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December 2013 Iss

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Merry Christmas •Where is Santa? •Local toy shops •Carol services •Christmas Fairs •Gift guide •Holiday activities

WIN! Enter the Families

Funny Faces

Picture credit: House of Fraser

Photo competition– see page 13

LILY’S KIDS KLUB Quality Childcare & Pre-School Education in a Caring & Friendly, Stimulating Atmosphere • • • •

Ofsted registered & Qualified staff Caring for Children aged 0-5 years Full & Part-Time places available Opens 50 weeks a year




“Families® SW” – useful information for parents of 0-12 year olds in SW London. Find us online:

Pottery Painting & Craft Studio Personalised Christmas Gifts painted by You! Baubles, tree decorations & more Capture your childrens' prints on silver jewellery, Birthday parties, hen do's & Christmas do's all welcome Open Mon足Sat 10am足6pm, Sun 11am足6pm. 85 Nightingale Lane, Wandsworth SW12 8NX 020 8772 8702


Tel: 020 8696 9680


December 2013





News & info


Personal development



Inspire yourself, change


News briefs


Health feature

Front cover credit to House of Fraser

• Neighbourhood Midwives • Homeopathy, Salt Cave and Children’s Therapies • Overuse injuries in children



Ski to the door Funny faces Photo competition...

All content ©Families 2013 Tel: 020 8696 9680


Editorial: News:


Adverts/artwork: Events, diary dates, what’s on info:

Next issue: Jan/Feb 2014. Deadline: early December


Gift Guide


Local toy shops


The twelve days of Christmas


Ice rinks


Who wants a perfect Christmas?


Where’s SANTA?


Holiday activities


Five fab things to do

•“Families® South West” heads a group of magazines. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. There are around 40 UK local editions with a print run of more than 700,000 copies in all, in which you can advertise too. Oh, and we have a very useful website…

Preparing for winter

• MOVING? Families® magazines can be be franchised in new areas. Read initial franchise information on the website or call us.


r 22-23

• Printed by Ridgeway Press Ltd, Basingstoke, Hants. • Designed by Shirley Trimmer • 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. • Paper used to print Families is from fully-managed sustainable sources — meaning trees which are felled are continuously replaced. Inks are soyabased, which can be re-cycled.

29-34 Find us on Facebook & Twitter FamiliesSW

December 2013



What’s On • • • • •

Theatre Museums & Galleries Days out • Out of Town Diary dates Christmas fairs and carol services


News r

Compilied by Joanna Parry

r r

Dress to impress

Linguist champs

Local favourite Kemp & Co are launching a new range this winter, with lovely Liberty Prints, coordinating cardigans and their fabulous faux fur gilet lined in Liberty, which sells out almost as fast as it comes in. Their collection is simple, understated and beautifully made: faux fur pieces teamed with floral and paisley prints are very much part of the season's key looks, with shirt dresses and long shirts. Their best selling poncho, made from Peruvian Baby Alpaca, now comes with the option of a sumptuous cowl neck, which is at the heart of both their girls’ and ladies’ ranges.

Modern and classical linguists at Streatham & Clapham High School are national champions! The SCHS pupils defended their title as winners of the Challenge Cup Medio for French, Spanish, Italian and Latin in the European Day of Languages Championship for the second year running. The Championship, created by Vocab Express, is designed to engage students in language learning, and more than 30,000 students from 340 schools took part. ‘Our pupils worked extremely hard throughout the week, especially on the last day,’ said head of MFL Alisa WeymesMcElderry, ‘throwing themselves into the

Find out What's On for you and your family

championship with a positive competitive spirit. The championship really does make learning fun; our pupils even enjoyed the frustration of getting answers wrong because it motivated them to revise more.’

Child-friendly shows & performances

Performing Arts

Museums & exhibitions suitable for children

Museums & Galleries

Christmas fairs and sales

Days Out

Browse our online calendar One stop place to find out

What's On for families


Soho Theatre copyright Helen Maybanks


Theatre with baby Soho Theatre, London’s most vibrant venue for new theatre, announces a season of performances for parents and their babies under one year old. Adopting the model that has proved popular in cinemas, Soho Screamers is a season of performances across all genres which allows parents to kick back, relax and enjoy the best of Soho’s theatre and comedy without the hassle of finding childcare. Performances take place at 11am and although the content of the show remains the same, no-one will mind if your baby cries! Choose from shows as diverse at the dark Christmas musical The Night Before Christmas to mega-hit What Would Beyonce Do? Tickets £12.50,

Choosing the right nappy



For eco-conscious parents, choosing the right nappy can be a headache. There is a similar environmental impact with both disposables and washables, plus there's also the problem that most disposable nappies contain high levels of chemicals that touch baby's skin. However, huge progress has been made in eco disposable nappies in the last few years, with the greenest of the green made by Swedish brand NATY. Each nappy contains 70% certified organic, renewable, biodegradable and compostable materials, believed to be the highest content of natural and renewable materials in any disposable nappy worldwide. Best of all, it performs on a par with the leading brands, is at the same price point and is also healthier for baby's skin. As Naty’s mantra says, go green without giving up performance! Available at Boots, Amazon and online at

Battersea Park playground success The new-look playground at Battersea Park is now open to the public and has proved a hit! Following its £250,000 facelift, the park is packed full with exciting and challenging activities and attractions, and there are further plans being discussed to introduce climbing walls and a tree walk facility with hire wires and harnesses! All under the supervision of properly trained adults of course…Find out more at

Tel: 020 8696 9680


Inclusion in these pages is always FREE: send to

Speed freaks Is your child Scalextric mad? Check out local company Epic Racing – the most realistic and unique wireless slot car racing system around! Experience small-scale motor racing with up to 14 cars racing simultaneously choose from the huge LeMans circuit with 14 cars or the Nascar oval circuit with 10 cars. Perfect for your next birthday party, or perhaps the school Christmas fair. 07794 274452,


Get ‘em kicking

A new soccer school is in town! Elite Soccer Development offers after school and Saturday drop-in football classes in Fulham and across SW London, plus an extensive range of holiday camps for girls and boys of all ages. Excellent value skills training, games and fun! Their website is coming soon, but in the meantime call Gary on 07725 607544 or email

Ultimate play As the weather gets colder, bundle your brood off to Gambado. Boasting one of the largest play frames in London, the indoor play centre has over 100 different activities including laser play and junior climbing wall. Drive around their full sized dodgem track or whizz around on their Tiger Pots carousel ride, all included in the price. They also offer fantastic party packages for your child’s next birthday to suit all ages and budgets – choose from Toddler Parties, Tiger Parties, Make a Bear Parties, Laser Tag Parties and more! Gambado Chelsea, 7 Station Court, Townmead Road SW6 2PY, 020 7384 1635,

Good news: a new venue for Perform! Perform offers a unique mix of drama, dance and singing specially formulated to bring out every child's true potential. They have a new venue opening in Jan 2014 in East Sheen on Thursdays 4pm - 5pm and 5pm - 6pm at the Elim Pentecostal Church, 173 Upper Richmond Road, SW14 8DU. Jessica Jenkins, the area partner, is delighted to give every Families reader at £30 discount off a block of 10 sessions when you join the East Sheen class in January 2014.

December 2013


Personalise it this Christmas For adorable, colourful and personalised dummy clips, gift tags and key rings check out Hello Little Owl. Founded by a local mum, they have a great range of cute items for kids big and small, perfect for Christmas or birthday gifts, personalised to make them even more special. No more lost dummies this year!

r New lease of life for nature centre The Nature Centre on Wandsworth Common, tucked alongside the Common Ground Café and the Bowling Green, is brought back to life after being closed for 4 years. In partnership with charities Thrive and Groundwork, NatureScope is a vibrant and accessible community facility with a focus on ecological education, skills, training and recreation. As well as delivering ecology education to local children, the centre runs regular classes including martial arts for kids, allotment growing workshops, Nano Spanish classes and nature and bird walks. They even run hands-on chocolate workshops!

Next issue Jan/Feb 2014




feature Don’t miss it!

Comfy cashmere For beautiful cashmere sweaters and scarves for your little ones this Christmas look no further than local company Les Tricots De Margot. Featuring the highest quality cashmere with a touch of French design, this gorgeous collection brings warmth, style and comfort at an affordable price. ‘All our designs are inspired by our babies’ needs,’ says founder and mum Pascaline Kraus. ‘We put great care into choosing raw materials of the highest quality, ensuring that it is ethically produced.’ We love their cashmere dresses and booties – the perfect gift for a new baby. Prices from £36.

Frame it forever How about an enchanting portrait of your family this Christmas? Fulham-based photographer Kate Nielen offers bespoke lifestyle portrait sessions, perfect for families and for capturing those wonderful, unforgettable moments with your little ones. Call her on 07952 006891,


r It’s all about love actually Inspire yourself, change your life! Amanda is a psychotherapist and founder of Inspired Living, which provides motivational and life-changing advice for people of all ages and gender who want to let go of the shadows of their past and gain new direction in their lives. We asked her to reveal the most common problems she comes across...

Listen UP! Q:

How good are you at listening to

yourself? Are you in tune with yourself or do you tend to shrug and bury your feelings and needs? Listening to yourself is a way of honouring who you are. To listen is a sign of respect for yourself. If you are not doing it or not doing it well then you really could do with asking yourself why.

Try this little quiz: How do you respond to yourself when you are tired? Do you: 1. Listen and slow down, take a nap or a bath, or veg out. 2. Carry on regardless, you haven’t got time for wimps. 3. Feel pathetic and continue even though you could cry. How do you react when someone asks you for a favour at a really inconvenient time? Do you: 1. Say that you would like to help them out, but don’t have the time or resources at the moment. 2. Do it even though you haven’t got time and it really adds to your load. 3. Do it and hate yourself. Well, I think you can gather that anything other than answer 1 in both cases would mean that you are not listening to yourself. Listening to yourself is not a punishable offence. We often get feelings of guilt when we do want to listen to ourselves and do what’s right by us. That’s because many of us are just not used to it. How do the answers 2 and 3 make you feel; angry, frustrated, knots in your stomach? Welcome to the world of those who are not able to listen to themselves. And answers 1? Did you feel lighter, or smile, or wish you could do that? Which one makes you feel better? When you start listening and giving yourself what you want and what you need to feel complete and satisfied, your life will start to change. It doesn’t take time or effort. So next time you really get the feeling you need or would like something, go ahead and make time to give it to yourself. So go on: Listen up and change your life.

© Whitebox Media -

As children we get told what to do which makes us feel secure. We need the adults around us to take charge as it makes us feel safe and cared for. It is not stabilising for a child to have the impression that he has to make too many decisions or be responsible for too much. But, the danger zone is reached when the adults consistently negate or discount the child’s feelings and needs. If you get too used to that message as a child, you begin to think that your feelings are wrong, or of little value and should be discounted.


I’m not looking forward to Christmas. I’m not getting on well with my husband and we are going to his family for Christmas. I’m afraid the children might be criticised by his family and I am worried that I am going to feel lonely and unsupported. What can I do to make sure it goes as well as possible?

Christmas can be one of the best times of year but it can also easily turn sour. You need a plan. I suggest that you don’t wait until then to start working on what is going wrong in your relationship. i Communication is key when things aren’t healthy. Too often we put off communicating until the snowball is already too big. So fix yourselves a time once a week to begin with when you can talk. This is not a time for accusations, but for constructive comments and productive feedback. Avoid the temptation to start complaining, concentrate on the positive.* i With regards to Christmas, say what your concerns are and both of you put forward a game plan that is comfortable for everyone. Establish ways that you can both support each other so that you won’t feel let down and unhappy. i Set yourself some outings just the two of you, aim to simply share some fun. This will not be a time for discussing your relationship. i Organise trips with the children. As everyone will be relaxed it will be easier to encourage them to say what’s going on for them and they will be more confident about speaking up. i Once you’ve done this homework, what about this: get all family members to sit down around the kitchen table. Explain that Christmas is about getting shared time and having fun and that this means compromise. Each person say what they’d like, (guests, activities, cooking and cleaning duties etc), agree on the game plan for Christmas, write it all down in detail, get everyone to sign on the bottom line (if old enough). * Families recommends: ‘Improve communication with your husband/partner’ A multi-step process in which you keep refining your answers until your hierarchy of values finally emerges with crystal clarity. – see more about this on our website If you would like your questions answered for free (in full confidence), then please write to For more on this article and others on relationships and personal development see


I wish you a very Happy Christmas and I hope it all goes well.

For more motivational and life-changing advice subscribe to Amanda's free monthly newsletter

Tel: 020 8696 9680

News briefs Food & Health Blog To contribute to this column email Send 50-60 words for my consideration. Contributions from parents as well as professionals are welcome.

Make your own raw chocolate Did you know you can indulge in wonderful chocolate that is actually good for your health? Raw Cacao is the most chemically complex food in the world: over 1,200 constituents of flavour alone! (the next highest is royal jelly with 300 to 400 constituents), making it is the highest anti oxidant food in the world. It is the highest natural source of magnesium, the most common deficient major mineral even following a balanced diet. It also contains chromium and iron and is extremely high in zinc, copper and manganese. But as soon as it is cooked or boiled it loses its wonderful quality, it must be eaten raw. See our recipe here: No cooking involved, just mix the ingredients— anyone can do it. Please let us know via how you got on.

A lie-in is good for your health! Having a lie-in at week end is good for you and may prevent diabetes. A few hours extra sleep improves the body’s ability to clear glucose (blood sugar) from the bloodstream, and this keeps diabetes at bay. So go on, indulge.. enjoy .. The Endocrine Society’s 95th annual meeting, San Francisco, June 18, 2013

Good news for Wimbledon residents Little Hands Montessori is a warm and intimate nursery in Wimbledon, which has a few places available. Moreover they are offer a 10% off the first term fees. (ts and cs apply) The Montessori sessions are open to children from 2yrs in small class sizes with experienced Montessori teachers. A Montessori education prepares children for life helping them learn vital skills they need to grow and learn happily and confidently in any environment. It tailors each child's learning experiences by catering to their needs allowing them to develop at their own pace and level. At Little Hands, activities and resources are dynamic and stimulating and the staff are dedicated and caring creating a valuable environment where children learn through play and interaction, ensuring each child is given the best start in life! •Contact Shaza 07854 887786 Wimbledon Methodist Church, Griffiths Road, SW19 1SP

December 2013


Want an awesome aura with mindful kick ass moves? This is indeed what Hapkido’s new slogan promises to ladies who join the new self defence classes! Jon Bailie starts this new 4 week women's course in January 2014. Please contact for more details. Hapkido provides diligent training, which leads to mental well being, physical health, spiritual growth and perfection of character. Hapkido offers after school classes including Beat the Bullies for ages 5-15yrs. At Broomwood Methodist church SW11 and Eaton House (in house only). • 07932 667 336




Tel: 020 8696 9680


December 2013


rHealth feature Having a dependable midwife by a woman’s side makes for happier, healthier mums and babies

Why choose a Neighbourhood Midwife? by Joanna Parry

Would you like to have care throughout your pregnancy from a midwife you know and trust? A midwife who supports you through from the beginning to the end and beyond? Have you had a baby and, throughout all of your pre- and post-natal care, never seen the same midwife twice? No matter how good your midwives might have been this is a common scenario across London. I have had three children and although I cannot fault the care I received, it is true that I never saw the same midwife more than once. During my first pregnancy in particular, this shocked me. I didn’t know who to ask my questions to, and ended up repeating myself ad infinitum.

‘We are very excited to have launched Neighbourhood Midwives,’ says Annie Francis, founder. ‘As a community based private midwifery service we offer women fully insured, safe and affordable care throughout pregnancy, labour and for 6 weeks after the birth.’

New research from the University of Sydney confirms that women who see the same midwife all the way through their pregnancy ultimately spend less time in hospital, require less pain relief and are more likely to breastfeed. Plus, they cost the health system £300 less overall. It sounds like a win-win situation for all concerned. However, the Royal College of Midwives estimates that only 1 in 50 women are looked after by a named midwife and three quarters of women go into the labour ward with a midwife they’ve never met before.


The women who have experienced Neighbourhood Midwives are full of praise for the service. ‘For my second and third births I was looked after by the same midwife who, over the months I was with her, became my mentor and inspiration,’ says Nadia in Battersea. ‘I felt cared for, supported and safer than I had ever felt going through the hospital system. I enjoyed two beautiful homebirths.’ ‘To have the same midwife all the way through the pregnancy and after the birth was invaluable,’ says Celine Morse, a Clapham-based mother of a month-old baby girl and another happy customer. ‘It gave me a reassurance that I could put myself in her hands and feel safe and supported - the mix of expertise and coaching was invaluable to me in what is one of the most important times of your life. I used her knowledge for my 2 pregnancies also because you never know what is going to happen at the time of the birth and she was always only one call away.’

In 2012 the Department of Health issued a mandate saying that within two years (that is 2014!), it wanted every woman to have a named midwife to oversee their care. It seems we are still a long way off this scenario. This is where Neighbourhood Midwives steps in. An exciting new SW London service, Neighbourhood Midwives enables women to have the same midwife throughout pregnancy as well as for that all-important aftercare. From convenient pre-natal appointments all the way though to oneto-one care in the labour ward, your pregnancy care will be tailored to meet your individual needs.

Midwives can also help women to have a home birth if they desire, at a time when it is becoming more and more difficult to arrange this through the NHS.

All the evidence shows that having a dependable midwife by a woman’s side makes for happier, healthier mums and babies, with better and safer outcomes in the short- and longer-term. Mothers are more likely to have a normal birth with quicker physical recovery, and are less likely to have a caesarean section. Neighbourhood

With many midwifery departments experiencing budget cuts, the radical change we need in maternity services in this country seems a long way off. Until it changes why not give Neighbourhood Midwives a try? For more information go to, email or call 020 8874 6624.

Tel: 020 8696 9680

Health feature


“Families” loves homeopathy Although we accept homeopathy may not be everyone’s treatment of choice, we love it here at Families! The editor has used it hugely successfully on numerous ailments for her large family. Homeopathy can work so well and it is so cheap to produce. Why not give it a go? You need a good homeopath to guide you, over the counter advice is simply not enough. Tricia Allen is a registered homeopath and lecturer who has worked with families for over 20 years helping with physical and developmental challenges. Homeopathy can help physical ailments that affect babies and children, such as colic and reflux, coughs and colds, eczema and asthma, and a susceptibility to illnesses in general. Tricia also works with children with behavioural problems, including issues with sleep and eating, learning difficulties, and emotional problems in general. In 2004, Tricia published 'Your Healthy Child with Homeopathy' (now in its third run), a practical hands-on guide for parents in how to use homeopathy with their children - an extremely clear and jargon-busting read which enables parents to grow in confidence using homeopathic treatment when their children are ill. Tricia practices in East Dulwich and Central London. Check out her website or email for further information.

Does your child have a health or development problem that you are struggling to get help with? By Julia Finlay, MSc. B.Ost, Clapham Family Osteopath As a cranial osteopath and mother of two, Julia Finlay, the Clapham Family Osteopath, says ”Cranial osteopathy is very gentle way of helping the body function better by helping to release tissue tensions. Osteopaths aim to promote health by getting anatomy working as it should. Some childhood health problems can be very responsive to this approach.” Julia has specialist experience and qualifications in the treatment of babies and children (including special needs and developmental delay) as well as pregnant and post -natal mothers. Cranial osteopathy addresses dysfunction in the body by using gentle touch to prompt and support change. It works with anatomy, as all osteopathy does, and aims to support the body's natural healing mechanisms to restore health. •24 Chelsham Road, Clapham SW4 6NP 07779 017965 See great testimonials on Julia’s website

Your child has asthma or eczema? Why not try The Salt Cave? This is a chain of clinics where the healing, microclimate of a natural salt cave is reproduced, monitored and controlled inside therapy rooms, called Salt Rooms. They use a special medical device and technology called Breeze Tronic Pro. This is a 100% natural, drug free and clinically proven therapy. Studies suggest that 85-95% of children became symptom-free after only a few therapy sessions, and this effect is long term. After 10-12 months there was still a significant improvement in their symptoms and regular medication had been reduced by 65-75%. The treatment definitely improved the children’s quality of life. The Salt Cave can also treat chronic bronchitis, psoriasis, ear infections, respiratory allergies and rhinitis. •For more information visit or call The Salt Cave on 020 71838 278.

December 2013


Seeking help for children with behavioural problems By Paula Silcock, Children's Therapies Sometimes knowing how to help our children is hard. It is usually difficult for children to find words for their feelings and if not listened to then behavioural problems can start to develop. The psychologist, Margot Sunderland, says “the energetic charge of these too difficult or too strong feelings does not just go away. Instead it gets bottled up inside and can leak out in neurotic symptoms, body symptoms or destructive behaviour.” Children need a trusted listener and a space in which to process their experience and alleviate this ‘charge’ associated with traumatic memories and feelings. For example, a child with an ill parent may find it difficult to talk about his/her anxieties at home. This may lead to withdrawal or to unhealthy changes in his/her behaviour. At Children's Therapies we look to find the most suitable therapy and process for each child so that these feelings can be worked through in safe and satisfying ways. •We regularly help children and families for all sorts of reasons including family and marital problems, illness and bereavement. Call us if you have any concerns on 020 8673 7930 or find us at


rHealth feature  Warm loving environment for 2+ to 5 year olds  Montessori-qualified staff  International atmosphere  Light and airy premises  Private sunny patio  Fulham /Hammersmith border Please ring— Morning sessions plus Tuesdays 1-3pm

020 7381 3511 020 7736 8729

Overuse injuries in children —when sport becomes ‘too much, too soon’ By Christine Julien-Laferrière, physiotherapist

As parents, we hope our child will get all the benefits of sport, which far outweigh the risks. However, in recent years, physiotherapists have seen an increase in “overuse injuries” in children. Too much sport and too much of a single sport can lead to overuse injuries.

Overuse injuries arise gradually over time. They occur from repetitive actions such as throwing in volley ball, kicking in football, quick jumps…Using the same group of muscles or movement leads to muscle imbalance and poor mechanics which can stress the muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and growth plates. Children who experience rapid growth may be more at risk. As the bones grow before the muscles, the muscles become tight. These issues particularly concern the knee and the foot (Osgood-Schlatter and Sever disease), the elbow and the shoulder. What are the signs and how to recognise an overuse injury?  Pain. You should help your child to recognise his aches and pains  Swelling and tenderness over the injured area  Demotivation, disinterest  Decrease or loss of function How to prevent overuse injuries?


• Eases Pain • Reduces stress • Helps behaviour 07932 046 888


 Avoid ‘too much too soon’  Watch for excessive training schedules or big increases (intensity, frequency, duration)  Avoid practising one single sport intensively  Favour early sport diversification. Playing different sports is important for your child’s overall development especially before puberty  Ensure good rests, breaks and recovery time, adequate warm-up and cool-down  Use appropriate equipment  Ensure the child is taught proper technique and conditioning

If you suspect an injury, have your child examined by your doctor or by a paediatrics physiotherapist. They will assess, diagnose, discuss a treatment plan and provide advice. If necessary, he/she might be referred to a paediatric orthopaedic consultant. If your child is limping or cannot move a joint you should see someone quickly. It is important to diagnose and treat overuse injuries as early as possible to get the best outcome, prevent bone growth issues and chronic problems. As for adults, unresolved injuries can lead to recurrent or further injuries. Your child might be prescribed to rest, slow down, decrease or stop temporarily an activity to prevent aggravation and allow recovery. Physiotherapists are highly trained in musculoskeletal and sports specific conditions and are experts in assessing, diagnosing and treating overuse injuries. They will also look for their underlying causes: biomechanical, alignment, flexibility, endurance, balance or neuromuscular control. The physiotherapy treatment can include manual therapy, prescription of specific corrective exercises program, taping and advice on a conditioning program and preventive measures. The physio can also liaise with the PE teacher or coach. The goal being to help your child to return gradually to physical activities prevent further injuries and focus on a long-term physical lifestyle. Physiotherapy Osteopathy and Sports injury Centre •Physio for All at Battersea, 40 Webbs Road, SW11 6SF, 020 72282141, •Physio for All at Chelsea, 222 Old Brompton Road SW5 0BZ,

Tel: 020 8696 9680

r Ski to the door with young families… says Sarah Pratley i Winter holidays such as skiing may not be the first option that springs to mind with small children in tow, but in fact it is a great choice to suit the whole family. Ski schools will sometimes take children as young as two (and if not, three plus), and smaller children and babies can enjoy the snow, whether it be building a snowman, sledging or a sleigh ride pulled by reindeer. i However, it is crucial to find the right resort that will cater for everyone’s needs. Ski school is often the best option for children starting to learn, as this will avoid family arguments on the slopes! It is always worth investigating an English ski school rather than the most convenient one just to make sure you can understand the instructor and your peers. If you and your partner wish to ski alone, many resorts offer excellent child-care programmes. Finally, consider the location of the resort, ideally finding a ski in/ski out one or at least close the lifts as walking in ski boots and carrying skis is hard work for children. i Chilly Powder, a ski holiday operator located in Morzine, in the heart of France’s famous Portes du Soleil ski area, prides itself on its facilities for families. Several fullyqualified nannies run the resort’s crèche and older children can be picked up from the nursery slopes for the afternoon kid’s club. For the parents there are saunas, massages, the bar, fine dining and outdoor Jacuzzi. Plus, Chilly Powder offers the perfect location for families with skiing starting at the cable car opposite the chalets and finishes with blue, red or black pistes straight into the garden. i One final tip – take mini chocolate bars and slip them into everyone’s pockets each day. The extra energy boost will ensure there are smiles all round!


• Contact details:

020 7720 4871 / 07939 051220 Do come and bring friends

December 2013



Dawmouse Montessori Nursery Schools WWW.DAWMOUSE.COM There are now two established Montessori Nursery schools in Fulham bearing the Dawmouse name. The original Dawmouse Brunswick in Haldane Road, SW6 7EU and Dawmouse St Peter’s at St Peter’s Terrace, SW6 7JS. Both schools offer a wide range of Montessori equipment and have outdoor play areas. They will offer a safe, stimulating and active environment in which children can have fun and achieve. The broad curriculum covers all areas of the Early Learning Goals and includes science, drama, cookery and music lessons. Project work will give the children scope for creative development as well as an increased understanding of their world. We insist on our staff being Montessori trained teachers. For a prospectus and a visit to view the schools please contact : or speak with Miss Emma 020 7381 9385

Harrington Nursery South Kensington 1 Harrington Road SW7 3ES Children from 2 years to 5 years

For more information Call: 020 7584 7926 Fax: 020 7581 0161


Tel: 020 8696 9680

Preparing for winter A Christmas gift from Families to you… s autumn turns to winter, I* feel the wintery call of Mother Nature. As it grows colder, I feel the call of the wind and the pull of my home. After a day working in the office, there is something deeply therapeutic about bringing a few logs in, as well as the fir cones we picked up in the park. Rather than dreading the winter months, preparing for them has become my secret pleasure. I love preparing my little garden for winter with the company of a few robins, quietly. I look forward to the winter when the days are shorter and my home gets cosier.


We are a society entranced by one season: summer. We worship suntans, short haul flights to sunny places, and chic yet impractical clothing. We burn the last hours of ancient sunlight to prolong the illusion of warm weather instead of putting on more clothes. We lament the passing of the warmer months and dread the cold of winter. I have decided to reframe that cultural norm. I want the rhythm of the seasons to bring me insights into their different pace. I look forward to wintery experiences like ending a winter’s walk at nightfall and cosying up by a warm fire with nothing more to do but glare at the logs burning. I want to live life to the full, month by month, and I have started investing in some snugly warm winter coats and thick gloves for the whole family. I am inspired to get out in all weathers and really savour them.

Quiet meditations As human beings with the ability for conscious thought, it is easy to live our lives wraped up in our problems, dwelling on the past, planning for the future, caught up in urges of obtaining pleasure and trying to rid ourselves of pain. What if we stopped for a moment and opened up to life as it is right now, in front of us? Listen to it, smell it, look at it, touch it and taste it, as often as you can. Feel the experience of being alive. It is always accessible, whatever we are doing and whatever is going on in our lives. Find a quiet spot in nature, a park, your back garden, close your eyes feel the wind on your face, and breathe in the scents, notice the breeze against your skin and hear the sounds of nature. Allow yourself to experience this moment and gradually let go of the idea that you are separate—you are connected to the earth and part of life itself. Consider for a moment that the joy of being alive could be our only purpose. We belong to the natural world, just like the trees, the flowers, the sky. When I am out in nature, I feel an innate sense of belonging. I don’t feel alone, I feel alive. Experiencing the mystery of trees swaying in the winter wind, noticing the sunlight play with the trees’ leaves or listening to the song of a bird, I find companionship in nature.

I wonder:

“What if the best way to live our lives was simply to live joyfully in the natural world?” The seasons, like the tides, are like a quiet meditation. They help us to connect with the natural world. I want to feel every nuance of each season, the change in the air, in the wind and the trees. I want to look forward to the first hard snap of frost that will bring beautiful pattern on my windows, I want to celebrate wind and rain and scurrying clouds. And after a walk outside in all weathers, I want to look forward to sitting by the fire with my family and the dog, a gentle slowing down in our pyjamas as the light drops quickly and the darkness enfolds us. I wish you a wonderful Christmas, full of the magic of winter.

December 2013


* This piece is adapted from articles in the Cygnus review, by Maddy Harland, writer and co-founder of Permaculture magazine (, and ‘Mindfulness and the Natural World’ by Claire Thompson (published by Ivy Press). To receive a free monthly copy of the Cygnus review go to


Your Gift guide

r A present for an adult

Christmas colour Get excited dressing your children for the Christmas season in the bright reds from the Noa Noa children;s range. Infant and Child is a gorgeous children’s, miniature department store in East Sheen which has been dressing local children for the last 8 years. Aside from the lovely clothes it also has a great range of traditional toys, organic toiletries and, ballet wear. Come and celebrate their success by browsing their lovely ranges of children’s clothes, from birth to 11 years. Late night shopping is on the 5th of December when Santa will be in Sheen from 4pm until late. •Infant and Child, 343 Upper Richmond Road, London SW14 8QN,

For the person who has it all, a photographic course could be the answer: Robbies Photographics offers courses designed in modules, allowing you to concentrate on the areas of greatest interest to you, without the need to participate in areas where you are already proficient. The photography workshops are very much hands on, aiming to give you a practised grounding and understanding of the essential elements of photography. You have until the 15th December to book your photo shoot with Robbies in time for a 22nd December delivery. Gift vouchers also available. • Ritherdon Road, SW17 8QD 020 8767 4222

Ideal Christmas gift for growing kids

Best Desk grows as you grow.

Best Desk are height adjustable multi-functional desk and chair sets. They are fun, colourful and built to last your child throughout their school years. Children need their own personal space to read, write or create. With ergonomic design and good posture Best Desk helps them to grow up healthily too. And now with up to £15 off list price. • See website for details.


Cookease A gift idea for a relative perhaps? Give a gift voucher for weekly cookery classes for 2-4 year olds (available in multiple of £12.50) Let the little ones have fun rolling, mixing and chopping while the mums and dads relax with a cup of tea. Young children can experience the fun of cooking and of trying new foods, in a relaxed and homely environment by Wandsworth Common. • To purchase and or more information on the classes contact 078257 88446,


A Fairer Christmas


Many families do try and reduce their footprint, buying less but better quality local produce and ethical gifts when possible, avoiding cheap plastic stuff that is immediately thrown away. Buying Fairtrade is a sure way to spread the Christmas message. Divine chocolate money is more expensive at £2 but so well worth it. Free delivery on all orders from Divine online shop.

Award winning Phonics Sound Puzzles! Give your child a head start in Phonics with these fun “sound” puzzles. £19.00 each

10% off discount online quote Families10 to receive


Tel: 020 8696 9680

Your local toy shops Your local toy shops offer a great service, fantastic advice plus you get a chance to touch and feel, see the quality of the toys as well as read what it says on the box! Please support your local shops, there are a treasure trove of ideas and prices are right too. A magical world of traditional toys - a treasure trove of quality wooden, soft and educational toys, plus games, puzzles, cards and gift wrap. Great customer service.

Puppet Planet


787 Wandsworth Road SW8 3JQ 020 7627 0111 A magical shop filled with puppets from past and present - something for everyone from kitsch to culture wooden and soft toys, puzzles, christening gifts and cards.

Chelsea Toys 53 Godfrey Street, Chelsea Green, SW3 3SX, 020 7352 1718 Online store as well as a traditional toyshop.

Marmalade 250 250 Battersea Park Road SW11 3BP A new independent toy shop with a

QT Toys 90 Northcote Road, SW11 6QN, 020 7223 8637 Great for its Schleich and Breyer animal ranges and wooden chess sets.

Fun Learning

Rachel’s Toy Shop

60 Northcote Rd, London SW11 1PA 020 7924 7066 Educational toys and fun learning games for children. From science and craft kits to kids brainteasers and construction toys. Visit online shop.

Bilingual and non language toys for under 5’s. Brands such as Cloud B, Fisher Price and Clementoni. Spanish, German, French, Italian, Welsh and Polish toys. 15% cashback from your first order when you mention Families. Offer valid until 31st Dec 2013.

Hoverfly Remote Control

25 Bute Street, SW7 3EY, 020 7581 2804 Loads of niche products, hand crafted or traditional, as well as well-known brands such as WOW toys, Sylvanian families and Playmobil

Toystop Putney Exchange Shopping Centre Putney High Street SW15 1TW 020 8785 9955 Stocks all the big brands including Sylvanian Families, Playmobil, Lego, Meccano, Jellycat and Jellykitten and Baby Alive dolls. Possibly the biggest independent toyshop in South West London!

The Entertainer 29 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1XX, 020 8946 9889 North Mall Southside Wandsworth, SW18 4FT, 020 8812 3724 Anything and everything you could possibly need toys-wise! Free delivery when you spend £40.


31 Queenstown Road SW8 3R Helicopters, cars, buggies and boats. Cars, boats, helis and planes, quads and spares too.

Children’s bookshops retro theme extensive range of contemporary gifts for children, plus vintage finds. Also a collection of well made quirky children’s and baby clothes.

Just Williams 8b Balham Hill SW12 9EA 020 3538 6798 An Aladdin’s cave of pocket-money toys, puzzles, games and ever popular brands Lego, Brio and Warhammer



125 Sheen Lane, SW14 8AE, 020 8878 0866 Stocked floor to ceiling with traditional and unusual toys, books and music, plus an eclectic selection of games and puzzles

Little Toy Shop at the Pottery Café Fulham Studio 020 7736 2157 Battersea Studio 020 7223 3388 Own collection of their favourite toys with a focus on Fair Trade, traditional and wooden toys.

Patrick's Toys and Models 107-111 Lillie Road SW6 7SX 020 7385 9864 One of London’s biggest and oldest toy and model shops. Great for Lego, Playmobil, Sylvanian Families, Hornby, Scalectrix and Renner skateboards, plus everything from traditional wooden toys to the latest craze.

Little Heroes 638 Fulham Road SW6 5RT 020 7348 7907 A trove of classic and traditional toys

Little Rascals Toyshop 140 Merton Road Merton SW19 1EH 020 8542 9979 Perfect for presents for babies and toddlers, plus a unique selection of

December 2013

Snap Dragon

Play Inside Out 377 Upper Richmond Road West, SW14 7NX, 020 8876 5229



Very sadly we’ve lost both the wonderful Bolingbroke Bookshop on Northcote Road as well as the Golden Treasury Bookshop in Replingham Road. Do support those that still exist!

Sheen Bookshop


375 Upper Richmond Road West SW14 7NX 020 8876 1717 Find almost every fairy princess book imaginable, plus classic audio books.

Barnes Bookshop 60 Church road, Barnes SW13 ODQ 020 8741 0786 Enthusiastic owner with a great knack for recommending books as gifts.

Under the Greenwood Tree 11 The Polygon Clapham Old Town SW4 0JG 020 7627 4557 A fantastic selection of books and toys with a café serving delicious cakes. Story time every saturday at 11am. Check out their regular events online.

Clapham Books 120 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UH 020 7627 2797 An independent bookshop on Clapham High Street, offering a great handpicked selection of titles including children's books.


The twelve days of an active Christmas Six outdoor play ideas to get your child active this winter Outdoor play and exposure to nature is one of the best and most effective ways to educate children about the world around them and encourage environmental awareness. Getting children active outdoors is also vital for their health and physical development as well as helping them to improve their sensory, cognitive and social skills. Despite the weather, the winter months provide a surprisingly wide range of fun and exciting outdoor learning opportunities for your children.


1. Fly a kite What better way to spend a breezy, sunny winter day than flying a kite. You could even get creative and have a go at making your own. Encourage your child to get run, jump and chase their kite to keep them active.

2. Have a nature walk adventure Organise a treasure hunt or get children to find and collect a list of objects. Feathers, leaves, fir cones, acorns and animal foot prints are great things for children to look for. 1926 Wooden Flooring has created a downloadable game for kids on their website called ‘Park Adventurers’. It’s designed to encourage children to explore their local park or



natural play space while learning about natural habitats, British wildlife, litter and plants all at the same time. It’s packed with fun activities and natural trivia, best of all it’s free! Try also It has loads of colourful activity cards and little booklets that can be downloaded and taken on walks. The Woodland Trust also have where you can find woods to walk and play in.

3. Try leaf rubbing


Children can create their very own autumn inspired artwork by leaf rubbing. Simply take a large leaf and place on a hard surface. Put a piece of plain paper over the leaf and gently rub over the leaf with a crayon and the leaf pattern will appear on the page. You can have hours of fun by experimenting with different types of leaves and coloured crayons.

4. Get wet!

4 5 6

Allowing children to play with water is not only fun, it can also teach basic science. Encourage your child to throw different objects (sticks, stones, leaves etc)— Get them to guess if they will float or sink. Teach them to skim.

5. Make walks fun

Turn boring walks into fun. Cycle, climb trees, sing, play simple games such as eye spy, tag and hide and seek or build simple dens with fallen branches, moss and leaves. Check out local Days out, parks and nature reserves on

6. Blow bubbles

It’s easy to make your own bubble potion. All you need is water, washing up liquid and a dash of sugar to thicken the mixture. Using coat hangers and pipe cleaners you can easily make your own bubble blowers and create bubbles in all different shapes and sizes.

Tel: 020 8696 9680

Six present ideas to get your child active this winter 1 Chicco Red Bullet Balance Bike

3 Happy Hopperz Hours of indoor fun on the crazy Blue Bull! Suitable from 12 mth - £24.99

To quickly learn to get the balance, a must-have for any child from 3 years, £34.99, from

4 Balance bike

2 Paper planes

Fantastic for developing young children's motor skills. From online store Character Kids £69.15 less 5% for Families readers quoting 9QNYMCKDTEU6.

Learn to make 10 different paper planes then fly them in the park! From 7 years, £4.99, from and toy shops.

5 Multi Sport Set Set contains kit to play cricket, football, rounders/baseball, frisbee and beach tennis so there is something here for all tastes, skills and weather conditions! £60.

Find the perfect gift!

6 The Beano Chopper Covered front-to-back in classic Beano imagery and features black and red grips, seat and back pads - just how Dennis and the gang would want it. £300, from Raleigh stockists.

December 2013


High-quality plush and traditional wooden toys, ride-on toys, baby collections and furniture. Brands include: Janod, Kaloo, P’Kolino, Rubbabu, Happy Horse, Crocodile Creek, Bead Bazaar and Skipper. Competitive prices— compare us with any other online seller! Free delivery if over £30. Extra 5% discount for Families readers—use code 9QNYMCKDTEU6


Ice rinks Love skating? Try them all! Please check websites for ticket information.


Natural History Museum

Eyeskate at the London Eye

Cromwell Road SW7 5BD 0844 847 1576 Until 5th January 2014 A fairground carousel, sumptuous food, drinks and cocktails, treats, mulled wine, hot chocolate, music, an open-air balcony, a junior rink for younger skaters.

Westminster Bridge Road London SE1 7PB 0871 781 3000 27 November - 5 January 2014 Eyeskate in the shadow of one of London’s iconic landmarks, the London Eye, situated on the festive South Bank.

HM Tower of London Tower Hill London EC3N 4AB 0844 482 7777 Until 5 January 2014 A skate rink in the 1000 year old Tower Moat, hot chocolate, mulled wine, mince pies, the Ice Rink Café, ice guides for groups of up to 15 people. Sessions 10am-10pm, tickets from £9.

Winter Wonderland Hyde Park Hyde Park London W2 2UH Open until 5th January 2014 Facilities include Ice guides for up to 15 people, free skate hire, on-site attractions such as the Christmas market, Santa’s Grotto, Zippos Christmas Circus, Giant Observation Wheel, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Zippos Cirque Berserk and a big selection of rides.

Hampton Court Palace

Natural History Museum

East Molesey KT8 9AU 020 8241 9818 Until 12 January 2014 Hampton Court Ice Rink invites visitors to glide around the ice in royal style within the setting of the magnificent Palace. Enjoy the winter sun as it glistens on the ice, and after dark, skate under the stars. The Palace is illuminated after the sun goes down, providing a magical fairytale scene to delight young and old. Open 10am-10pm daily, tickets from £9.

Canary Wharf Ice Rink Canada Square Park London E14 5AX Until 16th February 2014 A good size rink, with a new skate path that weaves in and out of fairylit trees, great bar & restaurant facilities, free parking. Make the most of over 250 shops, bars and restaurants too.

Brighton Royal Pavilion

Brighton Royal Pavilion Prince's Street Brighton East Sussex BN1 1ED 0844 847 2352 Until 19 January 2014 If you fancy a skating day trip by the sea, head to the Royal Pavilion in Brighton where an 800 square metre rink has space for 250 skaters. For families, visiting the Royal Pavilion Ice Rink for a day out is an experience not to be missed during the festive season, conjuring up the very essence of Christmas, whether it be for Sunday lunch with Father Christmas or an early evening skate and supper. Under 8s skate free at the Penguin Club when accompanied by a paying adult. Open 10am-10.15pm.

Somerset House

Somerset House


The Strand London WC2R 1LA 020 7845 4600 Until 5 January 2014 Facilities include the Christmas Arcade pop-up mall with stalls, Glad Tidings Tuesday evenings with festive music, special late night shopping experiences with treats including mince pies, toffee apples and mulled

wine, after dark club night sessions with top DJs spinning records whilst you skate. Open 10am to late, tickets from £7.50.

Westfield London Ice Rink The Atrium Westfield Shepherd’s Bush London 020 3371 2300 Until 5th January 2014 Indoor skate rink, kids themed sessions, Wednesday 2-for1 for students, date and disco nights, festive tunes, great shopping & restaurant facilities at hand.

Richmond Ice Rink York House Richmond Road Twickenham TW1 3AA Until 12 January 2014 A well-loved attraction locally and considered, in its heyday, to be one of the largest skating rinks in the world, the return of the Richmond Rink is expected to be welcomed with open arms by local community and visitors alike, and represents a major victory for those that fought against its closure in 1990.

Tel: 020 8696 9680

Who wants a perfect Christmas? By Sarah Butters, Families Leeds editor

Enjoy the nativity

Forget the Christmas cards

Whether you have the Angel Gabriel or the 5th sheep under your roof this Christmas, take the time to enjoy your child’s nativity. Ignore the crowing parent who is mother to Mary for the 3rd time. “I’ve made her go straight into character and so she’s living in the shed and sleeping on hay.” Embrace the breadth of characters now at the bedside of Baby Jesus and pray that whatever your child is cast as, there’s an outfit that can be bought in the dress up aisle at the supermarket. But most of all enjoy the moment. Too soon it won’t be the sheep and the cows you’ll be fretting about. It will be the birds and the bees.

Imagine NOT sending cards. For a moment, park the anxiety you’ll feel when that first envelope drops on your doormat. Instead, think of the time you’ll save penning 50 cards to people you only communicate with at Christmas. We’re not suggesting severing all ties with your friends and family over the festive period, but trying something different. Why not take a fun packed picture of your family (perhaps in the festive attire mentioned above) and email it out with good wishes to the people on your Christmas card list. You’ll save money. You’ll save time and you may save a little bit of your pre-Christmas sanity.

Make space

Ban the Christmas list

Encourage your children to fill a box with toys they no longer play with and take it to your local charity shop. As well as clearing some space for the new arrivals, it’s a way to introduce the concept of thinking of others to your little elves. Sell what you can on Ebay - it’s a great time to get rid of items and make some much needed cash.

Call me Scrooge, but I’m no fan of Christmas wish lists. I think it fuels the idea that this time of year is all about getting stuff and that isn’t the spirit of Christmas I want in my house. No good will come of giving a child a plain piece of paper and an Argos catalogue. In fact a survey in the aftermath of Christmas 2012 found that the most asked for wish on the lists of British children was a brother or sister. Next was a reindeer. I think those are requests that even Argos would struggle with. If you don’t ask them to write a list, they’ll be delighted with whatever Santa leaves under the tree. Trust me.

Invest in festive attire It’s a parental right of passage to dress up your son or daughter as a reindeer or a shrunken Santa. As well it being very cute, it also provides us parents with some super photographic ammunition for the future. My girls are 10 and 7 and have declared this the final year they’ll go along with my festive antics and will be withdrawing their labour from 2014. It’s a decision that’s making me broody. For those of you with more compliant/younger children, enjoy the moment. And make sure you take plenty of photos.

December 2013


Make it magical Real magic doesn’t have to cost the earth but it will make your child’s Christmas one to remember. Spend time dressing the tree together or making Christmas biscuits. Time is something we have in such short supply in our lives but it’s well worth finding it this time of year.

Picture credit homesense

There are certain inevitable facts about Christmas. You will receive an item of clothing that neither suits nor fits you. You will not have the batteries needed for 50% of the items your children open on Christmas Day. And some of the food will be a disaster. Who cares? A perfect Christmas does not exist, only perfect moments. It is up to us to make them happen.

Create new traditions. Santa’s elves started leaving a Christmas Eve hamper at our front door last year. It’s filled with inexpensive items like a toothbrush, a festive DVD, some jolly pyjamas and a silly mug for a night time hot chocolate. It kicks the festivities off in a truly magical way.

Watch one of our top five Christmas movies Nothing lifts the spirits on a cold winter Sunday more than settling down to a festive DVD. I’ve done a straw poll in and around Families HQ and we’ve come up with our favourite five. Find them, watch them and have a very happy family Christmas. 1. Elf 2. The Snowman 3. The Polar Express 4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas 5. The Nativity And finally, remember that Christmas is not about presents or perfectly cooked turkeys. It’s about time and family. Your children will have forgotten what they were given by Easter, and your family will have erased the memory of the burnt parsnips but no one forgets the fun they had. To end, let me say ignore what journalists write in national newspapers about “worst time of the year for families!” It’s not true...


Where’s Santa?

 Odds Farm Park Every weekend plus 23 and 24 December Santa will be at Odds Farm Park. For a small extra charge, children can visit Santa in his magical grotto where he is giving out gifts. Every day from 30 Nov-24 Dec, children can also choose a free chocolate treat from the Christmas tree in the Gift Shop. Continue the warm fuzzy feel with a visit to the lambs due in December. The Farm is located just minutes from Junction 2 of the M40, near Beaconsfield. 01628 520188

Morden Hall Park

Odds Farm

Hamleys Until 24 December Join in the magic this Christmas at Hamleys Regent Street by having breakfast, brunch, lunch or high tea with Father Christmas. Enjoy a scrumptious feast, meet the magical elves and hear all about Santa's enchanting life in Lapland. Then when it's time for Father Christmas to leave, his special guests will receive a small gift to take home. Suitable for children aged 4-11, £45.00 per child. 0844 855 2424,

Christmas Festive Weekends where you can visit Santa’s Grotto to receive a special Christmas gift and then follow a festive trail through the park are on 7, 8, 14 & 15 Dec from 11am-4pm. Soak up the atmosphere in the stable yard with local food and craft stalls, visit the community Christmas tree exhibition and enjoy live music and carols and try your hand at wreath making. Santa’s Grotto £8 per child (booking essential).

Kew Gardens Until 4 January Visit Father Christmas in his magical woodland grotto. £3 per child, every child receives a gift. Also enjoy the Christmas village with festive nibbles, Christmas shopping and live carols, plus a festive fairground and winter trail. 020 8332 5655,

Whippersnapper’s Winter Wonderland

Morden Hall

To book, please phone 020 8545 6850 or email Morden Hall Road, Morden, SM4 5JD

Santa’s special steam train

7–8 December Experience the magic of a festive visit to Father Christmas and his huskies. Don’t miss the free husky sleigh rides (age 8 and under, weight restrictions may apply)! 10am-4pm, a small charge applies. 0208 409 4412,

Invite Santa to your home

Winter Wonderland at Bluewater

Invite Santa to your home on Christmas eve (or Christmas day). He will bring in the presents, chat with the kids, eat a mince pie or two or might even sing a few songs before saying goodbye. Call the Santa hotline on 020 8959 1045 or email

Until 5 January 2014 A visit of festive magic awaits your family and friends for a spectacular Santa visit this Christmas. The new and magical Santa’s Grotto, situated in The Glow, will bring delight for all children. You will meet penguins, arctic animals and enchanting characters on your journey to see Santa. Whilst


14-23 December. Museum of London Meet Santa in his very own grotto set in 19th century Sailortown, tell him your Christmas wishes, receive a special present and have your picture taken with him. £7, book first. •London Wall, EC2Y 5HN 020 7001 9844 and •Museum of London Docklands, West India Quay E14 020 7001 9844,

7 and 8 December 2013 Discover unique Christmas fair trade gifts, enjoy festive food including mulled wine and visit Santa's Grotto (book first). 10.30am - 4.30pm. 100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23, 020 8699 1872,

December weekends Climb aboard one of Kent and East Sussex Railway's Santa Specials, and meet Santa during a return journey to Northiam Station. Look out too for the pixies whose sacks are full of lovely presents. Every child up to the age of 16 will receive a gift to take home and put under the tree. At the end of the journey, everyone can meet the beautiful Snow Queen. Tickets include the one hour ten minute train ride, a present for each child, a ride on a miniature railway and a colour portrait with the Snow Queen to take home. Prebooking recommended. Tenterden Town Station, Station Road, Tenterden, Kent TN30 6HE, 01580 76515,

WWT London Wetlands Centre

Santa’s Victorian Grotto

Horniman Museum Christmas Fair

Harrods Until 24 December Get the season off to a magical start by visiting Santa’s Grotto at the Knightsbridge department store. All children receive a gift, and parents can buy a photo of their kids in the grotto. Book online, tickets are free although there is a £10 administration charge that will be credited back to your account if you attend your booked slot.

visiting Santa, you will receive a special wrapped gift which has come all the way from the North Pole and have a professional photo taken by Santa’s Ice Elf. •Real ice rink, 40-metre snow slide, ice climbing wall, 4D Cinema and stacks of traditional rides and amusements. •Glow Events Centre at Bluewater Shopping Centre,

7-23 December 2013, Father Christmas and his Elves will be helping Whippersnappers raise money to support their work at the Lodge delivering activities for children with disabilities in 2014. The setting is a magical Gingerbread House, where guests will be served festive refreshments before entering Whippersnappers' Winter Wonderland. Young visitors can dress up to help elves in a toy workshop, visit Santa's twinkly classroom to decorate gingerbread tree decorations, meet Starfrost the Christmas fairy, make a miniature Christmas stocking, and enjoy a Christmas singalong. Do visit the arts and crafts/ toy shop to collect their finished tree decorations and a framed sleigh photograph. Children's tickets £18, adults £5 - book first. The Park Keeper's Lodge, Dulwich Park, Dulwich Village SE21 7BQ, 020 8693 1682,

Centrale Shopping Centre Until 24 December The Christmas Centrale shopping centre in Croydon is alive with magic. 2nd – 15th December, Mondays – Wednesdays: Arts & crafts; Thursdays – Sundays: Meet Santa & his elves. 16th - 24th December, Enjoy arts & crafts plus meet Santa and his elves. Lower Mall, 21 North End, Croydon CR0 1TY, 0871 330 8070,

Tel: 020 8696 9680

 Winter Wonderland Hyde Park Until 5 January 2014. Santa will be opening his grotto every day from 10am to 6pm. Entry is free and Santa will have a gift for children who've been good. Run on a firstcome first-served basis. Take time to explore Santa Land, which has children's rides and games. (Tokens needed for rides.) Combine with a visit to the Magic Ice Kingdom, Christmas circus, giant wheel and ice-skating.

Hobbledown Children’s Farm Weekends until Sunday 22nd December and weekdays from 9th to 24th December. Tickets cost £4.95 on top of normal admission rates, or if you are not planning to visit Hobbledown you can still met Santa for just £7.50. Both prices include a fabulous gift. Hobbledown is a children’s adventure park and farm. Horton Lane, Epsom, Surrey, KT19 8PT 0843 289 4979

Painshill Park 7-24 December For a truly magical experience visit Father Christmas in the newly restored crystal grotto. Hundreds of thousands of crystals have been used to recreate this enchanting folly. £7-£8.50 Portsmouth Road, Cobham KT11 1JE

Leeds Castle, Kent 7-24 December Follow the trail of glittering woodland decorations around the castle and discover an enchanted forest grotto where children can meet Father Christmas. 10.30am to 4pm, £10 per child which includes a gift. A valid Key to the Castle ticket is also required. Husky Sleigh Rides. Children will love their new husky sleigh rides this Christmas. ‘Hug a husky’

WWT London Wetlands

and have your photo taken. £18.50 adults, £12 children, under 4’s free Maidstone, Kent ME17 1PL

Kent & East Sussex Railway 7-22 December Meet Santa at one of Kent's best-loved attractions this Christmas when you take a magical steam train journey. £11.50-£14.50 Tenterden Town Station, Station Road, Tenterden, Kent TN30 6HE

The Hop Farm 7-24 December Father Christmas is coming to The Hop Farm! Booking a family visit includes Father Christmas. Receive a present and have a professional family photograph taken, all included in the ticket price. Admission fees apply Maidstone Road, Paddock Wood, Kent TN12 6PY

Fulham Palace 7-8 December Father Christmas is visiting Fulham Palace! Bring the kids along to meet Santa and receive a festive gift in one of their historic rooms, fully decorated for the holidays. 10am-5pm / £10 Bishops Avenue SW6 6EA

Brooklands Museum 7-8, 14-15 and 20-21 December Santa on the VC10. Santa will be giving his reindeer a rest for a while and borrowing their VC10 aircraft so that he can meet his young fans. Museum admission of £5.50 payable plus £5 for a visit to Santa 11 December: Torchlight Tour. Join them for a special tour of the Museum as night falls. 6.30pm / £15 adults, £13 children (12 - 16 yrs) Brooklands Road, Weybridge KT13 0QN There are many other places where Father Christmas can be found. To try and find him would make a wonderful day out. For example we know he will be at Claremont Landscape Garden, at the Santa Fir Christmas tree farm in Surrey, in Painshill Park, Bocketts Farm, Chessington Garden Centre, etc. Go to Families website to read the Santa listings in our sister Families magazines “Families Surrey East” and “Surrey West.” Try also “Families” further afield— there are 40 Families® local magazines around the country bursting with Santa sightings!! See WWT London Wetlands

Remember that camera !

December 2013



Dulwich Picture Gallery

Amanda’s Action Club

Christmas holiday activities We took every care in preparing these entries but sometimes events are cancelled or times changed. Please double check event with the organiser to avoid disappointment.

ARTS AND CRAFTS Artyard Handmade 318 Upper Richmond Road West, East Sheen SW14 7JN 020 8878 1336, 16-19 December. Christmas Holiday Workshops Make festive decorations. 5 - 12 years, 10am-3pm. £38 per day. Bring a snack and a packed lunch, wear old clothes and come prepared for the unexpected and lots of creative fun!

Fulham Palace Bishops Avenue SW6 6EA 020 7751 2432, 7 December. National Tree Dressing Day Come along and make decorations, and celebrate the trees of Bishop's Park. Free, no booking necessary. Meet in Bishop's Park near the café. 7 and 8 December. Father Christmas Father Christmas is visiting Fulham Palace! Bring the kids along to meet Santa and receive a festive gift in one of the historic rooms, fully decorated for the holidays. Send letters to the elves at the North Pole via their Christmas Post Box to make sure your gift order gets through in time. £10 per child, booking via the Lyric Hammersmith, 10am-5pm. 15 December. Christmas Pantomine: Wizard of Oz With colourful sets and lots of audience participation, this is a pantomime for the whole family featuring all the favourite songs and characters. Tickets £10, family ticket £36, book via Lyric Hammersmith.

Fun with Fimo Clay West London 020 8992 3767,

24 16 and 19 December, 6 January. Craft Activity Sessions Fun and creative, fully supervised and non messy! Including Christmas Creatures, Gingerbread Houses and

Paint Pots House St Mary the Boltons Church Hall, The Boltons SW10 9TB 08456 434442, 16-20 December. Festive Fun Creative art, cooking, music, story time and games. 3-6 years (unaccompanied) 9.30am-12.30pm £35, 9.30am-3.30pm £55. 18 months-2 years (accompanied) 9.3011.30am £25

Eddie Catz Putney Merry Mice. Recommended for ages 6 +. Workshops take place in a private home in West London, morning refreshments are provided, but remember your lunchbox. 10.15am-4.15pm, £50

Little Hands Design 67 Belsize Lane, NW3 5AU 07739 535684, 16-20 December. Textile Craft Present Making Week. Workshops including card making, basket making, cushions and more. Make a special party outfit for the season. 9-4pm (full days or 5 mornings or 5 afternoons), 6-8 years and 8-18years, £225 full days/£120 half day week including fabrics and haberdashery

Pottery Café •735 Fulham Road, SW6 5UL 020 7736 2157 •332 Richmond Road, TW1 2DU 020 8744 3000 •153 Northcote Road, SW11 6QB 020 7223 3388 Throughout December. Baby Wednesdays Enjoy a complimentary cappuccino while you print your baby’s feet on pottery

First Floor, 68-70 Putney High Street SW15 1SF 0845 201 1268 20 December. Christmas Pantomime Aladdin Watch as the evil Abanazar journeys to old Peking in search of the ancient lamp of the Orient. Only the diamond in the rough, Aladdin, can retrieve the lamp that will change his life forever. £14 per child, £2 per adult, 5.45-7.45pm, 3-8 years and families. 23 December. Christmas Chocolates with Cookie Crumbles Make a selection of goodies. Chocolate lollypops, seasonal brownies and gigantic cookies are on offer. £25 per child, 10am-1pm, 4-8 years. 23 December. Make a Bear Christmas Workshop Choose, stuff and fluff your very own adorable teddy bear to give as a gift or to keep forever. £22 per child, 2.30-5.30pm, 4-8 years.

Eddie Catz Wimbledon 42 Station Road SW19 2LP 0845 201 1268 19 December. Christmas Party and Santa Visit Get into the Christmas spirit at the magical Eddie Catz Christmas party

with dancing, games, competitions, balloon modeling, face painting and fantastic prizes. £13 per child, £1 per adult, 6-8pm, 2-10 years and families. 23 December. Make a Bear Christmas Workshop Choose, stuff and fluff your very own adorable teddy bear to give as a gift or to keep forever. £22 per child, 10am-1pm, 4-8 years.

MUSIC AND DRAMA Amanda’s Action Club Wandsworth, Putney, Parsons Green, Southfields, Battersea 01895 623999, Throughout the Christmas holidays. Music classes and workshops Fun, fitness and music for children 4 months to 4 years.

Allsorts Drama More House School, 22-24 Pont Street, SW1X 0AA 020 8767 5298, 19-20 December. Christmas Drama Workshops Join the festive fun and take part in a ‘Play In A Day!’ Make new friends and discover new talents. Write a script, use music, props, costumes and your imagination to create, entertain and surprise family and friends in a sensational end-of-course show. Ages 4-6 and 7–12, 9.30am–3.30pm, £60 per day or £100 with 20% sibling discount.

Monkey Music Balham, Earlsfield, Fulham, Streatham, Tooting and Wandsworth

Tel: 020 8696 9680

Henry Lamb

Chickenshed 5 December. Free Music and Your Baby Workshop Are you a new parent or expecting a baby? Jeni from Monkey Music would like to invite you to a free workshop all about the benefits of sharing music with your baby. There will be lots of information, ideas and activities to inspire you! At Bishops Park Café SW6, 10.15-10.45am. To book your free place call 020 8480 6064, putneybarnesfulham@

16-20 December. Festive Film Shoot Fun, festive filmmaking for ages 7-14. Over five action-packed creative days, members will make magical holiday films inspired by Christmas classics from The Snowman to The Grinch. Members receive their own DVD, perfect for sharing as gifts with family and friends10am-4pm (free early drop off from 9am), £215

Upbeat Music Chelsea and Fulham 07816 901396, 16-18 December. Songwriting Sessions Write, record and perform your own song with a band. Tutoring also on guitars, drums, keyboards and vocals. 11am-3pm each day, 10-16yrs, at RMS Rehearsal Studios, Putney Bridge.

The Music House for Children 306 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush W12 7LJ 020 8932 2652, 20 December. Hum, The Elephant and the Snowball that Rolled Taken from an Indian fable, travel with Hum on a magical journey involving singing and dancing to find out whatever happened to her delicious grain of corn...10am, tickets £6/£7

SPORTS Battersea Sports Centre Hope Street, SW11 2DA 020 8871 8529, 27 and 30 December. Christmas Holiday Camps Enjoy a variety of sports, games, arts and crafts, dance, trampolining, martial arts and much more. £10.00 per day, 10% sibling discount. 10am3pm, registration from 9.30am, 7–13yrs.

Song Academy Fulham and Hammersmith 07710 023743, 16-17, 19-20 December and 6 January. Christmas Workshops Holiday workshops for budding young songwriters, age 7-16, 2-5pm, £75 per workshop.

Studio Film School

Central London Golf Centre

Broomwood Hall School, Nightingale Lane, Balham SW12 8NR 0845 533 3763, 16-20 December. Shooting Stars! Join in the magic and mystery on this adventure themed film workshop. Especially for ages 4-7 this Aladdininspired creative workshop combines film, drama, music and craft activities designed to develop lots of confidence and creativity. 10am-4pm (free early drop off from 9am), £215

December 2013

Burntwood Lane SW17 0AT 020 8871 2468, 16-20 December. Christmas Activity Golf Days Golf tuition each morning and fun and informal Christmas games. The ideal opportunity to win some early Christmas presents! 10am-1pm, £25 per day


Monkey Music

Fit For Sport


Ethos Sports Imperial College, 7 Princes Gardens, South Kensington, SW7 2BB 0845 456 3233, 16-24 December, 2-6 January. Festive Holiday Activity Camps Keep active, have fun and make new friends with a wide range of sports and activities. Ages 3-12, call for details of times and prices

Across South West London 020 7937 7965, www.kiddikicks.couk dates TBC. Holiday Sessions Kiddikicks (football 18m to 5 years) Kiddisports (multi-sport 18m to 5 years) and Ligasoccer (football Under 8’s) sessions run throughout the summer holidays. Or arrange a bespoke session (1 to 3 hours) for your player and their friends: pick your sport and they’ll provide the coach, equipment and place

Fulham FC Foundation Venues in Fulham 0870 442 5432, December dates tbc. Half Term Holiday Courses Holiday courses for all abilities from beginners to regular players in a fun and challenging environment. 3-5yrs 9-11am, 6-14 yrs - 9am-3pm, from £12 per day.

Herne Hill Harriers Tooting Bec Athletics Track, Tooting Bec Road SW17 3NP 07721 555 688, 30-31 December and 2-3 January. Star Track Athletics Holiday Training Athletics training for age 8-14 from top coaches in all events, 10.30am2.30pm, £10 per day

Inspire Life and Leisure Venue TBC SW18 07939 054551, 23 December, 2-3 January. Christmas Camp Join the Inspire Team for lots of fun and action to keep your children busy. Prizes, certificates and lots more! 10am-2pm (early bird 9:30am drop available), 3.5-13yrs, £20 per day or book all 3 for £50

The Little Gym Riverside West, Wandsworth SW18 1DB 020 8874 6567, 23 December, 2-4 January. Winter Wonderland Holiday Camps The ever-popular camps including gymnastics, games, crafts, snack time and a whole lot of fun. 3-8yrs, 9.30am-12.30pm and 2-5pm, depending on date, £35 per 3-hour camp

Ridgway Stables 93 Ridgway, Wimbledon Village SW19 4SU 020 8946 7400,, Throughout Christmas Holidays. Horse Riding Courses 2-hour riding and pony care courses are held throughout the holidays

Urban Ascent Rock Climbing Unit 5 Parsons Green Depot, 33-35 Parsons Green Lane, Fulham SW6 4HH 020 7751 0913, December dates tbc. Christmas Climbing Club Ensure your kids get the most out of this Christmas holiday and bring them rock climbing in Parsons Green. Age 5+, £12 or 5 sessions for the price of 4.



Tel: 020 8696 9680

December 2013


Five fab things to do this Christmas Can’t decide what to do this Christmas?

Here are our top five...

1. Go to a Panto 15 December 2pm. Go and see The Wizard of Oz at the Fulham Palace. It is a one off panto not to be missed. An adaptation of the classic tale, perfect for younger children experiencing ‘theatre’ for the first time. Booking via Lyric Hammersmith website £10, family ticket £36 Bishops Avenue SW6 6EA


2. Cosy up in the Colour House Theatre

23 November – 26 January. Cinderella Saturdays and Sundays, at 2pm and 4pm £10.00 per seat. We’ve included this tiny theatre, because it is so close to our hearts. It is really tiny and so cosy, it is perfect for the very young. After the show enjoy Merton Abbey Mills market with a great variety of stall: crafts, gifts and home made food. Their shows are always fabulous. Cinderella is another classic tale getting the full Colour House treatment. Poor old Cinders has to protect her cat and its kittens from the Uglies as well as try to get to the ball and meet the charming and handsome prince. Will she sort it out? Of course she will. It's Panto Time. Suitable for the whole family with a recommended starting age of 3 years. Merton Abbey Mills, Merantun Way SW19 2RD 020 8542 5511/ 07944 868385


3. Make your own Christmas presents


Paint your own unique Christmas presents at Smarty Paints Pottery Studio. Personalise with names, own choice of colours and designs on plates, mugs, T-Pots and much more. They also have a fantastic range of Christmas tree decorations and baubles that both children and adults will love painting. Is it your baby's first Christmas? Capturing their footprint is a special keepsake and very cute on a bauble! Go early to ensure fired in time - last day to paint for Christmas collection is 18th December. Special Offer for “Families SW” readers - free tree decoration when painting any other item - mention this piece when you arrive! 85 Nightingale Lane, SW12 8NX 020 8772 8702


4. Enjoy a tree festival Saturday 14th December 2013 From 4pm – 7pm

Nothing beats the church atmosphere to put you in the mood for Christmas (no surprise there!) and here’s a good local one: The Christmas Tree Festival at St Mary Magdalene, Wandsworth Common, will have over 20 sparkling trees individually dressed for the festive season. Hear the amazing PopChoir, plus lots more live entertainment! Enjoy seasonal stalls, kids games, delicious afternoon teas and mulled wine. Santa arrives at 4.30 – don’t miss him! Entry £1 Children free. • St Mary Magdalene Church, Trinity Road (near junction with Bellevue Road) SW17 7HP *All in aid of the Wandsworth Community Chaplaincy Trust, which recruits volunteer mentors who offer help to offenders in HMP Wandsworth in the weeks leading to their re-settlement.

5. Enjoy Carols by candlelight with Breast Cancer Care at St Paul’s Cathedral Celebrate Christmas with Breast Cancer Care at its Carols by Candlelight concert at the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral on Tuesday 17th December. For those who wish to continue the merriment the concert will be followed by an intimate Champagne Supper in St Paul’s Crypt. The star studded evening is the perfect occasion for some festive cheer with your loved ones and guests at the concert will be entertained by the world-renowned St Paul’s Cathedral Choir. Money raised will help Breast Cancer Care provide expert information and professional support for the 55,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK. To book your tickets visit or phone 0845 092 0829. £30 but it is very special and for a good cause.


•Finally what about creating your own tradition and asking the children to prepare a show for you? Apart from keeping them busy and excited, it will make them keep an active part in Christmas. Get them to sing, play an instrument or play the nativity scene for you! Camera at the ready ..

For the full list of Pantomimes go to our online What’s On calendar. Or download the listing we published in our November issue from


Tel: 020 8696 9680

What’s on

Please send info for consideration to: Compiled by Joanna Parry Please always phone before setting out in case details have changed since press deadline or we got it wrong...

Theatre See more events in our online What’s On calendar

The Arts Theatre Great Newport Street WC2H 7JB Dickens Abridged. The brainchild of Adam Long, a founding member of The Reduced Shakespeare Company, this is a high-speed comic journey through Dickens' Greatest Hits in just ninety minutes, £20-£39.50 27 November to 5 January Seussical the Musical. “Oh the thinks you can think, when you think about…”After all those years being stuck on a page, did you ever imagine you’d see them on stage? Join The Cat in the Hat as he takes you on a journey into the fantastical, bombastical and songtastical world of Dr Seuss. £25.00, £22.50 30 November to 5 January

The Barbican Theatre Barbican Centre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS Wallace and Gromit's Musical Marvels. Wallace and Gromit's latest adventure sees everyone's favourite hapless inventor and his faithful dog turn their hands (and paws) to the music business. 3pm, 10.30pm, 2.30pm 22-23 December Pop Art Design. Bringing together around 200 works, by over 70 artists and designers, including iconic and lesser known works by such artists as Peter Blake, Judy Chicago, Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Throughout December The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child. In a delightful festive treat for younger children, venture into the deep dark wood with the acclaimed animations of Julia Donaldson's stories. 1.30pm, 4pm 21 December Told by an Idiot – Get Happy. A mysterious noise is heard from a bag. An opera singer falls in love with a gorilla. And the strangest ever egg sandwich is created live on stage. 12 to 29 December

Chicken Shed Chase Side, Southgate N14 4PE The Night Before Christmas. It's Christmas Eve and, too excited to sleep, the children are desperate to tear into their huge sack of presents. To 11 January Christmas Tales. A fun and festive celebration that takes the very best of the wonderful Tales from the Shed shows and then sprinkles it with new, magical and larger-than-life characters. 4-23 December

Little Angel Theatre N1 2DN The Night Before Christmas. Inspired by Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem of the same name, The Night Before Christmas is a musical

December 2013


This month we love!...

The Polka Theatre 240 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SB 020 8543 4888 If you’re visiting Wonderland at the Polka Theatre this Christmas, have you thought about signing your kids up for the workshops too? It’s not just entertainment at this gem of a theatre in the heart of Wimbledon – since its doors opened in 1979 Polka has been engaging and exciting children as young as 9 months, but at the heart of Polka’s work is a programme of learning, with every show supported by related workshops.


Fancy dancing like a snowflake in a movement class, or bringing a treasured toy to life in its own special story? What about joining a Writer’s Lab where you can experiment with plots and create your own play? Then take a look at Polka’s family days and after-show events, not to mention their out-of-school clubs and summer schools. From storytelling to puppetry and from tiny tots to teenagers, your children can act, sing, dance, write and direct at Polka. How about inviting their friends along too and holding your child’s next birthday party at the theatre? And don’t forget about the plays at Polka. Dedicated to producing and presenting work for young audiences, Polka is a local theatre with an international reputation. With hilarious family shows, worldpremieres of new plays and adaptations of well-loved stories like We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, it is a truly magical place for young and old alike.

puppet fantasy that tells the story of a Christmas wish that comes true – with near-disastrous consequences. To 5 January

Lyric Theatre W1D 7ES The Gruffalo. Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep dark wood in the search for hazelnuts as she meets the cunning Fox, the eccentric old Owl and the party mad Snake, and outwits them all with the story of the fabled Gruffalo. To 12 January

National Theatre SE1 9PX The Light Princess. A new musical with music and lyrics by Tori Amos. A dark fairytale about grief, rebellion and the power of love. Times and dates vary as this production is in rep. To February 2014 The Elephantom. For children and grownups of all ages, the story of one little girl and her larger-thanlife friend is brought to life with puppetry and theatrical ingenuity. Christmas in The Shed is about to get very messy indeed... 9 December – 11 January

Polka Theatre 240 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SB 020 8543 4888 Gorilla - When Hannah’s toy gorilla comes to life, dressed in her father’s coat and hat, they embark on a thrilling, moonlit adventure. 3-5yrs, £8-£10. 16 October – 15 February. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - When Alice falls down a mysterious rabbit hole she stumbles upon a magical fantasy world where anything can happen... All ages, £10-£16. 22 November – 15 February.

Putney Arts Theatre Ravenna Road SW15 6AW A Very Victorian Christmas. Come dressed in Victorian costume (optional) and see how they use all the theatre spaces to present a selection of ghost stories, an adaptation of a Victorian short story, a melodrama, a moving monologue and a comedy sketch. 11-14 December

The Richmond Theatre The Green, Richmond TW9 1QJ Peter Pan Gala Night. With VIP guests, members of the press and representatives from Great Ormond Street Hospital on the invite list it looks set to be a fantastic evening and the theatre hopes to raise a significant amount in donations. 7pm 10 December

The Royal Albert Hall Kensington Gore SW7 2AP Christmas Carol Singalong. Clap your hands, stamp your feet and sing your heart out as irrepressible showman Jonathan Cohen leads you through another fun-filled jamboree of his mostloved carols and all-time Christmas hits. £13.50 - £45.00 14, 19 and 21 December 8 Christmas with the Stars. Join BBC Radio 2 page 30


from p.29

What’s on Listen to the Band presenter Frank Renton for a celebrity packed evening of Christmas favourites. 7.30pm / £16.00 - £47.00 10 December

Theatre Royal Drury Lane Catherine Street WC2B 5JF Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Roald Dahl's deliciously dark tale of young Charlie Bucket and the mysterious confectioner Willy Wonka comes to life in a brand new West End musical directed by Academy Award® winner Sam Mendes. 2.30pm and 7.30pm / From £16.50

Museums & Galleries See more events in our online What’s On calendar

The British Museum Great Russell Street WC1B 3DG El Dorado Animation. Explore the stories behind El Dorado and then create a film based on these fantastic tales using animation software. Suitable for ages 7+. Free, limited places. 11.30am–3.30pm 7 December Passport to the Afterlife. Use smartphones to follow a trail around the Egyptian galleries, solving clues about the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. Suitable for ages 7+. Free, drop in. 11.30am–3.30pm 14 December Ice Age Animation Workshop. Use stop-motion software and digital cameras to bring Ice Age animals to life through animation. Suitable for ages 7+. Free, booking advised. 11am, 2pm 22 December

Browse our rather fabulous What’s On calendar on

middle-class homes over the past 400 years. 26 November to 5 January Open Evening: An Edwardian Christmas. Enjoy Christmas Past by candlelight, listen to a seasonal talk, watch a greenery demonstration, sing along to live festive music or bring children to a decoration-making workshop. 5-8pm 5 December Special Family Day. A lively day of Christmas workshops for children aged 2+, with carol singing for all ages. 10am-4pm 7 December

Horniman Museum 100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ Horniman Christmas Fair. Discover unique Christmas fair trade gifts, enjoy festive food and join in carol singing. 7- 8 December

Imperial War Museum Lambeth Road SE1 6HZ Horrible Histories®: Spies. Uncover the deadly world of spies at this major new interactive exhibition for families. Horrible Histories®: Spies brings the horrible history of Second World War spies and their secret schemes to life, based on Terry Deary’s book from the bestselling series. Adult £6.20 Child £3.30, children under 3 free

The Foundling Museum 40 Brunswick Square, Camden Town WC1N 1AZ Christmas Crackers Workshop. Inspired by the Foundling Museum’s collection of tokens, join artist Davina to create a cracker with a message and gift for someone special. Drop-in. Free for children and up to two accompanying adults. 10.30am-1pm and 2-4.30pm 14 December

The Geffrye Museum 136 Kingsland Road E2 8EA Christmas Past. Each year, authentic festive decorations transform the Geffrye Museum’s period rooms, giving visitors a magical glimpse into how Christmas has been celebrated in English


The National Army Museum Royal Hospital Road SW3 4HT A Soldier's Life in...Workshops. Drop in to these one-hour Saturday workshops and learn about the life of a soldier. 2pm and 3.30pm Saturdays throughout December Christmas Is Cancelled! Did you know in 1647 Christmas was almost cancelled? Visit the Museum and travel back in time to the English Civil Wars. The King is captive but plotting, and the Long Parliament is trying to cancel Christmas! 10.30am4.30pm 7-8 December

The National Gallery Trafalgar Square WC2N 5DN Family Sundays. Activities designed for families to enjoy and learn together, 11am and 3pm, free, age 5-11 Every Sunday in December

National Maritime Museum Park Row, Greenwich SE10 9NF December Holiday Events - Art and the Sea. Turner is one of the best known artists who painted the many moods of the sea. Find out more about him and the art of seascapes with activities exploring the Museum’s world-famous paintings. 27 December to 3 January

The Natural History Museum

Throughout December A Wartime Christmas. Visit the A Family in Wartime exhibition over Christmas and find out what London was like during the Second World War in this fun and instructive craft activity. 11am4pm, free 20-23 and 27-31 December

Cromwell Road SW7 5BD Dino Snores. Discover what really happens at the Museum when the staff and visitors have gone home. Dino Snores is for children aged 7–11 years old. 7pm / £49 7 December Night Safari. There’s no need to go to Africa for your safari fix – come face to face with nature’s weird and wonderful creatures in an exclusive evening tour. 7-10pm / £28 9 December Hands-on Nature: Dinosaurs. Step back in time and discover more about dinosaurs by handling real fossils and inspecting a variety of prehistoric specimens. 2-5pm 15 December Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Revealing nature photography in its purest form, this collection of images uniquely combines the work of talented young photographers and gifted amateurs. Adult £12, concession £6 Throughout December

The London Transport Museum

The Orleans House Gallery

Covent Garden Piazza WC2E 7BB Poster Art 150: London Underground’s Greatest Designs. Since its first graphic poster commission in 1908, London Underground has developed a worldwide reputation for commissioning outstanding poster designs. 10.00am-5.15pm / £15.00 / Free for Under 16s To 5 January

Riverside, Twickenham TW1 3DJ rts/orleans_house_gallery Santa in the Octagon. Santa returns for his annual visit to Orleans House Gallery. Take part in festive art activities and meet Santa in person. 23pm or 3-4pm / £8.50 per child, adults go free 8 December Wonderful Wrapping Paper. Make Christmas stamps with artist Miriam Baez and block-print your own patterned wrapping paper. 21 December

The Design Museum 28 Shad Thames SE1 2YD Drop in and Design - Christmas Special. What better way to increase the holiday joy than by joining the Design Museum’s friendly Family Learning team for this one off Christmas special? Expect glitter, fairies and all things festive. Drop in. Free with museum entry, 2-5pm 15 December

A Victorian Christmas. From turkey to christmas cards and crackers, the Victorians have shaped the way we celebrate Christmas more than anyone else. Join this festive walk to find out more. 11am-1pm, £10/£9 14-15 December

The Museum of London London Wall EC2Y 5HN

Tel: 020 8696 9680

Please send info for consideration to:

What’s on

Sir John Soane's Museum 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields WC2A 3BP It’s a Wrap! Design and make your own unique Christmas wrapping paper and matching cards based on their beautiful exhibition of work by artist Alan Sorrell. 10.30–3pm / £25 21 December

The Wallace Collection Hertford House, Manchester Square W1U 3BN Crumbs…It’s Christmas! Explore the paintings of Christmas in the collection and create your own edible Christmas Biscuit House, with artist Miranda Lopatkin. 10.30am-12.30pm or 2pm – 4pm / £9 15 December A Cracking Wallace Christmas! Come along and make a fun Christmas cracker and belt out some carols with The Wallace Collection's Education Department. Don't forget to See our November bring a cracking joke! 11am – 1pm issue for our full list of 23 December pantomimes or


r Days Out

see the listing on


See a full list of pantomimes on our What’s On calendar

The Battersea Park Children’s Zoo Battersea Park SW11 4NJ Christmas Stocking Search. When you visit the zoo between the 7th -24th Dec be sure to count up the number of Christmas stockings you see! Entrance fees apply 17-24 December Santa is Coming! Visit includes a small gift, drink and a Christmas treat. Entrance fees apply, plus £5 to see Santa 7-24 December

The Chelsea Physic Garden 66 Royal Hospital Road SW3 4HS Festive Shopping Days. Enjoy Christmas shopping at Chelsea Physic Garden, with free entry for all. 10am-4pm 3-13 December

Cutty Sark King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9HT Tea Treasure Chests. Make and decorate your own tea chest and have a go at making a tea bag to store safely inside. Drop-in workshop. 11.30am-1.30pm, 24pm / £15/£12 including admission to ship 29-30 December Family fun weekend: Christmas Cargoes. Make a beautiful Christmas decoration inspired by the cargoes Cutty Sark carried around the world. Dropin workshop. 11.30am-1.30pm, 2-4pm / £15/£12 including admission to ship 7-8 December

Golden Hinde Unit 1 & 2 Pickfords Wharf, Clink Street SE1 9DG Christmas Fun Day. Enjoy Christmas fun on board Golden Hinde II. 11am1pm, 2-4pm / Adult £7, Child £5 14 and 21 December Pirate Fun Day. Your little pirates will join the crew and during this fun-filled event they will raise the anchor and fire the cannons before trying to find the hidden treasure somewhere aboard the ship. 11am-1pm, 2-4pm / Adult £7, Child £5 28 December

Hampton Court Palace East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU Family Ghost Tours. Join their State Apartment Warders for an early evening walking tour to hear stories of ghostly apparitions and paranormal activity at Hampton Court Palace. 6.30pm, minimum age 6, adults £20, children (6 – 14) £10


page 32

December 2013




There's no room to list more here, but use our unique local searchable What’s On calendar on NEW!

What’s on Every Saturday 7-28 December Florimania at Christmas. As Christmas flower displays fill the Palace, Hampton Court will be a hive of activity including arts and crafts, wreath making, brass bands, and carol singing in the courtyards. Pop up restaurants in the Palace will bring the taste of Christmas alive! Admission fees apply

Kew Gardens TW9 3AB Christmas at Kew. New this year - follow an illuminated trail through the enchanting winter landscape. To 4 January

Kensington Palace W8 4PX A Game of Crowns: Christmas at Kensington

Osterley Park And House Jersey Road, Isleworth TW7 4RB Christmas at Osterley – Riches to Rations. Christmas trees weren’t popular until Victorian times, so what did the Georgians do? Discover Christmas from Georgian times to WW2 and how traditions have changed. 12noon-4pm / Admission fees apply 7-8 and 14-15 December

The Royal Observatory Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich SE10 9NF An Evening with the Stars. The popular afterdark experience at the Royal Observatory Greenwich including a show in London’s only public planetarium. 5.30pm and 6.50pm, £12-£16 13-14 December Christmas Stars. This seasonally themed show looks at what the night sky has to offer over the Christmas period and beyond. 12.30pm, 2pm, 3.30pm, £12-£16 1-23 December

Syon House and Gardens London Road, Brentford TW8 8JG The 8th Enchanted Woodland. Syon Park is again illuminating the gardens and Great Conservatory for their Annual Enchanted Woodland so wrap up warm and join them. £7 adults, £3 children 6, 7 and 8 December


Palace. Celebrate Christmas in royal style this December with a season of fun and games at Kensington Palace. To 6 January

Morden Hall Park Morden Hall Road SM4 5JD Community Christmas Tree Exhibition. Start the festive feeling by visiting their stable yard to see the decorated Christmas trees inspired by the work of local community organizations. Free admission 11am-4pm 1-18 December Festive Christmas Market. Soak up the atmosphere in their stables with a festive food and craft market, hot roasted chestnuts and mulled wine. Enjoy live music and carols and hang your own Christmas wish on the 15ft main tree. Free admission 11am-4pm 7-15 December

The Tower Of London

Diary dates and events See more events in our online What’s On calendar

NCT Wimbledon & Wandsworth Monday Munchkins. Every Monday in December, 10am-12pm at Elim Church, High Path, South Wimbledon. Breastfeeding Drop-in. Every Thursday in December, 10am–12pm, Gooseberry Bush Café (upstairs studio) Bumps and Babes. Every Friday in December, 10.30am–12pm, Wimbledon Park Pavilion Post-natal meet up. Every Friday in December, 1.30–3.30pm at Mood Food Café, 131 Penwith Rd, Earlsfield, SW18 4PZ

British Military Tournament Earls Court SW5 7-8 December The most breathtaking display of military theatre, raising funds in aid of three national charities of the


Tower Hill EC3N 4AB Norman Christmas. Celebrate Christmas at the Tower with music, stories and songs. Join the Norman court as they prepare for Christmas in their traditional French style in the newly built White Tower. Admission fees apply 27-31 December

The London Wetlands Centre Queen Elizabeth Walk, Barnes SW13 9WT Craneberry Fest. What do cranes and cranberries have in common? Find out at Craneberry Fest this winter. Make craneberry crafts (extra charge), follow the craneberry trail and enjoy treats in their restaurants. Admission fees apply 21 December to 5 January

British Armed Forces. This year’s event is themed ‘Heroes & Legends’ and will feature performances from code breakers at Bletchley Park, Nelson at Trafalgar Square, Lawrence of Arabia plus many more. From £29.75

Ramsden Hall, 21 Ramsden Road, London SW12 8QX

Visit 345 Nursery where “The Nursery offers an exceptionally welcoming and inclusive environment” (Ofsted November 2011). Children become independent inquisitive and motivated in this rich and vibrant learning environment. Great outdoor space! Options include Afternoon School, Lunch Club and Early Bird Club. Please contact us on 020-8870-8441 or Fitzhugh Grove, Trinity Road, London SW18 3SA


‘The unique needs of the children are promoted exceptionally well and staff are committed to meeting children’s learning and welfare needs' (Ofsted Outstanding – December 2011) Please come and see us in action and capture the excitement of learning at Oaktree Nursery School Incorporating art, music, yoga, sport, cooking and drama and all aspects of the Early Curriculum. Contact: Annabel Dixon Phone: 020 8870 8441 email:

Tel: 020 8696 9680

Please send info for consideration to:

What’s on

First Aid for Life

Christmas events

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Balham and Westminster The Emergency Course 7 and 11 December A 3-hour course covering care of the unconscious baby and child as well as most commonly occurring injuries and illnesses such as choking, bleeding, breaks, bleeds, burns, head injury and febrile convulsions. 9.30am-12.30pm, £60/£65.

Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent ME17 1PL The Christmas Market. With German market style chalets and traditional carousel rides, browse handmade decorations for your home, quality gifts, beautifully crafted traditional wreaths and festive garlands. 11am-6pm with late night shopping on 12, 13, 19 and 20 December. A £7 grounds and market only ticket is available if you do not already have a Key to the Castle ticket. 7-22 December

SE21 7AD 5 January. Family Sundays Magical Mosaics and a Musical Mystery Enjoy being creative together in this practical drop in session Artplay, making everything from bunting to block prints. 2.10pm and 3.10pm, no booking necessary, Free for families with a Gallery ticket or £3 per child

London Chess Classic Olympia Conference Centre 7-15 December The world’s fastest smartest Grandmasters to play the London Chess Classic 2013. A host of free activities will be on offer for children as well as the chance to see 16 of the world best players compete for the Elite prize, including reigning Chess World Champion Vishy Anand of India. Under 16s free, adults from £15

History of London Theatreland Tours Central London location Official London Theatre’s annual Theatreland Walking Tour 8 December Take in some of London’s quirkier theatrical sights including a Victorian music hall, the home of Revudeville variety and London’s most elegant stage door. 2.30pm, £9.50, age 12+

Bach to Baby Concert The critically acclaimed classical concert series specifically designed for babies and carers to enjoy together. Treat yourself and introduce your wee ones to live classical music during the crucial years. Be amazed at how your child will appreciate the likes of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms! 11 December at Holy Trinity Church, 234 Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SB, 10.30am 12 December at St. Gabriel’s Church, Warwick Square SW1V 2AD, 10.30am 20 December at St Luke’s Church, 194 Ramsden Road SW12 8RQ, 10.30am 17 December at St John’s Fulham, North End Road SW6 1PB

National Motor Museum Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire SO42 7ZN Christmas at Beaulieu. A time of magic with fun, activities and entertainment for all the family. 21 December to 5 January

Benjamin Franklin House WC2N 5NG Annual Friends & Neighbours Christmas party 11 December Celebrate the festive season with the Craven Street friends and neighbours. In the great British holiday tradition, enjoy a mince pie and a glass or two of homemade mulled wine. 6pm Children’s Christmas Party 14 December With Christmas just around the corner, children will discover the magic of the holiday – 18th century style – with crafts and treats. Enjoy mince pies and deck the halls with a Christmas wreath to make and take home. Suitable for 5-11 year olds, 11am, £5 per child, adults free


r Christmas Fairs


See more events in our online What’s On calendar

Balham Craft Fair The Bedford Pub (upstairs rooms), 77 Bedford Hill SW12 9HD 7 December Featuring local London designers selling beautifully made goods in a local setting. 12-5pm, free

St Barnabas Christmas Fair St Barnabas Church, Southfields SW18 7 December With cakes and home produce, toys, books and

Hogwarts in the Snow Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden WD25 7GS To 6 January Warner Bros. Studio Tour’s special festive Christmas feature. The most magical snowfall of the season will take place at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter this year when the breathtaking Hogwarts castle model is covered in a blanket of snow. Visitors will get the chance to see the castle as it has never been seen before, with its iconic festive look recreated for the first time.


Day Nurs on er k u Y

For children (2-5) Full/part time vacancies Bright well-resourced centre Pre-school education guaranteed Flexible hours/days Children in small groups Offers French, dance & swimming Positive emphasis on physical education * Very good OFSTED report

* * * * * *

To view call 020 8675 Limited spaces


Yukon Rd. Balham Hill Estate, Balham Hill, SW12 9DN

December 2013



page 34


What’s on

There's no room to list more here, but use our unique local searchable What’s On calendar on NEW!

DVDs, vintage stall, bric-a-brac, crafts and face painting, gifts, tombola, raffles, candy floss, refreshments and, of course, Father Christmas himself. Entrance is £1, children are free. 11.30am-2.30pm

Green & Ethical Christmas Fayre

Carmela Guida’s School of Ballet The Dance Lab 63 Upper Richmond Rd, East Putney, SW15 2RD

Holy Trinity Church, Clapham Common SW4 7 December Looking for ethically sourced and environmentally friendly Christmas gifts? Come to Holy Trinity Church for a great selection of festive treats. Visit Father Christmas in his grotto, listen to live music and take a break in the Green Cafe. 10am-4pm, £1. Also British Christmas trees available from Macaulay School PTA outside.

St Martin-in-the-Fields Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden WC2N 4JJ To 31 December Christmas carols and services throughout December, including Family Christmas Carols, Advent Carols by Candlelight, Mini Maestro Family Christmas Concert and Carols for Shoppers

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree and Carols Trafalgar Square WC2N 5DS 9-22 December Gather around the majestic Norwegian Christmas Tree to sing carols

Courtyard Carol Singing

Christ the King Roman Catholic Parish 9 Cresent Gardens, Wimbledon Park, SW19 8AJ

Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU 17, 18, 21, 22, 23 December Accompanied by the Epsom and Ewell Silver Band, sing well known carols around the Palace. Adults £7.50, children (5 – 15) £3.75

To arrange a free trial class visit:

Golden Hinde

The Christmas Tree Festival at St Mary Magdalene, Wandsworth Common

Carol Concerts See more events in our online What’s On calendar

Royal Albert Hall Kensington Gore, South Kensington SW7 2AP 13-24 December Including Carols By Candlelight, Christmas Carol Singalong, Jingle Bell Christmas, Anton and Erin’s Christmas Cracker and Classic Carols

St Paul’s Cathedral St Paul's Churchyard EC4M 8AD To 28 December The iconic cathedral hosts an extensive series of concerts throughout December, including the ever-popular Midnight Mass service and carol concert. Includes A Celebration of Christmas, Family Carols and Ceremony of Carols Benjamin Britten

Southwark Cathedral Bankside SE1 9DA 1-20 December A number of festive services throughout December, culminating in the Cathedral Carol Service

Westminster Abbey Dean’s Yard, Westminster SW1P 3PA 23 and 24 December Services of Lessons and Carols on 23 December at 6pm and Christmas Eve at 4pm


Unit 1 & 2 Pickfords Wharf, Clink Street SE1 9DG Christmas Carol Concert. Enjoy Christmas Carols at Golden Hinde II. Free, no booking required, 6pm 20 December

Fulham Palace Bishops Avenue SW6 6EA Family Christmas Carol Concert. Get your family into the Christmas spirit with this child friendly carol concert. Held in the Victorian Chapel and featuring singers from the Fulham Children’s Choir, this will include traditional family favourites. 4.30pm / £6/£12 15 December

Wimbledon Village Stables 24 a/b High Street SW19 5DX Annual Christmas Carols by Candlelight 7 December A traditional Carol concert held in candlelight in the stable yard with a choir, mince pies, mulled wine and even a visit from Santa. 5pm and 6.30pm, £5

V&A Museum of Childhood Cambridge Heath Road E2 9PA Christmas Carols. Come and get in to the spirit of Christmas and raise the rafters of the Museum singing some of your favourite Christmas carols with the heavenly Becontree Brass Band. Drop-in, all ages 1-3.30pm 7 December

Audley End House and Garden CB11 4JF Carol Concert. Join in the Christmas celebrations at Audley End House with carols sung in the stunning surroundings of the Great Hall. A glass of wine or soft drink is included in the ticket price. 7.30pm, £10-£15

Tel: 020 8696 9680

Please mention “Families” when phoning advertisers. To appear on this page, call 020 8696 9680


Classified TUITION

Clown Pirate Jester Wizard


Friendly, experienced and qualified teacher of children 6+ and adults. Take exams or learn purely for pleasure.

07808 732 390 Astronaut, Magician, Explorer

Different styles covered. Home visits possible.

Mark Lester MA, CT ABRSM

020 8870 7830

THEO THE MAGICIAN “The Magic Circle, Equity & CRB” Fun Magic for Children & Adults Free Magic Wand & Certificate for Birthday Child 07711 724129



PAINTING & DECORATING Interior / Exterior Experienced, Reliable, Clean Fully Guaranteed / Insured FREE ADVICE & QUOTE

Magical Face Painting & Balloon Modelling

John:- James & Lamont

020 8462 4646 - 07802 535695

Contact Susie 07814 925462

Reliable Handyman • Garden maintenance and building work (fences, patios, sheds, etc..) • Jobs around the house (carpentry, painting, fitting furniture, etc…) • Computer maintenance (repair, teaching) £20/hour or packages possible. Call Brian: 0774 513 6424

CHILDCARE Larah Au Pairs 01932 341704

Au pairs, mother’s helps and couples with refs and police checked. Discount for Personal, friendly service. Families readers All areas.


Silly Millie the Clown

Public Speaking Speech & Drama, Confidence Building Wimbledon/Vauxhall.

Parties for 3-9 year olds Funny Magic Show, Puppet’s, Party Games, Silly Songs and Balloon Animals Call 020 7823 8329 - 07939 239397

Clare Price. LGSM, LLAM

(020) 7735 3156

Ly d i e


C h i l d r e n’ s Pa r t i e s

Home and business computers repaired & managed. Consultancy and tuition also available.

0207 622 2540

The Unique Birthday Experience The theatre of Peter Pan, Superheroes, Fairies,Arabian Nights and more... In your home! Unforgettable Bilingual English/French

December 2013

Phone Danny on


Need an exercise class where you can take baby along?


For a choice of no fewer than 45 local classes where there are creches, or your baby can lie next to you. For gyms and member clubs, studio classes, pilates, pramming in the park, etc…

8944 0681 or 07961 428 596

Go to


To add your class to our list, email


Ofsted Registered We accept Childcare Vouchers

36 OK, that’s 2013 gone to bed for us. Happy Christmas! Next issue will be out in January.

Tel: 020 8696 9680

Families London SW Issue 232 December 2013  

Families London South West is the really useful magazine for parents of 0-12 years old.

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