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Edition 16 • March/April 2012


The local magazine for families with children 0-12 years


In this issue >How love changes childcare >What mums REALLY want for Mother’s Day >What to do in the Easter break

Leading Nanny agency throughout Cheshire and North West • A range of full and part-time childcare services including, nannies, live in/out, babysitting, maternity nannies, emergency care, mothers help, housekeepers & special needs nannies. • All candidates are thoroughly vetted, interviewed and reference checked • Home visits, to enable us to fully understand your requirements

Tel: 01925 768188 or 07766 290802 Email:

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

Locally speaking

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

Send in your innovation message in a bottle

Hello! Have you ever thought about how many meanings there are for the word “spring”? It’s the season of rebirth (enough of these dark evenings now, thank you), a natural source of water (yep, still trying to drink more of it), a tightly coiled device ready to burst out (a bit like the kids when they’ve been cooped up for too long), a geometric surface (apparently - maths never was our strongest subject), and an especially strong tide that occurs during the full and new moons (a bit like mums - natural, consistent and exceptionally strong). As we head into longer days, there’s always the temptation to try and cram more into them, no matter how busy they are already. So we’ve got to make a concerted effort to hang back a little and remember that our batteries do run low, and we are entitled to recharge them (without the kids). Not as easy as it sounds admittedly, but well worth the effort - the rest of the family will thank you when the stressed out banshee disappears! So make sure you set aside some time for you every day, not just on Mother’s Day - it’ll put that spring right back in your step.

MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester) is appealing for budding inventors to send a message in a bottle with their idea for an innovative product or package which reduces waste, to celebrate the opening of a new interactive display in the Experiment gallery supported by environmental funder SITA Trust. The Museum’s popular hands-on science gallery now includes ‘No More Waste’ - a colourful and fun section on waste such as bottles, bags and textiles, and the fascinating stories of companies which

Spring Portraits in Delamere

Cheers to you (and Happy Easter!)

Caryl Hall

Imagine family photos taken in the most natural way possible – no studio lights, no false poses, just stunning images created in your favourite part of Cheshire. This Spring, Cheshire children’s photographer Helen Rae teams up with Abbeywood Gardens in Delamere to offer mini portrait sessions in some of the most beautiful surroundings in the county.

Jayne Keep

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Locally speaking Education news Pregnancy Childcare Clubs & classes

Next issue: May/June 2012 Circulation: 25,000 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: Paul Moffat Photography, Bollington Tel: 01625 576586,

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Parents’ place Health & safety Easter activity ideas What’s on Competition time

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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A Portrait Day session costs only a charitable donation of £20 to secure your unique 45-minute photo session in the grounds of Abbeywood, overlooking the Cheshire Plain in Delamere. All donations and 10% of all frame sales go to The SMA Trust and Diabetes UK. After your portrait session you are welcome to explore the extensive woodlands and lovely gardens, and to make the most of the delicious meals and snacks on offer at the café. Portrait Days are on 9 and 12 April and also on 4 June. All bookings must be made in advance by calling Helen Rae Photography on 01606 783000.

My First Sleeping Beauty at the Manchester Palace Theatre 2-3 June

Design: Through Creative, The Old School, Byron Street, Macclesfield SK11 7QA. Tel: 01625 500 939


have pioneered solutions to reduce or re-invent waste materials, or to minimise their environmental impact. From Vimto’s trial of square bottles, to the Cooperative’s compostable carrier bag and Chorlton grocery store Unicorn’s well-loved fabric bags (pictured), there are 20 examples of clever ideas to cut down waste. Now MOSI wants to hear from anyone who has an idea of a package or product that helps to minimise or re-invent our waste. Just write your idea down on a piece of paper and post it in a plastic bottle to Sarah Roe, Marketing office, MOSI, Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester M3 4FP, email her at, or go into the Experiment gallery to post your message in the giant bottle. The competition closes on 15 April and the winner will receive a goody bag and a chance to visit a company with innovative environmental products.

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English National Ballet is unveiling a series of My First... ballets, created to introduce young children (3+) to ballet with their interests (and attention spans) in mind. My First Sleeping Beauty is the first in the series, choreographed and

designed by dancer and choreographer Matthew Hart. Matthew said: “I want to create a really accessible way for children to enjoy this classic fairy tale, retaining the drama of the original ballet, but adding a real sense of fun and magic, giving youngsters their first taste of the world of ballet.” But it’s not just a show for young children, the project is also designed to entice those who have not seen ballet before to come and take their first glimpse at the art. There will be 5 performances in Manchester on 2 & 3 June. For booking information, visit

Locally speaking Open wide!

As part of the topic ‘Circle of Life’, the Action for Sick Children team visited Poynton’s Vernon Primary School’s Foundation Stage classes recently to put across a positive message about dental health. Mrs Glimmerveen, Head teacher, said: ‘This was an exciting opportunity for the children to learn about looking after our teeth, by seeing real dental equipment and through

Fabulous Family Festivals for 2012

role play with puppets and mini uniforms.’ The team left a dental playbox in school for a week, with many exciting resources for the children to use and explore in their play and to help them towards the Early Years Foundation Stage learning goals. That should get them in the mood for this year’s National Smile Month (20 May - 20 June)!

Dress your stylish little stars Mid Cheshire’s most exciting new style venue for children is set to open in Hartford, Northwich on 24 March. After noticing a lack of variety and style in children’s clothing on the high street, mum of two Michelle Webb decided to fill a gap in the market and open a local shop. “I was really frustrated with the lack of style and diversity available in high street stores,” says Michelle. “Hartford is an ideal place for busy mums to shop, especially if they don’t want to face city centre traffic – or the nightmare of parking when you have pushchairs and young children.” Stocking a range of beautifully designed clothing for new-born to 8 years old, Mini VIPs will offer a shopping experience unlike any other: “We’ve got a fantastic selection

of clothes, ranging from designer to great quality stylish wear, to suit all budgets. The best thing is that it will be jam packed full of gorgeous clothes that are unlike anything else you’ll see on the high street. The shop will have a friendly and exciting environment that will appeal to both kids and parents,” says Michelle. “Plus, our grand opening event on Saturday 24 March will include fun for all the family. There will also be an exclusive prize draw for all first day customers.” Located on The Green in Hartford (just off Chester Road, A559), Mini VIPs is easy to find and accessible to those in the locale and from further afield. TM

Wild Rumpus and the Forestry Commission invite you and your family to step into the magic of The Spellbound Forest in Delamere Forest on 19 & 20 May. Three separate twisting paths will each tell the story of an English Fairy Tale through theatrical performance, music, visual art and dance. Food, drinks and a picnic area will be available, and while suitable for families of all shapes and sizes, the Forest is likely to appeal mostly to families with children aged 3 – 12. It’s easily accessible on the main railway line from Manchester and Chester or via car.

This year’s festival has a brand new home – the woods and parkland of Rode Hall in Cheshire. Over the coming months the team will release lots of exciting bits of programming, great acts, workshops and vendors, but with Early Bird tickets sold out since September, festival goers will need to be quick if they want to join in the festivities. Rowan Hoban, festival director, explained, “We certainly won’t be expanding the number of people at the festival, we think that we currently have the right balance with a safe and intimate atmosphere so that families can have creative adventures, singing, dancing and playing together without having to queue up or make their way through overwhelming crowds. Our aim is to create spellbinding environments where the audience feel like anything is possible.”

And book your ticket now for this year’s Just So Festival (17-19 August) – a broad range of musical, theatrical, visual and aural performances, workshops and installations held within a safe, natural and magical setting.

Advertise in Families Cheshire Contact: Ranger Dan Coates | 07765 890385 |

Call Jayne on: 01625 801801 or email | Families Cheshire 3

Education news Raise limit of class sizes? The government has been told to raise the limit on infant class sizes in primary schools after a report showed that Sefton council on Merseyside paid £274,00 to hire extra teachers to keep classes below the legal threshold. In 1998 the then Labour government legislated to limit infant classes for fiveto seven- year olds to a maximum of 30 pupils, but some councils in London are now calling for this to be raised to 32 when it was revealed that Sefton council spent the cash on extra teachers for just 8 extra pupils during the past 2 years. “The problem is that the ‘30’ class size limit for infant classes is completely rigid,” said Liberal Democrat councillor Simon Shaw in a report. “Surely, a bit of flexibility

could be introduced? A common-sense solution is to change the law so that schools have the flexibility to go up to 32 children in an infant class, if they wish, but only so long as they have a qualified, full-time teaching assistant as well as a teacher.” Liberal Democrat-controlled Sutton Council is asking for support from other London councils to urge Education Secretary Michael Gove to change the legislation, while a Department for Education spokesperson said the government's position was unchanged: “The law remains clear that it is illegal for infant classes to exceed 30 pupils – no parent would want their child taught in a huge class.” Government figures show that nearly half a million extra primary pupils in England will need places by 2015.

Local mum’s pre-school App given the nod

“Pre-School Classroom” is a new educational App aimed at 2½ – 4½ year olds to encourage early years reading (phonic sounds), writing (controlled line marking) and numeracy (number identification, sequencing and size). Developed by local mum Mandy Moore, all the learning objectives and content of this educational game have been designed and validated with teachers and early years development experts – and the app has been well received by Apple (featured in their New and Noteworthy Education

Category) as well as having a very positive review on key educational apps review site With an English voice over, the learning is provided in a fun classroom setting using short games to focus on each educational area, and is personalised with your child’s name during the download process. And because Mandy understands the importance of getting toddlers and young children busy with a pen and paper, the App also lets parents to sign up to receive a 30 page print-at-home activity kit containing puzzles, dot to dots, drawing, letter tracing and counting games. The learning objectives of this pack complement those of the new App. The App sells for £1.49 on iTunes. For more information, visit

Elworth Pre-school Group returns home Elworth Pre-school Group has just relocated back to St Peter’s Church Hall in Elworth, Sandbach following a major fire in 2010 that destroyed the original building. The Group was established 1974 and four current members of staff have a total of 60 years of service between them at

the Pre-school! During that time they have all undertaken extensive training and gained qualifications to ensure that they have kept pace with the wide ranging changes that have occurred over a number of years. Play has always been at the heart of the Group with the setting valuing the importance of play as a vehicle for high quality learning.

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The curriculum follows the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage, which continues until the end of the Reception year. There is therefore a natural progression for the children and their achievements within the Pre-school as they move onto primary school.

For more information please contact Elworth Pre-school Group on 07986 458081 or call in to St. Peter’s Church Hall, School Lane, Elworth, CW11 3HU.

Education news Sporting coup for What’s in a name? A week of Magic at Terra Nova School Stockport Grammar Language can be a minefield,

Stockport Grammar School is delighted to announce that former England test cricketer James Ormond will be joining the teaching staff this summer. Mr Ormond will become a part of the PE and Games department where he will coach and manage the cricket first XI and will also be actively involved in the sport in both the Lower School and Junior School. James played twice for England, taking the wickets of Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid, and made 137 first class appearances for Leicestershire and Surrey, winning three county championships in a 14-year career. Pupils and staff alike are looking forward to James sharing his experience and expertise, which will be invaluable as part of the continued development of the sport across the school.

particularly when it comes to talking about disability. The words we use to describe people with disabilities has changed so much over the years that it’s tempting to dismiss the whole issue as political correctness gone mad. But using the wrong language can make people feel offended and excluded. And, while changing language won’t necessarily change people’s attitudes towards disability, it is part of that process. Netbuddy, the award-winning site that provides practical tips and information on all aspects of supporting people with special needs, recently conducted a survey to discover the terms their supporters preferred when it came to describing the people they lived and worked with. Was it ‘learning disability’ ‘learning difficulty’ or ‘special needs’... or was it something else entirely? While learning disability was the preferred term, followed by special needs, there were a number of other terms put forward and it was clearly a subject that people feel very strongly about. Read more about the results at

Last half term ended magically at Terra Nova School with Fairy Tale Week helping to promote a love of books and reading, as well as some drama and plenty of creativity. The Nursery ran as fast as they could, as they attempted to catch the Gingerbread Man, Reception grew big eyes and big teeth as they came face to face with the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ in the Little Red Riding Hood. Year 1 were tempted with a house made of sweets as they explored Hansel and Gretel and Year 2 found themselves shrinking along with Alice in Wonderland.

On the final day, the children dressed up in the theme of their book and gave their parents a wonderful assembly, presenting their experiences from their exciting week. Head of Pre-Prep and Mastermind behind the week’s events, Rachel Cookson commented, “Fairy Tale Week is a wonderful celebration of fairytales, books and reading and it has been absolutely fantastic to see the children embracing the week with such excitement and enthusiasm. They put on a heartwarming assembly for parents to see and ended what has been a very busy half term on a great high.” | Families Cheshire 5

Education news Heydays and Holidays

Bollington’s most established pre-school has opened its doors for holiday and breakfast clubs! Now even children whose parents work can enjoy Heyday. Its new breakfast club is open daily from 8.15am, with the

pre-school day following on from 9.15am to 3.00pm. The holiday club runs from 9.15am - 3.00pm, three days a week. Heyday is open for children from 2-5yrs. Heyday is renowned for its happy and caring atmosphere and its team of dedicated staff readily encourage each and every child to learn, develop and grow in a safe and positive environment. For further details or to book your place, contact Michelle Stewart on 01625 574054 or email

Macclesfield Primary School leaps up the league tables Figures recently published by The Department of Education show that Ash Grove Primary School in Macclesfield is the second most improved school in the country and is the most improved school in Cheshire and the North of England. When comparing the percentage of Year 6 pupils attaining the expected level in English and Maths in 2009 with the results achieved in 2011, Ash Grove improved by a massive 77 percentage points. The school has shot into the top From Home to School with Autism RRP £19.99 By K I Al-Ghani and Lynda Kenward Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers ISBN 978-1-84905-169-9 Whilst primarily a resource book for use at school, I found that this title was filled with incredibly useful information and strategies for bringing up a child with autism at home. It provides a welcome alternative to trawling through the web to find information and templates for visual timetables, Social Stories, reward charts, and many other

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50 schools out of 122 primaries in Cheshire East and it is now amongst the best performing schools in Macclesfield. Head Teacher, Kevin Simpson, who joined the school in September 2009 commented: “This has been an amazing time in the school’s 75 year history and facilitating the many changes necessary has only been possible with the unstinting dedication of staff and the governors. We now have a school that we, the children and their families are immensely proud of.” useful examples of what can be used to make an autistic child’s day run as smoothly as possible. This comprehensive, constructive information-filled resource is a title that should be on the bookshelf of anyone caring for an autistic child, either at school or at home. Reviewed by Emilie Amos

Pregnancy Oxytocin – how to love your labour Maternity Reflexology By Claire Rocuzzi, Better Birthing It’s a word that not many of us are familiar with but it’s something that we all have and experience in our lives. Oxytocin is the hormone of love – that feeling that you get when you meet someone you love and your tummy does butterflies. This often overlooked hormone is not only responsible for our feelings of love, but is the main hormone responsible for contractions during labour, lactation, pair bonding and more. So how does it work? Oxytocin is released during contractions sending a flow throughout the body, then as the baby pushes on the cervix a message is sent to the brain to produce more oxytocin and so it continues. HOWEVER, our precious oxytocin cannot be produced at all if adrenaline or fears are present! This is why we often hear women in labour saying “my contractions just stopped when we got to hospital”. The best contractions occur when we have lots of oxytocin. Yes, we can have a drip with artificial oxytocin (or syntocinon as it’s called) but remember, it’s man-made, so why introduce something artificial when you can use your own oxytocin made just right for you?

How can you ensure that your body keeps producing oxytocin during labour? Simple, keep fear away! The same fear that is instilled in us from the moment we are pregnant. “No easy task” you may say, so here is a brief outline of some ideas you could use to assist you in lessening fear and increasing oxytocin: • Read positive and uplifting birth stories. • Make your birth environment a special place for you, one that you find it easy to relax in. Whether taking your own pillows, some candles and music or just dimming lights, a relaxed atmosphere will assist in more oxytocin production. • Get your partner to massage you, cuddle and even kiss. Oxytocin thrives with the touch of those we love and trust. • Keep moving in labour. Movement means your baby moves down, pressing on your cervix and sending stronger signals for more oxytocin therefore more contractions. • Use anything that makes you feel warm: water, heat, a cosy room or even warm socks on your feet. • The benefits of high oxytocin during labour range from a decrease in pain, labour progression, and of course it just feels good!

Pregnancy is a time of major change both physically and emotionally for a woman. Reflexology is an ideal noninvasive, relaxing therapy, which may provide benefits such as stress relief and aiding sleep and can also deal with minor conditions during pregnancy such as: • Infertility issues • Morning sickness • Back pain • Heartburn • Insomnia • Hormonal imbalances • Preparation for labour • Breech position Reflexology can be used during preconception, pregnancy and labour. It works on the principle that reflex points on the feet reflect parts of the body and working these areas can help correct imbalances throughout the body, release blocked energy and often create a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation. Please note that reflexology is a complimentary therapy to medical care and not a replacement for medical advice, so you should consult your midwife or doctor before commencing any new treatment.

By Kay Malcolm MFHT 07958 914867

Can everyone enjoy reflexology? What happens during the treatment? Prior to any treatments a full consultation will be taken to check that there are no contraindications (conditions which would prevent you having a treatment) and discuss the reactions you may experience during and after the treatment. Treatments last for 50 minutes and you will be asked to relax on a reclining chair. You will remain fully clothed, just removing your socks and shoes. Your feet will be cleansed and then reflexology techniques will be applied and adapted to suit your specific needs. Potential benefits include: • Improved circulation • Feeling of well-being • Stress relief • Deep relaxation • Release of endorphins • Removal of toxins • Preparation for Labour • Shorter Labour After your treatment To gain maximum benefit from your treatment it is advised that you rest afterwards, drink plenty of water to help flush away toxins and avoid caffeine. Reflexology gives you the opportunity to enjoy some “me” time before the birth.

Yoga during pregnancy

Bumps, Backs and Beyond

By Saffron Harrison

FitBack & Bumps is a new, exciting and unique ante- and postnatal Educational Exercise Programme delivered by Chartered Physiotherapists. Their expert guidance and instruction will help remove the fear women have about exercising during and post pregnancy. The programme teaches you how to: • exercise safely during and after your pregnancy • improve your posture • reduce stress incontinence by strengthening your pelvic floor muscles • reduce pelvic and back pain by strengthening your core • flatten your tummy after pregnancy The four week course focuses on understanding the changes in your body, the importance of posture, safe and effective exercises in pregnancy and

Dru Prenatal Yoga classes are different from any other type of yoga class. They help you prepare your body and mind for the changes that it will go through during pregnancy and labour and forwards to becoming a mother. Body: The sequences of stretches and movements I teach in class will benefit your body by stretching and strengthening muscles all the way through the body including your core muscles and pelvic floor. Combining this with work on your posture, we can enhance the optimal foetal position which can lead to a shorter labour. Classes can also help with common problems during pregnancy, such as back

ache. The yoga postures we use help to balance hormones and emotions which help you stay calm and in control. Mind: I use deep relaxation techniques which help to clear the mind and reduce stress. I will also teach you effective breathing techniques that help concentrate your mind. Both these methods are aimed to help you and your body through labour. This yoga is safe for any stage of pregnancy as I will modify it to suit each individual, using different lying, sitting and standing postures and sequences. It is also a great place to meet women who are going through the same wonderful experience!

abdominal and pelvic floor muscle exercises. You also learn how to physically prepare yourself for labour and how to relax. Each hour long weekly exercise class has a different topic of discussion with gym ball and mat based exercises designed specifically to support your changing body. They focus on your spine, abdomen and pelvic floor, aiming to reduce back and pelvic pain during pregnancy and aid a quicker recovery after the birth. You are also taught effective stretches to reduce joint and muscle stiffness. Most courses are held as 1-1 in the client’s home or in small groups. For local courses, please call, call Su Hattersley (MCSP HPC) on 07934 014546 email: or visit | Families Cheshire 7

Childcare How love changes childcare Joanna Moorhead reveals the secret ingredient in childcare – and explains how Ofsted has caught on to it as well

© istock

If 18 years of organising childcare for my children taught me anything at all, it’s this: you can pay someone to look after your kids, but you can’t pay someone to love them. What this means – or at least, what it means to me – is that when and if someone comes along who actually does love your kids, hold onto them for all you’re worth; because they are literally priceless in your family’s life. For me, the wonderful carer who really did love my daughters was Linda, who looked after them (and sometimes me as well) for eight years. She arrived in our family’s life when my eldest child was two, and she stayed until the birth of my fourth. When she left, she said it was because she didn’t want to fall in love with another of my babies – because then it would be too hard to leave, and during the time she’d been working for us, she and her husband had moved further out of town. Across the years I reckon I’ve paid at least 20 different carers to look after my children – and I still occasionally have to find childcare for my youngest daughter, who is nine. I’ve searched for – and found – carers for tiny babies, and for older (and not always very easy) pre-schoolers. I’ve found nurseries for some of my children, and I’ve had au pairs from time to time. None of the carers in our family were

as much a part of our team as Linda was, and none of them loved my children as much as she did (she still comes back to see them, several years on); but the more the carer engaged with, and enjoyed, whichever child or children she was looking after, the happier the children were. So I have no doubt at all what matters most in choosing a childcarer. Look for someone who makes your child happy, pure and simple. Look for someone your child looks forward to being with, and is happy to share his or her days with. Often – or so it has sometimes seemed to me – parents are too ambitious in their hopes for a childcarer; and ironically, this means they end up getting a raw deal for their child. They want a carer who, as well as looking after their child, will also manage to make the beds and iron the laundry and leave the kitchen spotless at the end of the day. And of course, if you’ve been out at work since dawn and you’ve got another tough day tomorrow, tidiness does matter – because in order to enjoy a bit of time with your child, you don’t want to have to start ploughing through the washing up. But expecting too much ‘round the edges’ from a carer means your child can miss out: because it’s that primary relationship between the nanny, or mother’s help, or childminder, that matters more than anything else.

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Interestingly, Ofsted recently came to the same conclusion. In recent years, the main thrust of an Ofsted check on a nursery or childminder has been on safety issues, especially safeguarding ones. But under new plans, inspectors will concentrate instead, in the future, on whether children feel loved and emotionally secure while they’re in the nursery or childminder’s home, and will look at children’s personal development, such as how ready they are to share and to take turns, and how well they engage with the other children around them. The plans are out for consultation until April, but they’ve already received a warm welcome – because of course they make perfect sense. I’d also say, looking back over my many years of employing childcarers, that – strangely enough – the carers the kids would have chosen were unfailingly the ones who were most successful in our family. The litmus test of a childcarer’s abilities is, at the end of the day, whether your child would choose to be with that person (assuming you aren’t available which, of course, you’re not). For this reason, it seems a bit odd to me that parents sometimes report feeling jealous of the feelings their child has for their childcarer. No carer is ever going to replace a parent, but surely the very best

accolade for the choice you’ve made for your children is if your replacement is the next-best person in their life? Ideally, a carer should resemble a much-loved family member – depending on what sort of carer they are, and what sort of age they are. So in my family, Linda was a ‘granny’ figure (although she was only ten years older than me, and a very glamorous granny when she first arrived at our door, aged just 40); we’ve had Czech and Polish au pairs, usually shared with other families, who have had a bigsisterly relationship with my daughters; and we’ve had carers in nurseries who have been like favourite aunties. And all in all, my daughters have laughed a lot, and enjoyed their time, and improved their social skills through their attachments and their relationships with the people who’ve cared for them. Like every working mother, I owe all these people who’ve backed me up through the years a huge debt of gratitude: because we all need to know our kids are safe and happy in order to do our jobs. So, follow your instincts is what I’d say: find someone your child really likes being with, and a carer who clearly enjoys being with your child. If you’re very, very lucky, you may even find someone to love him, or her; and then you’ll truly have hit the jackpot.

Childcare Childcare: your options There’s lots to think about when you’re weighing up which sort of childcare to go for. Do you want your child looked after at home, or somewhere else; with other children, or one-to-one with a carer? You’ll also need to consider what sort of care will dovetail with your working hours; plus (and all-importantly) your budget.

Communication in the Office V Communication with the Nanny

By Kathryn Mewes

A nursery: usually open long hours, typically from 7am to 7pm. You need to think about how you’ll get your child to and from nursery; also, if you intend having another child soon, remember that having two children at nursery will double (or almost double, if there’s a sibling discount) the costs. Expect to pay: £30-50 a day. A childminder: looks after up to six children (three of whom can be under five) in her own home. Childminders can often be flexible about working hours. Expect to pay: between £3 and £8 an hour. A nanny: looks after your child in your own home, and may live in or live out. You can cut your costs, and give your child a playmate, if you share a nanny with another family with a similar-aged child. Expect to pay: between £7 and £10 an hour, plus you’re responsible for your nanny’s tax and NI contributions. An au pair or mother’s help: au pairs or mother’s helps tend to come from other EU countries, and may or may not live in your house. They’re often not trained, but will need to have some experience of childcare; they look after your children, and may do some housework as well. Expect to pay: between £6 and £8 an hour for a live-out, less if they’re live-in and you’re providing food. Childcare pitfalls • Don’t be vague with your carer about what you want/need. But once you’ve spelt out what you need, be prepared to trust her to provide what your child needs when she’s in charge, within the boundaries you have set. • Don’t enter into a childcare arrangement unless you’re certain that the logistics work. Any niggle about practicalities is likely to grow much, much bigger as time goes by. • Don’t forget to trust your instincts. Never ignore any nagging doubts about a carer’s suitability – explore the doubts instead, because you need to be completely sure that all is well when you’re not around.

© Images: Kathryn Mewes,

Communicating in the Office is one thing... communicating with the Nanny is a whole different ball game! I myself was a nanny for 13 years before starting my own business, so I have a very clear understanding of the importance of respect both from the nanny and for the nanny. It is a very complex relationship, and I believe that it all stems from good communication. The complexity is that it is a role you have not done before. Until you became a parent, your staff relations were always outside of your home. Your work persona was kept for the office... now it is needed at home as well. I interviewed a business woman recently who happens to employ a full time live in nanny. I asked her about how she makes her nanny aware of her expectations. Her response was fascinating... “I don’t really. I don’t want to discipline her and upset her. If I do this she may become upset or angry and I don’t want her unhappy around my children when I have to leave her alone all day... I think I live on a false hope that if I say nothing the issue will go away. But it rarely does go away.” As we spoke further she admitted that she knew this was wrong because if an issue with your nanny is not addressed you then find yourself becoming more

acutely aware of other elements of her behaviour. These elements then escalate and draw to a head. This can cause a heated discussion which could have been avoided. My mother once told me you can say anything in life to anyone... you just need to choose your moment and pick your words carefully. So, if something is bothering you with your nanny, you need to stop and ask yourself “Is it important enough to approach or is it something you can live with?” If it needs addressing, choose your moment carefully and approach this with sensitivity and positive energy. With a sensitive approach, constructive criticism

is greatly received. You are enhancing your nanny’s skills and the bond between you is continuing to strengthen. For further information about Kathryn and her unique service go to The 3-Day Nanny by Kathryn Mewes will be published in June by Vermilion, £12.99.

Tips for communicating with your Nanny • • • • • • • • • • • •

Ask her about her weekend on a Monday morning. Praise her daily. This only needs to be a slight comment. Praising your nanny will please her and lead to her praising your child. Encourage your children to thank your nanny for their day. Ask your nanny her opinion. This will give her self worth. Don't allow a ‘little niggle’ to escalate – just pick your moment and address it. Never discipline your nanny in front of your children. Addressing matters on a Friday early evening is a good time. Thoughts then digest over the weekend. Have a monthly ‘chat’ where you can both address points. Holiday, activities etc. Ask your nanny to keep a basic diary if this would reassure you about the daily movements. Try not to ring your nanny continually through the day. It will begin to knock her confidence. Be sensitive but up front and honest with your nanny. | Families Cheshire 9

Childcare Added value – having a nanny does make economic sense... By Di Williams, MD, Nannyplus Childcare Ltd. Recent research undertaken by Nannyplus Childcare Ltd and underpinned by a survey undertaken by a leading payroll provider, suggests the clear message is that whilst employing a nanny may not initially appear to be the cheapest option for families, it remains the most viable one providing families with the most flexibility in terms of time, convenience, added value and lifestyle. Flexibility remains the key attraction and can give nannies a distinct advantage in terms of the added help and value they can add to parents’ busy lifestyles. Nannyplus Childcare Ltd has evidenced that the economic downturn has led to more mums returning to work earlier following the birth of their child, albeit working longer hours over fewer

days. Thus the traditional route followed by many of using a nursery is not always an option. However the ability to return early has been enabled by the support of flexible, reliable childcare in the form a Nanny who will work in conjunction with the needs of the family and work the extended hours required. Having an Ofsted registered nanny provides an added financial incentive if families are able to make use of this facility. Many nannies are also reporting an increase in the duties they perform in addition to childcare, thus offering the family a truly added value service. Nannies prepared to offer this, prove themselves to be an invaluable asset to the modern family. In an age of growing demand, and economic uncertainty, for many families nannies remain a benefit worth paying for.

Fairy Pop-ins – the local childcare emergency service! Fairy Pop-ins was formed by Linsay Roberts, a busy working mum of three, to provide parents with a solution to their childcare emergencies. Linsay identified the need for this service when she had to find childcare for her sick daughter. The nursery her little girl attended was not able to care for her and family were all working full time. There is nothing worse than that feeling of being torn between home and work. Fairy Pop-ins aims to help parents find the right home/work balance.

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A high level of care is provided in your home by fully qualified nursery nurses, all of whom are trained in paediatric first aid and can administer any painkillers/medication your child requires. If your child has more complex medical needs and requires specialist care, a registered nurse can be provided to come and tend to your child. Fairy Pop-ins can even collect your child from school/nursery if you receive a call to say they need to go home. All of their nurses and nursery nurses hold a full driving license and are fully insured to take your child to the doctors or hospital if necessary. Mobile crèche Fairy Pop-ins now also offers mobile crèche facilities. Fully qualified, insured staff will give you the peace of mind you need to concentrate on your planned event. Weddings, networking events, college courses, whatever. The team can set up a caring, fun environment to entertain babies and children. While the grown-ups say their speeches, dance or deliver a presentation, Fairy Pop-ins can be making sure your little ones are having lots of fun of their own. For more information call 01942 677798, email or visit

Clubs & classes Babies and toddlers get physical in South Cheshire

With the government recommending more exercise for the under-fives, toddlers in Alsager, Sandbach, Congleton and Holmes Chapel are getting active in physical, high energy dance and music classes. Last year the government issued new guidelines advising that babies and toddlers should be exercising for at least 3 hours everyday. This is the first time advice has focused on the under-fives. Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief

Medical Officer said: “For children that are not yet walking, there is considerable evidence that letting children crawl, play or roll around on the floor is essential during early years. Play that allows underfives to move about is critical and three hours a day is essential.” The advice has been issued in the light of recent research which predicts that by 2050 as many as two thirds of children could be overweight. With only 30% of under-fives currently thought to be doing the

recommended daily amount of exercise, health concerns are high on the government’s agenda. However, just as concerning, a lack of exercise and physicality in young children has also been linked with delayed mental development. Recently, Sally Goddard Blythe, director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology, has even claimed that a growing body of evidence is showing that increasing numbers of children are starting school with underdeveloped motor-skills and that some are needing additional support with learning as a result. However, the children of South Cheshire seem to have no problem being physically active! Over 60 children now attending local MAD Academy classes each week are given the opportunity to dance, run, jump, balance and have fun being physical, much to their delight! Kathryn Lindblad who runs MAD Academy in South Cheshire, understands the importance of physical activity. “Very young children need to move around and use all their bodies when playing. It’s the only way they can develop basic motor skills but it’s also essential for learning and even

brain development. That’s why MAD Academy classes are all about moving. We dance, we run, we develop motor skills with our props. We are always on the go! Children love the high level of physicality in our classes and the freedom to be active.” But Kathryn also appreciates it can be difficult finding the time, and indeed space, for children to be physically active. She said, “Being a mum myself, I understand our lifestyles don’t always make physical play easy. Time pressures mean we drive everywhere, instead of walking, and we don’t always have the space in our gardens for children to be able to run around. Even our nurseries and preschools don’t always have lots of outside space for children. That’s why it’s important to give children the chance to be physical indoors too. I run classes in nurseries where space is at a premium, but we still find ways to get the children moving!” It seems these days we might need to work harder at helping very young children to be active, but the price of not doing so is worryingly high! Kathryn can be contacted on 01270 876628 or

Tennis Tykes franchise for sale in South Manchester & Cheshire

Looking for a new career in 2012 and to run your own business with support and training provided and low start-up costs?... then Tennis Tykes may be for you. Tennis Tykes is currently looking for enthusiastic, lively and energetic individuals to join its exciting tennis play and coaching programme and to work within its already established and thriving South Manchester and Cheshire area. Owner Caroline Buncall says, “This is a great opportunity to come on board, joining an exciting business with a proven track record. You’ll need to be enthusiastic, selfmotivated and keen to make a success of your own business. You can work the hours to suit you and the pre-school classes take place during the day before 3pm. Whether

you are a mum/dad/keen tennis player/ex business owner/employee or sports coach, we’d love to hear from you.” For enquiries contact Caroline on 07843 342662/ For further information log onto On the back of its successful classes which already take place in Bramhall, Wilmslow, Didsbury and Hale, Tennis Tykes has now opened new classes at Fun 4 All, the popular play centre in Macclesfield on a Tuesday morning. The classes are great value as you can also play for free at the centre following the tennis lesson. | Families Cheshire 11

Clubs & classes Ready to Rock! Rokit Performing Arts opened its doors to students in January 2012 with an amazing start. ROKIT POP classes are inspired by music videos, pop songs and popular children’s TV shows. ROKIT THEATRE classes feature acting, singing and dancing, inspired by hit musicals from West End and Broadway shows. Look out for their summer school which will see top West End performers and dancers from shows like the X factor teaching exciting workshops. They will also be

running Rokit Pro academy starting in term two. Have a child’s birthday coming soon? What about a Rokit Party! Including dancing and singing, Rokit cupcakes and more... Call them on 01565 654482 for more information. They only have a few places remaining, so please contact them now to secure your child’s place. Classes take place in Knutsford on Tuesday evenings from 4.30-7.30pm.

Kinder Swim secures new pool Kinder Swim is an exciting swim school that has been operating for the last year in the Cheshire and Newcastle-Under-Lyme areas for babies, preschool and after school children. They have now secured a new pool at Delamere Forest school for their classes. After 5 years of teaching babies and children to swim, Kath and Sharon decided to set up their own swim school to offer a more personal service. They say: “We are passionate about teaching children of all ages and abilities to become water confident and take those very first steps towards independent swimming. Our lessons are fun and stimulating and incorporate vital survival skills whilst still focusing on fun and enjoyment.” Kath and Sharon take great pride in not only giving children the confidence to swim, but also in instilling confidence in the parents, many of whom are nonswimmers themselves, getting them to take the plunge and have fun in the water with their children. Swimming is a great way to keep fit as well as have fun with your little ones and is said to have many therapeutic and calming effects. With their new term starting soon, please contact Kath and Sharon on 07907 263423 for more information and details of classes in your area.

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Clubs & classes Take on the London 2012 Games Youth and Family Gold Challenge Get active and take on Olympic and Paralympic Sports to raise money for charity. Everyone aged 5 and over can take part either as an individual, as part of a team, or with your family and fundraise money for one of Gold Challenge’s 125 charities. The Family Activity Challenge This challenge is all about doing sports together and is perfect for families. Learn one new sport and or try a family run, walk, cycle or swim. It’s accessible for younger children or those who want to involve older members of the family too. There are three challenge options to choose from. This is your challenge and you can choose how you do it: 1. The 2012km Challenge Celebrating the Olympic year, choose your target distance at 2,012, 201.2 or 20.12km and then complete this in your preferred sports. You need to be aged seven or over to register. Cover your chosen distance via one or

more of the following sports (for families or groups this is an aggregated total): Running, Walking, Cycling, Swimming, Canoeing/Kayaking, Horse-riding, Rowing, Sailing. 2. Olympic Sport Challenge For those aged seven or over wanting to try out new sports. Pick five Olympic or Paralympic sports to learn / improve on, then coach or take part in a competitive event to complete your challenge. 3. The Family Activity Challenge This is a two part challenge, perfect for families as it’s all about doing sports together, regardless of age or ability. Firstly, choose one new sport to learn then do two of the following as a family: Swim 500 metres, Run 1,500 metres, Walk 5,000 metres, or Cycle 10,000 metres The Family Activity Challenge can be done anywhere you choose but you must complete it together as a family. More information is available at: | Families Cheshire 13

Parents’ place Get set for Spring with Polarn O.Pyret Logan (20 months) spent February testing out some Spring outdoor wear from Polarn O. Pyret and both he and Mum were impressed with the products…

Fleece Jacket - from £35.00 Logan tried the Citrus colour jacket. When I saw it in the packet I thought it would look a little too bright on but it actually really suits him. The colour is fun and means I can easily spot him in a crowd, even more when it gets a little darker and the reflective strips glow! The fit of the jacket was lovely; it looks smart and comfortable without any bulk. Cut longer at the back there was never any gaping between top and trousers no matter

what he got up to. The collar comes up high to keep little necks warm. Logan also liked the thumb holes cut into the cuffs as this kept his hands a little warmer when he didn’t want gloves on. Logan wore this fleece most days, it kept him warm in the house on cool days, kept him cosy in the car when he didn’t want the bulk of his coat, it kept him toasty outside under his waterproof coat in the bad weather and will serve him well through the warmer Spring days on its own. A very versatile jacket which should last him a couple of years.

Merino Wool Base Layer – from £18.00 To keep Logan super snug we tried the Merino Wool Base Layer under his Fleece Jacket.

MyWhereAbouts – A Smartphone App for all of the family on the move

It took various marathons and a lot of running around to inspire two local, Cheshire fathers, Andy Clifton and John Toms to come up with a smartphone application that helped everyone in their families to arrive on time and communicate where they were. They called it MyWhereAbouts (MWA) as it covers most sports and trips. Take the classic example of the kids on a school trip and you don’t know when they are due to arrive back at school. With MWA the child sets the app going and you get automatic updates at the frequency you agree and track their progress allowing you to arrive at school on time unflustered, whether they are early or late. Like Einstein once said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler” and this is just the approach that makes the MyWhereAbouts Smartphone application unique and a useful little addition to your Smartphone application ‘tool box’.

The application uses Facebook and Twitter integrated with Google maps in the first release and you suddenly have your own personal real-time, streaming ‘commentary box’ feeding yours and your friends’ Facebook and Twitter feeds with information on your performance, progress and location or any combination of the available information you want. It’s sort of a modern day version of the “3 rings” you used to have to do to let Grandma know you were home! Imagine travelling home from work or your kids coming home from school and being able to keep your Friends and Family informed of your “WhereAbouts” and when they can expect you to arrive – all through automatic updates to defined lists of Facebook users and updates to Twitter. How about being a spectator at a marathon and actually knowing how the athlete you have come to support is getting on in the race, where they are on the map and being able to plan where to head to next on the course to cheer them on! If you are doing a special fund raising event MyWhereAbouts will even post your donation ‘Giving’ page or chosen website URL with every update to Facebook and Twitter to help advertise and secure those last minute donations. MyWhereAbouts is currently available for £1.49 on iTunes. An android version will follow very soon.

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This is so soft, lovely next to skin and not at all itchy. The top is very stretchy so it moves easily while staying fitted to the body. Despite being super stretchy it doesn’t lose shape through the day. The top also washes and dries well, still looking like new (unlike many items in the Keep house, as things have a tendency to shrink in my wash loads)!

every day whatever the weather with animals to care for, and as Logan is still at the age where he can be a little unsteady he spends a lot of time falling and getting filthy. These waterproofs made a fabulous cover up and thanks to the generous sizing and hard wearing material I think they will serve him well for a couple of years. Logan seems very comfortable in these trousers, they move well with him and there is no riding up at the ankles (secured by stirrups and tight cuffs) and they stay up well with braces. Despite lots of jumping in puddles and sitting in mud we never once experienced a leak. The lightweight material and loose fit mean they are equally suitable for Winter over thick clothes or for Spring/Summer over lighter items. A fabulous pair of trousers that Logan and Mum would highly recommend.

Waterproof trousers – from £39.00 Also on test was a pair of waterproof trousers, an essential item in this country for getting outdoors with kids. Logan really gave these a good test! Our family is outside

For full product details and further information about the Polarn O. Pyret range visit Or visit your nearest retailer – House of Fraser, Manchester (6th Floor).

Ten Top Tips for Flexible Working By Mandy Garner, Editor of 1. When negotiating flexible working, make sure you think practically about what works for your family. For instance, make sure your childcare plans allow enough leeway so you don’t end up rushing everywhere all the time. 2. Be incredibly organised. Have a list where you write down everything you have to do. You can then feel a sense of achievement as you tick it off, even if you are adding more things to it in the meantime. 3. Prepare all the school/nursery/ childminder stuff you need in the morning the night before, including uniforms and lunch boxes. That way you only have to get the kids up, dressed, breakfasted and out in the morning. Anything more increases the stress levels and means you arrive at work as if you have been on a combat training course. 4. Try to plan ahead so you are not always re-arranging childcare at the last minute. This includes inset days, holidays, Christmas plays, summer outings, etc. 5. Have a back-up plan. Negotiate with your partner, if you have one, or any other form of support, what you will do if there is an emergency such as school closure and try to share the burden. If you know in advance that there is going to be an emergency such as a school strike negotiate with your work to see

if you can work more flexibly that day, e.g. from home. 6. Multi-task. Try to save time by doing several things at once. If you are going out to drop someone off, make sure you remember to do all other tasks that need doing outdoors, e.g. posting a letter, en route. Eventually it will become a way of life. 7. Be good to your friends and family. You will need them. If a friend does you a favour, ensure you always repay it so that you can ask again in the future. 8. Simplify your life - say no to the things you don’t need to do and build in some rest time into your life. Everyone needs a duvet day once in a while. 9. Ask your friends for tips on what makes their lives easier. It may be something as simple as tying your door keys round your neck to stop you from always scrabbling about for them. Learn from those who have gone before you. 10. Be your own best friend. You will spend your life doing things for other people. Ensure that you also build some time in for yourself, even if it is only to have a bath all by yourself. is a jobsite and community for working mums looking to work flexibly around their family.

Parents’ place What mums REALLY want for Mother’s Day By Gabrielle Starkey

Warning: This is for dads only – mums, look elsewhere (or leave the magazine conveniently open on this page where it might be found by your other half…)

A family gathering Mothering Sunday was originally a day-off from Lent, when servants were allowed to travel home to see their mums, and have a slap-up dinner together. Traditional presents were flowers and cakes – and you won’t go too far wrong if you stick to tradition. What mum doesn’t love having the family all around one table, with cake and flowers thrown in? But mum’s not making the feast, or doing the washing up – oh no. Book her favourite restaurant or pub, or make the meal yourself - and make sure you wash up afterwards. Breakfast in bed Again, a traditional but excellent choice. Try making Jamie Oliver’s ridiculously easy American-style pancakes (1 cup each of flour and milk, plus one large egg: with fruit and maple syrup, add flowers and a pot of tea, and Bob’s your auntie’s livein lover. Follow up with a family walk – or take the kids off yourself to let her really enjoy that extended lie-in.

Time to herself This is one thing we mums often crave more than anything, so organise her some proper “me time”. Book her a spa day or indulge her hobby (yoga/writing/crafts/cookery) with a weekend course. If she doesn’t get to see her closest friends enough, maybe you could secretly liaise with them and organise a weekend away? You’ll be rolling in Brownie points after any of these. Time with you, alone Chances are, since the kids came along, life’s been a little (or a lot) less romantic. Mothers’ Day is the perfect time to put this right, with a hotel reservation slipped inside the card and the grandparents on standby for next weekend. Happy days all round. Personalised works of art If home is where your woman’s heart is, then a few personal touches to beautify it won’t go far wrong. Book a portrait session for the whole family with a great local photographer, or find a local service that turns an existing photo into a fantastic artwork. What woman could resist a framed print of her wedding day as a romantic gesture? Something really unique With a little planning ahead, you and the kids can present mum with a truly unique and handmade creation. Take the children’s fingerprints or hand or foot casts, and have them made into pictures, keepsakes or jewellery – there are lots of places that do this now. Alternatively, take the kids to a pottery painting shop and have a great time making a personalised plate, mug or vase that mum will treasure forever. Whatever you decide, we hope every mum has a wonderful Mothers’ Day!

Can you offer support and friendship? Home-Start East Cheshire is a charity that offers support, friendship and practical help to parents with young children in Macclesfield, Congleton, Poynton, Wilmslow and surrounding areas. It’s a unique service that recruits and trains volunteers (who are usually parents themselves) to visit families who have at least one child under five. Volunteers are carefully selected and attend a preparation course of 40 hours before being matched to a family. A volunteer will visit a family for a few hours a week to offer

friendship and practical help in times of need. The families they support need them for many different reasons including postnatal depression, isolation, health issues, single parenthood or exhaustion from coping with several children. Referrals can come from anyone, including the family itself. Funding from the Big Lottery Fund allows us to offer the volunteers an opportunity to also achieve a “Working with Parents” City and Guilds award. Home-Start East Cheshire is governed by a committee of volunteers and is run on a day to day basis by a Project Manager. They would love you to join their team. Please contact Maggie on 01625 511611 for more info, or visit | Families Cheshire 15

Parents’ place The Cuteness of Tantrums

Relentless: That is the word I tend to mutter when I’m stomping around in a grumpy haze, steadying myself on walls and furniture, hand clamped onto forehead, begging the powers that be for strength as I surrender to the teeth-clenching exasperation that sometimes constitutes motherhood. ‘It’s just relentless.’ I hiss to myself. ‘Relentless! Why did no-one tell me just how damn hard this parenting thing was going to be?’ Actually, mothering is only really relentless when I am not quite rising to the challenges it is chucking at me. And the last few months, dear readers, I have mostly been struggling with: boundaries. Ah yes, that old brick wall that children just love kicking against, for as long as they possibly can, until their little metaphorical feet hurt too much to keep going. What is it with little ones? Why do they give us such a hard time? I mean, where is their respect? Losing It Not long ago I found myself in that awful

By Helena Foss

position of being the kind of mother I thought I would never be, losing my rag as I attempted to manage an all-gunsblazing tantrum, smack bang in the middle of town, at rush hour. Reasoning was not getting anywhere. Neither was shouting. In the end, I had to grab my boy by the scruff of the neck and yank him onto a bus, holding him at arm’s length to avoid his attempts to scratch me. Determinedly ignoring the bus full of tut-tutting commuters, I pulled him and his flailing limbs upstairs and mercifully found a place right at the back for him to howl himself into exhaustion. Not my finest hour. I really thought I knew about boundaries. Not only do I have a background in therapy, hey, I watched almost every episode of BBC3’s ‘The House of Tiny Tearaways’ with child psychology expert Professor Tanya Byron at the helm. The theory is great; but practically speaking, I had no idea how tough it would be to draw that all important line without resorting to threats, bribery or a big stick. With the jigging motion of sitting on the

Advertise in Families Cheshire Call Jayne on: 01625 801801 or email 16 Families Cheshire |

back seat of that bus starting to calm us both down and normalise my blood pressure, I noticed that my internal dialogue was sounding horribly judgemental: ‘After all I have done for you,’ my inner embittered doormat moaned, ‘you ungrateful little...’ Cue the scratchy sound of a needle veering off an old vinyl record. ‘Noooooo!’ I yelled inwardly, sitting up with a jolt as if waking up out of a nightmare. This was not the person I ever wanted to be. The Blame Game See, I know that blame is the easy option. The popular American family therapist Dr Phil insists that you have to teach people how to treat you. In fact, it is your job to point out when people are taking you for granted. But this takes courage, tenacity and, importantly, respect for oneself. It means giving up the niceness and needto-be-needed so prevalent in the female conditioning. Lying in bed that night, still stunned at just how hellish my afternoon had been, it dawned on me that I had been giving into everyone’s wants apart from my own – and lost my sense of self in the process. It was indeed mortifying to mentally assess just how resentful towards my family I had become; how relentless everyone’s needs felt upon me. My son had given me the gift of reflecting back just how secretly angry I was at myself, for relentlessly ignoring my own needs. The art of taking good care of oneself, as well as our children, I have found, is being able to set ground rules as a matter of fact. ‘This is Mummy time’ has to be said in the same straightforward manner as ‘the grass is green’. It is just how it is;

no need to defend it with barbed wire and machine guns. As a friend of mine likes to say, ‘once everyone in the family knows their place, even the dog and the cat, we can all relax.’ Cute Tantrums ‘You know, when I think back to those days of tantrums,’ a mother of several teenagers reminisced to me recently, ‘I actually think it was really cute.’ Cute?! It took me a while to get my head round that one. Children’s little brains, I have to remind myself, are not wired for considered, rational behaviour. If they want something they want it. Now. Not having it can bring on a full-blown grief reaction. As overt as they are with their sadness, they are with their happiness and love too. There is nothing quite like my son running up to fling his arms around me when I walk through the door, after nipping to the corner shop. The other week, my son’s school nursery teacher told me she had asked the class if anyone knew what a tantrum was. My boy’s hand, apparently, shot up. ‘A tantrum,’ he said solemnly as he stood in front of the class, ‘is when you just pry and pry and pry.’ (He hasn’t got the hard ‘c’ sound nailed in that particular word just yet). The discussion opened up and, one by one, the faces of his nursery chums lit up. ‘Oh yes,’ they chimed, ‘I do that sometimes too!’ And: ‘So do I!’ A four-year-olds tantrum support group! Awwwww. Now that really is cute. Helena is a hypnotherapist and writer about all things holistic and spiritual.

Parents’ place The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do For Your Children RRP £9.99 Paperback By Roni Jay Published by Prentice Hall Life, ISBN 0273720279 This is not a 6-inch manual on everything you need to know about parenting! Instead, it sets out the vital principles to help you get your children safely from toddlerhood to the end of their teens. The author writes from a position of common sense. She knows that life is busy and you are often strapped for time, therefore she covers what really matters when it comes to

raising happy, healthy, well-balanced children. The book covers questions like: “What can I teach my children that will have the most positive impact on their lives?” and “What little things will make the biggest difference to their happiness now and success in the future?” Reviewed by Louise Turner

The Parenting Book

RRP £17.99 Hardback By Joanna Gosling Published by Kyle Books, ISBN 978-0-85783-058-6 This is a stylish reference book that’s perfect for dipping into for inspiration on ways to make life run more smoothly – and isn’t that something we all dream of? Divided into two, the first part deals with the practicalities of family life and has helpful and timesaving hints on essential matters such as speed

cleaning the oven or restoring a bobbly jumper. The second part is called ‘The Nice Stuff’ and the author has some fun suggestions for things to make and do using all that precious time you’ve saved. This would make a great gift for a new mother. Reviewed by Sally Harris

Bullying: A Parent’s Guide RRP £9.99, Paperback By Jennifer Thompson Published by Need2Know Books, ISBN: 978-1-86144-216-1 As a former bullying victim herself, Thomson has channelled her own bitterness and rage into a determination to help others. Whilst the book can make for heart breaking reading at times, it’s packed with practical advice and useful contacts. Invaluable tips include recording every incident,

RRP £8.99 By Nicky and Sila Lee Published by Alpha International, ISBN 978-1-905887-36-1 This is based on Nicky and Sila Lee’s own experiences of bringing up their four children and also on the parenting classes they have been running for the past twelve years. They deal with the tricky issues that many families have to negotiate these days, such as such as drugs, sex, alcohol, and the Internet, and all in an open and thought-provoking way. It is peppered with quotes about

Simply Wonderwoman

photographing injuries and printing web pages in the case of cyber bullying, to make sure you approach the school or police with all the facts, and a clear knowledge of your rights and their obligations. This empowering book will arm parents with all they need to fight for their children’s right to a happy childhood. Reviewed by Sarah Naughton

family relationships from both parents and children that reinforce the down-toearth advice. The authors are Christians and part of the Alpha movement but the advice seems relevant to parents of all persuasions, religious or otherwise. Reviewed by Sally Harris

Shattered. Modern Motherhood and the Illusion of Equality RRP £12.99 By Rebecca Asher Published by Harvill Secker, ISBN 9781-846-553974 Why are British women still primarily responsible for young children despite changed career expectations? Rebecca Asher lifts the lid on the current situation and finds that men are excluded through the Mum-focus of the health service combined with the lack of flexible working rights. Women, steamrollered into the main caring role, become disillusioned by reality yet entrenched as gatekeepers. International comparisons demonstrate that

government policy promotes change, which Asher includes in a proposal to facilitate more equal participation in the responsibilities and pleasures of raising children. Thought provoking, perceptive and challenging – for existing and expectant parents!

Check out the new gift sets from banana lane, to get free postage just enter FAM2012 at checkout.

Reviewed by Jan Deykin | Families Cheshire 17

Health & Safety How much would you pay to put a Seeing is believing ChromaGen filters resynchronise and hat on your head? selectively change the speed of the

On 30 March, Brain Tumour Research and its member charities will be encouraging nurseries, schools, colleges, universities, public sector bodies and office workers to make a donation in order to nominate their ‘head’ to wear a silly hat for the day in aid of the charity’s annual ‘Wear a Hat Day’. The campaign aims to raise awareness regarding the prevalence of brain tumours and the need for vital research. From sponsored silences to charity runs and office bake-offs, organisations around the country are being encouraged to raise money in any which way they see fit in order to sponsor their ‘head’ to wear a silly hat. Sue Farrington-Smith, Director of Brain Tumour Research, comments: “Brain Tumour Research receives less than 1% of national cancer research spending in the UK yet the deadly disease kills more children and people under the age of 40 than any other cancer. ‘Wear a Hat Day’ is a fun way of increasing awareness and getting people raising money for an often overlooked form of cancer”. Brain Tumour Research has recruited the help of Kate Langrish-Smith, crowned ‘Young Hat Maker of the Year 2010’, to develop the official range of campaign hats. Instructions to make your own bespoke hat will be available to download from the website alongside another downloadable PDF which will allow you to create your own hat simply out of paper. These interactive features allow everyone to access and support the campaign and both DIY hats

will be accompanied by an online instructions video. Philip Treacy, celebrity hat designer and patron to the charity, says: “Fashion is a feeling and a mood and therefore how better to express your passion and commitment to a subject such as brain tumour research than by wearing a fantastic hat? It immediately creates a statement and it doesn’t matter what the hat is or how much it costs; everybody who gets involved will feel a million dollars on the day, whilst also raising much needed research funds and awareness.” Philip has also contributed to the campaign by providing an image of a hat that he has designed for an exclusive badge that will be available as a limited edition. This badge will be available for purchase through the website, alongside this year’s wear a hat badges which will be launched for sale during March – brain tumour awareness month. Brain Tumour Research represents the united campaign voice of the Brain Tumour Research group of 18 charities. Launched in 2009, the charity was established specifically to raise funds for brain tumour research. To get involved, request your fundraising packs or for further background into Brain Tumour Research go to

Child Safety Week 2012 The theme for CAPT’s (Child Accident Prevention Trust) Child Safety Week 2012 is Small steps to safety, conveying that it only takes a few small steps to help make a child’s environment safer. It’s also a reflection of the small footsteps taken by a young child. This year’s Child Safety Week runs from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 June, and

CAPT will be making resources available from mid-April to help support your events and activities. Put the date in your diary now and let’s help to reduce the number of children and young people killed, disabled or seriously injured in accidents.

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Jane Smellie Opticians in Chester pride themselves on the number of specialist services they offer, and are renowned for their care of children’s visual needs, particularly those with Dyslexia (including Irlen’s Syndrome) and those involved in sports. All the optometrists at Jane Smellie Opticians are licensed Chromagen Practitioners. Chromagen filters are precision tinted lenses, which have been clinically proven to dramatically improve accuracy of reading, writing and comprehension.

information travelling along the pathway from the eyes to the brain. This enables sufferers to improve their reading ability, handwriting and spelling. Even where an existing programme is in place, ChromaGen can accelerate results. Working alongside other methods of tuition, ChromaGen helps to reach patients’ full potential. In some cases ChromaGen has been known to help in Dyspraxia and Migraine sufferers. Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence except that by definition almost all dyslexics are more intelligent than can be predicted by their reading ability. Signs of Dyslexia (Irlen’s Syndrome) include – but are not limited to – individuals who: • Are intelligent but have not reached their full potential at school • Avoid reading, writing or mathematics • Have difficulty in concentrating • Have difficulty in following text If you think you or your child could benefit from a full Chromagen assessment, contact them today on 01244 679841, or visit them at the Chester Wellness Centre.

Easter activity ideas Introducing children to cooking

Get them climbing the walls

By Miriam Brown, Early Years Manager, kidsunlimited Helping my mother cook is one of my early memories from my preschool years. She was exceedingly patient! Small children are often keen to do what you are doing. Involve children in the preparation of their food, make this involvement fun and you will be fostering the development of the following positive outcomes: • Providing them the opportunity to begin accepting responsibility for their own eating habits • Providing them with a wonderful sense of achievement • Perhaps even enticing them to try foods they have previously rejected. Cooking activities are the perfect combination of fun and creativity and are a great way to teach children about the food they eat as well as introduce them to new foods from around the world. Children will eagerly tuck into something they have prepared themselves and take great pride in watching someone else enjoy their food. Cooking brings plenty of opportunities for introducing new vocabulary, asking questions and mark making as well as allowing children to acquire and hone skills such as counting, measuring, weighing and understanding time and fractions. Make sure the activities you ask of your child are age appropriate; below is a quick guide but you know your child best and what would be most suitable for them. • 2 years - Scrubbing, tearing, dipping • 3 years - Pouring, mixing, spreading, shaking • 4 years - Wiping, washing, peeling, cutting, rolling, mashing, grating Cooking with children is not something for the spur of the moment; it requires a little planning. Think ahead about the recipe, start simple, something like scrambled egg, or pikelets, or maybe something that doesn’t require cooking, like fruit salad.

Early childhood centres that run cooking sessions with children regularly, often write out the recipes so that the children can follow the method without reading; pictures are used for each step. Cooking is a bit like reading and if you learn the basics first, the rest should fall into place. These are some of the most frequently used techniques, the best ones to aim to teach your child: 1. Peeling vegetables with a vegetable peeler. 2. Chopping onions leaving the root intact so that it doesn’t fall apart. 3. Crushing garlic - crush it first and the skin will peel off easily. 4. Mashing potatoes with a potato masher. 5. Grating cheese. 6. Squeezing citrus fruit. 7. Cracking eggs by tapping the centre of the shell over the rim of a small bowl. 8. Using a sieve. 9. Whisking egg whites. 10. Using a hand held blender to make things like smoothies. 11. Rubbing in butter and flour for crumble. 12. Kneading dough. 13. Rolling out dough using a floured rolling pin and cutting out shapes using cookie cutters. 14. Greasing and lining cake tins. 15. How to tell if a cake is cooked by seeing if a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Most importantly have fun and don’t worry too much about the mess!

Are you looking for something different and exciting to do as a family? Perhaps a new and exciting activity for kids or a birthday party with a difference? Have you ever thought of climbing? The opportunity to try this welcoming and friendly sport is closer than you think! The Manchester Climbing Centre offers both indoor and outdoor climbing sessions suitable for families and kids clubs and activities for children aged five and upwards. Found close to Manchester city centre with great road and bus links to the Manchester shops & attractions, the climbing centre has ample free parking and great café facilities making a climbing trip a great day out too! There are fun kids sessions on throughout the school holidays, with Little Monkeys clubs for five and six year olds, Rock Its clubs for seven to ten year olds and Hang Time for eleven to seventeen year olds; as well as sessions for families to try climbing as a group. The climbing centre is huge and offers climbing and bouldering facilities for everyone from complete novices to experienced experts, and the friendly professional staff are on hand to ensure

that every session is great fun. Fully AALA licensed, they also offer a full package of outdoor courses at outdoor venues in the Peak District and other crags throughout Yorkshire and Lancashire. There are sessions for children offering the chance to work through a nationally accredited achievement scheme, or just come along for a climb with friends. Climbing is an exciting and stimulating activity for all ages, and a great way for families to spend time together. For more information on the variety of courses and activities, or to make a booking, contact the centre or visit their website. 0161 230 7006 / | Families Cheshire 19

Easter activity ideas Families Cheshire Recommends …Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre By Jayne Keep

Easter Egg Fun Sat 24 Mar Aldford School, Aldford nr Chester Easter Egg Hunt 2 - 4pm, Suitable for under 7s. Follow the map to discover hidden eggs along the trail. Free event. Refreshments available. All welcome. 01244 620280 /

Fri 6 Apr

A definite on the list of things to do over Easter for the Keep family is a return visit to Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre. We took a trip over to Tarporley to visit these beautiful horses in the February half term and the girls had a fabulous time meeting the mares who were all heavily in foal. We are now keen to go back to meet the new arrivals at Easter. The centre is actually a working Shire Horse Stud run by Alistair and Janet King who have turned the stud into a visitor attraction so the public can see and learn about these magnificent horses. The team at Cotebrook are so helpful and friendly they really made us feel welcome. When we visited, Alistair was answering any questions people had individually, and gave a group talk with the full story behind the breeding work at the centre. It was fascinating to hear about the success of the horses here as Alistair breeds a large percentage of the best Shire horses in the country. He is clearly so passionate about the work he does and you could see the horses loved him as much as he loves them by the way they gathered around him as he spoke to us.

We had the chance to get up close and stroke the in-foal mares and youngsters in their indoor barn; took a peek at the stallions in the stables; the kids groomed Shetland ponies and played with piglets. The centre really is much more than just horses as you will find pigs, sheep, otters, polecats, foxes, deer and hens here too. In addition to the main yard there is a nature trail through the 50 acres of land the centre covers, where you can find a great selection of British wildlife and more of the horses out in the fields. A great trip out for any animal loving family. We rounded off our visit with a trip to the Lakeside Café and enjoyed some gorgeous cupcakes to set us up for the journey home – yum! Before we could load up into the car the kids of course needed to visit the gift shop which is filled with fabulous quality toys and keepsakes. Fancy visiting Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre this Easter? Make sure you take advantage of the special offer on page 21 (see their ad for details). For more information visit or call 01829 760506.

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Blakemere Craft Centre, Sandiway, Northwich Easter Egg Frenzie 10.30am (on Supagolf course) Collect as many coloured golf balls as you can in a set time. Large Easter Egg for age category winners & small egg for every entrant. Easter Fun 10am – 5pm (Fountain Area) Children’s entertainer, balloon modelling, games, Talent Competition 01606 883261 / Destination 49, Sandiway to Tarporley Easter Egg Hunt Crack Cheshire’s longest Easter egg hunt. Attractions and businesses along the A49 – stretching from Sandiway to Tarporley – have joined together to provide a full day of fun. Buy your passport at any of the attractions to be stamped along the way, and head to Blakemere when you’ve got all your stamps to receive a surprise.

Fri 6 – Mon 9 Apr Lyme Park, Disley Easter Eggstravaganza 11am – 4pm, £2 per trail Fabulous family trail supported by Cadbury, with a special Easter prize. Outdoor games, face painting and lots of fun. House & garden admission applies. NT members free 01663 762023 /

Quarry Bank Mill, Styal Easter Weekend Eggstravaganza 11am – 4pm, 50p per trail Hunt the bunnies to earn your egg with the special Cadburys trail over Easter weekend plus games and activities on the Mill Meadow. 01625 527468 / Dunham Massey Hall, Altrincham Easter Eggstravaganza 11am – 4pm Cadbury fun days for all the family. Follow the trails in the house and garden and children receive a Cadbury’s chocolate egg. 0161 941 1025 / dunhammassey Little Moreton Hall, Congleton Easter Trails 11am - 3pm, £1.50 per trail Follow our Easter trail around the Hall and Garden and take home a Cadbury prize. 01260 272018 / little-moreton-hall

Sat 7 – Sun 15 Apr Blakemere Craft Centre, Sandiway, Northwich Easter Egg Trail 10am – 5pm, £1 per Trail Form 01606 883261 /

Sun 8 – Thurs 12 Apr Abbeywood Gardens, Delamere Easter Treasure Hunts 10am – 4pm 01606 301374 /

These listings are for guidance only – please check before you go

What’s on

To include your upcoming event in our listings, email

Activities Sat 10 & Sun 11 Mar Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre, Cotebrook Foal Watch 2012 Free entry this weekend for fun activies. Meet the new foals, do some Pony & Shire Horse grooming, take part in the Foal Watch Quiz and many other competitions. 01829 760506 /

Sun 25 Mar Wilmslow High School Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop 10am – 12pm, Table costs £10 Entrance 50p £1 car parking charge 07748 601248 /

Mon 26 Mar – Sun 8 Apr

Sat 17 Mar Lyme Park, Disley Magnificent Mums 1 – 3pm, £7, Age 6+, Booking Essential 01663 762023 / Oulton Park Circuit Masters Historic Festival A celebration of cars and drivers from golden eras gone by. £13 in advance, free entry under 12’s 0843 453 9000 /

Sun 18 Mar Tatton Park, Knutsford Mothering Sunday Treat Mum this year to tea and cakes in Tatton’s Mansion and a visit to the estate’s beautiful 50 acre garden. Pre-booking essential. 01625 374 456 /

Chester Racecourse Sport Relief Mile 8.30am – 12 noon Don’t pass on the opportunity to run, hop, skip or walk around the oldest racecourse in Britain! Then once you’ve finished kick back and enjoy all of the fantastic entertainment.

Tegg’s Nose Country Park Come and Try It Day 10am – 4pm, £4 pp or £12 for family of 4 Climbing, Abseiling, Bushcraft Skills, Archery and Orienteering. Min age for Abseiling is 6. Booking and payment in advance essential. 01625 383777 / Tytherington High School Tytherington Community Clean-up 1 – 3pm Join local businesses and organised groups to target litter grot-spots. Refreshments and small prizes for all volunteers! All ages welcome. Refreshments, safety instructions and equipment provided. 01625 374790 /

Whitegate Daffodil Walks in Cheshire £5 including tea/coffee/cakes Guided walk near the village of Whitegate, in the heart of the Vale Royal. More than 4,000 bulbs planted along paths and woodland area. Booking in advance essential. 01606 889380 / /

Throughout April Chester Zoo Dinosaurs Bite Back! All-new exhibition, featuring 19 life-like robotic replicas of the creatures that roamed the earth 200 million years ago. 01244 380280 /

Sun 1 Apr Victory Hall, Mobberley, WA16 7JQ Spring Crafts and Children’s Easter Fun Day 10.30am – 4pm Quality gifts and crafts for adults along with a fantastic selection of activities for children. Amazing balloon modellers, face painters, “create your own” jewellery and build-abear workshops, pocket-money stalls plus many more products to tempt and delight (not just the kids). Adults: £1 Children 50p (% of profits to school charity) For more info call Helen on 07813 927103.

Mon 2 Apr Dunham Massey Hall Storytelling 12 noon – 3.30pm Tales and stories for all the family in the dairy. Stories at various times between 12 noon and 3.30pm. House & garden ticket required 0161 941 1025 / dunhammassey Glo Family, Cheadle 11am Creation Station Easter Special 1pm Easter Bonnet Inspired Creative Play 4pm Mini Mad Hatters Teatime Special 0844 8007380 / | Families Cheshire 21

What’s on Mon 2 – Fri 13 April Quarry Bank Mill, Styal Easter activities in the Mill 11am – 4pm Hop on down to enjoy the Easter fun with cotton tailed rabbits taking over the Mill! 01625 527468 /

Tues 3 Apr Dunham Massey Hall Calling all Servants 11am – 4pm The housekeeper puts you through your servant paces. House & garden ticket required. 0161 941 1025 / dunhammassey Glo Family, Cheadle 10am Toddler Time Easter Party (18 mths – 5 yrs) 1pm Easter Basket Inspired Creative Play 4pm Mini Mad Hatters Teatime Special 0844 8007380 / Grosvenor Museum, Chester Newstead Gallery Easter Bonnets & Hats 2 – 4pm, All ages Design a crafty bonnet or hat to wear this Easter Holiday. 01244 402110 / visiting

Wed 4 April Tegg’s Nose Country Park Tree Decorating At Teggs’s Nose Make fantastic tree decorations using woven willow. 1 – 3pm, £5 01625 265093 /

Astbury Mere Country Park, Congleton Charity Dog Trail 1 – 4pm, £2.00 per dog / family - All proceeds to charity. Free Prize Draw / Free Dog Food samples / Free Poop Scoops and lots of FUN!!!!! A great opportunity to walk your dog for a good cause - everyone welcome, with or without a dog! 01260 295495 /

Thurs 5 & Thurs 12 Apr Harthill Cookery School, Tattenhall Teens Cookery Club For youngsters of High School age who want to take their cookery skills further than a fairy cake and beyond the bun! 10am – 12 noon, £38 per person per session including lunch, tea, soft drinks. One or two parents allowed to assist. 01829 782097 /

Fri 6 – Mon 9 Apr Glo Family, Cheadle 10am Baby Glo Easter Party (Ages 3 – 18 mths) 2pm Music with Mummy FREE Taster 4pm Mini Mad Hatters Teatime Special 0844 8007380 /

Wed 4 & Thurs 5 Apr Silk Museum, Macclesfield Haring Around – 2D and 3D hares and spring mobiles Ages 6 – 12 £6 per child, Booking essential 01625 612045 /

Thurs 5 Apr Glo Family, Cheadle 11 am Easter Bunny Inspired Creative Play 1.15pm Theatre Tots FREE Taster (Ages 0 – 5 yrs) 2.15pm Blooming Kids School of Theatre FREE Taster (Ages 4 – 7 yrs) 4pm Mini Mad Hatters Teatime Special 0844 8007380 / Grosvenor Museum, Chester Newstead Gallery Easter Egg Baskets 2 – 4pm, All ages Make a gift basket and fill it with chocolate eggs to give to your favourite person on Easter Sunday. 01244 402110 / visiting

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Oulton Park Circuit British F3/GT Championships The British F3 and GT season starts at Oulton Park, where F1 stars of the future and drivers of powerful supercars look to get their year off to the best possible start! From £13 in advance, free entry under 12’s 0843 453 9000 /

Sat 7 Apr Dunham Massey Hall Guided Walk - Family Wildlife Walk 11am – 1pm Bring all the family to discover Dunham's deer and other wildlife on a guided walk around the park. Dogs on leads welcome. 0161 941 1025 / dunhammassey

Sat 7 – Mon 9 Apr

Chester Racecourse Chester Food & Drink Festival Let the kids get stuck in and messy in cooking workshops. Lifestyle section, competitions, events throughout the city and the annual cheese rolling event. 01244 405 615 /

Sun 8 Apr Peckforton Castle, Nr Tarporley Enchanting Easter Sunday Meet and greet with their captivating snowy owl on arrival before moving through to the award winning 1851 restaurant to savour a 4 course Sunday lunch. Each child will receive an Easter gift following their meal. 01829 260 930 /

Sun 8 & Mon 9 Apr Blakemere Craft Centre, Sandiway Easter Food and Craft Fair 10am – 5pm A Springtime Easter Market consisting of food and craft stalls offering a great selection of local produce and handcrafted items. Circus Workshop Have a go at juggling, diablo, plate spinning and more with assistance from the hands-on workshop team. 01606 883261 /

Tatton Park, Knutsford Easter Crafts and Shopping Fair 10.30am – 5pm Home décor and furnishing ideas, arts and crafts and gifts for the family. 01530 834056 /

Glo Family, Cheadle 10am – 3pm Glo Table Top Sale & Garden Party 0844 8007380 /

Alice in Wonderland Easter Festival Step through the looking glass in the Mansion, follow the White Rabbit to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the Gardens and meet the Queen of Hearts at the Farm. Normal opening times and prices apply. 01625 374400 /

Abbeywood Gardens, Delamere Children’s Portrait Day 9am – 4pm, £20 45-minute mini photo session with Cheshire children’s photographer Helen Rae. Bookings essential. 01606 783000 /

Mon 9 Apr

Mon 9 & Thurs 12 Apr

These listings are for guidance only – please check before you go

What’s on

To include your upcoming event in our listings, email

Tues 10 Apr

Sat 14 Apr

Glo Family, Cheadle 10am Toddler Time Easter Party (18 mths – 5 yrs) 1 – 6pm Camille Wesser Photo Shoot 4pm Mini Mad Hatters Teatime Special 0844 8007380 /

Tegg’s Nose Country Park Geology at Tegg's Nose Country Park 11am – 3pm, Age 5+ Walks at 12.00pm and 2.00pm. Make fossil casts and look at rocks, minerals and fossils in the visitor centre. 01625 614279 /

Tues 10 – Sun 15 Apr Tatton Park, Knutsford Lambing Week at the Farm 12 noon – 5pm, Adult £5.50, Child £3.50 (4 – 15), under 4’s free Informative talks and live viewing via the webcam. Sheepy quiz and collage. 01625 374400 /

Wed 11 Apr Riverside Park Ranger Centre, Beech Lane, Macclesfield Easter Crafts and Activities Mask making, games and activities suitable for under 10’s (accompanied). Booking essential. 01625 374790 / Glo Family, Cheadle 10am Baby Glo Easter Party (Ages 3 – 18 mths) 1 – 6pm Camille Wesser Photo Shoot 4pm Mini Mad Hatters Teatime Special 0844 8007380 /

Thurs 12 Apr Glo Family, Cheadle 11am Relax Kids Holiday Special 1.15pm Theatre Tots FREE Taster (Ages 0 – 5 yrs) 2.15pm Blooming Kids School of Theatre FREE Taster (Ages 4 - 7 yrs) 4pm Mini Mad Hatters Teatime Special 0844 8007380 /

Sat 21 & Sun 22 Apr Sandbach Town Centre Sandbach Carnival & Transport Festival 2012

Sun 22 Apr Astbury Mere Country Park, Congleton Family Pond Dip 2 – 3pm, £2, Booking Essential 07757 611963 /

Tues 24 Apr Tegg’s Nose Visitor Centre Orienteering for All 6 – 7.15pm (Registration from 5.30pm) Courses suitable for beginners and experienced orienteers. Families and groups welcome. Instruction available. Adults £4, Children £2. Info: Tony Wagg on 0161 445 0902 /

NCT Nearly new sales Tarporley & District

Macclesfield Sat 17th March, 11am - 1pm The Macclesfield Academy, Park Lane, Macclesfield, SK11 8JR £1 entrance / 0844 243 6115 Clothes, toys, books and nursery equipment. Refreshments available. No pushchairs or shopping bags.

Chester Sat 31 March, 12 noon – 2pm The Bishops’ Blue Coat CE High School, Vaughans Lane, Great Boughton, Chester, CH3 5XF £1 entrance / 0844 243 6084 Children’s (0 – 5) & Maternity clothes, toys, books, DVDs, prams & buggies, nursery equipment

Sat 31 March, 1pm – 3pm Tarporley Community Centre, High Street, Tarporley, Cheshire, CW6 0AY £1 entrance / 07894 554515 Spring/Summer children’s (0-11 years) and babies’ clothes, toys, books, CDs, DVDs, cots, prams/pushchairs and nursery equipment.

Wilmslow Sat 12th May, 11am – 1pm Wilmslow United Reformed Church, Chapel Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 1PR £1 entrance / 0844 243 6115 Clothes, toys, books and nursery equipment. Refreshments available. No pushchairs or shopping bags.

Sat 28 Apr Astbury Mere Country Park, Congleton Mini Beast Hunt 10.30am – 12 noon, £2, Booking essential Come and search for mini-beasts in the park. 07757 611963 /

Sun 29 Apr Brereton Heath Dog Agility Day 11am – 4pm Dig It Dogs Club’s demonstrations of dog agility. Bring your own dog to try out the course. | Families Cheshire 23

Competition time WIN A Family Annual Pass or one of two Family Tickets to LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre!

Step inside LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Manchester and it’s like you have just jumped into the biggest box of LEGO® bricks ever! Join the battle on Kingdom Quest - an interactive LEGO laser ride, feel a part of the story in the 4D cinema, learn top LEGO building secrets from the Master Model Builder, see iconic landmarks in MINILAND, make a celebration even more memorable in one of our special party rooms; and much more... It’s the ultimate place for all LEGO fans - young and old! The five new LEGO friends, Stephanie, Andrea, Olivia, Mia, Emma have now settled in their new home at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. Could you be their new Best

Friend? Build your own microphone and perform on Andrea’s karaoke stage! Plus, opening Easter 2012, the LEGO CITY: Forest Pursuit driving adventure*! Children will be able to take part in their own driving adventure as they are let loose upon forest pathways in their own off-road LEGO vehicles! The challenge is on to capture the robbers who have stolen gold bars from the City! *Height restrictions apply We’ve got one Family Annual Pass worth £96 and two Family tickets each worth £48 to give away - just go to our website to enter now. Closing Date Saturday 31 March.

WIN A Family ticket to The Tiger Who Came To Tea or The Gruffalo

This Easter, The Lowry is staging two wonderful children’s shows in the Lyric Theatre and we have a family ticket to give away for each of these fabulous productions. The Tiger Who Came To Tea plays from Tues 10 to Sun 15 April and is a stunning stage adaptation of this enchanting tale of teatime mayhem… featuring a tea guzzling tiger, magic, sing-a-long songs and clumsy chaos. This is closely followed by the smash hit show The Gruffalo with songs, laughs and scary fun for all the family from Tue 17 to Sat 21 April.

Come in fancy dress on Sat 21 April and the best costume wins a prize! To win a family ticket (4 people) for either The Tiger Who Came To Tea on Tue 10 April at 2pm or The Gruffalo on Tue 17 April at 2pm, just go to our website and answer the following question: Which animal came to tea? 1. Rabbit 2. Tiger 3. Elephant Closing Date Saturday 31 March.

WIN Fab Girl’s Gifts from WOW Toys Here at Families Cheshire we have a set of three very girly toys from WOW up for grabs. Little Izzy Keep (age 3) from the Families team put some samples of the prizes to the test and loved these new lines by WOW toys, the makers of great value friction powered toys for children from 18 months to 5 years.

First on test was Pippa’s Princess Carriage – a push along Cinderella-style horse and pumpkin carriage with clip clop sound. Izzy loved this fairytale set, especially the way the carriage opens out to reveal a magic mirror that shows realistic views of Pippa. Next up was Cupcake Chloe – this set contained a cupcake shop and a push-along trike

24 Families Cheshire |

with a spinning cake at the front. Izzy was particularly amused by the spinning cake which has a choice of two toppings.

Finally we had Whiz Around Amy, a friction powered bike and side car with accessories. Izzy really liked this girly pink motorbike and spent time testing just how Whizzy Amy was! These toys have been well used by Izzy since they arrived in the office; she frequently gets the sets out for a game. The simple nature of the toys really lets her use her own imagination. Figures and vehicles across the range can easily be used together for even more play options. For more details on these products and the full WOW Toys range visit To enter our competition to win a set of these 3 toys, log on to and enter now. Closing Date Saturday 31 March.

Families Cheshire Issue 16 Mar-Apr 2012  

Families Cheshire Magazine for March and April 2012