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Edition 32 • March/April 2012


The local magazine for families with children 0-12 years


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

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

Tel: 01925 768188 or 07766 290802 Email:

Achieving the difference...

Covering: Altrincham, Trafford, Salford, Manchester, Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, Didsbury, Stockport, Cheadle, Bramhall, and surrounding areas.

Locally speaking

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

Olympic Champion joins Manchester children in the pool

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

Caryl Hall

Locally speaking Education news Childcare Pregnancy Clubs & classes

Next issue: May/June 2012 Circulation: 25,000 copies of Families Manchester are available through nurseries, schools, libraries, selected shops and other points throughout Greater Manchester. If you would like free copies for your organisation, please let us know. Contact details: Families Manchester, PO Box 581, Macclesfield, SK10 9FN Tel: 01625 801 801 Editorial: Advertising/artwork: Events, diary dates, out & about: Cover photograph by: Paul Moffat Photography, Bollington Tel: 01625 576586,

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

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English National Ballet is unveiling a series of My First… ballets, created to introduce young children (3+) to ballet with their interests (and attention spans) in mind. My First Sleeping Beauty is the first in the series, choreographed and designed by dancer and choreographer Matthew Hart. Matthew said: “I want to create a really accessible way for children to enjoy this classic fairy tale, retaining the drama of

Looking for something that little bit different for yourself or as a gift? One Boutique has the answer. This beautiful unique destination shop situated on the outskirts of Bolton is filled with wonderful, very individual items that you just wouldn’t find on the high street. The range covers womenswear, jewellery and accessories, childrenswear, traditional toys, baby gifts, Kosta Boda glassware and Neom

Parents’ place Easter activity ideas What’s on Competition time


My First Sleeping Beauty at the Manchester Palace Theatre 2-3 June the original ballet, but adding a real sense of fun and magic, giving youngsters their first taste of the world of ballet.” But it’s not just a show for young children, the project is also designed to entice those who have not seen ballet before to come and take their first glimpse at the art. There will be 5 performances in Manchester on 2 & 3 June. For booking information, visit

One Boutique – Bolton’s hidden treasure

Jayne Keep

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80 children from five Manchester primary schools were recently given an opportunity to swim with five times Olympic Swimming Champion Mark Foster to celebrate the launch of the Big Splash Aquasplash Festival. Developed by experts at swimming’s governing body, the ASA, the Festival is a national aquatic competition for primary schools. Mark said: “The Big Splash Aquasplash Festival offers young people the opportunity to take part in competitive

swimming. It’s a great way to give children a taste of what an Olympic experience is all about and who knows, some of them could go on to be our Olympic stars of the future.” Schools have access to a range of online resources, enabling swimming teachers to deliver eight fun and inclusive competitive activities, which cover skills across all aquatic disciplines and lifesaving. They can record their Big Splash Aquasplash Festival scores into a national leader board at The winning school at the end of this academic year will have the chance to meet their Olympic and Paralympic heroes at the Kellogg’s Swimtastic Awards taking place later this year.

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luxury organic candles, these proving to be best sellers. Owner Alison Leslie offers a personal shopping service to ensure you’re delighted with your purchase. Since opening in November 2011, customers continue to return, impressed by her fantastic range and service. Just what Bolton needed! One Boutique, Above Zest, 877-879 Moss Bank Way, Smithills, Bolton BL1 5SN 07973 504708 /

Locally speaking Parents can stay and play too…

Holyrood Nurseries in Astley and Gin Pit village have been asking parents/ carers to come and join them and take part in lots of exciting activities with their child and the nursery staff. This has been a great hit with all and they have loved having the opportunity to spend time in the nursery building on relationships with staff members. Anna’s mum who has attended the nursery sessions on a number of occasions at out Astley nursery says: ‘Experiencing what the children do and joining in and seeing how my daughter interacts with other children and adults was exciting for me and I will come and play again if they’ll have me!’ Due to its success, they are now taking their ‘Stay and Play’ sessions to the next

level and are inviting prospective parents to come and get to know the staff team, by having a full nursery show-round with a member of the management team and then to stay and play and participate in a range of activities. This is ideal for those looking for a nursery place to see the stimulating activities provided for all the children and to get a taster for what the sessions will be like for their child – plus get some all-important time with the staff learning all about our busy day! Astley manager Sarah, says: ‘Stay and play sessions have been a big success at our Astley site and our sister nursery in Gin Pit Village. All parents children and staff have fully enjoyed spending time together and we would love the opportunity for prospective parents to come and join us and see what they think.’ If you would like more information about our Astley and Gin Pit Village Nurseries please call Sarah on 01942 897739 or visit

Send in your innovation message in a bottle

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

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

Meet Peppa Pig at new monthly children’s group for under 8s FREE Mother Hen Storytelling session in Hulme On 25 March, Studio 25 in bouncy castle and in the ball pool, play dress up and have Manchester plays host to BubbleKids – a new monthly Sunday group for children up to the age of 8. Peppa Pig is this month’s special guest – and for the launch, older kids can also get star struck with Micah Richards from Manchester City , Ivan Klasni from Bolton Wanders and Ste Gohouri from Wigan! With 2 separate rooms available for different age groups, non-walkers can enjoy nursery rhyme time, soft play and musical instruments. Older children can have fun on the

their face painted, as well as use the creativity corner and meet the special guest. Two sessions (12 noon – 1.30pm and 2 – 3.30pm) are available, and the admission price (£4 non walkers, £7 walkers) includes snacks, unlimited juice, all activities and a picture of your little one/s with Peppa Pig! Reserve your place (admission is only reserved for 15 minutes before sessions begin) by emailing or calling 07932 952404 – or come and pay on the day – but places are limited.

Fabulous Family Festivals for 2012 And book your ticket now for this year’s Just So Festival (17-19 August) – a broad range of musical, theatrical, visual and aural performances, workshops and installations held within a safe, natural and magical setting. This year’s festival has a brand new home – the woods and parkland of Rode Hall in Cheshire. Over the coming months the team will release lots of exciting bits of programming, great acts, workshops and vendors, but with Early Bird tickets sold out since September, festival goers will need to be quick if they want to join in the festivities. Rowan Hoban, festival director, explained, “We certainly won’t be expanding the number of people at the festival, we think that we Wild Rumpus and the Forestry Commission invite currently have the right balance with a safe and intimate you and your family to step into the magic of The Spellbound Forest in Delamere Forest on 19 & 20 May. atmosphere so that families can have creative adventures, singing, dancing and playing together without having to Three separate twisting paths will each tell the story of an English Fairy Tale through theatrical performance, music, queue up or make their way through overwhelming crowds. Our visual art and dance. Food, drinks and a picnic area will be aim is to create spellbinding environments where the audience available, and while suitable for families of all shapes and feel like anything is possible.” sizes, the Forest is likely to appeal mostly to families with children aged 3 – 12. It’s easily accessible on the main railway line from Manchester and Chester or via car.

Enter the Magical World of Mother Hen Storytelling! Prepare to be whizzed away on a fun-packed adventure through a vibrant mix of storytelling, puppetry, drama, music, movement & more. Come and help unlock the spell to a magical story and enter a world of colour, imagination and laughter. Children aged 4 – 7 are invited to join in a FREE, fully interactive session at Zion Arts Centre in Hulme on Saturday 31 March from 11am – 12 noon. To book your free place contact Following the success of the taster session, Mother Hen will be offering weekly sessions at the centre. To find out more about them, visit | Families Manchester 3

Education news Sporting coup for What’s in a name? No more tricky Times Tables of maths amongst students, particularly Stockport Grammar Language can be a minefield,

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

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

Greater Manchester based private tutor Graham Woodward has launched the first in a series of learning systems for children with his board game ‘Know Your’™ Times Tables. The system has already proved valuable to teachers and parents alike due to its versatility on both a one-to-one basis as well as with a class full of children, as Andrew Seddon, a year 6 teacher and numeracy coordinator at a local school comments: “Within just a few short sessions of the game being used by children of varying abilities, it was noticeable that they had shown a marked improvement in reciting and understanding their multiplication tables.” He goes on to describe it as “Simple, fun and amazingly effective”. Graham has spent over ten years working as a private tutor and decided to take action upon realising the poor level

times tables, for which many parents were seeking help from him. He states: “The UK is 27th in the world numeracy league tables, and as a passionate private tutor, I’m making it my mission to make maths more fun for children”. Graham has invested a great deal of time and money developing the learning system, trialling it in schools and as part of his sessions. A website has been created illustrating the product and it is already being talked about on blogs and online parent forums. Graham has almost sold out of his first batch of ‘prototypes’ and is currently in negotiations with manufacturers to have the product produced on a large scale. Graham, who also trains tutors, and is author of a book on the subject, says “It’s a proud feeling knowing that my passion for improving children’s numeracy skills through Know Your Times Tables has been an instant success, and I’m making it my mission to make not only maths, but other learning areas, more fun for children”. Know Your’™ Times Tables is retailing online at with plans for a full range of board game learning systems over the next few years. For further information, please contact Graham on 01706 875517.

Local mum’s pre-school App given the nod

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

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

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

Education news Schools face no-notice Ofsted inspections Raise limit of class sizes? From Autumn 2012 schools will face inspections without being given notice, Ofsted chief announces. Sir Michael Wilshaw, HM chief inspector, said the move was a “logical” progression, adding that it was vital the public had confidence in inspections and that inspectors must see schools “as they really are in the corridors, classrooms and staffroom”. Interviewed by the Press Association, Sir Michael said the introduction of new guidelines offered a “good opportunity” to cut the notice period given to all schools, not just those causing concern. This comes after new worries that some schools were using tactics such as sending less successful teachers and unruly pupils home when inspectors were

visiting. The “great majority of schools conduct themselves properly”, Sir Michael said, but added that if there is any thought that a school is not, Ofsted must address it. However, school leaders revealed they had “real doubts” that the move would improve inspections, raising concern that the change had been announced without consulting headteachers. Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “We welcome moves to improve the effectiveness of inspection, but I have real doubts that nonotice inspection will accomplish this. An effective inspection system is based on mutual trust and respect, not the premise that schools are trying to ‘cheat’ and need to be caught out.”

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

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

The Best Start in Life

Bolton School offers an all through education on one campus for more than 2,300 pupils. Academic results are consistently outstanding. In the latest government national GCSE league table of schools by EBacc results the Boys’ Division was ranked tenth in the country and the Girls’ Division was 18th. However, it is at a much younger age that many pupils begin their schooling here. They offer the very best start in life through their co-educational Nursery and Infant School and single-sex Junior Girls’ and Boys’ Schools (ages 7 to 11 years). Ninety nine per cent of Junior School pupils From Home to School with Autism RRP £19.99 By K I Al-Ghani and Lynda Kenward Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers ISBN 978-1-84905-169-9 Whilst primarily a resource book for use at school, I found that this title was filled with incredibly useful information and strategies for bringing up a child with autism at home. It provides a welcome alternative to trawling through the web to find information and templates for visual timetables, Social Stories, reward charts, and many other

then move on up to the senior schools. Children work hard and enjoy incredible extra-curricular opportunities and outstanding facilities throughout the 32 acre campus. In the past few years brand new Infant and Junior Girls’ schools have been built and the Junior Boys’ School, Park Road, has been refurbished and extended. In January of this year a new teacher-led Nursery class was opened for 3 and 4 year olds, which runs from 9.00am-3.15pm each day during term time and helps prepare young children for the move up to Infant School. Their private coach service covers an extensive network of 22 routes across the North-West, including pick-ups in North Manchester, Rochdale, Bury, Blackburn, Preston, Warrington, Wigan and Blackpool as well as from Lostock train station for pupils travelling to Bolton from Manchester and Salford. To arrange your visit to Bolton School or for further information about entering your child into the School, please call 01204 840201, email: or visit useful examples of what can be used to make an autistic child’s day run as smoothly as possible. This comprehensive, constructive information-filled resource is a title that should be on the bookshelf of anyone caring for an autistic child, either at school or at home. Reviewed by Emilie Amos | Families Manchester 5

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

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If 18 years of organising childcare for my children taught me anything at all, it’s this: you can pay someone to look after your kids, but you can’t pay someone to love them. What this means – or at least, what it means to me – is that when and if someone comes along who actually does love your kids, hold onto them for all you’re worth; because they are literally priceless in your family’s life. For me, the wonderful carer who really did love my daughters was Linda, who looked after them (and sometimes me as well) for eight years. She arrived in our family’s life when my eldest child was two, and she stayed until the birth of my fourth. When she left, she said it was because she didn’t want to fall in love with another of my babies – because then it would be too hard to leave, and during the time she’d been working for us, she and her husband had moved further out of town. Across the years I reckon I’ve paid at least 20 different carers to look after my children – and I still occasionally have to find childcare for my youngest daughter, who is nine. I’ve searched for – and found – carers for tiny babies, and for older (and not always very easy) pre-schoolers. I’ve found nurseries for some of my children, and I’ve had au pairs from time to time. None of the carers in our family were as much a part of our team as Linda was, and none of them loved my children as much as she did (she still comes back to see them, several years on); but the more the carer engaged with, and enjoyed, whichever child or children she was looking after, the happier the children were. So I have no doubt at all what matters most in choosing a childcarer. Look for someone who makes your child happy,

pure and simple. Look for someone your child looks forward to being with, and is happy to share his or her days with. Often – or so it has sometimes seemed to me – parents are too ambitious in their hopes for a childcarer; and ironically, this means they end up getting a raw deal for their child. They want a carer who, as well as looking after their child, will also manage to make the beds and iron the laundry and leave the kitchen spotless at the end of the day. And of course, if you’ve been out at work since dawn and you’ve got another tough day tomorrow, tidiness does matter – because in order to enjoy a bit of time with your child, you don’t want to have to start ploughing through the washing up. But expecting too much ‘round the edges’ from a carer means your child can miss out: because it’s that primary relationship between the nanny, or mother’s help, or childminder, that matters more than anything else. Interestingly, Ofsted recently came to the same conclusion. In recent years, the main thrust of an Ofsted check on a nursery or childminder has been on safety issues, especially safeguarding ones. But under new plans, inspectors will concentrate instead, in the future, on whether children feel loved and emotionally secure while they’re in the nursery or childminder’s home, and will look at children’s personal development, such as how ready they are to share and to take turns, and how well they engage with the other children around them. The plans are out for consultation until April, but they’ve already received a warm welcome – because of course they make perfect sense. I’d also say, looking back over my many years of employing childcarers,

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that – strangely enough – the carers the kids would have chosen were unfailingly the ones who were most successful in our family. The litmus test of a childcarer’s abilities is, at the end of the day, whether your child would choose to be with that person (assuming you aren’t available which, of course, you’re not). For this reason, it seems a bit odd to me that parents sometimes report feeling jealous of the feelings their child has for their childcarer. No carer is ever going to replace a parent, but surely the very best accolade for the choice you’ve made for your children is if your replacement is the next-best person in their life? Ideally, a carer should resemble a much-loved family member – depending on what sort of carer they are, and what sort of age they are. So in my family, Linda was a ‘granny’ figure (although she was only ten years older than me, and a very glamorous granny when she first arrived at our door, aged just 40); we’ve had Czech and Polish au pairs, usually shared with other families, who have had a bigsisterly relationship with my daughters; and we’ve had carers in nurseries who have been like favourite aunties. And all in all, my daughters have laughed a lot, and enjoyed their time, and improved their social skills through their attachments and their relationships with the people who’ve cared for them. Like every working mother, I owe all these people who’ve backed me up through the years a huge debt of gratitude: because we all need to know our kids are safe and happy in order to do our jobs. So, follow your instincts is what I’d say: find someone your child really likes being with, and a carer who clearly enjoys being with your child. If you’re very, very lucky, you may

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

Childcare Communication in the Office V Communication with the Nanny

Added value – having a nanny does make economic sense...

By Kathryn Mewes

By Di Williams, MD, Nannyplus Childcare Ltd.

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

As we spoke further she admitted that she knew this was wrong because if an issue with your nanny is not addressed you then find yourself becoming more acutely aware of other elements of her behaviour. These elements then escalate and draw to a head. This can cause a heated discussion which could have been avoided. My mother once told me you can say anything in life to anyone... you just need to choose your moment and pick your words carefully. So, if something is bothering you with your nanny, you need to stop and ask yourself “Is it important enough to approach or is it something you can live with?” If it needs addressing, choose your moment carefully and approach this with sensitivity and positive energy. With a sensitive approach, constructive criticism is greatly received. You are enhancing your nanny’s skills and the bond between you is continuing to strengthen.

Recent research undertaken by Nannyplus Childcare Ltd and underpinned by a survey undertaken by a leading payroll provider, suggests the clear message is that whilst employing a nanny may not initially appear to be the cheapest option for families, it remains the most viable one providing families with the most flexibility in terms of time, convenience, added value and lifestyle. Flexibility remains the key attraction and can give nannies a distinct advantage in terms of the added help and value they can add to parents’ busy lifestyles.

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

For further information about Kathryn and her unique service go to The 3-Day Nanny by Kathryn Mewes will be published in June by Vermilion, £12.99.

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

Ask her about her weekend on a Monday morning. Praise her daily. This only needs to be a slight comment. Praising your nanny will please her and lead to her praising your child. Encourage your children to thank your nanny for their day. Ask your nanny her opinion. This will give her self worth. Don't allow a ‘little niggle’ to escalate - just pick your moment and address it. Never discipline your nanny in front of your children. Addressing matters on a Friday early evening is a good time. Thoughts then digest over the weekend. Have a monthly ‘chat’ where you can both address points. Holiday, activities etc. Ask your nanny to keep a basic diary if this would reassure you about the daily movements. Try not to ring your nanny continually through the day. It will begin to knock her confidence. Be sensitive but up front and honest with your nanny. | Families Manchester 7

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

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

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

By Kay Malcolm MFHT 07958 914867

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

Yoga for Pregnancy and its benefits By Maureen Anderson, Yoga Harmony, Over the past decade, Yoga for Pregnancy has grown rapidly. It can have many benefits and can be a fun gentle way to keep healthy during pregnancy. Midwives often encourage attendance at a class. Traditional Yoga postures are modified to suit the stage of pregnancy. For many, this can be their first introduction to Yoga. Some of the physical benefits include: • Encouraging the baby into the best position for birth • Strengthening the pelvic floor and pelvic muscles • Alleviating the discomfort within the pelvic area sometimes experienced during pregnancy, especially the latter weeks. • Helps with post-natal recovery • Alleviates backache and sciatica Yoga for Pregnancy is a useful tool for stress management and relaxation techniques are taught in classes. Relaxation classes are sometimes counted as ante-natal care and the government website Direct Gov states that a pregnant women, if applicable, is entitled to time off work to attend such classes. Most of all, Yoga for Pregnancy can be highly beneficial during labour and the birthing of the baby. Active birth is encouraged by many midwives and the modified Yoga postures compliment this. However, probably of most benefit are the breathing, relaxation and meditation techniques practised in class. They relax the

mother and release the endorphins, the body’s own ‘pain-killer’, reducing any discomfort experienced. Many women have been able to remain at home until an advanced stage of labour and have found that they have not needed much in the way of pain relief – often only gas and air. Many are surprised by how short their labour can be. Even when intervention is required or a C-section (planned or an emergency), medical staff report that they do notice the difference in those who have practised Yoga, compared with those who have not. Yoga for Pregnancy works well alongside other complimentary therapies such as hypno-birthing. Qualified ante-natal yoga teachers often offer Birthing Partner sessions alongside the normal weekly class. Attending one of these sessions offers your birthing partner a chance to learn the techniques taught in the classes and be able to help you use the techniques during labour. There are also social benefits. A class can be a good place to meet other mothers-to-be and I have seen supportive friendships form that remain strong for years. Many women go onto attend Yoga classes designed for post-natal recovery. As well as the benefits of promoting bonding with the baby and helping you restore your figure, it can be a way of meeting others mothers and can provide a means of support. Many women do go on to find Yoga becomes a way of life. Some even end up teaching it. | Families Manchester 9

Clubs & classes Jabberjacks pre-school activity classes now available in South Manchester

Jabberjacks is a learning and fun activity pre-school class which helps develop social and physical skills for children aged between 6 months and 4 years old. Using a unique combination of puppets and traditional music, against

a backdrop of drama and play, Jabberjacks ensures all activities delivered in their pre-school classes are both stimulating and interactive. The 45 minute classes are delivered weekly, during term time and are specifically tailored for pre-school aged children. They are educationally focused yet help the child’s imagination to flourish through storytelling and role play. How can Jabberjacks benefit my child? Whilst your child has fun enjoying the

Rugby for all ages at Trafford MV

Trafford MV Rugby Club was once again invited to take to the field at Sale Sharks’ recent fixture against Brive, from France, in the European Amlin Cup. MV’s under 13/14’s met Sharky and Sale players at this crucial game for Sale – the lads found it a great experience and enjoyed the atmosphere amongst the crowd even though the result did not go Sale’s way! MV is having a good season in their mini/junior Trafford MV Hawks section with

a huge intake of players in the younger age groups. Coaching starts as young as under 5’s on a Sunday morning at the club on Finney Bank Road in Sale. The Club is now searching for more teenagers and older children to take part in the game. Rugby retains its amateur status at Trafford MV and as such it gives the opportunity to all young players to get game time and not just the elite in the age group. MV is keen to develop their own players as future 1st XV players at the club – however it does not stand in the way of good players who may have the ability to succeed at higher levels – seeing them move on with a firm handshake and a welcome to return in the future. Rugby Union at Trafford MV upholds the fundamental basics of Rugby with

puppets, parachute, teddies, musical instruments and so much more, they also: • Develop positive social interaction • Increase their general knowledge • Engage their senses and motor skills • Learn about caring and sharing • Grow in confidence • Improve their concentration and listening skills This can all be achieved through interactive tactile activities and a host of unique and sensory props and accessories.

How can Jabberjacks pre-school activity classes help parents? For grown-ups, our pre-school activity classes encourage ideas and inspiration and provide that rare occasion for quality time with your child. It also provides you with the chance to meet other parents/grandparents/ carers providing new social opportunities. For more information please contact Clare on 07587 186284 or email

commitment to: • Respect for opposition and referees • Amateurism – no players at MV get financial reward for playing, they do it for each other and the club they represent • Fun – they play the game for fun; it’s good to win but also fun to take part and play the game. In this Olympic year with an emphasis on an Olympic Legacy, Trafford MV would encourage parents and teachers alike to get in touch (0161 973 7061) and introduce your children to Rugby Union with a friendly community Club. Rugby Union is a sport in which lifelong friendships are made and club loyalty is very strong but not partisan. For young players in the teenage years there are midweek training sessions on Wed and Thurs evenings at 6.30pm for the under 13/14’s and 15’s and over respectively –

this is in addition to Sunday morning sessions at 10.30am for all age groups. The Club has excellent pitches/floodlit areas/changing rooms/showers/bar facilities/ weights room/physio and an excellent committee of individuals devoted to securing the future of Rugby Union in the Sale and Trafford area through grassroots rugby within the community. For more information, visit Thinking one step ahead to brighter sunnier days Trafford MV also have a junior Cricket section which will also be looking for players over the Summer months so if you have after school cricket and would like to do more please call at MV where they will be pleased to help.

Babyballet in Bury and Bolton The award-winning babyballet Song and Dance Academy is a wonderfully exciting educational movement to music programme for pre-school boys and girls from 6 months to 6 years. Designed to encourage babies and young children to enjoy the benefits and joys of song and dance, babyballet has

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built up a fantastic reputation for providing children with the opportunity to express themselves within a fun, safe and caring environment. All of our fantastic teachers are fully qualified and have up to date CRB certificates. So if your baby, toddler or child has the bug for ballet and wants to learn to dance, come and join the fun at

babyballet, the Nation's favourite preschool dance class today. Classes have been operating in the Bury and Bolton area for 3 years now and run 6 days a week. So check out the timetable on

Clubs & classes Take to the stage Children’s fitness with Stagecoach coach fights for her Olympics place

Stagecoach Salford and Didsbury is part of the world’s biggest part time theatre school. Students meet at the weekends and are coached in singing, acting and dancing. Their students are fortunate to be able to take up many professional opportunities; recent engagements include Oliver at the Opera House where five of their students are performing in the six week run, and 14 students are appearing in The King and I at the Lowry Theatre. 20 of their five to six year old students are currently filming with the BBC who are remaking The Birthday Song, The Weekend Song etc which feature between the programmes on Cbeebies. Principal Anne Boardman says: “We are proud of our students who are able to achieve this level, but we are equally proud of the smaller triumphs that we see in all our students week by week as they start to build in confidence.” and

Sophie Johnstone is literally fighting for her place in the 2012 London Olympics. Sophie is a member of the Great Britain Judo squad and ranked in the worlds top 100. She needs to achieve a good placing in the European Cup in Bosnia on 31 March in order to secure her place in Team GB. Sophie, who has been fighting recently in Korea, finances her sporting career teaching Stretch-n-Grow. Working in schools, nurseries and Children’s Centres, Sophie teaches children as young as 18 months the benefits of good health, healthy eating and regular exercise. “It is great to have Sophie as part of our time; she works hard to support her sport. Her job as Stretch-n-Grow Coach works well around her training. We all wish Sophie the best and we will be cheering for her.” says Tanya Davie of Stretch-n-Grow. If you’d like more information about Stretch-n-Grow classes in your area, call 0844 800 3398 or visit

Advertise in Families Manchester Call Jayne on: 01625 801801 or email | Families Manchester 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Magical entertainment in Manchester Uncover the North’s best kept secret and invite Make a Wish Entertainment to your celebrations. Specialising in bespoke children’s entertainment, they will work with you and your child’s requests to create the birthday party you wish for. You choose the theme and they will create it, your wish truly is their command. Make a Wish also offer entertainment for Christenings, Weddings, Corporate Events and any occasion where you need entertainment for the children.

Would your little one like Alice & The Mad Hatter to come for tea? Or perhaps you’d like to invite the Easter bunny to your Easter Egg Hunt...

Contact Make A Wish today to speak to one of their experienced event planners for a free party consultation on 01924 281 365 or visit | Families Manchester 13

Parents’ place How much would you pay to put a hat on your head? Manchester the UK yet the deadly disease kills more how much it costs; everybody who gets scientists need children and people under the age of 40 involved will feel a million dollars on the than any other cancer. ‘Wear a Hat Day’ is day, whilst also raising much needed your help a fun way of increasing awareness and research funds and awareness.” On 30 March, Brain Tumour Research and its member charities will be encouraging nurseries, schools, colleges, universities, public sector bodies and office workers to make a donation in order to nominate their ‘head’ to wear a silly hat for the day in aid of the charity’s annual ‘Wear a Hat Day’. The campaign aims to raise awareness regarding the prevalence of brain tumours and the need for vital research. From sponsored silences to charity runs and office bake-offs, organisations around the country are being encouraged to raise money in any which way they see fit in order to sponsor their ‘head’ to wear a silly hat. Sue Farrington-Smith, Director of Brain Tumour Research, comments: “Brain Tumour Research receives less than 1% of national cancer research spending in

getting people raising money for an often overlooked form of cancer”. Brain Tumour Research has recruited the help of Kate Langrish-Smith, crowned ‘Young Hat Maker of the Year 2010’, to develop the official range of campaign hats. Instructions to make your own bespoke hat will be available to download from the website alongside another downloadable PDF which will allow you to create your own hat simply out of paper. These interactive features allow everyone to access and support the campaign and both DIY hats will be accompanied by an online instructions video. Philip Treacy, celebrity hat designer and patron to the charity, says: “Fashion is a feeling and a mood and therefore how better to express your passion and commitment to a subject such as brain tumour research than by wearing a fantastic hat? It immediately creates a statement and it doesn’t matter what the hat is or

Philip has also contributed to the campaign by providing an image of a hat that he has designed for an exclusive badge that will be available as a limited edition. This badge will be available for purchase through the website, alongside this year’s wear a hat badges which will be launched for sale during March – brain tumour awareness month. Brain Tumour Research represents the united campaign voice of the Brain Tumour Research group of 18 charities. Launched in 2009, the charity was established specifically to raise funds for brain tumour research. To get involved, request your fundraising packs or for further background into Brain Tumour Research go to

Current research at the University of Manchester is exploring what helps children learn to read. The researchers behind the project, Dr Krol and Dr Woollams use a completely safe and non-invasive technique called electroencephalography (EEG) to record child’s brain activity. The child will receive a certificate of attendance in the experiment, with a snapshot of their brain activity and a photo of them wearing a special EEG cap. So, if you have a toddler between 18 and 30 months and both of you would like to help the scientists, contact Dr Krol for more information:

Shattered. Modern Motherhood and the Illusion of Equality RRP £12.99 By Rebecca Asher Published by Harvill Secker, ISBN 9781-846-553974 Why are British women still primarily responsible for young children despite

changed career expectations? Rebecca Asher lifts the lid on the current situation and finds that men are excluded through the Mum-focus of the health service combined with the lack of flexible working rights. Women, steamrollered into the main caring role, become disillusioned

Manchester Child Art Psychotherapy Is your child affected by: nightmares, eating difficulties, divorce or separation, trauma, bullying, exam stress? Art Psychotherapy can help with a range of childhood problems. Paula Fotheringham Manchester Art Psychotherapy Services T: 07738865779 / E: W:

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by reality yet entrenched as gatekeepers. International comparisons demonstrate that government policy promotes change, which Asher includes in a proposal to facilitate more equal participation in the responsibilities and pleasures of raising children. Thought provoking, perceptive

and challenging – for existing and expectant parents! Reviewed by Jan Deykin

Easter activity ideas Introducing children to cooking

Get them climbing the walls

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

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

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

that every session is great fun. Fully AALA licensed, they also offer a full package of outdoor courses at outdoor venues in the Peak District and other crags throughout Yorkshire and Lancashire. There are sessions for children offering the chance to work through a nationally accredited achievement scheme, or just come along for a climb with friends. Climbing is an exciting and stimulating activity for all ages, and a great way for families to spend time together. For more information on the variety of courses and activities, or to make a booking, contact the centre or visit their website. 0161 230 7006 / | Families Manchester 15

What’s on Activities Wed 7 Mar Stockport Air Raid Shelters Explorer Tours 7pm, Age 8+ (must be accompanied) An evening tour around the shelters including areas not seen on the public tour. Booking Essential 0161 474 1940 /

Fri 9, 16, 23 & 30 Mar Clifton Country Park, Swinton Tiny Tots Ramblers 10:15am – 11:30am A themed nature walk for young children & their parent / carers with the ranger. Meet at the Visitor Centre, wear suitable footwear & clothing. Bring a snack for after the walk.

Sat 17 Mar Lyme Park, Disley Magnificent Mums 1 – 3pm, £7, Age 6+, Booking Essential 01663 762023 /

Sun 18 Mar Tatton Park, Knutsford Mothering Sunday Treat Mum this year to tea and cakes in Tatton’s Mansion and a visit to the estate’s beautiful 50 acre garden. Pre-booking essential. 01625 374 456 / Peel Moat/Target Fitness, Heaton Moor Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop 10am – 12pm, Table costs £10 Entrance 50p 07748 601248 /

Sun 11 Mar

Sat 31 Mar

Sale High School Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop 10am – 12pm, Table costs £10 Entrance 50p 07748 601248 /

Hat Works, Stockport Story Time 12 noon, Age 3 – 11 Come and listen to stories in the Yurt told by Sue Lea, one of our Demonstrators. Free, Drop in 0161 355 7770 /

Easter Egg Fun

Sat 31 Mar – Sun 15 Apr (excl Mon 2 Apr)

© Melastmohican

Hat Works, Stockport Easter Bunny Trail 10am – 4pm, Free, drop in Take part in our Bunny trail, you never know, you might just win a prize! 0161 355 7770 /

Sun 1 Apr Sat 24 Mar The Trafford Centre Egg-xtraspecial Easter Bunny Hunt 10am, Hosted by LINDT. Families will be able to rediscover the magic and fun of Easter traditions, from LINDT Gold Bunny hunts, to face painting and Easter bonnet making - all to celebrate the 60 years of the LINDT Gold Bunny being part of Easter tradition. So be sure to bring your family along for a full day of Easter fun - you’d be hopping mad to miss it!

Sat 24 Mar – Mon 9 Apr The John Rylands Library, Manchester Dragon Egg Hunt for Easter Our naughty dragons have been leaving their eggs all over the Library - can you find them all? Pick up an egg hunt notecard from the Reception desk to record your finds - find them all and claim your reward when you return to the desk! 0161 275 3751 /

Leonard Cheshire Disability, Honresfeld, Littleborough Honresfeld Easter Egg Hunt & Fun Day 1 – 4pm Easter Egg Hunt (£1), Bouncy Castle, Children’s Games, Tombola’s, Unique Jewellery Stall, Crafts by Sophie, Refreshments, Hook a Duck, Raffle 01706 378627 /

Mon 2 – Mon 9 Apr Smithills Open Farm, Bolton Easter Egg Hunts Daily 12 noon & 2pm Our staff are cheeky monkeys, they dress up in silly costumes, sneak into the forest and hide eggs and cuddly toys everywhere. You have to find them before the goats do! It’s free to join in the fun. 01204 595 765 /

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Zion Arts Centre Magical World of Mother Hen Storytelling: FREE taster session 11am – 12noon, Ages 4-7 Fully interactive session that aims to inspire creativity in every child! To book your free place contact

Sat 31 Mar & Sun 1 Apr Ramsbottom 2012 Chocolate Festival Chocolate market, workshops and craft activities. The East Lancashire Railway will be running their first ever Chocolate Rail Ale tour. Children’s Craft Activities and Entertainment Craft workshops will be taking place throughout the day (charges apply for some activities). Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Fri 6 – Mon 9 Apr Lyme Park, Disley Easter Eggstravaganza 11am – 4pm £2 per trail Fabulous family trail supported by Cadbury, with a special Easter prize. Outdoor games, face painting and lots of fun. House & garden admission applies. NT members free 01663 762023 / Quarry Bank Mill, Styal Easter Weekend Eggstravaganza 11am – 4pm, 50p per trail Hunt the bunnies to earn your egg with the special Cadburys trail over Easter weekend plus games and activities on the Mill Meadow. 01625 527468 / Dunham Massey Hall, Altrincham Easter Eggstravaganza 11am – 4pm Cadbury fun days for all the family. Follow the trails in the house and garden and children receive a Cadbury’s chocolate egg. 0161 941 1025 / dunhammassey

Hat Works, Stockport Children’s Tours Step back in time as the story of ‘Nat the Hatter’ unfolds. Discover how hats were made, experience the noisy machinery floor and learn what it was like to be a hatter’s apprentice! 2.30 – 3.30pm,Ages 5-11, Child £2, Adult £1 (Booking essential) Hat Making Decorate your very own hat. Pick up your pack of craft materials from reception, then make & decorate your hat on the gallery floor! All ages. 10am – 4pm (from 11am on Sun) Free, Drop in 0161 355 7770 /

Sat 31 Mar – Sun 15 Apr Museum of Science & Industry Easter Holidays – free events for the family. Come and explore industry with exciting activities for all ages. 0161 832 2244 /

All-In-One Garden Centre, Middleton Easter Egg Treasure Hunt and Face Painting The N.S.P. C.C. team will be face painting and trying to raise money for their cause during the Easter weekend. 01706 711711 /

Sat 7 Apr Romiley Park Easter Egg Hunt Time TBC at time of going to press.

Sun 8 April Manchester Airport Runway Visitor’s Park Easter Sunday Join Jet Set Jenny and her good friend ‘The Easter Bunny’ for lots of fun and games including an Easter Egg Hunt and Decorate an egg competition. 0161 489 3932 / runwayvisitorpark Werneth Low Country Park, Hyde Easter Egg-stravaganza 1pm – 3pm A marvellous egg -stravaganza for younger children. As well as the hunt there will be competitions for best dressed Easter egg and bonnet. Drop in at Lower Higham Visitor Centre. 0161 368 6667 /

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

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

Sun 1 Apr The Kingsway School (lower site), Cheadle Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop 10am – 12pm, Table costs £10 Entrance 50p 07748 601248 /

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

Mon 2 – Fri 6 Apr & Mon 9 – Fri 13 Apr Philips Park, Whitefield, Manchester Nationwide Cycling Academy (NCA) Spring Cycle Camp 10am to 3pm (early/late pickups additional charge) £20 per day / £70 per week Gain confidence, learn new skills, pick up tips, ride with Team NCA, try different types of cycling, play cycling games and join in with races and skill test. Bikes and helmets can be hired for the week or bring your own. Each child attending for a full week will receive a free cycling goodie bag and a certificate of cycling competence. 0161 773 9566 /

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

Manchester Museum Easter Holidays: The Museum Allotment 11am-4pm, All ages Come & see what’s growing on the allotment. Decorate pots and design your own colourful plant labels. Most activities are free and drop-in. Some activities may need to be booked on the day and may cost up to £1.50. 0161 275 2648 /

Tues 3 Apr

What’s on Tues 3 – Thurs 5 Apr Hat Works, Stockport Easter handmade cards Age 5 – 11 10.30 – 12 / 1 – 2.30pm Come along to this craft workshop and make some Easter cards that will have your friends and family hopping with excitement! £3.00 (Leisure Key £2.50 - limited places). Booking essential. 0161 355 7770 /

Dunham Massey Hall, Altrincham Calling all Servants 11am – 4pm The housekeeper puts you through your servant paces. House & garden ticket required. 0161 941 1025 / dunhammassey

Tues 3 & Thurs 5 Apr Glo Family, Cheadle 10am Toddler Time Easter Party (18 mths – 5 yrs) 1pm Easter Basket Inspired Creative Play 4pm Mini Mad Hatters Teatime Special 0844 8007380 /

Clough Gate, Hyde Wild Woods 1 – 3pm, Fun day for families with a variety of activities such as mini-beast safari, den building, a nature walk and woodland crafts. Meet at Clough Gate, off Stockport Road, Hyde SK14 5RD | Families Manchester 17

What’s on Wed 4 April Glo Family, Cheadle 10am Baby Glo Easter Party (Ages 3 – 18 mths) 2pm Music with Mummy FREE Taster 4pm Mini Mad Hatters Teatime Special 0844 8007380 / Stockport Air Raid Shelters Explorer Tours 7pm, Age 8+ (must be accompanied) An evening tour around the shelters including areas not seen on the public tour. Booking Essential 0161 474 1940 /

Wed 4 & Wed 11 Apr George H Carnall Leisure Centre, Urmston (M41 7FJ) Children’s Multi-Activity Fun Day 10am – 4pm Indoor Go Karting (2 sets), Giant Obstacle Course, Giant Slide, Dance Mats, Bouncy Castle, Trampolines (with qualified instructors), BodyZorbing, Whizz Wheels, hot & cold food and more. Age 3 – 14 £6 per child (under 3’s free) 07956 557653 /

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

Cherwell FC, Heywood Easter Fun Day 11am – 4pm 50p admission All proceeds split between Help The Heroes and Cherwell FC.

Hat Works, Stockport Story Time 12 noon, Age 3 – 11 Free, Drop in Come and listen to stories in the Yurt told by Sue Lea, one of our Demonstrators. 0161 355 7770 /

Fri 6 Apr

Sat 7 Apr & Sun 8 Apr

Manchester Airport Runway Visitor’s Park Junior Hangar Club (under 10’s) Meet JetSet Jenny, get a membership pack and discounts. 0161 489 3932 / runwayvisitorpark

Hat Works, Stockport Children’s Tours Step back in time as the story of ‘Nat the Hatter’ unfolds. Discover how hats were made, experience the noisy machinery floor and learn what it was like to be a hatter’s apprentice! 2.30 – 3.30pm Ages 5-11, Child £2, Adult £1 Booking essential 0161 355 7770 /

Fri 6 – Mon 9 Apr Hat Works, Stockport Hat Making Decorate your very own hat. Pick up your pack of craft materials from reception, then make & decorate your hat on the gallery floor! All ages. 11am – 4pm (from 10am on Sat) Free, Drop in 0161 355 7770 /

Fri 6 & 13 Apr Clifton Country Park, Swinton Tiny Tots Ramblers See Fri 9 Mar

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

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Sat 7 – Mon 9 Apr Tatton Park, Knutsford Easter Crafts and Shopping Fair 10.30am – 5pm Home décor and furnishing ideas, arts and crafts and gifts for the family. 01530 834056 / Alice in Wonderland Easter Festival Step through the looking glass in the Mansion, follow the White Rabbit to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the Gardens and meet the Queen of Hearts at the Farm. Normal opening times and prices apply. 01625 374400 /

Sun 8 Apr Sale High School Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop 10am – 12pm, Table costs £10 Entrance 50p 07748 601248 /

Mon 9 Apr Glo Family, Cheadle 10am – 3pm Glo Table Top Sale & Garden Party 0844 8007380 /

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

Tues 10 – Thurs 12 Apr Hat Works, Stockport Easter egg box craft Age 5 – 11 10.30 – 12 / 1 – 2.30pm In this fun workshop, you’ll get to make and decorate your own Easter Egg box, that you can carry one of your eggs in, if you have any left! £3.00 (Leisure Key £2.50 - limited places). Booking essential. 0161 355 7770 /

Tues 10 & Thurs 12 Apr Clough Gate, Hyde Wild Woods See Tues 3 & Thurs 5 Apr

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

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

Wed 11 Apr

Sun 15 Apr

Glo Family, Cheadle 10am Baby Glo Easter Party (Ages 3 – 18 mths) 1 – 6pm Camille Wesser Photo Shoot 4pm Mini Mad Hatters Teatime Special 0844 8007380 /

Peel Moat/Target Fitness, Heaton Moor Kids Car Boot & Swap Shop 10am – 12pm, Table costs £10 Entrance 50p 07748 601248 /

Stockport Air Raid Shelters Children’s Explorer Tours 6.45 – 8pm, Age 7+ Child £3.95, Adult £2.00 Exciting children’s version of our ever popular Explorer tours. Brave the darkened tunnels as you go back in time and experience the life of a child during the war. Booking essential. 0161 474 1940 /

Manchester Museum Magic Carpet: Minibeasts 11am-12noon, £1 Storytelling and activity session for under 5s and their families/carers. Booking from 20 April. 0161 275 2648 /

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

Sat 14 Apr Whitworth Park Wonderful Whitworth Wildlife Big Saturday 11am-4pm Free, Drop in, all ages Join Manchester Museum Youth Board and the Friends of Whitworth Park for a festival of fun. Help create a wildlife area, specifically for the symbol of our city, the Bee, but that the entire community can enjoy! Whether you’re interested in plants, animals, natural history or just want to discover something new there’s an activity for everyone. 0161 275 2648 /

What’s on

NCT Nearly new sales

Fri 27 Apr

Sat 28 Apr Manchester Museum Big Saturday: Minibeasts & us 11am-4pm See giant models of minibeasts such as a Ladybird, Forest Ant and Woodlouse as well as a selection of showy insects from the Museum’s Entomology store, various live stick-insects which can be handled and some live aquatic insects. Lots of activities from storytelling, making your own minibeasts to take home and a ‘Bugs & Insects’ family friendly film. Most activities are free and drop-in. Some may need to be booked on the day and may cost up to £1.50. All ages. 0161 275 2648 /

Bury & Rossendale Sat 10 Mar, 11am – 12.30pm Bolton Road Methodist Church, Bolton Road, Bury, BL8 2NZ / 0844 2436067 Good quality baby and toddler equipment, toys and clothes.

Stockport Sat 24 Mar, 10.30am – 12 noon Cheadle Hulme Methodist Church, Ramillies Avenue, Cheadle Hulme, SK8 7AL Kids' clothes (0-7 years), toys, maternity goods and nursery goods. Admission £1, priority admission with a valid NCT membership card.

Bolton & North West Manchester Sat 21 Apr Walkden Methodist Church, Manchester Road East, Walkden, Bolton, M38 9AN / 0844 2436057 Full details not available at time of going to press.

Oldham, Tameside & Rochdale Sat 28 Apr, 1 – 3pm (early admission (12.30pm) with a valid NCT membership card) Hulme Grammar School, Chamber Road, Oldham, OL8 1RE £1 entrance / 0844 243 6233 Good quality baby and children’s clothes, nursery equipment, toys, books and maternity wear. There will also be a stall serving delicious homemade cakes and refreshments.

WWF’s Earth Hour Whether you’ve taken part in WWF’s Earth Hour before or not, don’t miss it on Saturday 31 March at 8.30pm. A chance to get involved in a global phenomenon, join hundreds of millions of people turning off their lights for one hour on the same night, all across the planet. But it’s not just to save an hour’s

electricity – Earth Hour is about people coming together to celebrate the planet and focus on how we need to protect it, not just for an hour but every day. Sign up at

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

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

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

Friend? Build your own microphone and perform on Andrea’s karaoke stage! Plus, opening Easter 2012, the LEGO CITY: Forest Pursuit driving adventure*! Children will be able to take part in their own driving adventure as they are let loose upon forest pathways in their own off-road LEGO vehicles! The challenge is on to capture the robbers who have stolen gold bars from the City! *Height restrictions apply

We’ve got one Family Annual Pass worth £96 and two Family tickets each worth £48 to give away - just go to our website to enter now. Closing Date Saturday 31 March.

WIN A Family ticket to Tatton Park’s Alice in Wonderland Easter event © Manchester Evening News

Prepare to wear your widest ‘Cheshire Cat’ smile at Tatton Park this Easter! This bank holiday weekend Tatton plays host to an enchanting ‘Alice in Wonderland’ event with activities taking place across the Park. Step through the looking glass in the Mansion and follow the trail through the beautiful state rooms. Admire the spring floral arrangements. Follow the White Rabbit to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the Gardens. The clock’s stopped at 6pm and a cast of curious characters riddle and rhyme their way through tea. A very warm welcome can be expected at the Farm where the Queen of Hearts will be weaving some magical stories. Meet the lovely Spring lambs and follow the

Cheshire Cat trail. And there’s even more magic dust in the Stableyard... where the White Rabbit will appear for Poz the Magician and Mr Bimbamboozle will dazzle with his Alice themed Punch & Judy show! Come step into our world! Normal opening times and prices apply. We’ve got a Totally Tatton ticket to give away to one lucky Families Manchester reader which covers your entrance to the Mansion, Gardens and Farm – as well as free park entry (usually £5 per car). To be in with a chance of winning, just go to and enter now! Closing Date Saturday 31 March.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Families Manchester March - April 2012  

Families Manchester magazine for March and April 2012