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southeast london

GIFT GUIDE Ten top toys, and super stocking fillers

online edition

with working website links

BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS Curl up with the best winter stories

WHAT'S ON Christmas grottos, family shows and festive workshops

Personalised Gifts

01786 473 508


What do you do when one of your family is working the children’s A&E Christmas shifts? Celebrate twice of course - which is what we’ll be doing again this year. Come 22 December it’ll be the Cheesiest Christmas Tunes - Ever belting out through the house and lunch with all the trimmings, followed by a few grandma-baffling rounds of Heads Up! (to be fair she is 95½ and her hearing’s not what it was). Then, when nursie’s packed her stethoscope and halo, and left to tend to poor little mites who’ve tripped and properly bashed themselves on reindeer droppings, it’s back to the chopping board for the rest of us. Another sprout, anyone? Robina Cowan, editor

IN THIS ISSUE 2-3 Local News and Views

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A new lease of life for two local libraries, expert nanny finding, lost and found in Bromley, and family shows for Christmas

4-7 Education News

Renowned authors and scientists visit local schools, baking for Macmillan, and improving reading levels

8 Where’s Father Christmas? Grottos galore where Santa will be meeting and greeting good children with a ho ho ho

9 The Book Page

Books for Christmas - would could be more of a treat? Justine pulls the best of the books from under tinsel mountain

10-11 Underneath the Christmas Tree Ten top gift ideas from a local toyshop owner, and our favourite stocking fillers

12 When Children are Stressed “Stress is natural and normal...” The Vale Practice team help parents spot the signs and offer coping strategies

13-19 What’s On

Wonderful family events, shows and creative workshops to build the excitement in the run-up to Christmas

LocalNews email your news to

Community arts in Burgess Park Arts Council England have pledged nearly £15,000 to support Theatre Delicatessen in creating a wide-reaching programme of arts and theatre activity for young people aged from as young as six - and the pilot has launched in Burgess Park. ‘Performers in the Park’ is already involving people from across the local community to develop their skills and talent in everything from drama and clowning to singing, mask work, improv theatre and an all-ages, all musical styles choir. Ground breaking arts organisation Theatre Delicatessen are working with Southwark Council to transform the old Passmore Edwards Library in Burgess Park into an arts and culture hub, complete with an arts cafe and a programme of evening performances incorporating theatre, music and spoken word. Rather than watch this space - visit this space - and join in! It is run by professional practitioners who have a wide range of experience of working in the arts, and working with young people. Read more at

Forest Hill community library Thanks to a sweet shop owner, a fishing-tackle entrepreneur, and Bertrand Russell’s grandson, Forest Hill Library has been saved from closure and re-opened at the end of October. Now a community library, the building continues as a community hub and library, with events for children, facilities for jobseekers and activities for pensioners - with new features which will make it a destination for people from across the capital. The Grade II listed Forest Hill Library originally opened in 1901, and has been under the management of the London Borough of Lewisham for many decades. The successful community bid to run the library was put together by V22 - the art organisation based in neighbouring Louise House; the Forest Hill Society - the main residents’ association in SE23; and the Forest Hill Traders’ Association a local business forum; along with several concerned individuals. The library building is now staffed by volunteers and follows a Crowdfunder campaign and Friends of Forest Hill Library scheme which raised several thousand pounds in a few weeks with enormous community support. For more information, see or visit the library.

Don’t get lost in Bromley Families London South East

@ FamiliesSE

Front cover: Pixabay

Next issue Jan-Feb issue out 12 January 2017, deadline 9 December

Families South East PO Box 11591, London SE26 6WB 020 8699 7240,, Families South East is part of Families Magazines Ltd a franchise company. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. Families® is a registered trademark of Families Magazines Ltd, Remenham House, Regatta Place, Marlow Road, Bourne End, Bucks SL8 5TD. The contents of Families South East are fully protected by copyright and none of the editorial or photographic matter may be reproduced in any form without prior consent of the publisher. We take every care preparing this magazine but the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequence.


families south east - november december 2016

Your Bromley and the Metropolitan Police have joined forces to launch a new Parent and Child Scheme which aims to quickly reunite separated loved ones in a bid to help those heart-stopping moments when children disappear from sight. A number of Bromley town centre stores are giving out free wristbands which allow parents and carers to attach their contact numbers to children, and participating staff will look out for lost children who may be wearing them. Pick up yours from Mothercare, Early Learning Centre, TK Maxx, Starbucks Market Square, Burger King, Trendy Shoes, Cineworld Cinemas, Pret a Manger or Card Factory.

Free publicity for your events The Families website includes hyper local pages right across the country. Log on for our sites in Greenwich, Southwark and Lewisham. You can now post your own events, fairs, table top sales and other events for FREE; or add a free listing for your business. Go to, click the ‘promote your event’ box then follow the menus.

Little Masters and Misses - 30 years in business In 2017, Little Masters and Misses will celebrate over 30 years in business with a new online website offering a 24/7 service, where parents pay a one-off fee of just £99 to find a nanny. Founder Debbie Eliff (NNEB) worked as a nanny both in the UK and abroad before setting up her agency in 1985 from a rented Croydon bedsitter with just a telephone, typewriter and fax machine, from which she has grown to become south London, Kent and Surrey’s longest reigning nanny agency owner. Debbie’s ethos is always to put the happiness and safety of children before charging families high placement fees; and to check candidates before recommending them for interview. She explains: “We are in regular contact with over 300 full or part time childcarers and uniquely for an agency, we interview every candidate in a two hour face-to-face interview, and check four references before they can join our books.” With a new high street office in Beckenham and the online service, Little Masters and Misses now offers parents the opportunity to view vetted, available childcarers’ CVs, and quickly arrange an interview. For more information, call Debbie on 020 8650 3232, arrange to meet her in the office to discuss your needs, or see Nannies and babysitters are invited to apply too.

A Peckham rental property has been described as the most fertile in the area after three separate cases of positive baby news. Since 2013, Caroline Fry, an operations director for Uuni wood-fired ovens, has developed a somewhat unusual reputation as a landlord. It all began back in 2013 when she went into labour on the day that she completed on the popular two-bedroom home in Peckham Rye. Since then, the two separate tenants who have rented have fallen pregnant. Having lived in Clapham for a number of years Caroline knew that Peckham was on the tipping point of becoming a property hot spot and discovered that two properties could be purchased for the same price as one in Clapham... but she didn’t anticipate the baby vibe that would surround such a home. Caroline comments: “I purchased this home as a long-term investment for my two children and market it via online letting agent It’s a great house for young professionals but I am almost at the point where I feel the need to inform potential renters of the good news that seems to surround this home!” The ‘pregnancy home’ as Caroline now calls it, is a two double-bedroom flat which comes fully furnished with modern appliances in the kitchen. “We wanted to offer our prospective tenants something that was over and above the competing properties - and seems it does! “To have a home that has so far blessed myself and two other families with children is quite astonishing and although I’m always sorry to see them go and move on to larger places, I’m always looking forward to meeting the next lucky tenants.”

Christmas at the Unicorn There are two fantastic shows at the Unicorn this Christmas. After a hugely successful sell-out run last Christmas, Baddies: the Musical is back from 15 November. The Big Bad Wolf is in trouble - he’s been ripped out of his story and thrown in jail for being too good at being bad. But playing the villain’s the best part, everyone knows that. Along with fellow offenders Rumpelstiltskin, the Ugly Sisters and Captain Hook, the Big Bad Wolf is determined to find out who’s decided to change the fairytale rulebook and why. How are you supposed to tell who the good guys are when there are no baddies around? This 5 star musical for ages 6 + is the perfect family treat this Christmas. For younger ones aged 2 - 6, there’s Boing! a high-energy dance-theatre piece which captures the delirious excitement of two boys waiting for Father Christmas to arrive on the most magical night of the year. There are beds to be jumped on, pillows to be fought with and seas to be sailed... On this most extraordinary night, let your imagination soar right up to the stars. For more details, see our What’s On pages, or

The Snail and the Whale ©Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Peckham rental home sends pregnancy rate through the roof

5 Dec 2016 – 1 Jan 2017

6 – 17 Dec 2016



The Snail and A Christmas the Whale Carol Based on the book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler ‘Delightful, funny and imaginative.’ The Independent

‘There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.’ The Scotsman

Join Scrooge this December on an all singing, all dancing journey and watch as laughter and goodness replace the ice in his heart.

Broadway Baby

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

£12 / £8 concs. £34 family ticket* Great group rates. Ages 4+.

£12 / £10 concs. £38 family ticket* Ages 7+. School groups: Year 5+.

The Albany 020 8692 4446

Canada Water Culture Space 020 8692 4446

*Family ticket four people

november december 2016 - families south east


l l l l l l l l To Care, Challenge and Inspire 125-128 Thurlow Park Road, West Dulwich, SE21 8HP

0208 670 4206 Oakfield is a happy and exciting place to learn where young children grow academically and personally, supported by talented staff in developing enquiry skills and high levels of independence and resilience. In 2016 at the end of the Reception year: • 94% of our Early Years Profile results were graded as either expected or exceeding • 92% of our EYFS pupils achieved levels of expected or exceeding in Personal Development • 90% of our EYFS pupils achieved levels of expected or exceeding in Language and Literacy areas ISI Inspection report 2014: • Outstanding provision in meeting children's needs and well-being • Children's behaviour is exemplary. They are self-assured and independent • Children approach learning with confidence and enthusiasm • Outstanding relationships with parents

Open Morning Tuesday 8th November 9.15-11am To book a place, please contact the registrar:

September 2017 entry observations: 4+ Friday 16th December 3+ Friday 20th January 2+ Thursday 9th & Friday 10th March 7+ Friday 13th January


families south east - november december 2016

l l l l l l l l education news Remembering the Spanish Civil War

Bake off triumph ends in crumbs

As part of the historical and literary commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, local author Lydia Syson visited Sydenham High School to discuss her work and run creative writing workshops with Year 10. Her book, A World Between Us, is set during the period and features a heroine from Sydenham. Ms Syson provided a vivid backdrop to the events of the Spanish Civil War and explained how art, poetry and film became the filter through which people gained their understanding of what was happening. Using a Picasso painting of the bombing of Guernica and a poem about the same event as stimuli, students tried their hand at creating their own ekphrastic poems; Ms Syson promised to share the best ones online. Her talk and workshops clearly made a strong impact on the students who left the following comments after the session: “I really enjoyed today’s workshop as it moved me incredibly and inspired me to write a poem. It has given me the impetus to explore this topic, visit museums and read more books including Lydia’s.” “Today was very moving. It was great to hear more about the Spanish Civil War... I hope to read the book as it sounds very interesting.” “It really helped to improve my poetry writing, especially with all the videos and talks about the Spanish Civil war.”

A delicious strawberry and blueberry-topped sponge cake triumphed in a recent Lewisham school’s charity bake-off challenge but such was the rush for slices once the judges’ job was done that the winning 12-year-old baker did not get a chance to pose with her creation, and, instead, had to hold a plate of crumbs for the photo-opportunity. “Judges were spoiled for choice,” explained Addey and Stanhope English teacher and Head of Year 8 Tracy Bradd. “We had 35 entries for the competition, timed to coincide with a Macmillan charity coffee morning, and there were some mouth-watering contenders.” Deptford entrant Emma Hoang’s beautifully decorated cake was the out-and-out winner, for which she received a copy of The Great British Bake Off: Perfect Cakes & Bakes to Make at Home. Ms Bradd added: “I wanted to get Year 8 involved in the Macmillan Coffee Morning so I decided to run ‘The Great Addey’s Bake Off’. Every Year 8 pupil was invited to bake a cake and bring it in for the coffee morning, with each cake earning a point for the pupil’s house.” Once Emma’s entry had been declared the overall winner all of them immediately went on sale to students, staff and parents. “There was clearly quite a feeding frenzy around Emma’s cake, because I didn’t get a chance to have a slice, and when we thought about photographing her with it, there were only a few bits of fruit and some sponge to suggest it had ever existed!” said Addey and Stanhope Head Teacher Jan Shapiro. The highly popular event raised an impressive £307 for the charity.

Music and dance bring Lewisham and Kenya together A 350-strong audience at Sydenham School was recently treated to a spectacular and moving show featuring the 28-strong Singing Children of Africa troop, made up of young Kenyans. The three-hour show featured a blend of traditional Kenyan songs and dance, drumming and well-known hymns, performed to support the charity Educate The Kids. For their part, students from Sydenham School and Kelvin Grove Primary School provided an assortment of popular favourites including The Monkeys’ ‘I’m a Believer’ and the Labi Siffre hit ‘Something Inside So Strong’, ending with a joyous finale when all 200 young singers and musicians crammed the stage for a rousing rendition of ‘Eye of the Tiger’. Educate The Kids has built and maintains schools, an orphanage and other facilities for children’s villages in Utange, near Mombasa. As part of a two-month UK-wide ‘Smile’ tour, the Sydenham concert raised in excess of £2,500, contributing to much-needed facilities at Jolaurabi. See for more news.

Independent thinkers and learners Smaller school Bigger opportunities Personal attention Great results Affordable Scholarships available

Prep School and Nursery Open Mornings Tuesday

29 November

9 am - 10.45 am

Register for Open Days at or for an individual tour please contact us.

OPEN MORNING THURSDAY 3rd NOVEMBER 11.00-13.00 For full list of open mornings, enrolment and fee details contact 020 7228 3933 Thames Christian College, London SW11 2HB

Streatham & Clapham Preparatory School (girls 3-11) Wavertree Road, SW2 3SR 020 8674 6912

Five minutes’ walk from Clapham Junction

november december 2016 - families south east


l l l l l l l l education news Explore maths

Teaching children to read

Explore Learning’s National Young Mathematicians’ Award will be returning soon, adding to their learning centre classes where children become confident and excited about maths. Here are a couple of their tips for inspiring maths at home: • Bring maths to life with fun and engaging ways to learn new skills. Baking, measuring objects and budgeting at the shops are great ways for your child to be hands-on with maths. • Ask questions during homework time: Why? How do you know? Are you sure? The more you can challenge your child to convince you of their reasoning, the more you will build skills such as problem solving from an early age. Be sure to praise them for their efforts afterwards, too! For more advice, support, news and views on maths, take a look at the blog, and the home page for local class venues.

The results of this year’s phonics screening check show that there are now 147,000 more 6-year-olds on track to become excellent readers since the introduction of the check in 2012. The proportion of pupils reaching the expected standard in phonics was 81% in year 1 and 91% by the end of year 2, rises on last year of 4% and 1% respectively. Announcing the results in September, school standards minister Nick Gibb said: “The government is determined to make this country work for everyone, not just the privileged few. Ensuring all primary school children can read fluently by the time they leave primary school is fundamental to this ambition.” Evidence shows systematic synthetic phonics - the technique in which pupils are taught to sound out and blend the sounds of the alphabet into words - is the most effective method of teaching reading to children.

Lewisham school hosts world-renowned physicist Things were far from normal for Sydenham School science students when a usual Monday morning lesson gave way to lectures by world-renowned theoretical physicist Professor Carlo Rovelli. The author of Reality Is Not What It Seems, Professor Rovelli gave two hour-long lectures to GCSE and A-Level students, focusing on aspects of theoretical physics and the history of science that the teenagers would be unlikely to encounter as part of any official curriculum until they were university undergraduates. Later he applauded the young women for their science ambitions, pointing out the important impact that single-sex education seemed to have on girls aspiring to STEM careers. “We are still in a period of transition,” he commented, “but the traditional male domination of science and engineering is shifting.” According to Sam Voulters, Penguin Books brand manager, Sydenham School was chosen after a nationwide search for a suitable setting to host Professor Rovelli on a rare visit to the UK to promote his new book: “In all we approached about 40,000 science teachers, and 141 schools responded; explaining why they felt Professor Rovelli should visit them. Sydenham being a girls’ school with a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) specialisation played a key part in our decision, as did the enthusiasm of the staff and the impressive science facilities.” So enthralling was Professor Rovelli’s lecturing that the students remained more-or-less oblivious to the presence of a BBC radio news reporter, a film crew from Channel 4 News, and a photographer from the Daily Telegraph, all manoeuvring for places from which to capture the proceedings.



At Explore Learning, our passion is to help children reach their potential and be the best that they can. Our award-winning tuition has helped to create over 175,000 fearless learners across the UK.

Academic Progress Confidence New skills Love of learning


families south east - november december 2016



l l l l l l l l

ses s a l C ow n ing book

Call your local Stagecoach: Dulwich 020 8949 4116 Blackheath 020 7112 8242 Sydenham 020 7228 0981 Upper Norwood 0744 253 2386

november december 2016 - families south east


Christmas Grottos Click What’s On at for MORE FATHER CHRISTMAS IN GREENWICH 23 November, 17 + 18, 21-23 December, 5b GREENWICH MARKET, Greenwich SE10 9HZ, 020 8269 096, Step inside Father Christmas’ Grotto and tell him all your Christmas wishes. He can be quite busy but his funny elf will treat the children to lots of balloon fun while they wait their turn to talk to him and collect their Christmas gift bag. £4 per gift - check the website for timings. The Grotto is part of Greenwich Christmas Market, open every day to 1-24 December where visitors can buy unique gifts from over 150 stalls and enjoy festive food and drink.




4 December, THE BRIDGE Community Centre, Pleasaunce Park, East Greenwich SE10 0LB, Father Christmas will be arriving at 1.45pm to settle in his grotto, where children can meet him and pose for a photo from 2-4.30pm. While they are waiting they can write and post a letter and enjoy Christmas themed activities. Friends of the Pleasaunce will be selling hot mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas cakes and the Pistachio Café will be providing festive treats. Local musicians will be playing in the park throughout the afternoon, and at 3pm Halstow Community Choir will once again lead visitors in some hearty carol singing. Admission free, donations welcome.

BROCKWELL HALL WINTER FAIR 4 December, BROCKWELL HALL, Brockwell Park SE24 9AF The Friends of Brockwell Park are running a Winter Fair, complete with cards, plants, clothes, art and Father Christmas. 11am-3pm.



GROTTO AT THE ZOO 3-4, 10-11 and 16-24 December, BATTERSEA PARK ZOO, Chelsea Embankment SW11 4NJ, 020 7924 5826, Come and tell Santa what you’d like for Christmas and take home a small gift, sticker, drink and Christmas treat, £6 plus zoo entrance fee. Plus, join in the Christmas stocking search throughout the zoo from 3 to 24 December.


MAGIC’ Illustrations Copyright © Kenny Wax Family Entertainment 2015

London Theatre 1



THU 15 - SAT 31 DEC

BOOK TICKETS 0844 815 6131

For ages 4-104

3,4 and 11 December, FULHAM PALACE, Bishops Avenue SW6 6EA, 020 7736 3233, Bring the whole family to visit Santa Claus in the beautifully decorated Tudor Great Hall, and make sure you are on the Nice list to receive a special present. With the Christmas tree, elves’ gift wrapping station, Father Christmas’s desk and the naughty and nice list all on display, this is a very special and atmospheric experience. £11 per child, book first.

WETLAND GROTTO 3 + 4 December, WWT LONDON WETLANDS CENTRE, Queen Elizabeth Walk, Barnes SW13 9WT, 020 8409 4400, Get into the festive mood at the Wetland Centre’s wonderful winter weekend. Children will be thrilled to hop aboard for a husky sleigh ride and visit Santa in his magical grotto. Head over to the northern pine forest where Father Christmas will be ready to welcome families in his cosy grotto among the trees. £6 per child includes a goody bag.

The Gruffalo © Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler


VICTORIAN SANTA’S GROTTO 3 - 23 December, MUSEUM OF LONDON, London Wall EC2Y 5HN, 020 7001 9844, Join Santa in the Victorian Walk - a life size recreation of a Victorian London street. Each child who meets Santa receives a special gift, with the option (for an additional £8) to take home a photograph of the magical moment. Suggested ages: 1-7. From £7, book first.





families south east - november december 2016

THE MAGIC PORTAL TO NARNIA Weekends from 26 November to 11 December; daily 12-23 December, PENSHURST PLACE, Penshurst, Tonbridge, Kent TN11 8DG, 01892 870307, Surrounded by Christmas decorations and festive music, children will able to enjoy crafts before making a wondrous journey. Open the wardrobe door and push though hanging fur coats into the icy kingdom of Narnia. On the other side, Mr Tumnus and Mrs Beaver wait in a dense winter forest to greet young visitors, and a very special gentleman in a red suit waits patiently for them in his sleigh. £12 child admission includes free craft activities and a small toy to take home.

The Bookseller Crow

is a fantastic, volume stuffed shop run by some of the most knowledgeable bookworms in the business. Call in for the feel of a real bookshop, or if you’re too busy, pick up the phone or point your mouse at their website for a fast mailorder service. Justine Crow recommends this month’s best titles. You’d think that as a retailer I’d be the perfect customer but as my family will attest shopping infuriates me, mainly due to ineptitude from the top. Last week Trasha witnessed my meltdown in a snowflake dredged Marks & Sparks and was forced to Whatsapp her coven for help from the fluffy slipper rack, as I ranted to the shop assistant about the lack of plain black brassieres in my size, yelling: “I’m leafing through acid pink thongs when all I want is something I’d be happy to be run over by a bus in!” whilst watched over by a giant poster of Rosie Huntington-Whitely languidly sniffing her armpit (she is) wearing nothing but cake doilies over her bits. It wasn’t the assistant’s fault there wasn’t a single thing there I wanted to buy because management have lost sight of their customer. I’m glad to say I know exactly what the discerning book lover wants to be wearing this season and all of it is comfortable, practical and darn gorgeous to look at. WE FOUND A HAT by Jon Klassen - Walker rrp £12.99. Cue upright literary tone, this is the long-awaited third volume of the ‘hat’ trilogy. Not since Dr Seuss has head-gear been so polemical. Yet, unlike the good doctor’s bouncing feline and riotous pace, once again here we have an absolute master class in the art of quiet contention. THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE, THE UNIMAGINARY FRIEND by Dan Santat - Andersen rrp £6.99. Given the new order, as we as a nation appear to be turning our backs on the rest of Europe and adopting a self-satisfied huddle, not so much a tasteful hunkering down a la the Danish ‘hygge’ philosophy, as hiding under the duvet indignantly and flicking the world the Vs, this is a timely story. We need to get out there and make friends. And try to do it graciously. Or we are just going to stay stuck on the kind of Billy-no-mates island that brave Beekle left behind. FRANKY by Leo Timmers - Gecko rrp £6.99. There’s no doubt young Sam gets pro-active in the pal department. He is robot mad but his parents are only humouring him. Rather gloriously, he sets about scavenging what he can to build himself a bespoke android that bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain Spielbergian extra-terrestrial. So now you know what happens in the end... THE ODYSSEY: LITTLE MASTER HOMER by Jennifer Adams, art by Alison Oliver - Gibbs Smith rrp £5.99. The perfect classics primer for adults, let alone kids, Cyclops, the sea nymphs and lotus eaters, sirens and ghosts all put in an appearance in bright board book form that is robust enough to withstand the fangs of Scylla and Charybdis combined. ONCE UPON AN ALPHABET by Oliver Jeffers - Harpercollins rrp £9.99. Big and bold, this reissue is quite the ideal ABC, the otherworldly illustrative style that is both precise yet curious, depicts so much in so few strokes, from astronaut to zeppelin, via donkey, light-bulb and Q for question. WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND by Tim Hopgood & Richard Smith - Oxford rrp £12.99. Peggy Lee’s astonishing vocals on CD accompany this retro winter celebration which is a welcome medical antidote to the appalling playlist in the supermarket that begins to attack us mid-November with Boney M and Mary’s Boy Child. Serious earworm damage, not to mention utterly destroyed morale, comes by mid-December with worst record Paul McCartney ever made, Simply Having... No, I can’t say it. Go Peggy. It’s the only way. OTTO THE BOOK BEAR IN THE SNOW by Katie Cleminson Random House rrp £6.99. The bear in question lives inside a book in a library (do keep up) with his oppo Ernest but they get borrowed and are in danger of missing the party back at base. Cue one heck of an adventure to the returns desk. THE NEW BABY by Lie Dirkx - Cicada rrp £9.95. An activity book for siblings-to-be, I can’t understand why didn’t someone think of this before. It starts with baby animals, shows us what it looks like in mummy’s tum when the egg is three months gone and offers the littlest reader the opportunity to add their own characteristics to a smiling bald phisog, to add to a family tree and to find out while the snapper develops inside, how long will it take to get a brother or sister. DIDN’T WE HAVE A LOVELY TIME! by Michael Morpurgo & Quentin Blake - Walker rrp £6.99. The Farms for City Children scheme is 40 years old and during that time, thousands of Britain’s townie kids have had the opportunity to live and work in the countryside, mucking out, collecting eggs and eating home-grown food. Ho is an adopted

Vietnamese boat boy refugee (remember them? 50,000 came to the UK and no break-down of society to date) who’s seen many terrible things but Hebe the horse brings him out of his shell. A true story, Morpurgo is donating all his royalties to the organisation that supports Nethercott farm. For those misery guts who complain that we don’t do enough charitable work for our own home-grown children, I suggest they go out and buy a copy NOW. THE WHITE FOX by Jackie Morris - Conkers rrp £10.99. Another beautifully presented story published in the imprint created by Barrington Stoke, specialists in making reading less daunting, the evocation of cultural identity through imagery and stories connects to a past beyond the noisy hub-bub of the city. THE TWELVE DAYS OF DASH & LILY by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan - Electric Monkey rrp £7.99. A collaborative effort here by two acclaimed YA authors counting down the days of a relationship in the run up to the big festive event. THE STORY CURE by Ella Berthoud & Susan Elderkin - Canongate rrp £17.99. This is an unlikely parenting manual that should be on the shelf beside the standard guide to Pregnancy & Birth, the First Aid bible, the dog-eared volume on potty-training and the Valium. But it isn’t just full of ideas for books for those who are crazy about horses or space, for starting school or having nits, it is also a vital resource for suggested reading material in subjects that perhaps they don’t want to talk to you about: being afraid of the dark (Jill Tomlinson, Lemony Snicket), parents that are too busy (Coraline), sexuality (the brilliant Alison Bechdel). And stuff you find hard to mention too: excessive gaming, getting divorced, even being taller than everyone else. It will keep more than just the kids “happy, healthy and wise....” HOW THE ZEBRA GOT ITS STRIPES by Léo Grasset - Profile rrp £9.99. The author of the imperative blog ‘Dans les testicules de Darwin’ seeks to explain to the adult or teenage nerd in your life, just what lies behind the architectural brilliance of the termite mound plus the complications of the hyena’s sex life. Naturellement. CYCLOGEOGRAPHY: JOURNEYS OF A LONDON BICYCLE COURIER by Jon Day - Notting Hill Editions rrp £8.99. And here’s something for the owner of that bike that seems to live in the hall, portraying London and all its foibles, metaphorical short-cuts and “grinding toughness” from the very saddle itself. Now please can you lock it up outside? THE CHEF’S LIBRARY by Jenny Linford - Abrams rrp £25.00. What do you give somebody who loves cookbooks (a certain person in my life reads them like Booker Shortlisted novels), chefs and anything at all to do with food? This comprehensively celebrates restaurateurs and techniques and flavours, as well as all the flour-dusted tomes that have inspired and influenced the culinary landscape. Add to basket. BRINDISA, THE TRUE FOOD OF SPAIN - Monika Linton rrp £29.99. If you were to ask me, yes me, where I would like to be this very second, it would be parked over a plate of pimento de piquillo con morcilla de cebolla, on a stool, at London Bridge. However, as I am slaving over a hot laptop while the lights on the dishwasher wink at me hopefully and a text has just dropped in asking me what’s for tea, muuuuuuuumm? I may well have to make do with locking myself in the bathroom with this amazing book. And tear out every dish and chew up each page, one by one. COCKTAIL COOKBOOK by Oskar Kinberg - Frances Lincoln rrp £18.00. Another vital addition to the parental reference library, if you feel you aren’t getting enough of your 5 a day, the master shaker from the famous Oskar’s Bar raids the fruit bowl and salad spinner for ingredients but don’t be alarmed, this isn’t a juicing book. Shudder. With recipes such as Peas, Love & Understanding (what’s so funny ‘bout pisco, sauvignon, lemons, aloe vera and peashoots..) this is self-indulgence with accidental vitamins and a fair measure of musical and movie puns (Floradix and gin might do the trick however if the kids have cleaned out the fridge). So, I have managed to do the whole page for your festive delectation without a single mention of the C-word. And it won’t be long before, as the audience is so fond of shouting to the dame at the panto, it’s behind you. I’ll raise my glass of Fizzy Rascal (vodka, elderflower, prosecco, apple and sage) to that!

The Bookseller Crow, 50 Westow St. Crystal Palace, London SE19 3AF Telephone: 020 8771 8831 email:

november december 2016 - families south east


just williams’

Top 10 Christmas Presents Just Williams Toys is a much-loved local chain of family run toystores in Beckenham, East Dulwich and Clapham South. Established in 2003, Just Williams know all about toys and what south London children have been tugging their parents’ sleeves for, and when we asked owner Vicky Brown for her top recommendations for Christmas, she was more than happy to oblige:



Brio rescue set It’s time for some serious firefighting in the mountains. Open the garage door and drive to the scene of accident - with sirens and lights on, of course. Your assistant firefighter follows in the rescue train. No time to wait - toot-toot! Age 3+, £79.99.



Shopkins Smoothie Truck Shopkins just keep growing in popularity. The Shoppies Smoothie Truck playset comes with 2 exclusive Shopkins characters, 2 stools, a blender and a VIP card to use with the free app. The Smoothie Truck is compatible with all Shoppies dolls so you can drive them around in their cool new truck! Age 5+, £19.99.


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Leapfrog Count and Crawl Kitty



Press Kitty’s keys to explore numbers 1-20 through songs and games. You can bat Kitty’s ball of wool or push along for more musical fun. Purrrr- fect for developing numeracy and motor skills. 9months +, £16.99.


Scotland Yard board game


A detective game for the whole family - this a strategy game is different every single time you play. One player is “Mr X” whilst other players work as a team to try and catch him. The highly-detailed illustrated playing board is based around Central London Travel around the city using taxi, bus and underground “tickets”. Suitable for 3-6 players. Age 8+, £19.99.


c l a pha m sou t h - b ec k e nham - ea st dulw i ch


families south east - november december 2016


More ideas - 10 under £20

Peppy Puppy


Peppy Pups love to run, jump and play. They are the only plush dog who will really run with you! They have spring action legs, tails and heads so when it’s time for a walk, they will bounce along beside you. They are super soft and fluffy so don’t forget to give them a cuddle. Age 3+, £24.99.

Marvin’s iMagic box of tricks A must-have for all budding magicians. The set combines traditional magic with interactive tricks using the Marvin’s Magic app for smart devices. The Tricks are amazing - you won’t believe your eyes! £24.99.


Boombot Boombot is the all new rough and tough robotic buddy that will not only protect your room against intruders, but he can dance, beatbox and throw punches too! He’ll even fart and laugh at his own farts. With over 60 interactive responses across 6 different game modes, Boombot is the ultimate new interactive robotic toy. Age 3+, £49.99.


Noah’s Ark shape sorter


This beautiful two-story ark features flip-open doors and 26 chunky wooden animal blocks, plus Noah and his wife. Includes camels and kangaroos, monkeys and alligators - everything you need for endless shape sorting and matching adventures. Age 3+, £24.99.


Pull along bunny rabbit

The Star Tree


Acclaimed artist-turned author Catherine Hydes’ The Star Tree has been nominated for the 2017 Kate Greenaway Children’s Book award. A magical, beautiful book, it is admired by adults as much as it is enjoyed by children, and has become a bedtime favourite in our house. Frances Lincoln, rrp £12.99 from good bookshops and

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Furry friends




Labels4Kids have a wide range of affordable, named Christmas gifts with everything from personalised boot bags to LEGO® keyrings. Guaranteed to be a success, they are just as fun to give away as they are to receive. You can also buy personalised adventure books from Paw Patrol, Disney Frozen and Spiderman. A name of your choice will be printed throughout the book so your child becomes part of an exciting adventure story. All gifts are made to order so allow 2-3 weeks when you order at or call 01786 473 508 today.


Sleep tight


Schliech riding centre The perfect addition for any horse lovers. This pretty riding centre comes complete with figures and accessories. The removable roof creates an openair riding arena and there are so many more clever features with this play set. Ages 5-12, £89.99.


Where to buy: Just Williams is open daily at: 106 Grove Vale, East Dulwich SE22 8DR, 020 8299 3444 226 High Street, Beckenham BR3 1EN, 020 8663 6334 8b Balham Hill, Clapham South SW12 9EA, 020 3538 6798 And online at

What could be more traditional than socks for Christmas? Jollie socks are different - not just that they come packaged in a tin - for every pair you buy, the company will give another pair to the recipient’s local homeless charity. Read the inspirational story and order online at


Just the job after yet another busy day - the 100% organic Sleep Tight Pillow Spray contains lavender and ylang ylang aromatherapy scents which create a relaxing sleep inducing aroma. Spray directly onto your pillow and bedding before sleep or use as a room fragrancer. £14 from

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Warm all winter




3 Fun and easy to use - just turn the wheel back and forth continuously and the vehicle’s unique design uses gravity and centrifugal force to glide forward on its own. To stop, simply stop turning the wheel and the car will slow. Max weight of user 105kg. £29.99.

Perfect for dressing up fun around the house, the cat is one of a big range of assorted hat and tail sets, so you could have quite the menagerie winding round your legs while you peel the sprouts. £12 from

Named gifts

Jollie good socks

The Wiggle Car


Get back to basics with a toy that doesn’t require batteries or a joystick. Traditional wooden toys represent such good oldfashioned fun. Emma has pink ears, hops with joy and happily rings her bell. £19.75 from


Is there anything sadder than a single, abandoned child’s glove in the street? These knitted multi stripe, fleece lined mittens have their own cord to keep tiny hands warm all winter. £12.99 from


London calling


Wet swimming kit or flight travel bag, perfect holdall for days out or secret storage spot for special toys. The brand-new, wipe-clean Big Red Bus Bag is sure to get plenty of use and admiring comments. £15 from

I spy...


This cardboard Spy Camera from French toy company Moulin Roty uses mirrors to create a ‘spy’ facility. Look through the lens at the back as though you are taking a photo, but instead you will see out of the side! £7.50 from



We love these old-fashioned musical boxes - simply turn the handle to hear a soft lullaby. Available in a choice of colours and tunes, they make charming stocking fillers. £7.50 from

Give homeless people a gift this Christmas! Freshly-cut Nordmann trees starting at £35. Collect locally or pay extra for home delivery. Helping local homeless people through the Jericho Road Project.

Order at or call 020 8690 5121 november december 2016 - families south east


The Vale Practice

Guide to Stress in children and adolescents By The Vale Practice team

Parent coach Lorraine Thomas, clinical psychologist Dr Lucy Chan, and osteopath and clinical director Daniel Kay offer insights into child and adolescent stress - and what we can do to help. Feeling stressed is natural, normal and happens to all of us. However, many parents worry about the impact of stress on their child’s wellbeing. A 2016 report by the Children’s Society made links between wellbeing and mental health and highlighted a widening gender gap, with girls more likely to report unhappiness with their appearance, low mood and anxieties than boys. It can be an anxious time for parents trying to support children in dealing with stress, but it is also a great opportunity. Helping children to learn to handle stress in a healthy way will equip them to develop an emotional tool kit for life.

LORRAINE THOMAS’ 10 TOP TIPS 1. Be a powerful role model. Good habits are ‘caught’ not ‘taught’ so let your child see that you work at handling your stress in healthy ways. If not, do something positive this week e.g., one alcohol-free day or book a massage. 2. Stress management A... B... C... strategy. Encourage your child to ACKNOWLEDGE and name feelings as the first step to managing them. Getting them to BREATHE deeply will have a physical effect on their body’s alarm system. Brainstorm ideas about how they can respond with an action inside their CONTROL. 3. Avoid saying ‘there is nothing to worry about’. Children need to know they can chat to you but there needs to be action too. Encourage their own ideas about what to do if they are involved they will be more likely to make it work. 4. Catch them ‘red-handed’ being calm. Highlight the times when they are calm and elaxed and they will recognise that the ability to be calm is a strength they can call on. 5. Put boundaries around your screen time. Adults and children need boundaries or technology takes over our lives. Decide on your family ethos, set your guidelines - and stick to them.

Injured? Postural fatigue? Under performing in work or sports?

Professional and effective solutions for your aches and pains.

The Vale Practice

Osteopathy, Cranial Osteopathy, Acupuncture, Nutrition, Massage, Counselling and Reflexology...

64 Grove Vale, London SE22 8DT

T. 020 8299 9798 E.


6. Inhabit your child’s online world with them. Treat it like teaching them to cross the road - let go of their hand when you are sure they have all the knowledge and tools to keep them safe and know what to do if anything makes them uncomfortable. 7. Press the pause button. You can’t be 100% mum or dad all of the time but fun together cuts stress and boosts energy. When they are relaxed, you will be able to ‘tune’ in to what is going on inside their head. 8. Connection - not perfection. Seize opportunities to ‘celebrate’ when things don’t go to plan, reflecting on what you learn and how you might do things differently next time. Focus more on process than end product and attitude and effort more than outcome. 9. Build On Strengths and Weaken Weaknesses. Focus more on what children can do than can’t. Focusing on their skills, strengths and qualities reduces pressure and builds confidence, making them more likely to succeed in weaker areas. 10. Demonstrate strength to ask for support. Many children feel stress because they think it is a sign of weakness if they can’t do everything for themselves. So show them that you can ask for support.

WHEN TO SEEK HELP According to Dr Lucy Chan, difficult feelings can alert us to the fact that something in our children’s lives is not quite right. When children are under stress you may notice different signs, for example: • showing either more angry or withdrawing behaviour • changes to eating or sleeping • an increase in worries • a change in confidence, tearfulness, clinginess or avoidance of situations • difficulties in concentration or a change in how they are doing at school. While it is normal for children to have periods when they may display these signs, if you do not see any improvement over time or if your child is struggling with day to day life there are many sources of support you can access in addition to what you can do at home: • Contact your council’s Family Information Service (FIS) to find out about free parenting groups • The Special Educational Needs co-ordinator or Pastoral Care team at your child’s school and also GPs can refer your child or you to NHS counselling or mental health services

families south east - november december 2016

You can also work with a local counsellor or child and family psychologist privately. The Vale Practice in East Dulwich offers counselling, parent coaching and child and family clinical psychology as well as osteopathy, cranial osteopathy and massage, (which is not only for adults by the way!) • There is a lot of online support for older children. ChildLine, The Mix, and Family Lives also offer telephone and online parenting support. Daniel Kay feels that stress and physical pain can be inextricably linked, and children and adolescents are by no means excluded from this phenomenon. Very common physical reactions to stress are; tight and sore neck and shoulders, and headaches. Tummy butterflies which are sometimes transient but can become chronic are also a stress response, thought to be a result of decreased blood flow to your abdominal organs as the body prepares for situations. Prolonged stress in children, and especially in adolescents, can result in postural changes, as they subconsciously seek to protect themselves from the outside world. These changes are commonly recognised as; stooped or slumped seated and standing posture, looking down all the time avoiding eye contact and what our parents always used to pull us up on; dragging our heels. These can all become adopted postures over time which can lead to muscle and joint pain, whilst also influencing our posture and movement patterns into adult life, leaving us prone to periods of poor musculoskeletal health. The aches and pains associated with stress may disappear quickly if the stressor is removed, but re-occuring symptoms may require a little more help. The osteopaths at The Vale Practice are all experts at helping overcome these problems and have a wealth of experience with children and adolescents.

SUPPORT WHEN YOU NEED IT Some parents report feeling fearful of being judged or embarrassed if their children are suffering from stress, but remember that services are there to support not judge you - all parents need support whether that comes from family, friends or professionals! Read more or find help at The Vale Practice, 64 Grove Vale, East Dulwich SE22 8DT, 020 8299 9798,

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£99 max fee to find a professional interviewed and referenced checked

• Nanny • Registered Childminder • Evening Babysitter call 020

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Childcarers join for free Based Beckenham High Street



What’sOn ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !



23 December in HERNE HILL, SYDENHAM, STREATHAM and SEVENOAKS,, 0800 107 7949 Leave your little ones in capable, creative hands and nip off to your local shops to indulge in a little ‘you’ time before Christmas! Funky Monkey Keyboard Classes’ fun filled ‘Jingle Bells’ music workshops are a perfect Christmas themed taster day for 4-8 yr old beginner musicians. The children are introduced to the electronic keyboard and discover how to start reading and writing music too! With art activities and games all based around music, they may not even want to come home in time for the big day! £40/ £35, 10am-2pm, £40/ £35 includes equipment, bring packed lunch. Booking essential, places limited.

15-23 December, St DUNSTAN’S SCHOOL in Catford, 01235 467300, The ultimate in fun and games to get in the festive spirit! While you plan and shop for your perfect Christmas, jingle all the way to Super Camps and let their experts look after your children. The fun will be non-stop with some great seasonal activities on a multi-activity course to create that Christmas buzz. Ages 4-14 years, 8am-6pm, bookings available by day at £48 or £190 for a week.

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To find out if we can help you ring: 020 7277 0110 or email

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Diary Dates for Grown Ups



d idd i d a nce

NCT NEARLY NEW SALE 12 November, St FAITH’S COMMUNITY CENTRE, Red Post Hill, North Dulwich SE24 9JQ, email Dulwich & District NCT’s pre-Christmas table top sale is the chance to grab some nearly new baby, children’s and maternity clothes for sale as well as books, toys and baby equipment. Meet other parents, grab a slice of cake from the pop up cafe and join in with family friendly activities. 10.30am12.30pm, adult admission £1.


classes ool dance funky presch boys for girls and



THE INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS SHOW 12 + 13 November, BATTERSEA EVOLUTION, Battersea Park SW11 4NJ, Meet representatives at the UK’s largest gathering of independent schools, representing day schools, boarding schools, education advisers and more. The show website also provides a useful School Finder tool, helping parents shortlist which exhibiting schools are relevant for their children based on school type and location. Open 10am-5pm Saturday, 10.30am-4.30pm Sunday. Tickets are free if you register in advance.

BABY TO TODDLER EVENT 19+20 November, ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway E16 1XL, Baby to Toddler is a brand new, two day shopping event for modern parents. Created for expectant parents and parents of children aged 0-4, the event will bring exclusive offers and deals from all the big brands and names you know and trust, as well as not-on-the high street boutique brands, all under one roof. The one-stop-shop for everything parents need for their little ones, it’s a fantastic shopping event to make your lives easier and comes just in time for Christmas shopping. Open 9.30am - 5.30pm, Early Bird tickets £6, on-the-door tickets £12. READER OFFER: To save over 40% on your tickets, quote FAMILIESSE when you book online.


LEE GREEN OPEN STUDIOS 12+13 and 19+20 November, in and around LEE GREEN, Many people are regular visitors to this annual local arts event. This year around participating 50 artists will open their homes and studios, all accessible in an easy stroll around Lee Green, with a welcome pause for refreshments along the way. Browse, chat to the makers or take the opportunity to purchase direct from the artists. Prints, painting, textiles, book illustrations, photography, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery and crafts to view and for sale, direct from the artist. Collect a stamp from at least 10 venues to enter a prize draw to win £100 worth of art. Free admission, families welcome. See website for map and more details or follow @leeopenstudios on Twitter.

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l origina music


16 dance styles

classes across South East London SE1 - SE18 call Anne-Marie: 07973 982790 SE19 - SE27 call Nicola: 07832 913282

w w w. d i d d i d a n ce. c o m

BABY AND CHILDREN’S MARKETS 19 November, St BARNABAS HALL, 23 Dulwich Village SE21 7BT, 0794 9247 439, Over twenty stalls bursting with top quality new and nearly new high street/ designer baby and children’s clothes, equipment and accessories from birth to 5 years, plus a selection of unique businesses in the baby and children’s industry showcasing and selling their products and services all under one roof! Stall fee: pre-loved stalls £20 per table, business stalls £25-30. 1-3pm, admission £2 adults, children free.

Theatre, Shows and Music THE GRUFFALO - LIVE


Until 8 January, LYRIC THEATRE, Shaftesbury Avenue W1D 7ES, Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Searching for hazelnuts, Mouse meets the cunning Fox, the eccentric old Owl and the party mad Snake. Will the story of the terrifying Gruffalo save Mouse from ending up as dinner for these hungry woodland creatures? After all, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo is there? Songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3 and up and their grown-ups, in the much-loved show that’s toured Britain and the world!

18 November - 8 January, GREENWICH THEATRE, Crooms Hill, Greenwich SE10 8ES, 020 8858 7755, Booing at this year’s pantomime at Greenwich Theatre will reach new levels with the return of everyone’s favourite villain Anthony Spargo as Captain Hook. Wendy is played by Louise Young from Mamma Mia, and JamesPaul McAllister, who has been touring the UK with Priscilla Queen of the Desert, will crop up in a host of under-the-sea roles. Share the adventure, which is a new story taken from the classic tale of Peter Pan. Adult tickets £29, children half price.

november december 2016 - families south east





MoreWhat’sOn Find even more activities: then click What's On



23 November - 1 January, PEACOCK THEATRE, Portugal Street WC2A 2HT, 020 7863 8222, London’s favourite Christmas show is back! The Snowman has transported a generation of children and their families into the wintery world of a boy and his magical snowman. As a friendship is kindled, the two embark on a starry-skied adventure to the North Pole, where they meet dancing penguins, reindeer, Father Christmas and escape the clutches of Jack Frost. Ages 2+, family tickets £115.

OMNIBUS CLAPHAM, 1 Clapham Northside, London SW4 0QW, 020 7498 4699, OTTTO AND THE ROBIN, 1-18 December. Everyone’s invited to the Piddle under Puddle Christmas party! Otto wants to go, but he’s too shy. Then one day a cheeky robin arrives and gradually a friendship develops which sees them singing duets and drinking tea together. When the robin goes Otto realises he must be brave and step outside and make friends. Tickets from £8.



2 December - 8 January, AMBASSADORS THEATRE, West Street WC2H 9ND, 020 7395 5405, A menagerie of 75 enchanting puppets come together in a show that faithfully adapts four of Eric Carle’s best-loved books for the stage: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Tickets from £12.50.

15 - 31 December, CRITERION THEATRE, 218-223 Piccadilly, London W1V 9LB, 0844 815 6131, Painter and decorator by day, Mr Popper dreams of Antarctic adventures. He is astounded when one day a packing crate arrives on his doorstep, out of which waddles a penguin! With original music and lyrics, and a family of performing penguins brought vividly to life through the magic of puppetry, this delightful musical adaptation of Richard and Florence Atwater’s popular book will charm everyone from ages 4-104. Tickets from £14.50.

MYCENAE HOUSE MYCENAE HOUSE, 90 Mycenae Road, Blackheath SE3 7SE, 020 8858 1749, THE OWL & THE PUSSYCAT, 12 November. Let’s All Dance present this gorgeous new ballet which takes a fresh and humorous look at the famous Lear poem. 11am, tickets £8.50 adults, £7 children. THE NUTCRACKER, 18-20 December. Let’s All Dance present a magical ballet retelling of the classic Christmas story as an abridged version that the whole family will love. Ages 2+, 1pm and 3pm, tickets £12 adults, £10 children.

UNICORN THEATRE UNICORN THEATRE, 147 Tooley Street SE1 2HZ, 020 7845 0580, THE OWL WHO WAS AFRAID OF THE DARK, until 21 November. Plop is a Baby Barn Owl, fat, fluffy with a beautiful heart-shaped ruff and knackety knees. He’s still learning to fly, very curious and almost always hungry. And he’s afraid of the dark, which is not very helpful for a night-bird. So his exasperated mother sends him on several missions to find out more about night time. Ages 2-6, tickets from £10. For all your household repairs and odd jobs. BADDIES: THE MUSICAL, I offer a professional and courteous service 3 November - 24 December. The Big Bad Wolf’s in trouble - he’s been 020 8249 3264 or 07913 656 502 ripped out of his story and thrown in jail for being too good at being bad. But being the villain’s the best part, everyone knows that... This Christmas, someone’s decided to change the fairytale rulebook and no-one seems to know why. How are you supposed to tell who the good guys are when there are no baddies around? Step into the lives of everyone’s favourite villainous characters and find out. Ages 6+, tickets from £12. BOING! 30 November - 1 January. This piece of dance-theatre captures the delirious excitement of two boys Interior / Exterior waiting for Father Christmas to arrive on the most magical night of the year. Experienced, Reliable, Clean Fully Guaranteed / Insured There are beds to be jumped on, pillows to be fought with and seas to FREE ADVICE AND QUOTE be sailed; let your imagination soar John:- James & Lamont right up to the stars. Ages 2-6, tickets 020 8462 4646 - 07802 535695 from £12.

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families south east - november december 2016

LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE, 14 Dagmar Passage, Cross Street N1 2DN, 020 7226 1787, LET’S FLY, until 20 November. What does your home look like when you’re a high as the birds and the aeroplanes? Or even a spaceship. Emily knows how to fly and she wants you to come on an adventure with her. Ages 2-6. EMILY RISING, until 20 November. Emily wakes up one bright autumn morning to find that her feet can’t touch the ground, and no one can understand why. To everyone’s surprise Emily keeps rising higher and higher. From sleeping upside-down on her ceiling and flying above her school playground, to soaring over a starry-skied London, Emily’s adventure is just beginning. Ages 7+. SANTA’S LITTLE WORKSHOP, 4-24 December. Leave behind the craziness of the high street and enjoy crafty festive fun and stories, based on Clement Clarke Moore’s much-loved ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Ages 2-8, tickets £10 per child, £8 adults. ME... 8 December - 29 January. The world is a very big place, especially for a tiny baby penguin who is just finding her feet. The shimmering stars and glistening snow spin around our little hero, while the mountains tower high and the wind rushes to and fro. A lovely and touching story about a parent and their love for their child by much loved children’s author Emma Dodd. Ages 2-6, tickets £10 children, £12 adults. ME... FAMILY GALA PERFORMANCE, 20 December. A very special performance of ME, with a chance to meet the puppets and explore the backstage theatre. 1.30pm, tickets £25.

PEPPA PIG’S SURPRISE 15 December - 7 January, PHOENIX THEATRE, 110 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0JP, 0844 871 7629, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig have got a surprise for Peppa and her younger brother George but no matter how hard they try, they cannot guess what it is. In Peppa Pig’s Surprise audiences will enjoy interactive fun, games and, of course, surprises. This charming, colourful new show features new songs, new life-size puppets, interactive fun, games and surprises. Suitable for ages 3+. Tickets from £13.

AMIGO’S MAGIC FAMILY SHOW 27 December, THE IVY HOUSE, 40 Stuart Road, Nunhead SE15 3BE, Southeast London magician Simon Rosselli will be performing an extraordinary show where he plucks live animals from thin air, cuts one ‘lucky person’ in half, introduces puppets, ventriloquism and invites lots of audience participation. Meet Fluffy the Rabbit and take home a free Bunny Copter. 2-4pm, tickets £8 children, £10 adults, £30 families, book first.




Tiny Tots age 2.5-3

RAYMOND BRIGGS’ FATHER CHRISTMAS 18 November - 24 December, LYRIC HAMMERSMITH, Lyric Square, King Street, Hammersmith W6 0DL, 020 8741 6850, Join Father Christmas as he gets ready for his busiest day of the year, Christmas Eve. Watch as he prepares his Christmas deliveries, feeds his reindeer and finally takes flight into the snowy night. Full of merry touches with plenty of live music, songs and playful puppetry, this is a perfect festive treat for under 6s and their families. Tickets £10.

THE GLOBE THEATRE SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE, 21 New Globe Walk, BanksideSE1 9DT, 020 7902 1400, THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL AND OTHER HAPPIER TALES, 24 November - 22 January. A dark and haunting telling of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale. This magical production infuses puppetry and music to transport you into the world of the impoverished little Match Girl. For Adults and the bravest of children, tickets from £15.

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, Bow Street, London WC2E 9D, 07304 4000, FAMILY SUNDAYS, Last Sunday of each month. Explore the Royal Opera House, its artists and the world of opera and ballet. Sundays are packed full of creative and practical activities for all the family including informal performances from Royal Ballet dancers, plus interactive singing and dance activities. Ages 6+, 12-4pm, £5 adults, £3 children. FIRST OPERA: WELCOME PERFORMANCES. Welcome Performances are for families who have never been to a ballet or opera at the Royal Opera House before. You don’t need to know anything about either - just come along and give it a try. Tickets £5-£20. BACKSTAGE TOURS. The Backstage Tours include an introduction to the colourful history of the theatre, an insight into the redevelopment of the Royal Opera House and a look at aspects of current productions. Each tour is a unique experience, and may include opportunities to see The Royal Ballet in class, or the magnificent backstage technology in operation. Suitable for ages 8+, book first.

THE NIGHT THAT AUTUMN TURNED TO WINTER 3 December - 8 January, BATTERSEA ARTS CENTRE, Lavender Hill SW11 5TN, 020 7223 2223, Winter is on its way, and deep in the wild wood, animals of all shapes and sizes are busy getting ready for the cold season ahead. See the squirrels, find the fox and hear the hares on the night that their world turns into a magical snow shimmering wilderness. join award-winning Little Bulb Theatre on an unforgettable woodland adventure with songs, silliness and plenty of audience interaction. Ages 3-7, tickets from £10, family tickets £44.

PUPPET THEATRE BARGE PUPPET THEATRE BARGE, Little Venice, Blomfield Road W9 2PF, 020 7249 6876, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, From 3 December. Ebenezer is in his office and not looking forward to Christmas because he is so mean, but he does not know what he is in for! This charming puppet production is suitable for all ages down to 4 years old. Tickets £8.50 children, £12 adults.

ALBANY THEATRE ALBANY THEATRE, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG, 020 8692 4446, CIRCUS FAMILY WORKSHOP, 20 November. Tumble, balance and spin on a hairpin, learn circus skills with your child in a brilliant and bonding experience. 12noon and 2pm, ages 3+, £15 per pair. BRR! 20 November. Steve is an Antarctic penguin who wants to visit his cousins in sunny South Africa, but how will he get there? It’s too far to waddle and Steve can’t fly. One day a strange creature falls from the sky right into Steve’s garden; who is she, and can she help Steve get to South Africa? Ages 3+, tickets £7, family ticket £24. THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE, 5 December - 1 January 2017. A tiny snail longs to see the world, so she hitches a lift on the tail of a humpback whale. Together they go on an amazing journey. When the whale gets beached, how will the tiny snail save him? Based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, the performance is adapted for the stage by Tall Stories with live music and lots of laughs. Ages 4+, tickets £12, concs £8.

CANADA WATER CULTURE SPACE CANADA WATER CULTURE SPACE, 21 Surrey Quays Road SE16 7AR, 020 8692 4446, UNDERNEATH A MAGICAL MOON, 19 November. Wendy Darling is the owner of stories, mother to the lost boys, a believer in fairies, and a young girl with her feet firmly on the ground. Tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal team up with leading playwright Mike Kenny to re-imagine the enchanting story of Peter Pan as told by Wendy. Ages 3+, tickets £7, family ticket £24. PAT-A-CAKE BABY, 26 November. Long Nose Puppets present a marvellous moonlit show full of riotous rhyme, zany puppets and spiffy special cake; all iced with music and songs by Tom Gray. Little children will feel stuffed to the brim with magic. Ages 2+, tickets £7, family ticket £24. A CHRISTMAS CAROL, 7-9, 10 and 17 December. A lively and modern adaptation of Dickens’ epic festive ghost story of Christmas past, present and future, with live musicians, Christmas carols and dance. Watch as laughter and goodness replace the ice in Scrooge’s heart. Box Clever’s magical adaptation is ideal for families with children aged 7+. Tickets £10 children, £21 adults, £38 families.

WILL TUCKETT’S NUTCRACKER 30 November - 8 January, THE PRINTWORKS LONDON, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water SE16 7ND, Explore Tchaikovsky’s Christmas classic in a 360-degree immersive environment. The production unites the best of classical ballet choreography with new immersive theatre techniques, allowing the audience to interact directly with the story and the characters. Will Tuckett’s Nutcracker gives you the chance to step inside this epic fairytale adventure, and is suitable for all ages from 5+.

SOUTHBANK SOUTHBANK CENTRE, Belvedere Road SE1 8PX, 0844 847 9944, RUG RHYMES, Wednesdays until 16 December. What rhymes with rug? Join the Poetry Library puppets Frederico and Firebird to find out, in a short session of nursery rhymes, poems and rhyming stories for under 5s and carers. 10.30am-11am, free. GONKS, 11 November - 15 January. Can you find the Gonks hiding around Southbank Centre? These mythological creatures from Scandinavian folklore were typically associated with the winter solstice and the Christmas season. The Southbank Gonks are a little larger than average and can be found in forests around Southbank Centre’s site. CIRCUS WEEKEND, 3+4 December. Roll up, roll up and join NoFit State Circus for a weekend of acrobatic fun. a selection of workshops on each day to introduce a range of different circus disciplines for beginners from age 5+, and gives opportunities for improvers to develop further. WINTER MARKET, 11 November 8 January. Stroll through the wooden chalet markets, filled with festive food, drink, gifts and treats. Clustered along the riverbank, you can enjoy mulled wine, quality edibles and handmade crafts, all while taking in the sights and sounds of London at Christmas time. Open daily from 11am.

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BLACKHEATH HALLS BLACKHEATH HALLS, 23 Lee Road SE3 9RQ, 020 8463 0100, JACK FROST: 3 December. A magical wintry production with puppetry, live music and enchanting storytelling. 1 and 3pm, £8.50. FESTIVE FAMILY SING ALONG, 3 December. Sing along to your favourite Christmas tunes with choirs from the Conservatoire. 5.30pm, £2.50 children, £5 adults. A CHRISTMAS CAROL, 10 December. Dickens’ classic tale told through mime, voice and a couple of suitcases full of ghosts. 3pm, £8.50.

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CHURCHILL THEATRE, High Street, Bromley BR1 1HA, 0844 871 7620, PETER PAN, 9 December - 7 January 2017. Craig Revel Horwood stars as Captain Hook in the swashbuckling family panto adventure. The dazzling production is spectacularly brought to life with an abundance of comedy, stunning sets, fabulous costumes and pantomime magic. Tickets from £18.

ORCHARD THEATRE, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent DA1 1ED, 01322 220 000, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, 10-31 December. Joe Pasquale stars in the fairest panto in all the land, with an abundance of comedy, song and dance numbers, fabulous costumes and spectacular 3D effects. Tickets from £18.

ROYAL ALBERT HALL The ROYAL ALBERT HALL, Kensington Gore SW7 2AP, 0845 401 5045, AMALUNA, until 4 February. Cirque du Soleil’s newest touring show has never before been seen in the UK and marks Cirque du Soleil’s 20th year at the stunning, world-famous venue. STORYTELLING AND MUSIC SESSIONS, Wednesdays until November. Seasoned storytellers deliver a series of sessions for babies and toddlers, aiming to engage and encourage interaction between parents/ carers and their little ones using musical instruments, singing, movement and stories. 0-4 year-olds, 10am and 11.30am, tickets £5.

POLKA THEATRE POLKA THEATRE, 240 Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SB, 020 8543 4888, BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG, 25 November - 5 February. Meet the little pig with big dreams in a heart-warming tale of friendship, adventure and bravery. The classic children’s novel comes alive with plenty of laughter, thrills, stunning puppetry and original music. Ages 5-11, tickets from £12. HOW TO HIDE A LION, until 26 February. When a lion is chased out of town, a young girl helps him find somewhere to hide. It’s not easy - lions are too big, too fluffy and too heavy! Join Iris on a mission to squeeze and squash her furry new friend into a variety of sneaky spots, as Helen Stephens’ magical book comes to life with playful humour, dazzling puppetry and original songs. Ages 3-6, tickets £12.50 adults, £9 children.

THE NATIONAL THEATRE, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PX, 020 7452 3000, PETER PAN, 16 Nov - 29 December. When Peter Pan loses his shadow during a visit to London, headstrong Wendy helps him re-attach it. In return, she is invited to Neverland - where Tinker Bell the fairy, Tiger Lily and the vengeful Captain Hook await. Explore the possibilities and pain of growing up in a riot of magic, mischief, music and make-believe. Ages 7+. tickets from £15. PIGEON ENGLISH, until 22 November. In the shadows of concrete high rises, eleven year-old Harri is walking on a tightrope towards manhood. Events quickly spiral out of his control and the world will never be the same again. Stephen Kelman’s 2011 Man Booker prize shortlisted novel is adapted for stage by award-winning playwright Gbolahan Obisesan. The play looks at the sometimes harsh reality of adulthood in modern day Britain, and contains strong language. Tickets from £19.50. ROMEO AND JULIET, until 23 November. It’s 1950s post war London. Teddy girls mix with teddy boys and as immigration booms, so does brutality, prejudice and a ruthless gang culture. The National Theatre’s latest adaptation brings vendettas, violence and star crossed lovers like you’ve never seen them before; in Owen Horsley’s abridgement of this enduring Shakespearean tale. Tickets from £19.50.

Events and Attractions THE HORNIMAN MUSEUM HORNIMAN MUSEUM and gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ, 020 8699 1872,

Museum open 10.30am-5.30pm daily, general admission free, charges apply for special exhibitions and the aquarium. The museum’s music gallery and hands-on base, regular weekend and holiday drop-ins and workshops allow family visitors to explore the collection through arts and crafts, music, stories and hands-on sessions. All this within 16 acres of beautiful green space which has the oldest nature trail in London, an animal corner and a Farmers’ Market every Saturday. EXPLORE TAXIDERMY, 26 November. Join taxidermist and artist Jazmine Miles-Long for a family talk about the art of taxidermy and find out about her current display ‘Memorial. A Tribute to Taxidermy’, which is on show in the Natural History Gallery. Sessions are free and for families with children aged 5+. 11.45am-12.15pm and 12.30-1pm, with model making for families from 2pm and 3.15pm, tickets £8. YOUTH LATE TAKEOVER, 26 November. The Horniman Youth Panel take over the museum with an exciting night of live bands, DJs, a photobooth and much more. This event is organised for young people by young people. The first 200 visitors get a free wristband so arrive early. Ages 14-19, 6.30-9.30pm.

LOVE WEST DULWICH CHRISTMAS FAIR 26 November, in and around WEST DULWICH SE21 Businesses, shops and community groups from Park Hall Road, Croxted Road and Rosendale Road will join together in a festive fun day for all the family. There will be special instore activities, craft workshops, a market of arts, crafts and food stalls, seasonal refreshments and live street entertainment. 10am-4pm. For details, find ‘lovewestdulwich’ on Facebook and @lovewestdulwich on Twitter.


families south east - november december 2016

SOUTH LONDON BOTANICAL INSTITUTE 324 South Norwood Road, Herne Hill SE24 9AQ, 020 8674 5787, THE GLOWING GARDEN PARTY, 1 December. Enjoy the SLBI garden in the winter - lit up with illuminations, music and refreshments. 6.30-8.30pm, members free, non-members £10, book first. SEASONAL CRAFTS, 11 December. Make your own botanical table decorations ready for the festive season, using fruits, seeds, leaves and other plant materials. Younger visitors can also make a name place card decorated in the same fashion. Children £2, families £5 includes materials, book first.

THE LORD MAYOR’S SHOW 12 November, CITY OF LONDON, Since 1215, the newly elected Lord Mayor of the City of London has travelled from the City to Westminster to pledge allegiance to the Crown. Join in the fun between 11am and 2.30pm, and line-up along the route to watch the colourful parade travel across London. After the procession, a fantastic fireworks display will light up the sky over the River Thames from 5pm.

STAR WARS IDENTITIES 18 November to September 2017, the O2, Peninsula Square, Greenwich SE10 0DX,, Rediscover the unforgettable characters of Star Wars in a whole new way, as a new exhibition continues its world tour. See an exclusive collection of 200 props, models, costumes and artwork from the Star Wars films. Explore what makes the characters of Star Wars who they are, and take on an interactive identity quest to discover your own personalised Star Wars character. Tickets from £10 children, £20 adults, £48 families.

GREENWICH MARKET GREENWICH MARKET, 5b Greenwich Market, Greenwich, London, SE10 9HZ, 020 8269 096, CHRISTMAS LANTERN PARADE, 23 November. Follow the beautiful, local schoolchildren’s lantern parade through Greenwich, ooh at the big Market Christmas lights switch on, and meet Father Christmas. 4-7pm. CHRISTMAS MARKET, 1-24 December. The market will be open every day with up to 150 stalls filled with hand crafted gifts, festive food and drink. 10am-5.30pm. CHRISTMAS GROTTO, 17 + 18 and 21-23 December. Visit Father Christmas, enjoy balloon fun with his elves and take home a gift bag, £4.




ROCKMOUNT PRIMARY SCHOOL WINTER FAIR 3 December, ROCK MOUNT PRIMARY SCHOOL, Chevening Road, Upper Norwood SE19 3ST, Hot food, drinks, activities, music & dance performances, raffle, and story time with Santa. Come and enjoy some festive cheer! 12noon 3pm, entry free for children, adults 50p.

HALL PLACE AND GARDENS HALL PLACE, Bourne Road, Bexley, Kent DA5 1PQ, CHRISTMAS CRAFT FAIR, 19 - 20 Nov. Over 45 stallholders throughout the historic house are selling a selection of traditional crafts and contemporary gifts, including handicrafts, jewellery, homemade preserves and decorations. The local Farmers Market will also be open all weekend. 10am-4pm, entry by donation. SAND WARRIORS FAMILY CRAFTS, 19 + 20 Nov. Becoming a sand artist couldn’t be easier! Make a magnet, card or bookmark with vibrant coloured sand. £2.50 - £3.50 per activity, pay on the day. FROZEN FLORAL ROADSHOW, 1 December. Join in under the magnificent Hall Place Christmas tree for a Frozen Floral Roadshow with award-winning floral designer Mig Kimpton. Watch him create floral designs from scratch using fresh flowers, while he shares his personal anecdotes from over 30 years of life in the theatre. 7.30-9.30pm, £12 per person includes a glass of wine. CHRISTMAS GARDEN TRAIL, 3 December - 8 January 2017. Follow the trail to find forgetful Father Christmas’ missing clothes hidden in the gardens. They all have parts of a scrumptious Father Christmas cupcake recipe for you to follow at home. Includes small free prize at the end. 10am-4pm, £2.50 per trail. A CHRISTMAS CAROL, 4 December. Join Quantum Theatre in the Great Hall for their production of the Dickens’s classic, A Christmas Carol. 2.30pm, £8 children, £10 adults. FAMILY CHRISTMAS CAROL CONCERT, 11 December. Hall Place hosts a traditional Christmas carol concert with Santa and his musical sleigh. Tickets include a glass of mulled wine (or juice) and a mince pie. 2pm, £8 children, £12 adults, book first. CHRISTMAS CONCERT, 18 December. A miscellany of songs, carols and literary gems to get you in the mood for Christmas. 2pm, tickets £12 includes mulled wine or a glass or juice and a mince pie. Book first.

BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM, Threadneedle Street, London EC2R, 020 7601 5545, The Bank of England Museum tells the story of the Bank of England from its foundation in 1694 to its role today as the UK’s central bank. Examine intricately-designed banknotes, feel the weight of a genuine gold bar and see the pikes and muskets that were once used to defend the Bank. Children’s activity sheets provide fun for younger visitors. Open 10am5pm Mondays to Fridays, admission free. CRAFTY CHRISTMAS AND CREATIVE NEW YEAR 22 and 23, 28-30 December. Crafty activities for children - make a gold bar moneybox, door hanger or mask to take home, along with a free chocolate coin. Workshops 10am-4.30pm.

THE FOUNDLING MUSEUM 40 Brunswick Square, Camden Town WC1N 1AZ, 020 7841 3600, Britain’s first home for abandoned children and London’s first public art gallery, The Foundling Museum reveals the stories of the Foundling Hospital’s founder Thomas Coram, the artist William Hogarth and composer George Frideric Handel. It houses significant collections of eighteenth-century art, interiors, social history and music. Open 10am-5pm Tuesdays to Saturdays and from 11am Sundays. Admission free for under 16s, £8.25 adults. BACH TO BABY, 17 November and 8 December. A classical concert for babies and their families, performed by internationally-renowned musicians. Inspired by Handel’s involvement with the Foundling Hospital, Bach to Baby brings the past alive for little ones and their families. 10.30-11.30am, Adults £12, children free. CLAY SOUP BOWLS, 26 November. Join artist Shelly Wain for a clay-based workshop inspired by the museum’s exhibition ‘Feeding the 400’. Create a soup bowl for the Foundling Hospital children, then design an emblem for your bowl, inspired by Hogarth’s original Foundling Hospital logo. 10.30am-4.30pm, free. Suitable for children age 5 and up. CHRISTMAS WITH POOH BEAR AND FRIENDS, 11 December. David Owen Norris and Amanda Pitt perform pieces from Winnie the Pooh, The Wind in the Willows and works by Edward Lear in this familyfriendly concert. Join in with the songs and nonsense poems, followed by a lantern-making workshop. 1pm start, adult tickets £5 under 10s free.



CHRISTMAS STORY LANTERNS, 11 December. Create a magical Christmas lantern, inspired by the Pooh Bear and Friends concert. Illustrate your lantern with pictures from Winnie the Pooh or Wind in the Willows, then take it home to hang in your bedroom. Suitable for children age 3 and up, 2.15pm, free.

CHARLES DICKENS MUSEUM CHARLES DICKENS MUSEUM, 48 Doughty Street WC1N 2LX, 020 7405 2127, See the home where Charles Dickens wrote novels including ‘Great Expectations’, which is still furnished today with his furniture and many personal artefacts. Open 10am-5pm daily, admission £4 children, £9 adults. CHRISTMAS AT THE MUSEUM, 30 November - 8 January. Discover Dickens’ house as it would have been in his day, with tours, candlelit evenings and captivating performances of ‘A Christmas Carol’. Book first. THE LADYBIRD LIFE OF DICKENS: AN ILLUSTRATED ADVENTURE, 30 November - 16 April. The classic 1965 Ladybird book comes to life in a new exhibition featuring original illustrations and letters between its creators.

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, Lambeth Road, London SE1, 020 7416 5000, IWM London tells the story of wars through the recollection of people who lived through them, both fighting the cause and at home. Familyfriendly attractions a recreated Family in Wartime house, and creative and object discovery sessions for families on Sundays. Open 10am-6pm daily except 24-26 December, admission free. SECRET WAR. From the development of MI5 and MI6 before the First World War, to Cold War intelligence-gathering and the contemporary use of highly-trained elite forces, the exhibition examines the facts behind the secrecy and why the need for secret agencies remains a subject of continued debate today.


COLOUR AND VISION. Discover the earliest life on Earth and trace the evolutionary history of colour and vision. Find out how early interactions gave rise to the wide variety of colours that we now see in the natural world.Adults £12, children £6. DINO SNORES, once a month on Saturdays. Discover what really happens at the museum when the staff and visitors have gone home. Children aged 7-11 years, from 7pm to 9.50am the following day. Tickets £60.

MUSEUM OF LONDON MUSEUM OF LONDON, London Wall EC2Y 5HN, 020 7001 9844, Find out more about London’s history, through displays covering events such as the Great Plague, Londoners’ jobs and occupations, and Roman life. Open daily 10am-6pm, admission free. On Sundays, museum hosts help visitors explore the galleries through fun, hands-on activities at 11am and 2pm. FIRE! FIRE! Until 17 April 2017. The museum’s most theatrical exhibition to date combines a variety of sights, sounds, smells, textures and interactive exhibits to immerse visitors in the events leading up to, during and after the Great Fire of London in 1666. From an imagined Pudding Lane, a giant AV panorama of London on fire and a restored 17thcentury fire engine, the exhibition has plenty of star attractions. Visitors can touch Great Fire artefacts, examine them more closely with microscopes and X-rays, try their hands as a firefighter in an interactive touch screen game and listen to audio extracts from original letters written by terrified Londoners fleeing the flames, before following in Christopher Wren’s footsteps by building their own vision of London. Under 5s free, adults £8, children from £4. VICTORIAN SANTA’S GROTTO, 3 - 23 December. Join Santa in the Victorian Walk - a life size recreation of a Victorian London street. Each child who meets Santa receives a special gift, with the option (for an additional £8) to take home a photograph of the magical moment. Suggested ages: 1-7. From £7, book first.

SCIENCE MUSEUM SCIENCE MUSEUM, Exhibition Road SW7 2DD, 0870 870 4868, Aiming to be the best place in the world for people to enjoy science, the Science Museum makes sense of the science that shapes our lives, sparking curiosity, releasing creativity and changing the future by engaging people of all generations and backgrounds in science, engineering, medicine, technology, design and enterprise. Open daily 10am6pm except 24-26 December. LAUNCHPAD SCIENCE SHOWS. The largest free interactive science gallery in the UK is packed with exhibits which allow visitors to launch a rocket, turn their head into a sound box and control a magnetic cloud. Ages 8-14, free. OUR LIVES IN DATA. Information about our lives is increasingly being captured, analysed and used, transforming the world around us. From toys that can understand a child’s personality and smarter public transport planning to new genomic technology that is helping uncover the causes of rare diseases and cancer, big data’s invisible revolution has begun. Ages 8 to adult, free.

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, Cromwell Road SW7 5BD, 020 7942 5000, Dinosaurs, volcanoes, precious gems and creepy crawlies - discover the diversity of the natural world through the nation’s finest collection of natural history specimens. Fascinating exhibitions display up to 70 million plants, animals, fossils, rocks and minerals, with a hands-on education centre where you can meet real scientists at work. Museum open 10am-5.50pm, admission free.

Crafty Christmas and creative New Year! 22, 23*, 28–30* December 10:00am–4.30pm *Museum open 10:00am–1:00pm

Free admission

Get creative this Christmas with a selection of Museum inspired crafts to design and decorate. Gold bar moneyboxes, door hangers and masks, the choice is yours. There’s a chocolate coin for every child. 10:00am–5:00pm Monday to Friday. Closed weekends and Bank Holidays. Entrance in Bartholomew Lane, London EC2R 8AH

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MORNING EXPLORERS, 17 December. Families with children who have an Autistic Spectrum Condition have the opportunity to explore the museum while it is quiet. Discover fascinating objects and take part in relaxed family activities such as sensory rooms, self-directed trails and an arts and crafts session. Families with under 13s, free but book first. FRIENDS AND FAMILY AT CHRISTMAS, 27 December - 1 January. Discover how Londoners past and present celebrate together. Grab your friends and family and watch a performance of ‘A Christmas Carol, get crafty and design your own partywear or step back in time to explore feasting and Victorian Christmas card making. All ages, free.

MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS MUSEUM OF LONDON, Warehouse 1, West India Quay, London E14 4AL, 020 7001 9809, FROST FAIR FESTIVAL, 3+4 December. For two days the museum will be transformed into a wintry wonderland of fun and excitement. In the past the River Thames would freeze over and huge celebrations were held on the ice. Explore winter traditions from London and beyond. Enjoy enchanting performances, interactive games and crafts for all ages at this special festival weekend.VICTORIAN SANTA’S VICTORIAN GROTTO, 3 - 23 December. Experience the Sailortown gallery transformed with festive decorations and the sound of Victorian carols being sung in the distance. Find Santa in his grotto and receive a festive gift, with the option (for an additional £8) to take home a photograph of the magical moment. Suggested ages: 1-7. From £7, book first.

TODDLER TAKEOVER, 18 November. All aboard Cutty Sark for the annual celebration, Kids in Museums Takeover Day, where local school children host a fun-filled day of activities for toddlers, including arts, crafts, storytelling and play activities. Ages under 5, 10am-2pm, £5 adults accompanied by a child.

ROYAL MUSEUMS GREENWICH National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House, Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark, Greenwich SE10, 020 8858 4422, Royal Museums Greenwich holds the world’s largest maritime collection. It is housed in historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site and incorporates the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the 17th-century Queen’s House, and Cutty Sark. The Museums works to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people, and is also a major centre of education and research. On Saturdays and Sundays free performances and workshops entertain family visitors, while on Tuesdays preschoolers can make music and play with parents and carers. Open 10am-5pm daily. General admission is free; some buildings, special exhibitions and events have an admission fee. THE GREAT EXPLORER is an interactive game for families. Borrow a tablet device and set sail across The Great Map to explore distant lands and discover treasures from all around the world. Where will you visit and what will you find? Take a photo and share your adventure. 11am-4pm, free.

V&A MUSEUM V&A MUSEUM, Cromwell Road SW7 2RL, 020 7942 2000, Pick up a family trail from the Information Desk and explore the museum through puzzles, drawing and observation. Suitable for 7-12 year-olds. There are also hundreds of exciting hands-on exhibits containing plenty to touch and try out. Museum open 10am-5.45pm daily, admission free. BACK-PACKS, Saturdays. Pick up a back pack and explore the museum with fantastic jigsaws, stories, puzzles and games. 10.30am-5pm. POP-UP PERFORMANCES, Saturdays to 30 July. Join the performance team for fun and interactive gallery plays and activities, with a different event each Saturday. 11am, 1 and 3pm, free drop in. DROP-IN DESIGN, Sundays to 25 September. Pick up a design challenge and bring your fantastic ideas to life. 10.30am-5pm, ages 3+, free.

V&A MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green E2 9PA, 020 8983 5200, This gem of a museum houses dolls, dolls’ houses, puppets, teddy bears, games, childcare, clothing, furniture and art and photography. Everyday drop-in activities include storytelling, arts and crafts, and trails. There’s dressing-up, role play and an under 3’s area, an indoor sandpit, and regular special events. Open 10am-5.45pm daily, admission free. DIGITAL PHOTO COLLAGE WORKSHOP, 26 November, 3 and 10 December. Explore the world of visual storytelling, and create your very own fairy or folk tale inspired artwork. Ages 7+, 1.45pm, book first. CHECKMATE! Until 27 December. The White Queen has gone missing! Dress up and become one of the game pieces on a mission to find her hiding somewhere in the museum, on an interactive family tour. BOARD GAMES REDISCOVERED, until 23 April 2017. Are you a Scrabble champion? A wannabee Chess grandmaster? Or a Monopoly megalomaniac? This exhibition showcases some of the world’s best known and most loved board games and includes hands-on interactives.

CUTTY SARK CUTTY SARK, King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9HT, 020 8858 2698, The world famous 19th century tea clipper offers visitors four levels to explore. Take in the views from the main deck and steer at the ship’s wheel, meet the crew who worked on board, explore the various cargoes from wool to whiskey, and see how tea was loaded on board through interactive displays, props, information boards and animations. Family friendly events run at weekends and during school holidays. Open 10am-5pm Tuesdays to Sundays, admission £7 children, £13.50 adults, from £24 families. Bundled tickets are available with the other Royal Museum Greenwich attractions.


THE QUEEN’S HOUSE GREENWICH THE QUEEN’S HOUSE, Romney Road, Greenwich SE10 9NF, 020 8858 4422, The Queen’s House reopened this October after over a year of extensive refurbishment to celebrate its 400th anniversary. Designed in 1616 by Inigo Jones for James I’s wife, Anne of Denmark, the Queen’s House is Britain’s first classical building and a masterpiece of 17th-century architecture. The newly-reopened House showcases new displays, including over 450 works of art from the National Maritime Museum’s art collections. Focusing on the people and events key to the building’s creation and history, the collection also reflects its significance today. Highlights include the beautifully restored Tulip Stairs, which in turn have inspired a spectacular new art commission on the ceiling of the Great Hall by Turner Prize-winning artist, Richard Wright. Open 10am-5pm, admission free.

THE BRITISH MUSEUM BRITISH MUSEUM, Great Russell Street WC1B 3DG, 020 7323 8181, The British Museum was founded in 1753, the first national public museum in the world. Each year nearly 6 million visitors pour through the doors to see the museum’s collection of ancient and historical artefacts including the ever-popular Egyptian mummies, or to take in the latest block-buster exhibition. Open 10am-5.30pm daily, admission free, charge for some exhibitions. DIGITAL DISCOVERY CENTRE, weekends. Learn, discover and create in the Museum’s digital centre. Free activities and workshops using the latest Samsung digital equipment, enabling children to bring the world’s history and cultures to life through advanced technology.


FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE MUSEUM St THOMAS’S HOSPITAL, 2 Lambeth Palace Road SE1 7EW, 020 7188 4400, Known as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’, Florence Nightingale was a pioneering nurse, writer, and noted statistician. The Florence Nightingale Museum celebrates her life and work, through personal material associated with Florence Nightingale, items relating to the Crimean War and nursing artefacts. Open 10am-7pm daily, admission £7.50 adults, £3.80 children. THE AGE OF THE BEARD, 18 November - 30 April. In collaboration with Beard historian Dr Alun Withey, the Nightingale Museum will showcase the best of Victorian facial hair, including some bristly soldiers that Florence Nightingale herself might have nursed. The hairy celebrations are brought up to date with a series of events including beard and moustache trimming and styling in the museum and a quiz to test your beardy knowledge. What is a Soup Strainer? Or a Thigh Tickler? Find out at the Florence Nightingale Museum this winter.



TOWER BRIDGE, Tower Bridge Road SE1 2UP, 020 7403 3761, Tower Bridge houses four unique venues; the award-winning high level Walkways, the small luxurious North Tower Lounge, the majestic Victorian Engine Rooms and the charming Bridge Master’s Dining Room. Enjoy stunning London views from over the Thames and continue to the Victorian Engine Rooms to learn about the inner workings of the most famous bridge in the World. Tower Bridge still lifts to enable large ships to pass through - check the website before your visit to add to the excitement. There’s a free app, where you can play games and learn more about the iconic landmark before your visit. Open 10am-6pm April September, 9.30am-5.30pm October - March. Admission £3.40 children, £8 adults, family tickets from £12.50.

GEFFRYE MUSEUM, Kingsland Road E2 8EA, 020 7739 9893, Special workshops and quizzes inspire creativity and provide amusement for accompanied 5-11 year-olds on the first Saturday of each month and during school holidays. Places allocated 30 minutes in advance of each workshop. Museum open 10am-5pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, from noon Sundays. CHRISTMAS PAST, 22 November - 8 January. Authentic festive decorations, lighting and music transform the museum’s eleven period living rooms, giving visitors an insight into how Christmas has been celebrated in middle-class homes in England over the past 400 years. Bringing to life the origins and meanings of some of the vibrant traditions of Christmas past, the exhibition is accompanied by a full programme of events, including a Christmas fair, acapella carol concert, and Christmas decoration workshops.

FULHAM PALACE, Bishop’s Avenue, Fulham SW6 6EA, 020 7736 3233, The Museum of Fulham Palace charts the long history of the palace site, from Prehistoric times and Roman settlement, through Medieval, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian bishops to the present day. The museum collection includes paintings, archaeology and artefacts. Open noon-4pm Sundays, 12.30-3.30pm Mondays to Thursdays, admission free. HANDS-ON ARCHAEOLOGY, 20 November. Come along to this drop-in session for a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the palace’s archaeological finds and learn more about the rich and varied history of the ancient site. 1-3pm, free.

families south east - november december 2016








Art Activities ART PLAY, first and last Sunday of each month. Creative drop-in workshops for adults and children, with a different activity each session. Make anything and everything from bunting to block printing and all things in between. 2-3.45pm. FREE FAMILY TRAIL. Ask a gallery assistant or stop by at the Gallery Friends desk for a free trail; updated frequently and available for the permanent and temporary exhibitions.



MEET THE AUTHOR: CATHERINE HYDE 13 November, THE BOOKSELLER CROW ON THE HILL, 50 Westow Street, Crystal Palace, London, SE19 3AF, 020 8771 8831, Artist and author Catherine Hyde will be reading and signing her new book ‘The Star Tree’ with little (and not so little) visitors. Come and meet an acclaimed, real life author and illustrator, enjoy some colouring activities and read the story together. 2pm start, free. For further information or to reserve a signed copy of the perfect gift, contact the bookshop. See more of Catherine’s work and read her blog at

THE RUNNING OF THE DEER: CATHERINE HYDE 12 November - 1 December, FOSS FINE ART Gallery, 113b Northcote Road (entrance in Wakehurst Road), Clapham SW11 6PW, 020 7738 0838, A one woman-show featuring the work of Catherine Hyde, author of The Star Tree. This rich and sumptuous collection focuses on imagery drawn from best-loved carols, poems and stories to create a body of work that celebrates the warm and the cold of the winter season. Original pieces, prints and cards will be on sale. Check the gallery website for opening times.

DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village SE21 7AD, 020 8693 5254, Open 10am-5pm Tuesdays to Fridays, from 11am weekends and bank holidays. Admission free for accompanied children, £8 adults. Listed activities free for families with a gallery ticket or £3 per child. WINTER WONDERLIGHTS, 6-18 December. After dark, the Gallery will light up and come to life for an experience like no other - the perfect way to spend a winter’s evening. Enjoy a winter lights spectacle, listen to roaming choirs and create your very own festive family photo. With your children do not forget to visit the enchanted cottage where Christmas storytelling awaits. There will also be a drop-in art making session in the Gallery where you can create your own paper lantern. 6-10om, children £8, adults £14. ARTISAN CHRISTMAS MARKET, 10 December. Wander the pathways throughout the Gallery’s beautiful grounds and enjoy over fifty highquality stalls selling handmade crafts, jewellery, local produce and lots more to answer all of your Christmas present needs. Enjoy the atmosphere with mulled drinks and indulgent hot chocolate. You might also encounter live entertainers to get you in the festive spirit! 10am5pm, admission free.

THE CONSERVATOIRE, 19-21 Lee Road, Blackheath SE3 9RQ, 020 8852 0234, The Conservatoire is Blackheath’s local independent arts centre, offering a broad mix of music, art, drama and cultural classes for all ages. CHILDREN’S ART EXHIBITION, 4 December. This is a lovely chance to pop in and explore the work created on the various children’s art courses during the summer term. Friends family and curious members of the public are all very welcome! 11am-1pm.


NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, St Martin’s Place WC2H 0HE, 020 7306 0055, The gallery features thousands of portraits of the most famous people in British history, from the 16th century to the present day. Open 10am-6pm daily. DROP IN FAMILY SUNDAYS. On the third Sunday of every month, families are invited to drop-in with children aged 3+ to take part in portrait-related events. PICASSO’S PORTRAITS, until 23 April 2017. Picasso’s portraits epitomise the variety and innovation of his art. This major exhibition of over eighty works focuses on the artist’s portrayal of family, friends and lovers and reveals his creative processes as he moved freely between drawing from life, humorous caricature and expressive painting from memory. On display will be portraits from all periods of Picasso’s career and in all media, from the realist paintings of his boyhood to his later ultra-spontaneous canvases.

THE WALLACE COLLECTION THE WALLACE COLLECTION, Hertford House, Manchester Square W1U 3BN, 020 7563 9500, The Wallace Collection displays wonderful works of art collected in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marquess, in their main London townhouse. Family multi-media tours and trails bring the exhibits to life for younger visitors. Open 10am-5pm daily, admission free.

ART AT SIR JOHN SOANE’S HOUSE SIR JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields WC2A 3PB, 020 7440 4263, Tucked away in Lincoln’s Inn Fields at the heart of London, this magical, mysterious museum encourages young visitors to explore Soane’s treasures and develop new skills with specialist guidance. Sir John Soane (1753- 1737) was an inveterate collector, filling every nook and cranny of his beautiful home with items that fascinated him. From fossils to classical fragments from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome and from contemporary paintings to architectural models, drawings and literature, he intended that after his death both his house and its extraordinary contents should be used to educate and inspire. Free drop-in activities run on the third Saturday of every month, with activities for all ages and families can take part together from 1.30-4.40pm.

SOMERSET HOUSE SOMERSET HOUSE, Strand WC2, 020 7845 4600, Free family workshops run on Saturdays from 2-3.30pm. Tickets available from 1pm from the information desk. Children aged 6-12 years must be accompanied by an adult. SKATE AT SOMERSET HOUSE, 17 November - 15 January. Skate in the stunning courtyard, or visit after dark, when the rink hosts big names from your favourite clubs and festivals. At weekends, children can join the Skate School and Polar Cub Club to build their on ice confidence.


THE NATIONAL GALLERY TRAFALGAR SQUARE WC2N 5DN, 020 7747 2885, Open daily 10am-6pm, Fridays to 9pm, admission free. With over 2,300 paintings in the collection, there are hundreds of reasons to visit the gallery, along with free hands-on art workshops for families at weekends and during school holidays. No need to book, but places are limited and allocated on arrival up to one hour before the start. BEYOND CARAVAGGIO, until 15 January 2017. With their eyecatching, dramatic lighting and intense naturalism, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s paintings inspired a multitude of artists during his lifetime and in the decades immediately after his untimely death. Beyond Caravaggio is the first major exhibition in the UK to explore the impact of Caravaggio’s work, both on the art of his contemporaries and his followers.

TATE MODERN TATE MODERN, Bankside, SE1 9TG, 020 7887 8888, In June, the Tate Modern opened Switch House, an iconic new London landmark which provides ten floors of new display space, performance and installation art, a new restaurant and viewing level. Across both buildings, the museum displays permanent and temporary modern art, free drop-in events, with family-friendly festivals and activities both in the galleries and online. Open 10am-6pm daily, admission free, charges for major exhibitions.

TATE BRITAIN TATE BRITAIN, Millbank SW1, 020 7887 8888, Open daily 10am-5.50pm, and until 10pm the first Friday of the month. Family trails are available daily from the Information Desks and are free for 5yrs and under. Go on a journey around Tate Britain and post your discoveries into your ‘Post it’ box as you go. When you get home, open up the box and show your friends what you found. Or you could follow the ‘Join up’ trail: play the listening game, search for shapes, patterns and talking hands, and make your own sculptures. Every weekend the free Art Trolley encourages children to imagine and create, make colourful collages, style a wonderful sculpture or perhaps make a sketchbook and fill it with great ideas. PAUL NASH, until 5 March 2017. Known as a landscape artist, who engaged with the downland and coastal landscapes of southern England and its ancient past, those landscapes also provided a stage for Paul Nash’s engagements with an international modernism, specifically Surrealism. The exhibition presents the artist’s major works from his early Symbolist manner, through to the iconic works of the First World War, as well as his landscapes of the interwar period.

november december 2016 - families south east


‘TheÊUnicornÊhasÊaÊbigÊhitÊonÊitsÊhands’ÊEvening Standard The Guardian


The Sunday Times


The Stage

15 NOV – 31 DEC



families south east - november december 2016

Families South East Tel: 020 8699 7240 Email: Contact: Robina Cowan MAGAZINE DESIGN: Lancasters 020 8658 9975 Printed on paper from sustainable forests.


Families SE London November December 2016 issue 181  

Families southeast London magazine for Christmas 2016

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