Page 1

EE FR Thames Valley West





January/February 2013 Issue 63 •

RECRUITING NOW Successful ‘Business Mum’ is seeking 5 working partners to work part-time from home, alongside & without compromising family commitments or current career. If you have a supervisory, FREE managerial, sales, marketing,


recruitment or a self-employed background or you wish to develop an extraordinary lifestyle,



please call Mandee Lal 01753 202 257

Dance, Drama, Singing Classes, Street Jazz, LAMDA Exams, Adult Tap, Ladies Dance, Just Dance, Holiday Workshops, Personal Training and Boot Camps for Ages 4 – 84+ We rehearse for LIVE PERFORMANCES at Professional Working Theatres/Presentations/Festivals/Carnivals/Charity Events all year round...!

NEW Jelly Tots classes for 2-4 year olds starting January 2013 ‘StageWorks is one of the leading performing arts schools in the local area’ Schools in Henley, Caversham, Cookham & Benson’ Call 01491 877205 for your FREE trial or

Free Drama Class Watch your child’s self-esteem soar with Perform’s unique drama, dance and singing classes. Our weekly workshops will do wonders for their social, linguistic and physical development as well as being the best fun they’ll have all week.

Bumps & Babes Family Holidays School Roundup Classes for 4 –12 year o ld s .uk

0845 400 1283

Look out for lots of great activities to keep your children fit, healthy and on the move in CHILDREN’S SWIMMING LESSONS


Bracknell & Thatcham

Football training for under 5s who are nuts about football

• Non-swimmers & Improvers from 3 1/2 years • Snorkelling & Diving • Advanced & Club level swimmers

Get your midfield dynamo enjoying super-skills, fun & exercise

• 6 children per class

CRB checked & FA qualified coaches Training sessions, courses & parties across London

• Teachers CRB checked 020 7937 7965

• Term & Holiday courses available

( local rate )

NEW! Match Play for Under 8s │

Call your local Stagecoach to Enrol Bracknell Bracknell North Henley Maidenhead Newbury

01753 664105 0845 0556382 01628 634539 0118 9500999 0870 0613526

Reading East Reading North Reading West

01932 348844 07752 981508 0844 800 9482

Jo Jingles is Here! Britain’s leading National Physical Play Programme INTRODUCTORY OFFERS AVAILABLE Classes in Reading, Wokingham, Winnersh, Woodley & Finchampstead

Fun Music, Singing & Movement Classes for children aged 3 months to 5 years Develop your child’s • Social Skills • Confidence • Co-ordination • Language • Listening Skills • Imagination

Call Helen on 0118 9736711 Classes in Bracknell, Crowthorne & Yateley

Call Jo on 07801 700812 Classes in Marlow, Henley, Maidenhead & Bourne End

Call Alison on 01494 880063


Thames Valley West

For details on classes in: Winkfield Row, Jennett’s Park & Bracknell Leisure Centre Call Jackie on 01344 484473

Henley-on-Thames, Twyford, Windsor, Maidenhead & Burnham Call Andreas on 07590 434016



Editor’s Letter

ISSUE 63 • JAN/FEB 2013

Visit us now at www.

With the last of the turkey stashed in the freezer and the decorations back up in the loft, we turn our attention to the year ahead. Holiday plans are guaranteed to cheer up the gloomiest winter’s day, so turn to page 28 to find some holiday hot spots for you and your family. From turtles in Turkey to adventures in Iceland there is sure to be something to suit. It’s also a time to take stock of our lives and make plans for the future. Our health pages can help you to feel better in 2013. Find out how you can improve your diet by eating more fat not less, and discover ways to cure headaches without reaching for the aspirins. Many aches and pains are caused by bad posture. The Alexander Technique can ensure our children learn the importance of free movement and good posture and help them to ward of future problems. Find out more on page 32. With a royal baby due this year, we also turn our attention to the youngest members of the family. Our Bumps & Babes feature covers ‘flat head’ syndrome with some useful advice to parents whose babies are affected. We also include some lovely new products for you and your baby. A Happy New Year to you all!

4 News & Views 6 Divorce 8 Family Finances

Changes to child benefit explained

9 Education

News, Open Days and encouraging reading

16 What’s On 20 Competitions 21 Health

21 Glue Ear 22 Why we should eat more fat not less 24 Curing headaches naturally

25 Bumps & Babes

25 ‘Flat head’ syndrome 26 What’s new

28 Family Holidays

Our pick for 2013

30 New Year, New You

Karen and Jane

Change your life for the better

32 Alexander Technique

Front cover photo courtesy of Room Seven,

Make sure your child is poised for life

To advertise: Tel: 0118 954 6893 Thames Contact us: Designed by: Graphic Resolutions 01438 871600 Next issue: March/April – Childcare, Easter Activities Booking Deadline – 1 February

Valley West

Don’t miss these great offers and competitions FREE underwater photos with Babies Go Swimming – page 5 SAVE 20% with Supercamps – page 6 WIN an Aquabeat MP3 player with Metanium Everyday – page 20 WIN an adult and child ski session at Skiplex – page 20 WIN a mum-to-be beauty package at Cannelle – page 20 Child goes FREE* to Look Out Discovery Centre – page 20 25% OFF all treatments at Halcyon (until 31 Jan) – *when accompanied by a full paying adult

A quality education from start to finish COME AND SEE THE SCHOOL Call us to book your tour with the Head Teacher

A varied and stimulating curriculum Outstanding pastoral care Separate Junior School with modern facilities Small classes where children feel valued and inspired

01344 882770

Email: LVS Ascot, London Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 8DR

A Co-educational Independent Day & Boarding School for young people aged 4 - 18 A Co-educational Independent Day & Boarding School for young people aged 4 - 18

Thames Valley West


News & Views Indoor skiing comes to Woodley

You’ll find much more online at A guide to childcare vouchers at Holiday ideas and reviews at Children’s party ideas at


After-­‐school drama  classes  in   Wokingham,  Tilehurst,  Burghfield,   &  Lower  Earley  for  5 -­‐16yrs.   Contact  Jackie  0118  9 33  3791  


Thames Valley West

An exciting new indoor ski centre has just opened in Woodley offering skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to perfect their skills on a continually revolving slope. Only the second such centre in the UK, Skiplex provides the latest developments in ski technology – endless ski slopes without the hassle of ski clothing, cold children and unsympathetic ski instructors leaving you half way up a mountain! The machines run in a similar way to a treadmill, with an adjustable gradient, enabling Skiplex to quite literally ‘move mountains’. The Skiplex Ski Academy is perfect for kids aged from 5 to 14, and is based on three age specific groups – Penguins, Reindeers and Polar Bears. Courses generally last 6 weeks, focusing on the development of skiing technique through games and tasks. Adults can get in some practice before heading to the mountains – no more complaining about painful and exhausted muscles after day one and time to surprise friends and family with your impressive technique from the start.   The Skiplex instructors are fully qualified and hugely enthusiastic about teaching all ages and abilities, from beginners to seasonaires. Tailor-made and personal tuition is available and there is even a giant mirror to provide immediate and real time feedback. Skiplex provide all the equipment, all they ask is that you turn up with a thick pair of socks and a ‘good to go’ attitude! An hour lesson at Skiplex can leave you totally exhausted but exhilarated and buzzing for another session.  Skiplex can be found at Unit 3a, Headley Park 10, Headley Road East, Woodley, Reading, RG5 4SA. Visit or call 0118 997 7790 to find out more or to book.  • Don’t miss our Skiplex competition on page 20.

Fed up of juggling motherhood, work and personal commitments? Go for it – join the business Mums! If you have always wanted to work for yourself, a franchise business may be the answer. You have the benefits of a tried and tested business model and the help and support of the franchisor, but

at the same time manage the business as your own boss. Kiddikicks is a successful franchise business that offers toddler and child football-themed and football skills classes, sporty merchandise and cool clothing. Be the Manager or the Coach and run your own business giving you complete control of your working life. If you have a sporty, supervisory, managerial, sales, marketing, recruitment or selfemployed background and would like to work from home, Kiddikicks could be the best New Year’s resolution you make and keep. To find out more call Kiddikicks on 020 7937 7965, email or visit • Quote ‘Families’ in your enquiry for a 5% discount.


News & Views Throw them a party they won’t forget! Give your child a party experience with some real momentum by organising a Go-Kart Party for them. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor venues, the eye-catching Go-Karts offer girls and boys, aged from 4-10 years, fun and excitement behind the wheel. Best of all for parents, the battery powered Karts are completely safe with light steering and smooth controls so that children find driving them extremely easy. Go-Kart Party can arrange a venue, or come to you if you have enough space for the inflatable track. Their trained operators will include lots of different games to suit the driving ability of the children and make sure that your little racing drivers have a thrilling time.


18-20 FEBRUARY 2013

Free fun for children aged 6 - 11 yrs At Christadelphian Hall, Lower Way, Thatcham RG19 3TP 9.45am To 12 Noon

It’s not just parties – Go-Karts can bring excitement to school and village fetes, weddings, sporting events, corporate days etc. – just about anywhere that children want to have fun. Call 0870 116 2000, visit or e-mail to find out more. See the Go-Kart party advert on page 6.

All leaders are CRB-checked For more information call 07798 766701 or email

Babies Go Swimming Are you looking for a fun and rewarding activity to enjoy with your baby? Babies Go Swimming offer classes that teach water confidence and safety skills to little ones from 8 weeks old up to 14 months using songs, games and word association. Sessions aim to be fun and enjoyable for both parent and baby. Learning to swim can provide enormous benefits for a baby, improving their strength, coordination and motor skills as well as giving them confidence in the water. All babies are born with a ‘natural mammalian dive reflex’, which means that, with simple progressive training, they can happily hold their breath underwater. Submersions allow them to experience swimming completely independently, similar to the first moments of life in the womb. Babies Go Swimming classes are held in many locations throughout the area including new classes at Downwind (off A322 Ascot/ Bracknell road), a private warm pool heated to 33 degrees. For enquiries and bookings call 0118 989 0543 or visit • Reader offer: Quote ‘Families’ when booking and you will receive a free set of underwater photographs.

New Jelly Tots classes at Stageworks StageWorks is one of the leading Performing Arts Schools for all ages from 4 to 84 years, and they have just started running new Jelly Tots classes for 2-4 year olds. Principal, Emma-Jane Taylor, told us: “We believe the performing arts is a positive and creative environment that gives children confidence, self-belief and determination. In the early years it helps them to develop the skills necessary for so much of their life. We offer a personal approach to all our students.” StageWorks holds regular assessments and offer LAMDA classes for pupils that want to get qualifications in Musical Theatre and Acting. There are also opportunities for contracts in TV, Radio, West End, Commercials and Film for those that have the desire to work in the professional arena.

Call 0118 954 6893 to advertise

For further information visit www.stageworks., call 01491 877 205 or email enquiries@

Bracknell Library gets a facelift Bracknell residents are enjoying a new look library following a major refurbishment which includes an improved layout, new carpets, lifts and WiFi throughout the building. The basement area has been opened up to the public and now offers an area where visitors can relax and enjoy a cup of coffee and a space for young people to gather. For more information go to for the latest news Visit now at www.

Thames Valley West


Family Life

FOR WHATEVER LIFE BRINGS...IN FAMILY LAW For clear thinking FIRST FREE ADVICE from local experienced specialists on all family law and relationship breakdown issues please contact Manjit Bains or Jeff Thomas at QS Lawrence Hamblin. Call Manjit in Reading on 0118 951 6180 or Jeff in Henley on 01491 411884 or alternatively email them at:





SAVE 20%

Divorce to tell th Sadly, January sees a marked increase in the number of marriages breaking down. The stresses and strains of the ‘festive’ period can be the last straw for many, already fragile, relationships, with that extra time spent together serving only to highlight a couple’s problems and differences. Soila Sindiyo is a seasoned therapist who helps families and children get through the challenges of divorce. Here she gives some advice on how to handle the difficult task of breaking the news of a separation to your children.


WWW.SUPERCAMPS.CO.UK • 01235 832222

Registered charity:1093411

WEAR A HAT DAY Thursday 28 th March


Telling your child that mummy and daddy are going to be living separately is a heartbreaking task for any parent. But it’s something that is really important to get right. For your child this moment may, depending on their age, be an event that will stick in their mind forever. Here are some factors that you need to think about ahead of the time and to keep in mind when you are breaking the news.

Choose the right time. You know your children best so you will know when the right time is. However, before bed is not really a good idea as this means that they are left with their own thoughts through the night, not the best time to digest such news. You want them to be able to come to you through the day with any questions they may have. Of course they will still think about it when the lights are out and for a long time coming but try and reduce the pain and stress as much as possible.

Tell them together wherever possible.

REGISTER NOW | Tel: 01296 733011 PAGE 6

Thames Valley West

This may sound obvious but I have heard of cases where one parent takes it upon him/herself to talk to the children without the knowledge of the other. If you cannot tell them together, do let the other parent know what, when and how you are intending to tell the children and let the children know from the start that their father/mother knows that you are talking to them.

Agree on what you will be telling them and how you will be saying it. As we all know, words carry a lot of power and prepare yourselves for questions. Some questions to anticipate: • Why? • Do you not love mummy/daddy any more? • Where are we going to live? • Am I changing schools? • Will I still see daddy/mummy?

Most importantly reassure them that it is not their fault in any way. Really make sure that they get this. Contrary to popular belief, not all children blame themselves but it does happen. You might have to revisit this with them again and again.

Be honest. If it’s a trial separation then let them know, if it’s definitely going to end in a divorce then let them know that too. Do not, under any circumstances, give them false hope. It is not fair on them to have to relieve the whole thing again, once they realise that you will not be getting back together ever again. Do not promise them anything. If you don’t have an answer then let them know.

Tell them when you are both calm and have time. There should be enough time to sit through any questions or concerns that they might have. It must not be rushed. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

Family Life

ce: How he children

Tell them when you are somewhere safe, somewhere calm and preferably somewhere familiar to them. This way there are neither new nor noisy distractions. They can concentrate on what is going on here and now. Don’t make it a ‘special’ occasion, for instance by taking them out to lunch in their favourite restaurant and telling them there. They don’t need any associations with the news, i.e. they don’t need to always see a Pizza Express or a Zizzi restaurant and “remember the time when…”

This is one of the times that you will need to be totally present with your child. Watch them as you speak. Watch their body language and their facial expressions. They can tell you a lot about what is going on within them. Are they fidgety, avoiding eye contact, fighting back tears, curled up? Sometimes these and other behaviours will give you a cue on when to reach out to them physically. “Come here Tom, you

look like you could do with a hug right now.” There are some children who might feel that they suddenly need to look after you – “Are you alright mummy/ daddy?” Don’t let them parent you; this could just be their way of avoiding hearing, processing and dealing with their own anxieties, fears and worries and displacing/transferring them onto you.

Whatever you tell them make sure it’s age appropriate and use age appropriate words and language.

Do not, under any circumstances, tell the children to keep what is happening at home to themselves. This is very heavy news for a child to carry. You have offloaded onto them, they should be able to do it too, and to whomever they chose. They need care, attention and support from you and others around as opposed to them looking after you and your secrets. Anyway divorce and separation is like pregnancy, you can only keep it a secret for so long.

Can’t get hold of a copy of Families? Just call to subscribe

0118 954 6893

Little ones might not understand a whole account of what is going on while teenagers may need more information.

Be prepared to have them come to speak with you at the most inconvenient time. Children have a way of finding the strangest time to want to discuss the most difficult things; when you’re running late for instance. Bear with them. The timing may not be the best for you but it is for your little one.

Soila is an accredited Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) practitioner and soon to be qualified family mediator. Find out more at

Find more parenting information at

Thames Valley West


Family Finances

Financial News HM Revenue & Customs/

Find out how the new changes to Child Benefit will affect you and how childcare vouchers could save you a packet. Changes to Child Benefit You may have received a letter recently detailing changes to how your Child Benefit works. The government has decided to withdraw Child Benefit from higher income households. However, rather than actually cancel the payments, it is imposing a tax charge, the High Income Child Benefit Charge, to claw back some or all of the benefit received. This new charge came into effect on 7 January 2013 so if you are still unclear here is a quick guide to the changes. The new tax only applies to families where a parent earns more than £50,000. If neither you nor your partner earns more than this amount (even if your combined income is more that £50,000), you will carry on receiving Child Benefit as normal and there will be no tax to pay. Families where one parent has an income between £50,000 and £60,000 will have to pay tax on the Child Benefit that they receive. This is on a sliding scale, for every additional £100 of income an extra 1% of tax is paid. So if your income is £56,000 your tax charge equals 60% of the benefit received. This means those with income of £60,000 or more will face a tax charge equal to the whole of their household’s Child Benefit, so effectively they will stop receiving the benefit completely. You can choose to keep or stop receiving

Child Benefit. If you or your partner’s income is over £60,000, it could make sense to stop receiving Child Benefit as the tax charge will wipe out any financial gain to you and you won’t have to complete a tax return. But if you don’t know exactly how much your income will be, or you’re under the £60,000 threshold, it’s best to carry on getting it. If you want to receive it and pay the charge later you will need to fill in a selfassessment tax form. What counts as income? Income here is ‘adjusted net income’. This is your taxable income less any pension contributions, payments to charities and membership of salary sacrifice schemes, e.g. childcare vouchers (see right) and the cycle to work scheme. It may be worth considering increasing such payments to bring your annual adjusted net income down below the threshold. For more information visit uk/childbenefitcharge or call the Child Benefit helpline on 0845 302 1444.

Don’t miss out on childcare vouchers Many parents are missing a trick according to Guy Ker, managing director of Supercamps. He wants to encourage more mums and dads to pay for their children’s holiday activities using childcare vouchers. Guy told us: “A wrongly held belief is that childcare vouchers are only useful for paying for pre-school nursery places, when in fact they can be ‘banked’ and used in one go for older children attending holiday playschemes. In addition, if signing up for childcare vouchers brings down your net income to below the £50,000 threshold, you will keep your child benefit.” To find out more about childcare vouchers and how they could save you over £1000 a year, take a look at our online guide at

Taking prints is easy - Order online, host a print party, book an appointment or visit us at an event.


Thames Valley West

Visit us now at www.


Education News Early Years News

New Early Years Centre for St Joseph’s St Joseph’s College Preparatory School, in Reading, has just opened a new Early Years Centre offering a dedicated facility for boys and girls aged 3 to 5 years. With spacious facilities and its own enclosed gardens containing a wide variety of play equipment, the Centre has been thoughtfully designed to provide the best introduction to school life. The emphasis of Early Years teaching is on active learning and play, exposing children to exciting

opportunities that encourage them to work and play together as they are gently incorporated into school life. With the support of enthusiastic and dedicated staff, St Joseph’s children quickly develop a love of learning and are well prepared for the next stage of their education. Early Years children are given priority for places in the Reception class. To find out more, please contact the registrar on 0118 984 6918 or email

Calling all Little Explorers Wokingham parents are being encouraged to sign their little ones up for the Little Explorers Challenge being held in all the borough’s libraries. Launched last year, the scheme is designed to encourage under fives and their families to make more use of libraries. To take part each child needs to have their own library card; then each time they borrow books they collect a stamp. With six stamps they get a limited edition certificate designed by local illustrator Cathy MacLennan. There are ten certificates to collect and every child that collects all ten will receive an exclusive monkey finger puppet. Find out more at your local Wokingham borough library.

Monkey Puzzle Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery and Preschool is a private day nursery in Sonning owned by Claire and Richard Irving. Being parents themselves they appreciate the challenges faced by working parents and have therefore created a loving and caring environment to ensure that parents are reassured whilst at work and have no need to worry. Now into their sixth year they believe they have built a highly desirable reputation as one of the very best day nurseries within the area. Claire and Richard told us: “At Monkey Puzzle the aim is for every child to be happy and healthy, enjoying their early years at nursery, and for parents to have peace of mind that their child is in excellent hands. In 2013 the nursery is looking forward to many new and exciting developments which will further enhance its care and development of your child. We look forward to seeing you in 2013.” For more information call 0118 969 5545 or visit

WHERE EVERY CHILD IS AN INDIVIDUAL Our Lady’s Nursery cares for children from 3 months of age on a full or part time basis and operates from 8am until 6pm, 51 weeks of the year. All our babies and children are nurtured and encouraged to learn and develop in a warm, caring and happy environment and grow into self assured and confident young people. Throughout the day our children participate in a variety of activities including Forest Schools, Jo Jingles, three languages (French, Spanish and Mandarin), crafts, story time and messy play.

Our Lady’s Nursery The Avenue, Crowthorne, Berks RG45 6PB

01344 773394


Plans for more local free schools -

Thames Valley West



by Clare Burchill-Howarth of Book Events for Children

To read or not to read…

Take a quick look around most homes with young children and what will you see? If your house is anything like mine, I’ll guarantee you’ll find a mountain of Lego, Playmobil, discarded dolls houses and the usual electronic games and handheld devices. …oh, and of course, some books. Whilst children often have a bookshelf full of books, how do we encourage them to read for pleasure and to choose reading as an enjoyable activity, when they have so many other means of entertainment? Capturing their interest Speaking at a recent literary festival, children’s author Tom Palmer claimed he was a reluctant reader as a child, until his mum channelled his passion for football by encouraging him to read about football in books, magazines and newspapers. The wise Mrs Palmer realised that the best way to encourage a reluctant reader is to find a subject that actually interests them. Fast forward to Tom’s successful career as a children’s author, specialising in writing about football!

As Tom’s experience proves, magazines and comics can be an ideal means of encouraging children to enjoy reading. Who doesn’t remember reading The Beano as a child? In fact, the launch earlier this year of The Phoenix comic is testament to the lasting popularity of this genre. Published weekly, The Phoenix features work from popular children’s illustrators and runs occasional competitions with children’s authors. As parents we can worry that our children should be reading books rather than comics, but once they enjoy reading their tastes tend to broaden over time.

Face to face If your child needs a bit of encouragement to try and read something new, why not arrange for them to meet an author ‘in the flesh’. Attending book-related events is a fantastic way for children to see authors/illustrators as ‘real’ people, who may or may not have loved reading as children and to hear about what inspired them to create their stories. Local libraries and bookshops hold regular events with authors and these small group sessions encourage children to chat to authors informally and hear the authors tell the stories in their own voices. Woodley Library, for instance, has an interactive storytelling session on 20 February with local illustrator Cathy MacLennan and her book Monkey, Monkey, Monkey. Check out Waterstones in Reading, Newbury and Basingstoke (www., Chapter One Bookshop in Woodley ( and The Bell Bookshop in Henley for local events. Henley Literary Festival, held every September, also offers a range of opportunities to meet children’s authors.

Jubilee Day Nursery Celebrating Childhood

• Woodland Adventures • Gardening • Cooking • Fantastic Outdoor Play Facilities • Softplay • Music and Dance • Drama • Arts and Crafts • Animal Care • Early Years Foundation Stage • Healthy Home Cooked Meals • Ofsted Registered


Day N sery ur


Celebrating Childhood


If you would like to know more about Jubilee Day Nursery, please contact us on

Telephone 01189701600

E-mail or visit our website

Paddock View, Rectory Road, Padworth Common, Reading, Berkshire RG7 4JD

Thames Valley West

We are  a  small  and  friendly  nursery     for  children  aged  2-­‐5  years    

Qualified and  experienced  staff    

Tel: Emma  07554  090  647  


Education © Quentin Blake

Taking to the stage Taking a child to see an adaptation of a children’s book at the theatre can be a magical experience, as they are drawn into the story unfolding before them, particularly if it is a familiar tale. Theatre companies excel in bringing to life adaptations of popular books, including Julia Donaldson’s much-loved books and classics like The Tiger Who came to Tea. Close to home you can catch Rapunzel at South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell on 18 February. At the same venue, you can also book for Wind in the Willows, which will be performed in April. Other productions which are taking bookings now include Meet Spot at The Corn The Gruffalo’s Child, Exchange on 18 Feb which will be touring The Hexagon in Reading and The Corn Exchange in Newbury in March. The Corn Exchange is also taking bookings for Spot’s Birthday Party and Stuck in the coming months. An alternative production of Rapunzel will be coming to The Watermill Theatre in Newbury in March. Take a look at theatre for details of these and other local family productions.

Bookish days out As well as including a visit to the theatre or library in your weekend plans, why not venture a bit further afield? A number of book-related attractions now offer a whole range of events for children; you could spend a day exploring The Story Museum in Oxford, which offers events for all the family. On 23 February, they’ll be holding a family printing workshop which is suitable for children aged eight and above. You’ll have the chance explore the antique printing presses and make your own keepsake to take home. For more information visit I recently took my children to visit The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre at Great Missenden in Bucks, and the interactive displays really captured their attention. You could measure your height on a wall chart against Roald Dahl characters; cue much amusement as I was eye to eye with the evil Trunchbull. The contents

of Roald Dahl’s writing shed are now on display in the museum and my three were fascinated to see the weird objects the writer kept on display to inspire him, including bone shavings from his backbone. Visit for more details.

Screen time If encouraging your children to read involves dragging them away from the iPad, then don’t overlook the benefits of apps and reading activities online. Nosy Crow, a publishing company which also specialises in producing apps for young children, has created an app based on Axel Scheffler’s latest creation Pip and Posy. Also worth looking out for is The Singing Alphabet app created by The Ministry of Letters. This catchy app was much-loved by my daughter when she was learning her letter sounds. Older children may enjoy visiting the websites of authors, which often offer interactive games and activities. The children’s book app market is relatively new and

rapidly evolving so look out for new apps in the coming months. Finally, as well as encouraging children to read, let’s not overlook the simple power of a good book to capture the imagination of a young reader. I’ve heard tales of parents who say their child never picked up a book until one particular book grabbed them and they haven’t looked back since. For one friend, it was David Walliam’s The Boy in the Dress whilst for my younger son, it was The Diary of a Wimpy Kid that kept him up at night reading. So, whilst as parents we may worry that books are being relegated to a poor second in favour of all the other entertainment on offer, maybe we just need to make the most of the sheer volume of options available to us. We can take advantage of children’s enthusiasm for the online world to introduce them to new authors and apps, we can include an event that brings books alive as part of our weekend plans. And perhaps, most importantly, we can still sit down and share their favourite books with them.

About us Book Events for Children is a dedicated website and twitter feed listing bookrelated events for children across the UK. Run by Clare Burkhill-Howarth, it is aimed at grandparents, teachers, parents and carers and features events at bookshops, literary festivals, theatres and libraries. The site also features additional content including interviews with authors, publishers and independent bookshops. Website: Twitter: @ChildBookEvents Facebook: Book Events for Children

Don’t forget to tell advertisers you heard about them in

Worried your child has dyslexia? Visit

Thames Valley West


Education News


Reg. Charity no. 277077


The independent day school in Reading for girls aged 3–18

Spring Open Morning

Open DAY

•• Junior School and Early Years Friday 1 February 9.15 - 11.00am

St Joseph’s College & Preparatory School Tuesday 22 January 2013, 9.15am -12.15pm

For times of Head’s talks and for more information please visit our website. For enquiries contact Admissions on 0118 987 2256 or email

To reserve a place at an Open Day, please call the Registrar on 0118 966 1000 or email We look forward to seeing you.

TheFamiliesrOpenDayAd87x130Dec2012v1.indd 1

10/12/2012 02:28 pm

Maths & English tuition

Explore Learning centres provide maths and English tuition to children aged 5-14, designed to improve knowledge, confidence and enjoyment of learning.

Families Thames Valley West.indd 1


Thames Valley West

tries new things with relish. She counts the days until she can come back here!”

Explore Parent.

Book your free trial session today to find out how Explore Learning can help your child to gain confidence, enthusiasm and new skills.






As members, children work with tutors who are great role models, enthusiastic about learning and fantastic motivators. The individual focus allows children to work at their own pace – whether they are finding school tricky or are top of the class!

“The hesitancy and lack of confidence that held her back is gone. Now she


Explore helps children make fantastic academic progress, in addition the vibrant atmosphere keeps them engaged and focussed enabling them to have fun while they learn.

0118 942 4002 Inside Sainsbury’s, Calcot

01/08/2012 14:27 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

Education News School Noticeboard

Ex-Head Boy turns Bearwood into Hollywood There was much excitement at Bearwood College, near Wokingham, recently when a film crew arrived at the school to shoot scenes for a new movie about the life of singer Paul Potts. Assistant Director, James Manning, was Head Boy at Bearwood in 1994 and was delighted to return to his old school. He even arranged for some of the College students to appear as film extras. Starring James Corden, Julie Walters and Colm Meaney, ‘One Chance’ charts the inspirational life of Potts, winner of the first series of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, from bullied schoolboy to international singing star. James Corden, who plays Potts, had false teeth created for the role authenticating the singer’s distinctive look. The ‘Gavin and Stacey’ star was based at Bearwood to shoot scenes set at the University of Bath, where Potts sang before achieving fame. The College theatre stage was dressed with an amazing set of ‘Aida’, which was later donated to the school by the production company. ‘One Chance’, named after the title of Pott’s debut album, is being released later this year. Find out more about Bearwood College at

Waverley in Top 100

On the set of ‘One Chance’

New Head for Elstree School

Mr Sid Inglis with his wife Olivia

Elstree School is looking forward to the arrival of new Headmaster, Sid Inlgis, in September. Mr Inglis is currently Joint Headmaster of Ludgrove, one of the most successful and highly regarded boys’ prep schools in the country. Elstree is an independent boarding and day prep school for girls aged 3-8 and boys aged 3-13 situated in beautiful grounds in rural West Berkshire. For more information, please visit

Waverley Preparatory School in Finchampstead has been placed 66th nationally in the annual Times Top 100 Prep Schools. An independent, non-selective school which teaches from nursery through to year six, they gained their position based on their pupils’ results in National Tests, which were well above average. Head Teacher, Tammy Howard said: “The tables are based on the percentage of pupils reaching level 5 (above National expectations) and it is worth noting how well our pupils also performed at level 6 which is just exceptional.” “We are not a selective school and the results that we achieve are a result of the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of our staff and pupils. I am so very proud of them all. We’re looking forward to continuing with the high expectations and quality teaching and learning to continue our success.” View the school’s new video at www. and join them at their next Open Day on Saturday 26 January between 10.30am and 12.30pm.

Hemdean House School Independent day school for boys – 3 -11 years & girls 3 -16 years

Open Morning - Friday 25th January Senior School Entrance Exam - Saturday 2nd February • Small classes • Experienced teachers • Excellent results • Outstanding pastoral care • Reasonable fees • Unique family atmosphere Hemdean Road, Caversham, RG4 7SD. Tel: 0118 947 2590 e-mail:, web-site:

Find more education news at

Thames Valley West


Education News Catholic independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 3 to 13

Meadowbrook Montessori School Very small class sizes offer a personalised journey with high academic standards delivered through an innovative but robust marriage of Montessori practice and the National Curriculum. We develop each child’s personal and social behaviour through our unique application of Positive Discipline©. Educating boys & girls from 2 ½ to 12 years old for over 20 years. Beginning with Parent and Toddler sessions, we support your child through to comprehensive preparation for secondary school.

Open Morning 2013 Saturday 9 March 10.00am - 12.30pm Goring Heath, South Oxfordshire, RG8 7SF tel: 0118 984 4511 email: website:

Fully accredited Montessori Teacher Training College offering part-time courses. Meadowbrook Montessori School & Teacher Training College Malt Hill, Warfield, Berkshire RG42 6JQ Call us on 01344 890869 or visit th

Next Open Day on 9 February 2013 From 10am – 12 noon

ST EDWARD’S SCHOOL P S 4-13 reParatory

chool for boyS aged

Teaching Today, Forging Tomorrow

We are a small independent school for boys with small class sizes and a caring family environment that focuses on the individual boy’s academic, moral & physical development. Located in the heart of Reading, we are a school with a good reputation that strives to bring value for money for parents.

OPEN MORNING: Friday 8th February 2013 Please register with Tracy Glass: or 01189574342 or 07775420930 64 Tilehurst Road, Reading RG30 2JH • PAGE 14

Thames Valley West


Education News Photo courtesy of Sainsbury’s Tu

Open Days Independent Schools Bracknell and Ascot LVS Ascot (co-ed day & boarding, 4-18

yrs) 01344 882 770  Junior and Senior School Open Days Tue 5 Feb, Senior School Tour Sat 9 Mar, 9.45am12noon with Heads welcome at 10am.  To book please complete our online booking form or email  

Meadowbrook Montessori School, Malt Hill, Warfield (co-ed, 18mths-12yrs) 01344 890 869 Open Day Sat 9 Feb,

The Marist Preparatory School, Ascot (girls only, 2½-11yrs) 01344 626 137 Preparatory School Open Morning Wed 6 Mar, 9.45-11.30am and Early Years, Coffee, Cake and Play Morning Fri 17 May, 10.15-11.30am The Marist Senior School, Ascot (girls only, 11-18yrs) 01344 624 291 Open Morning Thu 28 Feb, 10.30am-12noon Our Lady’s Preparatory School and Day Nursery, Crowthorne (Catholic day School, co-ed, 3mths-11yrs) 01344 773 394 Open Morning Fri 8 Feb, Sat 9 Feb, Fri 19 Apr and Sat 20 Apr, 9am-12noon

Oxfordshire Cranford House, near Wallingford (girls 3-16yrs & boys 3-7yrs) 01491 651 218   Private Tours available throughout the year, please contact school for details.

Dragon School, Oxford (co-ed day

4-8yrs, co-ed day & boarding school 8-13yrs) 01865 315 405 enquiries@ Please contact school for details.

Radley College, Abingdon (boarding

school, boys only 13-18yrs) 01235 543174 Please contact school for details.

Rupert House School, Henley-

on-Thames (day school, boys 3-7yrs, girls 3-11yrs) 01491 574263,

St Neot’s Preparatory School,

Eversley (co-ed day & weekly boarding school, 3 mths-13 yrs) 0118 973 2118 Open Morning Fri 1 Mar 9.30-11.30am

Wellington College (co-ed day & boarding school, 13-18yrs) 01344 444 000 Open Days Sat 19 Jan and Sat 2 Mar (please register in advance). Yateley Manor School, Yateley (co-ed, independent day school with nursery, 3-13 yrs) 01252 405500 Open Mornings Sat 16 Mar, 10am-12 noon and Fri 26 Apr, 9.45-11.30am. Please call to book your place. Open Morning Sat 23 Feb 10am-12 noon

West Berkshire

St Mary’s School, Henley-on-Thames (co-ed day, 2-11yrs) 01491 573118, Call the school to arrange a visit or taster day. Shiplake College, Shiplake (day & boarding school, boys only 11–18yrs, girls sixth form) 0118 940 2455 Open Morning Sat 27 Apr 10am-12 noon The Oratory School, Woodcote (Catholic day & boarding school 11-18yrs) 01491 683 500 Open Morning Sat 18 May 9.30am-12noon with headmaster’s address at 9.40am The Oratory Preparatory School,

Goring Heath (Catholic, co-ed day & boarding school, 3-13 yrs) 0118 984 4511 Open Morning Sat 9 Mar, 10am–12.30pm

Reading The Abbey School, Reading (girls

only, 3-18yrs) 0118 987 2256 registrar@ Junior School and Early Years Open Morning Fri 1 Feb, 9.15-11am and Senior School Open Morning Fri 26 April, 9.0010.30am

Caversham Preparatory School,

Caversham (co-ed day school, 3-11yrs) 0118 947 8684 Please contact school for details.

Dolphin School, Hurst, Reading (co-ed 3-13yrs) 0118 934 1277 Open Day Fri 1 Mar, 1.30-3pm . Hemdean House School, Caversham (co-ed infant & junior, girls only 11-16yrs) 0118 947 2590 Open Morning Fri 25 Jan 9.30-12noon, Entrance Exam Sat 2 Feb

Leighton Park School, Reading (co-ed day & boarding, 11-18yrs) 0118 987 9600 Open Mornings Tue 29 Jan, Tue 26 Feb, Tue 19 Mar at 10.15am. Please register online.


Alder Bridge Steiner School, Padworth (co-ed, 3-13yrs) 0118 971 4471  Open Morning Sat 9 Mar and Sat 18 May, 10am-1pm Elstree School, Woolhampton Queen Anne’s School, Caversham

(day & boarding, girls only, 11-18yrs) 0118 918 7333 Open Morning Fri 1 Mar, 9.30am. 11+ Common Entrance Exam Mon 21–Tue 22 Jan. 11+ Scholarship Week Mon 21-Thu 24 Jan. 11+ Taster Day Thu 14 Mar. 11+ Boarding Taster Weekend Sat 16-Sun 17 Mar. Contact school to reserve your place. Reading Blue Coat School, Sonning (day, boys 11-18yrs, girls 16-18yrs) 0118 944 1005 Open Morning Sat 27 April from 9.30am.

St Edwards School, Reading (boys only, 4-13 yrs) 0118 957 4342 Open Morning Fri 8 Feb, 9-11am. St Joseph’s College, Reading

(co-ed 3-18yrs) 0118 966 1000 Prep Open Mornings Tuesday 22 January and Thursday 7 March 9.15am-12.15pm, College Open Morning Tuesday 22 January 9.15am-12.15pm, College Open Afternoon Thursday 14 March 2–4pm

South of Reading The Cedars School, Aldermaston

(independent school for girls 3-8 and boys, 3-13yrs) 0118 971 3302, Prep Open Mornings Sat 9 Feb and Sat 18 May 10-12 noon. Nursery and Pre-Prep Open Mornings Wed 13 Feb and Wed 15 May 10am-12noon

Pangbourne College, Pangbourne (co-ed, 11-18yrs,) 0118 984 2101 Please contact school for details. St Gabriel’s School, Newbury (independent day school for girls, 3-18yrs) 01635 555680, Open Morning Fri 1 Mar 9.30am-12noon, Sandleford Open Morning (Nursery and Reception) Thu 21 Mar 9.30-11.30am

Wokingham Bearwood College, Wokingham (co-ed day nursery, prep & senior school, 3mths18yrs, boarders welcomed 11-18 yrs) 0118 974 8300 Open Day for Prep School Wed 6 Feb, 9.30am, Senior School at Work Wed 23 Jan and Wed 6 Mar 9.15am

Holme Grange School, Wokingham,

(co-ed day school, 3-13yrs) 0118 978 1566 Open Morning Fri 18 Jan, 9.30am-12noon

(co-ed day, 4-11yrs) 0118 971 4251 Open Mornings Fri 1 Feb and Thu 7 Mar, 9.30am-12noon

Luckley Oakfield School, Wokingham (girls only day & boarding, 11-18yrs) 0118 978 4175 Open Mornings Tues 19 Mar and Wed 1 May, 9.30am-12noon.

Crosfields School, Shinfield (co-ed

Waverley School & Nursery, Wokingham, (co-ed, 3mths-11yrs) 0118 973 1121 Open Day Sat 26 Jan, 10.30am-12.30pm or contact school for a time to suit you.

day prep, 3-13yrs) 0118 987 1810 pa@ Open Morning Tue 29 Jan, 9.15-11.30am, with Head’s Address at 9.30am

Senior School at Work: Wed 23 Jan 9.15am Prep School Open Day: Wed 6 Feb 9.30am Senior School At Work: Wed 6 March 9.15am

Personal tours available at your convenience, please call Nursery 0118 979 3964, Prep 0118 989 2562 or Senior 0118 974 8300 Wokingham, Berkshire RG41 5BG

Interested in school issues? Visit

Thames Valley West


What’s On

Diary Dates Ongoing Events Every Friday during term time – TODDLER TIME at The Musuem of English Rural Life (MERL), The University of Reading, Redlands Rd, Reading, 0118 378 8660, Rhymes, songs or craft activities based on objects in the museum collection or garden. 10am-11am and 1pm-2pm. For families with children 2-4 yrs. £2, drop in. 2nd weekend of every month – FAMILY TOURS at MERL, Redlands Rd, Reading, 0118 378 8660, Join the family tour guides for a fun, interactive 30-minute tour of the museum and hear stories about what it was once like to live and work in the countryside. Suitable for families with children of all ages. Next tours on 12-13 Jan, 8-9 & 19 Feb. Free but must book. Every day – ODDS FARM PARK at Wooburn Common, nr Beaconsfield, 01628 520 188, Open daily from 10am throughout the winter with indoor and outdoor play areas and lots of animals. From February half term onwards there are baby lambs to bottle feed and if you’re lucky you might even see one being born.

Creating Great Habits since 1962 Bracknell Leisure Centre

Weekends and school holidays from 19 Jan – THE SLIME SHOW at The Look Out Discovery Centre, Bracknell, 01344 354 400, www.bracknell-forest. In this interactive fun show find out why slugs and snails are so slimy, take part in the marvellous mucus quiz and discover if slime can be cut, bounced or stretched. This repulsive show is back by popular demand. Costs £1.85 in addition to normal entrance fee. Shows at 11am, 12noon, 2pm & 3.15pm, subject to minimum numbers. Don’t miss our child goes free offer on page 20.


Get Ready for Spring Term 2013 Cheerleading, Badminton, Dives, Starts and Turns, Aqua TeenWorx, Gymnastics, Tumblers, Swim Lessons for All, Ballet Squash, Synchronised Swimmimg, Soccer, Short Tennis, Trampolining, Fun Sessions, Freestyle Gymnastics and so much more...

4 Jan – WINTER IN THE WILD WOOD at The River and Rowing Museum, Henley, RG9 1BF, 01491 415 605, What happens to the Wind in the Willows animals during the winter? Make a birdfeeder, match animal tracks and see if you can spot any wintery habitats on the wildlife walkway. Free with admission. Drop in between 2-4pm. 9-10 Jan – TODDLER DAYS: PETS at The Look Out Discovery Centre, Bracknell, 01344 354 400, www. thelookoutdiscoverycentre

Bagshot Road, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 9SE

Thames Valley West

19 Jan – RECYCLED ARTS WORKSHOP: EGG BOX BUGS at Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre, 01635 874 381, Turn egg boxes into crazy bugs. £1 per bug, just drop in between 11am-3pm. 25 Jan – GUINNESS WORLD RECORD SCIENCE at The Corn Exchange, Market Place, Newbury, RG14 5BD, 0845 5218 218, For the first time ever, direct from its London HQ, Guinness World Records arrives on stage with its officially amazing, record-breaking, science mad, all new live show. 7pm. Suitable for 6+yrs. Tickets: £17, Conc. £15, Family £60. 26 Jan – DADDY’S DRUM CLUB at South Street Arts Centre, South St, Reading, RG1 4QU, 0118 960 6060, A rhythm workshop for under 5’s presented by Readipop. Kids will have fun playing lots of drums, singing songs and rhymes and dancing to the beats. The session lasts 40 minutes and all drums are provided. Dads (or mums or other adults) need no drumming experience. The session is interactive with children and adults playing and singing together. 11.15am. Tickets: Adult £6, Child £3, please book. 27 Jan – RSPB BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH at The River and Rowing Museum, Henley, RG9 1BF, 01491 415 605, Fun wildlife-related activities for the kids to enjoy including making your own animal masks, creating dragonflies and an opportunity to learn about the river birds on a bird watching tour. You can also make your own bird feeders to take home with you and put up in your garden. Free with museum admission, drop in between 10.30am-3.30pm. 50% off admission fee for RSPB members.

2 Feb – FAMILY WILDLIFE FUN: WORLD WETLANDS DAY at Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre, 01635 874 381, Join in as a family and enjoy the hands on activities and wildlife themed crafts. £1 per child, just drop in between 2-4pm.

Bracknell Leisure Centre


12 Jan – FAMILY WILDLIFE FUN: WINTER WILDLIFE at Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre, 01635 874 381, Wrap up warm and discover some of the wildlife wintering at Thatcham. Join in the hands on activities and make a wildlife themed craft to take home. £1 per child, just drop in between 2-4pm.


Fantastic sports and swim courses at Bracknell Leisure Centre

Tel: 01344 454203

Enjoy admission to the Discovery Centre with its hands-on exhibits, plus themed fun specially for toddlers including face or hand painting, play dough, story telling and make-and-take-activities. 10am-4pm. £6.45 per adult and toddler plus £1.50 per additional toddler (max. 3 per adult).

Break a record at the Corn Exchange 25 Jan & The Hexagon, 10 Feb

2 Feb – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at Nuffield Fitness Centre, Newbury Racecourse, RG14 7PN, 2-4pm. New and pre-loved clothes, ranging from maternity wear to children’s clothing from newborn to around 8yrs, plus quality products and services. Entry £1, children free.


What’s On

Please always check before setting out in case details have changed since going to press

RSPB BirdWatch at the RRM, 27 Jan

2 Feb – CAR BOOT SALE at Scout Hall, Armour Hill, Tilehurst, Reading Organised by the 79th Reading Scout Group. 11am-1pm. Entrance fee for buyers 50p. Sellers from 9.30am. Inside stalls cost £9, Outside £8. To pre-book an inside table call Kate on 07846 833 681. More information at 3 Feb – MY BIG LITTLE SISTER at Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Bracknell, 01344 484 124, Tom’s little sister Ruby always wants to be someone else: a pop star, a model, a princess. Ruby says she just wants to be a grown-up, with no one telling her what to do. Mum says you should be careful what you wish for....! A delightful new play taking a light-hearted look at the pressure of consumerism on young minds and learning what happiness really means. Suitable for 4-8 yrs. 1.30pm. Tickets: £6.50. 10 Feb – GUINNESS WORLD RECORD SCIENCE at The Hexagon, Queen’s Walk, Reading RG1 7UA, 0118 960 6060, See 25 Jan entry. Tickets: £15, Child £13, Family £52. 12-21 Feb – HALF TERM ACTIVITIES at The River and Rowing Museum, Henley, 01491 415 605, 12 & 19 Feb Meadow Music - bring along an adult and create your own meadow together. Make your artwork on wood with a different piece of music to inspire each section. 10.30am-12.30pm, ages 4-11, £8.50, must book; 13 & 20 Feb A Motor Car for Toad - learn some craft skills to build a fabulous Morris 13 car for Toad using some card and a bit of imagination and ingenuity. 10.30am12.30pm, ages 7-11, £8.50, must book;

14 & 21 Feb Make Some Noise – explore sounds in the galleries, listen to watery music, help choose Toad’s River Island Discs and make some simple musical instruments. Free with admission. Drop in between 10.30am-4pm. 13 Feb – HALF TERM STEAMDAY at Didcot Railway Centre, Didcot, 01235 817 200, Enjoy a ride in coaches from the 1930s behind one of the centre’s Great Western steam locomotives. Plus all the usual attractions of this railway museum, home to many steam and diesel locomotives, passenger coaches and rolling stock. During half-term children can explore a nature trail around the garden (extra £2 charge) with a reward at the end. There will be drop-in activities on 20 Feb including a free craft workshop and an opportunity to toast marshmallows on the fire (£2 for toasting kit). Open 10am4pm. Normal charges apply. House remains closed until 9 March.

124, A new playful production of Rapunzel; a story about a girl who is taken away and placed in a tower far from what she knows. Told in an inventive, visual and physical style with live music and magical design, Rapunzel is about the curiosity and joys of growing up, risk taking and discovering who you are.  Suitable for 3+yrs. Tickets: £10, Child £6.50.

16 Feb-31 May – SPRING TRAIL at Cliveden, Taplow, Explore the springtime landscape by picking up a family trail from the Information Centre. Go on an adventure through the Gardens to find the clues and complete your trail. Free with admission. 10am-5pm. Plus on 20 Feb Wild Wednesday: 50 Things - see how many of the Trust’s ‘50 things to do before you are 11¾’ you can do in a day. A drop in session for accompanied children between 11am-3pm, £2 per child plus normal admission charge.

18-20 Feb – OASIS HOLIDAY CLUB at Christadelphian Church, Lower Way, Thatcham, RG19 3TP, Fun-filled mornings of games, craft, songs and Bible stories based upon the exciting theme of Junior Heroes. A free event for children aged 6-11yrs. 9.45am–12noon. All leaders are CRB-checked. Call 07798 766701 for more information and to book a place or email

18 Feb – RAPUNZEL at Recital Room, South Hill Park, Bracknell, 01344 484

18-21 Feb – HALF TERM ACTIVITIES at Reading Museum, 0118 937 3400, 18 Feb Wild about Animals - make some animal prints to decorate your own fun animal feet and headdress in 1-hour

14 Feb – BEALE PARK WILDLIFE PARK & GARDENS RE-OPENS at Lower Basildon, near Pangbourne, 0844 826 1761, Beale Park opens for the 2013 season. Enjoy the animals, play areas, Pets Corner, miniature railway, Little Tykes Village, café and more in a picturesque Thames-side setting. 16 Feb – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at Bulmershe Leisure Centre, Woodlands Ave, Woodley RG5 3EU, 2pm-4pm. See 2 Feb entry for details. 16 Feb – WELLINGTON COUNTRY PARK RE-OPENS at Wellington Country Park, Riseley, 0118 932 6444, 350 acres of beautiful park and woodland with play areas for all ages, miniature railway, animal farm, lake, crazy golf, nature trails, café and a full calendar of family events. 16-24 Feb – NATURE DETECTIVES at Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, RG8 9NR, 0118 984 3040, www.

Make a weather mobile at MERL, 19 Feb


We're having a Ball! A wide range of Bouncy Castles, Slides, Soft Play, Go Karts and Sumo Suits for hire 364 days a year! For Indoor and Outdoor use.

For details and availability call: 07718 606 765 (Little Kickers Reading & Wokingham)

or email the team at Classes in Winnersh, Woodley, Reading, Tilehurst, Caversham, Wokingham & Crowthorne. Classes run throughout the week and weekends, mornings and afternoons.

01628 526 584 (Little Kickers Maidenhead) or email Ben at Classes in Maidenhead, Bourne End, Marlow & Henley-onThames. Classes run during the week and weekends, mornings and afternoons. 01628 410736/07926 751243

Approved football training for kids aged 18 months to 7 years

Full theatre listings at

Thames Valley West


What’s On

A car for Mr Toad at the RRM, 13 & 20 Feb sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm, ages 5+yrs, £3, pay on the day; 19 Feb Easy Print Making – families can create their own weird and wonderful print designs using block printing, mono printing and collage. 1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm, ages 5+yrs, £3 pay on the day; 19 Feb Victorian Schoolroom Experience meet a Victorian schoolteacher and relearn the ‘3Rs’. A 45-minute experience for adults and children over 5 in a unique Victorian classroom. 11.30am, 1.15pm & 2.30pm, £1, drop in (35 places max per session); 20 Feb Make & Take: Fingerprinting Masks - try out some dotty designs to create a colourful abstract mask. Drop in between 10am–12noon & 1–3pm, 50p; 21 Feb Amazing Colour Mix Up! - be inspired by the musuem’s print exhibition and have a go at some crazy colour experiments. Catch a rainbow, or have a go at bubble printing and splitting sweets. 2-hour sessions from 10am–12noon & 1–3pm, ages 7+, £7, booking essential. NB Please arrive early for popular drop in sessions as spaces are limited. Children need to be accompanied for drop in activities. 18-22 Feb – DARING DRAGONS at various Wokingham libraries, Fun dragon themed story and craft sessions for children aged 12 and under. £1 charge, please book at relevant library. 18 Feb Wokingham Library (0118 978 1368) 2.30-3.30pm; 19 Feb Twyford (0118 934 0800) 10.30-11.30am and Maiden Erlegh (0118 966 6630) 2.153.15pm; 20 Feb Wargrave (0118 940 4656) 10.30-11.30am; 21 Feb Lower Earley (0118 931 2150) 10.30-11.30am, Spencers Wood (0118 988 4771) 10.1511.15am and Finchampstead (0118 908

8176) 2.15-3.15pm; 22 Feb Winnersh (0118 979 7519) 10-11am and Woodley (0118 969 0304 )10.30-11.30am. 19-21 Feb – HALF TERM WORKSHOPS at South Hill Park, Bracknell, 01344 484 124, 19 and 21 Feb Art Factory - use clay, collage, drawing and sculpture with expert advice and guidance given and plenty to take home at the end. 10am-12noon, 4-11 yrs, £18, members £17; 20 Feb Play with Clay - use air drying clay to transform your own design into 3D using hand building techniques. Plus a chance to throw a wobbly pot on the wheel.10am-12noon, 7-12 yrs, £17.50, members £16.50. Both workshops must be booked. Dress for mess! 19-20 Feb – RUMPELSTILTSKIN & THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE at South Street Arts Centre, 21 South St, Reading RG1 4QU, 0118 960 6060, Using its trademark puppets, music, storytelling and transforming sets, Theatre of Widdershins aims to create gold on stage with this new version of the Grimm’s classic tale. For ages 4+yrs. Tickets £7. 19-22 Feb – HALF TERM WORKSHOPS at Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Rd, Reading, 0118 378 8660, 19 Feb Winter Weather Mobiles - use shrink plastic to create a hanging weather mobile. Decorate and bake plastics to harden and shrink with your own design. 10–11am, 11.30am–12.30pm, 1.30–2.30pm & 3–4pm, £3 per child, no need to book, for families with children 4+yrs; 20 Feb Sparkling Snow Globes - take along an empty jam jar to turn into your own sparkling snow globe. Shake to make the snow fall. Drop in between 10am–12.30pm & 1.30–4pm,

Spring Trail at Cliveden, 16 Feb-31 May


Thames Valley West


What’s On We provide a quality indoor market for parents to buy and sell excellent quality nearly new and new baby & kids items from birth to six years! Great brands selling at bargain prices! Lots of toys, books, clothes, buggies, high chairs and much, much more on offer...

Our markets are currently located in Newbury, Bracknell, Woodley, Spencers Wood, Purley on Thames, Reading, Wokingham and across the Thames Valley. For our market dates and locations see the ‘What’s On’ section of the magazine or visit us at: • 07881 641614

National Trust

Berkshire’s NEWEST & BIGGEST Indoor Play & Party Centre for kids 0-12 £2, families with children aged 2+yrs; 21 Feb 3D Countryside theatre - take along a shoe box and cut out your favourite countryside scenes to make a 3D countryside theatre. Add farm animal puppets on sticks to complete the scene. Drop in between 10am-12.30pm & 1.304pm, £2, families with children 4+yrs; 22 Feb Magnetic fishing game – create and colour your fantastic fish, then catch them with a magnetic fishing rod. Drop in between 10am-12.30pm & 1.30-4pm, £2, families with children 2+yrs. 20 Feb – WILD ONES at Jocks Lane Recreation Ground, Binfield Rd, Bracknell, RG12 2BH, 01344 354 441, parksandcountrysidevents Spot your favourite birds on a short woodland stroll. Get inspired to make and take home a bird pudding and bird puppets from recycled materials. 10am12noon. £3.50, please book, suitable for accompanied 5-11yrs. 20 Feb – MONKEY, MONKEY, MONKEY at Woodley Library, 0118 969 0304, Interactive storytelling session with illustrator Cathy MacLennan and her book Monkey, Monkey, Monkey. Part of the Art in Library exhibition. 11am. Free session but please book. 20 Feb – MAJOR MUSTARD PRESENTS NO. 7 DANDELION ST at Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre, 01635 874 381, Meet some of the extraordinary inhabitants of Major Mustard’s cottage in this interactive puppet show for all the family. Shows at 11am & 2pm. Tickets £5, booking essential. 20-22 Feb – TUFF TRUCKS HALF TERM FAMILY ACTIVITY DAYS at REME Museum of Technology, Isaac Newton Rd, Aborfield, RG2 9NH, 0118 976 3375, Visit the REME Museum this half term and see all their special trucks and tanks. There will be activities throughout the museum and the Mini Assault Course will be open, run by real REME soldiers. Suitable for accompanied children aged 5-12. 11am3.30pm. Activities free with admission.

21 Feb – MAKE A BIRD BOX & FEEDER at Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre, 01635 874 381, Staff from the Nature Discovery Centre and volunteers from the Reading RSPB group will be on hand to assist you and show you the best way to care for your box and the birds that make it a home. Sessions at 11.30am, 1.30pm & 3pm. £10 per family bird box, booking essential. 21 Feb – THERE’S A MONSTER IN MY PIANO at South Street Arts Centre, 21 South St, Reading RG1 4QU, 0118 960 6060, Garlic Theatre will delight children and adults with this offbeat jazzy tale starring puppets, clowning, animation and a very highly strung monster indeed. Puppet theatre for all ages over 4. Tickets £7. 22 Feb – RECYCLED ARTS WORKSHOP: MAKE A KITE at Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre, 01635 874 381, Make a kite from recycled materials, perfect for those blustery February days. £1, just drop in between 11am-4pm.

Laser Tag parties and 8 Themed party rooms including: Glow in The Dark - the only room in the UK! Princess – Pirates – Superhero – Under the Sea – Football – I’m Fabulous Giant softplay including 5.50m high drop slides • Imaginative role play FREE Video games room • Sports arena • Café

Open – Daily 9.30am – 6pm After school club • Sports classes • Baby & toddler activities

NOW OPEN 680 Eskdale Road, Winnersh Triangle, Berkshire, RG41 5TS Tel: 0845 838 4686

23 Feb – BABY & CHILDREN’S MARKET at The Barn, Goosecroft Lane, off Beech Road, Purley on Thames, Reading RG8 8DR, 2-4pm. See 2 Feb entry for details. 23-24 Feb – SPOT’S BIRTHDAY PARTY at The Corn Exchange, Market Place, Newbury, RG14 5BD, 0845 5218 218, It’s Spot’s Birthday and it’s party time with all Spot’s friends - Steve the Monkey, Helen the Hippo, Tom the Crocodile and Spot’s mum and dad, Sally and Sam plus special guest Marco the Rabbit Magician. Music and songs, games and stories to capture everyone’s imagination. For ages 3+yrs. Tickets: £12, Conc. £10, Groups (of 10+) £8.50.

Toddler time at MERL

Fridays, 10-11am & 1-2pm, RBC term time • Drop-in • £2 per child • Families with children up to 4 yrs Enjoy stories, songs and craft activities inspired by the countryside.

Contact us

For details, call 0118 378 8660, email or visit

If you would like details of your production or event to appear in the What’s On pages, please email editor@ The deadline for the March/April issue is 1 February.

Full theatre listings at

Thames Valley West


Great Offers from Cannelle

WIN a trip to the slopes in Woodley

WIN a mother-to- be Beauty Package

Skiers and snowboarders can now head for the slopes in Woodley. Skiplex has opened a new indoor ski centre which has two constantly revolving ski slopes meaning that you can literally ski forever! The slopes are perfect for all ages from beginner to seasoned pro and with the adjustable gradients and speeds, all lessons are personalised and tailored to your exact needs. Win one adult and one child ticket and take your ski/boarding skills to new heights! For more information call 0118 997 7790 or visit To enter just visit today. Closing date 8 February

Exclusive Henley beauty salon Cannelle is offering a lucky reader a sumptuous Decléor mother-to-be prize comprising a back, neck, legs and tummy massage, application of cooling, tummy firming mask and a mini facial worth over £60. Cannelle’s therapy menu has been created to respect the body’s complex physiology during pregnancy and to work in synergy with your skin and senses. Your therapist will adapt the treatment to suit your stage of pregnancy. For more information call 01491 575 905 or visit To enter just visit today. Closing date 8 February

on ti ti pe m Co


WIN an Aquabeat MP3 player

THE Look out Discovery Centre Visit The Look Out Discovery Centre which has 90 hands-on science and nature activities. From 19th January - 6th May at weekends and Bracknell Forest school holidays enjoy The Slime Show. Find out why slugs and snails are so slimy and whether slime can be cut, bounced or stretched. It SNOT to be missed! For more information call 01344 354400 or visit er ad Re er ff O

Exercising with your baby can be a great way to get in shape, and listening to music can be just the motivator you need. Metanium Everyday Barrier Ointment is giving away a purple Aquabeat MP3 player (RRP around £70). 6 runners up will receive a Metanium Busy Baby Planner (RRP £10). Metanium Everyday Barrier Ointment has a unique formula to help guard against nappy rash. It helps seal in the skin’s natural moisture and it’s gentle enough to use at each nappy change. For more information visit To enter just visit today. Closing date 8 February

Admit One Child Free When accompanied by one Full Paying Adult Valid until 1 March 2013 Not valid with any other discount offer. Voucher must be redeemed to obtain the discount. Only original voucher accepted. Slime Show additional £1.85 per person. Only one child free per voucher per full paying adult.


on ti ti pe m Co

on ti ti pe m Co


Thames Valley West




Glue Ear – a parent’s guide Glue ear is a common childhood condition. In fact, it is estimated that one-in-five children around the age of two will be affected by it at any given time. Audiologist Lucinda Ellis tells us what it is and how it can be treated. All newborn babies are offered a hearing test so that any congenital hearing loss can be picked up; however children can develop or acquire a problem later on, so it is important to check your child’s hearing as they grow up. Warning signs include your child not responding when called or having selective hearing accompanied with a lack of concentration and changes in behaviour. Some quiet children who prefer to play alone can be labelled as antisocial or rude when in fact they are having difficulty hearing. Glue Ear is the most common cause of hearing loss in children. It is most often seen in those under five, although it can carry on into adolescence, and the temporary hearing loss it causes is variable. It can be linked to delayed speech development and behavioural issues. Often children may complain of pain in their ear, especially at night, and some may develop ear infections.

What is Glue Ear? The ‘glue’ is a sterile fluid which builds up within the middle ear cavity, behind the ear drum. It is a thick substance, hence the name. The middle ear should be full of air to function properly and the Eustachian tube, which runs from the back of the nose to the throat, usually works to make sure that this happens. In children this tube is narrower and at a more horizontal angle than in adults and can therefore not ventilate the middle ear, or drain mucus, as well.

The sound the child then hears is rather like us being under water or putting our fingers in our ears. It is harder for the sound to reach the inner ear and children with glue ear are tired, irritable and often labelled as naughty when the reality is they are struggling to hear everything.

What are the risk factors? Glue ear is not an inherited condition but, because the anatomical makeup is inherited (size and shape of Eustachian tube), children with a parent who had it are also more likely to suffer from it. So too are children with Down’s Syndrome or a cleft lip and palate as they have smaller Eustachian tubes and narrow ear canals. Recurrent colds and allergies can contribute to the condition, as can passive smoking.

What is the treatment? If a child is diagnosed with glue ear after a hearing test, their GP can refer them to the local hospital who will monitor their hearing over a few months to see if it improves. Glue Ear in many cases does resolve spontaneously, however it is important to monitor it for those cases which don’t. If the symptoms do not improve your child will be seen by an ENT (ear, nose and throat) department where grommet insertion can be considered. During a ‘watchful waiting’ time it is important to keep your child’s nose blown often and, for older children, an ‘Otovent’ balloon can

be purchased or given on prescription. This is a small balloon which the child blows up using their nose to help open up the Eustachian tube.

What are grommets? Grommets are small plastic ventilation tubes which are inserted into the ear drum during General Anesthetic. They drain the fluid from the middle ear and then stay in place for approximately 9-12 months during which time they enable the middle ear to become aerated. They fall out when the ear drum has healed and pushed them out. Once they are out the ears should then be able to work normally. Whilst your child has grommets care should be taken to ensure the ears are kept dry. During baths and swimming ear plugs can be used and kept secure by Ear Band-it swimming head bands.

What tests are done to check for Glue Ear?

When your child is seen by a specialist, the ears will be examined and there are two main tests which can be done. Tympanometry is a middle ear test that checks how the ear drum is moving and indicates if glue ear is present. Audiometry tests if the glue ear is affecting the child’s hearing. Different tests are done depending on the age of your child. If you think you child may have difficulties hearing, either arrange for a hearing test or book an appointment with your GP.

Anatomy of the Ear Find more health articles at

Lucinda is an independent audiologist who performs hearing screening within independent schools and also tests individual children at home. If you would like to find out more or to have your child checked call her on 07795 268 866 or email

Thames Valley West



Why we need to eat more fat not less Photo © Robinson – Fotolia

by Penny Crowther

1000mg pure fish oil…

Fat is good for you! New Year is a time of year when we often feel motivated to get healthy and lose those extra pounds. Unfortunately weight loss still tends to be associated with going low or no fat and this misguided notion can lead to issues such as low mood, poor memory, dry skin and hormonal problems to name but a few. Whilst everyone knows that cutting down on saturated fat (found mainly in, for example, fatty meats, fried food, pies, cakes and biscuits, cheese and cream), the fats we need more of are the omega 3 and 6 fats. These polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS), unlike saturated fats, are termed ‘essential’ because they must be obtained through the diet and inadequate intake results in chronic symptoms. Lack of PUFAs is a common problem as they don’t naturally appear in abundance in a ‘normal’ diet. Read on for how to get enough in your diet.


Thames Valley West

What essential fats will do for you Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required for producing prostaglandins, hormone-like substances which are present in all tissues and cells and which influence a whole range of body functions. They are needed for the metabolism to function efficiently. Therefore they are more likely to help rather than hinder weight loss. EFAs positively influence the following: • Immunity • Brain and nervous system (remember the brain is 60% fat!) • Mood (In 2005 a review in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry concluded that the omega 3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA were of significant benefit in the treatment of mood disorders. Those suffering from depression have been found to have lower levels of omega-3 in

their blood than non-depressed individuals). • Blood pressure control and healthy cholesterol management • Protective mucus of stomach • Hormone production. • Management of inflammation • Healthy skin and hair • Cell membrane structure – this must be exactly the right flexibility and strength in order to let nutrients into the cell and keep harmful toxins and bacteria out. The role of EFAs in brain function is no surprise since the brain contains such a high proportion of fat. Essential fatty acids pull oxygen into the body. This is important for all body tissue but particularly for the extra active brain and nervous system tissue in which a high level of chemical reactivity takes place and a lot of oxygen is used up. EFAs also form electric charges which when activated produce tiny electrical currents that enable nerve cells to communicate with each other.

How to get enough daily EFAs in your diet 1. One tablespoon seeds (e.g. mix of pumpkin, sesame and sunflower). Raw seeds are ideal (with salads, muesli or porridge for example), but the ready made seed mixes are also fine. Provides omega 3 & 6 oils. 2. One tablespoon Walnut oil or Hemp seed oil (either on its own after a meal or with a salad or yoghurt smoothie). Provides omega 6 oil. Must not be heated. 3. At least 1000mg pure, contaminant free fish oil Flax, walnut & pumpkin oil are alternative omega 3 sources to fish oil. But remember that, unlike fish oil, these vegetable oils do not directly contain the important DHA/EPA fats. The body has to make the DHA/EPA from the oil and depending on factors such as excess sugar, alcohol or a lack of vitamin


Health B6, B3, zinc or magnesium, the conversion may not happen very efficiently. People with conditions involving high insulin e.g. diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure or cholesterol may also have poor conversion. The conversion problem also applies to making the omega 6 fat, GLA which is why evening primrose oil is sometimes needed.

containing 20g or more of fat per 100g is high in fat but it may be unsaturated (good) fat. The average total daily fat intake in the UK is around 140g and it should be half this (around 70g)




What to look for on food labels

Low g/100g

Medium g/100g

High g/100g



Delayed speech?



20g or more


Ear infections?




5g or more


Speaks loudly?

Total Sugars 0-5g


15g or more


Selective hearing?



1.5g or more



When looking at food labels, look out for the saturated (bad) fat content. A food


Source: Food Standards Agency

For these reasons and more, please contact for advice. Flexible appointment times and locations to suit you.

Tel: 07795 268 866

One tablespoon of seeds…

Photo © Marek – Fotolia


Recipes Super Quick Salmon Fish Cakes (for 2 people)

This omega 3 rich recipe is adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe and the rye bread crumbs make it hang together nicely with no flour needed. 2 x 150g salmon fillets without skin (can also use other oily fish such as tuna) 2 slices of Rossisky rye bread or spelt bread Flat leaf parsley Half garlic clove Squeeze of fresh lemon juice Put the bread in the food processor to make fine crumbs and put to one side. Add the fish to the processor with the parsley leaves (stalks removed), a good squeeze of lemon juice, garlic clove, black pepper and a teaspoon of olive oil. Process until coarsely mixed. Tip the fish mixture onto a plate and add 2 heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs. Mix with hands and form into 4 evenly sized cakes. Pat them down to flatten. Coat both sides in the remaining breadcrumbs. Add olive oil to a frying pan and when hot, fry the fishcakes for approx 5-7 minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve with green salad or veg or a fresh salsa (cucumbers, chillies, tomatoes, spring onions, fresh basil or coriander).

Flax Salad Dressing Juice of one freshly squeezed lemon 4 tablespoons organic flax oil 1 teaspoon tamari sauce 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion (can put in food processor) Half teaspoon mixed dried herbs or 2 teaspoons fresh herbs

Don’t forget to tell advertisers you heard about them in 55x90_multiple3:Layout 2 29/11/12


Beat lemon juice and flax oil until creamy. Stir in tamari sauce, onions and herbs. For a creamier, richer dressing add a soft mashed avocado to the dressing mixture.

Classic Mayonnaise with Flax Oil Mayo has acquired an unhealthy reputation but if homemade from the best ingredients it is quite the opposite. It is useful for a creamy, non milk based sauce to add to pasta as well as salad dressings. 1 egg yolk (from free range egg) 180mls organic flax oil 1 teaspoon mustard 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice Sprinkling of white pepper Separate the yolk from the white and put in blender. Trickle in the oil very slowly, and blend on low speed until the mayo has a creamy consistency. Add the remaining ingredients.

Penny Crowther DN Med MBANT CNHC has a nutritional therapy practice in Putney. Call 07761 768 754 or see for more information. Please note the information in this article is not a substitute for medical advice. If you have a medical condition and/or are taking medication, check with your health practitioner.

For classes of pure MADness, Birthday join MAD Academy Parties too!

Call Trish on 0118 977 0050 or

Earley, Woodley, Caversham, Burghfield, Purley & Arborfield

Call Gemma on 01344 305688 & 07435754712 or Wokingham, Finchampstead, Crowthorne, Sandhurst, Bracknell, Hook, Camberley & Yateley

Call Emma on 0118 979 2695 or Maidenhead, Marlow, Henley, Charvil & Twyford

Movement • rhythms • songs • instruments • games Music And Dance and a whole lot of fun!

Need an energy boost? Take a look at

Thames Valley West


Health Having a baby should be a joyful time. Whether you’re planning, expecting or you’ve already had your baby, I offer support with:  Fertility  Hypnosis for pregnancy and childbirth  Baby BEAR (Birth Experience and Reflection)  Quit smoking  Ante and Post Natal Depression …and many other areas through Counselling and Hypnosis.

For further information, please contact: Catherine on 07811 907911

Children’s Party Planners

• Bear Making Parties • Fabric Painting Parties • Theme Parties Visit our website for current prices. or call us on 07764 849828 or e-mail:

Specialist Baby & Toddler Swimming Classes Aqua-Natal Yoga Classes Come out of your shell and learn to swim the Turtle Tots Way! For more information call Jodi on: 07823 885328 / 01628 785236 or email:

New classes in Sonning Common

Fun, friendly, well researched Music and Movement classes for 0 to 3 year olds in Caversham and Sonning Common. For more details email or call 07500 220588 (Sonning Common) or 0118 9479673 (Caversham)


Make headaches a thing of the past this year Julia Charles and Clare Venters Smith of the Harrison Clinic explain how acupuncture can help to cure your headaches. We all know that pain is a symptom telling us something is not right in our bodies and restoring balance is vital to recovery. It is this concept that’s at the core of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which uses a combination of diet, acupuncture, herbs and massage therapies to treat different types of headache. However, before looking for treatment it’s worth trying to understand the root cause of your particular headache; and reviewing your diet is a great place to start. From a nutritional perspective, when assessing the cause of headaches the first place to look is hydration – 70% of headaches are due to a lack of pure water, and although this is a very simple fact, it’s one which is often overlooked. An adult should be trying to drink approximately two litres of fresh water a day, more if you’re exercising or working physically. If you’re a frequent headache sufferer, try this before anything else. Aim for two litres a day for five days and see how your headaches improve, not to mention your energy levels and the ability to concentrate and think more clearly. Secondly, food intolerance could be the cause. Much pain and inflammation in the body is created by the consumption of foods which are irritating us. By carrying out a simple, noninvasive food intolerance test, it’s possible to easily and painlessly identify if headaches are being caused by something that’s being eaten regularly. Low and fluctuating blood sugar levels could be another cause, especially if you find that you’re waking up with a headache. In general, if you feel that irregular blood sugar patterns are something you’re suffering from, it would be worth eliminating all refined sugar, processed carbohydrates and sugary drinks from your diet. Hydrating well and eating complex carbs rather than white, refined alternatives should go a long way towards rebalancing blood sugars and hopefully eliminating these types of headaches. Acupuncture is another approach to managing headaches. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence

(NICE) recently carried out extensive studies into the treatment and management of headaches and in September 2012 reported in their guidelines ‘Diagnosis and Management of Headaches in Young People and Adults’ that acupuncture is the only proven method to prevent tension-type headaches and migraine. In TCM, health is simply about having a balance of yin and yang and smooth flow of qi (energy), blood and body fluids. Headaches can arise from any imbalance or obstruction and acupuncture can be used to correct this imbalance and restore the smooth flow of substances. Many people are put off trying acupuncture as they’re concerned about the needles. However, they really are tiny; the fine, single use needles are so vastly different to those used by doctors to take blood or give injections – to give you some idea of how small acupuncture needles are consider this fact; you can fit 15 to 20 acupuncture needles inside one hypodermic needle. Patients at Harrison Clinic frequently fall asleep on the couch and are surprised that they feel no pain on insertion. During treatment your practitioner will take a full case history to identify the underlying cause which is so important in acupuncture treatment – this holistic approach often results in other symptoms improving and patients gaining a feeling of overall improvement to their health. It is interesting that NICE have identified the high incidence of tension headaches amongst women and the relationship with changes in hormones. ‘Many of my patients note a relationship between their headaches and the menstrual cycle. It is great when after a few treatments they notice that not only have their headaches improved but they also find their pre-menstrual tension is reduced too,’ explains Clare.  The most important thing is that headaches do not have to be part of your daily life – they are a sign that something is not quite right and you can take steps to alleviate them.  The Harrison Clinic, near Reading, offers a range of treatments from acupuncture toosteopathy, massage to nutritional therapy. Call 0118 976 2253 or visit to find out more.


Thames Valley West


Image © paki18 -

Hope, Birth and Beyond

Bumps & Babes

My baby has a flat spot on its head! What do I do next? Eva Winter, paediatric osteopath, discusses the problem of ‘flat head syndrome’ or plagiocephaly and provides some useful advice to parents whose babies are affected.

Should I just wait and see what happens to my baby’s head shape?

How do I know if my baby has plagiocephaly? An infant’s head with plagiocephaly often forms a typical parallelogram shape, with flattening at the back of one side of the head. In addition there can be facial asymmetry affecting the forehead, eyes, ears and jaw, which some parents notice first. In many cases there is an associated torticollis (a stiff neck on one side) an infant’s head may be tilted and rotated to one side with difficulty looking in the other direction. Watch the way your baby sleeps, feeds and positions its head. Do they turn their head equally in both directions? When a baby can only turn their head one-way or has a preference for a particular side development may also be onesided. Some research suggests that there may be an association between plagiocephaly and delayed development.

Why do babies develop plagiocephaly? Positional plagiocephaly has become more common since the back-to-sleep campaign, which has successfully reduced the incidence of sudden infant cot death (SIDS) by more than 50 percent. If a baby has a stiff or restricted neck after delivery it may develop a preference for sleeping on a particular side of its head. Over time the soft newborn skull may get misshapen under the influence of its own weight. This occurs if the baby continues to sleep on the same part of its head. In cases when a baby is born with plagiocephaly it is usually due to its positioning whilst in the womb. This condition is more common with multiple births, prematurity and births using forceps.

There are varying degrees of plagiocephaly and in some cases simple repositioning advice can help resolve the asymmetry of a baby’s head. In other cases where plagiocephaly is more pronounced or persistent, osteopathic treatment may be helpful.

How does osteopathy work for this condition? A paediatric osteopath will undertake a case history and then carry out a physical examination of the baby with the parent’s consent. The osteopath will explain their findings, give a diagnosis and discuss a treatment plan before treatment commences. The treatment itself will focus on reducing strains, distortions and releasing restrictions within the baby’s body. The application of very light, focused pressure applied with the practitioner’s hands encourages compressed tissue to release. Progress is constantly monitored and feedback is always given to parents during treatment sessions.

The best thing is for parents to seek advice as soon as possible to help determine a diagnosis and the underlying cause of the baby’s misshapen head. Up to eighty percent of head growth occurs in the first year of life, so treatment for plagiocephaly is most effective during this time. Paediatric osteopathy uses a combined approach of hands-on treatment, advice on repositioning, increasing supervised ‘tummy time’ and stretching exercises to be carried out at home. This combined approach is successful at resolving the majority of plagiocephaly cases. In some instances, however, referral for a cranial orthotic device (helmet) may be advisable, which is typically determined by the severity of the condition and the age of the baby. Early osteopathic treatment can help avoid the need for a helmet. When a helmet is required parents often find it helpful for their baby to have osteopathic treatment during this time. Treatment helps the bones within the skull accommodate the moulding action of the helmet. If you are concerned about any of these issues, get in touch with your local paediatric osteopath who will be able to advise you. Eva Winter has a 1st Class BSc (Hons) Osteopathy from Oxford Brooke's University and also holds a diploma in Paediatric Osteopathy. Eva is a part-time Clinic Tutor at the Osteopathic Centre for Children in London and also works in clinics in Marlow and Amersham. Eva specialises in the osteopathic treatment of babies, children and pregnant women. For location and appointment times go to or call 07776 448700

Magical music & sensory play classes from birth to four years Contact us now for a FREE taster! Henley & Bracknell 01628 639727

Shape up after pregnancy –

Thames Valley West


Bumps & Babes Mummy’s Maid “an extra pair of

hands that understand”

Mummy’s Maid was created with busy individuals in mind – our main aim is to make life easier and help create more time for you. We can provide services to suit all of your household, cleaning and childcare requirements without the need for long term contracts. Each contract is a minimum of two hours long and prices start from £13.50.

Call 0845 463 0075 or visit

Join Our  Team     Due  to  expansion  Mummy’s  Maid  are   looking  for  more  caring,  reliable   individuals  to  join  our  team.  If  you  are   interested  in  flexible  working  hours  for   an  excellent  rate  of  pay     please  send  y our  cv  to

What’s Award-winning NCT Babychange app You’re out for the day and you need to change your baby’s nappy. But where is the nearest or best changing room? NCT Babychange can point you in the right direction. This free app works using GPS based features and Google Maps and contains over 7000 baby changing facilities including supermarkets, train stations, shops, and restaurants. Each has a current ‘star’ hygiene rating, with places highlighted in green being recommended. Launched by NCT, the UK’s largest charity for parents, the app is available in Android and iPhone versions. Sally Horrox of the NCT told us: “The app has proved extremely popular with parents as it’s straightforward and easy to use, fulfils a real need and is completely free.” More information can be found on the NCT’s website

Bamboo for babies When you think of bamboo, you’re more likely to think of pandas than baby towels – bamboo fibre must surely be spikey and tough right? Wrong! Unlike regular baby towels, which often do end up feeling like tough old tree bark after a few washes, the cashmere-like bamboo fibre means this Cuddledry baby towel stays silky soft no matter how often you wash it, even without fabric conditioner. Bamboo is actually 60% more absorbent than cotton, meaning moisture is naturally drawn away from your baby’s skin. It’s also naturally antibacterial, containing an agent called ‘bamboo kun’, which prevents any bacteria from growing on it and as it’s naturally organic it does not irritate sensitive or allergic skin. For stockists visit

Natural relief from morning sickness It’s estimated that more than 75% of mumsto-be suffer from morning sickness and it can be a miserable and debilitating condition. New Sea-Band Mama! aims to provide a natural relief to suit everybody with its three products. There’s an acupressure writstband, an essential oil ginger and spearmint rollete, and ginger and folic acid lozenges. Using natural remedies such as acupressure and essential oils help to gently alleviate feelings of nausea, allowing women to enjoy their pregnancy without worrying about affecting their unborn babies. The folic acid even helps to prevent defects of the central nervous system of unborn babies. Available from, Lloyd’s Pharmacy and independent health food stores and pharmacies. Priced at £8.15 (wristband), £4.99 (10ml rollete) and £3.99 (20 lozenges).

Baby Sensations A simply sense-sational experience for you and your baby ... Baby massage taught in the comfort of your own home, or join one of our local classes.

0118 935 3759 or 07738 566 646 E-mail


Thames Valley West



Bumps & Babes

Treetop Friends Are you looking for a quick and easy way to update your nursery? These Treetop Friends Wall Stickers could be just the thing. Create a nature scene with the full tree design, or use the branches, leaves and woodland friends to accent different parts of the room. With 88 Treetop decals in each pack, the result is a calming wall decoration for little nature lovers. Easy to apply, just peel and stick, the stickers can be rearranged as often as you like for an ever changing scene. Simply wipe clean with a damp cloth to keep the stickers looking fresh. £18 from

Bathe in style Keeping warm and cosy this winter Keep your little one toasty whatever the weather with a new range of easy-fit buggy blankets from Babysnuggle. Perfect for really cold days, the top layer can easily be removed when temperatures rise. There is also a snazzy two-way zip so muddy shoes can conveniently poke out the bottom. This cute sheep design is made using both super-soft serpa and polar fleece and is suitable for most pushchairs and for children up to the age of around 3 years. It should ensure your baby stays warm and cosy whilst you zip around the town or park. Buggysnuggle SheepRed Cosy Toes is available for £59.95 from

Combining water play for babies with bath time help for parents, the Dunck is a colourful set of three floating bath toys. With streamlined styling and contemporary colours the multi-functional design will look great in even the most modern bathrooms. Dunck stacks, floats and pours, providing endless fun in the bath for baby. It also doubles up as a rinse cup, allowing mum or dad to safely and swiftly get baby clean. Once bath time is over the three toys stack up neatly for easy storage. Dunck is moulded from BPAFree, Phthalate-Free and PVC-Free plastic and is dishwasher safe so can be given a thorough clean every so often. £10 from

The potty-training ‘must have’ My Wee Friend, pardon the pun, is a new way to help bring some fun into the often stressful job of potty training. The ordinary-looking sticker is applied to the bottom of your child’s potty where it can last for up to 12 weeks. Each time your child has a wee, the plain black sticker will magically change into a friendly smiling face, before fading back to black ready for the next use. Sure to encourage your little one to come back for more, the stickers are available in various designs including Happy Bug and Pig (pictured). Find out more at

How do Brussels sprouts taste to babies? Did you know that babies are born with around 30,000 taste buds and even have taste buds in their cheeks? Many of these are lost with age and most adults have only around 10,000. No surprise then that babies experience tastes in a much more intense way. Henley-based baby and toddler food company Ella’s Kitchen have been working with specialist chefs at Molecular Bubble to create a Big Tastes menu designed to let parents experience the same big flavours their tiny tots can taste. The menu recreates foods with a flavour intensity of up to ten times what a seasoned adult palate would normally experience. It includes ‘tasteamplified’ Brussels sprouts and super-strength strawberries. The aim is to help parents understand their babies’ extreme reactions of delight or dislike of new foods. Visit for more information.

Care for your skin Bio-Oil is designed to maximise the skin elasticity, helping to prevent the appearance of stretch marks. It combines some of the most important skincare ingredients including vitamin A and E, essential oils, and unique revolutionary ingredient PurCellin Oil™. Fans of the product include celebrity mums Helena Christensen, Tess Daly and Denise Van Outen. Bio-Oil costs £8.95 and is available from Boots, Superdrug and many supermarkets and independent pharmacies. Find out more at www.

Five surprising facts about motherhood -

Thames Valley West



Where’s hot in 2013! With help from Joanna Moorehead and Sarah Hatch

An ideal family holiday takes a lot of planning. So, to get you started, we’ve come up with a few ideas to suit all budgets including some of the hottest family destinations around.

Have an adventure in the Alps The Alps are much too good to save for your skiing holidays – in fact, many say summer is the best time to be there. For a wonderful family Alpine holiday, you’ll be hard-pressed to improve on the Chilly Powder formula – choose from a luxurious hotel or a villa, all set in a biscuit-tin pictureperfect location, complete with in-chalet childcare and – for the foodies – an in-chalet chef. Sports on offer include white water rafting, rock-climbing, trekking, tennis and summer tobogganing (which is one of the most fun summer sports I’ve ever tried, and kids adore it). Prices vary depending on what sort of package you’re after, but as a forinstance, Chalet des Amis (three bedrooms; sleeps up to eight) is £1,200 in midsummer. For more information visit

Get down on the farm Farm Stay UK is a farmers’ cooperative that celebrates its 30th birthday next year. All its members are working farms, small holders or rural enterprises and they offer holiday accommodation ranging from B&B in a farmhouse to self-catering in converted barns, pods, wigwams and even a converted pig sty. Many also run traditional campsites. For more details visit

Enjoy a luxurious stay in Devon Devon is one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations, and for good reason: wonderful beaches, plenty to do (even in the rain), beautiful scenery and a wide choice of where to stay. Libbear Barton, a country estate on the north side of the county, hits just the right note of luxury (beamed cottages that are beautifully laid out and furnished) and has everything on hand, from stairgates to babysitters, for the hard-pressed family. There’s an indoor pool, games room, play areas inside and out, fishing lake and woods – all on a rolling, 40-acre estate, and with the sea a half hour’s

drive away. Perfect for big families or families holidaying together – the farmhouse sleeps up to 14. Prices vary, but for example Moley’s Place, sleeping eight in four bedrooms, costs around £1,700 a week in high summer. Find out more at

Issue 46 : (E) PAGE 28

Thames Valley West



Visit a family travel hot spot Travel website offers a range of unique holiday accomodation. Their dedicated Kids Collection covers more than 40 family-friendly destinations, with almost 800 hotels, villas and apartments which have received the team’s seal of approval for being both stylish and superbly set up for children. We’ve gathered together some of i-escape’s picks of the hottest destinations for families to visit this year. You can find details of them and many more at

Iceland Iceland is a uniquely dramatic destination, and increased budget air links mean it’s easier to reach than ever before. Adventurous kids will love exploring its phenomenal landscapes and soaking up the sense of freedom. Stay at Hotel Budir, a country house hotel set beside a glacier, and enjoy boat tours, sealwatching, volcanic walks, horse riding and skidoo tours. If the

Mallorca With its gorgeous beaches, fun mountain trains and inexpensive flights, this Balearic isle will suit families of every stripe. Choose the stylish 3-bedroom Seaview Villa Deia for its hilltop views, spacious setting and lovely pool. One room is a twin and there’s a sofabed plus a baby cot to borrow. Its covered dining terrace, BBQ and wellequipped kitchen make self-catering a treat not a chore, and there are lots of family-friendly restaurants within walking distance. From £322 per night, based on 6-7 people sharing (tax included).

Turkey weather turns, there’s a good library of DVDs to choose from. From £150 per night for a Deluxe Room, based on 2 sharing (tax and breakfast included). Extra beds cost £56 per night.

Amsterdam This picturesque city may not be the most obvious family-friendly destination, but 2013 sees the celebration of its canal ring, started 400 years ago, plus the reopening of the famous Rijksmuseum. Kids can explore the Vondelpark, which has a great playground, street theatre and safe cycle routes, while teenagers will be moved by Anne Frank’s house. Children will love staying afloat on board Water Home a 2-bedroom canal boat with a kitchen, a dockside lounging area and a terrace. It’s perfect for families with older children, and sleeps 4-5. From £141 per night, based on 4-5 people sharing with a 3-night minimum stay (tax and welcome breakfast included).

Turkey’s wonderful coastline is dotted with sandy beaches, turtle sanctuaries and ancient ruins, with lots of fun waterbased activities for families. For a classic family-friendly beach hotel near Bodrum try Med-Inn, which has a pool, a garden and a jetty for easy boat trips. The spacious and stylish Family Suites sleep up to 4, and there’s a kids’ menu for little ones in the restaurant. From £80 per night for a Family Suite (tax and breakfast included).

Slovenia Slovenia is one of the best-value European countries for families. Small and easily navigated, it has a wonderful variety of landscapes, from beaches to mountains to forests. Set in unspoilt Alpine scenery, Pristava Lepena encapsulates all that the country has to offer, with rafting, riding, hiking, kayaking and mountain biking all available. Many of these activities are included in the price, and there’s a pool on the premises. The studio-style rooms and apartments provide easy family living, and you can choose to dine in the restaurant or self-cater. From £116 per night for an open-plan room sleeping 2 adults, 2 children and 1 baby. This includes half board, daily cleaning and use of the tennis, archery and table tennis equipment.

Set in fantastic countryside location

Jubilee Jets is open every school holiday from 8:00 – 18:00 for children aged 5 to 11 years. Full and half day sessions available. Supervised by a fun team of qualified staff Jubilee Jets is a great out-door adventure holiday club where the best childhood memories are made.

For further information please contact Jubilee Jets on:

0118 9701 600

Paddock View, Rectory Rd, Padworth Common, Berks, RG7 4JD

Find more holiday ideas at

• Feeding lambs • Biking in the woods • Cooking • Circus workshops • Henna tattoos • Trampolining • Games and races • Quad bikes • Or just hangin out with friends School Holiday Fun! Ofsted registered

Thames Valley West


New Year, New You 

       

 



Now also in Caversham!

lose fat. fast! Outdoor Bootcamps for Maximum fat loss Lose a clothes size in 4 weeks – guaranteed!! Join us – improve your health and fitness. Have fun too! fasttrack fit Camp is Berkshire’s Premier Bootcamp

SUNRISE HYPNOTHERAPY Gentle help you need

For help with: • Stopping smoking - 1 session • Effective weight control • Preventing fears and phobias • More positive thinking

• Stress management • Tackling exam nerves • Ensuring goal achievement • Pain relief • Allergies

Fiona Grant DHP LAPHP BSc Hons 07810 716 050

Call today to arrange a free initial consultation.

We all have something about our lives that we would like to change or improve. It might be a job we hate, a lack of fitness, or feelings of anxiety that we just can’t shake off. And it is often at this time of year, when the adrenalin rush of the Christmas and New Year period has faded and we return to everyday life, that these feelings come to a head. No surprise then that ‘Blue Monday’, the day psychologists deem the most depressing day of the year, falls in January! The good news is that by daring to try something different you can re-vitalise your life and kick-start the new year with a new you. So read on for some ways to change your life for the better in 2013!

Osteopathy Physiotherapy Acupuncture Cranial Osteopathy Sports Massage Nutritional Consultancy

Exceptional care in a friendly, relaxed environment 0118 976 2253

Bridge Farm, Farley Farms, Reading Road, Arborfield,Reading, RG2 9HT



New Year, New You

the new year! How coaching can improve your life We asked Reading-based personal development coach Julie Hoather of JH-Coaching to give us an insight into how coaching can help you to build a better life. Coaching can improve your wellbeing and happiness in so many ways, from helping to manage anxiety and build self-confidence to changing unwanted habits and enabling you to become more productive. In coaching sessions I work individually with men and women who recognise that they are not achieving their full potential and no longer want to be held back by their lack of confidence and self-belief. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques help to re-train their brains to be more confident in their own abilities

and banish those little voices that undermine them. It allows them to find the strengths and resources to move forward in a more positive and productive way - an inner strength and beauty which was always there, but which life’s events had hidden away. NLP techniques work relatively quickly and clients see and feel a difference in their outlook within the first few sessions which increases their confidence and reduces their stress. NLP coaching is about helping people to develop, not telling them what they should do, because we instinctively know what really works for us. I work with my clients to help them find their way out of the woods and to appreciate the trees. If you’d like to find out more, you can contact Julie by email or by phone 07812 650 531 or visit her website

What Hypnosis Can Do and What it Can’t Fiona Grant is a hypnotherapist and life coach based in Caversham, Reading. Here she tells us more about what hypnosis can offer you. Hypnosis alone can achieve nothing at all other than a sense of calmness and relaxation, useful for a temporary relief of stress but little else. It is what the hypnotherapist does once a client is hypnotised that produces change. It can achieve anything from a simple confidence boost for a driving test or other exam, through quitting habits like smoking or nail biting to apparent miracle cures like enabling someone to travel alone on a world tour after being trapped indoors with Agoraphobia for years.

It is not just for illness. It can increase motivation, concentration, business skills and stress handling capabilities; it can enhance memory, sexual ability, creativity and tenacity. In fact, it can be used to improve all areas of human activity. However, it cannot change someone’s basic underlying personality or repair congenital damage or genetic problems. It cannot help to achieve anything that is truly physically impossible. Hypnosis cannot cause anything that the client actively resists happening. It is a two way effort and it is vitally important that the client is in agreement with the desired outcome of the therapy. To find out how hypnotherapy could help you please call Fiona on 07810 716050 or go to her website at

Happy and healthy in 2013 Do you want to improve your health and fitness but lack the willpower to do it alone? Well, HealthWorks could be just what you need! They offer holistic health packages, tailored specifically to each individual, that are designed to change bad habits and encourage a healthier and happier lifestyle. By combining behaviour change techniques with a little pampering, HealthWorks provides for both the mind and the body so you feel rewarded as well as fitter and healthier. HealthWorks is run by Farzana Latif, an experienced consultant, in partnership with therapists who can provide treatments such as massage, facials, reflexology and Indian head massage – perfect for keeping up your motivation! Farzana can help you with particular areas of your life that are causing problems whether you want to stop smoking, be more physically active, boost your energy levels or to sleep better. If you need to get back on track with healthy eating and drinking, or improve digestive problems such as IBS, Farzana offers practical healthy cooking advice alongside health coaching and counselling sessions. The motivational techniques she teaches can be practiced in all areas of your life and on-going support is provided whilst on the programme to prevent any lapses. To find out more call Farzana on 0771 757 4087 or email

How hypnosis can help you sleep –


A Friendly Mobile Farm For Your School, Home, Fete, Party ! 01628 821145 / 07721 422554 E-mail: you l Do ta ? e to hav BOSH ISH SQU

Fun party games with meaning

Call Pete on 07721 422554 or 01628 821145, or email to:

FDA approved, nonallergenic materials. Experienced, friendly & reliable service. 07505 104 376

Competition Winners from previous issue South Hill Park pantomime: Laura Dove Edamame hoodie: Marie Woolston Odds Farm Park: Ann Daniels-Smith

Thames Valley West Printed by Warners Midlands Plc. Copyright Families Thames Valley West December 2012. Families Thames Valley West is part of a group, established in 1990 and headed by Families South West London. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. We take care in preparing this magazine but the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of the advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequence.

Thames Valley West



Poised for Life As the cartoon below shows, lessons in The Alexander Technique can teach children and young people how to get the best out of themselves in terms of freedom of movement and good posture. By doing so the Technique can help them to excel in sport, music and in other areas of their lives; while warding off future problems caused by bad posture. Not only that, it’s good for adults with aches and pains! For an excellent guide to the Alexander Technique and its benefits contact one of the qualified local teachers listed right. And you can visit the website of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT) at

Find a Local Teacher Ms Anne Lammar The Therapy Centre, 6B Church Street Reading RG1 2SB 0118 939 1833 / 07984 036 257 Anne is also practising at The Wellbeing Centre, 6 Pound Street Newbury RG14 6AA 0800 043 0713 / 01635 552 874 / 07984 036 257 email: web:

Mr Lawrie Wright

266 Liverpool Road, Newtown Reading RG1 3PJ 0118 327 9208 / 07803 339 221 email:

Ms Rosemary Tate

Braybrooke Cottage 28 Braybrooke Road Wargrave RG10 8DT 0118 940 6445 / 07765 405 408 email:

Mr Martyn Jones

27 Lightwood, Crownwood Bracknell RG12 0TR 01344 445 853 / 07773 276 789 email: web:

Mrs Mel Appleford

1 Frilsham Manor Cottage, Frilsham Thatcham RG18 9UZ 01635 203 474 / 07789 906 100 email:

Mrs Tanya Whannell

Sweet Haven, 10a Green Lane Thatcham RG19 3RG 01635 866 409 email: web:

Ms Michelle Holdaway

22 Hemdean Road, Caversham Reading RG4 7SU 0118 946 1306 / 07891 717 240 email: web:

Ms Clare Finzi

The Wyckets, Osborne Lane Warfield RG42 6ED 07969 987 694 email: web:

Mrs Irene Woodrow

Hazeley Cottage, Nightingale Lane Mortimer, Reading RG7 3PS 0118 933 3406 / 07900 506 940 email: web:

Mrs Sheila Pehrson

Bay Tree Cottage Northfield Avenue, Lower Shiplake Henley-on-Thames RG9 3PE 0118 940 2069 email: web:

Miss Fiona Richards

19 Adams Way, Earley Reading RG6 5UT 07946 537 201 email:

Mrs Ruth Tod

80 West Street Henley-on-Thames RG9 2EA 01491 412 836 / 07962 667 148 email: web:

Families TVW Issue 63 Jan-Feb 2013  

Families Thames Valley West magazine for January & February 2013

Families TVW Issue 63 Jan-Feb 2013  

Families Thames Valley West magazine for January & February 2013