age 5 – 10 (must be accompanied) Adults FREE, Children £2 Booking essential Delamere Forest Bat Walk 7.30pm – 10pm, £4.50 per person

Lyme Park Jammy Dodgers 1pm – 3pm, Children £5 Normal admission charges apply. Marbury Country Park, Nr Northwich Teddy Bears Picnic 1pm at the Rangers’ Cabin Contact Joanne Redley 01606 44728

Capesthorne Hall The 31st Cheshire Classic Car & Motorcycle Show Adults £2, Children (5 – 18) £1

Sat 27 Aug Poynton Show Ground Poynton Show

Sat 27 – Mon 29 Aug Gawsworth Hall Craft & Gift Fair 10am – 5pm Adults £3.50, Children (<16) Free

Sun 28 Aug Tatton Park One Man and His Dog 1.30pm & 3pm Normal admission and small additional charge applies

Mon 29 Aug Tatton Park Adopt a Farm Animal Day Normal charges apply Blakemere Craft Centre Circus Workshop 11am – 4pm

Tues 30 Aug Lyme Park Summer Stories 1pm – 3pm, Free event Normal admission charges apply.

Wed 31 Aug Anderton Boat Lift Circusology

Contact information: Anderton Boat Lift: 01606 786777 / Astbury Meadow Garden Centre: 07817 954853 / Aviation & Transport Fair: Beeston Castle: Biddulph Grange Garden: 01782 517999 / Blakemere Craft Centre: 01606 883261 / Bollington Happy Valley: Cheshire Auto Promotions: 01565 723 863 / Cheshire East Rangers: Chester History & Heritage: 01244 402110 / Chester Zoo: Churnet Valley Railway: 01538 750755 / Classic Car Show: 01484 667776 / Delamere Forest: Dunham Massey: 0161 941 1025 / Firework Champions: 01327 876037 / Grosvenor Museum: 01244 402033 / Gulliver’s World: 01925 444888 / High Leigh Garden Centre: 01925 756991 / Kiddy Cook: Nikki Geddes 07976 619648 Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop: 07748 601248 / Legoland Discovery Centre: 0871 222 2662 / Little Moreton Hall: Lyme Park: 01663 762023 / Marbury Country Park: Nantwich Family Fun Day: Nantwich Show: Poynton Show: Quarry Bank Mill: 01625 445896 / Stretton Watermill: 01606 271640 / Tatton Park: 01625 374 428 / 01625 374 400 (Farm) / Weaver Hall Museum: 01606 271640 / Wilmslow Show:

For a guide to what’s on at theatres in your area, go to 24 Families Cheshire |

Families Cheshire Issue 12 - July/Aug 2011  

Families Cheshire Magazine for July and August 2011