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Families Chiltern, PO Box 1037, Beaconsfield, Bucks HP9 1ZF. Tel/fax: 01494 673427, Email:


速 The free useful magazine for families with young children

Issue 67 : May/June 2014

Welcome to our May/June party issue In this issue: 3- 5 6

News from around the Chilterns Stop feeling guilty Fiona Clark from Inspired Mums explains how.


Win free stuff!


Surviving SATs

Lots of goodies to be won. Help your children cope with SATs pressure.


Good grammar How to help your children improve their grammar.


Schools noticeboard


Beat the homework blues


Written in the stars

Open days in the Chilterns. Help to get your kids to do their homework happily. How astrology might have the answer to your kids’ behaviour.


‘It’s my party…!’


Party time


Survival parties

How to have a stress-free party. Parties for all ages.

Hello! Birthday, and inevitably party, season is nearly upon us. I’ve been through my fair share of parties now, but it never seems to get any easier. First of all there’s the indecision – what to do this year, at home or away, who to invite, what to put in the party bags… Then we move to the planning of said event, and endless discussion of what to put in the party bags. Followed by a brief debate on birthday cakes, before the kids oust me from the computer and spend their whole time on Amazon and Ebay searching no end of tat, none of it as cheap as it should be, that they’re convinced their friends will love. This is usually followed by a brief calm, followed by blind panic – will anyone turn up, have we got enough food, are the party bags ok?! I know I’m not alone in finding the whole Party Thing a bit stressful, which is why we’ve put together our special party feature this month, full of helpful suggestions and tips to get you through the party season. We’ve also got lots of top tips for surviving SATs and homework, looked at how to get out of the guilt trap and put together lots of ideas for making sure your half term is jam-packed with fun things to do, as well as including all the usual news and listings of fun places and things going on locally so you can get out and about and enjoy the great British summer, when it finally manages to arrive. So here’s to a happy and sunny time.

Throw a party with a difference. Our indispensable listings of party people in the Chilterns.

22-23 Tree spotting

Allison x Allison Thomas, Editor

PS – Don’t forget to check out our new what’s on guide at – it’s constantly updated and full of great ideas for days out and local activities.

Do you know your beech from your oak?

24-25 ‘What can we do today?’

Follow us @Familieschilter

26-29 What’s on in the Chilterns Comprehensive listing of local events.


Ed’s reading room The latest new books reviewed.


Get cooking!

Find us on Facebook, FamiliesChiltern Editor: Allison Thomas Design: David Fowler. Printed by Warners (Midlands) plc. Published six times a year, next issue: July/August summer issue, advertising deadline 2 June.

Cover picture:

Congratulations to all our competition winners.

This issue’s tasty dish from Beverley Glock Cookery School.

PO Box 1037, Beaconsfield HP9 1ZF. Tel/Fax: 01494 673427 email:



Visit for lots more news, features and local info.

Don’t forget to visit regularly for lots more chances to win.

Try something different this spring.

Sarah & Duck: Rose Fletcher, Maidenhead; Marie Lomas, Lancashire; & Allan Middleton,Cheltenham. Arty Harty: Sarah Maskell, Wendover. Dennis the Menace: Laura Avery, Kent; Sarah Parker, Bedford; & Chirag Patel, London. Odds Farm: Holly Adams, Milton Keynes; Richard Burwood, Penn; Jason Hobbs, Holmer Green; & Jo Reeve, Amersham.

18-21 Non-stop party directory

News from around the Chilterns Oh help! Oh no! It’s a Gruffalo! One of the best (in our opinion) children’s picture books ever is 15 years old this year and to help celebrate the Gruffalo is heading home to the deep dark woods of Wendover. From April, visitors can join Mouse on his adventure and explore Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning tale through activity trails in Forestry Commission England woods all over the country, including Wendover Woods. The trails will be at the Woods until September, with a 7ft wooden sculpture of everyone’s favourite monster to find from June, too. And then on 7 June, don’t miss the chance to join in a very special birthday celebration with a big birthday forest picnic. Ian Gambles, Director of Forestry Commission England commented: ‘There’s no better way to celebrate The Gruffalo than within the deep dark woods and forests that he calls home. The Gruffalo is a national treasure and so are our forests, and this partnership will really help to bring the story to life and celebrate the anniversary in true Gruffalo style.’ Details of trails, sculpture locations and the forest birthday picnic party pack are available from

Free e-book for mums stuck in a career rut

Do you feel stuck in a career rut? And I mean really stuck? Perhaps you’re in a role you don’t enjoy or want to return to work but don’t know where to start? Well, help is at hand – Fiona Clark, career coach from Inspired Mums, has launched a free ebook bursting with tips for mums who are feeling uninspired. For Mums Stuck In A Career Rut: 8 Steps To Finding Work You Love is the ultimate guide to finding a fulfilling new role that fits around your family. Download a copy and work through the exercises and be inspired by the case studies of mums who’ve managed to find work they love. Visit http:// to find out more.

New dance school opens in Prestwood If your children love to dance, check out newly opened Body Grooves dance school. Run by professionally trained dancer Jenna Murphy, the school specialises in freestyle disco, commercial, street and drama for all ages and abilities. Jenna, who herself has danced with Jessie J, James Corden and Sean Paul, is keen for the children to have fun and learn some new skills, as well as keeping fit. Pupils will have the opportunity to be entered into IDTA exams and competitions, too. Classes are held weekly on Monday evenings at Prestwood Village Hall. For more info or to book a free trial class, see the website or call Jenna on 07891 251984.

25% off at Chiltern Childcare Looking for a nanny, childminder, mother’s help, emergency cover or school holiday cover? Contact Little-Chalfont-based Chiltern Childcare, who are offering 25% off all permanent fees until

the end of June. Established in 2013 by Amanda Thornberry, all nannies at Chiltern Childcare are thoroughly interviewed, references are taken and identification and qualifications checked. Nannies are also expected to hold a current Paediatric First Aid certificate. As a mum who has also used nanny agencies, Amanda knows how important it is to find the right nanny for you and offers a personal service, including a home visit. ‘At Chiltern Childcare we strive to provide the very best for families, nurseries and nannies; listening to their needs to find the best match available,’ she says. For more info, please call Amanda on 0797 9754671 or 01494 766375, or visit

Make a date for the first ever Chiltern cycling festival Head down to Amersham on 13 July and join in the fun for the first ever Chiltern Cycling Festival. There’s a whole host of rides to choose from so all ages can get involved; while the Bradley Wiggins in the family might want to try their luck on the Amersham – Brill – Amersham 100mile & 100km sportive rides, the LUKER ROWE Family Ride & Concours d’Elegance is the easiest ride to get involved with. It’s open to all, with the

Continued 5

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from the scary Deep Sea Creature. And while they’re busy doing all this, the kids will also have their confidence boosted and improve their co-ordination, communication and concentration skills. Classes are held across the area in Amersham, Beaconsfield, Berkhamsted, Chalfont St Peter, Gerrards Cross, Marlow, Thame, Tring, Tylers Green and Wendover. To book your children’s free trial session and find out more, call 0845 400 1270 or go to

8km flat route taking in laps of Old Amersham – vintage fancy dress is encouraged and you can stop as many times as you like. Younger cyclists can also take part in British Cycling Go Ride races and skills events, and for the next generation of Sir Chris Hoys and Victoria Pendletons the Baby Velodrome will put on a series of balance bike races for toddlers and under-6s. There’s also a lot more going on with a farmers’ market, stalls, music, refreshments and live Tour de France action all taking place along the Old Town High Street. Find out more and enter the races at

Under the sea with Perform If your children love dancing, acting and singing then don’t miss Perform’s Under the Sea workshops this term. Children will be diving down to a magical world full of watery adventures where they’ll meet Dolly Dolphin, Septamus the Octopus and Smelly-Fish-Jelly-Fish, learn to dance the Fishy Funk and eventually rescue the Lost Pearl

ISTD and LAMDA qualifications in dance, drama and singing. Classes, which are held on Saturday mornings, are for all ages and abilities. To find out more, call 01442 878577/07812 522573 or visit

New beginnings for Henry Allen Nursery school

Personalised gifts from our betty If you’re looking for a unique present, check out www. ourbetty. Penny Govier, who owned Stickee Fingers in Penn, is now designing bespoke artwork that make a novel gift idea for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Father’s Day – in fact any occasion that calls for an individual, thoughtful gift. ‘I create pictures from original maps, which tell your story,’ says Penny. ‘Tell me the locations that mean something to you, and I will make hearts from original maps, turning them into a beautiful piece of bespoke, personalised artwork.’ Ideas could include favourite places, holidays you’ve taken, locations of life events – the possibilities are endless. Up to nine hearts can be chosen, which will be stitched onto premium quality card, then framed in a deep black or white box frame, allowing the hearts to be raised and appear to flutter. For more info, call Penny on 07811 590603, email or see online at

Allstars comes to Princes Risborough If your children like to dance, act and sing, head along to the recently opened Allstars Academy at Longwick School, Princes Risborough. Principles Natalie Powers and Amanda Constantinou are proud of their achievements in Hemel Hemstead and Berkhamsted, and are thrilled to be expanding in Natalie’s local area. This privately owned academy combines performance classes with

In 1942, the American branch of Save the Children (of which Henry J Allen was President) built Henry Allen Nursery School to provide support and education for the children of local women employed in war work. After the war, Buckinghamshire County Council took control of the nursery, which still operated from the original building for the next 70 years, until being rebuilt in 2013. Having moved back into their new state-of-the-art, purpose-built nursery facility last September, children and staff are making full use of the benefits the new building has to offer, including climbing frames, soft play area, vegetable patch and a purpose-built roadway for trikes and scooters. Money raised by the PTA in 2012 has paid for this mosaic, which now proudly adorns the entrance to the beautiful new building (see above). Henry Allen Nursery School has places for children between the ages of three and four living in Amersham, Chesham, Little Chalfont and around. For further information, call 01494 726257 or email

Happy birthday to Monkey Music Monkey Music is 21 years old this year and to celebrate Monkey Music classes in Amersham, Beaconsfield & Gerrards Cross will be hosting a week of funfilled birthday party classes from Monday 9 to Saturday 14 June and competitions throughout the year. Monkey Music families can enter a free prize draw to win a term’s classes and one of 21 amazing prizes including a family break and a MicroScooter. But Monkey’s 21st isn’t just a celebration, as over the year Monkey Music is aiming to raise vital funds for charity

Advertise in Families Chiltern and reach over 40,000 parents of primary-school aged children

July/August deadline: 2 June Call 01494 673427 or email



Advertising deadline for the July/August issue, 2nd June

Practice for 11+ exams If your child is due to take the 11+ exam this September, you might be interested in 11 Plus Tutoring Academy’s mock exams. Aiming to build pupils’ confidence and experience of the new CEM exam, all pupils are given techniques on how to approach the different areas, including NVR, English and numeracy, before taking the exam. Running from May to September, all exams include a thorough written report so that parents can know how their children have managed each of the areas, allowing for further practice. And during May to mid August, there’s also time afterwards for detailed explanations of the questions which most pupils answered incorrectly. ‘It is very important to be able to see how your child deals with the exam environment and their nerves,’ says director Kathryn McMahon. ‘As well as your child’s strengths and weaknesses under timed conditions.’ The final mock exams will be held on 22nd & 29th August, and are held close to the exam to allow final preparations before the real exam in early September. To find out more, call Kathryn on 07933 271288 or visit

Claire Adams celebrates 10 years with Tinies Childcare Congratulations to Claire Adams, who took ownership of her first franchise of Tinies Hertfordshire in 2004, and, having acquired her fifth branch in 2010, ten years later she’s the largest franchisee in Tinies history. Childcare has changed in the past ten years, but by constantly re-evaluating the services she offers to meet the needs of the community, Claire’s business has grown. Initially providing nannies, she has added mobile crèche & event childcare, emergency back-up nannies and nursery staff supply to the growing list of services available. Claire has also begun to supply crèche teams to children’s centres and parenting groups, and is planning Tinies first permanent crèche in Hertfordshire/ Buckinghamshire. To find out more, call 01628 522212 or visit

Mums in Business

Pic: © Pippa Wilson Photography

– Pepper Foundation (providing seriously ill children in Buckinghamshire & Hertfordshire with 365 day, 24 hour nursing care in the family’s home) and Monkey Music’s National Charity Partner, Nordoff Robbins (a music charity dedicated to transforming the lives of vulnerable children and adults through music therapy). To find out more or to book a free class, call Elen on 01494 716861, email or visit

Hannah August, Move Mountains Travel My name is Hannah August and I live in central Windsor, with my husband, Pascal and two boys, Mani and Luca. I was inspired to set up Move Mountains Travel because I thought there was scope for a tour operator that would be a port of call for all families, and play an active role in helping them to design their ideal holidays. At Move Mountains we are interested in spending time working on each holiday itinerary, and also delivering a top quality service. I found that whenever we were trying to go on holiday we weren’t getting the answers from sales people and in fact were often given incorrect information – I felt like I needed a holiday just to recover from the hard work involved in the endless online research and booking process. So I decided that there was room in the market for a family specialist for whom service would be key and where time would be spent really listening to the client to find their best possible holiday. Having completed my BA (Hons) degree in Travel & Tourism, the majority of my career has been spent working for various well-known travel companies whilst living in London. My love for travel and my knowledge gained from working for other travel companies inspired me to set up my own business. My husband and I have a combined travel industry experience of 35 years, and we wanted to put it to good use. I felt that it shouldn’t be so difficult for families to find the right holiday and that we could deliver a much better service and literally ‘Move Mountains’ for people at a more competitive price than most other travel companies out there. We allocate each family their very own ‘Man Friday’ Assistant to fine-tune their holiday, both before and after they book. It saves them trawling through guidebooks, and even if we don’t have the answer, we will take the time to find out, for example, where the best snorkelling or tobogganing is or maybe to book a table in a restaurant. We find that many mums and dads appreciate being able to pick up the phone and talk to us at the weekend or in the evening, after having put the kids to bed. Move Mountains current main focus is on family ski holidays, as well as sun holidays in the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. However, through client demand and our tailor-made service we have started to expand into Asia, the Caribbean and Africa, where we have extensive knowledge. I’m really happy that we get fantastic feedback from families that have travelled with us. We plan to maintain our high level of service offered though our ‘Man Friday’ and tailor-made service. To find out more go to or call 01753 463 400.

To advertise, call 01494 673427 or email



Time for you Get out of the guilt trap Feeling guilty? Here are five ways to ditch the guilt once and for all. Just reading the recent headlines in the newspapers, ‘Working Mums suffer the double burden of guilt’ is enough to send most mums into a spiral of guilt. According to the research, working mums are now faced with a double whammy – guilt that work takes them away from their children combined with guilt that motherhood makes them worse employees. And as if that’s not enough, Fiona Clark, from Inspired Mums career and confidence coaching, says, ‘Mums are often their own worst enemies as they can put enormous pressure on themselves to be perfect – in all the different roles we have.’ Here are some sure-fire signs that you are letting guilt creep into your life: ✎ your child’s tearful goodbye at nursery makes you feel bad all day even though you know they’re fine by the time you’ve got back to your car. ✎ you feel like you’re doing a bad job at home and a bad job at work. ✎ you focus on all the things you don’t get done, rather than what you’ve actually achieved. So, how do we banish these feelings of guilt and unburden ourselves so we can really enjoy the joys of motherhood? Based on her experience of coaching hundreds of mums to help them gain greater balance in their lives, Fiona has put together five steps to becoming a guilt-free mum.

1. Remember good is good enough More often than not we are our harshest critics, so a key piece of advice is to give yourself a break. It’s OK to lower the high standards you set yourself occasionally – does it really matter if your children have cheese-on-toast once a week? Is it the end of the world if your child has to forgo the odd play date? Try to look at the bigger picture and recognise the different ways you support and nurture your children; and don’t beat yourself up if things don’t always run like clockwork and occasionally something has to give.

2. Flip the negatives into positives It’s also really easy to focus on the negatives, what you haven’t done with the kids, rather than what you have done. Actively choose to adopt a more positive mindset instead. Write a long list of all the positives of you being a working mum. For example, does it make you feel more fulfilled? Do you enjoy the adult time it gives you in the week so that you really value the time you do have with your children? Do you like the fact it makes you a good role model for your kids? Adopting a positive mindset is a key step to fighting those pangs of guilt – be proud of who you are and what you do.

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3. Don’t waste your energy worrying As soon as we become mums we become experts at filling our worry bucket until it’s overflowing. The problem with worry is that it takes up an enormous amount of energy and time. Here’s a scary statistic – worrying for just one hour a day between the ages of 15 and 75 years is the equivalent of 2.5 years worrying. And don’t forget, most of what we worry about doesn’t ever happen – as Mark Twain said, ‘I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.’ Write down a list of all the things that are bothering you, it’s very therapeutic just getting it down on paper. Then look at the things you can do something about and take action. If, for example, you’re worried your child might have a learning difficulty then find out how to get them reviewed with an expert and book it in. If there’s nothing you can do about some of the worries, remove them from your list and see your anxiety levels instantly reduce.

4. Remember to praise yourself The daily grind can sometimes make being a mum seem a thankless task – often we’re so busy juggling the demands of children, work and household chores that we lose sight of whether we’re doing a good job. Think about all the amazing things you do for your children during the week – helping with homework, building a Lego castle, being chief taxi driver or family peacemaker – and give yourself a pat on the back, it’s a great way to ease the guilt.

5. Hang out with like-minded people Without even realising it, mums can put pressure on one another and this can increase those feelings of guilt. So if you’re a working mum make time to meet up with other working mums, it can help to discuss the challenge of juggling your competing priorities with people in a similar situation to yourself. And you can empathise and support each other when challenges such as guilt arise. Or course, in some cases your guilt may be telling you a not-sosubtle message – that you’re desperately unhappy with your work-life balance or that you want a change in career to be at home more with your children. If this sounds like you, then take action to make changes in your life and career rather than letting the guilt and stress become overwhelming. Fiona Clark is a qualified and experienced coach and founder of Inspired Mums,, a career coaching company aimed at helping women find fulfilling, family friendly roles. For a free consultation to find out how you can feel more fulfilled or find a better work-life balance, contact Fiona by emailing

Advertising deadline for the July/August summer issue: 2nd June

Competitions Win free stuff


Enter now for the chance to win a Wildchild Spy Party, a family ticket to see Kidnapped, a copy of Bodyguard: Ransom, and family tickets to Mead Open Farm.

Win a family ticket to Kidnapped at the Town Hall at Wycombe Swan Sell A Door Theatre Company have a fabulous production of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped coming to the Town Hall, Wycombe Swan on Wednesday 21 May at 1.30pm and 5.30pm.

We have a family ticket for four to be won, just tell us the name of another famous novel that Robert Louise Stevenson wrote, was it a) Jekyll and Hyde, b) Robinson Crusoe or c) Tom Sawyer. Winner will be drawn and announced on 16 May. To find out more about Kidnapped at the Wycombe Swan, visit or call the ticket office on 01494 512000.

Win family tickets to Mead Open Farm A trip to Mead Open Farm this May half term will keep the kids busy all day long. Don’t miss the newly opened Topsy Turvy Towers Adventure Play Area – enter a land of treetop towers, wibbly wobbly bridges and upside down trees, there’s also a separate area just for under 5s, so everyone can join in the fun and excitement. And every day during May half term you can take part in the madness and mayhem with children’s entertainer, Jay Jay The Partyman. Included in entry, with several shows daily (last at 4pm), expect lots of high energy fun, crazy dancing and more. Elsewhere, there’s animals to meet, lambs to bottle feed and rabbits to stroke in Bunny Hop, plus Shaggy’s huge indoor PlayWorld, go-karts, crazy golf and the Sky Trail High Ropes Course. We have four sets of family tickets (two adults, two children) to be won. Just tell us the name of the entertainer who will be at Mead Open Farm during May half term? Is it, a) Peter the Partyman, b) Paul the Partyman or c) Jay Jay The Partyman. Mead Open Farm is just south of Leighton Buzzard. Visitors should follow the brown signs from A505 or A4146. For further information and prices call 01525 852954 or visit

Win a copy of Bodyguard: Ransom Fans of Alex Rider and the Young Bond books are sure to love the second instalment of the Ransom series, by bestselling author of the Young Samurai books, Chris Bradford. At 14 years old, martial arts expert Connor Reeves isn’t your typical bodyguard – that’s why he’s so good at his job. Connor has been posted to a luxury yatch to protect twin daughters, all is going ok until they are hijacked by pirates demanding a multi-million dollar ransom, although unfortunately for the pirates they didn’t know Connor was on board… We have three copies of Bodyguard: Ransom to give away. To be in with a chance of winning, just tell us the name of the hero in Young Samurai, is it a) Jack Sparrow, b) Jack Fletcher or c) Jack Harkness? Bodyguard: Ransom by Chris Bradford (Puffin) is on sale from 1 May, £6.99.

Win a Wild Spy Birthday Party for your child, worth £228 Wildchild offer children the opportunity to take on exciting non-traditional activities that get them fit, having fun and engaging with the outdoors. Children can choose to have their friends join them on a Pirate adventure, a Spy mission, or a fun packed outdoor activity day including climbing, crate stacking and abseiling. Or they could be the envy of the classroom with a skateboarding, archery or fencing party. And as well as birthday parties, Wildchild offer exciting holiday activities and after school clubs so your Wildchild experience can be enjoyed all year round. We have an exciting Wild Spy party to give away to a lucky boy or girl who can crack the code shown here. Does it say, a) Spies wanted for exciting challenge, b) Agents needed for Wildchild Spy Mission or c) Agents required for spying and espionage? The Wild Spy party is suitable for children aged 8–12 for 12 children. The winner can choose to have their party at either the Kings Langley or Chalfont outdoor activity centres subject to availability. Parties are very popular so please book as far in advance of your birthday as possible to guarantee your preferred date.

Wildchild Activities offer parties, holiday activities and after school clubs in the Herts and Bucks area. Visit or call 0845 37170099 for details on all the exciting adventures on offer.

How to enter Enter all our competitions online at Or email your answer to competitions@ All competitions run until 1 June, except Kidnapped which is 16 May. We will then contact the winners.

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‘Get yourself a good night’s sleep’ Does your baby need feeding at night? Has your child got sleep problems? Do you need help with breast-feeding? Or are you just longing for a lie-in?

Tel: 07947 885887,

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Only one entrant from same email address or household will be accepted. Winning entries will be randomly drawn from all correct entries. All decisions of Families Magazine are final and no correspondence will be entered into. No prize is exchangeable for cash or any other prize. Families Magazine is not liable for any delay or failure by the Promoter to deliver any prize or for the quality of the prize or for any loss or damage arising in connection with the competition. By entering the competition, entrants will be deemed to have accepted and agreed to these terms and conditions.

From the writer of Treasure Island and Jekyll and Hyde comes this adventure of epic proportions. A tale for all the family, Kidnapped tells the story of Davie Balfour as he survives shipwreck and kidnap to dramatically escape to the Highlands of Scotland. This gripping, fast-paced adventure story is packed full of puppetry, live music, hilarious sword fights and oodles of imagination.

School matters Key Stage Two SATs Low Down Advice on how to help your child through the SATs by Sian Goodspeed, Founder of Flying Start Tuition Ltd. What are the SATs?

KS2 SATs Content

If you are a parent of a primary-aged child, you are likely to have heard of the SATs (Standard Attainment Tests). The SATs, or National Curriculum tests, as they are officially called, are formal assessments in maths and English which are designed to measure pupil attainment in line with national expectations. They form the basis of the levels which children are given at the end of each key stage. Key Stage Two SATs are taken during the May of year six and cover levels 3-5, with level 4 being the expected national average to be achieved by the end of primary school.


For 2014, some changes have been made to the format of SATs so that the results of the tests better reflect children’s continuing progress. These include the introduction of more teacher assessment. Whilst English speaking and listening skills have always been assessed by teachers, teacher assessment will now also replace the SATs writing paper. An appraisal of your child’s schoolwork across Year 6 will be made to assess their grammar, punctuation and spelling skills, giving a more accurate picture of their progress than a single ‘snapshot’ test result. Creativity and writing style will also be considered.

English grammar, punctuation and spelling (70 marks):

☛ Paper 1 (50 marks):

✎ Grammar, punctuation and each worth 1-2 marks

☛ Paper 2 (20 marks):

✎ Spelling ✎ 20 sentences read aloud by test administrator with a word missing. Children to complete the sentence Reading (50 marks):

✎ Children receive booklet containing 3-4 texts

✎ One hour to read texts and complete questions

✎ 35-40 questions each worth 1-3 marks ✎ Short closed response questions (e.g. multiple choice), short open response and longer open response questions, which require children to explain and comment on texts.


☛ Paper 1 and 2:

✎ Non-calculator ✎ 45 minutes each ☛ Paper 3

✎ Mental maths ✎ 20 minutes Do the SATs matter? Whilst there is no ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ with SATs, many parents are keen for their child to do the best they possibly can in these tests as good performance indicates a good, solid grasp of the primary maths and English curriculum. Strong SATs results mean children hit the ground running as they enter Key Stage Three; and results are passed on to secondary schools, sometimes forming the basis of initial pupil streaming. Also important to note, is that many grammar schools will only accept applications for the 12+ tests from pupils who have achieved level 5s in their SATs.

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✎ 40-50 short answer questions

How to help your child prepare As a parent, you may well be wondering what you can do to help your child. Children should not need any extra preparation for the SATs since all the areas to be tested are covered in school. However, if your child is not working at expected levels for literacy and numeracy, any extra support you can give them will have a positive impact on their all-round progress, which will then feed into their SATs scores. Ideally, this should

be ongoing support, rather than simply undertaken during the run up to the tests. The good news is, that when it comes to raising literacy and numeracy levels, the best place to start is in the home and there are a number of simple activities that can make a positive impact without taking up too much additional time. There is also a wealth of resources both online and in bookshops designed to boost children’s numeracy and literacy skills; as well as many resources geared towards the SATs.

Suggested activities

✎ Reading and comprehension - encourage your child to read a wide range of authors and genres and talk to your child about what they have read. Encourage them to ask about unfamiliar words and to keep a word book for new words and definitions. Don’t expect them to write down every new word, though, as this could take the enjoyment away from the story.

✎ Developing vocabulary – particularly finding synonyms, antonyms, compound words and building lists of vocabulary around certain topics, eg. different occupations, animal family names etc.

✎ Regular spelling practice – use the Year 5 and Year 6 spelling lists (ask your child’s teacher or tutor) and help them to identify words that sound the same but are spelt differently (eg. hair / hare) and words that have different meanings (eg. row – to argue / row – a boat).

✎ Regular practice to increase speed of recall of maths facts, eg. number bonds, times tables and division facts.

✎ Developing rapid written maths skills. ✎ Practice of all key maths topics in the Year 5 and 6 maths curriculum. Remember: with any activity, little and often are most effective and, above all, your child needs to be engaged and having fun to benefit fully from the experience.

Advertising deadline for the July/August issue: 2nd June

School matters SATs Stress Busters – How to stay calm and focused throughout During SATs week:

yourself losing concentration, go back into the Learning State.

✎ If you are stuck on a question, don’t

the tests. Instead, do something fun and relaxing.

spend too long thinking about it. If possible, make a guess, then circle the question on the paper and move on. Come back to it later if you have time.

✎ Have an early night each night. Ensure

✎ Do the workings-out – especially if

your child does a wind-down activity before going to bed such as reading a book or having a bath.

instructed to do so! Doing the workings-out makes answering the questions quicker, since you are less likely to lose your train of thought and you will also have something to check if there is time.

✎ Don’t do any practice the night before

✎ Have a decent breakfast on the day (the brain needs food).

✎ Drink plenty of water on the day (but not too much).

✎ Leave home with a positive attitude – remind your child how much they know and reassure them that whatever the outcome of their SATs, you love them and are proud of them.

During the tests:

✎ Before each test starts, go into the ‘Learning State’. The Learning State is a good state to be in to enhance concentration and reduce nerves. (Good for parents too!). For detailed instructions, see the resources page of Flying Start Tuition’s website.

✎ Concentrate on the test questions throughout. Other children may be fidgeting but you should keep focused and not worry about what anyone else is doing. If you find

For information on Flying Start’s SATs or Primary Maths and English courses, please email: or call 01494 772898.

✎ For spelling questions, write out the words if at all unsure and this should help you to see the answer.

✎ If you are running out of time, aim to do the quicker questions first and then go back to the harder ones if you have any time left.

✎ If you finish a test before the time is up, check, check and check again!

✎ Above all, stay calm and focused and keep it in perspective. Simply treat the tests as any other exercises you do at school. Do the best you can with each one and then put it out of your mind. For more detailed advice and guidance on how to support your child’s maths and English at home, please see the ‘resources’ page of

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Pic: © Heatherton House School

School matters Getting to grips with grammar Ruth Worboys, English Co-Ordinator at Heatherton House School, outlines her tips on helping your child get to grips with grammar at home. Never has the teaching of good grammar been so important in schools. With the explosion of ‘text’ speak, children of the future were in danger of losing the basic essentials of grammar that are so important for their future professional lives. Luckily, the new curriculum places greater emphasis on the teaching of grammar at primary level, and this importance is reflected in the introduction of a grammar paper in the Key Stage 2 SATS tests. It is impossible in this article to go over all aspects of grammar taught in primary schools, but if you are keen to help your child get to grips with grammar, here are a few suggestions on ways to enhance their classroom learning with at-home help.

Languages. You can help by using a consistently simple way to access a sentence. For example, the following contains all eight word classes: ‘As the adventurous boy crept slowly through the dark tunnel, he tripped over a hidden rock.’

Essentials in the home are a good dictionary, thesaurus and a basic grammar text book, such as Easy Learning Grammar and Punctuation (Collins Easy Learning English) by Collins Dictionaries, £5.29, With these tools you can help your child find out the meaning of words, research more interesting vocabulary and be able to answer most of their questions.

As children get older, they become aware that the classification of words is not always fixed. Words can change according to their context such as, for example, ‘master bedroom’. ‘Master’ on its own is a noun, but in this context it describes the bedroom and is therefore an adjective. In Year 6, we have many interesting discussions on the slippery nature of words, so don’t worry if you’re occasionally stumped. I’m always consulting my dictionary in class.


A child’s writing becomes more fluent as they learn to connect clauses together to form complex sentences (see box). The best way for a child to learn how to write well is to read good fiction. Here, through reading fluent, complex sentences containing interesting vocabulary, they will absorb these into their own writing and soon develop a more flowing style. If a child is a reluctant reader, they will tend to write single clause sentences and, when combined, it will be with simple connectives such as ‘and’ and ‘but’, reflecting the style of the books that they read. You can help by choosing a more advanced book that really engages their interest to read with your child. They will then be able to hear the complex sentences and gradually learn to write in the same way. Never believe that your child is too old to be read to, simply because they are an independent reader. Many children love this ‘special time’ and it can be a valuable, gentle push to a higher stage of personal reading.


For some children, it takes a while to see the point of punctuation, even the most basic capital letters and full stops at each end of a sentence. From an early age, most children can tell you when to use a question mark or exclamation mark, but may rarely use it in their continuous writing. Using patient repetition to stress how full stops and so on make writing easier to understand should help your child to ‘click’ with basic punctuation. Of course, the problem is not merely leaving punctuation out but also putting it in the wrong place. A great example of this is the apostrophe which children love to scatter through their writing whenever a word ends in ‘s’. Always stress the rule, ‘never use apostrophes for plurals’ and they will eventually realise and use them correctly.

Begin your analysis by focusing on the nouns, then verbs and thirdly the adjectives in the sentence. These are the three easiest word classes to understand and, even if it takes much longer for your child to recognise confidently the other five (see box below), they will have made an excellent start in understanding the process of classifying words.

Grammar is an endlessly fascinating part of English. As with spelling, some children have a natural affinity while others may remain puzzled until late in Key Stage 2. However, they will understand all the quicker with your patient help at home. Good luck! Ruth Worboys is English Co-ordinator at Heatherton House School (, 01494 726433), Amersham’s leading independent school for girls aged 3 to 11. Heatherton House is holding an ‘Open Door’ Afternoon on Thursday 8th May at 2pm – 3.30pm. Please call on 01494 726433 or email

Essential resources at home:

✎ Dictionary ✎ Thesaurus ✎ Grammar text book Divisions of a sentence: Word Phrase: a small group of words that does not make sense on its own. Clause: a short sentence or part of a longer sentence that always contains a verb. Complex sentence: two or more clauses connected with conjunctions. Parts of speech tested at the end of Key Stage 2 Nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions and articles.

Parts of speech

Children are taught word classes from Year 2, when they learn about nouns, verbs and adjectives. This, in my opinion, is the trickiest part of grammar because these labels are abstract and some children can take years to fully understand them. It is worth persevering with your child because learning how each word works aids understanding in both English and Modern

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Our services were rated as “Excellent” by pupils and parents in 2013

Contact Kathryn on 01242 221271 or 07933271288 or email

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School noticeboard Independent School Open Days for prospective parents Please check school websites in advance of visiting advertised open days, listings are subject to change. Abbot’s Hill School Hemel Hempsted, Herts Girls 3–5 yrs, Boys 3–5 yrs.

Working Open Afternoon, Thursday 8 May, 1.30pm

Berkhamsted School Herts Please call the Admissions Department if you wish to attend on 01442 358276
or email:

Berkhamsted Pre-Prep, Friday 2 May, 9am–noon

Egerton Rothesay Berkhamsted, Herts Girls and boys, 5–18 yrs,

Open Days, Friday 9 May and Thursday 19 June, 9.30 - 11am

Gateway Great Missenden, Bucks Girls and boys, 2–11 yrs,

Early Years & Reception Morning, Friday 9 May, 10am–11am

Godstowe High Wycombe, Bucks Girls and boys, 3–7 yrs, Girls 7–13 yrs

Open Morning, Saturday 10 May, 10am–1pm

Heatherton House Amersham, Bucks Girls 3–11 yrs, Please call 01494 726433 if you would like to arrange a visit to the School before the next Open Day or email

Open Morning, Thursday 8 May, 2–3.30pm

St Mary’s Gerrards Cross, Bucks Girls 3–18 yrs,

Prep Open Days, Wednesday 14 May and Wednesday 25 June

Thorpe House Gerrards Cross, Bucks Boys 3–16 yrs,

Open Morning, Friday 9 May, 9.30am–noon

Our next School Noticeboard will be in our September/October issue, to be included email

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School matters If you have a school-age child, you’re probably familiar with the eye-rolling and sighing response to any mention of the ‘h’ word. But next time you’re asked if they have to do their homework, you’ll have the answer ready. By Robina Cowan.

What is homework for? Tempting though it might be at the end of the day when you just want it done, homework isn’t the chance for you to show off how much you remember from your schooldays and do it for them. Homework is set:

✎ Extend schoolwork with visits to museums and exhibitions. ✎ Ask your child if they’re pleased with their homework (before

✎ For children to practise, reinforce and extend work that is taught in class

leaping in to point out all the mistakes!), and offer praise where it is due – for example the work is neat, or well written, or answers the question really well

✎ Time management is one of the hardest aspects for a child to

✎ To enable teachers to find out whether or not pupils have understood the lesson

✎ To help children develop skills of independent time management ✎ To show what children are able to produce under unaided conditions

✎ To encourage pupils to understand that school work does not finish when the school day ends and that responsibility for working continues beyond the classroom

get to grips with – but they’ll need to when it comes to sitting exams. Give your child a timer set for the duration of the homework and see how much they finish. Initially, it can help if you remind your child when they’re halfway through the time, and again when there are ten minutes left. This is good training and before long they will have adjusted to how much work they can produce in the allotted time

✎ Children who have been sitting at desks for most of the day often

need to let of steam after school – a run around the park on the way home can dispel restlessness before settling down to homework

✎ To develop a strong work ethic.

So should parents get involved?

✎ Set a positive example – other members of the family can use

The answer from experienced teachers is a resounding yes. One told us that ‘The improvement in a young child whose parent is hearing them read for 15-20 minutes a night is fairly astronomical compared to those who don’t, and the improvement carries right up to ages seven or eight, by which time children are usually reading fluently.’

All work and no play?

Most schools give out homework diaries, making it easier for parents to see what has been set, when it should be handed in, and providing a way for teachers and parents to communicate. If your child is taking longer than the expected time to do their homework, or if you had to explain how to work out the set maths, make a note in the homework diary so the teacher knows about it.

How to help

Show an interest in your child’s work; point them in the right direction rather than telling them the answer; and offer a snack and a drink while they work. Here are more tips from experts – the teachers.

✎ Be aware of where and how your child works best. Some children need quiet, others prefer people around them. Some want to start their homework as soon as they get home to get it out of the way; others are better after a snack and a half hour ‘chill’.

✎ Show a positive interest and monitor what is being done. Is it too much? Too little or rushed? Communicate with the school if you have concerns.



homework time by taking up their own studies or settling down to a focused activity (such as sorting bills/ reading the paper/ ironing) at the same time.

Debate about the true value of homework is often fierce, some believe that the amount of homework children complete has little correlation with their level of academic success; while others believe homework can have a negative impact – particularly in relationships between children and their parents who are trying to get them to concentrate. Homework may be more appropriate in secondary school where it’s an invaluable tool in teaching hard work and self-discipline, and children are often more able to self-motivate. However, to go straight into the amount of homework expected at secondary school without any gradual preparation at primary is a very steep learning curve. As the debate continues, many schools are moving away from ‘timed’ homework slots and, only where appropriate, are concentrating on simple repetition and re-enforcement of skills being learnt during the day. Many schools agree that homework should be varied and motivational – technology also means that an increasing number of tasks can be done online (Mathletics, for instance). Children may also be given activities to complete in their local community, for example at the library, while this is learning outside school, it is not homework in its more traditional sense. Homework clubs at school have also proved successful.

Advertising deadline for the July/August issue: 2nd June

Pic: ©

‘Do I HAVE to do my homework?’

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Parenting Pic: ©

Sign of the times Understanding why our children behave as they do is never easy, local astrologer Jo Munro explains why sometimes the answer could be in the stars. As parents, we all sometimes struggle to understand our children’s behaviour. Why are the terrible twos an especially challenging phase? Why can teenagers become withdrawn and sulky? Astrology can give us a deeper insight to the psychological reasons behind the traits and behaviours of our children; we just need to know what we are looking for. When children are about 22 months old (or the terrible twos), the planet Mars returns home to the position it was in at the time of birth. The toddler unconsciously feels the re-visitation of this original energy and begins to express it. In Greek mythology, Mars is ruled by Ares, the god of war. The ‘I want’ demand is purely Mars – courage, assertion and immediate ‘wants’ are being acted out by your child. At this point, a pattern is being formed and the manner in which your child expresses and initiates their demands will carry on through their lifetime (although hopefully in a more civilised form).

By the time the child reaches seven, another important turn of the astrological clock has taken place. Saturn makes a right angle to its original position, stirring up themes of maturity and responsibility. Saturn (or Cronus) the timekeeper appears in sevenyear cycles; these mark times of growing responsibility, maturity and separation – all necessary for our inner growth. Parents of Year 3 children may find that expectations of responsibility have been upped – children are expected to remember what to take in and bring home from school, and the homework increases. Expecting your child to take on more personal responsibility is important at this age and we are doing a disservice to our children if we continue to do everything for them. Maria Montessori believed freedom and discipline went hand-in-hand, her expectations of what she believed your child is capable of is quite an eye-opener (emptying the dishwasher at six, preparing a simple meal at ten

Astrological Counselling During times of change, difficulty or uncertainty, it can be helpful to reflect on the circumstances that surround the event. Quite often external changes are a reflection of inner growth. A birth-chart reading can indicate how long a difficult period will last and how best to deal with it. Your potentials and strengths are also shown in the chart. Are you living your life authentically? Do you need clarity on a situation? Is your potential being fulfilled? Please see my website www. for more details or to make an appointment in Marlow ring Jo on 07909 318453.



and washing the car at 12, to find out more take a look online). Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy agreed with seven-year cycles, the loss of the milk teeth, being an important psychological milestone. And in many countries, including China, Switzerland and South Africa, the children start school at seven. The next important change happens at about 12, when Jupiter returns to its original birthday point. This is an exciting time for children – Jupiter represents expansion and learning. At around this age children are getting a sense that there is a wider world out there. Introducing them to newspapers, along with meaningful travel experiences and spiritual ideas, will all spark off this energy. School trips and holiday camps at this point will give the adventurous child an exciting escape from everyday life and the chance to reflect on how other people may live. Bat and Bar Mitzvah’s occur at 12 and 13, during this Jupiter return. Perfectly timed, this coming of age ceremony gives space for religious contemplation and participation into the wider Jewish community. At the age of 14/15, Saturn is back, this time opposite its original placement. Boundaries are being tested here as the child simultaneously wants them and rejects them. Psychologically, a desperate search for identity is being sought. Positive messages given throughout childhood that they are loved and are perfect as they are will sustain the child through this awkward time. If a child hasn’t heard the earlier ‘applause’, this is the time that they start to indulge in risky behaviour. The young person is crying out to be taken seriously and the peer group becomes all important as they try to separate from their parents and find their place in the world. At this point, their peers can literally save or destroy them. Grief is part of this process as the adolescent grieves for the loss of the relationship they once had with their parents. These cycles continue throughout our life, with many more thrown at us as we age and grow into ourselves. We are what we are, and if we accept ourselves and our children with all our quirks, we can hopefully successfully navigate the challenging times. After all, as my first astrology teacher told me; ‘we are all just drops of stardust’. Jo Munro is an astrologist based in Marlow, for more info call 07909 318453 or email or visit

July/August summer issue : advertising deadline 2nd June

If reproducing this feature, please credit Jo Munro as the author.

Think about how Mars manifests itself through your child – perhaps as spontaneous, fearless, impulsive, charming, manipulative or even chilled? Then think if your Mars’ energy is compatible with your child’s, or is your partner’s Mars more in tune? Look up the position of your child’s Mars at to see if it’s in an earth, air, fire or water sign for an explanation of what this means. If your energy is very different from your child, but theirs is more compatible with your partner, it can perhaps be helpful to hand over at this point – take a breath and think: ‘It’s not me, it’s them!’

It’s party time Pic: ©

The one about birthday parties Natalie Trice shares her pearls of wisdom about hosting a stress-free birthday celebration for your nearest and dearest. I laughed when I read Martha Stewart describing birthday parties as being like road trips – getting there is half the fun. I learnt this the hard way when I planned a surprise circus party for my son, complete with clowns and acrobats flying through a big top while guests ate candy floss and had their faces painted. On paper it was perfect, but when I told the birthday boy he burst into tears and whispered he didn’t want a circus party. The thing is, while social media bragging and peer pressure have upped the party stakes, if we go back to basics all that matters is the birthday boy or girl has fun and feels special. So whether you rub your hands in delight at the thought of planning a party or reach for the wine bottle in despair, you can successfully keep a bunch of over-excited revelers, high on sugar, happy and entertained for two hours, you just need a PLAN. ALL ABOUT THE THEME: Go with a theme your child likes, trust me on this. If they’re mad about Minecraft, how about a junk-making party? Rock ’n’ roll parties with instruments and a stage are great for budding musicians, a cupcake decorating party is cute and a treasure hunt for pirates will keep children entertained for ages.

A PIECE OF CAKE: Whether you make it or buy it, cake is key. Once the candles have been blown out don’t just slice it up and squish it into party bags, serve it as dessert. If it’s too good to share, pop fairy cakes into the party bags and keep it for later. PARTY BAGS: Speaking of party bags, not giving them out is pretty much social suicide. Keep them simple with some funky, bright cellophane bags filled with pots of Play Doh, toy dinosaurs, hair clips or mini books and tied with a ribbon attached to a glitter-filled balloon. If you want to do something a bit different, a cool alternative is a lucky dip, where each child picks a present and cupcake as they leave. Finally, charge up your camera, relax and try to enjoy the party – and smile because these days don’t last forever. P.S. If you hire a female entertainer who dresses up as Spiderman at tea time be prepared for the kids to talk, and the dads to look!

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: While parties at home keep costs down, going for a church hall, leisure centre, pizza restaurant or bowling alley often means leaving the washing-up and mess for someone else – BOOK IT!

Natalie Trice is a freelance journalist, writer and award-nominated blogger, she knows a thing or two about PR and social media, too. She’s also a mummy to two small boys, wife to Oliver and an owner of a cat and a dog. When she isn’t writing or networking on Facebook, Natalie is an avid shopper, coffee drinker and collector of handbags and shoes.

GUEST LIST: It might be ‘PC’ to ask the entire class, extended family and Brownie pack, but things will soon spiral out of control. Most children won’t think about putting noses out of joints, they just want the people they like at their party – end of. KEEP THEM BUSY: You can guarantee one irritating delightful guest will say your party was ‘rubbish’. Book an entertainer, have a disco, organise a karaoke competition and have a plan B, that way they will be busy from start to finish and too tired to complain when they’re collected. FAB FOOD: Be imaginative with food; ‘flying saucers’ (mini-bagels) and ‘moon rocks’ (rice crispy cakes) are loved by astronauts and telescope wraps are perfect for pirates. If you stick with pizzas and sandwiches, make them star and heart-shaped and put out big bowls of snacks and fruit too, but no nuts. INVITE EXTRA HELP: Some parents read party as ‘kid-free shopping time’. However, be smart and ask some of them along, give them snacks and fizz and you’ll have a team of waitresses, peace keepers, loo monitors and DJs for free.


Cooking Classes Workshops Splat Cooking Parties For children Real Cooking Classes for adults

0870 766 8290

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It’s party time Pic: © Mothercare Little Bird by Jools Oliver

Fabulous parties at every age A birthday party is a ritual of childhood and an event that’s remembered forever. So the pressure is on – how do you ensure success and survival? Joanna Moorhead guides you through what’s best, age by age.

Up to three years There’s just one word that matters here: simplicity. Birthday parties for tinies can be marvellous, memorable affairs and they don’t need to be elaborate or to involve much expense, entertainment or special props. In essence, you’re catering for the grown-ups as much as for the children because at this stage the adults will definitely stay (and you’re more than likely to have a few grandparents in the mix as well). Concentrate on creating a fun,

easy and safe area for the children – a soft play space with plenty of toys strewn around is ideal – and make sure the adults are well catered for. If you want something with a bit of a theme, how about a teddy bears’ picnic? Make sure everyone remembers to take their favourite cuddlies home at the end though, or there will be tears at bedtime.

Four to six year olds Parties now can be a bit more ambitious and it’s a time when it is well worth investing in a great entertainer: they are experts and know how to crowd control while producing shrieks and honest laughs. However, don’t assume that to put on a great bash you need to spend lots of money. At this age children can have loads of fun without a big outlay – a party at home or in the local park can be great fun; traditional party games will be popular and, if you want to push the boat out a bit, consider investing in a bouncy castle; or if home really isn’t a possibility, a soft play centre will be hassle-free. Themed parties are great for this age group and they actually make life simpler for the party organiser – a pirate theme is always popular, or sea creatures, or pick up on your child’s favourite book or TV programme. Dressing-up is a big hit for this age group, too.

Seven to nine year olds Activities work a treat at this stage, whether you’re at home, in a church hall or at a park. Most are now old enough to enjoy having a go at arts and crafts or cooking/decorating (making their own goodie bag at the same time!). Or why not try dancing, drama or a team treasure hunt or survival party (see right). If you fail to make a plan, they’re likely to resort to that old favourite ‘who can scream the loudest’ so make sure you’ve got something up your sleeve – or ear plugs!

10 years and older While wanting a party (and the presents) this lot might want to go out and try something new. How about a trip to a climbing wall, an ice rink, a swimming party or a go-karting centre? Or a mini disco in the living room, a Glee-style drama and singing workshop, or a photo shoot? If they’re desperate for a movie night and sleepover, make sure you set a few rules first and that they’re understood – think about about what time lights are out, what food/junk can be eaten and what your own house rule is about iPhones, iPods etc being upstairs. And don’t forget to make sure you’ve got enough bedding and breakfast ,and tell everyone’s parents what time pick up is!

The golden rules kv Never have a party that lasts more k than two hours – and for younger children a party in the morning is always a good bet. You won’t have to manage your own kid’s excitement too long, and guests won’t be overtired either. vkk The younger the child, the fewer the guests. vkk Have a plan mapped out for what should happen, when. And don’t forget to have a few extra activities planned just in case. vkk Food doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does need to include options – many children won’t eat ham/cheese/eggs/grapes/pizza. But don’t overcater, most kids are too excited to eat much. vkk Party bags can be cheap as chips, thanks to charity and pound shops – and always have them, they’re hugely popular. And don’t forget that popping cupcakes in is a lot easier than slicing a birthday cake! vkk Don’t forget to enjoy yourself – and ask someone else (grandma, friend, useful teenager) to take the photos.



July/August issue : advertising deadline 2nd June

It’s party time How to throw a smashing survival party Siân Hammerton-Fraser,Visitor Experience Manager of Chiltern Open Air Museum, has some great ideas for hosting a smashing survival party guaranteed to impress the socks off even the toughest birthday guest.

1 Tribal invitations: Download a survivalthemed logo from the internet and print it on brown card, burning the edges all round for an authentic look. The text can read something like this: The tribe of (birthday boy or girl’s name) invites you to his/her survival party – RSVP, if you dare…

2 Find shelter: Hold the party in your garden – or in the woods – and let the children forage for natural materials to build a lean-to shelter. If you’re at home, you may want to provide them with some man-made materials such as ropes, blankets and planks too (dads usually like to join in at this point). Divide the party guests into teams and award prizes for the best, sturdiest, biggest, wonkiest shelters.

of sight and avoid getting wet. This is the ‘cool’ version of hideand-seek or catch.

5 A scavenger hunt: Hide objects such as a toy compass, magnifying glass, binoculars and plastic bugs and prepare clues for every item. The team with the biggest loot at the end of the hunt gets a prize. 6 Eat if you dare: Bring out plates of disgusting foods for them to taste with prizes for the team who manages to clean their plates. Suggested foods: jellied worms, anchovies tucked into snail shells to make them look like the real thing, oysters and eyeball sweets.

7 Around the campfire: Let them help to build a fire (if you’re at home) and collect sticks to toast marshmallows. If you’re brave, you can let them have a go at lighting the fire, but only do this one at a time and you need a few extra adults on hand to supervise this activity.

3 Obstacle course: Collect old tyres, ladders, chairs and whatever else you can find to build the ultimate obstacle course for them to climb on, jump through and sail under – again in teams to fuel that competitive spirit.

8 Who’s the best shot?: Make a few slingshots in advance (or buy some if you don’t have the patience), line up a row of tin cans or plastic bottles and let the teams take turns to see who can shoot down most cans (again this activity needs to be carefully supervised by a few adults).

4 Stalking games: One team is armed with water pistols, while the other team are the stalkers and need to stay close, but out

9 Snakes on a stick: Barbecue sausages or snakes on a stick (strips of pork or beef threaded onto skewers) and serve with hot

Pic: © COAM

They’ve got bundles of energy, bucket loads of attitude, a competitive spirit and they’ve seen it all before. So, finding a birthday party to please your tween can be tricky to say the least. You need a party with serious wow factor that will challenge, entertain and burn off some energy all at the same time. Here’s how to throw a survival party that’ll be the talk of the playground.

dog buns, crisps and corn on the cob. Let them toast their own marshmallows as a treat.

0 For the birthday cake, create a simple chocolate log cake and cover in plastic creepy crawlies. If this sounds like far too much effort, Chiltern Open Air Museum offers survival parties for children aged 8-12 years, which includes shelter-building, fire building and whittling sticks to toast marshmallows on. Call 01494 875 542 or visit to find out more.


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Get ready to party Non-stop party directory From entertainers and organisers to venues and party shops, our directory gives you all the info you need to plan the big day. (When you call, don’t forget to say you saw them in Families Chiltern).

Arts & crafts

Cookery & food

Activity Ark Natalie on 07891 056530, Choice of themed parties – Colour Canvas Creations, Funky Fabric and Pottery Painting Parties. Children take home everything they create. Free invitations, professional catering and photography also available as an optional extra.

Cinnamon Square

Candle by Parties 01628 947224 or 07771 851435, www. candlebyparties. Candle-making parties for children and grown-ups. Learn about candles and make your own container candle, tealight holder and tealight to take home, including party bag.

Crafty Fun Parties 01494 784532, Judie has over 10 years’ experience bringing lots of arts and crafts fun to parties – choose from a wide range including tie-dye cushions, glass and porcelain painting, beadweaving, soap making and self-portrait fridge magnets. Plus useful calico party bags instead of party bags, free invitations and no need for party gifts as guests take home everything they make. Art shirts and covers for the table and floor supplied. From £6 per person; from 5 yrs, minimum of 5 children, or adults too.

Oglee Poglee Claire on 07976 447130,, Themed hour-long arts and craft parties. Typical party would include at least two arty activities, large cardboard structures, messy games and an exciting creative challenge. Also available are Oglee Poglee Party Boxes with two unique craft activities to be done at home.

Rickmansworth, 01923 778353, www. Baking parties for five years and up – handson baking and fun experiments like discovering why and how bread rises. Plus cupcake and chocolate making available for 9+ yrs and pre-school parties for 3-4 yrs.

Cookies 01494 758733, Cooking parties hosted by Michele Harper in her own home. Children can make their own food, or edible gifts. Splat Cooking Parties 0870 766 8290 www.splatcooking. net. Cooking parties including molecular gastronomy, pasta parties, cupcake decorating parties. Part of Beverley Glock Cookery School Ltd which runs cookery classes and workshops for children and adults.

Smart Raspberry 0845 269 2665, www. Children make their own lunch or tea. All ingredients, utensils, invitations, use of aprons and chef’s hats included. Also provide pizza or cupcake parties.

Starbakes Kathy on 07973 163915, www.starbakes. Themed biscut and/or cupcake decorating parties for 5–10 yrs, at your home or venue. All equipment provided, plus a going-home present for each child of apron, hat and certificate.

Entertainers & party organisers Ace Face Painting 01494 764927/ 07786 228 456, Face painting for children’s parties, corporate/promotional events and special occasions, using top-quality and easily removable paints. Also offer tattoos, hair colour and glitter, and balloon modelling. Full public liability insurance.

Basil and Crew 01628 821145/07721 422554, www. Bring a mobile farm to your home or school, including miniature ponies, rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks, chickens, sheep and goats for pet handling, feeding and grooming. Body Grooves Academy 07891 251984, www. One or two-hour themed dance parties for 4–16 years, either in a venue of your choice or your home. Choose from freestyle disco, street, cheerleading and many other styles. Hen do’s also available. Dinky Dancers 01442 874154, www.dinkydancers. com. Action-packed, fun and funky dancebased parties for 2–5 yrs. Incorporating music and movement games, as well as multi-sensory equipment and an enormous parachute. Pirates, princesses, superheroes and fairies – all parties can be themed to suit. Parties for older children also available.

Drama Monkeys Vicki on 07970 932 092, email vickigentle@, www. vickigentledrama. Exciting themed drama parties for children of all ages. A typical party consists of drama games, role play and imaginary adventure followed by making something special to take home. Lots of themes to choose from including pirates & princesses, circus and jungle adventure. Also offer parties for older children to include a ‘Murder mystery’ and a ‘Make a play’ party.

Fairytale Academy 07717 879903, www. Range of magical, tailor-made parties to suit every budget – choose from Fairy or Princess themed venue dressing service service, the Magical Princess Party or the Fairytale Academy Dance Party.

Arkee Sparkee’s (2–5yrs) @ Holy Trinity Church Hall, Penn (Mon), 10–11am Hobbycraft High Wycombe (Fri), 11–12 noon Hazlemere Community Centre (Fri), 9.30–10.30am

Create and Craft Classes Fun for a fiver!

Book a birthday party, 07891 056530



Advertising deadline for the July/August issue, 2 June

Get ready to party Funky Faces

Noizee Parka 07717 879903, www.

07976 671309, email jenquille@hotmail. com, www.funkyfaces. Face-painting and glitter tattoos by professional make-up artist Jenny available for children aged 3 yrs and over, and girls’ pamper parties for 7 yrs and over. Parties for preschoolers at a venue of your choice. Lots of props, puppets, music and fun.

games. 2-hour parties for 4–6 yrs, 2.5hrs for 7–10 yrs. Invitations, prizes, balloons all included. Murder mystery parties for 11–16 yrs also available. Can also supply extras such as face painting and party bags.

Noizee Productions 07717 879903,

The Ballet Fairy 01494 773218 or

Jacqui In The Box 07948 371615, Two-hour parties for children aged 1–8, with songs, games, quizzes, instruments, dancing and musical movement. Can also arrange themed parties.

Jo Jingles 01494 814174 (Beaconsfield/High Wycombe/ Marlow), beaconsfield and 01296 625599 (Wendover/Aylesbury/ Princes Risborough), www. Fun musical party entertainment involving instruments, props (eg, parachute, streamers, juggling scarves, bean bags, stretchy Lycra and bubbles) and music and movement. The party can be themed and games such as pass-the-parcel can be included if wished. For parties in and around Amersham, please call 01494 814174.

Monkey Music Parties 01494 442794, www. Musical parties of fun, percussion instruments, dancing, singing, games and more. For children from 3 months to 4 yrs. Lots of dance, singing, drama and games. Suitable for 6+ yrs.

Perform Parties 0845 400 1270, www.performparties. High-energy parties combining drama, dance and singing with fun games, stories and improvisations. Party leaders arrive with colourful costumes, props and music to create a fantasy land with themes for all ages from 1–12 yrs.

07914 845366, email theballetfairy@, Parties for ballerina fairies and all their friends. Fairy Emma will arrive in full costume with everything needed to entertain the children (boys welcome too). CRB checked, insured and registered ballet teacher.

Sporty and activity parties Go Kart Krazy 0845 330 8896,

Popstar Parties 01753 650090, email or visit www. PopstarsAcademy. com. High-energy dance parties with music, disco lights, choreographed dance routines, games and dance props like pompoms and glitter microphones. For all abilities aged 4–12 yrs. Choose from Popstar Party with lots of ‘popping & locking’ to party child’s favourite dance tracks, street dance, Mamma Mia, ABBA, High School Musical and Grease or any combination to suit. Plus new Princess Fairy and Pirate parties for the younger ones who love to dance. Invitations included.

Stagecoach Parties Amersham 07593 578324 or email, www. Themed parties for up to 30 children with lots of singing, dancing and Great fun, action-packed parties for ages 4–10. Racing electric gokarts inside an inflatable circuit. Parties tailored to suit the age of the children. All drivers receive a quality medal and certificate. Suitable for indoors or outside, parties or school fetes.

Kindergym 01844 344441, Parties for 1–11 yrs. Speciality themes include pirates, superheroes, fairytale, jungle animals, teddy bears’ picnic, Peppa Pig and High School Musical. Parties always end with parachute games and the hokey cokey, age permitting. Parties tailored especially for the birthday child.

Little Kickers 01442 506371. One-hour football training birthday parties for 2–6 yrs, including medals and certificates for all participants and a trophy for the birthday child. Parties are conducted

Continued 5

To advertise, call 01494 673427 or email



Get ready to party by FA-qualified football coaches with specialist skills in coaching the pre-school age group, including absolute beginners.

Squishbosh 07721 422554 (Pete), Wet and messy party games for 5–10 yrs, but an outside location is a must. The Samurai Fitness Group Jackie on 07828 534817, www. thesamuraifitnessgroup. com. Specialists in child martial arts, parties for 4+yrs. Content depends on the age group but may include jumping and flying kicks, shoulder rolls and flips. Can be held in your own home or at venue of your choice.

The Kidzone Northbridge Road, Berkhamsted, 01442 878441, www.thekidzone. Ninety minutes play followed by 30 minutes for party food. Hats, balloons, badges etc included. Candy bags available. Minimum 10 children, maximum 40. 20% off all parties during July and August.

Whizzkidz Thame, 01844 217555, www. Choice of party packages from toddlers to 12 yrs.

Wildchild Parties 0845 3717099, www. wildchildactivities. com. Fun parties with a choice of indoor or outdoor activities. There’s archery, climbing, skateboarding or off-road driving. Or go on a dinosaur hunt, share a top-secret assignment, become wild fashion designers or even take on the pirates and search for hidden treasure. Parties are suitable for ages 6 to 16 yrs depending on the activity.

See page 7 for a chance to win a Wildchild Spy party.

Party venues Amersham Field Centre 01494 721054, www. Various parties for 10-15 children aged 5–11 yrs (weekends only), including mini-beast safari, pirate’s treasure, shelter building and more. Beacon Centre Beaconsfield, 01494 677764. Activity parties for 3–14 yrs including soft play, bouncy castle, games, trampolining, football, judo, golf, cricket or dance. Bekonscot Model Village Beaconsfield, 01494 672919, Full party package for children’s parties for ages 2 and up, with a log cabin, picnic box, train ride for children only, goodie bag and badge for every child. Includes invitations and party bags.

Buckinghamshire County Museum & Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery Aylesbury, 01296 331441, www.buckscc. Have a whizzpopping time and celebrate your birthday at the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery. A bright, spacious room is available for hire. Can also provide goody bags and catering.

Chalfont Leisure Centre 01753 887812. Trampolining parties (over 7s), sports hall parties (over 6s), roller-skating parties (over 6s) or hire the pool (over 8s). Chiltern Open Air Museum Chalfont St Giles, 01494 871117, www. Three exciting new birthday parties on offer, choose from Teddy Bears’ Picnic, Cakes and Crafts and Survival Camp. Parties last 2 hours, and include a picnic lunch. There are options to suit children from 2–12 yrs.

Gymboree Play & Music Eden Shopping Centre, High Wycombe, 01494 527994, email: highwycombe@gymboree-uk. com. Fun parties either at your home or at the venue. Choose from a number of themes, including Baby’s First Birthday, Farmyard Fun, Ocean Adventure, Trains & Planes, Princesses & Super Heroes, Dinosaur Adventures and Jungle Safari, or create a custom-made party with your child’s favourite activities, games and songs. Lots of activities ranging from musical games, arts & crafts, and imaginary stories where children and parents play along and join in the fun.

We hire Bouncy Castles, Slides, Sumo Suits, Assault Courses, Gladiator Duel, Bungee Run, Pole Joust, Soft Play, Ball Ponds and much more for children & adults! 01494 464902

Party Classifieds The only Buckinghamshire based photographer who charges per hour, not per print. Currently offering 10% discount on all bookings. mobile; 07956 212990 email:



Advertising deadline for the July/August summer issue, June 2nd

Get ready to party Mead Open Farm

The Sound Cube

Billington, nr Leighton Buzzard, 01525 852954, www. Range of party packages available; food, invitations and party bags included.

01923 222654, www. thesoundcube. Grab a mic and unleash your inner popstar! Go solo or party with your friends and sing your favourite songs, just like your pop idols. Sing, dance, record and receive a free full colour personalised *DVD of your performance! (*Party sessions only.) Sessions are suitable for 7+ yrs.

Odds Farm Park Wooburn Common, nr Beaconsfield, 01628 520188, Parties include entry to the farm, hire of a fully decorated party room, food and party bags. Plus, afterschool parties are also available.

Sportspace, XC and LittleHay Golf Complex Call 01442 507100, Organise a range of different packages at each facility for all ages and interests. Lots of choice including soft play, fun & games, go-karts, roller skating, pool parties including the popular large pool inflatables.

Wycombe Sports Centre High Wycombe, 01494 688100. Runs Party Mania parties – choose from indoor football, hockey, basketball, swimming, trampolining, football and rollerskating. Drinks, party bags, balloons and party leader included.

The Natural History Museum at Tring 020 7942 6166, Party invitations, special birthday cards, activities, party snack boxes and goody bags available.

Cinnamon Square 01923 778353, www. KiddieKraft baking kits are a practical alternative to party bags, containing everything you need to make a range of cakes and cookies. Personalised free and delivered nationally, reduced to £4.50 per kit for 15 or more.

Darren Sear Photography

Party paraphernalia

07956 212990, www. darrensearphotography. com. Buckinghamshirebased party photographer – charges per hour not per photo so all photos taken are yours to keep. Specialises in natural shots. Currently offering 10% off all bookings made.

Angelic Cupcakes 01494 432908, www. Vast selection of cupcakes and mini cupcakes for all occasions, plus giant cupcakes, giant 14-inch chocolate chip cookies and CAKEPOPS – an ideal alternative to a party bag!

Thé, Stay and Play, Chesham, 01494 774300, www.thestayandplay. Available for private hire for parties, so you can relax and enjoy the celebration. Party package includes private use of the café, play frame and garden, healthy and delicious party food, decorations, music and balloons. Can also create celebration cakes on request.

demolition, giant games, tables and chairs and more. Free delivery, set-up and collection locally, public liability insurance and free bad weather cancellation. All year round, indoors and outdoors for all events such as parties, school fetes, holiday camps and corporate events.

Opal Passions 01753 532940, 07876 195600,

Bounce Krazee Children’s party balloons, themed and character balloons, and balloon decorations for all events. Free local delivery and set up.

01494 464902, www. Hire of bouncy castles and inflatables including giant slides, assault courses, soft play, ball ponds, bungee runs, gladiator duels, sumo suits, popcorn and candy floss machines, human

Sugary Crumbs 01494 511782, www.sugarycrumbs. Bespoke Celebration Cakes, Cake Decorations, Sugarcraft Equipment, Sugarcraft Workshops.

Little Bear Feet dance classes TM

Come to our fun parent and toddler classes and join Melody Bear ® as she dances her way to Nursery Rhyme Land.

Classes held in Beaconsfield and Penn Street. Contact Clare to book your FREE trial class.

Call Clare on 07949 569 558 Email:

‘Melody Bear and Melody Movement are the registered trademarks of Jill Ewing’

• Free trial class • Classes in commercial, freestyle disco, street and drama • Classes suitable for all ages and abilities • I.D.T.A qualified teachers • We offer Personalised themed childrens Parties • Private lessons

07891 251984

For lots more ideas for party fun, visit



Enjoy the great outdoors If you go down to the woods today Here in the Chilterns we have some of the oldest woodlands in the country and newly published The Woodland Book: 101 ways to play, investigate, watch wildlife and have adventures in the woods is full of fantastic ideas on how to enjoy them.

Tips on identifying trees Identifying trees in all seasons takes a bit of practice, but if the mere mention of the subject makes you break into a cold sweat – don’t panic – there is no need. Tree identification relies on skills that we learned as toddlers. Think about the games where babies are encouraged to match colours and shapes: tree identification is just an extension of those skills. To start the process, have a look at the whole tree. Expert birders look for something in birds that they call their ‘jizz’; something unique about the bird that helps them identify it. It may be a particularly distinctive feature – like the blue flash on the side of the Jay, or it may just be something about the way the bird behaves, a general impression, such as the way a Sparrowhawk quarters a field while hunting. Look for the ‘jizz’ in the tree you are trying to identify. What stands out about it; what is your gut instinct?

Key features of your tree Then take a closer look at specific features. The bark: is it smooth, rough, cracked into diamonds, spiralling, silvery, peeling? Similarly the leaf shape: are they simple, compound, palmate, needles, lobed, toothed or smooth edged? Are there any seeds, flowers or fruits to help differentiate your tree. All the time you should be flicking through your mental memory bank of shapes and patterns trying to eliminate certain

possibilities and tie it all together. If the branches are bare look under the tree to see the fallen leaves along with any fruit, nut and seed remains. Sometimes there can be a confusing mix so check out the surrounding trees to work out which one the different leaves are likely to be from to narrow down your particular tree. Often you can follow a kind of flow chart in your mind – ‘smooth bark, OK it’s not oak or either of the chestnuts, none of the conifers or willows …; have a look at the leaves, small oval compound – could be Rowan or Ash; have a look on the ground, there are seed keys scattered around – definitely Ash … job done!’ Opposite are the killer identifiers that I rely on to help me with identification. It is not a comprehensive table but will help with identifying your tree from its ‘jizz’. The Field Studies Council publishes an excellent foldout, laminated chart called ‘The Tree Name Trail‘ that can be found on their website – A good website for ID is the Woodland Trust site – and there are mobile phone apps and books that can help when you are in the field. The table includes mostly native trees found in woodlands and I have assumed that you can distinguish between evergreen and deciduous trees. I have included Sycamore, a non-native, as it is so common and the abundant Sweet Chestnut that has been adopted as an honorary native.

Grow an oak Usually an oak tree only starts producing acorns after around 30 years. Each year a mature oak tree can produce around 2000 acorns and it has been calculated that an acorn has a one in 10,000 chance of making it to a mature oak. If we consider that an oak tree can live to be 1000 years old that is a potential of 194 offspring per oak tree. The oak relies heavily on distribution by Jays that eat the acorns and carry them off to bury them for winter supplies. Squirrels also do the same but it seems they are much more heavy handed and few squirrel collections ever germinate as the acorns are too bashed and bruised. If you want to grow your own oak tree from an acorn it is very straightforward but with no guarantee of success! Here’s how to give it a go. First go out and collect some acorns. The acorns you chose are probably the single most important factor on your quest to grow an oak. It is best to collect them in early autumn as soon after they have fallen as possible – oak trees shed their acorns in October. They should be brown and come away from the cup easily; the ones that have landed on a soft surface have a better chance of survival so collect those if you have a choice. If you find one that has already started shooting that is good. Check over your acorns carefully and discard any that have small holes where insects have got in or appear to have fungus on them. A good check of their viability is to put them into a bowl of water; if they float throw them away. If you need to store your acorns before planting they must be kept moist and cool, away from direct sunlight. Pedunculate Oak (common or English oak) acorns do not need any pretreatment to help them germinate, just keep them in damp conditions and they will begin to shoot. Take the sinkers from the above float test and put them on damp pea gravel in a bowl or suspend them above some water in a hyacinth glass and keep them indoors so you can watch the growing process. If they are not already sprouting you will soon see a root emerging from the pointed end of the acorn. If kept indoors, a shoot will then emerge which will form four or five fresh green leaves that last for the whole winter and the following summer. You could plant them outside in the spring or keep them indoors until the autumn when the leaves will turn brown and fall off. Alternatively, you can pot them out right from the start: two acorns in a seed pot or a yoghurt pot with drainage holes punched in the bottom. They should be covered with about 2cm of compost. The most important thing now is water. Keep them moist and in a shady spot – outside is best – they may need a mesh cover to keep away the mice. Water from above until the seedlings emerge. Once the leaves pop up you should start to water from below by standing your pot in a tray of water so the compost can soak it up through the drainage holes. In summer you can give it a light fertiliser feed to help its growth. It can take a while for the seedling to first appear – it may even be late spring – so be patient. Once the seedling reaches 20cm tall it is ready to fend for itself. Find a spot where a 45m tree will have space and clear away all the vegetation and roots from a metre square. Dig a hole big enough for the roots and plant to the depth it was in its pot. Enjoy your oak tree, it could be there until your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, grandchildren are around.



Deadline for July/August issue = 2nd June

Enjoy the great outdoors Ash

Bark: smooth, silvery green, more ridged in older tree Seeds: single wing helicopters hang down in bunches known as ‘keys’, stay on tree through winter Distinctive: black buds on bare branches in winter


Bark: smooth, elephant grey bark, slumps round branches Fruit: triangular nuts in spiky case known as beech masts Distinctive: tight, pointed, upward curving buds in winter/early spring


Bark: papery, shiny peeling bark, coppery when young, silver/white older. Marked with distinctive black stripes where young branches have dropped Flowers: brown droopy catkins April/May Distinctive: large quantity of small twig drop around base of tree

Field Maple

Bark: Orangey/brown ridges. Distinctive constrictions every 10–15cm in young tree branches. Seeds: paired winged helicopters. Wings out to side like handlebar moustache

Hawthorn (May)

Flowers: white froth of blossom in May, hence common name Fruit: bright red berries in autumn Distinctive: 1–2cm long thorns on twigs


Flowers: 3cm pale yellow dangling catkins early spring: February-March. Fruit: small, hard-shelled nut. Papery case at base. Green turning to brown early autumn. Distinctive: Often form multiple stems like shrub rather than single trunk.



Leaves: needles in clumps go yellow in autumn and drop – not evergreen


Bark: has deep chasms and ridges Fruit: acorns in autumn Distinctive: older trees are whiskery with short eruptions of twigs along big branches, often covered in moss and lichen.

Rowan (Mountain Ash)

Bark: light grey and smooth Seeds: bunches of bright orangey/red berries in autumn Distinctive: often grow at higher altitudes or ornamentally at lower altitudes.

Scots Pine

Bark: orangey/brown plates, ridged in old age Distinctive: tree shape is typically tall, branchless trunk. Layered branches at canopy.

Sweet Chestnut

Bark: brown ridges, often spiral to right up trunk. Fruit: edible nuts in autumn, brown nuts in green spiny sea urchin like case.


Seeds: two seeded helicopters, wings hang down like ‘biker’ moustache.

Wild Cherry

Bark: bronze shiny bark which peels to reveal red underside, pocked with pores often set in lines around the trunk. Older tree cracks and flakes. Flowers: white blossom in early spring. Fruit: red cherries in autumn

Goat Willow

Fruit: bright red berries in autumn and throughout winter in female trees

Bark: grey with diamond shaped pits. Flowers: short stumpy catkin or pussy willow appears in early spring before leaves.


Willows (White/Crack)

Bark: grey and smooth with vertical ridges Flowers: Catkins May–June Seeds: large winged bunches of keys in autumn. Easily confused with beech

Horse Chestnut (Conker)

Flowers: white pyramids known as candles Fruit: distinctive inedible conker in spined green case


Bark: grey, rugged with criss-crossing ridges Flowers: less distinctive longer dangling catkins Distinctive: like damp or riverside conditions


Bark: reddish brown with scales, beautiful grain on underside of flakes. Fruit: red cup-shaped berries individually on twig in early autumn Distinctive: native evergreen

Fruit: blue/black berries tight to the twig in autumn

Taken from The Woodland Book: 101 ways to play, investigate, watch wildlife and have adventures in the woods by Tessa Wardley (Bloomsbury, £14.99)

HOLIDAY PLAYSCHEMES Half Term + Summer Hols 24th July to 22nd August Hourly bookings between 8am - 6pm at Amersham & Chalfont St Peter Range of activities for 4 to 11 year olds £4.50ph or £30/£34 full day.

01494 722318

For lots more ideas for Outdoor activities, visit



Pic: © Giuseppe Porzani -

Happy holidays Have fun this half term! If your kids are anything like mine, after just an hour indoors they’ll be climbing the walls demanding, ‘What are we doing today?’. But don’t despair, check out these ways to beat the boredom blues. With the help of Joanna Parry.

Go to the park – acres of

Head down to Chenies Manor House on 26 May for the British Driving & Farm Day. It’s a great day out with vintage tractors on show and free tractor trailer rides for children. There’s also the chance to enjoy a yew and turf maze, plus entertainment from magician Dee Riley, teas and plants for sale. Find out more at

Complete a challenge. If you are looking for a way to get the kids outdoors and active, why not sign up to the National Trust’s 50 Things To Do Before You Are 11¾? Ranging from rolling down a

really big hill and flying a kite to exploring a cave and cooking on a campfire, the challenges will keep you and the kids busy all summer long. And to kickstart you off, lots of the properties in the area are holding days during half term where the kids can get some of the list ticked off – so you can try den building at Stowe on 24 May, sign up and join in with the challenge at Cliveden on 28 May and activities are also planned on 1 June at Dunstable Downs (2–3pm). There’s loads more information online at, plus see our what’s on pages for more events, too.

Pic: ©

room to run around in, trees to climb, children’s playgrounds to explore, and best of all, they’re free! Our favourites in the area are Black Country Park, Wexham (large playground, café and snack bar, lots of paths to explore and ducks to be fed); Canal Fields, Berkhamsted (play area with equipment for toddlers to teens, plus separate toddler play, outdoor gym circuit and skatepark); Higginson Park, Marlow (large playground with lots for all ages, nearby café and great for taking a stroll along the Thames); The Rye, High Wycombe (close to the high street, two children’s playgrounds and lots of space to run around); and Vale Park, Aylesbury (play area for up to 14 year olds, plus skatepark, free-to-use tennis courts and nearby Aqua Vale swimming pool with café).

Visit a museum – and learn some more about the local area. At Wycombe Museum ( there’s currently an exhibition to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War demonstrating how it affected local men, women and children. While there are lots of hands-on activities, Tudor clothes for dressing-up and a wonderful garden full of herbs and plants with medicinal and culinary properties at Amersham Museum, housed in the oldest domestic building in Amersham – find out more at And at the Buckinghamshire County Museum in Aylesbury (www. there are two new exhibitions starting in May, both are free to visit. The Unfeathered Bird runs from 17 May, it’s an exhibition of life-sized, limited edition prints of bird skeletons, but there’s also bird specimens and bird skeletons on display. And the Toy Zone looks at toys from the past. Most of the museums are running children’s workshops throughout the holidays – check out our what’s on guide for more info.

Kickboxing for children Ages 4 to 6, 7 to 11 & 12 to 16. 15 students per class. Self-Protection & Anti-Bullying. Safe, Disciplined & Fun Mondays - Prestwood (5pm) & Holmer Green (6:15pm) Tuesdays - Tylers Green (4pm) & Beaconsfield (5pm) Wednesdays - Chalfont St Peter (5:25pm & 6:15pm) Thursdays - Gerrards Cross (4pm, 5:15pm & 6pm) £8 per class.

Contact us on 07828 534817 24


Our July/August issue will be full of summer fun, email to be included

Happy holidays Get crafty at home. Make some lolly stick animals – collect and wash some lolly sticks, stick them together using a strong glue or use double-sided tape as it’s less messy and sticks them really well. Cut sticks to form legs etc using strong scissors, before painting or colouring with felt-tip pens. Or how about some night light holders – collect empty jam jars or baby food jars and decorate them using glass paints, sequins stuck on with pva glue or tissue paper. Twist wire around the top of the jar to enable it to be hung up. Another easy craft to do is a pebble creature – go hunting in the woods, garden or garden centre for a nice shaped one and then unleash your imagination. Young children might like painting them all one colour, but by adding two sticky eyes you have a bug. Older children may like to paint a face or their name. And best of all, they make great door stops or paper weights. Go hunting for minibeasts at Langley Park. Just hire a kit for £4.50 per family and then head off with the guidance of the ranger to see what you can find. Sessions last an hour and run at 1pm and 3pm on Wednesday 28th May. Find out more at

Take a trip to the farm – there’s lots of fun at Odds Farm this spring and if your kids like a good dig, they’ll love the brand new Sand & Water Play area that’s opening over half term. Plus the ever popular sheep racing is returning too (weather permitting). With a specially built mini race track with jumps and bends, and eager sheep with miniature jockeys, sheep racing is really good fun to watch. And if you guess the winning sheep, you can take home a medal. There are also some famous friends coming to the farm this spring, including Freya the Rabbit from Sylvanian Families on Saturday 3 May and Peppa Pig on Saturday 24 May. Find out more online at

Make up your own games. It’s creative, you’ll have great fun with your kids, and it’s completely free. Organise a treasure hunt in the park, have a trampolining competition in the garden, set up an obstacle course, or invite some friends over and give them a scavenger hunt to get stuck into. Or how about going geocaching –

similar to a treasure hunt, you use a GPS to find hidden treasure; some are harder to find than others, the only rule is you must leave some treasure for the next person to discover, (find locations near you at

Swing from the trees. If your kids have a head for heights, check out the newly opened Tree Top Junior course at Black Country Park. Little monkeys from the age of six (or anyone over one metre tall) can now join in the Go Ape! fun. Tree Top Junior allows young adventurers to spend a fun-filled hour exploring the canopy with family and friends. Young Tarzans can make their way through looping obstacles including the spider’s web, log balance and jungle crossing, before finishing on a high with an awesome zip-wire. Upon completion of the course, all participants are awarded their very own personalised certificate to take home. Children aged younger than six (who are over one metre tall) are welcome to participate but must be accompanied by an adult. Find out more at

It’s raining, it’s pouring! Fear not, there’s still plenty of fun to be had (and energy to be expended) indoors. Have a games day and challenge your kids to get through a number of board games or jigsaws in a day. Make dens or castles out of cardboard boxes, then decorate them. Have a disco – all you need is your best dancing queen outfit and an iPod. Or how about making a movie? Treasure hunts can be just as fun indoors as out or just put on the wellies and waterproofs and go splashing about in the rain. Pic: ©

With over 70 drop-in weekly workshops in a variety of subjects, live music, theatre and comedy on Friday and Saturday nights, exhibitions, volunteering opportunities and much more! A welcoming and sociable place to be, get down to Queens Park Arts Centre to discover your creative spark.

Tel: 01296 431 272 / 01296 424 332 Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP21 7RT

Register online at to receive our regular newsletters packed with local news, what’s on and competitions.



Compiled by Zoe Miller



Steam Gala & Model Railway Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton. Family day out, 10.30am to 5.30pm. Teddy Bear Days Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Oxon. Kids with bears are free with adult fare payer. Veruca Salt’s Squirrel Hunt Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. 11am–5pm, all ages, drop in. From Sunday 4th to Tuesday 6th

Wendover Woods, Aylesbury. 01296 625825, SPRING IN YOUR STEP Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckingham.

What The Ladybird Heard

Saturday 3rd

Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th 1950s Weekend Amersham Museum, 2–4.30pm, drop in.

Wycombe Swan, St Mary Street. Based on the Julia Donaldson book, for times and prices, see online. Monday 5th Aldbury May Fair Aldbury Recreation Ground, Stocks Road. Stalls, tombola, children’s entertainment, fairground rides, Morris Men and Maypole dancing. From noon.

Sunday 4th Abingdon Air and Country Show Abingdon Airfield, Dalton Barracks, Oxfordshire. Great day out for all the family. Gates open 10am. Tickets cost £15 (£12 in advance), 5–15 years, £5 (£4 in advance), OAPs £10 (£8 in advance), under-5s free. Free parking. DAWN CHORUS GUIDED WALK College Lake Nature Reserve, Tring. 5–7.30am, £3, booking essential. Go Batty Walk Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckingham. 8–10pm, adult £10, child £5. 01280 817156, Swan Lake Elgiva Theatre, Chesham. Performed by the Vienna Festival Ballet. 3pm. Sunday 4th to Monday 5th Haunting Experience Hell Fire Caves, West Wycombe. 11am–5pm, adult £5, child £4, family £15. Roman Gladiators Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles. 10am–5pm, adult £9.50, child £6, family £19.

Saturday 10th Car Boot Sale Iver Village Junior School, High Street. 12 noon–3pm (set up 11am), cars £5. Florence Nightingale Weekend Claydon House, nr Buckingham. 11am to 4pm, all ages, drop in. Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th


Crodscolloping Chocolate Decorating Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm & 3.45pm, 4+ yrs, £5.

10am–1pm, £40, booking required. Tiny Talk Time Wycombe Museum, High Wycombe. Stories, trails & crafts, 10.30–11.30am and 1.15–2.15pm, under 5s, £2, booking required.

Florrie’s Scootathlon Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Aylesbury. Fun mini triathalon challenge, 10am, 4–11yrs.

Jumbled Jigsaw Trail Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. 11am–5pm, all ages, drop in. Sunday 11th 2together service St. Michael & All Angels Church, Amersham. 10am. Informal approach to worship. Noah – A Musical Adventure Elgiva Theatre, Chesham, 6pm. Vintage Train Steaming Day Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton. 10.30am–5.30pm. Writing Hut Talks Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. 12 noon, 1pm & 2.30pm, all ages, drop in. Tuesday 13th to Saturday 17th Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake

Meet The Beekeepers Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe. 11am–4pm, plus crafts for kids. Tulip Festival Chenies Manor House, Chenies. 2–5pm, adult £7, child £4 (house & gardens) Wednesday 7th EVERY

2 WEEKS Little Angels St. Michael & All Angels Church, Amersham. 10.30am.

Thursday 8th

Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe. Friday 16th

Creepy-Crawly Caterpillars Tring Natural History Museum, Akeman Street. 30-minute workshop, 11am & 2pm, £1.50. Friday 9th Italian Pasta & Sauces Workshop for Adults Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough.

Shopping & Pampering Evening Cedar Park School, Hazlemere. Fundraising evening, 7.30pm, £4. Thai Cookery Adult Workshop Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough. 10am–1pm , £45, booking essential.

Get ready for summer! To be included in our summer holiday activity guide, read by over 40,000 parents in the Chilterns, email Deadline = 2 June.

26 26


Entries in What’s On are free – send your details to:

Saturday 17th Hawridge and Cholesbury C of E School Spring Fayre Hawridge, Chesham. 11am–2pm, Stalls, visiting reptiles, bar, BBQ & more. Henry Allen Nursery Spring Fair Mitchell Walk, Amersham. 2–4pm, fun for all the family. Tring Natural History Museum, Akeman Street. Nocturnal creature trail, 6–9pm, 5+yrs, free. Museums at Night

Diesel Day Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton. 10.30am–5.30pm, family day out. Family Wildlife Detective Walk World’s End Lane Lay-By, By the Weston Turville Reservoir Reserve Entrance, nr Wendover. Spot frogs, birds, bugs & flowers, 2pm, free, booking required. Nancy Astor Day

Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th 50 Things – Den Building Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckingham. 10am– 4pm, From Saturday 24 May to Sunday 1st June Claydon Explorers: Florence Nightingale Claydon House, Middle Claydon. 11am–4pm , all ages, drop in, £1. Jay Jay The Partyman Mead Open Farm, Billington, Beds. Shows hourly from noon to 4pm, all


Saturday 24th King Silly & Friends Elgiva Theatre, Chesham. Interactive show, 2pm, all ages. Markyate Plant Sale 64 High Street, Markyate, St Albans. In aid of The Hospice of St Francis, 10am. Nasty Crafty Kids Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden.12.30pm & 2pm, 5+ yrs, £2. Peppa Pig Meet & Greet Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Common. Meet Peppa from 11am–4pm.

Cliveden, nr Taplow. 11am. Writing Hut Talks Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. As Sunday 11th.

Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th My First Ballet – Coppelia Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street. Sat: 11am, 2pm & 5pm, Sun: 11am & 3pm, from £12.90. Sunday 18th Bushcraft Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe. Shelter building & fire lighting, booking required. 9am–12 noon or 1–4pm, £25. Butterfly Hunting Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted. 10am–12.30pm, adult £8, child £5.

Tuesday 20th Lunch Club – Risotto with Salad Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough. Cook and eat together at this two-hour workshop, £35.


Wednesday 21st Sunday 25th

Bird Watching For Beginners Langley Park, Wexham. 10am to 12 noon, booking essential. Kidnapped Town Hall, Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe. 1.30pm & 5pm, for 6+ yrs. Special Q&A session after matinee to meet the cast. To win a family ticket, please turn to page 7.

All Morgans Day Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury. 10am– 5pm. Classic Car Rally Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Oxon. Freckleface Strawberry – The Musical Elgiva Theatre, Chesham. Go Wild About Nature Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue. 2.30–4pm, 6+ yrs, £4. Haunting Experience Hell Fire Caves, West Wycombe. As Sunday 4th May.

Friday 23rd Tiny Talk Time Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue. As Friday 9th.

50 Things – Den Building Boarstall Duck Decoy, Nr Bicester. 11am–5pm, all ages. boarstall-duck-decoy.

All details correct at time of going to press but to avoid disappointment, please check before setting out.


Postman Pat HALF Buckinghamshire TERM Railway Centre, FUN! Quainton. Family activity, 10.30am– 5.30pm.

Saturday 24th

© Stu Tilley

Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles. Crafts, fancy dress, family activities & more. From 7pm. Oompa Loompa Trail Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. 11am–5pm, all ages, drop in. Peregrine Watch NEXT Market Square, Aylesbury. 10am–3pm, free. 2 SATS Spring Fair & Plant Sale St Michael & All Angels Church Beaconsfield, St Michael’s Green. Stalls, kids’ activities, pony rides plus refreshments. 11am–2pm.


Continued 5



Sunday 25th & Monday 26th

HALF TERM Medieval Jousting FUN! Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles. See displays, meet the horses, 10am–5pm.

Monday 26th Annual Bus Rally Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton. Plus Veteran cycle club, 10.30am–5.30pm. Create a Creature Tring Natural History Museum, Akeman Street. 10am–4pm, drop in, free. Funky Fabric Painting Holy Trinity Church Hall, Church Road, Penn. Arky Ark sessions, 10–11am, 2–12yrs, £7.


Pond Dipping Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted. 10.30am to 11.30am, 5+yrs, £4.50. Willy Wonka Bow Ties Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden.10.30am & 12 noon, 4+ yrs, £2.


Monday 26th to Friday 30th Ashridge 50 Things Club Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted. Complete 20 of the 50! 12 noon– 3pm.

Wildlife Day with RSPB Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury. 11am–3pm, all ages, drop in. Wild Wednesday – 50 Things Cliveden, nr Taplow. 11am–3pm, £2 per child.


Thursday 29th


Tuesday 27th

HALF TERM Alive and Deadly FUN! Tring Natural History Museum, Akeman Street. 30-minutes shows at 10.30am & 11.30am, 1pm & 2pm. 6+ yrs, booking required, £6. Augustus Gloop Pots HALF Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great TERM Missenden. 11am, 1pm & 3pm, 6+yrs, booking FUN! required, £3.

Create a Creature Tring Natural History Museum, Akeman Street. 10am–4pm, all ages, drop in. Cress Eyed Owls & Tasty mice Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury. 10am–3pm, 7+ yrs, £20. Film Walk Langley Park, Wexham. Take a walk around popular film locations, 2–3pm, booking essential. Making Finger Drums Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury. 10am–12 noon & 1–3pm, drop in, £2.50. Mini Museum Amersham Museum, 49 High Street. 10–11am, under 5s, drop in, £2.


Friday 30th Greek Myths & Monsters Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckingham. 10.30am–12.30pm Holiday Fun – Sizzling Suncatchers Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue. 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm & 3.30pm, all ages, drop in, £2.50. And Thursday. Making Clappers Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury. 10am–12 noon & 1–3pm, drop in, £2.50. Pocket Pirates & Piratesses Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury. 10am–3pm, 7+yrs, £20.


Tuesday 27th to Saturday 31st Evita Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe.


Beasts & Butterflies Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe. Nature walk, 11am–12.30pm, £5. Create! Amersham Museum, 49 High Street. 2–4.30pm, £1. Hell Fire School of Witchcraft Hell Fire Caves, West Wycombe. 11am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm & 4pm, 5–10 yrs, £ And Friday. Hold A Scary Beast Tring Natural History Museum, Akeman Street. 10.15–11am, all ages, £4.50. Making Shakers Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury. 10am–12 noon & 1–3pm, drop in, £2.50. My Parents Are Out of Control Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden.12.30pm & 2.30pm, 6+ yrs, £3. Pottery Animal Mugs Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury. 10am–3pm, 7+yrs, £20. Steaming Day Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton. 10.30am–5.30pm, free steam rides and more, all ages.


Wednesday 28th




Canvas Art Hazlemere Community Centre, High Wycombe. 9.30–10.30am, 2–12 yrs, booking essential, £6. Meet Simon Rickerty Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden.12 noon, 2pm & 3.30pm, 3+yrs, £3. Nature Detectives Tring Natural History Museum, Akeman Street. At Tring Park, 10.30am, 11.30am, 2pm, all ages, booking required, free.


Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th

Scooby Doo – The Mystery Of The Pyramid Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street. For times and prices, see online. aylesbury.








Saturday 31st Box Of Memories St John Ambulance Centre, High Wycombe. South Bucks Children’s Book Group, interactive storytelling workshop, 2–4pm, 7+yrs, booking required, £5. Janice Saunders 01494 440849, Miniature Traction Engine Rally Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton, 10.30am–5.30pm. Sock Puppet Theatre Queens Park Arts Centre, Aylesbury. 8pm, family show for 12+ yrs. Wafting Wonka Bars Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. 12.30pm & 2pm, 5+ yrs, £2.




Friday 6th to Sunday 8th Chiltern Music Festival Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles. Saturday 7th Badger Walk & Talk

There’s so much going on, we can’t fit it all in! Visit for lots more

Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted. 2–4pm, booking essential. Blueberry Hunt Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. 11am–3pm, all ages, drop in. Gruffalo’s Birthday Party Picnic Wendover Woods, Aylesbury. Sunday 8th Donkey Derby Botley Playing Fields, Chesham, 12.30–4pm. Grandpa Jo’s Quilt Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre, Great Missenden. 12.30pm & 2pm, 6+ yrs, £2. Vintage Train Steaming Day Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton. 10.30am to 5.30pm. Wednesday 11th Bats & Creatures Of The Night Ashridge Estate, Berkhamsted. 9–11pm, booking essential. Thursday 12th to Saturday 14th Grease Elgiva Theatre, Chesham. For times and prices see online.

Tuesday 17th to Saturday 21st Alice’s Adventures The Court Theatre, Tring. Saturday 21st Come & Play Pre-School Open Day The Methodist Church, Hazlemere. 10am–12 noon, kids’ activities & meet a TV star. RGSPA CLASSIC CAR SHOW & FAMILY FAIR Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe. 11am–3.30pm, adults & children 50p. Over 50 classic cars, antiques & vintage stalls, games for all the family. Sunday 22nd Alice Through The Looking Glass Elgiva Theatre, Chesham, 2.30pm. Peppa Pig Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton. 10.30am to 5.30pm, all ages. Tuesday 24th

Thursday 12th Play With Clay – Dragonflies Tring Natural History Museum, Akeman Street. 11am & 2pm, under 5yrs, £1.50.

workshop, £35.

Lunch Club – Superfood Salads & Smoothies Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough. Cook and eat together at this two-hour

Saturday 28th Macbeth Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe. 7–10pm. www. uk/hughenden. St Mary’s School Summer Fayre 12 noon–3pm, stalls & family fun. St Mary’s School, Amersham. Saturday 28th to Sunday 29th Chiltern Arts Fest Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles. Sunday 29th Film Walk Black Park, Stoke Poges 2–3.45pm, look at film locations, booking required. Go Wild About Nature Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue. 2.30–4.30pm, £4. Steaming Day Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton. 10.30am– 5.30pm, free steam rides plus family entertainment.

Wednesday 25th

Friday 13th Bread Making Workshop for Adults Beverley Glock Cookery School, Princes Risborough. Beginners breadmaking, 10am–1.30pm, booking required, £40. Summer Fair Iver Village Junior School, High Street. Bric a Brac, raffles, tombolas, refreshments and more. 3–6pm. Tiny Talk Time Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue. 10.30–11.30am & 1.15–2.15pm, under 5s, £2.

Happy Circus Holtspur School, Beaconsfield. Bar, food, face paints, games, bouncy castle & more! Gates 4.30pm, Show 5.30– 7.30pm. £8, Family £30. Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th Annie – The Musical

Saturday 14th Railway Open Day Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Oxon. School Fayre Great Kimble School, Church Lane. BBQ, pony & tractor rides, bouncy castle, games and more. 12 noon–3pm. Sunday 15th

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street. Friday 27th Tiny Talk Time Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue. 10.30– 11.30am & 1.15–2.15pm, under 5s, £2.

Commercial Vehicle Rally Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton. Dad’s Day Clay Modelling Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckingham. 11am–3pm, drop in, £1. Father’s Day Afternoon Tea Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury. Father’s Day at Chinnor Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, Oxon. Dads free when accompanying a fare payer. Make Dad’s Day Cliveden, nr Taplow. 12 noon–3pm, free beer tasting. Steam & Classic Vehicle Rally Startop Farm, Marsworth, Tring. Family day out, stalls & refreshments. 11am–5pm. Working Heavy Horse Show Chiltern Open Air Museum, Chalfont St Giles. 10am–5pm, farming techniques, arena events, meet the horses.

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Book reviews Reading with Ed Ed the blue owl is back with a selection of his favourite new children’s books.

FOR 5-7 YEARS Cosmic Colin: Sneezy Alien Attack by Tim Collins (Buster Books £4.99) Colin is over the moon when he and his friend Harry set off for another adventure in Harry’s spaceship, but he is not at all pleased that he has to take his little brother David with him. David is even more annoying than usual because he has a terrible cold. When they are confronted with aliens what will they do? Could David’s coughs and sneezes become an advantage for them? ED SAYS: ‘This book in the hilarious Cosmic Colin series is very entertaining for young readers. They’re sure to be enthralled by this super story with fantastic illustrations throughout.’

The Case of the Feathered Mask by Holly Webb (Stripes £5.99) Maisie is totally fascinated by all the mysteries waiting to be solved around her in Victorian London. Professor Tobin has rooms in her grandmother’s house and Maisie enjoys hearing stories and looking at artefacts from his travels abroad. When the professor’s rare feathered mask is stolen, Maisie has to use all her powers of detection to solve this latest mystery. ED SAYS: ‘Here is a great story that will appeal to newly confident readers who enjoy an exciting adventure. So get on the case with Maisie!’


The Wish

The Quirks in Circus Quirkus by Erin Soderberg (Bloomsbury, £5.99) The Quirks are a very unusual family who bring a whole new meaning to the word quirky. Each has a unique magical power that they constantly try to hide as they really want to settle in their new town – Normal in Michigan. When the circus comes to town the children learn to juggle and fly on the trapeze. But however good their circus skills are, will they be able to keep their nosy neighbour from uncovering their secrets? ED SAYS: ‘This is a crazy action-packed story with superb illustrations. The imaginative characters show how being different from others is cool!’

The Impossible Boy by Mark Griffiths (Simon and Schuster, £6.99) Things are not always as they seem. Blue Hills appears to be like so many other towns, but on closer inspection the impossible is happening. When a new boy starts to entertain his schoolmates with inexplicable magic tricks, Gabby and Barney – aka Geek Inc – set out to investigate. They soon realise that the weird and mysterious goings-on could threaten the whole world and they mean to find out the truth. ED SAYS: ‘This is a fantastic pageturner that is sure to entertain boys and girls alike. Readers who enjoy a good mystery will wish they were members of Geek Inc to get in on the action.’

by Dominick Affleck

When 15-yearold Jamie moves to the countryside, he is plagued by the usual anxieties of fitting in, and things get even worse when the school bully takes against him. Stuck at home, he finds a magical artefact that appears to have wonderful, mysterious powers. Jamie learns from his enigmatic grandmother that whoever has the ability to unlock the orb’s magic must use their powers to help five other people. In return, they will be granted a single wish. But before he can decide what to do, he unlocks the orb by mistake and comes face to face with its first owner, the sinister Warrior. The Wish is Dominic Affleck’s first novel. Dominic has been teaching English and Sport at Davenies School in Beaconsfield for 14 years and has become well-known by many local families. As his readers are aged ten and up, he has a large ready-made audience through school life and their excited response to the book so far has been extraordinary. Dominic will be at Beaconsfield Library on April 26 for part of the World Book Night celebrations. The Wish (£7.99) is published by New Generation and available on Amazon.

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

A local company who specialize in Wills Visiting your home at a time convenient to you. Offering friendly guidance and advice in plain English. Extremely reasonable fees quoted to you in advance.

Protect the needs of your family. Contact: Sally Bakkes T:01494 713 947. E: Registered in England No 6702879. This firm is Compliant with the IPW Code of Practice.



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