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The really useful magazine for parents of children 0-12 years

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Issue No 18 November/December 2012

Picture courtesy of

Editor’s Letter

News & Views

Where is Santa this year in the run up to Christmas? Well, he has taken time out from his busy schedule and is visiting lots of different places in the 2 counties. We have compiled an even more extensive list than last year so you have a great choice. Your children can take breakfast, lunch or tea with him, ride on a train to visit him, see him with his reindeer, visit his workshop, experience a wonderful winter wonderland and chat to him or even search for him in historic old buildings. Do contact the venue before visiting as you may have to book in advance and please mention Families Hereford and Worcester magazine where you saw the event in the Where’s Santa? listing too. In this issue we have included a special Christmas gift guide and also Joanna Parry has written a very poignant article for an “Alternative Christmas”. However you celebrate it, I do hope you have a happy, peaceful Christmas. If you would like to advertise in the Jan/Feb issue and reach 44,000 parents then call me on 01386 791422 or email Copy deadline is Friday 7th December.

Karen Craven (local Mum of 3, Step Mum to 2 plus Adoptive Mum to Salsa our retriever)

Editor, Families Hereford and Worcester

Contact details: Tel: 01386 791422 Mob: 07981 564053 email:

Next issue: Jan/Feb 2013. Editorial and booking deadline: Friday 7th December 2012

Make a child’s Christmas with an NSPCC Letter from Santa Make this Christmas a truly memorable one by sending a child you know a magical Letter from Santa. For a suggested donation of £5 to the NSPCC, your child will receive a fun, colourful and personalised letter from the man himself – the perfect gift. The letters are beautifully illustrated and arrive via reindeer mail to make the experience truly unforgettable. Children will be amazed that Santa knows them so well! or call 0845 839 9304 to place your order.

Give a gift and make a difference this Christmas

All content Copyright 2012 Families Hereford and Worcester

In this issue 02 02 04 05 08 10 12 17 19

Editor’s Letter News & Views Ed’s Reading Room Education Supporting your left handed child Alternative Christmas Christmas Gift Guide Where’s Santa? What’s On Like us on Facebook FamiliesHandW Follow us on Twitter @FamiliesHW

Circulation: 22,000 copies of Families Hereford and Worcester are available through nurseries, pre-schools, schools, libraries, soft play centres, selected shops and other distribution points throughout the county. If you would like free copies for your organisation or if you would like to subscribe so you don’t miss an issue please contact us. Families Hereford and Worcester 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 licence. We take every care in preparing this magazine but the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of the advertisers nor for the accuracy of the content nor for any consequence. Design: Natalie Schmidt at, Tel: 020 8676 2857 Print: The Manson Group, St Albans at, Tel: 01727 848440 Cover Photograph:

We are looking for telephone sales personnel with a pleasant manner to work from home. Would suit stay at home parent who has a background in telesales. You must have your own landline or mobile phone and would be required to contact local companies to advertise in Families Hereford and Worcester. Instant start available. Work the hours you want to. Good rates paid on a commission only basis. Contact Karen on 01386 791422 or email for more information.

With Acorns Children’s Hospice giveagift range, anyone can purchase a gift on behalf of a friend or loved one that will have meaningful and far-reaching consequences this Christmas. Gifts range from £3 to £90, and include festive options like the opportunity for a child to settle down with one of Acorns’ specialist carers and have a wonderful Christmas story read to them (£7), a Christmas feast at the hospice (£14), or a Christmas card arts and crafts session (£25). Upon purchasing a gift, you will be provided with a gift card to write a personal message, a token with details of the gift and an envelope to forward onto the recipient. The range is available online at:

BBC Inflatables Always striving to bring you the very best in bouncy fun, BBC Inflatables have added yet another 2 amazing inflatables to their existing spectacular range. You truly will be spoilt for choice. 01905 841902


November – December 2012

News & Views Win a £200 Shopping Spree in time for Christmas! New clothes make any occasion extra special. The Polarn O. Pyret Christmas collection for newborn to age 12 years is now in stores and online. As always, the clothes are geared towards children not just looking good, but feeling comfortable too. Cosy cotton PJ’s that will last until next Christmas Eve, a new party dress that can handle spills, or an extra cute outfit for Christmas Day. Enjoy the occasion PO.P style whatever you are planning for the holidays. FREE! Giftwrapping is always available at Polarn O. Pyret stores. For your chance to win enter your details at by 10th of December. Terms and conditions apply. Winner will be notified via email on 11th December.

New Children’s Play Centre opens in November

Promise Dreams – Volunteers needed.

Promise Dreams reached its 10th Birthday in 2011 and are extremely proud of their achievements; helping to deliver over 1250 children’s dreams raising £2million. Support from volunteers really does help make dreams come true.

The successful children’s play and party centre, Imagination Street, is opening a second centre in Astwood Bank, Redditch on November 24th. Imagination Street, Bromsgrove, was opened 3 years ago, by Kevin Grubb and Matt Jinks, and has proven to be a big hit with thousands of children and adults enjoying the unique mix of soft play, role play and interaction in a safe, clean and friendly environment. There will be a great deal on offer for all aged children including a large, separate toddler area, Imagination Zones to encourage role playing and a huge play frame with some amazing activities in it to help children burn off some excess energy. There will also be a library, interactive activities for children and much more.

Co-owners, Kevin and Matt look forward to welcoming many visitors in the coming months and hope that everyone has as much fun playing there as they have creating it.

If you would like further information on how you can help to raise even more smiles and create precious memories, please tel 01902 212453 or email

Promise Dreams is a national registered charity, dedicated to helping seriously and terminally ill children and their families turn a very special dream into a reality. Whether the child would like a holiday, a toy, medical treatment, house adaptations, or even the chance to meet their favourite celebrity, Promise Dreams is committed to help. They do not receive any funding from the government, grants or lotteries and are entirely reliant on donations from the general public – people like you. Any gift from you will make all the difference, bringing joy and courage to those brave children waiting for their dream.

Home-Start Worcester & Wychavon Goodrich House Sansome Place Worcester, WR1 1UA

Volunteering for Home-Start YOU can make a difference to a family in your community. All parents know that those early years before children go off to school are vital in a child’s life and at Home-Start we believe parents have the key role in creating a secure childhood for their children. It’s just that sometimes they need a bit of help… Your help.

Call 01905 29377 or email

La Dolce Vita is coming to Worcester From November, locals and visitors to Worcester will be able to enjoy genuine homemade Italian food in relaxed surroundings, with the arrival of Carluccio’s. Situated at the heart of Worcester’s bustling central Crowngate Shopping Centre, Carluccio’s will offer an all-day Italian restaurant, food shop and deli in the courtyard of Chapel Walk. Carluccio’s – offering a genuine taste of Italy in Worcester. Carluccio’s, Chapel Walk, Crowngate Shopping Centre, Worcester WR1 3LD Tel: 01905 612 040 November – December 2012


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


C Cudweed in O Outer Space b by Marcus S Sedgwick ((Orion £4.99) ED SAYS: ‘Cudweed persuades his father to let him buy a spaceship thatt hhe sees in a comic found hi kit th in the attic of the castle where he lives. After managing to assemble the spaceship, Cudweed and his pet monkey Fellah set off on an exciting adventure into outer space. When the spaceship is hit by a missile they see the Thrillons waving. But are they waving in friendship or in anger? And will the two adventurers get back to the castle in time for cakes and scones? ‘This is a super book for young readers to enjoy on their own or reading together. It is a great story with fantastic colour illustrations throughout.’

The Snow Bear by Holly Webb (Stripes Publishing £7.99) ED SAYS: ‘With only days to go until Christmas, snow starts to fall. Sara is staying with her grandfather and after his tales of life in the Arctic they decide to build an igloo and a small snow bear in the garden. Sara is thrilled – but in the middle of the night it all looks very different. Sara and the young bear set out on a journey to find the bear’s mother. But will Sara find her way home in time for Christmas? ‘This is an exciting winter adventure with its snowy setting and delightful characters. It is a lovely story that will captivate boys and girls alike.’


How To Build An Abominable Snowman by Dominic Barker (Orchard Books £4.99) ED SAYS: ‘Max and Molly are horrified at the idea of living on their parents’ emergency stock of baked beans if they are snowed in. They set out to find a way of getting a snowplough to clear their road and the only answer seems to be a visit from an abominable snowman. In this wintery Guide To Trouble, Max and Molly show us how to deal not only with problems in the snow but also with troublesome grown-ups. ‘Here is another hilarious tale about the Pesker twins. It is brilliantly written by this fantastic author who has an amazing insight into children’s curiosity and logic!’

The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne (Doubleday £10.99) ED SAYS: ‘Barnaby Brocket is a very unusual boy. He defies the laws of gravity floats. His vity – and floats parents try to take steps to keep him firmly on the ground but, at the end of their tether, they decide to release Barnaby. At first he is horrified – but when he floats towards a rather special hot air balloon a new, magical life begins for Barnaby. ‘This imaginative tale is beautifully written and the colourful characters are very entertaining. How lovely to read about someone discovering that, even in extraordinary circumstances, there is nothing better than just being yourself.’

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

Sytchampton Endowed First School “An Outstanding School” (Ofsted 2009)

We are a caring, happy and successful school with a very committed and professional staff. As a small school in a rural setting we enjoy large grounds and gardens, and we cater for children from 4-9 years old. We are part of the Droitwich Pyramid of schools and feed into Westacre or Witton Middle Schools.

Places available in most year groups To make an appointment to visit us and meet our friendly staff please contact us on Tel: 01905 620418 or Email: 4

Fun filled parties:

Lots of themed parties available please contact us for details

Age 6-11’s Age 3-5’s Football Soccer Stars High energy dance Sporty Stars Multi Games Active Story Parties are themed inc Buzz and Woody, Shrek and the Bear Hunt.

01905 840396 or email November – December 2012


Stop the bullies Find out more about Anti-Bullying Week, which takes place 19th-23rd November this year with the theme ‘We’re better without bullying’. See for details of anti-bullying resources, workshops and roadshows, as well as the Anti-Bullying Week competition where you can win £100’s worth of prizes for you and your school.

The demise of the GCSE Education Secretary Michael Gove is to replace the existing GCSE exam system with new, tougher qualifications in a major overhaul of the exam system. The new English baccalaureate – the EBacc – will replace GCSEs with single, more difficult examinations in the biggest change in the system for over 25 years. The new exams are likely to do away with the existing continuous assessment modules, will reintroduce the traditional 3-hour examinations and restrict the number of top grades awarded. In fact, one of the key aims is to remove starred grades entirely and make sure that far fewer pupils win the top grades compared with the 3 in 10 pupils who currently receive As and A-stars. Teenagers will also be prevented from re-sitting individual modules and will have to retake the entire exam if they want to improve their grades. The government insists that these changes will end “grade inflation and dumbing down” and comes after both Coalition parties have shown themselves keen to see the introduction of more rigorous teaching and exams in key subjects, However they are not scheduled for introduction until September 2018.

Think about adoption Every child deserves a family, and this 5th-11th November sees the annual National Adoption Week. Since its launch in 1997, National Adoption Week has gone from strength to strength, reaching people across the UK wanting to know more about adoption. National Adoption Week is important in reminding people about the backgrounds of the children waiting for adoption and the difference adoption can make to a child’s life. It also attracts people wanting to find out about their own adoption or about a child they put up for adoption. Find out more at

Is your school ready? This autumn Ofsted has issued new guidelines in regards to e-safety provisions in schools. From now on Ofsted will be concerned about how each school protects and educates its staff and students in their use of technology, plus ensuring there is support in place should any issues arise. Although many schools might already have existing policies in place, others will need to revise their priorities to include this immediately. E-safety is constantly changing but by empowering both students and teachers with enough know-how to identify online risks, we can make sure children, even at an early age, can protect themselves from abuse, cyberbullying and other internet threats throughout their school life and into adulthood. November – December 2012



SCHOOLS’ OPEN DAYS School ✽ Qualified MPA photographer



Co-ed 2-13

✽ Cherubs photographer ✽ Family and baby photos ✽ Maternity photos

Starting this September Fladbury CE First School Fladbury, Pershore PRE-SCHOOL 3 years + ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Learning through play Led by a Qualified Teacher Supported by a Nursery Nurse Funded places Monday to Friday 9am – 3.25pm Wrap-around care also available

Call us on 01386 860301 or email:

Contact 01299 896101 or email gill.portsmouth@

Tuesday 20th November 10.30 am onwards Pre-prep and Nursery Open Morning

✽ Newborn photos

To find out more, or to book call now on 07951 412010 or email

Dates Saturday 10th November 10.30 am onwards Prep School Open Morning


Co-ed 13-18

Saturday 10th November Sixth Form Open Morning

01527 579679 or email admissions@


Co-ed 3-11, 11-16, 16-18 years

Saturday 10th November 9.30 am – 12.30 pm Open Morning

01432 363506 or email


Co-ed 3 months - 18

Open Fridays 8.45 am - 12 noon. No appointment necessary

01562 822929 or email


Co-ed 2-11

Wednesday 5th December Kindergarten Christmas Activities Taster Morning

01905 451292 or email


Co-ed 4-11

Saturday 10th November Taster Morning (Yrs 3-6)

01905 354906 or email


Co-ed 11-18

Saturday 10th November Sixth Form Open Morning

01905 721742 or email


Girls 4-11, 11-16, 16-18

Wednesday 14th November 10.30 am – 12.00 pm Preparatory Department Open Morning

01684 584624 or email


Co-ed 11-18

Saturday 17th November 9.00 am - 12 noon Sixth Form Open Morning

01905 613391 or email


Co-ed 3mths - 5yrs, Girls 5-11, Girls 11-18

Thursday 8th November Sixth Form Taster Day and Open Evening

01905 357786


Co-ed 3-9

Monday 12th November 9.30 - 11.00 am

O1527 861421 or email:

Wednesday 14th November 1.00 – 2.30 pm


Speech and Language Therapist Does your child have difficulty with: ● learning to talk? ● saying words clearly? ● listening and attention? I can work with your child in your home or at school / nursery. For more information, please contact Carrie on 01432 851385 / 07827343768 or email


Don’t forget to mention when you telephone that you saw these companies advertised in Families Hereford and Worcester magazine – the really useful magazine for parents of children 0-12 years

November – December 2012

Education Community Support Rallied to Complete Department for Education’s Free School Evidence of Demand Questionnaires The local community is again being asked to complete Evidence of Demand questionnaires as stipulated in the Department for Education’s Free School application process, as Holy Trinity International School (HTIS) applies to become a Free School from September 2014. Speaking to families in the local and wider communities, HTIS Headteacher, Mrs Pamela LeekWright, stated: “We need to demonstrate to the Department for Education that Holy Trinity International School provides an invaluable service, and in doing so offers greater parental choice within both the local and wider communities. “I believe that choosing a school, is one of the hardest decisions any parent will have to make and Holy Trinity, which is now a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate (IB), Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Diploma, offers something unique which widens educational choice and opportunity.” Mrs Leek-Wright added further: “Parent enquiries and support clearly demonstrate a need, but we require all expressions of interest to be supported with a completed Evidence of Demand questionnaire. So please, if you have not done so already take a few minutes to submit a questionnaire, which can be either obtained from the school office (01562 822929), by email ( or online ( All completed questionnaires need to be returned to the school no later than Friday 7th December 2012.” Additional Information: An independent day school since 1903, HTIS provides a high quality education for children from Kidderminster and the surrounding Worcestershire area and has a warm co-educational family atmosphere in which children receive a highly individual education, with students at ‘A’ level and ‘GCSE’ enjoying excellent examination results year on year. Contact details: Holy Trinity International School t: +44 (0)1562 822929 e:

Sytchampton Endowed First School Sytchampton Endowed First School is a caring, happy and successful school with a very committed and professional staff. It is a small school in a rural setting benefitting from a wonderful outdoor environment, with areas that enhance the curriculum and promote children’s all round development. Catering for children from 4-9 years old, Sytchampton is part of the Droitwich Pyramid of schools feeding into Westacre or Witton Middle Schools. Sytchampton is proud to be able to offer a range of enrichment activities including specialist French, Music and PE teaching for all children. The development of self-confidence, independence and a sense of responsibility for themselves, the environment and others is encouraged. Places are available in most year groups. For more information and to arrange a visit please telephone 01905 620418 or email for more information. November – December 2012

Junior Christmas Party Age range 5-11 year olds

Fun activities, food, plus a visit from Santa

Cost: £2 per person

Sunday 2nd December 2012

Spaces limited so booking required

4-6pm WR10 3JP

Either Email: Or phone: 01386 561903


By Sarah Butters




1 in 10 children are left handed, but many fail to get the support they need in the early years of their education. Experts say teachers aren’t given the proper training and schools don’t have the right resources. Sarah Butters is mum to a left handed daughter. She takes a look at some of the most common problems faced by left handers and some tips for helping them out.



If you have a child who is left handed, chances are they haven’t been taught to write. Most are simply allowed to use their left hand. As the right handed parent of a left handed child I admit to having that same attitude. I now know that I was completely wrong.

Some left handers use a hooked grip to avoid the problem of smudging, and angle the pen in the same way a right hander would. This causes more problems than it solves. The hook grip becomes more uncomfortable the more you write. It leads to an overtight grip and aching hands which in turn lead to messy handwriting. The wrist should always be below the writing line. If your child is developing a hook grip, consider introducing a sloped surface to resolve the problem.

Left handers push the pen across the page, whereas their right handed friends will pull. This can lead to smudging and untidy work which in turn leads to anxiety on the part of the child. At an early stage a left handed child should be encouraged to master the correct handwriting position and paper placement to avoid problems as the writing assignments increase. The paper should be rotated to 45 degrees with the hand and wrist below the writing. Any pen needs to be held in a strong 3 point grip. In Early Years this can be supported with a triangular bodied pencil or a moulded grip around a regular pencil. If your child can get into good habits from the start of their school life, they will avoid problems when they graduate to a fountain pen and longer writing assignments.

ELBOW COLLISION At some point your child will have to share a desk and if they’re left handed this can be a problem. “I always end up banging elbows” explains my 9 year old daughter. “That makes my writing messy.” Your child should always be placed at the left hand side of a shared desk or next to another left hander. This gives them plenty of space to get their paper positioned correctly and avoid knocking elbows with a right handed neighbour.

Please call Karen on 01386 791422 for information about advertising.

November – December 2012

WHITE BOARDS They’re a teacher’s best friend but a left hander’s worst nightmare. White boards and chalk boards are a great learning tool in the modern classroom – pupils can get rid of mistakes easily without using endless pieces of paper. However, if you’re left handed you can end up erasing as you write. Good grip and placement of the board gives left handers half a chance. However if your child isn’t completing white board work quickly or neatly enough, it may not be their fault.

MIRROR WRITING I remember being hugely concerned when I discovered that my daughter had completed a Reception assignment using mirror writing. She had begun her words on the right hand side of the page and written from right to left. It’s common in left handed children and when you think about it, it makes sense. If they are sat next to a right hander, they are simply mirroring their work. Encourage them to start on the left hand side of the page by placing a coloured star in the margin as a reminder.

COMPUTERS Most ICT rooms are set up with the computer mice on the right hand side of the keyboard. This gives left handed children an automatic disadvantage because they either need to move the mouse or attempt or use their right hand. Don’t presume the teacher knows your child is left handed. Be sure to let all the staff involved with your child know they’re a left hander and will need a different workstation set up.

THE ‘RIGHT’ EQUIPMENT Many left handed children learn the basics with the wrong equipment. Give a left handed child some right handed scissors and they’ll find the blade is upside down and so they can’t see the line they are cutting. It means the child has less control and thinks of themselves as messy. This can be a real problem in the Early Years. Check your school has left handed scissors to offer your child. Ambidextrous scissors don’t exist – trust me! As they progress in writing, shiny barrelled pens are to be avoided. Make sure whatever pen you choose has a good grip so it’s easy

to hold even when hands get hot and tired. Left handed fountain pens are available from They’re worth the investment for older children as they have an angled nib.

LACK OF UNDERSTANDING As a right hander, I never appreciated the challenges faced by my daughter. Until she mastered left handed writing, she was labelled untidy in her written work and lost enthusiasm for putting pen to paper. It wasn’t until I began researching this piece that I realise how much of her attitude is linked to the hand she writes with. The bad news is she’s had a more challenging time than her right handed pals. The good news is she’s in good company. Barack Obama, Leonardo Da Vinci and Bill Gates are all lefties. Now that’s not a bad club to be in!

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE Keith Milsom campaigns for better support of left handed children in our schools and offers some advice about what to expect from your child’s school. “Despite decades of campaigning and a string of promises from government ministers and teacher training authorities, there is still virtually no guidance provided to teachers on helping left-handed children and no process for identifiying left-handers in schools. Make sure you talk to your child’s teacher to make sure they know that he/she is left-handed and may need assistance and advice. Ask your child’s teacher to talk YOU through the support they’re going to give so you can be sure they really understand. If you’re concerned, refer them to the teacher guidance sheets available from The school should have left-handed scissors available and pens that will help left-handers write in the correct style. If children are left to their own devices it is very unlikely they will find writing and cutting out easy. Apart from the practical difficulties this can mean they are working more slowly than the rest of the class and lose some of their confidence – especially if the teacher tells them off for “not doing it right”. Lefthanders can end up underperforming at school and having difficulty with written exams as a result of a lack of informed guidance at an early stage. It’s important parents keep the pressure on schools to support their left handed children.”

Education Useful Resources: For your local left-handed shop, visit Left n Write in Worcester (a section within Wise Owl Toys) – If you are a parent of a left handed child or work with left handed children then visit the website or tel 01905 25798 for more information on practical workshops. has some great left handed guidance sheets for parents and teachers. It’s also a super source of left handed equipment. another great website with some top tips for parents looking to support their left handed child.

Tonia Peters

BSc (Hons), PGCE, MEd (Ed Psych)

Educational Psychologist (Chartered by the BPS)

Independent assessment and advice for all special needs including dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention problems

Tel: 07853 248311

Grafton Psychology Associates Ltd Trading as Tonia Peters Company Registration Number: 7853233 Registered in England and Wales

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Literacy & Numeracy Support: Dyslexia Specialist Teresa Jones – Personal Tutor Tel: 07999 534525 1:1 & Small Group Teaching; all ages. Multi-Sensory approach: making learning FUN.

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Gillian Sparrow Tel: 07446 511 956 FB: Toddlercalm 3 Counties Email:

November – December 2012




By Joanna Parry There are many reasons why some of us find Christmas difficult, whether it be the loss of a family member, loneliness or the memories associated with the season. With the shops shut and attractions closed, you can feel like a prisoner in your own home with only endless episodes of East Enders for company. But whether you want to escape the festivities or are looking for a different way to spend Christmas this year, there are plenty of

© Africa Studio –

alternatives out there.

Get active and busy!

❅ Donate food. FareShare is a national charity promoting the

“A friend of mine who was single one year volunteered to help at one of the Crisis at Christmas lunch centres,” says Robina. “While we all admired her altruism, she said it was the best thing she’d ever done – rather than moping at home alone, she was helping other people, and came away appreciating what she did have, rather than what she didn’t.” While some charities shut up shop for the Christmas period, others, particularly those supporting the homeless, elderly or sick, are extremely busy, and are looking for people with a range of skills and backgrounds to do a whole host of different things this Christmas.

message ‘No good food should be wasted’. Donate food at your nearest location or help with distribution and delivery

❅ Be a DJ. Radio Lollipop provides entertainment and comfort

for children in hospitals, which is especially important over Christmas. If you’re enthusiastic, positive and outgoing why not try this

❅ Animal lover? Crisis at Christmas not only provides support

to homeless people but their dogs too. Dogs suffer equally from a life on the streets so if you’re an animal lover this could be for you

❅ Help out at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

Many shelters are set up especially for Christmas so they need extra volunteers to help give out clothing, look after luggage and perform cleaning and kitchen duties. Many also provide services such as hairdressing, dentistry and medical services so they need volunteers with these skills too. They even need musicians, magicians and entertainers! Crisis is one of the biggest homeless charities and over Christmas will need up to 8,000 volunteers nationwide

❅ Keep it local. There are lots of organisations that need help within your community. Charities such as Age Concern or the Alzheimer’s Society often require befrienders in their local centres, you can coordinate carol singing for Christian Aid, and the Salvation Army is very active at this time of year. For opportunities in your area, visit

Get loads more ideas to inspire you this Christmas at and

❅ Manning a helpline. Helplines such as Samaritans and

ChildLine can be a real lifeline at Christmas but they require volunteers to keep them running. Most involve a training programme before you start so get in contact as early as possible

❅ Selling Christmas merchandise. Cards and gifts are

great sources of income for charities but they usually need extra help selling them. Volunteer at your local charity shop or offer to sell to friends and family. Alternatively, contact Card Aid, a charity that produces Christmas cards for about 300 different charities. Throughout the UK there are around 30 Card Aid shops needing help over the festive period

Websites for Volunteering

and offer to help with Christmas collections. You only need spare a few hours and there are no necessary skills to take part – just enthusiasm!

❅ Help a lonely neighbour. There are many charities across the country working towards a community where neighbours look out for each other. They need your help this Christmas – invite a lonely neighbour for lunch, help with transporting them to local services or do a few jobs around their house to make their lives easier


© Aliye Mullen photography

❅ Collecting for Christmas. Contact your favourite charity

November – December 2012

Christmas ❅ Book a retreat. From Holy Island in Scotland to the Self

Get away from it all

Realization Meditation Healing Centre near Yeovil, Somerset, you can avoid the festivities and find peace over Christmas

“The first Christmas after my mother died, I couldn’t bear the idea of a big family Christmas at home without her,” says Annie, “so my husband booked us into the Grand Hotel in Brighton. The distraction of the Grand’s celebrations, the sea air and being somewhere without memories turned what could have been sad into an occasion we still remember for all the right reasons.”

❅ Seek the sun or snow. If you’re after true escapism try

diving in Egypt, skiing in the Rockies, partying in Moscow, soaking in the hot springs in Iceland or shopping in the spectacular markets of Cologne or Vienna. Be truly alternative and climb Mount Kilimanjaro, go horse-riding in Arizona or practise yoga in Goa

❅ Book a cottage (or stay with a friend). Whether

❅ Volunteer abroad. The perfect solution – get away

you’re on your own or with family, tuck yourself away for the holiday period

from it all while helping others. Companies such as, and offer holidays where you can do your bit, whether it’s painting houses in a favela in Rio de Janeiro or cleaning up a village in Borneo

❅ Go wild in a theme park. From Alton Towers to Thorpe

Park, theme parks across the country offer exciting Christmas packages. Or for a more back-to-nature with many new activities to try, try Centerparcs

❅ Hole up in a hotel. Forget tinsel and badly-decorated

Christmas trees, many hotels from the Ritz in London to Thornbury Castle near Bristol offer festive breaks with a touch of glamour, with everything from champagne receptions to treasure hunts

Websites to ‘Get away from it all’

a trip back in time wandering its Roman city walls, or taking a ride on the 33m high wheel in Edinburgh can fill the holiday period with history and excitement

❅ Take a day trip. Why not spend Christmas Day at a

National Trust or English Heritage property? Many are open on the day itself and will be given spectacular Christmas makeovers! Several tour companies also run day trips to places such as Windsor, Stonehenge, Bath and Dover

November – December 2012

© Aliye Mullen photography

❅ See a city. Spending a few nights in York, where you can take


Christmas Editor’s favourites

We’ve sifted through masses of press releases and here it is: our own selection of toys and gifts for Christmas 2012. This year we’ve chosen toys we’d buy ourselves, either because they offer great play value, develop creativity or physical play or because they are made of reusable material. With a recession on, choosing toys that will last long enough to be handed down is a wise move too. Most toys can be ordered from your local toyshops, who always provide great advice too if you


Gift Guide

For babies Skibz funky baby bibs This beautiful limited edition Christmas design from Skibz will ensure that your little one looks absolutely adorable on Christmas Day. The lovely cream design is covered in Christmas trees, reindeers and sleighs and would look super cute paired up with a red baby gro. A must have this Christmas! RRP: £15 (comes in limited edition gift box)

are not sure about what to buy.

TUMTUM Festive Dinner Set TUM


Ch Christmas dinner is the most important part of Christmas day, therefore your little one needs a festive dining set! d This lovely wintery range of dining products from awardwinning children’s brand TUMTUM is the perfect present! This Tiny set has been specially made to make dining easier from ages 1 – 3 years and comes ready gift-wrapped and jjust waiting to be popped under the tree!

A Traditional Toy Shop in Worcester with a wide selection of toys at 5 Charles Street, Worcester WR1 2 AQ. Tel/fax 01905 22353 Web site

Traditional Old Fashioned Sweet Shop Sweets • Gifts • Pocket Money Toys & more Party Bags to order – choose from a large range of sweets & pocket money toys. 10+ party bags = free party bag for birthday child

27 Broad Street, Pershore 01386 553262

RRP: £25.00

For babies and toddlers

Bibs and Stuff ABC House Blocks Play, stack, tower and build with the Alphabet Zoo ABC House Blocks. Toddlers will develop their motor skills while creating buildings complete with roofs, windows and doors, before turning the pieces upside down to nest within one another. Made of high quality wood and non toxic paint. Suitable for age 12 mths +. RRP £28.00

Bumble and Daisy Natural Wood London Bus Bumble and Daisy is a local Worcestershire business stocking sustainably sourced, good quality wooden and soft toys, gifts and room accessories for the under 5s. We’re RRP £44.99 a family business, consisting of Patricia Perks daughters Alison, k and dd h EEmma and d Al although all of this is kept top secret from Emma’s and Alison’s sons – all being under 5 they may think they’ve found Santa’s warehouse! So for lots of Christmas ideas from stocking fillers to main presents please visit our website. You may also see us at local fetes in the run up to Christmas. Tel 0121 445 6810 or 07772 373577. Free delivery within 10 mile radius of Bromsgrove town centre – enter delivery code FAM2012 at the checkout.


November – December 2012

Check our website regularly as we are constantly updating it with lots of local news, things to do and information – so please visit and register – the site is taylor-made for you. To advertise in Families Hereford & Worcester magazine and online... Please call Karen on 01386 791422 for more information.

Do check with the venue in case details have changed and also please mention when telephoning that you saw their Christmas event in Families Hereford and Worcester magazine.

If a rewarding position with true security that provides you with the work/life balance, flexibility and control over your own destiny sounds appealing – contact Tina Gillies today. You can work part time, around your existing work or family commitments and there is no financial investment. Find out how Tinaʼs children can always be her priority – working part-time hours to suit her family commitments – you too could change your life. Contact Tina for a FREE information pack on 01905 617821 or email:

November – December 2012


Christmas Gift Guide Kiddimoto balance bike Kidd Award winning Kiddimoto help children develop their skills of Aw b l ba balance and coordination and make a seamless transition to a pedal bike without the use of stabilisers. Wide variety of designs and can be personalised! For 2-6yrs. d y RRP £59.99 R

Heybear Owl and pussycat money box Mum of three Amanda Wilding, from Leigh, has set up a website full of fun gift ideas for kids. For several years Amanda had been searching for the ideal way to combine work and family life without much success. The idea forr Heybear came about one day when Amanda was looking for new w toys to oys for her children and found herself hunting through numerous websites. Heybear stock a range of products for children aged up to ten years including kids wall stickers, laptop skins, soft toys, money boxes, stationary, watches and height charts. Amanda Wilding, owner and local mum of 3, is in the process of creating a family of teddy bears exclusive to Heybear, the first bear appearing in the next few weeks being Max Heybear. RRP: £15.50

Baby animal artworks from Little Blue Zebra Little Blue Zebra is a family run business based in Kent specialising in beautifully illustrated baby animal prints for little ones. Prints feature the artwork of the award winning children’s book illustrator John Butler. His baby animal artworks have long been enjoyed by children worldwide in over 60 books. He has worked for many publishers, including Orchard Books, Puffin and Templar in the UK and has won awards in both the UK and USA. RRP: £20.00

Older Girls and Boys

Give the gift of a smile this Christmas! A family photo session can be good fun. Photos make great Christmas gifts for family and friends providing cherished memories for years to come. For instance, a beautiful framed photo of grandchildren on Gran’s mantelpiece or a calender with fun family photos would brighten up anyone’s kitchen. Aliye Mullen Photography offers hourly photo sessions in Kidderminster with prices starting from £25 for an entire session with a complimentary large print from the shoot! Families can either come to the studio or be photographed in their own home, changing as many outfits as they like. Upon request AM Photography can also present photos from the entire shoot as digital images on CD so you can create many lovely gifts with them ie personalized Xmas cards, prints, calendars, coasters, t-shirt, bags. Gift vouchers are also available. Tel 07968 682034 for more information.

Wobble Deck Exciting electronic, balance board features four games, tipped to become the h llatest craze up and down the country. Test skill, memory and agility with hilarious challenges. RRP £24.99 for stockists.

Chicken Soup CD Chicken Soup produced by Blujam is a brand new cd with uunique, cleverly written songs voiced by a young girl called Eva featuring songs ranging from “Troller man”, the story of a little girl fe who listens to air traffic controllers before bed to Animal Soup, wh which my son especially likes, this album captures the imagination wh and aan nd inspires. This would be ideal as a stocking filler and is available ffrom ro om Amazon and iTunes.

World of Imagination Window Mosaics 4M Easy-to-do Cupcake Window Mosaics. Other designs available! The innovative easy-to-stick mosaic pieces will stay on most shiny surfaces like magic. Simply follow the design template provided and make a colourful mosaic picture to hang on your window. No glue is needed. World of Imagination provides educational and traditional toys that build on children’s imagination, knowledge and creativity and a range of wooden hand-crafted and painted furniture for the playroom or bedroom. To be in with a chance of winning one of our lovely Cupcake Window Mosaics just register with us (takes less than a minute) at Recommended for ages 7+ £9.99 144 www w.f fami amiliieshe am ere ref ef forda rd a

Galt Toys Mega Marble Run Galt Toys has launched Mega Marble Run, a 100 piece construction set with paddle wheels, whirlpools, wiggly raceways and 180 degree turns. The colourful marble maze will provide hours of entertainment as the marbles disappear inside columns and zoom down chutes and stairs. Suitable for children aged four to eight years, the 100 piece set retails at £29.99. NEW: Make your listing ‘stand out from the crowd’ with an enhanced listing – approximately 100 words boxed or colour-backed, plus a graphic in our features. For more information, please email or call 01386 791422. November – December 2012

Little Life Doodle Daysack Comes complete with a special Doodle Pad that can be used for drawing, painting or even playing games. game m s Once Onnce nce your y ur child yo chiild has h finished their masterpiece, the pad can be displayed proudly in the daysack’s clear, front pocket. Age: 4+. RRP: £19.99 for stockists.

Peter’s Railway books Due to popular demand Christopher Vine has published four more fantastic paperback books in the Peter’s Railway series. For any child that just can’t get enough of train stories these books are a must, full of exciting adventures, escapades on the railways, making of a real locomotive and some hair raising tales from the olden days. A wonderful series for youngsters who have grown up loving trains and want to learn more – the perfect gift this Christmas. Go to for more details. READER OFFER: Buy one get one free, enter FAMDEC code. A keyhole garden allows an African family to grow 3 meals a day. The design, which looks like a keyhole from above, incorporates a central basket where composted waste is put and water from the kitchen is poured. Just £12 will provide training in how to build a Keyhole Garden for one family.

Christmas Gift Guide

Plum Products Cottage Kitchen

Packed full of fun features and made with sturdy premium FSC® certified timber, the new collection of beautiful and colourful kitchens from Active Play Specialist Company Plum®, is set to be a favourite this Christmas. This collection is designed to make role play fun and let imaginations run wild. Food can be stored in the fridge-freezer, and with dials, which click and turn. Comes with cooking pot, sauces pan and utensils. RRP £191.99

BigJigs Village Shop This brightly coloured shop has a bright yellow counter and shelves that have been decorated with pictures of the kind of products you would expect to see in a village store. It also comes with a clock on the sign so you can display opening hours! Educational yet fun, this is a permanent favourite with children. RRP £97.95 (groceries and accessories additional)

Mattel’s Batman toys Batman™ appeared in his summer blockbuster ‘Batman™ The Dark Knight Rises™’ and you can be a part of the action-filled adventures on and off the screen. Recreate the feats of your fave action hero with some awesome figures and vehicles. Here is just one of them. The Dark Knight Rises™ The Bat™ Send Batman™ into action in The Bat™, Batman’s™ new air attack vehicle featured in the summer Blockbuster ‘Batman™ The Dark Knight Rises™’. Save the day as the Bat™ deploys missiles at lightning speed. Launch the masked hero up to 10 feet from this ultimate air attack vehicle using awesome Launch & Attack™ technology. Suitable for ages 4+.

JETS Craft Café

Looking for that perfect Christmas present? Come along to JETS Craft Café and make something extra special! Whatever your age or creative ability, you will find fun craft activities at JETS together with delicious cake, ice cream and refreshments. We offer Pottery painting, Deopatch, Teddy bear making, Soap making, Enamel jewellery making. Party packages available. 3A Stoke Road, Bromsgrove, B60 3EQ Call 01527 873866 for more details.

RRP £34.99

Earn extra money

07817704933 Get a party tailored to you!

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IMMEDIATE START Contact Claire 07981493439 November r – Dece D December e mber 2012 ece

Girls Pamper Parties Boys Pirate Parties and Helium Balloons for all occasions Age 3 + Dressing up, Nail art, Karaoke, Jewellery and magic wand making, Foot spas, Chocolate fountains and more!! Very competitive prices.


Christmas Gift Guide For a Fun, Creative and Unique Christmas Gift – send a Little Letter! The Little Letter Bird delivers brightly coloured packs to children each week, containing everything they need to create a pre-design craft. Children love receiving their own post, not to mention the surprise of not knowing what each week will bring.

Galt toys JAWBones Buildable Art Systems

Galt Toys has launched JAWBones® Buildable Art Systems®, a construction set that swivels, ratchets and snaps together in countless ways. Available in four different sized sets, the new d range focuses on the classic childhood pleasure of construct and destruction, stimulating for children of all ages. The 35 piece travel set builds up to ten models, the 60 piece creates 12 models and the whopping 100 piece crafts 14 models. They each come with their own presentation jar, which is great for storage, and a 20 page ideas booklet. Three smaller 25 piece sets are available which are designed specifically for the construction of aeroplanes, animals and vehicles. The possibilities for new and unique creations are limited only by the imagination. Suitable for 6 years+. The 100PC Box Set retails at £14.99, 60PC retails at £9.99 and the 35PC retails at £6.99. The smaller sets retail at £4.99.

Solar Mechanics Mini Robot

This Christmas Little Letters have returned with their CHRISTMAS GIFT PACKS – providing a unique an original gift that lasts well into the New Year. Two packs are available. CHRISTMAS PACK 1 - £15 Christmas card + craft + six weekly crafts commencing in the New Year. CHRISTMAS PACK 2 - £20 Christmas card + craft + GIFT + six weekly crafts commencing in the New Year. Pre-order deadline Dec 14th.

Don’t forget to mention if you telephone, that you saw the product listed in Families Hereford and Worcester magazine

Experiment with green energy using solar cells to build a mini robot, cooling fan and more, from the Science Museum, ages 8+ RRP £17

Makedo – for those who enjoy the Christmas packaging! Every parent knows that feeling, when you’ve spent a fortune on the latest high-tech toy only to find your children much more engrossed playing with the packaging. Makedo’s brilliant idea is to help those kids make better use of the packaging! It supplies a Safe-saw for cutting and punching through materials safely, Re-clips and Lock-hinges for connecting – the child’s creativity and instinct for building things from boxes, cardboard boxes and wrappings then takes over from there. Check out the website for videos and photos of inspiring creations made by people from around the world. Winner of three of the most prestigious International Design Awards. From £7.99 SRP from

Make your own presents! I know, you are too busy, and have no time but take a minute to consider whether you might benefit from ‘taking the time’ to do it and homemade presents are always much appreciated! ■ Make your own jam, chutney or chocolate truffles, (do invest in nice looking labels and/or boxes). My daughter made truffles and chutney one year and they went down a storm. ■ Make your own raw chocolate from scratch, no cooking involved, just mixing ingredients. Once you’ve discovered this you’ll never eat shop bought chocolate again! See our recipe on Familiesonline/rawchocolate. ■ Frame a beautiful child’s drawing/painting for a relative ■ Make your own Christmas decorations for fun ■ Turn your family photos into a collage, calendar, place mat etc. Many options available online or Snappy Snaps. ■ Paint your own pottery (mug, plate, dish, teapot etc) at your local pottery cafe ■ Make your own Christmas cards. Those made with family pictures are easy too ■ Dig out that candle making kit your children never used. It is really easy and results do look good. ■ Knitters will have fun making rattles, jumpers, scarves, dolls etc. There are some great books to show you how. ■ Try a craft kit: they allow you to learn the techniques of a craft by creating a finished item from the supplied components. Many kits available are for mums too, including mosaic, soap making, jewellery, knitting, paint your own cup, mobiles for baby, bath bombs and much more. Free delivery for all orders over £30 with have a wide choice of kits.

Invest in beautiful packaging, it will make all the difference! 166 www w.f fami amiliieshe am ere ref ef forda rd a

November – December 2012

IN HEREFORDSHIRE Small Breeds Farm Park & Owl Centre, Kingswood, Kington, Herefordshire, HR5 3HF 01544 231109, Come and see Santa on the Farm (Group bookings from Mon 3rd Dec, weekend visits from Sat 8th Dec and then every day from Wed 19th Dec) Visit Santa and his reindeer in their snug winter quarters. Booking is essential as Santa needs to know the name and age of each child to select a gift.


Where’s Santa?

Do check with the venue in case details have changed and also please mention when telephoning that you saw their Christmas event in Families Hereford and Worcester magazine. The Severn Valley Railway, Comberton Hill, Kidderminster, DY10 1QX 01562 827232,

Wyevale Hereford Garden Centre, Kings Acre Road, Hereford, HR4 0SE 01432 266261,

Croft Castle and Parkland, Yarpole, Nr Leominster, HR6 9PW 01568 782120,

Breakfast with Father Christmas (17th – 18th, 24th – 25th Nov, 1st – 2nd, 7th – 9th, 15th – 16th, 20th – 24th Dec) Tea with Father Christmas (17th – 18th, 24th – 25th Nov, 1st – 2nd, 8th – 9th, 15th, 20th – 23rd Dec) Choose to have breakfast or tea with Father Christmas.

Christmas Crafts and Santa’s Workshop

Grotto and Winter Wonderland (17th – 18th, 21st, 24th – 25th, 28th Nov, 1st – 2nd, 5th, 8th – 9th, 12th, 15th – 16th, 19th – 23rd Dec) Visit Father Christmas in his cosy grotto and wander around the wonderful Winter Wonderland. Country Gardens Hereford Garden Centre, A49 Wellington, Hereford, HR4 8BB 01432 839000, Breakfast or Tea with Father Christmas (17th – 18th, 22nd – 25th, 29th – 30th Nov, 1st – 2nd, 6th – 9th, 13th – 16th, 20th – 24th Dec) Choose to have breakfast or tea with Father Christmas. Grotto and Winter Wonderland (17th Nov – 24th Dec) Visit Father Christmas in his cosy grotto and wander around the wonderful Winter Wonderland.

(Sat 8th – Sun 9th Dec) Enjoy carol singing, bell ringing, mulled wine and mince pies. Children can enjoy an early Christmas gift when they visit Santa’s Workshop and make their own wooden reindeer or snowman to take home.

Festive Farm, Wellington, Hereford, HR4 8AP 01568 797486/01432 830997,

nr Leominster, HR6 0DW Tel: 01568615721

Lunch with Father Christmas (Mon 17th – Wed 19th Dec) Bring your children for a festive lunch and treat them to a visit from Father Christmas inc present.

November – December 2012

Santa Heralds (Fri 21st Dec) Journey with Father Christmas from Kidderminster to Highley who will visit all children on train giving out presents. Bewdley Museum, Load Street, Bewdley, DY12 1AT 01299 403573 Father Christmas Weekend (Sat 15th – Sun 16th Dec) Browse for Christmas gifts, visit Santa in his Winter Wonderland, festive craft activities to make, local choirs and seasonal food and drink with a Georgian theme.

Father Christmas Grotto (weekends in Dec) Visit Father Christmas and get the chance to walk in through the door of 10 Downing Street and through into the winter wonderland of “Narnia”.


Little Heath Garden Centre,

Rays Farm Country Matters, Billingsley, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, WV16 6PF 01299 841255, An Old Fashioned Christmas (All weekends in Dec plus Mon 24th Dec) See baby Jesus in the donkeys stable with Mary, Joseph, the Three Kings and the Wise Men. Chat to Father Christmas and see Rudolph and friends waiting to pull the sleigh full of presents.


Santa Steam Specials (All weekends in Dec) An atmospheric steam train from Kidderminster along the Severn Valley to Arley to visit Santa in his grotto. Presents for fare paying children completes the experience. Trains call at Bewdley on the return journey where passengers may alight to visit this attractive riverside town.

Worcestershire County Museum, Hartlebury Castle, Hartlebury, Nr Kidderminster, Worcs, DY11 7XZ 01299 250416, Christmas at the Castle (Sat 8th – Sun 9th, Sat 15th – Sun 16th Dec) A traditional Christmas celebration including Father Christmas, carriage rides, seasonal gifts, craft demonstrations, children’s activities and performances by local choirs and musical groups. Also meet Jack Frost and the Snow Queen!

Lickey End, Bromsgrove, B60 1HY 01527 878174, Magical Christmas Grotto with real reindeers opens Wed 21st Nov in support of Primrose Hospice Santa is arriving at 4pm. Children’s entertainment, complimentary mince pies and mulled wine, Pamper treatments for ladies, local choir and lots more. Magical Christmas Grotto (24th – 25th Nov, all weekends in Dec plus Mon 17th – Mon 24th Dec) Visit the magical Christmas grotto with real reindeer. Free entrance every day! Why not pay a visit to Santa and choose your own present. Entrance £5.99 per child. Santa has forgotten the names of his reindeer. Which 3 reindeer do you think they have at Little Heath Garden Centre? Enter the Name the Reindeer competition to win £20 worth of toys. (Entry forms available in store).


Where’s Santa? To book telephone 01886 888 517

Come and see Santa in his magical sleigh. You may even see reindeer or Frosty the snowman too! Breakfast with Santa is on 15th, 16th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th December at £8.50 per child. Tea with Santa is at 3.30 – 5.00 pm on the 20th and 21st and 2.30 – 5.00 pm on the 22nd and 24th December at £5.50 per child. All children receive a small gift. The sleigh seats up to 6 people with Santa which makes a great opportunity for a family photo. CHAA members, please make yourself known at the time of booking

The Commandery, 109 Sidbury, Worcester, WR1 2HU 01905 361821, A Christmas Commandery (Sat 15th – Sun 16 Dec) Celebrate in style as you take a trip back to the Commandery in Victorian times and by twinkling candlelight. Smart Trees, Fields Farm House, Hill Furze Road, Bishampton, Pershore, WR10 2LZ 01386 462706, Santas Grotto (All weekends in Dec) Santa’s Grotto with real reindeer and a vast choice of Christmas trees to purchase. Webbs Garden Centre, Wychbold, Droitwich, WR9 0DG 01527 860000 Christmas Grotto (Sat 17th Nov – Mon 24th Dec) A winter wonderland grotto with elves in their woodland workshop and Father Christmas. Children enter the spectacular toy warehouse to choose a gift.

C Croome P Park, k C Croome D’Abit D’Abitot, t WR8 9DW Tel: 01905 371006 Visit Father Christmas (All weekends in Dec) Discover Father Christmas in his sparkling and cosy Grotto in the cellars of Croome Court. Craft making included to keep the family entertained. Top Barn Activity Centre, Holt Heath, Worcester, WR6 6NH Tel: 01905 622223 Santa’s Winter Land Workshop (Sat 1st – Sun 2nd Dec, Sat 8th – Mon 24th Dec) Climb up to see Santa’s reindeer, indoor Turkey Target shooting, synthetic ice rink, Santa’s workshop, inflatables and snow tubing Forge Mill Needle Museum, Needle Mill Lane, Riverside, Redditch, B98 8HY 01527 62509, Victorian Christmas Craft Fair (Sat 1st – Sun 2nd Dec) Victorian musicians provide a festive atmosphere with food and craft stalls, Father Christmas in his grotto, carol singing as well as Christmas crafts for children.

Breakfast B kf t with ith SSanta t (S (Sats 11st, 88th, h 15 15th h plus 17th – 24th Dec) and Tea with Santa (17th – 23rd Dec) Children can choose to have breakfast or tea. Price includes meal, gift and personal visit from Santa. Orchard Cafe, Worcester Woods Country Park, Wildwood Drive, Worcester, WR5 2LG 01905 766 492, Breakfast with Santa (1st, 7-8th, 14-15th, 21st – 24th Dec) Breakfast and a chat to Santa in his grotto plus present. Blooms Worcester Garden Centre, Droitwich Road, Worcester, WR3 7SW 01905 451231, Breakfast or Tea with Father Christmas (17th – 18th, 22nd – 25th, 29th – 30th Nov, 1st – 2nd, 6th – 9th, 13th – 15th, 20th – 23rd Dec) Choose to have breakfast or tea with Father Christmas. Grotto and Winter Wonderland (17th Nov – 24th Dec) Visit Father Christmas in his cosy grotto and wander around the wonderful Winter Wonderland.

Jinney Ring Craft Centre, Hanbury Road, Hanbury, Bromsgrove, B60 4BU 01527 821272,

Evesham Country Park, Evesham, WR11 4TP 01386 761888,

Santa’s Grotto (Sat 15th – Sun 16th, Sat 22nd – Sun 23rd Dec) The beamed gallery will be decked out for Santa’s Grotto. A gift and a lollipop for each child.

Santa’s Grotto (1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 22nd and 23rd Dec) Visit Santa in his grotto and tell him what you’d like for Christmas.

Bodenham Arboretum, Wolverley, Kidderminster, DY11 5TB 01562 852444, Christmas Nativity Trail (Sat 24th Nov – Mon 1st Jan) A trail around the Arboretum where life size wooden characters are set in the Nativity story ending at the Visitor Centre where there is a “Mother Christmas” grotto for the children. Grotto is only open at weekends. St Peters Garden Centre, Pear Tree Farm, Norton, Worcester, WR5 2NY 01905 357595, Santa’s Grotto (all weekends in Dec plus 17th – 23rd Dec) Meet Santa in his wonderful winter grotto.

Hanbury Hall, Droitwich Spa, WR9 7EA 01527 821214 hall A Vernon Family Christmas (Sat 1st – Sun 2nd, Sat 8th – Sun 9th, Sat 15th – Sun 16th Dec) Join the Vernon family for a traditional family Christmas. Enjoy festive ‘make and take’ activities and a visit from Father Christmas.

Breakfast with Santa (Sun 23rd Dec) A special morning where Santa will be here to meet children. Tea with Santa (6th, 13th and 20th Dec) Enjoy an afternoon snack at The Apple Barn Restaurant and see Santa. Evesham Vale Light Railway, Evesham Country Park, Evesham, WR11 4TP 01386 422282, Help find Santa’s missing Christmas presents (Sat 8th - Mon 24th Dec) Count how many presents you can spot on your train journey. Tell the guard your answer at Evesham Vale Station, and d you may win a small prize. e.

Take a look at the other Christmas events happening in Hereford and Worcester in the What’s On section of this issue and online for some excellent festive ideas for the whole family!

Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, Worcs, B60 4JR 01527 831363, Search for Santa (Sat 15th – Sun 16th, Sat 22nd Dec) Let the costumed villagers and festive clues help you find Santa in his hidden grotto in one of the historic buildings. A surprise gift awaits each child when they find Santa. Mulled wine and mince pie for adults. 18

Cob House

November – December 2012

What’s On THEATRE Artrix, School Drive, Bromsgrove, B60 1AX 01527 577330, Treasure Island Shiver me timbers, it’s Treasure Island – with Jassa from Disney’s Art Attack with plenty of comedy and music, colourful costumes and a strong storyline. Sunday 18th November 2.00 pm £9.50, £7.50 under 16s, £30.00 family ticket Stage it Brothers Grimm Fairytale Show The Stage It team will be working around a Brothers Grimm Fairytale theme, using storylines and characters from favourite traditional tales to create an original and challenging piece of theatre. Saturday 1st December 7.00 pm £6.00, £5.00 under 16s Charlie and the chocolate factory – New College Join Charlie on his adventures through the chocolate factory in this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale. Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th December 1.00 and 7.30 pm £5.00 Sinbad the Sailor the Panto – All & Sundry Sinbad the Sailor is a traditional family pantomime, incorporating song, visual comedy, slapstick and audience participation for all the family to enjoy. Wednesday 19th – Thursday 20th 7.00 pm, Saturday 22nd – Sunday 23rd December 2.00 and 7.00 pm £13.50 - £11.00, Family tickets available The Snow Queen – Sideways Theatre A journey through the snow and mountains in a magical frozen land. Join Gerda on her adventure to rescue Kai from the frosty grip of The Snow Queen. Friday 28th December 2.30 pm £9.00, £7.00 under 16s Evesham Arts Centre Theatre, Victoria Avenue, Evesham, Worcs, WR11 4QH 01386 48883, Snow White (Vital Statistics) Lots for everyone to enjoy – with loads of singing, dancing and family entertainment to keep you glued to your seats . Saturday 8th December 1.30, 7.00 pm £11.00, £9.00 family ticket Prince Henry’s High School Christmas Concert A mix of festive & non-festive music featuring Prince Henry’s High School Big Band and other ensembles. Tuesday 18th December 7.30 pm Tickets from School on 01386 765588 November – December 2012

Please check with the venue in case details have been changed and also please note that with some venues, it is cheaper to pay in advance on-line.

Malvern Theatres, Grange Road, Malvern, Worcs, WR14 3HB 01684 892277,

The Courtyard, Edgar Street, Hereford, HR4 9JR 01432 340555,

Cinderella A family pantomime for Christmas.

Funny Bones Meet three skeletons, Big, Little and Dog as they go adventuring to find fun, frights and friendship. Spooky houses, dancing clocks, dinosaurs and skeleton pets all make an appearance as well as that darned Black Cat.

Thursday 13th December – Sunday 6th January Various dates and prices, please visit website. Norbury Theatre, Norbury House, Friar Street, Droitwich Spa, WR9 8ED 01905 770154, www.norburytheatre. The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe (Norbury Youth Theatre) Based on the story by C.S. Lewis about a magical and fantastical world. Come with Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund to a land of perpetual winter, magic and mystery: Narnia. Wednesday 14th – Saturday 17th November 7.30 pm £9.00, £7.00 Children’s Theatre A short play for children aged 4-10 years. Saturday 17th November and Saturday 15th December 2.30 pm £1.50 Rock and Pop to Christmas Happy Steps returns with another Christmas Show to ensure everyone leaves in a festive mood inc Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Musical Theatre. A Variety show with classic songs, fun dances and a complimentary mince pie! Great for all the family. Saturday 8th December 2.30 and 6.30 pm £7.00 Number 8 Community Arts Centre, 8 High Street, Pershore, Worcs, WR10 1BG 01386 555488, The Secret Garden PODS are excited to present the musical version of this enchanting children’s classic beautifully adapted for both adults and children.

Sunday 11th November 12.00 and 3.30 pm £8.00 - £7.00 Dick Whittington A traditional pantomime following Dick Whittington on his journey to London where he gets a job and falls in love with a girl. Friday 30th November – Sunday 6th January Various times and prices The Swan Theatre, The Moors, Worcester, WR1 3ED 01905 611427, Snow White and the seven dwarfs A traditional pantomime. The magical tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs follows Snow White as she tries to escape her stepmother, the wicked Queen Grizelda, and flees to the forest, makes new friends and finds a safe place to hide in the weird and wonderful household of the seven dwarfs! Tuesday 4th December – Sunday 6th January Various times £10.50 - £15.50

MUSEUMS Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, Worcs, B60 4JR 01527 831363, Traditional Candlelit Christmas Evening A family evening of traditional Christmas fun with a candle-lit tour of the Museum , listen to the choirs and bands and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Saturday 8th December 6.30 – 9.30 pm

Monday 3rd - Friday 7th December 7.30 pm, Saturday 8th December 2.30, 7.30 pm £14.00-£11.00

Christmas Carols and Readings in Bringsty Sunday 23rd December 2.30 pm

Palace Theatre, Alcester Street, Redditch, Worcs, B98 8AE 01527 65203,

Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum, Foregate Street, Worcester, WR1 1DT 01905 25371,

Sleeping Beauty A traditional fun filled pantomime including glittering sets and costumes, a fairy, a jester, a dragon and lots of fun.

Festive for the Fayre Make some traditional arty-crafty Christmas decorations for your home. Cost £1.00 for materials. Your chance to choose a special gift from the exhibition whilst the family are busy!

Monday 3rd – Sunday 30th December Various times £17.50 - £10.50

Saturday 1st December 11.00 am – 4.00 pm

Crafted for You Showcasing some of the best craftmakers in the Midlands, the annual Crafted for You exhibition is the perfect opportunity to purchase the perfect Christmas gift – The Opening is on 1st December inc a glass of wine and get 10% off all purchases. Saturday 1st December – Saturday 12th January 2013 Worcestershire County Museum, Hartlebury Castle, Hartlebury, Nr Kidderminster, Worcs, DY11 7XZ 01299 250416, museum Christmas Shopping Evening Enjoy seasonal entertainment and refreshments whilst browsing in the museum shop which stocks a wide range of cards, gifts and contemporary crafts. The Café will be open for warming meals and snacks and visitors will be able to explore the museum free of charge after dark. Wednesday 5th December 4.00 – 8.00 pm

ATTRACTIONS Hampton Court Castle and Gardens, Hope-under-Dinmore, Leominster, HR6 0PN 01568 797676, Christmas Fair Begin the festive season by visiting the beautifully decorated Hampton Court Castle, where you may take time to choose gifts from a wide range of ideas by local craftspeople. Also music and festivities, mince pies and mulled wine. Friday 7th – Sunday 9th December

EVENTS NCT – National Childbirth Trust 0300 3300770 NEARLY NEW SALES: Kidderminster NCT Saturday 1st December 10.30 - 11.30 am at St Chad’s Church, Burcher Green, Kidderminster, DY10 3AY Tel: 0844 243 6178 or email Worcester and Droitwich NCT Sunday 18th November 10.15 am -12.00 midday at Perdiswell Leisure centre, Bilford Road, Worcester, WR3 8DX Tel: 0844 243 6334 or email BABY AND CHILD 1st AID AWARENESS CLASS: Bromsgrove NCT Wednesday 28th November at Bromsgrove Baptist Church, New Road, Bromsgrove 8.00 – 10.00 pm Tel: 0844 243 6065 or email:


What’s On


Win a Family Ticket to see Cinderella at Malvern Theatres

0844 800 1895 Berrington Hall, nr Leominster, HR6 0DW Tel: 01568 615721 SPONSOR A TREE Plant an orchard tree with the Rangers, then bring your family along, year after year to follow its progress. Saturday 17th November 12.00 – 3.00 pm £25.00 per item CHRISTMAS AT BERRINGTON Browse a small selection of local food and drink stalls and see the ground floor of the house decorated for Christmas. Father Christmas will be visiting each afternoon. Brockhampton Estate, Greenfields, Bringsty, Herefordshire, WR6 5TB Tel: 01885 482077 PREPARING FOR A MEDIEVAL CHRISTMAS Join Sir John Saviles’ Household as they prepare for a 14th century Christmas. See the food and decorations taking shape, hear about medieval traditions and enjoy the festive atmosphere in the manor house. Saturday 24th – Sunday 25th November 11.00 – 4.00 pm BROCKHAMPTON BY CANDLELIGHT Soak up the atmosphere of the manor house dressed for a Medieval Christmas. Experience the rooms lit only by candlelight. Enjoy a festive menu in the tea-room, seasonal gifts in the shop and a family trail around the grounds for a prize. Saturday 1st – Sunday 2nd December 11.00 am –4.00 pm £2.00 per trail CAROLS AT BROCKHAMPTON Get into the Christmas spirit with traditional carols performed by Stourport Choral in the manor house. Sunday 9th December 11.00 am – 1.00 pm Clent Hills, Nimmings Wood car park, between Hagley and Stourbridge, B62 0NL Tel: 01562 712822 CHRISTMAS CHILDREN’S TRAIL Follow the trail to find Father Christmas and receive a small gift. Saturday 8th December 10.00 am – 3.00 pm £2.00 Croft Castle, Yarpole, nr Leominster, HR6 9PW Tel: 01568 780246 SPONSOR A TREE Plant an orchard tree with the Rangers, then bring your family along, year after year to follow its progress. Sunday 18th November 12.00 – 3.00 pm £25.00 per item

Experience the magic of live theatre this Christmas at Malvern Theatres with an exciting production of Cinderella starring CITV & Nickelodeon presenter Jamie Rickers as Buttons, HI-DE-HI’s Ruth Madoc as Fairy Godmother and Hi-5’s Emma Nowell as Cinderella, plus the sensational Shetland Ponies! This year’s panto is not to be missed! Cinderella is on from Thursday 13th December to Sunday 6th January with tickets priced from £8.50-£22.00. Under 16s £5 off. (Booking fee applies). Tel 01684 892 277 or visit We have 2 family tickets (4 tickets per family) to give away: To enter, simply answer this question: Which actress is playing the Fairy Godmother? Email with name and full postal address by Friday 7th December.

Croome Park, Croome D’Abitot, WR8 9DW Tel: 01905 371006 FAMILY TRAIL CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE AND CHRISTMAS AT CROOME Take on the Family Trail Challenge around the garden and into Croome Court every weekend. Croome Court will be decorated splendidly for the season with roaring log fires. Come and see the famous 25 foot Christmas Tree in the Saloon and hang your wish on it to make it extra special. Every weekend until Christmas 10.00 am – 4.00 pm £1.00 per item CAROLS AT CROOME Welcome the arrival of Christmas with the Malvern Hills Singers. Includes free entry to Croome before your concert, a warming mince pie, delicious hot punch and even a Christmas present for children! Saturdays 8th and 16th December 3.00 pm £9.00 adult, £4.00 child, £22.00 family of 4

SPECIAL EVENTS, DAYS OUT AND FESTIVALS Worcester Arts Workshop, 21 Sansome Street, Worcester, WR1 1UH Lazy Sunday – Kick back, relax and chill out to some acoustic music at Café Bliss. Sunday 11th November from 1pm, free entry. Make your own Xmas gifts from clay. Have fun creating a bespoke Xmas present in clay. Families welcome. £35.00 adult or £48.00 adult+child. Saturday 17th November 1pm to 4pm Eckington Under Fives Christmas Market, Eckington Village Hall Father Christmas, stalls, face painting, bbq, refreshments, tombola, raffle. Sunday 9th December 11.00 am – 2.00 pm Musical Fireworks Extravaganza at Red Hill Primary School, Midhurst Close, Worcester WR5 2HX. A fun evening of family entertainment featuring a musical fireworks display at 7.00 pm, a BBQ, bar, toffee apples & light sticks. Gates open at 6 pm. Tickets £5.00 (adult) & £3.50 (child) on the night. Advance tickets available from the school office at discounted rates of £4.00 (adult) & £2.50 (child). Friday 9th November Feckenham C of E First School’s Christmas Fayre Synthetic ice rink, prebookable through the school 01527 892756 or just turn up on the day. Local choirs and carol singers, brand new Santa’s Grotto and Living Nativity Scene. Festive refreshments – turkey rolls and hot dogs on the BBQ, mulled wine and hot chocolate to warm the cockles, and of course an abundance of the usual themed games and stalls. ‘Christmas Market’ with local crafts people selling handmade and other unique Xmas gifts. Saturday 8th December from 2.30pm-6.30pm. 20 20

Charity Events The Big Bucket Collection The Big Bucket Collection is held every December as part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This December, CLIC Sargent is highlighting the impact of cancer on the school life of younger children. The Collection will be held at various supermarkets in Worcestershire and Herefordshire in December. If you can spare a little time to help make a big difference please contact the CLIC Sargent team on 0845 121 245 or visit Hereford’s Santa Fun Run Concern Universal is inviting you to take part in Hereford’s third Santa Fun Run to raise funds towards their work in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Special guests include local Paralympians Sascha and Nyree Kindre. NEW FOR 2012! A second 10k Race to take place alongside the normal Fun Run route (4k). The Fun Run (4k) starts in Hereford High Town (next to the black and white house) at 10am on Sunday 9th December. You can walk, skip, hop or jump, and even bring your sleigh! Please contact Annie on or tel 01432 355111 for an application form. Saddle up for Santa Cycle Santa Cycle is a family-friendly bike ride around a 4, 8 or 12 mile route on the paths and tracks at Top Barn Activity Centre near Worcester, on Sunday, 9th December from 9.00 am to raise funds for St Richard’s Hospice. Each participant will be given their very own santa suit on the day to take home and keep. Registration is £10 per person, £5 for under 12’s. John Bunyan and his son Jack, 9, from Worcester are getting into gear for the Santa Cycle in memory of their wife and mum Alison who sadly died in 2011 aged just 48. You can register online now at or call the fundraising office for more information on 01905 763963 / .

If you would like to feature in the What’s On Section, please email November – December 2012

Families Hereford and Worcester 18 November/December 2012  

Families Hereford and Worcester issue 18 November/December 2012